Here's another great article from New Scientist that I thought would be interesting to readers here. Below is an excerpt from the 3 page article. You do have to reg a free account to read the full article, but I believe it's worth it. Lethal weapons and the evolution of civilisation http://www.newscientist.com/article...-the-evolution-of-civilisation.html?full=true "If despotic, power-based hierarchies worked so well, what caused latter-day Big Men to cede some of that power in the form of democracy? Again, it was a response to new lethal weapons, says Gintis. Starting with the invention of the flintlock musket in the 17th century, handgun technology evolved until, by the early 20th century, armed foot soldiers finally had the edge over cavalry. In other words, guns had put power back into the hands of the masses. Now leaders were reliant for their protection on a sector of society that was disenfranchised and potentially disgruntled. If Gintis is correct, extending the vote to most of the population was the price the elite paid to buy their support. This pattern continues today, says Bingham. Democratisation tends to go hand in hand with the citizens of a country gaining access to weapons, usually handguns, and thereby breaking the state's monopoly on coercive threat. Another modern technology has also helped our anti-hierarchical tendencies get the upper hand. The challenge, just as it was millions of years ago, is to coordinate the majority, which is why real-time social media have become powerful drivers for democracy - as the Arab Spring showed. "Even armed merely with stones and other simple weapons, large, well-coordinated majorities have significant coercive clout," says Bingham."