Local Sharing and Sociality Effects on Wealth Inequality in a Simple Artificial Society

by   John C. Stevenson, et al.

Redistribution of resources within a group as a method to reduce wealth inequality is a current area of debate. The evolutionary path to or away from wealth sharing is also a subject of active research. In order to investigate effects and evolution of wealth sharing, societies are simulated using a minimal model of a complex adapting system. These simulations demonstrate, for this artificial foraging society, that local sharing of resources reduces the economy's total wealth and increases wealth inequality. Evolutionary pressures strongly select against local sharing, whether globally or within a individual's clan, and select for asocial behaviors. By holding constant the gene for sharing resources among neighbors, from rich to poor, either with everyone or only within members of the same clan, social behavior is selected but total wealth and mean age are substantially reduced relative to non-sharing societies. The Gini coefficient is shown to be ineffective in measuring these changes in total wealth and wealth distributions, and, therefore, individual well-being. Only with sociality do strategies emerge that allow sharing clans to exclude or coexist with non-sharing clans. These strategies are based on spatial effects, emphasizing the importance of modeling movement mediated community assembly and coexistence as well as sociality.


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