The big question for many historians and social scientists is still "how did we get so rich?" Economists have come full circle and have again started addressing the role of "society" and "culture". But these too evolve and are not really exogenous. What then is? Jared Diamond says it is geography -- and its own slow (exogenous) shifts. Ian Morris in Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve takes human hunger (the necessity for energy capture; the more calories per day, the better) and historic climate change (post-ice age warming) as the real exogenous forces. They made it possible for humans to shift their attention from foraging to farming to fossil fuel users. And as they did, their values changed.
Morris' Table 4.1 (p. 134) is the summary: The four "universal" values listed on the left best serve the three activity types if they are accorded the status shown in the the body of the table.
Foragers Farmers Fossil-Fuel Users
Inequality Bad Good Bad
Inequality Bad Good Middling
Inequality Middling Good Bad
Violence Middling Middling/bad Bad
The book includes the reactions of four eminent respondents as well as Morris' rejoinders.