In the origins of the species we now call human, there is an extraordinary lesson which bears significantly on how we conduct ourselves today.
The large conflicts of our body politic, immigration, gun control, women's rights, education, food and shelter for the weak and vulnerable, all elements of our social safety net have a single common thread which strings them all together.
What are or are not the bounds and responsibilities of one for the other and if none, are the disenfranchised or weak to struggle on their own and fall prey to the biological imprimatur; survival of the fittest.
The history of Homo Sapien and Erectus is, amongst other things, characterized by their use of tools, methods of hunting, (providing for their kith and kin) and with the very disparate outcomes.
Both species arose in the Rift Valley of Southern Africa and both species had well developed the use of the hand axe, the tool triangular in shape, not unlike today's computer mouse, which edged with a skill developed of chipping, one harder rock on the edge of another, allowed then existing man to develop the roughly sharpened lethal cutting and killing tool easily manipulated by a single hunter. The immediate benefit for both species was the transformation of early man from a nut, berry, vegetarian to a meat eater. The density and portability of protein afforded allowed the first significant migration which headed the then nascent species North to Europe, East to Russia, West to Spain, and from there, to colonize the world.
Two mission critical characteristics distinguished the species ultimately causing the demise of one and the ubiquitous and flourishing success of the other.
Homo Sapien, over time turned the large and sometimes unwieldy hand axe into the increasingly technologically efficient tool of a spear. Ultimately, the technology developed such that it was easily made, reasonably affixed to the end of a spear and in time to a bow, as the tip of a lethal arrow. Such efficiency, of size and lethality allowed for a whole new range of hunting skills which included the group skill set of hunters herding and pressing animals of prey into the waiting arrows and spears of the awaiting line of firepower. As such, the need of a group, to undertake the endeavor, and the success of the outcome in pounds of meat and numbers killed or caught dramatically changed the whole of the course of the civilization of this species,  from which came the earliest notion of commonwealth, an endeavor in which all depended in one fashion or another on each-other. 
Conversely, Homo Erectus continued to use the more cumbersome and unwieldy hand axe which limited his kills and the provision of food to his own innate skill as a hunter, but without any of the added benefit of the skills of the group, the technology as developed by the group and the greater range and accessibility to food supplies. And he ultimately perished.
In these hyper political times of debate, all in some fashion or form related to the question of the social contract, the right or wrong of our collectively taking care of our commonwealth, weak or strong, or the alternative view which obliges the weak, poor, disenfranchised and less strong classes of woman and children to essentially fend for themselves, is there not a two hundred thousand year old lesson here which will foretell the outcome of one choice versus the other.

 
 
Four US Senators in April of 2013 attended Senate hearings on long term unemployment. The rallying cry for the whole of the 2012 election, jobs and unemployment, notwithstanding and ninety six Senators, with their notable absence expressed indifference.
When flight delays occasioned by the sequester tripped up business and middle class travelers, congress and 100 senators took three days to craft a fix and release the FAA to speed up the flights and limit delays to normal times.
The reason for each, manifestly dichotomous behaviors, tells the whole story of the dysfunction of the United States government and in turn our culture and it's likely demise.
Senators don't really care if they pay $100 or $200 for sneakers, and though those built by sweatshop labor and imported for half the price as those made in US are attractive, everyone likes a deal, the senators real interest in cheap sweatshop sneakers, like on time air travel is simply convenience.
Nobody wants to be late or hang out in airports, and no congressman or senator wants to work any more than they need. The contributions by big business which thrives in a non union environment with high unemployment underlying all, is a guarantee workers will work harder, not complain and not make complaints to OSHA so to prevent the explosion in West Texas killing and injuring more than the Boston Marathon bombing all together.
The extraordinary and dirty little secret of long term unemployment, in part a natural result of the exponential growth of technology allowing one person today to do the jobs of thirty people thirty years ago, is that though less costly to retrain and subsidize and fix, long term unemployment is an absolute disincentive and prophylactic for the growth or safety of Labor Unions, and labor unions are the single greatest protection of both a middle class, a collective body of workers representing their own rights and some internal controls of a reckless plutocracy whose wealth, in a single decade has closed out the future of over a hundred million middle class and poor, whose future and social mobility was protected as recently as ten years ago. So what is the relationship between sweat shops, cheap sneakers and on time flights.
Though congress chose on time flights rather than head start, cancer treatment and food subsidy for families, of whom tens of millions live below the poverty line, they did it for a reason. There are no mistakes and the purpose in all is self service.
Long term unemployment guarantees cheap sneakers and cheap sneakers guarantee unnatural competition for jobs and unnatural competition for jobs weakens labor unions and workers rights and guarantees rich corporate profits and rich corporate profits guarantee well funded lobbyists whose corporate sponsored bank accounts in turn subsidize the re-election of the 96 senators who, rather than work too hard, their average working days one hundred thirty one in 2012, can take their tithe and re-election funds from huge corporate sponsors. At the end of the day, one might ask how are 'on time' travel and 'cheap sneakers' related; they are both the outcomes of convenience, the unintended outcomes of which may be poverty, unsafe working conditions, Ammonia nitrate explosions in West Texas and collapsed textile factories in Bangladesh. Most extraordinary, such diffidence and absolute indifference to the rights of the general populace, insures the perpetuation of the very system which now and in the foreseeable future serves the self interest of the ninety six.