“l’explication de l’idéologie”

i’ve had in my mind for some time now the idea that ideology, whether religious or political, is somehow connected to human reproductive patterns. not that all of ideology is dictated by our mating patterns, but that at least some of it is influenced by our mating patterns.

i got this idea from what steve sailer and stanley kurtz and parapundit had to say a couple of years ago about cousin marriage (specifically, fbd marriage) and democracy, i.e. that the two don’t go together. which made me think that, gee, well i guess the corollary is prolly true as well, i.e. that NOT marrying your cousins must be conducive to democracy. and then i started to think about what other ideologies might be affected by mating patterns — and vice versa — and why and how.

the first question to ask, maybe, is what are ideologies for? i mean, what do they do? why do we have them? for all sorts of reasons, of course, but one set of reasons, i think, has to do with regulating who gets to mate with whom in your society. (this is crucial, of course, because successful reproduction of your genes is what life is all about.) islam, for instance, doesn’t say you have to marry your fbd, but it certainly has all sorts of regulations about the mixing of the sexes — in order that mating is controlled. christianity also controls mating, as we’ve seen (if you’ve been following along), by generally not allowing us to marry our cousins. exogamy is strongly encouraged.

so, anyway, somewhere along the line in all this thinking and reading about human mating patterns, i came across a reference for emmanuel todd’s “The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structures and Social Systems.” i was immediately intrigued by the summary blurbs about the book (from the back cover):

“Some parts of the world are dominated by communism, others by Catholicism or by Islam and yet others by liberal doctrines. Why should this be? And why has communism triumphed in Russia, China and Cuba [the book was published in 1985], yet failed in Poland, Cambodia and Indonesia? Why should English society be distinctively individualistic, French egalitarian and Russian authoritarian? No one knows. Certainly no clear answer lies in variations of climate, environment, race or even economic development.”

well, being an hbd chick, i’m not convinced by that last sentence. i think that some of the differences between how different populations structure their societies are likely due, in part, to innate differences in, for example, the average intelligence and/or average personality types of those different populations, etc., etc. for instance, i’m sure that the fact that a certain allele related to adhd is extremely infrequent in east asian populations must affect the way(s) east asian societies are constructed — broadly speaking — as compared to, say, european or african societies.

anyway, more from the back of the book:

“The argument of this book is that world variations in social ideology and belief are conditioned by family structure. The author analyses the distribution of family forms throughout the world and examines the relations between particular structures and (for example) communism, totalitarianism and individualism, as well as the links between these forms and a variety of social phenomena: illegitimacy, suicide, infanticide, marital stability and inheritance laws. He offers convincing evidence to support the belief that family structures and kinship patterns lie behind the ideologies that have shaped the history of the twentienth century.”

ah ha! kinship patterns. that’s related to mating patterns. as are family structures.

i haven’t finished “The Explanation of Ideology” yet, but so far todd has described some very interesting patterns in relationships between family types and political ideologies. he’s definitely on to something here; but his work, to my mind, is “only” descriptive (i put “only” in quotes because i don’t mean to belittle his work in any way — it’s an enormous contribution to understanding ideologies, i think!). but, he doesn’t really get down to why family structures and kinship should affect ideologies in the ways that they appear to do. what he’s missing, i think, are some biological concepts like inclusive fitness and all the sorts of behaviors that follow from that.

todd identifies seven (or eight) different family types that occur around the world. he bases his types, in part, on the typology of nineteenth century french sociologist, frédéric le play, who studied families throughout europe. rather amusingly, le play identified two basic principles or forces within european families which, he felt, resulted in the outward familial structures that could be seen: liberty and equality. (heh. but what about fraternity?!)

liberty, in le play’s definition of family structures, refers to the parent-child relationships — do adult children continue to live with their parents after marriage or not? how much authority do the parents, especially fathers, have in running the family? those are the sorts of features that fall under liberty. equality, for le play, refers to the sibling relationships — especially, how does inheritance work? are all the (male) children treated equally, or is there, for instance, primogeniture?

to me, these features are descriptive and, perhaps, somewhat explanatory, but they don’t get down to the nitty-gritty. why are some families communal and others not? is that a response to the environment? does it have to do with relatedness between the family members? population density? what? very useful and interesting descriptions, but not explanatory enough for me.

todd adds two more characteristics of family/kinship structures to le play’s typology in order to define a range of family types and these are, very importantly, endogamy versus exogamy. do family members marry other family members, or do they marry non-relatives?

so, using these three sets of dichotomies — liberty vs. non-liberty, equality vs. inequality, endogamy vs. exogamy — todd comes up with seven basic family types (he adds an eighth, too — i’ll get to that in a minute). here they are with their defining characteristics, the countries in which they are found, and their matching ideologies:

absolute nuclear family
– no cohabitation of married children with their parents
– no precise inheritance rules; frequent use of wills
– no marriage between the children of brothers
– anglo-saxons, netherlands, denmark
– christianity, capitalism, ‘libertarian’ liberalism, feminism

egalitarian nuclear family
– no cohabitation of married children with their parents
– equality of brothers laid down by inheritance rules
– no marriage between the children of brothers.
– northern france, northern italy, central and southern spain, central portugal, greece, romania, poland, latin america, ethiopia
– christianity (catholicism); the “liberte, egalite, fraternite” form of liberalism

authoritarian family
– cohabitation of the married heir with this parents
– inequality of brothers laid down by inheritance rules, transfer of an unbroken patrimony to one of the sons
– little or no marriage between the children of two brothers
– germany, austria, sweden, norway, belgium, bohemia, scotland, ireland, peripheral regions of france, northern spain, northern portugal, japan, korea, jews, romany gypsies
edit 01/08/12: socialism/bureaucratic socialism or social democracy, catholicism. fascism sometimes, various separatist and autonomous (anti-universalist) movements (think german federalism)

exogamous community family
– cohabitation of married sons and their parents
– equality between brothers defined by rules of inheritance
– no marriage between the children of two brothers
– russia, yugoslavia, slovakia, bulgaria, hungary, finland, albania, central italy, china, vietnam, cuba, north india (note that many of these countries, the eastern european ones, also have a tradition of marrying young)
– communism, edit 01/08/12: socialism

endogamous community family
– cohabitation of married sons with their parents
– equality between brothers established by inheritance rules
– frequent marriage between the children of brothers
– arab world, turkey, iran, afghanistan, pakistan, azerbaijan, turkmenistan, uzbekistan, tadzhikistan
– islam

asymmetrical community family
– cohabitation of married sons and their parents
– equality between brothers laid down by inheritance rules
– prohibition on marriages between the children of brothers, but a preference for marriages between the children of brothers and sisters
– southern India
– hinduism; a variety of communism unlike that found elsewhere

anomic family
– cohabitation of married children with their parents rejected in theory but accepted in practice
– uncertainty about equality between brothers: inheritance rules egalitarian in theory but flexible in practice
– consanguine marriage possible and sometimes frequent
– burma, cambodia, laos, thailand, malaysia, indonesia, philippines, madagascar, south-american indian cultures

the eighth family type, which is additional to todd’s scheme (i.e. it doesn’t fit the three definitional dichotomies he uses, which maybe indicates a problem with his definitions?), is the african family. todd sort-of throws his hands up in the air and declares that african family systems are simply hopeless to understand (because they don’t fit his model) — and, anyway, there’s not enough data on them (which was prolly true in the early 1980s — and maybe still is now!). anyway, here’s all he has to say about the africans:

african systems
– instability of the household
– polygyny

heh. yes, very true. but i’d like those systems explained, too, along with african ideologies.

so, well, i’ll most likely post more on this in the future. i’m sure i’ll refer to it going forward ’cause this is exactly the topic i hope to pursue on the ol’ blog here: mating patterns and how they affect our behaviors and ideologies — and vice versa.

stay tuned!

oh, if anyone’s read “The Explanation of Ideology” or “The Invention of Europe” (or any of todd’s other works), i’d love to hear your thoughts on what he has to say (that means you, m.g.! (~_^) ).

previously: the explanation of ideology and exogamy

(note: comments do not require an email. ni ne doit vous comprenez le français. i don’t!)

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55 Comments

  1. It seems to me that ideologies often arise in opposition to other dominant ideologies.
    Classic example: Christianity vs Roman paganism.

    In that case, they might take on certain characteristics simply to differ from their opponent ideology. You won’t convince people to join your new cult if it’s immediately obvious that it’s the same thing as the old cult under a different name.

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  2. “It seems to me that ideologies often arise in opposition to other dominant ideologies.”

    And often along ethnic fault-lines i.e. the Persian muslims wanting to unfiy *separately* from other muslims so adopting the Shia version when the opportunity arose i.e. using Shia as an excuse to be more excusively/distinctively Persian again.

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  3. @g.w. – “[T]he Persian muslims wanting to unfiy *separately* from other muslims so adopting the Shia version when the opportunity arose i.e. using Shia as an excuse to be more excusively/distinctively Persian again.”

    exactly! check out the shia crescent. (^_^)

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  4. OK, I see now he has a longer family-structure model, in the 2nd book (‘Invention of Europe’) he only talks about the first four. (and doesn’t mention cousin marriage at all)

    Only half-way through, but I’ll admit I’ve spent a lot of time yelling at him so far.

    What I like: 1) Focus on family structure–hugely important. 2) He’s systematizing, trying to create a model. Always appreciated.

    What I don’t like: 1) He’s become so enamored of his model he’s unable to see its flaws, and often either (a) contorts the facts to fit it (intellectual dishonesty) or (b) brings in loads of other qualifying factors (and so the model loses all explanatory power). 2) ZERO character trait analysis.

    ‘Egalitarianism’, as he calls it– wouldn’t a better word be ‘clannishness’? He calls ‘egalitarian’ the groups who make a strict, perfectly equal division of the inheritance between each heir (instead of just divvying it up as the parents see fit).

    But I don’t see how lack of flexibility = ‘egalitarianism.’ It sounds to me like something a warlike people would do to avoid endless brother in-fighting over the spoils, like the Germanic tribes of Charlemagne’s time–they had the strict ‘equal inheritance’ rule (didn’t they?), and I always thought it was something related to how clannish or warlike your society was.

    So for example, his insistence that:

    -parents living w/ adult kids = ‘authoritarian’

    and

    -non-perfect division of inheritance = ‘egalitarian’

    …leads him to the conclusion that southern Italy and most of Iberia are ‘liberal and egalitarian,’ while Sweden, the Netherlands and Scotland are ‘authoritarian and non-egalitarian.’

    ???

    What’s cruelly missing (for me) is character trait analysis. He just refuses to touch this. Levels of out-group cooperation/empathy? (and how big IS that out-group?) Conformism vs. individualism? Future time orientation? etc. This would let him nuance his ‘family-group’ model in such a way that he wouldn’t be obliged to bend the facts so very very hard to fit it.

    Still and all, he has loads of excellent maps and plenty of factual historical data I didn’t know, so I’m kind of filling in my own analysis of his facts as I go along. Also, my intense disagreement w/ him on many points has forced me to flesh out some ideas in my mind, and that’s helpful.

    Very curious to hear what you think of his analysis applied to the wider world, hbdchick. (in the one I’m reading he sticks to Western Europe only)

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  5. ooooops, I meant ‘perfect division of inheritance = egalitarianism’, not ‘non-perfect division’……mea culpa for that big fat mistake!

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  6. @m.g. – thnx for your thoughts! (^_^)

    @m.g. – “He’s become so enamored of his model he’s unable to see its flaws, and often either (a) contorts the facts to fit it….”

    yes. this is what i felt he did with the whole of sub-saharan africa! while he does discuss it a bit (for 4 1/2 pages only — compare that to the eastern european family chapter of 21 pages!), he mostly dismisses african family structures because they don’t fit his model. he says [pg. 25]:

    “However, Africa does not represent a single family type but a range of types produced by the new criterion of the stability of mutual relations between individuals. [a new criterion of his model he just decides to throw in here.] In this context, therefore, I will speak of unstable systems, reserving the term ‘family’ for stable domestic groups.”

    eh. i think he’s on pretty shaky ground here. just because african families don’t look like families in eurasia doesn’t mean that they’re not a sort-of family type, albeit unstable. i think he fudged here ’cause there are problems with his model. like you say, he’s too enamored of it.

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  7. @m.g. – “‘Egalitarianism’, as he calls it– wouldn’t a better word be ‘clannishness’? He calls ‘egalitarian’ the groups who make a strict, perfectly equal division of the inheritance between each heir (instead of just divvying it up as the parents see fit).”

    ooo, i dunno. he got the egalitarian and authoritarian notions from le play, and i haven’t read his work (if it’s in french, i never will!). i don’t know if those concepts are something that le play developed after he studied different familiy types around europe, or if they were in his head beforehand. they sound awfully like the principles of the revolution, but apparently he was a counter-revolutionary thinker, so i dunno.

    i didn’t react to egalitarian the way you did, actually. i took it at face value as just referring to inheritance rules — if everyone (all the males) got an equal share, then the system was egalitarian. i’ll have to think about it some more.

    @m.g. – “But I don’t see how lack of flexibility = ‘egalitarianism.’ It sounds to me like something a warlike people would do to avoid endless brother in-fighting over the spoils, like the Germanic tribes of Charlemagne’s time–they had the strict ‘equal inheritance’ rule (didn’t they?), and I always thought it was something related to how clannish or warlike your society was.”

    i don’t know about the inheritance laws of the germanic tribes in charlemagne’s time. that would be interesting if they did have equal inheritance laws because, at least according to todd, the germans of today do not have that!

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  8. @m.g. – “…leads him to the conclusion that southern Italy and most of Iberia are ‘liberal and egalitarian,’ while Sweden, the Netherlands and Scotland are ‘authoritarian and non-egalitarian.’”

    yes, that doesn’t seem quite right, does it?

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  9. @m.g. – “What’s cruelly missing (for me) is character trait analysis.”

    yes, he’s hopelessly lost when it comes to thinking of humans as biological creatures, but i expected that from the outset, so i’m not too disappointed. (~_^)

    it’s hard to evaluate whether or not he’s got the snapshots of family structures from different populations correct because i’m not all that familiar with the subject myself (yet). he’s got a good list of references that i will, hopefully, go through in time, so in future maybe i’ll be able to evaluate whether or not his characterizations are correct. he seems much more familiar with europe and the islamic world than other areas — the brush strokes become broader when he gets to east asia — and then, of course, he almost ignores africa entirely.

    i still do think he’s on to something, though, even though he may have missed the explanatory target. there does seem to be some connection with family structures (kinship patterns and, i’d say, mating patterns) and ideologies, broadly speaking. the question is, what is that connection and how strong is it?

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  10. “No one knows. Certainly no clear answer lies in variations of climate, environment, race or even economic development.”

    I think his problem, possibly conscious, lies here. Nothing must be genetic. Climate and environment mustn’t effect race (defined as distribution of trait frequencies) and race mustn’t effect economic development – except in both cases it quite clearly does and for quite logical reasons.

    .
    When i started to think about this kind of thing (initially looking at attitudes to public goods based on noting patterns among lots of different ethnic groups in inner-city areas) i came to a very simplistic latitudinal split of tropical / mid-latitudes / north (split into Asian and European) and three components: average IQ, conscientousness and individualism/collectivism (which i now think relates to hbdchick’s marriage pattern idea and how it effects exogamy-endogamy). So it went

    tropical: collectivist, low average IQ, low conscientousness
    mid-latitudes: collectivist, medium average IQ, medium conscientousness
    north asian: collectivist, high average IQ, high conscientousness
    european: individualistic, high average IQ, medium to low conscientousness

    The way i saw it working was if at any point in time there was an untapped potential for a group benefit from a move to larger scale co-operation among a population group then that would create a selective pressure to adopt that larger-scale co-operation. In this case the selection pressure is for the group to produce someone to actually figure out how to achieve the jump.

    (One obvious early candidate for this kind of latent potential is war. If you have a region split into lots of clans then the first set of clans to make the jump to small tribe has a military advantage over the over clans which then pushs them to form small tribes also. Other jumps would come where a technological advance created a new untapped potential benefit.)

    So as humans develop they occasionally create situations where there’s an untapped potential for a group benefit at larger scales of co-operation. This creates a selection pressure for someone in the population group to come up with a mechanism to achieve it. In my case i was looking at attitudes to public goods among a simplified version of the categories i’d noticed There seemed two main pathways: internal evolution and external coercion which i think come down to using implicit and explicit mental processes.

    One method is to have an elite who impose and enforce some rules. This will select for conscientousness over time if it impacts reproduction e.g execution or confucian exam system etc. This seemed to me to describe the tropical -> mid-latitudes – north asian route. I was thinking latitude created IQ hurdles so as you went further north the ability to create conscientousness raising social mechanisms would increase. (Traits relating to conscientous restraint are what i think are called explicitly processed restraints. A person has an urge to do something but consciously restrains themself). You’d still have endogamous populations but by gradually raising conscientousness you gradually create a force strong enough to overpower the resistance caused by clannishness and thereby enforce large scale co-operation and contribution to public goods.

    (I think the gulf in corruption index between north asian and north european is a hint of this clannishness still being there underneath but publicly overpowered.)

    The second option would be changing people at a more implicit level. I couldn’t think of how this could happen but now i think the marriage patterns and exogamy are the obvious way. If you make people more related to each other then contributing towards public goods makes perfect sense at a genetic and implicit level. So europeans didn’t need as much conscientousness as the north asians because they reduced internal conflict and increased group co-operation levels through exogamy and implicit processing instead.

    (I think the difference between white European (and north asian) and white American attitudes to healthcare is more to do with differences in homogeneity than differences in idealogy or rather the differences in idealogy are due to differences in homogeneity.)

    (I think the second component was population density. The riverine-valley empires had the surplus for both very high population densities and an elite to form. This would have given motive and means to go the first route. Europe’s lack of that geographical feature may have been what led to going down the second path which is less reliant on elite enforcement. Also the European route – if that is what it was – didn’t have to deal with Nile type densities relatively recently. The big jump in Europe would then come at the industrial revolution with people suddenly living at far-eastern densities without the additional restraint of thousands of years of selection for conscientousness – hence dramatically lethal penal codes.)

    That would be how the endogamy-exogamy thing would fit into how i was looking at this before but it’s become a lot broader now.

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  11. “i’ve had in my mind for some time now the idea that ideology, whether religious or political, is somehow connected to human reproductive patterns. not that all of ideology is dictated by our mating patterns, but that at least some of it is influenced by our mating patterns.”

    I think you’re right.

    .
    the first question to ask, maybe, is what are ideologies for?

    If the premise is, neccessity is the mother of evolution then idealogies most likely serve a neccessary purpose.

    Humans are social creatures.

    Under the right circumstance there are group benefits from co-operating at larger scales.

    You can enforce co-operation but that has significant amounts of friction loss i.e. the guys holding the whips could be helping to push.

    Voluntary co-operation has less friction loss.

    Twins naturally co-operate.

    Voluntary co-operation is a natural product of a sense of unity (whether real or imagined).

    So if there’s a group benefit from larger scale voluntary co-operation that creates a selection pressure for things that create unity.

    One route to increased unity is increased blood-ties. The ideal level of endogamy might be that which suits the maximum level of co-operation a human group was capable of at that time. Say there are four levels of co-operation: clan, tribe, city-state, nation (or neighborhood, town, regional, national) and endogamy among the population across the levels was rated a-b-c-d.

    10-0-0-0 might represent hunter-gathers or small clans of pastoralists or even farmers in particularly rugged terrain that prevented large-scale groups. At that level of organisation the tightest possibe family ties might be optimal.

    At the next level 6-4-0-0 might be optimal, 5-3-2 at the next and 4-3-2-1 at the national level.

    Increasing blood-ties at the higher levels (by exogamy at the lower levels) increases unity at the higher levels but the maximum blood-ties at higher levels will always be lower than the levels below.

    So that’s where i think idealogy first becomes neccessary – artifical ideological family ties to act as additional bindings on blood-ties.

    (nb idealogies often use familiial forms e.g. religions and communism both using brother and sister for members).

    .
    There’s also the other side of the same coin which is increasing co-operating and reducing internal conflict have more or less identical mechanisms. So a neolithic Thomas Aquinas who was aiming at reducing internal conflict could go about it in the exact same way as if he was trying to create larger scale group co-operation. He could increase the blood-ties between two warring clans (and reduce their internal blood-ties) by getting them to inter-marry or he could dream up a over-riding unifying idealogy that restrained them which initially would be religion.

    In fact the two could create virtuous cycle. If Thomas – or if it followed the Amazon method of elderly women being the diplomats, Shaneesha – Aquinas initially aimed to reduce conflict through a unifying religion and it worked, then the ground would be laid for inter-marriage which would reinforce it’s working and the two combined could create the foundation for a jump to tribe level.

    So looking at something like this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe

    you could imagine the sequence being
    – Shaneesha’s religion reduces conflict between warring clans
    – reduced conflict encourages change in marriage pattern
    – change in marriage pattern leads to increased tribal level endogamy and reduced clan level endogamy leading to a jump in the level of organisation from clan to tribe
    – new level of co-operation allows tribe to go off and build Troy with temple inside the walls leading to them very carefully burying the old site to protect it.

    Something like that process could have been the standard form?

    (If you did have a religious site like that and regular festivals with an enforced truce etc then it would provide the basis for contracting inter-clan marriages without kidnap.)

    (An intriguing thought with this particular site is if there were regular festivals and if people brought food and if there was already wild grains growing on the site or gathered from nearby and if the people at the festivals dug latrines then the area surrounding the religious site might end up covered in wild grain.)

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  12. @g.w. – “(I think the gulf in corruption index between north asian and north european is a hint of this clannishness still being there underneath but publicly overpowered.)”

    yes! this is what i have been thinking, too. clannishness must be higher in china than in europe (at least northern europe) because of all the corruption — all the weird stuff like putting melamine in milk. i mean, who would do that? unless you could care less about your neighbor — and one of the main reasons to care less about your neighbor is if you’re not so related to him.

    i suppose, though, that economic dire straits could drive people to such behaviors as well. but, did americans and europeans behave like that during the great depression? i’ve never heard any stories like that. ??

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  13. As to his family types. IIRC isn’t there a well-known divider of European family types which follows a line through northern France?

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/2807972

    Also his asymmetrical community family and endogamous community family strike me as being the same thing with ot without fbd i.e. better described as two versions of endogamous community family, (fbd) and (non-fbd).

    Maybe his anomic division and African non-division could just be a more chaotic sub-tropical version of the above.

    I’m not sure the inheritance systems are the result of egalitarianism as an idea. I think they’re more likely to be two trial and error attempts at reducing conflict. Single inheritance would have the effect of not reducing the need to marry cousins to keep wealth within the family.

    So another division might be
    1) exogamous family (with variations) (northwest europe, including half of France)
    2) exogamous community family (hybrid/transitional?) (rest of northern latittudes)
    3) endogamous community family (non-fbd) (mid-latitudes)
    4) endogamous community family (fbd) (mid-latitudes + arab conquest)
    5) sub-tropical endogamous community family (more chaotic version of 3 or 4)?
    6) tropical endogamous community family (more chaotic version of 3 or 4)?

    If it is latitudinal then i’d expect a dividing line between exogamous community family and endogamous community family running through the middle of China.

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  14. did americans and europeans behave like that during the great depression?

    I’m pretty sure the deciding factor here is Communism (that is a totalitarian govt. system). American food producers definitely did this stuff, as much as they possibly could get away with. All the regulations, etc. came not from the govt., not at first, but from regular folks who got outraged, got organized, got funding, got the message out, and forced Congress to act.

    Absolutely none of these things can happen in a totalitarian state. Press = controlled and censored by govt. (that’s how you organize folks) Civil society = forbidden. (Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Save the Whales International or whatever?–all illegal. Any group of anybody is a threat to the state.)

    Have you ever noticed Communist states, no matter how intelligent or clannish or not-clannish their populations, all tend to be environmental disasters? Russian men are all shooting blanks now (air, water, everything’s contaminated), in Shanghai you can’t see the sun, etc.? This is why.

    Of course then the question becomes, why do some peoples embrace Communism so readily, and others not? Why did Han Chinese and Eastern Slavs say ‘yes please,’ Western Slavs ‘yes but with hesitations,’ Latins ‘a lot of us would love it, but most of us not’, and Anglo-Saxons ‘hell no, not even a little bit’? That’s what I’m hoping Todd can help me understand in his book.

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  15. @Greying Wanderer

    Single inheritance would have the effect of not reducing the need to marry cousins to keep wealth within the family.

    But when did ‘wealth’ come about? Hunter-gatherer groups lived hand-to-mouth and in a mobile fashion, they couldn’t have accumulated much of anything.

    Very early settled farming groups (Cucuteni-like, but at their earliest stage), from my understanding, were somewhat communalistic in nature. From what I’ve read, there was no real hierarchy or temples or anything, I think any food surplus was so tiny as to mean that everybody in the group had to work full-time at food procurement.

    So how do you think the concept of ‘inheritance’ even came about in the first place? One’s land, one’s house–I don’t think, at first, we humans had anything other than that. Not much to divide up there. It would seem every child would be forced to go out and farm some new plot, but that was the one thing that did exist in incredible abundance.

    I just wonder at what point in our development there actually came into existence ‘something to fight about’ as it were.

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  16. hbdchick

    “but, did americans and europeans behave like that during the great depression? i’ve never heard any stories like that. ??”

    Well there are always sociopaths but otherwise yes i think a people’s corruption index indicates ttheir *natural* attitude towards co-operating to provide public goods. If true then the ability of north asians to create societies where a lot of their surplus is turned into public goods might come about in a different way.

    What if conscientousness is a multiplier of the unifying effect of idealogy?

    Equation time :)

    if you define the ability of a group to jump to the next level of co-operation as

    En/Ec(C * SI) > x

    where
    En = endogamy at the next level (e.g. national)
    Ec = endogamy at current level (e.g. regional)
    C = conscientousness
    SI = strength of unifying idealogy
    x = some threshold

    then you could have a more exogamous group whose endogamy scores at the two levels were 6 and 4 and a more endogamous group whose two scores were 7 and 3 leading to

    group 1 = 2/3 (C * SI)
    group 2 = 3/7 (C * SI)

    now if both had the same idealogy (strength 7) but group 1 has a conscientousness of 3 while group 2 has a conscientousness of of 5 then it comes to

    group 1 = 2/3 (3 * 7) = 14
    group 2 = 3/7 (5 * 7) = 15

    So you get the same effect by a different route.

    Reply

  17. @Greying Wanderer

    change in marriage pattern leads to increased tribal level endogamy and reduced clan level endogamy leading to a jump in the level of organisation from clan to tribe

    But this is where I get confused. A settled farming group on the one hand and a nomadic herding group on the other are so very different. Hunter-gatherer groups, obviously, can never get very big. (I’ve heard 40-50 max in ancient times) A farming settlement, in theory, can get very big indeed. Tens of thousands. But a pastoralist group? In common with hunt.-gath., they seem to have (1) forced mobility and (2) a low upper limit on group size.

    So even if a pastoralist group jumps to the tribe level, that tribe, it seems to me, can never get very big. So your ‘out-group’ marriage potential pool can never get that large.

    But a farming group can get huge. At some point, your ‘out-group’ marriage pool is just mammoth.

    I’m just wondering where cousin-marriage fits in to all that. Is cousin-marriage a more sensible choice in a very big settled group, or a wandering pastoral group? Does this explain anything about world marriage patterns that we see today?

    Reply

  18. Let’s not confuse ‘businessmen being shady’–which really does exist everywhere to some extent– with true, society-wide corruption. There’s no proof East Asians are inherently more corruption-prone than N.W. Euros, on the contrary:

    On the last (2010) World Corruption Perception Index,…

    link to world rankings
    here

    link to ranking by region
    here

    ..Singapore (peopled by Chinese) is ranked °1! (least corrupt in the world!) Japan is °17. Both these countries are ranked better than the U.K., Belgium or France!

    (and these are rankings based on regular citizens’ perceptions of how corrupt it is)

    No, I truly think the deciding factor here is political system, if it’s free or totalitarian. I think the stats back me up.

    Reply

  19. Yikes! Messed up a link…World Corruption Perception Index by region is here

    Apologies. (also, note Hong Kong at °13…again, Chinese, but with a free polit. system)

    Reply

  20. M.G

    “Of course then the question becomes, why do some peoples embrace Communism so readily, and others not? Why did Han Chinese and Eastern Slavs say ‘yes please,’”

    I’m not sure that’s true. Both took winning a civil war and masses of coercion and death. However narrowing the point to “why did the people who might have been the liberal intelligentsia if they’d lived in the west, in Russia and China embrace Communism and fight to impose it?”

    One possibility might be a rushed and less wise version of St Augustine.

    If they thought they ought to be on the same level as western europe but weren’t then they may have come to similar conclusions as St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas i.e. that it was the clannishness of their peasant population that was holding them back, but without the wiser understanding of what the cause of that clannishness was. So if they didn’t understand the cause or were in too much of a hurry they might not want to change the marriage laws and wait 400 years.

    .
    “I just wonder at what point in our development there actually came into existence ‘something to fight about’ as it were.”

    Yes. It may have come about at different points in different places.

    Reply

  21. Categories 1, 2 & 3 seem less stable over time (particularly 1 seems innovative, since primogeniture is historically the rule). Category 4 suggests that Eastern Europeans and Chinese must have either very large houses or very few sons (I’m aware of the Chinese tulou clan houses, but had not thought they were hegemonic or that Eastern Blockers had an equivalent)!

    @ M.G. – “It sounds to me like something a warlike people would do to avoid endless brother in-fighting over the spoils, like the Germanic tribes of Charlemagne’s time–they had the strict ‘equal inheritance’ rule “ – Well, any kind of strictly defined inheritence rule sounds like that doesn’t it, equal or not, particularly pace Adam Smith. Giving everything to the eldest son sounds like something a warlike people would do as well.

    Reply

  22. M. G

    “So even if a pastoralist group jumps to the tribe level, that tribe, it seems to me, can never get very big. So your ‘out-group’ marriage potential pool can never get that large.

    But a farming group can get huge. At some point, your ‘out-group’ marriage pool is just mammoth.”

    Yes precisely. This is what i mean about the Arab conquest and FBD marriage. At lower levels of maximum population e.g. hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and some types of farming e.g. mountainous, a higher level of endogamy may be optimal. If there are no economies of scale from larger units of organisation then you’re better off being as close-kit and clannish as possible e.g. Arabs and Highlanders and pashtun etc, because that helps you in war. This si especially true if FBD marriage creates a particular kind of endogamy which is useful in war.

    Like you say it’s only in situations where the *potential* benefit from larger-scale co-operation comes into play i.e. higher density populations, that you get a background selective pressure for someone to come up with either inter-marrying more or come up with a new unifying idealogy.

    I think the *current* Arab FBD system is a mistake for the current environment by historical accident. I think it’s designed for a different environment but because after the conquest it was associated with Islam it became culturally important even though it’s not optimal except for low density populations like pastoralists.

    The middle-east (sans oil) should be around the same level as India imo. One of the reasons it doesn’t is it has a marriage system designed for pastoralists.

    Reply

  23. M.G

    “Let’s not confuse ‘businessmen being shady’–which really does exist everywhere to some extent– with true, society-wide corruption. There’s no proof East Asians are inherently more corruption-prone than N.W. Euros, on the contrary:”

    Fair enough. I’ve seen maps where NW Europe (and outposts) stood out very dramatically but maybe not so clear cut.

    Reply

  24. @Greying Wanderer

    “why did the people who might have been the liberal intelligentsia if they’d lived in the west, in Russia and China embrace Communism and fight to impose it?”

    But much of the liberal intelligentsia in the west did embrace Communism. It was very à la mode before WWII. Americans actually left the U.S. for Russia, believing a sort of ‘socialist utopia’ paradise awaited them there. Loads of elite Americans were card-carrying Communists. All that anti-Red stuff in the U.S. was for a real reason.

    The fact is, in certain countries they were roundly shouted down (Anglo countries), in others less so (Latins), and in others even less so (Western Slavs). Why?

    Latins: Communism was huge in Spain, Italy, France mid-century. In Italy, in the 1948 election, the Christian-Dems squeaked out a victory over the Italian Communists only with major CIA help. In Spain they were only crushed because of Franco’s overwhelming force (but they put up a hell of a fight). In France’s 1st post-WWII election, the French Communist Party won a majority of seats! They’re still on the ballot today in fact. Could you imagine such a thing in an Anglo country? I couldn’t. But why not?

    Western Slavs did adopt communism though. Why? These were not all peasant countries. Before WWII, Czechoslovakia was one of the wealthiest, most industrialized places in the world. Of course outsiders intervened–The Russians did all they could, but so did the CIA. Why did the former win in Tchechoslovakia, but the latter in Italy?

    I’m convinced that for the intelligentsia–who, let’s face it, are often super-liberal no matter what the country– to succeed in ‘imposing’ Communism, as you say, there has to be a critical mass of people, regular joes, who accept it.

    And for that, certain character traits must be there. I’d just like to figure out what they are. Conformism? Individualism? Clannishness? Is religion involved?

    ‘Masses of coercion and death’ were not, in fact, necessary to bring about Communism in certain places, and certainly not to bring about huge levels of support for it in others, even if there it never took over completely.

    Reply

  25. I’ve seen maps where NW Europe (and outposts) stood out very dramatically but maybe not so clear cut.

    They do stand out dramatically compared to most of the planet, but not to East Asians. Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan traditionally are at their same level.

    Reply

  26. M.G

    “They do stand out dramatically compared to most of the planet, but not to East Asians. Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan traditionally are at their same level.”

    I may have been swayed by the size of China on those corruption maps

    .
    “But much of the liberal intelligentsia in the west did embrace Communism.”

    As a percentage? Tiny. I think identical individuals born at the same time in either Russia, China or France, England may have become Communists or Liberals because the Russians and Chinese were in a hurry to try and catch up.

    .
    “Masses of coercion and death’ were not, in fact, necessary to bring about Communism in certain places, and certainly not to bring about huge levels of support for it in others, even if there it never took over completely.”

    We may just have to agree to disagree here. Almost all the places that have ever had communism needed extreme coercion and in particular i don’t agree there was any element of choice in places like Czechoslovakia and Poland. They were conquered by an invading army and that was that.

    However i suppose if you look along the scale of endogamous to exogamous marriage patterns and assume that the scale of collectivism to individualism follows in the same sequence then i guess those nations midway between NW european levels of individualism and the mid-latitude levels of clannishness might be more inclined to more collective forms of political idealogy whether it be fascism or communism.

    A higher propensity like that could get the numbers of communists up to the point where they thought they had a chance of winning a civil war even if they were a low percentage.

    .

    Reply

  27. @g.w. – “Also his asymmetrical community family and endogamous community family strike me as being the same thing with ot without fbd….”

    yeah, i think so, too.

    Reply

  28. @m.g. – “American food producers definitely did this stuff, as much as they possibly could get away with.”

    i can envision dodgy stuff happening in u.s. food production before, like you say, the citizenry took action — but that was, perhaps, because america is a mish-mosh (<< technical term) population. what about a place like modern germany or modern sweden where the populations (up until very recently) were very ethnically homogeneous AND had quite high exogamy levels (within their own societies)?

    i just can't imagine that there was ever, in modern times, such dodgy cheating — especially with food products! — in those societies. the (mostly unconscious) concern would've been that you might wind up poisoning someone you're rather closely related to. and since you're rather closely related to most people in your society, the chance of poisoning someone closely related to you would be rather high.

    @m.g. – “I’m pretty sure the deciding factor here is Communism (that is a totalitarian govt. system).”

    this is clearly an important factor, tho — living in an unfree state. it’s partly what i had in the back of my mind when i referred to dire economic circumstances leading people to cheat more. being able to provide for your family is often extremely difficult in these totalitarian states, so there’s probably a push for people to be more selfish in their behaviors.

    Reply

  29. @m.g. – “Of course then the question becomes, why do some peoples embrace Communism so readily, and others not? Why did Han Chinese and Eastern Slavs say ‘yes please,’ Western Slavs ‘yes but with hesitations,’ Latins ‘a lot of us would love it, but most of us not’, and Anglo-Saxons ‘hell no, not even a little bit’? That’s what I’m hoping Todd can help me understand in his book.”

    exactly! with regard to why some of the latins go for communism while other don’t, todd claims that some latins — central italians, for instance — also have exogamous community families just like the russians and, therefore, they are also predisposed to liking communism.

    but italy never went fully communist because the exogamous community families only existed in one area and did not represent a majority of the nation. he says that election results show communist parties doing very well in this region of italy and not in others. if that’s right, it’s awfully interesting.

    Reply

  30. @m.g. – “I just wonder at what point in our development there actually came into existence ‘something to fight about’ as it were.”

    i couldn’t say exactly when (or, h*ck, even approximately when!) that shift happened, but i would think it has something to do with population size. when there’s still plenty of lebensraum and you can just go clear yourself some forest and start farming, there can’t be much need for inheritance regulations. it’s when you run out of room to move that it becomes important to outline who’s going to get what.

    that’s just in an agrarian setting, tho. clearly the way the land is “filled up” with people would differ in hunting-and-gathering as well as pastoralist settings.

    Reply

  31. @g.w. – “What if conscientousness is a multiplier of the unifying effect of idealogy?”

    absolutely! in the post, i babbled something along the lines of “average personality type of a population” also affecting ideology, not to mention how any given society actually functions. it’s not all relatedness — that’s just one more factor, i think. i would think conscientiousness would be a really important multiplier!

    @g.w. – “So you get the same effect by a different route.”

    this is a very important point that you’re making — and you’ve mentioned it in several comments — i.e. that there might be more than one way to skin a cat to get to similarly functioning societies. the evolutionary paths don’t have to be identical. i keep thinking, kinda like how light-skinnedness was “solved” in two different ways by europeans and east asians. good point!

    Reply

  32. @m.g. – “I’m just wondering where cousin-marriage fits in to all that. Is cousin-marriage a more sensible choice in a very big settled group, or a wandering pastoral group?”

    one of the main reasons that people who practice cousin-marriage give for marrying their cousins is to keep the wealth in the family. if a woman is due some inheritance (which she is according to islam) or even if you have to provide her with a dowry (a h*ckuva lot of societies), then that wealth doesn’t dissipate away to (horror!) non-relatives when your daughter marries in the family. again, this seems like it should’ve become more important as people “filled up” any given environment.

    also, what g.w. said about war and tribes. most of the discussion i’ve read about fbd marriage is that it’s related to pastoralism where the boys & men do most of the work with the herds, therefore you want to keep the male lineage’s inheritance intact, therefore you marry your daughter to your brother’s son. thus, keeping the brothers’ herds intact, solved.

    but the tribal warfare thing g.w. has brought up sounds really plausible, too. fbd marriage creates a sort-of band-of-brothers between all the … well … brothers! great for having small cavalry units with which to raid your neighbor’s herds. who can a man trust more than his brother (who’s also his cousin)?

    the interesting thing, then, is that when the muslim caliphates conquered north africa and areas like iran and afghanistan and pakistan, a lot of those peoples adopted fbd marriage through what korotayev calls the arabization of those societies (because, of course, islam says nothing about fbd marriage). settled, agriculturalists in places like iran and pakistan also adopted fbd marriage, even though they weren’t pastoralists. it still works ok from an inheritance p.o.v., tho — farmland doesn’t go out of the family.

    Reply

  33. @matt – “Eastern Europeans and Chinese must have either very large houses or very few sons (I’m aware of the Chinese tulou clan houses, but had not thought they were hegemonic or that Eastern Blockers had an equivalent)!”

    no, you’re right, tulou-type clan houses aren’t found everywhere in china. they’re very specific (and very cool!) to a sub-group of people (the hakka) who moved into some southern areas of china and then proceeded to inbreed with themselves. so, they really isolated themselves from the surrounding population — literally! of course, the surrounding people didn’t want to inter-marry with them anyway.

    maybe the chinese solution was similar to the european one where primogeniture was practiced? i.e. second son enters the military or becomes a buddhist monk?

    the eastern europeans, on the other hand, apparently did have a system (if emmanuel todd is correct) of many sons and their wives living together with the sons’ father.

    the russians, btw, had a rather interesting system (todd mentions it) of redistributing land between families within a village every (not sure) couple of generations. in this way, if your family got bigger over a generation or two, all of you would get allocated more land, while smaller families would lose some land. pre-communism communism!

    my guess is that all the extended families or clans in a village would be related (distant-ish cousins) so that’s why this redistribution system existed and worked at all. the alternative is that it was some sort of neat example of reciprocal altruism on a larger scale (than just between individuals) in which clans within a village just trusted each other ’cause they expected the system to work in their favor at some point in the future. (i have a hard time buying that.) another alternative is simply coercion — village leaders or some other authority insisting that this is the way it should be.

    Reply

  34. @m.g. – “Let’s not confuse ‘businessmen being shady’–which really does exist everywhere to some extent– with true, society-wide corruption. There’s no proof East Asians are inherently more corruption-prone than N.W. Euros”

    not the japanese. they don’t seem very corrupt. (although they do seem to suffer from that general asia thing of not wanting to “lose face” so you don’t mention the bad news whatever it is, e.g. that there is actually a rather large problem here at the nuclear reactor).

    but the chinese — they just seem hopelessly corrupt. and china ranks 78 in the Corruption Perceptions Index, 2010, alongside colombia and (heh) greece and serbia and … thailand! oh, the stories i could tell you about thailand. (~_^)

    re. singapore and hong kong — i have to wonder if there’s some self-selection/self-sorting going on here. i mean, these are populations of immigrants (or decendants of immigrants) who wanted to improve their lives. maybe they’re a more conscientious group on the whole? innately, i mean. and, maybe they’re not so inbred!

    oh. and maybe higher iq. then you might realize that all this corruption is not good for a functioning society.

    Reply

  35. hbdchick

    “but italy never went fully communist because the exogamous community families only existed in one area and did not represent a majority of the nation. he says that election results show communist parties doing very well in this region of italy and not in others. if that’s right, it’s awfully interesting.”

    That is interesting.

    Reply

  36. hbdchick

    ““average personality type of a population” also affecting ideology, not to mention how any given society actually functions. it’s not all relatedness — that’s just one more factor

    True, but in a way it’s an alternative to relatedness or a way of partially getting around relatedness – so it’s connected in a way.

    .
    this is a very important point that you’re making — and you’ve mentioned it in several comments

    heh, sorry about that. i repeat long arguments as a way of practising to make them shorter.

    .
    great for having small cavalry units with which to raid your neighbor’s herds. who can a man trust more than his brother (who’s also his cousin)?

    This is basically it. Morale could be defined as “how likely is the guy next to me to run away and leave me on my own?” Actual relatives have the band of brothers effect naturally that armies have to artificially create through months of basic training aimed (whether they realize it or not) at creating an artificial family out of each platoon with the officer as daddy and the sergeant as the mommy.

    A famous example of this was Caesar. When he was expected to march on Rome, Pompey raised legions in Italy and started to train them. Caesar’s big claim to military fame wasn’t anything particularly fancy but he could get his armies to force-march very fast so he arrived in Italy much earlier than Pompey had expected and too early for Pompey’s legions to gel into units.

    So when Caesar’s cavalry showed up Pompey’s legions of green recruits simply ran away and Pompey and the senate had to run to Greece.

    On a larger scale too much relatedness would act the same way as it does politically and create barriers to co-operation but on a small-scale it’s a bonus.

    This ties into a related thought i had which revolves around a group’s propensity for violence being adaptive in one environment and maladaptive in another.

    Take a bunch of soft, fat farmers in an oasis with an endogamous community family (non-fbd) surrounded by a bunch of much harder but more clannish FBD desert nomads. Now generally the nomads might fight each other most of the time (because there’s a big gap in relatedness between each clan) but occasionally they might unite temporarily and conquer the oasis driving the farmers into the desert.

    Now the level of endogamy in the desert was fine. The individual nomads had a strong propensity for violence but because they spent most of their time in highly-related groups with a lot of genetic restraint it was contained. Also each clan had their own terriotory. Now they are all jammed together in the oasis you have lots of highly violent only loosely related individuals in close proximity and the level of violence goes up to maladaptive levels. Maybe one of the ways they solve the problem is adapting the old farmer’s marriage system.

    Similarly the farmers. They’re now in the desert and individual family groups have to break up into clans because nomadic pastoralism requires a lower level of population density. Say most of them keep their old marriage system but some adopt the previous nomad’s FBD system. Those clans develop the band of brother’s effect more which gives them an advantage in clan warfare leading to all the ex-farmers adopting it.

    Obviously this scenario isn’t very realistic but i think it illustrates how the same group could potentially go through multiple marriage pattern changes depending on their history and not neccessarily a one-way street from endogamy to exogamy. The most common would be when a group was pushed off their good farm land into mountains, deserts, jungle etc.

    Another possibility might be relatively exogamous farmers on the edge of the ice where some of them break off and move onto the steppe when the ice retreats. The break-off group become relatively more endogamous over time due to the effects of pastoralism, then invading south and conquering some terriotory before becoming farmers again and going back to being relatively more exogamous again.

    Reply

  37. hbdchick

    somebody in power in china has obviously been reading thomas aquinas ’cause cousin marriage is banned in the 1981 Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China

    Very interesting. There was a post at Mangans with a quote from a Chinese scientist saying they thought European success was a result of Christianity but without details. It wouldn’t surprise me if they hadn’t been figuring this out in private as they’re not constrained by our kind of PC.

    .
    the russians, btw, had a rather interesting system (todd mentions it) of redistributing land between families within a village every (not sure) couple of generations. in this way

    my guess is that all the extended families or clans in a village would be related (distant-ish cousins) so that’s why this redistribution system existed and worked at all

    Interesting. The pre-conquest Anglo-saxons did this too (apparently). Each village had three fields which was divided into strips and allocated to each family, which would solve inheritance problems. I’d agree on the relatedness. It’s like each village would be its own mini-island with its own tahitian swinger system. This would lead to high levels of co-operation at the local level but very clannish and stubborn from the point of view of the Duke at the next higher level of potential co-operation.

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  38. Looking at his list of family structures i think there may be a bit of chicken and egg involved at one end.

    If you accept the idea of genetic restraint i.e. people finding it harder to harm their own near kin (despite living on top of each other) then endogamy is what makes it possible for people to live on top of their close relatives without killing each other.

    So if you try to look at it as a time sequence and you want to start at what is more likely to have been the beginning then you’d start at Africa.

    Not knowing enough about the details (except in the form of immigrants to the west) my guess at the sequence would be

    1) Chaotic endogamous community family (with variations on the main theme)
    2) Stable endogamous community family (with variations on the main theme)
    3) Exogamous community family (in some places for some reason)

    Now (3) might be the product of greater exogamy from some other reason and consequently less genetic restraint which *causes* families to need to live in a lower density or it might be a system based on the demands of an environment. Either way it may be the cut-off point between where family structure drives endogamy-exogamy and where exogamy starts to drive family structure instead.

    At some point exogamy will start to drive family structure because more exogamous families will eventually need more space per head to prevent conflict because there is less genetic restraint. An exogamous family structure like his number (1) may drive or reinforce exogamy but it may not have caused it originally. Exogamy may have caused the family structure instead.

    If this is true then if you had x population at y population density and z level of endogamy and you reduced the level of endogamy (e.g. increased exogamy say through a ban on cousin marriage) then i think you’d see the birth rate drop until the population density matched the new level of exogamy. I wonder if that might apply to places like Japan and Korea?

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  39. @g.w. – “heh, sorry about that. i repeat long arguments as a way of practising to make them shorter.”

    no problem! i usually need to read things several times anyway to get them to sink in, so repetition is just good, afaiac. (~_^)

    Reply

  40. @g.w. – “Very interesting. There was a post at Mangans with a quote from a Chinese scientist saying they thought European success was a result of Christianity but without details. It wouldn’t surprise me if they hadn’t been figuring this out in private as they’re not constrained by our kind of PC.”

    yes! i remember that post. at the time i thought that the chinese guy was kinda silly, but what if this is the sort of thing he was talking about? that would be crazy cool! (~_^)

    yeah, the chinese aren’t squeamish about eugenical sort-of thinking. we have a joke here at home that in 5 or 10 years time, all chinese babies will have their full genomes sequences and then be put in the right sort of career-track suited for them. “this one, farmer. this one, has high-altitude related genes — send to tibet.”

    Reply

  41. @g.w. – “IIRC isn’t there a well-known divider of European family types which follows a line through northern France?

    “http://www.jstor.org/pss/2807972”

    that was a really interesting article, btw! i found a pdf version of it online here. thnx!

    the author points out the differences between the “extended family” type in southern europe (i forget what term he actually uses for it) where the kids live at home until they are married, which happens at a fairly young age (at least as compared to northern europeans), whereas the northern european family is not extended in any way and kids leave home rather early to make their own way in the world and marry relatively late. these two types, the author says, have been around for quite some time (he looks at records going back to the, i think it was, 1700s).

    i, of course, see inbreeding and cousin marriage here. cousin marriage has been more frequent in southern europe (at least in spain, portugal and italy — not sure about greece) in more modern times. where there’s greater inbreeding, there seems to be stronger family bonds and family attachments.

    in the article, the author looks at all sorts of neat sociological characteristics of northern vs. southern european nations like the almost non-existence of homeless people in places like spain, because of course your family would take you in if you were indigent. meanwhile, in northern europe, retired people are happy to move into retirement homes (to not burden their kids), whereas in the south, of course they live with la familia.

    fascinating!

    Reply

  42. hbdchick

    these two types, the author says, have been around for quite some time (he looks at records going back to the, i think it was, 1700s).

    Yes, if you imagine the cousin-ban and related effects working slowly over time and the northern population following the letter of the (canon) law more than the south then the north could have been more endogamous at the beginning but ended upmuch less endogamous after a thousand years or so.

    And when it reached a tipping point of exogamy around the 1700s you start to get nuclear families, reformations etc.

    (I see nuclear families as a product of this process of increasing exogamy not because there would be more conflict if exogamous people were living in a single extended family home but because there would be less restraint among more exogamous people living in that way. more endogamous groups could have *more* passionate family conflict because it would be *safer*)

    .
    Speaking of which. If it’s true that there is an instinctive implicit restraint based on genetic distance and a separate rational explicit frontal lobe type of restraint then i think it follows that a more exogamous population would gradually have to develop greater levels of the second kind.

    .
    in the article, the author looks at all sorts of neat sociological characteristics of northern vs. southern european nations like the almost non-existence of homeless people in places like spain, because of course your family would take you in if you were indigent.

    Yes, this is what i mean when i talk about people being 10-0 or 8-2 or 6-4 (which i guess might equate to endogamous community family, exogamous community family and nuclear family.

    The bigger the first number the *more* cohesive the family units are but the harder it is to get larger scale co-operation beyond the family or clan. The other extreme find it much easier to co-operate on a large scale but their family cohesion is much weaker.

    .

    Reply

  43. “we have a joke here at home that in 5 or 10 years time, all chinese babies will have their full genomes sequences and then be put in the right sort of career-track suited for them”

    I have a similar theory the Japanese will start to make themselves look like anime people with genetically modified hair and eye colors – so there’ll be a mass of blond-haired and blue-eyed Japanese (still facially asian) plus some with (naturally) purple or pink hair and green or orange eyes etc.

    Reply

  44. @HBD CHICK

    First, I meant to write earlier so apologies for the delayed comment

    Second, translating your argument into an economist’s language:

    1) “Signaling” is the term economists use to describe behavior that demonstrates fitness for mating. Signaling conveys ‘status’. Status allows access to superior mates. There are, statistically, fewer ‘superior’ male mates than female mates, partly because of the wider distribution of male IQ’s. However, unmarried males are a ‘problem’ and most societies tend to favor norms that ‘civilize’ more males.

    2) I’m not sure, but are you’re missing inheritance patterns and property rights as determining access to mates? I think they’re inextricably linked, and mutually dependent but I don’t see you directly addressing it.

    3) I’m pretty sure that the causal difference in the development of western individualism is martial (not marital, but martial): the highest status in society was held by a minority of highly skilled warriors who had to self-finance their equipment, using technology to compensate for their inferior numbers, employing battle tactics that required individual initiative, and to whom fell control of agrarianism’s productive resources: land. In that model, individualism is a necessary consequence because the ‘epistemology’ of war is unforgivingly evolutionary.

    Otherwise, I agree with the general trend of your thesis.

    In an effort to make sure we’re not reactionaries attempting a form of social Luddism we might argue that evolution of norms progresses unabated: Joel Kotkin and Peter Meyer take the opposite end of the spectrum going forward: that a ‘people’ is a competition between fairly immobile lower castes, and highly mobile diasporic upper castes – of which the English (my tribe) and the Jews are just forming a global upper class with the diasporic hindus, chinese, armenians and others. David Goldman (Spengler) argues that all civilizations that adopt consumer capitalism also commit demographic suicide, thereby leaving us at a crossroads of ideological confusion. We have turned the Manorial system on it’s head, genetically expanding the underclasses and genetically constraining the upper classes – precisely because, under democracy, the natural aristocracy – the upper classes — are no longer responsible for rule.

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  45. @curt – “I’m not sure, but are you’re missing inheritance patterns and property rights as determining access to mates? I think they’re inextricably linked, and mutually dependent but I don’t see you directly addressing it.”

    no, you’re right — i haven’t talked about inheritance patterns properly — only here and there as sorta side comments.

    they are, of course, inextricably linked like you say. so many “traditional” societies inbreed (marry cousins) in the ways that they do (in part) precisely because of whatever inheritance system they do have. or, at least, because they are worried about keeping the wealth — the land or the herds or whatever — together. arabs are the prime example of this, but all sorts of peasants have been concerned about this, too.

    certainly in medieval europe, the upper classes were very concerned about keeping the wealth and power in the family, thus were there so many arranged cousin marriages amongst kings and princes and the aristocracy in general.

    in western europe, where you found the manor system, tenancy rights for the peasants were inherited in some places during some periods. clearly this could’ve affected mate choice amongst the medieval european peasantry — smart, hard-working gals would probably have had their eyes on the smart, hard-working peasant lad who stood to inherit his father’s tenancy rights (and vice versa). over here i addressed some possible effects that medieval assortative mating — stemming from the manor system — might’ve had on the population, but i didn’t discuss inheritance patterns. certainly manorialism helped to break up the clan/tribal systems, which is my main interest.

    the inheritance patterns in eastern europe, where manorialism barely penetrated, remained more of one in which entire extended families “owned” the farm together, and so cousin marriage was encouraged because, again, like the arabs, these peasant families would not have wanted to break up the property via out-marriages.

    i haven’t yet worked my way out of the medieval period. (^_^) obviously all of these life decisions were based on very different circumstances in later centuries — particularly for nw europeans.

    Reply

  46. @curt – “I’m pretty sure that the causal difference in the development of western individualism is martial (not marital, but martial)….”

    hmmm. it’s an interesting idea. you’d have to imagine some sort of genetic “trickle down” flow from the feudal lords to the lower ranks — in a gregory clark, A Farewell to Alms sort-of way — which is entirely possible.

    but, how do you get from pre-christian tribal europe where these individualistic feudal lords did not exist to medieval europe where they did?

    Reply

  47. @curt – “First, I meant to write earlier so apologies for the delayed comment.”

    no worries! door’s always open, coffee’s on, and there’s cookies in the cookie jar. stop by anytime and make yourself at home. (^_^)

    Reply

  48. […] is a nation that is similarly contradictory, at least compared to its neighbors. The Chinese are known for their merciless exploitation of one another, which is consistent with their very long history of cousin marriage. Overall, […]

    Reply

  49. The differences that you show for the different regions of Portugal don’t really exist… What you describe for central Portugal is the norm for the whole country..

    Reply

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