The Aretae claim about social structure:
Evolution drives everything (via sexual ??sublimation??).
Economics (and especially GDP levels) channels everything (The motor is still sex).
2Mya -- 10Kya: Hunter Gatherer
When food/resources weren't scarce, folks lived in hunter-gatherer world...generally healthy, generally happy, 10-20 hour work-weeks (including house-work), in tribes under 150 persons, with the tribe being the primary social unit...and with societal child-rearing. Distinctly non-monogamous on either male or female dimensions. Distinctly anti-hierarchical ... as in "issuing of commands is grounds for assassination". See 1 Samuel 8:5-18 for the Israelite hunter-gatherer/nomadic peoples view of kings.
10kya -- 400ya: Agriculture
When food got scarce, folks were forced into the crappy life of agriculture. Agriculture created hierarchy (via economics), created long-term stable marriage (via economics), and made folks generally miserable. And it started stronger population growth. If you were in the 1% (0.1%?) who was part of the aristocracy, you had a pleasant life. Not as easy/healthy/pleasant as the life of an average middle class Mexican today, but not so bad. If you were in the other 99 (.9?) %, you worked 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week, scraping by enough food to eat for yourself, and some for the aristocrat as well. People define themselves by their land. Live in extended families, with grandparents, adult children, adopted family...whatever it takes to survive.
400ya -- 40ya: Industry / trade / capitalism
The slow transition out of agriculture had 99/100 in agriculture 400 years ago, and 2/100 in agriculture in the west in 1970ish. Land / natural resources are no longer a viable way to approach the world. Overall...productivity increases increase the average income of the average western person from "shit in the dirt", 50% child mortality, ignorant, immoral, and stupid (IQ average under 70, by all estimates, probably due to poor nutrition, and poor health) to our current state. People define themselve by their jobs. Good jobs = wealth. Takes a fulltime housekeeper to keep the house livable...2-parent families.
40ya -- now: Information
Somewhere in the '70s, we started to automate jobs. By 1985, the average book-keeper for a small business had an excel (or visicalc) spreadsheet that could do the work of a whole person. The average factory was moving into automation. By 2010, whole factories were automated. Fancy print-shops could do the work of a 1970s dozen people with a single machine...which can be maintained by a part-time vendor. Phone support is handled in Manila or Bangalore. Standard amenities include dishwashers, washing machines, automatic dryers, microwave ovens, self-cleaning ovens, and the Robot Vaccuum cleaner is making a push to be the next necessary appliance. I've heard it half a dozen times this month...but here's the new line:
IF you can write down the steps, you don't need a person to do the job...and you certainly don't need an expensive person to do the job. Outsource, Robot, or Software. Right now, expensive software can beat people at chess, beat doctors at diagnoses, and such. The IQ level at which persons can do jobs better than software/robots is climbing fast. I expect the number to hit 130 by 2030. Wealth so much improved that the value to both men and women of having a perma-partner is down.
So...where are we going?
1st: Read Seth Godin.
2nd: Read Singularity thinkers. Soft intro is: The First Immortal.