This is a fascinating new piece of research about the formation of societies amongst our ancient hunter gatherer ancestors. The researchers conjecture that egalitarianism became dominant as more intelligent humans were able to form closer social bonds with others to prevent the dominance of society by stronger alpha-male leaders. Thus the social group was ruled by consensus rather than dominated by a hierarchy of the strongest.
What happened after this phase – why in the first civilisations did hierarchical systems dominate. The researchers aren’t quite sure but conjecture that individuals were more able to control the flow of new technology resources such as weapons, information and food and thus making coalition size less important – so the masses were enslaved by the rise of technology! An interesting thought as we head into the 21st century with seemingly less democracy and less freedom around every day.