Summary of “Why ‘Bushman banter’ was crucial to hunter-gatherers’ evolutionary success”

In the 1960s, the Ju/’hoansi “Bushmen” of the Kalahari desert became famous for turning established views of social evolution on their head. But their contribution to our understanding of the human story is far more important than simply making us rethink our past.
The speed of the Ju/’hoansi’s transformation from an isolated group of hunter-gatherers to a marginalised minority in a rapidly developing nation state is without parallel in modern history.
Among the most important is the realisation that apparently selfish traits such as envy – through which we express our discontent with inequality – was a useful evolutionary characteristic for building the social cohesion that enabled hunter-gatherers such as the Ju/’haonsi to thrive for as long as they did.
Ju/’hoansi still make use of well over 150 different plant species, and have the knowledge to hunt and trap pretty much any animal they choose to.
For the Ju/’hoansi, that fundamental axiom of modern economics, “The problem of scarcity”, simply did not apply.
How did a society like the Ju/’hoansi with no formalised leaders maintain this egalitarianism? Their answer is unequivocal: it was not born of the ideological dogmatism we associate with 20th-century Marxism, or the starry-eyed idealism of New Age “Communalism”.
As much as the Ju/’hoansi’s fierce egalitarianism served them well for so long, it poses a challenge now.
Many Ju/’hoansi are reluctant to take management roles or assume responsibilities that require making and imposing their decisions or authority on others.

The orginal article.