The Nature of Privilege: Intergenerational Wealth in Animal Societies
AbstractRampant structural inequality exists across human societies, exerting a
powerful influence on the health of individuals around the globe.
Differential access to -- and variation in -- material wealth
contributes greatly to this imbalance. Intergenerational transfer of
material wealth can advantage some individuals over less fortunate
individuals, shaping divergent destinies and creating a hierarchy of
privilege. This concept is familiar within the context of human economic
and social systems, but we argue that privilege is not a uniquely human
phenomenon. Rather, privilege has evolved multiple times and its
phylogenetic reach may be startlingly widespread across the Tree of
Life, raising the provocative possibility that comparative study of
privilege may offer insights leading to effective strategies countering
inequality in human societies.