Hierarchy and individualism are familiar to most social scientists. Egalitarianism and fatalism, not to mention autonomy, are considerably less so. Edward Banfield's The Moral Basis of a Backward Society is the finest study of fatalism known to us. At first Banfield throws us off the track by suggesting that the people of Montegrano are not fatalistic because they do want to get ahead in the world. Banfield's criticism of explanations of Montegrano behavior that resort to "melancholy fatalism" as an explanation is, in large part, an attack on employing culture as an uncaused cause. The peasants' melancholy, Banfield concedes, is partly a consequence of a poor resource position. Through thematic apperception tests, which ask people to tell stories about a picture, Banfield was able to obtain a more systematic gauge of Montegranesi attitudes. Banfield elaborates on the content of the Montegranesi stories: No matter how hard the parents struggle, the family may suddenly be destroyed or reduced to beggary.