Contrast Effects in Social Evolution and Schumpeter's Creative Destruction

Authored by: Michael Hammond

Handbook on Evolution and Society

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781612058146
eBook ISBN: 9781315634203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317258339

10.4324/9781315634203.ch31

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Abstract

Our evolutionary heritage of contrast sensitivity leaves humans with internal reward release rules for positive emotions and physical pleasures that are very responsive to social creations offering high-contrast familiarity and serial novelty. Joseph Schumpeter's model of capitalist creative destruction and its impact on more static traditional cultures is examined in terms of changes in the use of these reward rules as social structures offering serial novelty are substituted for classic structures rooted in fixed high contrasts. One factor in the inequality compression and decompression of capitalist economies from the Great Depression until the present might also be found in the shifting impact of these rules as this historic substitution proceeds.

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