How unequal are ems from one another? during the forager era the main units of organization were bands of roughly 20 to 50 people, and smaller family units. As activity wasn’t organized via larger units, foragers did not see inequality comparable with our unequal towns, firms, or nations. Foragers also had only mild differences in personal property and prestige. Over the roughly million plus year forager era, however, foragers had an enormous inequality of lineages, in the sense that almost all lineages eventually went extinct, with zero descendants. The farmer era had larger units of organization, such as clans, villages, nations, and empires. Although empires sometimes became nearly as large as feasible given transportation limits, large empires usually only had a weak influence on local behaviors. Villages were much smaller than nations, and firms were typically tiny. As discussed in Chapter 18 , Cities section, while most farmers lived near small villages, in our industrial era people are spread rather evenly across towns and cities of all feasible sizes. Also, for most industrial products today, market shares are relatively concentrated within transport-cost-limited market areas. That is, for each type of product in an area, only a small number of firms supply most customers. power laws are mathematical forms that often usefully describe such inequality. That is, power laws often fit the large-unit end of the distributions of how such items are grouped into units. In such cases, a power of one describes a uniform distribution of items across feasible unit sizes. Powers greater than one describe more equal distributions, wherein most items reside in small units, and powers less than one describe less equal distributions, wherein most items are clumped into fewer larger units. Compared with any given sized unit, for a power of one a unit with twice the size appears half as often. Thus for a power of one, different sized units hold a similar total number of items. Compared with a power of one, with a power greater than one such double-size units are less frequent, while with a power less than one double-size units are more frequent.
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