Why we are the way we are

darwin_speciesWealth, according to H.L. Mencken, an American satirist of the last century, “is any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.” Adjusted for inflation since 1949, that is not a bad definition. But why do those who are already well-off feel the need to out-earn other people? And why, contrariwise, is it so hard to abolish poverty?

America, Mencken’s homeland, executes around 40 people a year for murder. Yet it still has a high murder rate. Why do people murder each other when they are almost always caught and may, in America at least, be killed themselves as a result?

Why, after 80 years of votes for women, and 40 years of the feminist revolution, do men still earn larger incomes? And why do so many people hate others merely for having different coloured skin?

As the 150th anniversary of the publication of “On The Origin of Species” approaches, the moment has come to ask how Darwin’s insights can be used profitably by policymakers. Read full article at The Economist …