Cultural wealth, as a commodity informed through shared values, can be distributed both vertically and horizontally. Within a conquered territory, wealth is absorbed by a monarch and subsequently distributed through an interconnected network of fiefdoms.
At its core, the stability of this system is rooted in the deliberate and managed application of negative control. Negotiations for the distribution of wealth flow upwards, via gentlemans agreements and polite conversation. Because of the nature of vertical distribution, there must necessarily be an exploited class residing at the bottom of the triangle. Ultimately, greed takes root amongst the fiefs and an all-consuming gaze is cast overseas towards unexplored, newer and richer markets. Witness now free enterprise in its raw state.
Sometimes, dispirited tribes can gather together to form collectives of enterprising free will. Sometimes this process is peaceful. Ultimately, however, the result is an equitable sharing of the cultural wealth previously capitalized, and mostly unreachable, at the top of a very high pyramid.
Now, replace cultural with knowledge and wealth with content.