Human beings are hierarchical animals. Always and everywhere, people have developed social ranking systems. Fein traces the development of changes from hunter-gatherer times to our own techno-commercial society. In moving from small to large communities, humans went from face-to-face contests for superiority to more anonymous and symbolic ones. Societies evolved from hunting bands where the parties knew each other through big-men societies, chieftainships, agrarian empires, patronage chains, caste societies, estate systems, and market-oriented democracies. Where once small groupings were organized primarily by strong forces such as personal relationships, the now standard large groupings are more dependent on weaker forces such as those provided by social roles.