Randy R. Cox
Trickle Down Economics and Natural Order is the first means of wealth distribution to operate in Nature.
Wolves, monkeys, and even chickens recognize status. The top dog runs the pack! When food and other provisions are abundant, the top dog feeds off the best meat and then the lesser dogs eat. The left over parts of the carcass trickles down to the lowest dog in the pack.
The more abundant the available food supply, the better the scraps that trickle down to the lowly expendable dogs at the bottom tier. When things get tight, the lower status animals are expected to stand aside in favor of the higher ranks.
Among humans, during recession the layoffs happen to the lowest classes first and trickle up to higher and higher classes as the economy worsens. Seldom does the top ruling class experience any lifestyle change at all. Later as the economy adjusts and gets better the increase trickles down to the survivors at the bottom.
That’s the way it is in the natural world, and that is the way it is starts among humans.
That is Trickle Down Economics. For animals it is the natural order of things, but for human being it is primal order. Before the development of civilization, people organized into social communities. The top status humans get the largest share of wealth, the lower status humans get the trickle down.
The natural order of man is to gravitate from the primordial trickle down distribution of wealth to a less primitive distribution of production. When cave men first started raiding their neighbor, the weaker humans grouped with the stronger humans in hopes of a less violent end for themselves. In exchange for protection, the weak would serve the strong and accept whatever the strongest decided to allow them. The strongest would protect the weak, but the price was heavy. The weak learned to take what he was given without complaint.
Man, having the potential of higher development than the monkey, tends to demand a more gentle culture. In the higher social orders, the leaders pride themselves on generosity. The higher the social order, the less extreme the differences in lifestyle between the highest status and the lowest become.
Will Rogers is credited with coining the term, Trickle Down Economics. He said, “The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”
Ronald Reagan lowered taxes on the rich with the promise that the extra money would trickle down to the middle classes.
Before there was “trickle down economics”, there was “horse and sparrow theory.” In the nineteenth century, it was believed that if you feed the horse enough oats, enough will pass through the horse to feed the sparrows in the streets” John Kenneth Galbraith claimed that the horse and sparrow theory helped cause the Panic of 1896.
Trickle down describes the primordial state whereby weak animals join with stronger animals to hunt or forage in a pack. The alpha male rips the best portions from the kill, gorges himself, then leaves the rest of the carcass to the next in line. From top to bottom, the lower ranked members of the pack of dogs share the kill, each counting himself fortunate to have the scraps from the higher ranked member above him.
When provisions are scarce, the weaker members are expected to stand aside so the higher status members can remain strong.
This works when all the members of the pack are animal like in behavior. When the intelligence of the whole group improves (as opposed to just those at the top), those at the bottom team together to balance the strength of the alpha members by the sheer numbers. It is a more advanced economy, tending to the democratic. There the weaker individual members strengthen themselves, again through numbers, and obtain a better portion of the spoils. In higher forms of civilization the leaders are expected to exhibit great generosity to all members of the group, especially the less fortunate.
In the sophisticated culture group, the lower status members are smart enough to reject the leadership of self-serving alpha types. In the higher life form groups, the weaker members, in aggregate, will turn upon the self-serving member and depose them.
In primitive cultures the lower life forms will sacrifice to the higher status members, subjugate themselves and serve them without question. As the culture advances, those at the bottom will resist servitude. The most advanced cultures will not allow the dictatorial power bases to exist, but advanced cultures rise and fall.
The development of civilization does not happen in a straight line. The alpha personalites are in the gene pool and constantly test their power. The less alpha types have differing amounts of tolerance. Sometimes the lower members will champion the domination of the alpha types; sometimes they will band together to resist it.