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Farming's rise cultivated fair deals

Market economies may owe more to cultural evolution than to Stone Age instincts

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3:18pm, March 18, 2010

Blanche DuBois, Tennessee Williams’ wide-eyed protagonist who relied on “the kindness of strangers,” had nothing on ancient farmers.

In rapidly expanding settlements, early cultivators had no choice but to bargain for daily goods with lots of folks they didn’t know. A fundamental redefinition of a fair deal soon followed, according to a new cross-cultural study.

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