Tax Man Cometh, Earners Leaveth? Two-Thirds of Brits With £1 Million or More Annual Income Disappear From Britain After Tax Increase

800px-Pieter_Brueghel_the_Younger,_'Paying_the_Tax_(The_Tax_Collector)'_oil_on_panel,_1620-1640._USC_Fisher_Museum_of_ArtWe previously discussed the exodus from France of top earners after the imposition of a confiscatory 75% tax rate. Now England is facing the same shift, according to a new report. More than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million during 2009-10. That number fell to just 6,000 this year. This appears to be a combination of people leaving Britain and concerted efforts to avoid income.

We continue to disagree on this blog on tax policy. I opposed the moves in France and England as economically unwise. I also oppose aspects of the Obama plan, though I agree with the need to increase revenue. I believe both Obama and Congress have been incredibly reckless with their budgets and continue to spend wildly without any sense of priority in spending.

Cities like New York also report declines in top earner following heavy tax bills.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced this year that the 50p top rate will be reduced to 45p from next April.

Source: Telegraph

547 thoughts on “Tax Man Cometh, Earners Leaveth? Two-Thirds of Brits With £1 Million or More Annual Income Disappear From Britain After Tax Increase”

  1. tony c:

    many people rise out of poverty. it really isnt that hard if you have a brain and some ambition.

    here is how you do it:

    you dont get married at 18
    you save as much as you can
    you dont have babies at 17
    you work weekends and evenings
    and if it takes 10 years to go to college you do it
    then you start a small business and work 70-100 hours per week
    and expand the business
    now at 30-35 get married and have babies if you want

    that is how you get out of poverty.

    many people arent willing to pay that price, I guess they like the pain of poverty more than the pain of success? so I am assuming the pain of poverty is less than the pain of succes since people avoid pain in your estimation?

  2. @Bron: Allow people the freedom to pursue their happiness and great things will happen.

    I do not believe people have the freedom to pursue their happiness if they are trapped in self-perpetuating cycles of subjugation. That lack of freedom is profitable to those that can subjugate others as laborers, and they find ways to perpetuate that cycle, to coerce the sons into taking the place of their fathers, ad infinitum, as in a coal-mining town or textile town.

    This is what I regard as the key flaw in your system: Long before people try to pursue their own happiness, their emotions drive them to relieve the pain of their parents, their siblings, their friends, their lovers, until they have children and try to relieve the pain of them. As long as greedy employers are allowed to inflict the pains of poverty on their workforce, so they cannot get ahead by working and every misfortune puts them further into debt and the equivalent of indentured servitude, the “freedom” to pursue happiness is meaningless, they spend their lives pursuing the relief of pain: For others when they are young, fit, and energetic, for themselves when they are old, broken and sapped.

    I find that an immoral pursuit of profit by their employers, it is the infliction of pain for their personal gain, always with the lame excuse that “they agreed to these conditions…”

    Of course they agreed, because their alternative was even more pain. An agreement under duress is not a fair agreement.

    Both my morals and my politics say the same thing: Relieve the pain, THEN the work agreements are fair, and THEN the people can actually work to pursue whatever definition of happiness they enjoy, be it riches, art, music, sports, research, love and family or whatever.

    That is the system that I think would maximize the human potential of everybody. As I have said many times before, I grew up in the lower middle class. When I look at the people I grew up with, what I see is the wasted potential of more than half of them, just cornered by life and the circumstances and setbacks of poverty and desperation they could not escape on their own, and should not have been abandoned to that fate. Not only do I think that was unfair and immoral, I think it is a stupid waste.

  3. tony c:

    that is an interesting thought, the relief of pain rather than the production of happiness. I look at it the other way around, there are too many people in the world to be able to provide all with a minimum subsistence so provide them the mechanism to obtain what they need, which is a system of human liberty. That is why I am such a believer in economic and political freedom because it has raised people up, all manner of people and provided a fantastic life for many. And it has done so in less than 200 years.

    prior to about 1830, a Roman citizen or an American citizen would have equally at home in either time. In the entire course of human history the biggest achievements have come in the last 200 years. Is it coincidence? I dont think so, I think it is the result of freedom.

    Allow people the freedom to pursue their happiness and great things will happen.

  4. @Bron: Why isnt the basis of your morality happiness?

    Because I think pain (figurative and literal) is more universal and easier to characterize, and I think the relief of pain is easier to verify.

    Happiness is too amorphous for me, and too often creating happiness in somebody is either impossible or generates pain in somebody else. I do not use “happiness” because it is a positive, and essentially an open-ended expense, so it isn’t a practical state with which to reason and come to viable conclusions.

    On the other hand, pain is a negative, and the relief of pain is basically finite. Once you are as free as I am, I am done with my moral obligation to you. Once you and I are equally un-hungry and warm and dry, my moral obligation to help you find calories or shelter is done.

    Even that leveling process does not entail many things that I do not regard as pain: For example, I have no moral obligation to provide you with my entertainment system, or the quality of my meals beyond your basic calories and nutrition, I have no responsibility to make you as happy or pampered as I am; the shelter I owe you does not have to be as spacious or comfortable as the shelter I enjoy: There is a line at which “pain relief” is done and hedonistic enjoyment begins.

    If my moral obligation is prevent you from suffering the pain of starvation or lack of shelter or lack of medical care, those are all finite, measurable obligations I can meet (or that we fortunate can meet for the unfortunate).

    I think happiness is highly individualized to the person, and some people may be incapable of being happy at all. But I think that what causes figurative or actual pain is rather uniform and shared by virtually all of us, so pragmatically speaking, that is something we can address.

    I focus on pain relief and prevention as the basis for my personal morality because I do not feel like I owe other people happiness, I think that is something they have to find a way to achieve on their own.

  5. tony c:

    so we agree on needing a higher level brain to like being alive. I am sorry I put it that way but I am just curious as to your thoughts.

    Why isnt the basis of your morality happiness? Happiness is a more positive state. And pain is typically only temporary in most human lives in this country. Giddy happiness is, as well, only a temporary state. So I am not talking about that but about real, enduring happiness that you might get from your family, work and achievements.

  6. @Bron: all living things, I presume, like being alive. shouldn’t that be the basis of your morality?

    Are you sure of that? Does a bacterium “like” being alive? Does a slime mold? Does a tree? What does it mean to “like” being alive?

    None of those examples have brains, but ants and bees do, about 100,000 neurons or so (one millionth of what the average adult human has). Does an ant (or bee, or worm, or cockroach) “like” being alive? Or are these animals just biological machines, complex chemical reactions that turn found energy into more ants, bees, worms or cockroaches, until the energy runs out?

    I think to “like” something that thing has to cause a preferential reaction in your emotional state. Which demands two prereqs, the existence of an emotional state (I do not think bacterium or broccoli have that) and the ability to recognize the difference between having that thing and not having it and prefer one over the other.

    In short, I do not think a living thing enjoys “being alive” unless it first has a brain, and additionally that brain comprehends the difference between being alive and not being alive and prefers being alive. I do not think a chicken is capable of that. IMO neither is a cow, pig, horse, goat, or fish.

    I do not think my dog, as smart as he is, enjoys “being alive,” I think he enjoys running as fast as he can across an open field, catching ham cubes, and walks through the neighborhood. He does avoid painful encounters and show fear or alarm at the unknown, but I do not think he prefers “being alive” over the alternative because I do not think he comprehends the alternative.

    For me personally the basis of morality is pain, figurative and actual. By “figurative” I mean the pain of grief, loss, subjugation, fear or terror, and desperation. It does not include all negative emotions; it is not a form of figurative pain to experience hate, anger, rage, jealousy, rejection or unrequited love or lust.

    The acts I personally find immoral generally fit in the category of gaining from somebody else’s pain, especially by causing it. But not every act in that category is immoral, some people (especially business people) intentionally risk pain for gain, and once your money is on the table (to use a gambling metaphor) it is not immoral for another player to take it all by being the better (or luckier) player.

  7. all living things, I presume, like being alive.

    shouldnt that be the basis of your morality? the betterment and continuation of life extends from that premis.

  8. P.S. Even your insistence that morality should not be based on a whim is driven by emotion, your emotional belief that somehow “objective” and “quantifiable” should trump emotion!

    Why do you believe that? Because you believe that objective and quantifiable will somehow produce greater fairness? If so, for what objective and quantifiable reason do you value “fairness” so highly?

    We (normally developed) humans put inherent positive value on something being “fair,” while “unfair” has inherent negative value; it makes us angry, resentful, vengeful, and causes us to want to “balance the scale.”

  9. @Bron: you need an objective, quantifiable system of morality.

    There just isn’t one. There is no reason to demand a right to life if you do not care if you live or die; there is no reason to demand a right to freedom if you do not care if you are free or jailed, there is no reason to demand a right to property or the fruits of your labor if you do not covet property.

    You may only care about yourself and your family, but that is based in emotion. When you demand that persons have a right to life, you are thinking that (for example) your CHILD has a right to life, and if anybody ends that life they should be punished.

    What does punishment accomplish, exactly? Nothing objective, it does not bring your child back to life. What “quantifiable” loss did you experience? The harsh reality is that the loss of a child probably saves you money in the long run, because children are expensive until they finish college and even then usually do not pay their parents back for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses it took to raise and educate them. So how do you “quantify” your grief and rage “objectively?”

    That is a stupid exercise to even try to engage in; those are emotions that cannot be translated into dollars, because I presume most parents are like me and would refuse any amount of money in return for the slaughter of their child. Punishment or justice are emotional paybacks, harm for harm, and preventative measures, to prevent other parents from suffering the same as you do. But it is justified by emotion. Without emotion you aren’t angry about the death of your child, without emotion you do not grieve the loss of their potential happiness and success. Without emotion you do not care about the companionship, caring, and love your child had for you, because without emotion those have no meaning to you. Without emotion you just ended an expense and responsibility you can live without.

    There is no objective reason to even want to keep living, we want to keep living partially because we fear death, and mostly because we enjoy living and the emotions it brings.

    Life is not about numbers and logic, life is about our emotions. I chose to discuss the core of morality, a right to life, because what is true for it is true for every other morality; they are based in our common emotions.

    That is not basing it on whim, the vast majority of us share these emotions. We want to live, we want to be free, we want to own property and have that recognized, we want to be treated equally under the law. it isn’t about what you or I individually want, it is about what we all (within a tiny margin of error) want.

    Reason does have its place, in recognizing and sorting out conflicts and contradictions between what we want and what can be enforced so we have a coherent set of laws that agree with how we all feel. But it all comes down to emotional tautologies, we believe we have a right to freedom because we all feel freedom is inherently good and the lack of it is inherently bad. If you try and turn “freedom” into a boon to something like “productivity” (which I do not do) then you are just saying you feel productivity is inherently good, non-productivity is inherently bad.

    Sooner or later, your “objective” and “quantifiable” system is going to rest on a foundation of non-objective, non-quantifiable emotions about what we all feel is good, and what we all feel is bad. And just because they are non-quantifiable, we can still judge them relative to each other, e.g. theft is bad but not as bad as murder, protection is good but at some point it can infringe on privacy and that infringement is bad. But these are all emotions, nonetheless.

  10. tony c:

    “I think it is a fundamental mistake to try and justify morals with reason.”

    I disagree with that, emotion is not something to base important issues on. you need an objective, quantifiable system of morality. It cannot be based on whim.

    Life is good and certainly there is emotion attached but when it comes down to it, I and a few other close friends and family are the only ones who have an emotional attachment to my life.

  11. teaparty1776:

    I think you are right, I am not sure I recognize how tony c is evading reality, especially based on that last post of multiple paragraphs. Some containing ideas that Rand herself has stated.

  12. @Bron: Thinking of man as just a faster cheetah makes the Nazis point and makes it acceptable to do what they did. Who cares about abstracting rats?

    I presume the Nazi’s “point” was that Jews were animals to be exterminated like rats?

    I think it is a fundamental mistake to try and justify morals with reason. We value human life for emotional reasons, not logical ones. We fear death, we care about living, we care about property and freedom and fairness, we like comfort and security, we want to avoid fear, pain, desperation, and enjoy life, love, friendship, laughter, food and safety. All our morals are rooted in our emotions, without them we (by definition) do not really care about anything.

    We value human life more than the life of other animals for emotional reasons. There is nothing wrong with that, it is an even MORE fundamental error to put reason on a pedestal above emotion. Reason is a tool that animals have developed to help them achieve emotionally desired goals and outcomes. It is highly developed in humans, but we are still emotionally driven. Worshipping reason is like worshipping a bulldozer. Life does not revolve around bulldozers, they are powerful tools but we use them to make a landscape more functionally arranged for something we want. Why do we want it? We can give reasons, like we want a building there, but ultimately “wants” are always traced to emotional motivators (including, of course, evading hardships like starvation or poverty).

    Reason is a tool that is a subordinate partner to the emotions. Even when we control our emotions with reason, we do that by raising the spectre of even more negative emotions in the future. We do not punch the jerk, because we don’t want to end up in jail, paying lawyers and fines and damages from a lawsuit. Reason uses emotions to control emotions.

    Humans are special to us because we are humans, there doesn’t need to be a deeper reason or justification. It is just that in our culture at this time the vast majority of us put a lower emotional value on the continued life of non-humans than we do on the continued life of a human. It does not have to be any more complex than that; it is how the vast majority of us feel.

  13. @Polly: Apparently your choice as a man is to reduce yourself to a parrot. An interesting way to “evade” rational thought, just continually repeat what somebody else said. Poor, poor parrot.

  14. @Bron: Due to our extended ability to abstract relative to other animals, I think (due to both experiments I have read, and because it is scientifically plausible) that the vast majority of animals do not plan, imagine, or anticipate life very far into the future. I will withhold judgment on dolphins and elephants for now because I do not know of experiments done with them, but in experiments where chimps and gorillas can get some treat they really love to death, they do not seem able to anticipate more than a handful of hours into the future.

    That is a key difference with humans. Not anticipation alone, but remote anticipation. Chickens, pigs, cows and sheep do not have life plans, they do not experience grief now over something made certain today (like for a human, say a diagnosis of a fatal disease).

    Humans have a life, they have goals that they work to meet. Humans understand slavery in ways animals do not, because humans can imagine being free. Animals do have imagination, that is proven, but there is no evidence they imagine more than an hour or so into the future. Cows do not get bored with standing in a pasture because they do not imagine themselves doing anything else.

    Like the Grass Roots, animals “live for today.” Only humans need to be told that, because we humans do tend to devote most of our mental and physical energy toward our future life. What I want in the future is why I sit at work today.

    Humans are different because our lives mean something to us and to other humans. We understand there IS a long future, we anticipate it, work to influence it, and have hopes and plans for it, even beyond our own demise as we plan to provide for others and make life better for others.

    Now we can start arguing about what “meaning” is, but I do not think that discussion is necessary, we can leave that vague but still understand it, the various meanings of life are uniquely human.

    What makes man special is his ability to see far into the future, not just a few minutes or hours like other animals, but weeks and years and lifetimes, in fact so far ahead that man can engage in sustained efforts that transform his life more than any other animal. He can plant crops he won’t harvest until next year, he can build a winter shelter in the summer, he can spend a year digging an irrigation ditch or a month building an animal trap in anticipation of a migration. Where other animals depend on their strength and speed of the moment to take down prey or escape a predator or accomplish their goals, a man (even alone) can put a hundred hours worth of his puny strength into a trap that will skewer a bull elephant.

    “Free will” and “liberty” do not make man special, wild animals have had that for a billion years. Those are good things for man to have too, but what makes us humans special are our abstractions and the meaning they give to our life, it is the fact that our lives (in the abstract sense) mean something to us and to others. I do not think other animals have any abstract concept of “their life” or any anticipation of their eventual death, I do not think life has any abstract meaning for them. For them the fact that they are alive and not dead is not an abstraction they can comprehend, they live in the present and strive for goals that are relatively immediate, like rounding up the pack to go hunt for dinner.

    That does not mean we have to deny them emotions, creativity, imagination or abstract thinking altogether. We recognize all those capabilities in animals, and we see them exercised in ways that are ludicrous to call “instinctual.” But we also see that in other animals the cortex-dependent capabilities have rather shallow limitations that normally developed humans do not seem to have. What makes us special is that we have (seemingly) conquered the limits of abstraction and thereby escaped the confines of the present, and with language (as an abstraction of our thoughts) developed a form of functional telepathy between minds.

  15. tony c:

    I cant answer for teaparty but for myself it goes to regarding man as a special animal. It goes with believing in free will and individual liberty. It has to do with accepting man as a rational animal. If man is just a faster cheetah why is he special? Thinking of man as just a faster cheetah makes the Nazis [nothing personal implied] point and makes it acceptable to do what they did. Who cares about abstracting rats?

    I dearly love my dog and my cat but they are not human.

  16. @Bron: I also have to ask, why is it so important to you that man be something other than an animal, or think fundamentally differently than an animal? What mythological function does that serve? What philosophical disaster occurs if man is just the most abstract animal, like the cheetah is the fastest runner?

    Many animals run, but the cheetah is by far the best at it, and that gives it an evolved advantage in survival. Many animals think abstractly, but humans are by far the best at it, and that gives us an evolved advantage in survival. Like the cheetah, that advantage is often at the expense of other animals. I do not understand why you guys insist on there being something magically special about humans, it is just silly.

    Is it just to support some fiction that other animals do not feel love, happiness, friendship, empathy, grief, pain or terror? I don’t get it.

  17. @Bron: None of the bonobos chose to open the door, suggesting that the seemingly altruistic sharing of the first two experiments was just a ploy to gain gratifying access to intriguing strangers and, to a lesser extent, friends.

    I find that a flawed interpretation; others are available, that depend more on how the bonobo abstracts the issues. It may not seem to the bonobo that others are “freed” if they cannot enter his space, and he may not see simply increasing their available wandering space as being worth anything to them. But giving them access to more food is clearly worth something to them, so he makes an effort. Most animals think on the level of two year old humans; it may just not occur to the bonobo that a two-room jail cell is better than a one-room jail cell.

  18. @Bron: humans do more than “perceptual association in the immediate moment.”

    So do animals. Do you believe that humans are animals? Do you think the human brain just suddenly appeared in all its complexity from nothing? Do you think the hundreds upon hundreds of nearly identical structures shared by human brains and other animal brains are just meaningless?

    Crows, dolphins, elephants and octopi (for starters) have all been shown to invent NEW tools and NEW solutions on the fly to solve puzzles.

    For one example to which you allude, crows manufacture one tool they use from a stiff leaf with a saw-tooth edge; the process takes them several minutes to trim down the leaf to the width of a straw while preserving the edge. This process was filmed by a researcher, that also filmed the crow using the tool to extract grubs from the cracks in a rotting log. Note that the crow holds the tool in its beak, so it has to drop the tool in order to eat the grubs. After it ate its fill, the crow flew away.

    But then we see something unusual happen: The crow flies straight for about five seconds then suddenly wheels around and flies back to the same log, where it grabs the tool it made with a foot and flies away again in the same direction as before.

    By Occam’s Razor there is only one conclusion to be drawn from that incident: The crow had dropped its tool in order to eat the final grubs; but forgot its tool as it was leaving, then remembered its tool and came back for it. Like getting halfway to work and realizing your briefcase isn’t in the front seat beside you. Why would the crow care? It is already full. But the tool takes several minutes to make, and is good for a few days until the leaf dries out and gets too brittle, so it is worth the ten seconds it costs to return for it and save it in case the crow wants more grubs in the future.

    A dog can learn the names of its toys and fetch them by name. Simple enough, right? One dog was trained to reliably fetch hundreds of different toys by name (for treats or praise). Then an interesting experiment was done: What if we ask the dog to fetch a toy by a name it has never heard?

    If there was a new toy in its collection, the dog fetched that toy. It inferred that the name it had never heard meant the toy it had never seen, and not only that, but thereafter associated the name it heard from the “fetch” command with the new toy it later found, without any additional prompting. The dog not only has a memory, but can make inferences across time. It is not “repetitive,” it learns on one take. It is not “immediate,” it remembers the name from the command, and later associates that name with a new toy in a different room.

    What repetitive, immediate, perceptual association makes the crow suddenly think, “Goddammit I left my briefcase in the hall!”?
    Or will you tell me that realizing you forgot something you want for later is also not “human” thinking?

    If you want to make a valid point, you will have to produce an objective way (with normal language, no redefinitions) of distinguishing what humans do mentally from what animals do mentally, without just claiming it must somehow be different. That is what all your Aynish language boils down to, just an unsupported claim that humans are inherently different. I reject that claim, I think there is plenty of evidence that there is no “learning in the human sense,” there is only learning.

    I do not believe that an objective distinction can be made, primarily because the neurons and senses are doing exactly the same thing. All learning, human or not, is “associative.” When we learn to read we learn to associate intricately detailed designs on paper with sounds we have heard that correspond to words in our language, so the paper “speaks” to us. Is learning to read and write not “human” learning?

    How about learning to drive a car? Shall I break that down to all the associations that compose that task?

    The current distinction for humans is not in how we learn or whether we form abstract models of actions, other animals do this the same way that we do. That should not surprise us, we evolved from such animals, and we see no genetic or physical evidence of any wholesale change in the brain organization or biological development.

    The change that makes humans is not some fundamentally new way of learning, the change is in the degrees of abstraction that our mental models can employ without significant error or confusion. That is what we can objectively test and show other animals do not exhibit.

  19. tony c:

    another experiment like the mice one you mentioned above. Wasnt that done at Duke as well? If so I am thinking there is some really crappy science going on at Duke. Men are not apes, monkeys or mice.

    In 1719, Daniel Defoe wrote in Robinson Crusoe, ”He declar’d he had reserv’d nothing from the Men, and went Share and Share alike with them in every Bit they eat.” Defoe’s famous sharing phrase has persisted throughout the years, passing from parent to child as a lesson on the virtues of sharing with family, peers and even strangers.

    But in the context of evolution and survival of the fittest, sharing makes no sense. Until now, scientists assumed that humans alone subscribed to this behavior, especially when it comes to sharing with strangers, and wrote the trait off as a quirk stemming from our unique cognitive and social development.

    Sure, primatologists know that great apes help and voluntarily share food with other group mates (acts that indirectly benefits themselves). But strangers? Such a behavior is unheard of amidst species that often compete aggressively with other groups and even murder foreign individuals.

    Researchers from Duke University decided to challenge the great ape’s bad sharing rep, seeking to discover whether or not our furry relatives may also have a propensity for partitioning goods with animals they do not know. The scientists chose bonobos–a type of great ape sometimes referred to as a pygmy chimpanzee–for their study. Compared to chimpanzees, bonobos possess a relatively high tolerance for strangers, so they seemed like a logical candidate for investigations into the nature of sharing.

    At a bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they enrolled 15 wild-born bonobos orphaned and rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in four experiments. In the first experiment, the researchers led a bonobo into a room piled high with delicious banana slices. Behind two sliding doors, they placed either a friend of the main bonobo or a stranger (a bonobo unrelated and unknown to their main research subject). The bonobo with the bananas could chose to eat the food all on its own, or open the sliding door and invite both or either the friend or stranger to join in. In the second experiment, they placed only one bonobo–either the friend or stranger–behind a door and left the second room empty.

    The results, which they describe this week in the journal PLoS One, confounded the researchers. In more than 70 percent of the trials, the bonobos shared their food at least once. They preferred to release the stranger over their group mate, and the stranger in turn often released the other bonobo, even though that meant splitting the food three ways and being outnumbered by two bonobos that already knew each other. They ignored the door leading to the empty room, showing that the novelty of opening the door was not motivating their behavior.

    So, were the bonobos willing to share their food with strangers because of an overwhelming desire to interact with the unknown apes, or were they motivated by a sense of altruism? The researchers set up two more experiments to find out. They arranged a rope which, when pulled, released either a bonobo stranger or friend into a room which held more bananas. A mesh divider separated the main bonobo from that room, however, meaning it could neither reach the food or interact directly with the released ape. Even when there was no immediate social or culinary reward on offer, the researchers found, 9 out of 10 bonobos still chose to release their friend or the stranger at least once, allowing the other ape to reach the banana reward.

    Bonobos drew the line, however, in the final experiment. This setup allowed both bonobos to access the food, but did not let them interact physically with the stranger or friend. In other words, the main bonobo would have to forfeit some of its food but receive no reward of sniffing, petting or playing with another ape. None of the bonobos chose to open the door, suggesting that the seemingly altruistic sharing of the first two experiments was just a ploy to gain gratifying access to intriguing strangers and, to a lesser extent, friends. The third experiment, however, shows that the bonobos’ motivations are not completely selfish. When the food was so far out of reach that they themselves could not benefit, they allowed a friend or stranger to enjoy it instead.

    Bonobos, in other words, break the rules when it comes to sharing, showing that kindness towards strangers is not unique to humans. Oddly enough, unlike their bipedal counterparts, bonobos even seem to prefer strangers to group mates. This behavior, the study authors think, might have evolved to help groups of bonobos expand their social networks. Further investigations may lend clues about evolution of sharing in humans.

    “Like chimpanzees, our species would kill strangers; like bonobos, we could also be very nice to strangers,” said Jingzhi Tan, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University and lead author of the paper, in a statement. “Our results highlight the importance of studying bonobos to fully understand the origins of such human behaviors.”

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  20. tony c:

    teaparty1776 has a valid point. An animal responds to stimulus and some higher animals can probably do some things we attribute to humans, like remember how to avoid the animal which wants to eat you or to remember how to use a stick to get a tasty treat from a hole in a log or drop a clam from a height on to a hard surface. But those actions are the result of an external stimulus and may not necessarily be “learning”.

    Certainly dogs can “learn” how to do things by repetitive motions but that is wiring their brains, can you really say they are learning in a human sense?

    humans do more than “perceptual association in the immediate moment.”

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