- 20Mya. Once upon a time we were social animals. Primates have very strong lines of authority. There is a boss, and subordinates, and the only constraints on boss power are the worry of maintaining a large enough band to defend against other bands. The probability of the strongest primate winning a fight against the next strongest is very likely near within 10% of 90%.
- 8Mya. Then we were social primates. Coalitions beat individual strength. But still, the pattern was: Do as I say, or me and my team beat you senseless. probability of top coalition winning?
- 1Mya. Then we were weapon-using proto-humans (axe, spear, bow). Probability of top-dog losing a fight went from 10% to ~40%. Probability that top coalition has some of it's members killed in a fair fight is near 1. Also, small bands with fluid flow between bands. Band with bad enough conditions ends up with no members. Egalitarianism triumphs...because everyone universally hates being a subordinate MORE than they like the chance to be the boss.
- 10Kya. Then we started storing food. Storing food moved us to the malthusian limits. It allowed productive food-storers to buy guards, which allowed them to unilaterally take authority, and build a 2-tier society (boss, non-boss)
- 400ya. First re-stirrings of a rich enough society that the food storage/army thugs were re-constrained from below. Furthermore, small states in Europe allowed the moderately elite to require concessions from the states under threat of exit. Everyone hates folks telling them what they must do. But not everyone can afford it when they're poor enough.
- now. We are on the verge of a rich enough society (esp. NOT in the USA) that actual exit is becoming an option for LOTS of people. Shopping for states is on the verge of re-viability. And competition is the death knell for power.
The virtue of excellence