The Origin of Inequalities.

Religion and Innovation in the Copper Age
By Pascal Barbe, Stéphane Callens

What is the origin of inequality? The Neolithic revolution had kept social inequality to differences in the prestige of clans. People were socially recognized through differences in their technological proficiency, as in their use of the wheel, metals, and weaving. Change in the relationship between knowledge and power took place during the time when Etzi lived. The anthropomorphic steles of the High Adige testify that for posterior generations, new religious conventions were formed, focusing on the dissuasive aspect of copper tools. The metallurgical revolution made the combination of powers increasingly complex, thus creating perennial social hierarchies that lasted very long periods of time. JEL code: D63


  • inequality
  • chalcolithic
  • metallurgical revolution
  • knowledge and power
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