An Article Review of 'Wealth Transmission and Inequality among Hunter-Gatherers'

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A 2010 special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Current Anthropology shows a fascinating way in which anthropology can emerge from current debates and quarrels in American culture, even while it looks at traditional "hunter-gatherer" societies. The special issue's stated theme for research is "Intergenerational Wealth Transmission and Inequality in Premodern Societies". If the reader is inclined to practice anthropology upon the anthropologists contributing to this journal, then it would have to be noted that this 2010 examination of this issue in premodern societies may come from an increased awareness of the issue within the anthropologists' own modern society. Between Bush-era debates and policy shift on the subject of the so-called "death tax" and Obama-era public protests about the "99 percent," the subject of inherited wealth, and inequality of wealth, is a serious topic for public debate in America itself. It is within this social context that the work in Current Anthropology's 2010 special issue begs to be understood. The first article in the special issue, "Wealth Transmission and Inequality among Hunter-Gatherers," brings together ten separate authors to consider the question which has come foremost in American culture by examining five sample populations in South America, sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, and Melanesia. The work of Smith, Hill, Marlowe et al. in the article must be examined to understand how these anthropologists define their terms, find

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