Are there Ancient Roots to Socialism?

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Since Karl Marx and others began to advocate for societies to develop more equitable economic systems in the form of socialism and even communism, there have been those that advocated that capitalism and, by extension, economic and social inequality evident in societies reflect a deviation from natural or even original human societies. Evidence for more equal societies is often difficult to determine in the distant past, but there have been arguments that social and economic inequality we are witnessing is more recent.

Early Forms of Socialism?

Perhaps the most "equitable" forms of societies are often hunter-gatherer societies. Such societies, ostensibly, often do not display any major social hierarchy. Even if there is a "leader," of the group, often social power is limited and can be easily reversed. Wealth differences are also not usually very different between members of such societies. Based on this, and archaeological evidence, some archaeologists and historians have argued that a form of socialism or at least classless societies. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles advocated that hunter-gatherer societies are egalitarian and represent a type of primitive communism.

Many archaeologists and anthropologists today, in one form or another, have indicated that early and even some modern band or hunger-gather societies are not only classless, but they even display no sexual inequality in that women and men wield comparable power. Such groups usually number between 20-50 individuals. Some have argued that the size of these groups make it easier to maintain relatively flat hierarchies, as individuals and families have almost comparable abilities to accrue food and resources

Later Developments in Socialism

Socialist or Capitalist?

Summary

References

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