Social systems: the heirs of the ancient Romans

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    the history of science is a social science. Conversely, historical Ausgriffe are sometimes essential, if you operate current sociological research. About the question of why some societies are more equal than others. You can’t say this is hardly something you can count on, when one looks at the social inequality, their origins, should be a matter of course. But how far should you go back?

    The Berlin-based Economist Anselm Rink says: very far. Maybe even to the Romans. Because the Roman law had influenced the law of succession in the southern regions, which should have an impact up to today. However, even if the large differences in the Erbsitten in the communities in the formerly Roman provinces would also be explained in a different way: One must deal with these local differences, the right to inheritance, if you want to explain the social inequality of today. Because, Rink, social inequality is the result of unjust Erbsitten. Where within the family just inherited, is also the social inequality low. But how do you measure something like that?

    Rink before was refreshingly unconventional. For one thing, he was able to draw on a survey from the 50s, in which the agricultural scientist Helmut Röhm, the historical differences of the law of succession in all 24.500 West-German municipalities in these years had documented. This fluctuated to receive significantly between the Romans practiced real division (all the legal heirs, of the same proportion) and the Germanic anerben law, according to which a Erbberechtigter (usually the first-born son) inherited alone.

    on The other handle Rink for the measurement of the current social inequality in these communities on two indicators: He asked for the proportion of women in the municipal councils of these municipalities and the number of nobles in the local Rotary Clubs. You can find here the differences in the German municipalities, it should not be surprising. But this should actually go back to some centuries-old Erbsitten? And systematically and empirically detectable?

    The “Bill Gates effect”

    Rink is convinced. His findings demonstrated that communities where historically (i.e. in accordance with the real powers) was inherited, in fact, to this day, social the same as those in which the inheritance was according to the anerben law. In the municipalities with gerechterem inheritance law, more women were sitting in the municipal councils, as well as contribute less Rotarians noble name.

    The leveling effects of an equal division of inheritances reflected so in the long term, in the political participation of women, as well as in the Disappearance of hereditary status differences. In this respect, so the social equality, Rink grows here. Because already generations ago your ancestors, including their great great great grandmother, their fair share at the court of the parents inherited and then had managed, they could bequeath to their children, the consequence of which was, that their great, great, great-granddaughter sitting today in this community as a respected Farmer in the municipal Council. And among their peers – other Farmers, shop owners, Doctors or teachers. And no count, or country squires. This may well sound far-fetched, would, but for the Thesis that the social structure of German society has far less degrees of freedom, as it puts some of the sociological Thesis of the individualized craft biographies close. The German local councils are actually still under the influence of Roman Erbsitten?