Karl Marx called his system “scientific socialism.” Modern leftists advocate a similar ideology and call themselves “woke” to indicate that they understand the world better than the rest of us. Yet the worldview of Marxists and woke leftists alike is fundamentally primitive.

Folk economics is the economics of people untrained in economics. It is the economic view of the world that evolved in our brains before the development of the modern economy. During this period of evolution the economy was simple, with little specialization except by age and sex, no economic growth, no technological change, limited trade, little capital, and warfare between neighboring tribes.

Zero-sum thinking was well-adapted to this world. Since there was no economic growth, incomes and wealth didn’t grow. If one person had access to more food or other goods, or greater access to females, it was likely because of expropriation from others. Since there was little capital, a “labor theory of value”—the idea that all value is created by labor alone—would have been appropriate, and there was little need to protect capital through property rights. Frequent warfare encouraged xenophobia.