Seed session, Society for Anthropological Sciences, Santa Fe meeting, Feb 24

Traditional Symposia Sessions with Papers (including volunteered papers)


Social Evolution: Patterns, Trends, Mechanisms, and Mathematical Models.

Description: We consider a range of models of social evolution, macrotrends, and mechanisms, including population dynamics, evolution of kinship and marriage networks, civilizational networks and origin of states.

Organizers: Douglas White and Andrey Korotayev. Doug White (UCI), Andrey Korotayev (Russian Academy of Sciences and Russian State University for the Humanities) Robert Graber (Truman State University, Missouri), Daria Khaltourina (Russian State University for the Humanities), Artemy Malkov (Russian Academy of Sciences), Henry Wright (University Museum, Michigan), Craig T. Palmer (University of Missouri-Columbia), Lyle B. Steadman (Arizona State University), Kathryn Coe Mel and Enid Zuckerman (University of Arizona), John Angle, Inequality Process Institute, P.O. Box 429, Cabin John, MD 20818-0429 (, Nikolay N. Kradin (Institute of History, Archaeology, and Ethnography, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences).



Henry Wright. Scalar Factors in Increasing Political Complexity <>


Abstract: Trajectories of development from simple ranked political formations

to developed state are quite varied. Since poliites are build in ecosystems

with different resouce densities and face different problems of transport and

communication, it is possible that much of this variability can be explained in

terms of scale factors. This possibilityis assessed with an cross cultural samle

of polities with different territorial sizes, possible travel rates, population

masses, and hierarchical complexities.


Andrey Korotayev. A Compact Macromodel of World Population Growth <>,


Abstract: The fact that up to the 1960s the world population growth had been characterized by hyperbolic trend was discovered quite long ago (see, e.g., von Foerster, Mora, and Amiot 1960; von Hoerner 1975; Kremer 1993; Kapitza 1992, 1999, etc.). A number of models accounting for this trend have been already proposed (Kapitza 1992, 1999; Kremer 1993). However, Kapitza's model does not account for mechanisms of this trend; Kremer's model accounts for it, but it is rather complex. In fact, the mechanisms generating the general shape of the world population growth dynamics could be accounted for with strikingly simple models like the one we propose.


Artemy Malkov. World System and Population Dynamics from 12,000 BP: Continuity and Breakpoints <>


Abstract: Human population in the last 12,000 years or more has not grown exponentially but with a steeper growth curve, variously described as power-law growth or hyperbolic growth. While these two models may describe similar growth curves they have very different implications associated with correspondingly different mechanisms of growth. Mechanisms associated with each model are described. The empirical growth curve of the macromodel is shown to have breakpoints that correspond with world system transformations. Evidence is given for preferring the simpler power-law model which has associations with changing technology as it affects network interaction, population checks, and demographic transition theory as it applies to several world systems breakpoints occurring since the Neolithic.


Khaltourina Daria A. Mathematical Model of Demographically Induced State Breakdown in Sub-Saharan Africa <>


Abstract: The per capita rate of daily consumption below 1850 kcal is a major predictor of political upheavals in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. This nutrition level is below the minimal level of caloric intake recommended by World Health Organization. Although food insecurity is not the only significant factor predicting internal conflict, whenever consumption rate falls below 1850 kcal, and remains there for a few years, a political upheaval becomes almost inevitable. This finding implies that it is possible to estimate the probability of political upheavals in an African country based on its level of food consumption.


Robert Bates Graber (Truman State University, Missouri x4638) Proliferation Despite Circumscription: Twentieth-Century Political Evolution <>

Abstract: Despite fourfold growth in global population accompanied by impressive improvements in transportation and communication, nations did not grow more populous in the 20th century. Mathematically, this reflects the fact that the number of nations proliferated in approximate proportion to global population. According to one recent theory, proliferation should be able to keep pace with population growth only in the complete absence of circumscription; yet human population has been globally circumscribed for centuries. This paper reviews relevant evidence and theory, tentatively ascribing the anomaly to conquest warfare's having failed.

Andrey Korotayev, Artemy Malkov, Daria Khaltourina, Douglas White. A Compact Macromodel of Techno-Economic, Cultural and Demographic Evolution of the World System


Abstract: Here we present, critique, and examine the empirical evidence for a model of population growth that is more complex than either of the models--power-law or hyperbolic--presented by Korotayev, Malkov, and White. It involves two variables, a technologically induced carrying capacity K, and the literacy rate, in addition to population number P. Literacy rate L is seen as a critical nonlinear variable that has a sigmoidal pattern of change in relation to K, KL(1-L), while changes in K are affected by the product P times L and changes in P are affected by those in L times N but divided by L. Hence population growth slows as literacy increases, as in (a) the theory of demographic transition and (b) the periods of demographic transition over the past 12,000 years.


Craig T. Palmer, Lyle B. Steadman, Kathryn Coe Mel and Enid Zuckerman. More Kin: An Evolutionary Benefit of Marriage <> will give the talk


Abstract: Kin, that is, individuals recognized as being related by birth, provide enduring, important, and dependable support in all human cultures. Hence, other things being equal, an individual with more identified kin is likely to have an advantage over individuals with fewer identified kin. The tradition of identifying fathers through the practice of marriage greatly increases the number of kin an individual can identify. The exact amount of this increase depends on the exact demographic variables of the population, but as we illustrate in a series of kinship diagrams, it will always be much greater than the mere doubling of kin that might be first assumed. This is because the identification of fathers through marriage not only identifies relatives related through the father, but also enables relatives to be identified through male relatives of the mother. We argue that this tremendous increase in valuable kin may have been one of the benefits leading to the tradition of marriage becoming a human universal.


John Angle. Speculation: The Inequality Process is the Competition Process Driving Human Evolution <>


Abstract: The Inequality Process is a model of people competing for wealth. Its equilibrium distributions resemble empirical distributions of industrial workers' earnings. Winning in the Inequality Process is random. Long term, resources are transferred to people who lose less when they lose, resilient losers. The Inequality Process converges quickly to its equilibrium but unlike winner-take-all contagious competition there is little risk of stranding on a solution only optimal in a locality of fitness space or time. The Inequality Process' resemblance to a thermodynamic model implies that intraspecific competition has been ' cooling' during techno-cultural evolution.


Nikolay N. Kradin. World-Systems Dynamics snd Nomadic Empires


The degree of centralization among nomads is directly proportional to the extent of the neighboring agricultural civilization. From the viewpoint of the World-System approach, nomads always occupied a place of semi-periphery which consolidated different regional economies into a common space. In each local regional zone the political structurization of the nomadic semi-periphery was in direct proportion to the size of the core. That is the reason why, in order to trade with oases or attack them, the nomads of North Africa and the Near East got united into 'tribal confederations' of chiefdoms, nomads of the East-Europe steppes living on the margins of the Ancient Rus' established quasi-imperial state-like structures, while in Inner Asia the nomadic empire became such an important mode of adaptation. The imperial and 'quasi-imperial' organization of the nomads in Eurasia first developed after the end of the Axial Age (Jaspers 1949), from the middle of the First millennium BC at the time of the mighty agricultural empires (Ch'in in China, Maurya in India, Hellenistic states in Asia Minor, Roman Empire in Europe) and in those regions first, where there were available large spaces favorable for nomadic pastoralism (regions off the Black Sea, Volga steppes, Khalkha-Mongolia etc.) and, secondly, where the nomads were forced into long and active contact with more highly organized agricultural urban societies (Scythians and old Oriental and Classical states, nomads of Inner Asia and China, Hunns and Roman Empire, Arabs, Khazars, Turks and Byzantine etc.). It is possible to trace some synchronism between the processes of growth and decline in agricultural world-empires and in the steppe semi-periphery. The Han Empire and Hsiung-nu power appeared over one decade. The Turkish Khaganate appeared just at that time when China was consolidated under the Sui and T'ang dynasties. Similarly, the Steppe and China entered into periods of anarchy one after another over short periods of time. When, in China, rebellions and economic crises started, the system of remote exploitation of nomads ceased to work, and the imperial confederation collapsed into separate tribes until peace and order were reestablished in the south.




Backup paper as possible substitute for Henry Wright:

Henry Wright. Rates of Populatiion Growth and the Emergence of Primary States.


Abstract: Human population growth is often discussed as an external biological

driver for cultural change, a "prime mover" in some lexica. Examination of

several indepednent cases of the emergence of states from contexts of

interacting prestate formations show patterns of growth which do not conform to

extant models.


Prof. Nikolay N. Kradin

Institute of History, Archaeology, and Ethnography

Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

89 Pushkinskaya St.

690600 Vladivostok


Fax: + (7 4232) 26 82 11









Kradin abstract for SCCR Session

Nikolay N. Kradin.Archaeological Criteria of State and Civilization <>


In his well-known paper of the urban revolution W.G. Childe (1950) has identified the archaeological criteria of the civilization stages. Later, many archaeologists and anthropologists have discussed this problem. In the very influential volume C. Renfrew (1972) has distinguished the five indications: handicraft specialization, stratification, town, written language, monumental architecture. However, the problem is far from a resolution.

In this report, the problem of the state and civilization criteria is once again discussed. The source is the database on 186 societies which was published in the paper by G. Murdock and C. Provost "Measurement of cultural Complexity" (1973). I use their database and attempt to answer the question: what of features comply with the levels of state and civilization. The analysis of the correlation coefficient between all the features reveals the strong relation between the political integration (state), social stratification (classes), writing & records, population density, money and technical specialization.

The careful analysis of correlation between the individual features shows that none of pairs has a strict unilinear relation. The highest correlation is observed between hierarchy and stratification (0.72). This gives grounds to make a conclusion that, for the most part, a state origins has developed in parallel with a class formation. However, a presence of side variants suggests that, in specific cases, the mature stratification has been observed in the societies with a weak hierarchy while the multilevel hierarchy occurs in weakly stratified societies. The study of the correlation between the writing & records and hierarchy (0.58) shows that there are many societies with the developed hierarchy but without a written language. But there are also other examples when the societies have a developed written language but their hierarchy is not developed. The correlation between the stratification and writing & records is stronger (0.63). This is attributable to the effect that class society should have a developed ideology.

The greatest amount of the complex problems comes into being at the instant we try to interpret the particular cases. Why, in one case, we say that this society is civilization whereas the other is not. Many interpretations depend on the scientific tradition, personal predilections of the researchers as well as on the political ideology and ethnic nationalism.





Emails :

John Angle <>,

Nikolay N Kradin <>,

Henry Wright <>,

Andrey Korotayev <,>,

Artemy Malkov <>,

Khaltourina Daria <>,

Robert B Graber <>,

Craig T. Palmer <>,

Lyle B. Steadman <>



John Angle <>, Nikolay N Kradin <>, Henry Wright <>, Andrey Korotayev <,>, Artemy Malkov <>, Khaltourina Daria <>, Robert B Graber <>, Craig T. Palmer <>, Lyle B. Steadman <>