The inflexibility of status societies necessarily creates pressure towards behavioural conformity, since it is conformity to the established moral view on all matters that gives value to positions in the hierarchy assigned by status. However, due to its inflexibility the society generates little surplus wealth. Consequently, competition for this surplus, via competition for status positions, is intense. One thinks of pre-communist and perhaps even contemporary China.

It is also true that status societies, and even those that have subsequently become contract shifted, such as Japan or Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, become hostile to foreigners. In a status society all positions are already filled, and vacancies can easily be filled by natives, so an outsider fills one of those positions at the expense of a native. If such feelings can persist even in contract-shifted societies, and they plainly do, then imagine how much stronger will be the manifestation of these tendencies in a status-shifted society.

This moral conservatism extends into every branch of life, and in spite of the variation in precise or proximal motivations all moral rules in these societies serve the interests of the individual within a rigid system of status, frequently by policing transgressions which even an Argus-eyed state could not detect. Insistence on moral conformity reduces in essence to preventing others from gaining an advantage of any kind, large or small.

Contract societies, on the other hand, transform all these relationships into a contractual form. A status society sees marriage as a mystical bond, the status of which is defined and guaranteed in the eyes of a supernal power, usually a deity, whereas a contract society sees it as a voluntary, sublunary, arrangement or agreement of relationship, and open to all individuals, even those of the same sex.

In general, where a status society sees moral rules as static instructions governing relations as firmly as the hierarchy of assignments establishes and guarantees the status society itself, a contract society sees them as temporary agreements arising from localised consensus.

Which is the more likely to produce societies that endure is uncertain. We can reason about the matter, weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of each, but only the stress of experiment can deliver an authoritative answer. Time will tell; time is telling.