Egalitarianism is a thing of our distant past, or so we learn from conventional history. After a long stretch as hunter-gatherers roaming in small bands, our societies became bigger and more complex. And as they became larger, and cities emerged, hierarchy was inevitable in the form of kings, priests, and bureaucrats. The late anthropologist and anarchist David Graeber and the archeologist David Wengrow, however, argue that’s all wrong. In a more hopeful reading of the past, they contend that small-scale societies have often been hierarchical and large-scale societies more egalitarian.
David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021