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This article is a short, scientific story of the labyrinthian human career, of humankind’s place in the natural order of the world, and of the evolution of moral rules and rule following that make the extended order of civilization possible. Drawing upon work in anthropology, biology, and linguistics, I weave a science-based narrative of how Homo sapiens came to be the only primate to convert enemy aliens into trading friends. It is a Goethean story of the human condition that postulates the common origins of and modern tension between Pleistocene and Anthropocene morality. It is also a Hayekian story of human universals and the uniqueness of our species that explicates some necessary but not sufficient conditions for our prosperity.


This article was originally published in Supreme Court Economic Review, volume 23, in 2015. DOI: 10.1086/686471

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University of Chicago Press