why nations fail

thomas friedman likes the explanation of acemoglu (that’s turkish armenian!) and robinson:

“Nations thrive when they develop ‘inclusive’ political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become ‘extractive’ and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

“‘Inclusive economic institutions that enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few,’ they write….”

uh huh. ok.

so, how you gonna get these “inclusive” institutions up and running in a place like … oh … egypt? in other words, how do you get from point a (‘extractive’ institutions) to point b (‘inclusive’ institutions)? a&r suggest ‘just build it and they will come’:

“Why is Egypt so much poorer than the United States? What are the constraints that keep Egyptians from becoming more prosperous? Is the poverty of Egypt immutable, or can it be eradicated? A natural way to start thinking about this is to look at what the Egyptians themselves are saying about the problems they face and why they rose up against the Mubarak regime…. Egyptians and Tunisians both saw their economic problems as being fundamentally caused by their lack of political rights….

“To Egyptians, the things that have held them back include an ineffective and corrupt state and a society where they cannot use their talent, ambition, ingenuity, and what education they can get. But they also recognize that the roots of these problems are political. All the economic impediments they face stem from the way political power in Egypt is exercised and monopolized by a narrow elite. This, they understand, is the first thing that has to change….

“In this book we’ll argue that the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, not most academics and commentators, have the right idea. In fact, Egypt is poor precisely because it has been ruled by a narrow elite that have organized society for their own benefit at the expense of the vast mass of people. Political power has been narrowly concentrated, and has been used to create great wealth for those who possess it, such as the $70 billion fortune apparently accumulated by ex-president Mubarak. The losers have been the Egyptian people, as they only too well understand.

We’ll show that this interpretation of Egyptian poverty, the people’s interpretation, turns out to provide a general explanation for why poor countries are poor. Whether it is North Korea, Sierra Leone, or Zimbabwe, we’ll show that poor countries are poor for the same reason that Egypt is poor. Countries such as Great Britain and the United States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the great mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities. We’ll show that to understand why there is such inequality in the world today we have to delve into the past and study the historical dynamics of societies. We’ll see that the reason that Britain is richer than Egypt is because in 1688, Britain (or England, to be exact) had a revolution that transformed the politics and thus the economics of the nation. People fought for and won more political rights, and they used them to expand their economic opportunities. The result was a fundamentally different political and economic trajectory, culminating in the Industrial Revolution….

ok. i haven’t read (or, rather, listened) to this book — and i probably ain’t gonna — but i’ll betcha (*hbd chick rummages through her purse*) 98¢ and a bus token that these guys haven’t tried to figure out WHY in the seventeenth century the ENGLISH (note not ALL the peoples of britain) “fought for and won more political rights” which they then used “to expand their economic opportunities.” what was it about this particular group of people at this particular time that enabled them to join together en masse to demand greater political rights and freedoms for ALL the people (men) in the country?

why should the english in england and later in the americas behave so unlike nearly every other group on the planet and become all hot and bothered about the rights of individuals in society? why should they start to have screwy notions like ‘everybody is created equal’ and that each man (and, later, woman) is endowed with ‘unalienable rights’? and how on earth are we going to get the egyptians … and the north koreans and the sierra leoneans and the zimbabweans and everyone else … to act like the english? to rise up and demand political rights and to create all these inclusive institutions? to ALL work TOGETHER towards a COMMON goal.

because, surely, that must be the order required: to find out what made the english do what they did and then recreate those circumstances in all these other places.

apart from all the usual sorts of hbd characteristics required to produce an advanced society (like intelligence), you all know what i’m gonna say is needed. and my solution is not something that will work overnight.

and egyptians are a long, long way away from being anything like the english in terms of genetic relatedness to one another. nope. they are much more like the people in iraq who anthropologist robin fox described thusly [pg. 62]:

“For a start, there is no ‘Iraqi People.’ The phrase should be banned as misleading and purely rhetorical. Iraq as a ‘nation’ (like the ‘nation’ of Kuwait) was devised by the compasses and protractors of Gertrude Bell when the British and French divided up the Middle East in 1921. We know well enough the ethnic-religious division into Kurd, Sunni, and Shia. People who know very little else can rehearse that one (even if they do not really know the difference; the Kurds are Sunni, after all). But what is not understood is that Iraq, like the other countries of the region, still stands at a level of social evolution where the family, clan, tribe, and sect command major allegiance. The idea of the individual autonomous voter, necessary and commonplace in our own systems, is relatively foreign.

voting in egypt — also a society based on extended-families and clans — runs along clan-lines, too:

“‘Tribe, family, and religion—this is how people vote here,’ said Micheil Fayek, a candidate in Fayoum governorate, which includes Tomiya, for the liberal-leaning, but pro-military Wafd Party….

“‘Egyptian Election is based on individuals with strong tribal and family connections rather than on ideologies or programs of parties, and the only exception to this is the Islamist voters,” said Mr. Mahmoud, the head of the Hurriya Party, which includes ex-Mubarak regime members from around the country and who is also a candidate from a prominent family from southern Egypt. “It doesn’t it matter if I was a part of the ruling regime. Even if I was a member of the Israeli Likud, I would still win.’”

a&r’s solution to poverty in egypt is to simply get the egyptians to create inclusive institutions, but this will not work because, as things stand today, egyptian society is not structured on inclusive institutions. it is structured on exclusive families and clans which, unlike a rotary club, you can’t just join — you’ve got to be born into them. and egyptians are not going to give these up any time soon because they are just too inbred. oh, there are probably some rather outbred egyptian urbanites in cairo who are ready for a modern society based on liberal democracy (for what that’s worth), but most egyptians are not those people.

and most of the rest of the world is like iraq and egypt in one way or another. almost everywhere except, due to some curious twists of history, northwest europe.

most economists just don’t get it ’cause they don’t think of humans as biological creatures. i’m gonna write a book one day and i’m gonna title it: Why Economists Fail.

see also: Egypt’s families remain electoral forces to reckon with — really, don’t miss it!

previously: “hard-won democracy”

update 04/14: see also not the revolution they’re looking for

update 04/15: An association between the kinship and fertility of human couples

(note: comments do not require an email. eg. the abaza family of egypt.)

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120 Comments

  1. HBD:

    While I understand that you’re making a practical argument, are you sure that it’d be impossible? (I’m asking not disagreeing.) I”m not disagreeing that they can’t or wont do it. I’m just not sure that it’s impossible to accomplish.

    Just as a sketch:

    1) Publish a constitution enumerating property rights, granting equal property rights to both men and women.
    2) Import a Judiciary that adheres to the common law, rule of law, and the constitution. (As the church did with the much falsely maligned inquisition in order to create uniform rather than spurious judges.)
    3) Establish a property registry in every post office. Conduct a full property survey of the region. Create shares for all supposedly communal property. This registry (title office) also can record all contracts.
    4) Require a ‘passport’ id for each citizen. Require a unique name for each citizen.
    5) GIve all citizens the right to sue all bureaucrats for positive corruption (bribery and interference) or negative corruption (incompetence, blocking or delay)
    6) Require all bureaucrats at all levels, to carry insurance against corruption. (No immunity.)
    7) Require all bureaucratic services delivered in three days or less.
    8) Ban intermarriages out to four generations, and require a genetic test for a marriage license.
    9) Require adherence to the intermarriage and offspring rule to receive government benefits and services. Tax these rule breakers highly punitively (the Chinese do it.) With jail of the mother and the father for a repeated offense. GIve adherents to the anti-consanguinity rule a direct cash subsidy without limits.
    10) Put punitive inheritance taxes in place.
    11) Create a TV Channel that runs 24 hours a day (a permanent school channel operating at the sixth grade level) that explains how to work with property, banking and contracts at all levels of the property and dispute processes.

    Isn’t this just the modern version of what the Church did? Shouldn’t it be possible to accomplish something that we could manage millennia ago?

    I have a pretty low opinion of that part of the world, and I know its impractical, but it’s not impossible, is it?

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  2. @curt – “Isn’t this just the modern version of what the Church did? Shouldn’t it be possible to accomplish something that we could manage millennia ago?”

    you won’t be surprised by my saying this, but i think points 8 and 9 are the key ones here. none of the rest will work very well without breaking the clans first (and, therefore, hopefully, maybe, altering the types and/or frequencies of whatever “genes for altruism” are in the population), because if the enforcers of all these regulations are all inbred egyptians, they will too often be able to be bought off. clans in china have actually recouped a lot of their powers over the last 40 years, and i’ll bet anybody a six-pack that even the chinese communist party is not managing to curb inbreeding in the countryside as much as they’d like, or as much as they need to. (the law against cousin marriage in china dates from 1980, so it hasn’t had much time to work anyway — not even two generations really.)

    the question is how to persuade people to stop inbreeding? how did the catholic church manage in early medieval europe? there was coercion, yes … civil laws, church regulations (although they weren’t all that enforceable until around 1100). most of the earlier coercion seems to have come from kings or lords or princes or whatever you want to call them. they had an interest in breaking the power of clans because they were trouble, of course.

    but i think a good deal of the persuasion to quit inbreeding just happened via conversion. people believed. they became christians and they wanted to follow god’s laws — or the laws of his church here on earth.

    i, for one, am waaaay out of my depth in trying to figure out how that worked. and i have a hard time seeing how most muslims in the middle east today will convert to christianity — and, of course, islam rather encourages inbreeding.

    maybe the arab world needs some other sort of new ideology to get it to outbreed more. what that would be, i have no idea.

    basically i agree with you, though. theoretically it should be possible to get people to mate one way or another. how to achieve that without the peasants revolting is another question.

    oh. one other point — could be that the europeans started off not being as inbred as arabs (including egyptians) are today. the arab world has this funky father’s brother’s daughter marriage thing which is unusual. it likely wasn’t present in pre-christian european societies. in other words, i wonder if your 11 point plan might work better elsewhere. indonesia, maybe. or even china.

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  3. @curt – “8) Ban intermarriages out to four generations,… Isn’t this just the modern version of what the Church did?

    @hbd chick – “points 8 and 9 are the key ones here. ”

    Could this have been one of the complaints of the Reformation?
    Germany was closer to its tribal past.
    Also mostly landlocked so all travel is on foot, encouraging provincialism (Wittenburg is 234 miles overland to a seaport).

    A quote by Calvin (predestination not tiger):

    “In saying, that Hagar took a wife for Ishmael, Moses has respect to civil order; for since marriage forms a principal part of human life, it is right that, in contracting it, children should be subject to their parents, and should obey their counsel.

    for he was subject to his mother in marrying a wife.

    what a prodigious monster was the Pope, when he dared to overthrow this sacred right of nature. To this is also added the impudent boast of authorizing a wicked contempt of parents, in honor of holy wedlock. ”

    Commentary on Genesis – Volume 1

    Lutheran Insulter

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  4. Acemoglu is actually an Armenian born in Istanbul. I suspect that in some way his being born into a victimized / successful middle man minority in Turkey contributes to his odd combination of good sense and nutty dogmatism.

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  5. On the other hand, Acemoglu’s combination of free market and politically correct ideology is close to ideal for succeeding in contemporary life as an intellectual (as measured in invitations to cool conferences). So, he may just be responding to market demand, like a good economist would.

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  6. Let’s try an Armenia-centric explanation for Acemoglu’s dogmatism about Institutions Uber Alles: the country of Armenia is 144th in the world on the CIA World Factbook’s ranking of GDP per capita. In the U.S. and elsewhere, Armenians tend to be pretty prosperous — I just went to an Armenian wedding across the Hollywood Freeway from Universal Studios and there were some pretty sweet rides in the church’s parking lot. So, it’s not unreasonable to attribute Armenia being stuck between Paraguay and Swaziland in GDP per capita to Armenia’s bad institutions inherited from Soviet days.

    But Acemoglu’s book is just eye-rollingly devoted to unfalsifiable institutional explanations for why some countries prosper and others don’t. If Venice wasn’t as economically dynamic after 1453, it’s not because the Turks cut Venice’s trade route to the east via Constantinople, it’s because of some obscure change in Venice’s famously complex constitution.

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  7. The big conclusion of Acemoglu’s book is a thought experiment in which we are supposed to realize that the Inca empire, if it had the right institutions, could have risen to world domination the way the British empire did. It’s like the anti-Guns, Germs, and Steel in its ignoring geography. That Cuzco is at 11,000 feet while London is on a tidal estuary and thus Inca’s couldn’t get to the rest of the world easily is of no concern. That there aren’t many harbors on the west coast of South America is of no concern. How can geography matter compared to institutions?

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  8. I’ll try to get around to writing up my objections to Acemogluism at some point, so in the meantime, let me jot down random notes here:

    I like Acemoglu’s emphasis on institutions that get the most out of a population, because I like Whig History. But Acemoglu’s emphasis on the Glorious Revolution of 1688 is weird because the chief beneficiaries were oligarchs like John Churchill, who was the key figure in betraying King James II. Churchill went on to defeat Louis XIV’s army at Blenheim in 1704 and then built Blenheim Palace, which is something like 280,000 square feet. His direct descendant, Winston Churchill, was prime minister of England 251 years after the battle of Blenheim

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  9. Curt “8) Ban intermarriages out to four generations, and require a genetic test for a marriage license.”

    Well, yes that would solve a lot of problems. It’s called “eugenics,” which is supposed to be bad, but people have forgotten that forbidding such marriages is part of the package. The biggest problem it would solve is getting rid of babies. If you force everybody to marry much past fourth cousins, fertility will be inadequate. Check out http://nobabies.net/Orlando%20meeting.html

    With no babies there will be no people and no problems. A bit drastic, maybe.

    The original issue was “why nations fail.” I doubt you would find a lot of political difference between England in 1066 and Egypt today. What happened in between was nine hundred years and more without the kind of regime change where they go out and kill all the elite. (That’s the noble families in England. None has survived that long, but neither have they all been executed at once. The rest of hisory is fluff.) It is quite rare for any nation to make it past 300. So it would be surprising if SOMETHING different hadn’t happend in England eventually. So the real question is one of survival; how did they make it that long? Personally I think it has something to do with having enough babies, unpopular though that idea is.

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  10. Wait a minute…

    and the only exception to this is the Islamist voters

    What gives? Why is Islam the big exception to Arab tribalism?

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  11. @sNoOOPy (@HDB_Chick)
    The reformation was caused by:
    a) a rapid population increase in the germanic countries (just like the arab spring)
    b) the desire of the nobility to keep revenues in-country.
    c) the population’s rejection of endemic corruption by federal government (the church)
    d) the population’s frustration with power struggles (the four pope problem) in the church (just like we have today in the states because of multiculturalism)
    ie: the reformation was a tax rebellion against corruption made possible by new information distribution technology, and the partial recovery of the population after the black death.

    In the USA, we are developing castes just like the chinese have returned to familism. Castes are the other solution to the problem of building a social order whenever there is a great deal of diversity, and common interest among members of the ruling castes. (this is what is happening in the west. We are losing our universalism, and due to diversity and lack of familial bonds, evolving castes. We can see this in the class structure: people trust within class but not between classes.

    A great deal of the ‘arab spring’ and call for return to sharia is because they have no other concept of law, and they perceive the governments as highly corrupt. What they don’t understand (as HBD chick tries to advocate) is that the governments are corrupt in large part because of inbreeding (tribalism), and that they’re precious culture is causing it, and that everything they do will reinforce it. They live in a win-lose society.

    They also have a romantic concept of the past. There is very little ‘good’ that came of islam. They were just another version of the mongols: successful raider-conquerors who were able to take over byzantine and other administrations, but they never were able to break tribal bonds. And their religion actively suppressed the spread of knowledge starting in the 13t century. See Fukuyama’s recent study, On The Origins Of Political Order) or for a more interesting analysis see Goldman’s How Civilization’s Die And Why Islam Is Dying Too, or Why Nation’s Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson. The best book on the subject is probably North’s Violence And Social Orders. All of which touch on what HBD_chick argues: it’s nearly impossible to create an institutional framework that can override clannish sentiments, and produce a high trust society that avoids corruption and therefore encourages risk, investment, and constant innovation. And most of them argue that it’s a uniquely western accident that cannot be repeated ever again.

    Of course, there are people in my world (libertarian political philosophy, and political economy) that are trying to develop administrative solutions that would make this kind of thing possible: and it’s pretty much a hard constitution, property rights, the common law, and a prohibition on law-making by the government (return to the common law), and limiting the government to writing contracts and collecting income taxes. But that is something almost impossible to put into place, just as it’s impossible to put something anti-tribal into place in Egypt (or any of the muslim world) without dictating it externally and imposing it through violence. Legal solutions are imposed by conquerors. People rarely will impose these solutions on themselves since they violate their tribal sentiments.

    Aside from developing internal Castes, one of the alternatives is to choose the diasporic capitalist method of the jews, armenians, hindus, chinese and japanese, and to a lesser degree the English: avoid the problem of territorial control entirely, and simply focus on liquid capital regardless of the existing administration – circumvent the problem. Relying for group cohesion on the liquid capital rather than fixed capital (land) economy eliminates the need to control territory, and therefore the need to form a government. It takes advantage of tribalism rather than seeking to suppress it. And liquid capital is much more powerful than land capital in influencing political policy. I would argue that diasporic clannism is just a capitalist caste system. But it appears to work regardless of what group does it, and what territory that the

    The problem with that method is that it only works for the upper classes, leaving the lower classes victim of the vagaries in the land economies. But that’s somewhat good for the survivors as it creates a natural eugenics program. (We can see that in the jews whose exceptionalism is limited to the Ashkenazim, and the other three subgroups vary from normal range IQ, to below normal in Ethiopia. It isn’t so much about breeding upward as it is suppressing the breeding of the lower classes.

    I think this insight HBD_Chick tries to propagate is pretty solid: that the manorial system suppressed the birth rates of the lower classes (just as corporatism would in the USA if let flourish.)

    Reply

    1. Thanks for giving me another chance to be clear. Alas you didn’t point out exactly where we parted company, but no matter. I’m always saying the same thing. If you don’t marry cousins (say within fifth or so) your fertility will not allow long term survival. That is an extraordinary claim, requiring extraordinary evidence, which I have collected at http://nobabies.net/Orlando%20meeting.html or go to nobabies.net and check out the Orlando poster.

      I’m sure if you don’t look at the evidence, you will never believe it. I would not have believed it myself. In fact I didn’t believe it until the evidence piled up.

      I think you suggested banning marriages out to fourth cousins. That is already the norm, and already the developed nations are beginning to die. Over the past ten years or so, many have had an increase in fertility, but none that I know of have reached a viable leve.

      I recognize there are probelms with families failing to outbreed. But babies are really important.

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  12. @Steve Sailer
    Acemoglu is trying to create awareness of the problem of institutions. I don’t think he’s arguing against the geographic challenge. I would agree with North rather than Acemoglu/robinson.

    Institutions can solve a problem. But how does one get them if they’re counter-intuitive to the population without having them dictated by an external force?

    We could easily argue that british colonialism just spread too fast, but not long enough. :)

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  13. @HBD_chick
    RE: “….the question is how to persuade people to stop inbreeding? ”

    Well, that’s the rub, isn’t it? It suggests that self government will forever forbid a people from advancing. :/ Does that mean the USA is actually spreading the opposite of its intentions by supporting self government, in the hope that wisdom will prevail? when that ‘wisdom’ is uniquely european and counter to observable human behavior?

    Change is caused almost exclusively by non domestic pressures. Domestic pressures simply serve to reinforce existing sentiments.

    At least that’s the nihilistic lesson I seem to learn from history. Unpleasant as it is.
    Curt

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  14. @sNoOOPy – “Could this have been one of the complaints of the Reformation?”

    certainly most of the protestant churches immediately reversed the catholic church’s cousin marriage ban. sweden is one exception. at some point, some of them readopted the first-cousin marriage ban — like the anglican church — but i’m not clear on the timeline for all of this.

    and then the curious thing is that, nowadays, while most of the germanic and scandinavian churches allow cousin marriage, there is very little cousin marriage in those places, so … go figure.

    many of the objections that the protestants had about the catholic church did, indeed, relate to marriage. luther and a couple of the other boys (don’t recall which ones) insisted that marriage was not a sacrament and the church should not be involved. thus, there would be no ban on marrying cousins — or one should just follow leviticus — or something. another BIG objection from the germans was that marriage should be a matter just between two persons. german parents wanted to have a say in who their kids married. and they got that say in their new churches.

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  15. @steve – “I suspect that in some way his being born into a victimized / successful middle man minority in Turkey contributes to his odd combination of good sense and nutty dogmatism.”

    but i thought that all the turks were all middle men, too! (~_^) at least that was my impression when we were there — everyone trying to sell you a carpet. in the nicest possible way, mind you! i liked (western) turkey a lot! (^_^)

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  16. @steve – “So, he may just be responding to market demand, like a good economist would.”

    and like a good economist, he (they) REALLY hawk their book on their website! didn’t have an academic feel at all … more like some enticing adult website (not that i would know (~_^) ).

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  17. @steve – “But Acemoglu’s book is just eye-rollingly devoted to unfalsifiable institutional explanations for why some countries prosper and others don’t.”

    well, they’re probably not entirely wrong that well-functioning, inclusive institutions can really help to make a society great. like they say, then the skills and abilities of the best can be drawn upon to achieve awesome things.

    it’s just the part that they miss (ignore) is that some societies are structured in ways that are not conducive to these inclusive institutions. in fact, they’re pretty much the absolute opposite!

    some might say this is due to culture; i say otherwise. (^_^)

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  18. @steve – “But Acemoglu’s emphasis on the Glorious Revolution of 1688 is weird….”

    well, i wonder if he’s looking for an anglo revolution — any anglo revolution — so he can draw a parallel for all the other societies today who are going to go through a similar revolution any day now. like the arab spring.

    the problem, of course, is that there never was such an anglo revolution — unless you count the american one, but that’s not really right — and acemoglu knows it — ’cause the changes in anglo society had already happened sometime before that. but when?

    what there was was a set of gradual changes in the population of (what eventually became) england over several centuries, a la gregory clark and the earlier stuff that i’ve been babbling about around here.

    hmmm. gradual changes? sounds suspiciously like … evolution …!

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  19. Or, you could try getting the history right. ‘in the seventeenth century the ENGLISH (note not ALL the peoples of britain) “fought for and won more political rights” ‘ is balls: the whole point of the Glorious Revolution in England was that it was carried off without fighting – a Dutch army invaded on behalf of William and Mary and no-one in England opposed it. The Scottish parliament also opted for Revolution (so much for “not all the peoples of Britain”) and it did need to fight – a Jacobite rebellion under “Bonnie Dundee” was beaten.

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  20. @linton – “What happened in between was nine hundred years and more without the kind of regime change where they go out and kill all the elite.”

    robin fox mentions this curious aspect of western (anglo?) democracy in The Tribal Imagination [pg. 60 – fox’s emphasis]:

    “Again in England, it was not until 1688, after a bitter civil-religious war and a period of hard totalitarianism, that we were able to set up a system whereby political factions could compete for votes and, most amazingly, the losers would voluntarily cede power. This transformation took a long time and hard practice with many missteps.”

    see also here.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me that Fox mentioned that democracy in England took a long time to emerge. I’m thinking it was six centuries or so. That’s good news as far as I can see. If you could just have stable societies for that long, democracy and all the things we like would break out all over the world. It’s just soving the demographic thing. Of course we had the solution and threw it away, but what’s a mind for if not to change?

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  21. @ihtg – “What gives? Why is Islam the big exception to Arab tribalism?”

    yes, interesting, huh? ideology trumps relatedness for some people. dunno why.

    muhammed managed to unite most/many(?) arab tribes while he was alive with his new ideology. how and why did he manage? i don’t know. was he just really persuasive or were the circumstances right? he (and later caliphate leaders) also bought off a lot of the tribes with booty from conquests, so maybe the ideology didn’t have much to do with it at all. certainly after muhammed died the alliance fell apart unsurprisingly along family lines.

    why is islam the big exception to arab tribalism? maybe those who vote along purely religious lines are just the very religious individuals in arab societies? there is a lot of variation in religious sentiments between individuals in any population. maybe these people are more inbred? less inbred? something i haven’t thought about (the most likely option)? i’ve wondered before if voting for, say, the muslim brotherhood ran along familial lines, but not according to this egyptian politician, and i’m gonna take his word for it ’cause he oughta know!

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  22. @curt – “Of course, there are people in my world (libertarian political philosophy, and political economy) that are trying to develop administrative solutions that would make this kind of thing possible: and it’s pretty much a hard constitution, property rights, the common law, and a prohibition on law-making by the government (return to the common law), and limiting the government to writing contracts and collecting income taxes.”

    i’ve thought many times that libertarianism would be great in an (almost) all-white nation.

    of late i’ve been thinking that libertarianism would only work in an all-anglo nation.

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    1. Curt: I had thought the constitution provided for many of the things you like. However, we have thrown it out for no reason I know of. The governement can call you a terrorist and kill you without judicial review or even telling anybody they did it. The constitution is dead and Al Qaeda lives on. Sad. We didn’t have to do that, so why did we?
      I think we probably agree that the answer is demographic. Of course I realize that we have different ideas on demography, but maybe there is some common ground.

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  23. @curt – “Does that mean the USA is actually spreading the opposite of its intentions by supporting self government, in the hope that wisdom will prevail?”

    heh. yeah. that’d be pretty ironic, wouldn’t it?

    most people have a really, really hard time imagining that other people are not like themselves. to begin with, MOST people don’t even contemplate it! but if they do at all, they find it very difficult to believe that others don’t think and feel the same way as they do about everything in life. and that’s just people from their own society! their own family, even.

    the problem is even more profound if you try to imagine how someone from a very different society with a very different evolutionary history feels about life. and, like i said, most people do not even think about trying to do this. most people think that someone in egypt or india or china or papua new guinea is just like them.

    obviously, we’re all humans so we have a lot in common sentiment-wise (we also have a lot in common with other primates and mammals). but there are also some pretty strong fundamental differences.

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  24. @dearime – “Or, you could try getting the history right. ‘in the seventeenth century the ENGLISH (note not ALL the peoples of britain) fought for and won more political rights’ is balls.”

    yes, you’re absolutely right, of course — and that was pretty cr*ppy writing on my part. i just got carried away with what’s-his-name’s example of an english revolution. the point i wanted to make is that something happened with the english — and, prolly, the eastern scots — and not so much amongst the populations in the western areas of great britain.

    for the record, i said what i think happened in a comment above.

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  25. @curtd59
    “@LInton Herbert
    I can’t follow your reasoning.”

    Its related to speciation .

    If two species that are not interfertile share a common ancestor then there must be an instant when an animal is born of the new species that is not interfertile with its peers.

    The idea is that there is not an instant but a gradual decline in fertility between increasingly unrelatedly individuals. When this gradual decline achieves zero we can say speciation has occured.

    Ring species

    In biology, a ring species is a connected series of neighboring populations, each of which can interbreed with closely sited related populations, but for which there exist at least two “end” populations in the series, which are too distantly related to interbreed, though there is a potential gene flow between each “linked” species. Such non-breeding, though genetically connected, “end” populations may co-exist in the same region thus closing a “ring”.

    Ring species provide important evidence of evolution in that they illustrate what happens over time as populations genetically diverge, and are special because they represent in living populations what normally happens over time between long deceased ancestor populations and living populations, in which the intermediates have become extinct.

    The problem, then, is whether to quantify the whole ring as a single species (despite the fact that not all individuals can interbreed)

    A classic example of ring species is the Larus gulls’ circumpolar species “ring”.

    The Herring Gull L. argentatus, which lives primarily in Great Britain and Ireland, can hybridize with the American Herring Gull L. smithsonianus, (living in North America), which can also hybridize with the Vega or East Siberian Herring Gull L. vegae, the western subspecies of which, Birula’s Gull L. vegae birulai, can hybridize with Heuglin’s gull L. heuglini, which in turn can hybridize with the Siberian Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus. All four of these live across the north of Siberia. The last is the eastern representative of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls back in north-western Europe, including Great Britain.

    The Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls are sufficiently different that they do not normally hybridize; thus the group of gulls forms a continuum except where the two lineages meet in Europe.

    An example of speciation happening now
    “In one species of Echinometra, several subspecies are emerging that all have the ability to mate and produce fertile offspring, but their fertilization proteins have started to bunch up into such cliques. The affinities of sperm and egg docking proteins have undergone changes due to genetic drift, and each subgroup is becoming less likely to be cross-fertilized by the others.”

    Reply

    1. Snoopy: Thanks. What you say about speciation is true (although some say absolute infertility is not needed to call a new species). I had read about the ring of gulls before but not in such detail. My own concern – failing to marry cousins leads to infertility – happens over a very few generations, far to fast for it to be a direct result of speciation effects. But consider that let’s say it takes 2,000 generations of absolute isolation to create a species. So two chromosmes that have not seen each other for that long can’t do business. Now think of a popution of a thousand. On average after a while two chromosmes only get together once every 2,000 generations. So the whole popualtion dies. Not good. What evolution has evdently done is to wipe out (if it’s mammals) or severly restrict (if its insects) anhy popualtion where the distance between mates begins to get too big. This has to be epigenetic. It is far too fast to be genetic. You can get references by going to nobabies.net and looking at the Orlando poster.

      Reply

  26. @curtd59
    “@LInton Herbert
    I can’t follow your reasoning.”

    Also, low fertility from non-cousin marrying would be considered an effect of outbreeding depression.
    Outbreeding depression
    “outbreeding depression refers to cases when offspring from crosses between individuals from different populations have lower fitness than progeny from crosses between individuals from the same population.

    by the breakdown of biochemical or physiological compatibilities between genes in the different breeding populations.

    individuals from Population A will tend to have alleles selected for the quality of combining well with allele combinations common in Population A. However, alleles found in Population A will not have been selected for the quality of crossing well with alleles common in Population B.

    The sterility and other fitness-reducing effects often seen in interspecific hybrids (such as mules) can be considered an extreme case of this type of outbreeding depression, involving not only different alleles of the same gene (as in distinct populations of a single species) but even different orthologous genes.

    outbreeding depression will increase in power through the further generations as co-adapted gene complexes are broken apart”

    Outbreeding depression varies among cohorts of Ipomopsis aggregata planted in nature.
    “Outbreeding depression in progeny fitness may arise from disruption of local adaptation, disruption of allelic coadaptation,”

    Evidence of a Large-Scale Functional Organization of Mammalian Chromosomes
    “Evidence from inbred strains of mice indicates that a quarter or more of the mammalian genome consists of chromosome regions containing clusters of functionally related genes. The intense selection pressures during inbreeding favor the coinheritance of optimal sets of alleles among these genetically linked, functionally related genes, resulting in extensive domains of linkage disequilibrium (LD) among a set of 60 genetically diverse inbred strains. Recombination that disrupts the preferred combinations of alleles reduces the ability of offspring to survive further inbreeding.

    there is likely to be selection for coadapted allelic combinations among the genes encoding functions that influence fitness and survival during inbreeding. “

    Reply

  27. @curtd59
    “@LInton Herbert
    I can’t follow your reasoning.”

    Also, Hybrid Incompatibility/Sterility/Inviability.

    Dobzhansky-Muller model of hybrid incompatibility
    “In the ancestral population, the genotype is AA BB. When the population is split into two, A evolves into a in one population and B evolves into b in the other. a and b are mutually incompatible. As the a-b interaction is not present in the pure species, the evolution of incompatibility is possible.

    Hybrid Incompatibility and Speciation

    “In other words, individuals that are AA or aa would be viable, but individuals that are Aa would be inviable.

    One example…occurs in hybrids between…species of fish.
    …platyfish…have spots on their dorsal fins, …swordtail…lacks spots.
    …In some backcross hybrids of these species, the spots are enlarged and develop into malignant tumors.
    …Those platyfish with spots have an X-linked gene that produces spots, and all platyfish have an autosomal repressor that checks the expression of the spot-producing gene. In contrast, the swordtail lacks both the spot-producing gene and the repressor. In backcrosses, some of the hybrids receive the spot-producing gene, but not the repressor. These individuals are the ones that develop malignant tumors, because the expression of the spot-producing gene is not properly regulated. This spot-producing gene is a duplicated copy of the Xiphophorus melanoma receptor kinase (Xmrk). Xmrk-1 is present in all individuals of both fish species and doesn’t lead to the formation of spots, while Xmrk-2 is the spot-producing gene. The repressor to Xmrk-2 has yet to be identified.

    Reply

  28. @curtd59
    “@LInton Herbert
    I can’t follow your reasoning.”

    In summary, on a graph, 2nd and 3rd cousin marriages are most fertile, with a downward slope of fertility as degrees of relatedness become more distant. The low fertility side of the graph represents outbreeding depression. The far right of the graph projected out with very distantly related with near zero fertility would represent the phenomenon of hybrid incompatibility and speciation.

    In the Iceland study on Linton’s page:
    An Association Between Kinship And Fertility

    The mechanism having to do with meiosis, with only half a half chromosome coming from each parent and needing a matched pair for things to work, or something.
    Like if you chopped tools in half, mixed up the halves and glued these halves together, then of these new tools the most functional would be ones whose two halves were the most similar.

    A county populated with hammers chopped in half and glued together would produce functional hammers.
    A county populated with saws chopped in half and glued together would produce functional saws..
    A saw visitor to hammer county chopped in half and glued to a hammer half would create a hammer-saw hybrid that may not be a functional tool.

    Reply

  29. @curtd59
    “@LInton Herbert
    I can’t follow your reasoning.”

    ps

    Rh disease
    “subsequent pregnancies of Rh negative women where the fetus’s father is Rh positive

    causes the development of antibodies

    fetus may have mild anaemia with reticulocytosis. In moderate or severe cases the fetus may have a more marked anaemia and erythroblastosis (erythroblastosis fetalis). When the disease is very severe it may cause HDN, hydrops fetalis, or stillbirth.

    If it were not for modern prevention and treatment, about 5% of the second Rhesus positive infants of Rhesus negative woman, would result in stillbirths or extremely sick babies and many babies who managed to survive would be severely ill. Even higher disease rates would occur in the 3rd and subsequent Rhesus positive infants of rhesus negative woman.

    Dating by Blood Type in Japan
    My Boyfriend is Type B
    Dating by blood type in Japan

    Reply

    1. I’ve really ejoyed your comments. You see things that I see that very few other people seem to see.
      On the Rh side, there is another issue you might consider. Childbirth is difficult. If delivery fails and the mother can’t pass the fetus and there is no surgery available, both mother and fetus will die. Hydrops fetalis makes the fetus swell up. You see where this goes. Rh incompatability can kill the mother. I have a friend who just barely survived this exact problem.

      Reply

  30. “everyone trying to sell you a carpet. in the nicest possible way, mind you! i liked (western) turkey a lot! (^_^)”

    Right, that was my experience in Turkey, too: just about the right amount of pushiness for a nice trip. If you were kind of hungry, there was always somebody inviting you into his restaurant for lunch before you got too hungry, but if you weren’t hungry, they wouldn’t keep it up for long.

    Reply

  31. @Linton Herbert / @ Snoopy / @HBD_chick

    RE: “Its related to speciation ….If two species that are not interfertile share a common ancestor then there must be an instant when an animal is born of the new species that is not interfertile with its peers.”

    Ok, now I understand. I just am not sure I see that it’s the CAUSE of reduced fertility rates in human populations. We know that as people become wealthier they choose to consume rather than raise children. Because as wealth increases, the cost of children increases, and the benefit of children declines rapidly. Children are hard work. They distract you from stimulation and consumption. They interfere with social experimentation. They interfere with status signaling. The interfere with all sorts of interesting experiences. So, wealthy people don’t want more than the minimum necessary to ensure that they ‘didn’t miss out on something’. We’ve known this for a long time.

    So, while I understand the argument you’re making, I don’t have enough information to know wether the human data you’re referencing is some sort of dysgenic infertility or whether it’s simply an expression of demonstrated preference in a high consumption society.

    So I’m not saying I disagree but that Occam’s Razor falls in favor of the economic rather than genetic cause.

    I guess I can agree that it is certainly possible that relatives, with whom we are more familiar and to whom we are more similarly imprinted in our early life, are more attractive mates because we understand and positively associate with them due to imprinting. I can understand that we might have greater access to relations during our fertile awareness period, and therefore increase the chance of familial preference. I can understand that females are highly selective for what they ‘understand’ (feel) and what they ‘understand’ (feel) the best, is that with which they are most familiar: relatives who share all sorts of behavioral, morphological, and conceptual similarities. (And for men somewhat less so — they are less discriminating.) But somehow, for mate selection, the opportunity must exist to signal, and the signals must exist to pass information from one person to the other — and as far as I know the only signals we know of are those that I’ve mentioned.

    Those simple processes certainly seem to explain the behavior of people as education and income increases. There isn’t any need for a genetic cause in order to produce declining fertility. And I don’t think that there is evidence of infertility — that I know of.

    Now, if instead, you’re saying that “a population that demonstrates self-perceived behavioral, morphological, and conceptual superiority to its **available** selection of mates will tend to die out since it has speciated to the point of competitive failure” then I understand that statement. It makes sense: there just aren’t many desirable mates. It’s not that reproduction is impossible, it’s that mate selection is highly limited.

    (I certainly understand that statement. Because personally, I can experience that in my own gene pool — post-aristocratic english-americans. Desirability is very limited for some reason that I don’t understand, just …. feel. As odd as that admittedly sounds to me.)

    Please correct me if I fail to understand something here.

    Thanks

    Curt

    Reply

  32. @hbd chick: I’m not persuaded by your point about western Britain. In many ways the keenest anti-Jacobites were the Scots covenanters, who were concentrated in SW Scotland..

    Reply

  33. @curtd59 says
    “We know that as people become wealthier”

    “human data you’re referencing is some sort of dysgenic infertility or whether it’s simply an expression of demonstrated preference in a high consumption society. ”

    Education and income reduce fertility too, but this is an additional mechanism.

    The graph is from Iceland, which is a small geographic area and relatively homogeneous. It’s better than a study that includes say Singapore and India.

    Education and income reduce fertility too, but this is an additional mechanism.

    “I guess I can agree that it is certainly possible that relatives, with whom we are more familiar and to whom we are more similarly imprinted in our early life, are more attractive mates”

    There is a genetic component too Genetic sexual attraction

    Green-beard effect.
    “1. a perceptible trait — the hypothetical “green beard”;
    2. recognition of this trait in others; and
    3. preferential treatment to those recognized.”

    A genes to be attracted to certain traits would be associated with genes that cause those traits. A peacock has genes to find a fantail attractive in combination with fantail genes.

    “relatives who share all sorts of behavioral, morphological, and conceptual similarities.”

    Which are traits inherited from genes coexisting with genes to be attracted to these traits.

    “There isn’t any need for a genetic cause in order to produce declining fertility”

    Its not to say its the only reason, but an important one.

    Reply

    1. As always I like your perspective. There are a couple of references that might interest you.
      R. Labouriau, A. Amorim Genetics 178 601 (2008).
      R. Labouriau, A. Amorim Science 322 1634 (2008).
      The first demonstrates inbreeding depression in Denmark. IN that study they found that once issues of gene pool size (distance between birth places of a couple and how big a town they lived in) education and income had no effect at all on fertility. This is so contrary to what we here everywhere that nobody seems to pay it any mind, yet unlike others, they have objective numbers. The rest of us usually say, “The poor uneducated have more babies so wealth and education encourage people to choose a smaller family.” Evidently that is simply not so.
      The second demonstrates outbreeding depression in the same population.

      Reply

  34. @LInton Herbert
    Epigenetics seems difficult to understand.
    I think you should switch to a blogger format or install a forum.

    Reply

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I do have a blog, nobabies.net. I get some traffic. I have tried a kind of forum approach but got no interest.
      The reason epigenetics is so opaque is that it is a garbage can category. DNA makes RNA makes polypeptides, make proteins, make tissues. That’s genetic. Any thing that controls this process is called epigenetic and can include karyotype, methylation and ethylation of DNA, location of genes on the chromosome and whatever. However from what I read the bulk of it is “Put a methyl group and a gene and it will depress the function of the gene. This methylation can be inherited from cell to cell and even (oddly) from parent to child including (mind bogglingly) from father to offspring even though the DNA in sperm is demethylated. How that happens is beyond me or anybody I have read. At all events methylation changes are orders of magnitude faster that DNA mutations.
      That’s about all I know about it, except that the fertiltiy effect of kinship seems so labile it should be due the methlation changes. Here’s another reference for you:
      (Elizabeth Pennisi Epigenetics Linked to Inbreeding Depression SCIENCE vol. 333 no. 6049 September 16, 2011 page 1563 reviewing work by a team led by Philippine Vergeer, Hugens Building, Room HG 01.132, Radboud University Nijmegen, Molecular Ecology, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands p.vergeer@science.ru.nl )
      They found that in their kind of plant inbreeding depression was entirely due to methylation effects. It wasn’t “genetic” at all. So my guess is that the same holds for outbreeding depression.

      Reply

  35. @Snoopy (@Linton Herber)

    The problem is, that neither birds nor humans need a genetic cause to produce these behaviors. They only need some degree of memory. Memory allows imprinting. Imprinting causes selection. Selection causes genetic integration.

    For example, the Westermark Effect vs the Nurture Kinship Effect: we demonstrate ‘kinship’ according to cues (signals) that we experienced (learned).

    The only genetic component we need therefore is to favor breeding with familiarity but not over-exposure. Genetic change need be nothing more than the incorporation of genes to which we are familiar enough to make a mating selection, but not so overly familiar that we are participating in risky inbreeding.

    Of course we need instincts for fitness: symmetry, clear skin, longer legs, the shape of the chest, waist ratios, buttock/breasts curves, large eyes. All animals need signals for fitness. But beyond that, for inbreeding we only need a preference for ‘near’ traits and a discomfort with ‘immediate’ individuals, and a discomfort with ‘far’ traits.

    Nothing else is needed to produce the effects.

    And the literature that I can find (quickly) seems to acknowledge this.

    Reply

  36. Humor: Denmark is an outlier. In economics we argue that the moment someone uses a Scandinavian country for some measurement, that nothing of value will ensue. It’s analogous to Godwin’s Law: eventually an argument degenerates until someone mentions hitler. Well in economics and politics, everything eventually degenerates to a discussion of Denmark. But Denmark is a meaningless outlier in social science. It’s a small homogenous protestant germanic country with a monarchy, high trust and high redistribution, with nearly identical peoples on each border, and surrounded by seas. Meaning that everyone is considered ‘family’. in political economy the desire is for larger countries to ‘get to Denmark’. Which is impossible. Because only denmark contains danes.

    Anyway, that said, in almost all european countries, the USA in particular, the upper classes aren’t breeding. In any country that adopts consumer capitalism, breeding in the middle classes and upward falls below replacement levels.

    I can see us incorporating genes BECAUSE of these social and economic factors. I just don’t see us behaving this way DUE to genetic factors. It just doesn’t pass Occam’s razor and any data I’ve seen is correlative not causal. We dont need anything other than vague sensibilities about fitness to produce these outcomes.

    But thank you for trying to explain it to me. :)

    Reply

    1. @Curtis. I like the post about Danes.
      Yesterday I was chatting with a a friend and mentioned the Danish study I have pointed to already, the one that basically says, “Kinship determines fertility. Education and income – choice – have no effect at all.” She replied, “I don’t agree with you.” I was totally weirded out. That’s not opinion. It’s evidence. It’s backed by other evidence and there is no serious contervaling evidence.
      Anyway there wasn’t. But now you point out that that these are Danes. And the other study is Icelanders, who are also Scandanavians. Hmm. Well I still have a thousand studies is animals which show the same thing. Do they count?

      Reply

  37. So, bringing it back to the topic at hand:

    As familiarity increases, morphological (racial) inbreeding increases.
    As morphological homogeneity increases we get greater desirability (cues are more precise)
    As asymmetrical morphology results we get less desirability. (Racial collision points show this, producing permanent underclasses)
    As symmetric morphological traits increase we get more desirability.
    Highly desirable mates are hypergamic across groups, and we get castes.
    None of these create speciation: an inability to reproduce. They can create the inability to produce desirable offspring, if that’s what we mean by speciation.
    Over time we get MIGHT get speciation between desirable and undesirable offspring.

    My objective is different:
    it appears that some portion of a population must have an IQ over about 105 to produce creative ends. Perhaps, to free up enough smart people to produce ideas. To produce contracts. To organize by rules. To accumulate capital. To forgo impulses. To take risks. To invest in a better future.
    I cannot yet tell what percentage that is. It certainly appears to be something over 10%, and I suspect the magic number is something closer to 20%.
    So I see two factors as equally important:
    1) the communalization of society necessary to break tribal bonds
    2) the distribution of intelligence in society so that enough people exist at the high end to create prosperity for all.

    Only one civilization has managed to accomplish both of these: the west.

    And we are destroying 1 and 2 under the auspices that our political institutions are enough of a social infrastructure to make them irrelevant.

    As strategy for success by the selfish genes of the underclasses, it makes perfect sense. Achieve in numbers what you cannot achieve by adaptation. Nature does that far better than manufacture intelligent species.

    Reply

  38. @curtd59
    “Memory allows imprinting. Imprinting causes selection”
    That topic was explored in Saturday Night Live (in the olden days when it was still good).
    SNL The Twilight Zone
    “Rod Syerling V/O: Submitted for your approval: the case of one Miss Janet Tyler, a hideous disfigured woman

    [ Doctor removes Janet’s bandages. Her face is flawless, beautiful in every way. ]

    [ Doctor, Nurse, two Interns turn around to reveal pig faces ]
    Nurse: [ alarmed ] Oh, Doctor.. she’s.. she’s..
    Doctor: She.. is.. hot!

    Janet Tyler: So.. the procedure worked..?
    Intern #2: Damn right it did! You’re a hottie!
    Nurse: No, she’s not! Don’t you get it? We all have pig faces!

    Nurse: And everyone else in the world has pig faces!
    Doctor: [ not interested ] Uh-huh..?
    Nurse: So she’s a freak!
    Intern #1: Except, she’s hot!
    Doctor: Real hot! I’ll be honest.. it’s gonna be hard to go home to my pig-faced wife after seeing her.
    Nurse: Listen.. she’s a freak because she doesn’t look like a pig!

    Nurse: Listen to me! Beauty depends on who holds the standards. Deviation from the norm will always be shunned, no matter what it looks like. Truly.. beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Doctor: Yeah.. but she’s hot!

    Reply

    1. @ sNoOOPy Got story from twilight zone. Just for fun, though, here’s an idea. It has often appeared to me that animals like women. I have seen horses, dogs, cats, manatee, turtles and stingrays going gaga over women but not men. in Wonderful LIfe, there is a picture of the first known vertebrate fossile. The thing has curves, I mean a butt, and it’s not much more than a slug. The only places in nature I see that S curve is on that fossile and on women, who have the same curve everywhere. So as far as vertebrates go, there seems to be a standard of beauty, and it’s only women. (I don’t take this idea very seriously myslef.)

      What I do take seriously is that something is seriously amiss. The birth rate among the ones who can manage a society is just too low. My opinion I won’t repeat, but even ignoring that, something is wrong. How do we fix it?

      Reply

  39. @Linton Herbert:

    RE: “It’s evidence. It’s backed by other evidence and there is no serious countervailing evidence.”

    Actually, as far as I can tell, it’s correlation, which gives us a clue that we must discover the causation behind that correlation. Since the standard of causation for genetic properties, is higher than standard of causation for observable properties, then while genetics may be correlative, observation appears to be causal, and genetics are reflective of behavioral selections rather than causal to them. Or stated more simply: the selection pressure within or without familial relations is a NECESSARY CALCULATIVE PROPERTY of creatures with memories.

    In other words, all KINSHIP mate selection can be accounted for by two preference: imprinting and experience. The biological requires ALSO genetic predisposition’s for fitness (health signals). We cannot ‘feel’ another person’s genes. We can only observe the result of them through physical and behavioral signals.

    Now, this process has the potential of producing ‘speciation’ by a mental bias, rather than by genetic transcription of some sort. So, perhaps the argument is circular at the most abstract level, which is why genetic studies are correlative. But the use of observation would certainly improve discrimination of mates, and therefore be a superior evolutionary bias to that of random proximity based selection for creatures with relatively slow reproductive rates.

    Denmark has the highest total redistribution (equality) in the world, and that equality is achieved in an ethnically homogenous Protestant germanic country surrounded by ‘family’ countries, and ocean, meaning that there are few material or psychological ‘threats’. They are a weak but secure country, which makes population’s pacifist, and which makes them wealthier and more commercial and nurturing (compared to russia for example which is threatened on all sides). In that ‘safe’ highly redistributive population, wealthier people are deprived of money that would encourage them to ‘signal’ their status by consumption, and therefore be more likely to reproduce at average rates. Likewise poorer people would have the ability to experience stimulation if they did not breed as much, and would also put equilibrating pressures on birth rates. ie: homogeneity causes homogenous breeding rates, and heterogeneity causes heterogeneous breeding rates. But economic homogeneity is only possible under cultural and biological homogeneity, because status signaling is cheaper within group than without group, (because races really are signaling hierarchy of desirability).

    So I’m stuck with the fact, that in the absence of a causal relationship, that kinship selection is easier because of familiarity because familiarity makes for easier discrimination of mates, so that selection is a product of familiarity, and familiarity is altered by the mobility and exposure to others in a complex economy. Further, that birth rates are the product of preferential choices in an advanced economy, and that preferential choices are caused by little more than he relationship between one’s ability to consume (wealth) and the experiential stimulation available with that wealth. After all, family is the cheapest entertainment, and society sends a more positive signal to a poor mother, than it does to a poor woman. Unless we change that ONE SIGNAL, and effectively punish fertility in the poor, I don’t see how that can change. And since women are the majority voting block in developed countries, that will not likely happen. Dysgenic results are a consequence of inclusive egalitarian democracy.

    Thanks :)

    Reply

    1. @ Curt: I take all your points well, but two things remain. One is that although familiarity does attract as you say, I do seem to see a lot of beautiful healthy women who obviously have just about arbitrary opportunity to choose a man choosing one that does not look familiar. As for correlation between genes and fertility, the Iceland stats show such tight error bars that it is hard to see how anthing else could be in action while the Danish study rules out choice at least as influenced by income and education – no correlation. Also, the animal studies show precisely the same relationship as the human studies. I think that constitutes evdence.

      Reply

      1. @Linton

        Thank you for your patience.

        I was hoping you could show me that evidence, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

        As such, it’s correlation, and the razor demands that we go with the simpler solution, and that simpler solution also applies to animals.

        I don’t see any evidence that outbreeding violates the principle of the selfish gene – that perpetuation occurs.

        Since social classes are genetically determined, I am not sure that for the lower classes that outbreeding doesn’t provide options inbreeding fails to.

        I do see evidence that there are certain genetic collisions between morphologically different groups, that tends to result in asymmetry (less desirability) without even getting into skin color. (Mongolian/White russians for example)

        I do see evidence that a lack of collisions will sort to higher incidences of traits with higher desirability.

        These different explanations require no complex genetic processes other than those that exist with any other animal: fitness selection, familiarity and proximity. Where familiarity and proximity are products of the economy. Again, simply applying the razor of simplicity, if we have multiple avenues of achieving the same end, then simpler solution will most likely prevail.

        So I don’t see the evidence, until if and when we understand the epigenetic processes well enough that we can prove they’re causal rather than effects. And even then only if they are more influential than the existing selection processes.

        This does not mean that familial selection is does not produce higher desirability with any give GROUP as long as there are reproductive pressures on the lower classes. Or that higher desirability is not valuable to the group. It just means that no genetic solution has yet occurred for evolving a population on large scale with a wider selection of possible mates due to access to a wider population of mates.

        In that case I suspect that humans would develop castes first and speciation from castes is more likely, if and only if given enough time. And I suspect that time is quite long.

        Thank you again for your patience.

      2. @Curt re:I don’t see any evidence that outbreeding violates the principle of the selfish gene – that perpetuation occurs…

        You are absolutely right. That has been called the “Hardy-Weinberg Law.” It means it doesn’t matter how you mix and match, average gene frequency in a population will never change except if there is a selective effect OR a small statistical variation. So once you throw a selective effect in – a “good” gene or a good combination, that trumps everything else. The thing is that the HW law was written before it was realized that there is a strong effect on gene frequency (that is fertility) that depends on kinship (which is another way of saying gene pool size.) If THAT is whay you want evidence of, I have bunches of it. For the rest, we are in general agreement, although I am not quite clear on what you think about the question of why so many pretty girls choose such less attractive men. A posting on “ask cupid” suggeted it’s because they want to attract attention.

  40. @anonymous – “I’m not persuaded by your point about western Britain. In many ways the keenest anti-Jacobites were the Scots covenanters, who were concentrated in SW Scotland.”

    ok. i shall have to keep that in mind while i investigate the mating patterns in scotland further. right now i only have a very vague picture of what the history of mating patterns in scotland has been. clearly the western isles are very “celtic” like — like the irish situation. what i’m not clear about is what happened in either eastern scotland where there was anglo-saxon settlement, or about sw scotland. not sure if sw scotland is part of the “border reveirs” area or not.

    further research is required…. (~_^)

    Reply

  41. @Linton Herbert

    My original point was actually the opposite of a universal standard of beauty. Birds have elaborate plumage patterns, specific styles of songs, elaborate courtship dances.. This causes birds to breed only with their own specific kind.that have these highly unique signals. There may be standards of attractiveness common to all birds like symmetry, health etc., but a symmetrical, healthy penguin will still not breed with a peacock. Even two kinds of birds that would both seem similar to a person would not breed because of some slight difference noticeable only to the birds themselves.

    There would be an association in genes that cause peculiar physical traits and genes for brain wiring to respond to these traits.

    Pigs would find other pigs with pig faces to be beautiful. They would pull out their noses to a point and say “look, I’m an ugly people”. Not real pigs but storybook pigs would.

    Reply

    1. @sNooPY Yes indeed. Quite true. In fact none of those animals I have seen going gaga over women actually were mating with them – unrequited love I guess. But it does strike me that women seem widely attractive to vertebrates and one wonders why. Squirrels and rabbits don’t seem to be attracted to each other in the same way. I suspect that fertility has been a defining issue for humans for a long time.

      Reply

  42. @Linton Herbert

    Possibly the invention of automobiles and their being made affordable to everyone is a cause. And before that you had steam trains.

    In the late 1800’s even if you could only travel by horse the level of development of society was so much higher than the middle ages that common people were very mobile compared to a middle ages peasant.

    Road network more developed. Pony Express. Technologically sophisticated horse drawn carriages with factories to produce them in large numbers. Wells Fargo.

    Technologically sophisticated wooden sail ships like schooners made travel by sea safe and commonplace and not a risky adventure.

    Also compulsory schooling would disrupt pre-existing local family-based social networks. Quilting-bee, barn dance, balls etc.

    Reply

    1. @sNooPy. Absolutley. In fact I have a 1695 map that indicates that the area that could support 100 families was about 6 milles across and had multiple villages. Since everybody walked, and an hour’s commute is about the limit, you your social horizon was less that a hundred families, which the numbers suggest is quite viable long term. The bicycle doubles your speed, quadruples your window of opportunity and gets into a zone where fertility is already being reduced by outbreeding. You don’t need automobiles to get into trouble, although of course they are a great force, and so is compulsory education as you pointt out. My digital copy of the map is too big to email, but you might like seeing it. I could get it onto CD.

      Reply

  43. Anyway, that said, in almost all european countries, the USA in particular, the upper classes aren’t breeding.

    There is a positive correlation between a man’s wealth and his fertility even in developed countries — it’s just that the threshold where that positive correlation starts is far above the middle class level it was during the 1950’s.

    Reply

  44. If you don’t marry cousins (say within fifth or so) your fertility will not allow long term survival.

    Interestingly, genetic studies suggest that two random Ashkenazi share about as much DNA as fourth or fifth cousins.

    Reply

    1. @Bob: Yes the Ashkenazi are similar to each other. Genetically so kin that if it were all about genes they should have a robust fertility rate. But they are dying out. I suspect, (And now this IS theory. Usually I am harping on evdence, but this is unproven and potentially could be proven or disproven) I suspect that the fertility of kinship is mediated through an “epigenetic” effect that changes much faster than genes. They have maintained their identity (oops. Did I say “they?” I probably shouldn’t commit on whether I am one myself. Makes no difference actually.) genetically. But they are still probably not one the whole marrying fifth cousins or closer, and that on present trend will wind up doing more harm to them than all the evil people who hated them ever contrived.
      Epigentics is a complicated subject, but for practical purposes it means methyl groups are attached to DNA and reduce the expression of the DNA. Usally these effects are far less vital than genetic effects of course. Methylation is inhereted from one cell to the next and to a limited degree from one generaton to the next.

      Reply

  45. Like “Existence”, “Causation” is, as Gian-Carlo Rota might have said, a folie. There is only direction of entropy as measured by gradients of correlation.

    It is one of those dirty secrets of philosophy of science.

    Reply

  46. @Eric

    RE: [quote]”Like “Existence”, “Causation” is, as Gian-Carlo Rota might have said, a folie. There is only direction of entropy as measured by gradients of correlation. It is one of those dirty secrets of philosophy of science.”[/quote]

    This is only true in the abstract, special case of relations in the physical universe which exist independently of human action. When instead, we consider that category of relations which depend upon human action, and where action requires information necessary to plan, and where such information is of necessity a generalization of the complexity of the physical universe, and as such where a loss of information is necessitated by such acts of generalization, and where such a loss of information is necessary in order to compose an action which will alter the course of events through a process of heuristic calculation, then by necessity causation consists of a set of actions that are definable individually as categorically certain, and in the aggregate, by observation of those actions, which because of the information loss aforementioned, are distinguishable from the entropic limitations of the physical universe to which calculation and aggregation are impossible concepts.

    This paragraph, should you care to wade through it, answers the question of causation, and most likely imposes sufficient constraints upon the metaphysical nature of existence to reduce both to solvable problems. And it eliminates the problem of determinism as well.

    Science is more simplistic than human cooperation. That is why we solved it first. The universe cannot observe itself, predict it’s own movements, and construct a plan by which it may alter events. It consists of constant categories. The categories used by human beings are limited only by their desired actions, and their desired actions, im permutation, are less limited than those of the physical universe.

    Humans can.

    There is nothing unknowable, only that which is not yet know, or that which the cost of knowing is higher than we wish to pay. Too often we confuse conviction, skepticism and uncertainty, with the motivations of unwillingness and self deception. In which Occams razor yet again provides us with good counsel.

    :)

    Reply

  47. We know that as people become wealthier…

    No, we don’t “know” this. It’s not true. It hasn’t been true historically, and it’s not true today.

    The ground truth of the so-called “demographic transition” is nothing more than replacement of the earlier developing nations by the later developing nations. This is because — in the context of the open borders/global labor arbitrage theocracy combined with birth control technology — the definition of “subsistence wages” no longer includes the high cost of child rearing in more developed nations. The demographic collapse of earlier developing nations is not having the upward pressure on wages among those nations that modern economists predict.

    Modern economic theory is genocide. And yes, I do mean deliberate. This is due to high IQ niche invasion by certain groups with their historic animus toward native intelligentsia.

    Ricardo invoked the distinction between “natural price” and “market price” of labor primarily to argue that a continually expanding economy could continually drive the market demand for labor high enough that the market price would sustainably exceed the natural price. Moreover he invokes decadance among laborers as driving the perceived subsistence price higher and higher. This demoralization of labor continues today in the form of comments that today’s middle class lives like the kings of old. The reality is that men must compete for reproduction among a mating market driven by fertile women, and that in societies that place value on women, mating market demands by fertile women (primarily childless fertile women) is the foundation of the iron law of wages in the modern society. Add females to the labor market with demands for equal wages, as well as birth control, and you have an explosive brew.

    There is a positive correlation between a man’s wealth and his fertility even in developed countries — its just that the threshold where that positive correlation starts is far above the middle class level it was during the 1950’s — that decade hated by Hollywood almost as much as the Nazis the fathers of those middle class families fought in WW II.

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  48. It’s really basic economics:

    The iron law of wages states that in an international labor market wages will fall to the cost of labor’s subsistence. The problem is that the definition of “subsistence” has changed due to the advent of birth control and feminism. “Subsistence” used to, by implication, include reproduction — so you labor costs simply could not decrease below what it cost to obtain a fertile female and keep her happy with her circumstances. With feminism and birth control, the demand for fertile women has gone up — not as reproducers, but as employees. This at the same time land prices, hence home prices, have gone through the roof. This guts a fundamental factor of human happiness for all but those rich enough, or sexist enough (say, Islamics, Orthodox Jews, Mexicans, Hindus and some evangelicals) to be able to afford to keep a woman at home and raise the children.

    The iron law of wages is now destroying the population.

    Reply

    1. @Bob
      RE: “Iron law of wages”
      That’s marxist nonsense, with zero connection to reality. It wasn’t true when he thought of it and it isn’t true today. Even if it had any basis in fact, it would require that zero innovation and zero population change occur in the population and that the entire world operate in stasis.

      The consumption that is possible today is unheard of in history regardless of the fact that so many people cannot find jobs at a wage that they are willing to work. While there are companies that have work whose goods at the point of output do not command market prices sufficient to pay wages at which people are willing to work. Yet consumption prevails. SOCIAL STATUS HAS DECLINED. Not consumption. And it is this obvious loss of social status that is the cause of the debate over “equality”.

      Educated people now have an advantage over their world competitors because of their cultural and formal institutions: corruption is just so much lower, trust is so much higher, institutions are much more predictable, and liquid capital is more readily available. Other societies cannot create this scenario which allows the upper classes to compete with the united states for precisely the reasons that HBD_chik writes about here: they cannot build high trust societies necessary for the fluidity of near frictionless exchange that occurs in the west.

      The economic picture of reality is that we had a temporary period of extreme capture of wealth by labor, which was for the first time, able to participate in a consumer lifestyle because the USA was able to make poor quality products that they could charge a premium for only because it was the only economy left standing after the world wars. This was responsible for the temporary postwar lifestyle of the working classes. Nothing else.

      That advantage no longer exists, so ‘labor’ cannot compete against the rest of the developing world at its current skill level, and the upper (educated) classes cannot produce ENOUGH to carry the weight of the lower classes.

      The finanicialization of the economy over the past sixty years as a means of trying to circumvent this problem is ending since the usa can no longer sell ‘high tech financial products’ because the ‘demand’ for them has disappeared. Demand disappeared because ‘consumers’ of those financial assets found out that they were very poor quality.

      Curt

      Reply

  49. People seem to believe the nonsense that the reason women stop having babies when their economies become “developed” — “The Demographic Transition” — is because the women would rather buy more expensive DVD players or something. The reality is that they are removed from their connection to their source of food, housing and kin networks — all of which are being reversed by welfare state policies designed by politicians that increasingly see themselves as potential alpha males with huge harems. All that has really gone on is the deprivation of monogamous pair bonds to the point that women cut back because they can’t really afford children at a fundamental level.

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  50. Marx didn’t come up with the iron law of wages, and I critiqued the traditional concept and clarified what I meant by it.

    The increase in the cost of real estate, as certainly occurred post-1973, had a huge impact on the total fertility rate. The “McMansion” argument, while appealing, really isn’t adequate. People have been paying huge sums of money, in real terms, for houses no more luxurious than the Levittown “boxes made of ticky tacky”, relative to the prices for those homes in the 1950s.

    An alternate explanation, more in line with “feminism”, as well as the data, is what might be called “household patriarchy” which takes on two basic types:

    Environmentally imposed patriarchy and socially (culturally) imposed patriarchy.

    Basically, if the social status of the male in the household is high, the female will tend to become pregnant by him. This has the benefit of not only explaining the data, but also of plausibility:

    Starting in the 1960’s the social status of males started declining substantially — even more so for white males. Certainly the television had a role to play here — perhaps THE major role. And, certainly, a rise in a woman’s TV commercial-driven expectations of her husband’s earning power would tend to lower his status in the household. But there were other forces lowering masculine household status and some of those forces were also coming over the TV from indifferent, if not hostile, elites located thousands of miles from the affected household.

    The data most interesting are the by-State fertility rates topped by Utah and Alaska. Utah’s Mormonism imposes patriarchy in the household socially by declaring as a matter of religious principle, the husband to be the moral equivalent of Christ in the home. Alaska’s harsh environment imposes patriarchy in the household.

    So — when the real cost of reproduction rises substantially as it did post 1973, and women went into the workplace out of necessity and ideology even more than they did out of avarice during the 1960s, why didn’t we see a further drop in the fertility rates? (We did, by the way, see an increase in the abortion rates peaking about when we would have expected given the entry of the baby boom to early adulthood.) I suspect the answer has to do with what might be thought of as perceived environmental (as opposed to household) capacity for children being so high circa 1980 compared to the 1960s when the Boomers were still children: The adult to child ratio in the 1960s was much lower than it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This may have compensated somewhat for what otherwise would have been an even more severe drop in fertility rate post-1973 (especially early 1980s).

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  51. The real cost of reproduction has changed from the GI generation to the Boomer generation. It’s gone up by a factor of 4 and this during a time when there was a bidding war between corporations and husbands for fertile years of young women. You can ignore the demographic collapse of the US and elsewhere if you like but the rest of the world and the powers that be insisting on open borders aren’t.

    The rest of the world may laugh at the idea of this poverty but poverty must be measured in more than mere material artifacts

    I don’t merely mention fertility and reproduction — I posit it as a better definition of general poverty than aggregate net “assets” and indeed a better definition of general poverty than availability of net assets to young couples.

    The idea that a large number of households own 3 bedroom homes free and clear — hence young women are choosing to not have babies not because of a lack of secure housing but because they are merely trying to have more stuff beyond the necessities, is false.

    The low income people who own their houses free and clear are the GI generation — people who had their children in conditions far more favorable to childbearing not just culturally but monetarily — by a factor of 4 monetarily.

    The claim, commonly made, that the real estate price rise was due an increase in quality of the houses, is belied by the fact that it was primarily the lot value — the land value — that went up in the cost of reproduction. The “McMansion” syndrome, possibly related to “keep up with the Jones” did not dominate the demographic collapse.

    Moreover, give the devil his due here: there was a bidding war between corporations and husbands for the fertile years of the young boomer females and this did contribute to the demographic collapse being exploited by the world via the deracinated elites. And when such a bidding war is going on, basically the fertility of young women is being monetized for an expanded consumer (and taxation) base. But more importantly this monetization of young women’s fertility places them at the mercy of what can be thought of as modern urban harem masters during a period of de facto polygyny (aka “serial monogamy” as said harem masters prefer to call it).

    Part of the problem is that multiple circumstances conspired to destroy the demography of the US — rendering factor analysis very difficult. Such a profoundly destructive miasma of mutually confounding factors — seeming to all emanate from the urban centers of the US within such a short period of time — conceals within it a common factor waiting to be ferreted out by compassionate inductivists.

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  52. The whole point of the “demographic transition” bringing women into the workplace was to provide a higher fertile female to male ratio for management. This is a corporate perk fundamental to the New Economy.

    If housing became as affordable as it was to families during the 1950s, not only would you have another baby-boom, thereby removing the excuse for importing all those nice subservient brown people, but you would have far more fertile women staying HOME and away from their liberation as corporate concubines until downsizing hits them at age 40.

    The managerial elites need to protect their women from the horrors of being left home in marriages made stable by their being barefoot and pregnant and otherwise oppressed!

    Reply

      1. @ Curt “@Linton. Thank you for helping me understand. Curt” Thanks for hanging in there for the rather tedious logic and evidence.. Linton

  53. The economic picture of reality is that we had a temporary period of extreme capture of wealth by labor, which was for the first time, able to participate in a consumer lifestyle because the USA was able to make poor quality products that they could charge a premium for only because it was the only economy left standing after the world wars. This was responsible for the temporary postwar lifestyle of the working classes. Nothing else.

    No. This goes back before WW2, further back than Henry Ford’s mass production of course to Jefferson’s Yeoman Farmer. The reason the Yeoman is the source of wealth should be clear from the fact that that Yeoman is the recipient of his own creativity in the form of, first and most vitally, children — and then wealth. He has every incentive to be inventive and hardworking because he, and his posterity, captures the fruits of his own labor as well as the land rents of his subsistence acreage.

    As what might properly be called “The American Clearances” proceeded during the 20th century, there were a few patriotic industrialists that saw the need to replace the Yeoman’s land with a suitable annuity — but once deprived of his source of economic ground rent, the Yeoman was too vulnerable to the conflict described by Ford as:

    “…the two forces, Industry and Finance, are in a struggle to see whether Finance is again to become the master, or creative Industry.”

    Reply

    1. @Bob re: “Yeoman is the source of wealth should be clear from the fact that that Yeoman is the recipient of his own creativity in the form of, first and most vitally, children — and then wealth. He has every incentive to be inventive and hardworking” The renouned George Washington Carver liked the idea. He called it, “Live at home.” It was the same priniciple. You work your land and eat the produce, selling off anything extra. That way you never are depriving anybody of their own work product nor being deprived. it is also the way my ancestors in western Pennsylvania lived. They made one purchase a year, a piece of fine furniture from Baltimore. Otherwise they grew or made everything the needed. (All right. Maybe they bought thinks like kerosine, but you get the picture.”

      Reply

  54. @Bob re “If housing became as affordable as it was to families during the 1950s, not only would you have another baby-boom”
    Here’s my link: http://nobabies.net/Orlando%20meeting.html
    The evidence there says to me that fertility in humans is not due to economics. We follow the same pattern as other animals. Ferility is due to gene pool size and kinship – more kin more kids – and that’s all. F’rinstance in the 1800’s Germany treated Jews better than anybody else did. They were to a remarkable degree eductateed productive middle class. Then the Germans threw the Jews in to concentration camps. Conditions were as miserable as conditions could be without dying, and of course many died. But the birth rate among them never budged. They went from about as well off as people get to be in substantial numbers to a horribly and unfairly abused as people can get to be. No change in birth rate. The stork doesn’t care.

    Reply

    1. Kin is a genetic concept. Kin proximity is an economic concept — we favor our relations, and we favor our relations out of empathic comprehension, familiarity and imprinting.

      Birth rates are caused by the ability to gain experiences, and the human preference for experiences over obligations, and the discount on effort provided by familial proximity during child rearing — the ability to take risks given our higher consumption.

      If instead, you were correct, then Japan would not have a birth rate problem. Instead, it has the worst birth rate problem in the developed world.

      Birth rates are a property of prosperity, the human desire for ‘relishes’ as Aristotle called them, and proximity to risk-reduction via kin that provides insurance that the higher consumption will not be threatened. The genetic preference here is that we DO bear costs on the part of our kin that we would not bear for strangers. That is a demonstrably true bit of genetic influence.

      Again. Simple issues. Genes cannot measure economies, and could never have predicted the current state of affairs.

      It may not be obvious but your theoretical construct would require a sentient being, a god, or that evolution be directed rather than a random expression of local circumstances caused by selection.

      Reply

      1. @curt. “Kin is a genetic concept. Kin proximity is an economic concept” From what I can tell, genes aren’t that important in fertility. By and large the world over there are good genes and bad ones. The good genes you can mix and match at will and never have a problem. Bad ones ave very rare and get removed, more quickly if there is inbreeding. I follow the logic that there can be bad combinations of good genes, and would not reject it out of hand, but such an effect is not visible in the evidence I have seen. I ackowledge that you understand “kin proximity” as being economic, and that is quite logical. However my use of something you might call “kin proximity” is the number of ancestors a couple shares going back ten generations, as in the Icelandic study. You can use the term both ways, and I am sorry I don’t have a term that means what I want to say and excludes other meanings.

        “It may not be obvious but your theoretical construct would require a sentient being, a god, or that evolution be directed rather than a random expression of local circumstances caused by selection.” By no means. It’s epigentic. Nothing spooky about it at all. The reason this unhappy state of affairs evolved is because a large random mating population will, over thousands of generations, get wiped out by speciation effects. Go on. Take a look at the Orland poster. It’s too big to post here, and a bit tiresome I’m sorry so say, but scan down it to the diagrams with the yellow chromsomes. You’ll see what I mean.

        I must say it is heartening that you take such an interest. May I be so bold as to conclude that we agree that it really does matter why there are more babies sometimes and fewer others? Few care.

  55. @LInton Herbert
    “you your social horizon was less that a hundred families, which the numbers suggest is quite viable long term.”

    That’s the conscious policy of the various Anabaptist sects, who have record high birth rates.

    Mennonite Colonies
    “…1870…immigrated to Russia…The colonists formed villages of fifteen to thirty families”

    Life in a Hutterite Colony
    “…found a new colony when the existing colony reaches a critical mass of 120-130”
    But I think they never marry within a colony, but they would probably marry into a neighboring colony.

    Hutterite Families – Fertility
    “They documented that from 1880 to 1950, the Hutterites grew from 443 to 8,542 persons. This represents an annual increase of 4.12 percent, which appears to be the world’s fastest natural growth rate.”

    Reply

  56. @Linton

    RE: “For the rest, we are in general agreement,”
    now that I understand you I think I agree.

    RE: “…although I am not quite clear on what you think about the question of why so many pretty girls choose such less attractive men. ”

    Having been lucky to have been with very attractive women in my life, this is the reason:
    1) Women need to understand a man, and they understand what they are familiar with. ie: iq, class, culture, and value judgments.

    2) Women are not as visually selective as men are. They select for behavior as much as for physical appearance. Alpha traits in males come in many flavors. The expression of those traits is what women desire. Men have a high tolerance for the ‘crazy factor’ in women as long as they remain physically attractive. Women do not demonstrate this same preference.

    3) Men are naturally promiscuous because reproduction places no cost on them. Women are aware of this, and eschew men that they cannot control. A woman wants a man that she can control via emotions. That is her power. that is how she maintains his resource provision. (Even if that resource provision is limited to status signaling for the woman for no other purposes than demonstrating that she is not single and therefore undesirable.) Remember that marriage is an artificial construct that is part of agrarian life. Women have a very different mating strategy: capture the best alpha genes they can, then capture resources from betas in exchange for sex. As an evolutionary process it must be obvious how advantageous this conflict of mating behaviors is for human beings. Sex is both used as a means of reproduction and as a means of resource concentration. Alpha males largely have such a sex drive for the sole purpose of preventing other males from having sex. Beta males desire sex badly enough that they will exchange resources for it. ie: our drives do not have similar purposes. Men are nature’s sandbox. We are disposable. that’s why we vary more than women do in all abilities.

    4) Just as men thing women are incredibly ‘dumb’ about mechanical processes and political processes, women thing men are incredibly dumb regarding non-verbal communication. Just as dog’s sense of smell is 50,000 times more powerful than that of a human female, a human female is many orders of magnitude more sensitive to behavioral cues than their male counterparts (If they weren’t non-verbal children would lead to our rapid extinction.) Women live in a much more ‘informationally dense’ world than we do. This is where (to us) their very odd language around ‘energy’ comes from. The very concept of something radiating out of someone is ridiculous. But in practical terms, women actually FEEL as though information radiates out of other humans, because it affects them precognitive. For men, the only similar experience is music, which conveys emotions which we then later process. Women live in that kind of world. A world to which heterosexual males are largely color blind. We lack the senses for it. We gave them up in exchange for our emphasis on external processes: being warriors, specialists, tool makers and hunters.

    I tease women when they say that men treat them as objects by replying that that’s nothing special, all we can conceive of is objects. That’s our very purpose. We empathize with tools, processes and abstract concepts the way women do with people. And it’s useful for us to do that.

    And the effeminate males who don’t think that way, are just that — less masculine. :)

    Reply

    1. @ curt. Well said. I have often wondered abou that, tool use I mean. By and large I can put my hands on a tool or machine and my hands and the tool have this little moment of handshaking as it were. Then we become one object. The tool becomes an extension of my will, part of my body. And I say, “How do I do that?” My nanny told me that when I was two or three, if something broke down they would bring it to me and I would fumble with it and then it would work just fine.

      On the marriage thing, “Remember that marriage is an artificial construct that is part of agrarian life” I do have a line of evidence that is probably not germain but I find interesting. As it turns out that with regards to immune systems there are two kinds of species of primates. They have strong ones or weak ones with nothing in between. Those with strong ones are wildly pormiscuous; those with weak ones are not promiscuous. Presumably evolution has tuned behavaior and immune strenth to two different strategies, both quite viable. Humans have the weak kind of immune system. We are not evolved for casual sex. Suppose your neighbor comes over and says he is afraid a memeber of his houshold may have given a member you your household a sexually transmitted disease. You probably assume that this is not going to be a good day. Then he mentions that he is talking about the dogs, and you laugh. Dogs have the robust immune system to match their uninhibited socialization. I have only heart of one STD that affects dogs, and it is rare. Humans dozens. So marriage may be new, but fidelity is very old.

      On the whole I see what you mean about mate selection. Women and men face different prospects and employ different strategies. And I don’t see that changing, even though our present trajectory seems doomed.

      Reply

  57. @ curt again

    Sorry. I forgot to mention Japan, an authenic bit of evidence, and I should not ignore it. As you say, 1) By an large Japanese only marry Japanese. 2) Japanese have a catastrophically low birth rate. The implied conclusion is that marrying within your ethnic group does not assumre fertility- and I agree. To have viable fertility you have to marry kin, like fifth or sixth cousins or something or closer. Japan has become urbanized. The villiages consist of all old people, and lonely ones at that. All the kids have moved into town. They mey keep track of their ancestors, but it appears that they are not marrying other kids from the same village. Hence their decline.
    In South America it is a little different. By and large people live in town, but every weekend they go right back to the home village and socialize there. It isn’t working all that well, but they are doing better than Japan.

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  58. @ Linton Herbert re “F’rinstance in the 1800′s Germany treated Jews better than anybody else did. They were to a remarkable degree eductateed productive middle class. Then the Germans threw the Jews in to concentration camps. Conditions were as miserable as conditions could be without dying, and of course many died. But the birth rate among them never budged. They went from about as well off as people get to be in substantial numbers to a horribly and unfairly abused as people can get to be. No change in birth rate.”

    It’s well established that the Jewish birth rate hence population exploded following Jewish emancipation in Europe.

    W.D. Hamilton (and probably others as well) suggested that this explosion and the subsequent heavy presence and indeed domination of certain niches by Jews ultimately was a major impetus to the Nazi response.

    Reply

    1. @ Tomislav “It’s well established that the Jewish birth rate hence population exploded following Jewish emancipation in Europe.” I did not know that. It makes sense. My gut feel is that when you release a population from being inbred to a sufficeint degree you would get a population exposion for at least a generation or so. The fall only would come later. So I am ready to believe it. But it will require much thought on my part. Thanks.

      Reply

  59. Some of the comments above have alluded to assortive mating.

    In ecologically stable demes, there is a tendency for assortive mating i.e. like to mate with like thereby preserving existing genetic diversity that has coevolved in the deme. However this is apparently disrupted with demic encroachment due to the Major Histocompatibility Complex gene effects on immunity and pathogen spread.

    There has been some work done on the Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC) genes and sexual attraction.

    MHC is the group of genes that exhibit the most variation among humans apparently because it mediates disease resistance.

    In a Swiss experiment a group of students were MHC typed and then the males were asked to wear a shirt for a couple of days without washing so as to acquire their smell. The females were then presented with the various resulting odors and asked to rate them on their sexual attraction. The study found a correlation between sexual attraction and MHC distance between the male and female based on odor.

    It was hypothesized that the attraction by the females may have been due to an evolved preference for males that would produce children with enhanced disease resistance.

    An obvious consequence of this is that males would tend to exhibit literal “wander-lust” and do just about anything they had to in order to be admitted to the “turf” of another deme.

    A not-so-obvious consequence is that gene-flow and pathogen-flow are correlated. If a deme has gone through a longer and/or more intense coevolution with a wider variety of pathogens, it will tend to carry those pathogens and its males will find it advantageous to exhibit “wander-lust”. However, males from more isolated demes will find “wander-lust” not so advantageous and possibly even suicidal.

    Reply

    1. @ tomislav “The study found a correlation between sexual attraction and MHC distance between the male and female based on odor. ” Yes I have read that and it certainly makes sense. Gene diversity might well include innate diversity of pathogen resistance. No point of having overkill for one type of germ and neglecting another. Your observation that increased pathogenflow parallels increased gene flow is most astute. There is much to ponder here.

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  60. These MHC genes are a major unconscious genetic driver of behavior, and likely have a major influence on human sexual behavior.

    The MHC genes are the group of genes that most differentiates human populations and also happen to be the group that is most involved with your body’s ability to differentiate between self and non-self — friend or foe identification. This is because different populations tend to have different diseases — and some populations — particularly those in old habitats or those in high traffic trade centers, will have more diseases.

    As mentioned, experiments have shown that females are unconsciously sexually stimulated by the mere presence of men with MHC genes different from their own.

    The best theory to explain this instinctive sexual arousal by women is the fact that if a foreign male is allowed into the physical presence of fertile females of her tribe, it is likely that the diseases of his tribe will not be far behind and will, without the foreign male’s immunities, possibly exterminate the female’s tribe. The further removed the male’s tribe is from the female’s the less likely the female’s tribe will have immunity to the foreign diseases.

    Further, if the foreign male is from an older population, particularly with high population density, the need to acquire the foreign male’s immunity may be quite urgent since both the variety and sophistication of his tribe’s pathogens may be greater than her tribe’s.

    In the modern environment, where we have medical treatments for many forms of disease, the female’s instincts may not be as adaptive as they once were, but there are examples of diseases, such as TB, where multi-drug resistant strains are evolving and to which certain blood groups, such as type B, are known to have greater immunity than others.

    Reply

  61. As to memes:

    In the long term, memetic capacity is only allowed by the supporting genetic structures to the extent that the “reprogrammability” is compatible with genetic viability. It is clear that memes can be pathogenic, just as can biological pathogens. Memes have been around for far longer than the 50 generations E.O. Wilson claims is necessary to exert profound selective pressure on a population. Therefore, it would be surprising indeed, if there were no selective pressure placed on genes based on the resistance they confer to pathogenic memes. For example, if a suicide or homosexuality meme passes through a population, it will tend to select for genes that override memetic programming in those areas. This is a bit like a computer system that reverts to a ROM program when its “watch dog process” detects a pathological condition arising from its RAM state.

    The ancestral environments that tended to produce the greatest memetic competition are those that also produced the greatest genetic coevolution with biological pathogens — centers of trade. So such cultures would tend to exhibit greater resistance to pathogens, both biological and memetic, and would produce males that exhibit the most “wander-lust” even as they spread genetic and memetic pathogens to populations in which they find sexually receptive females and a great need for medical, religious and/or psychological assistance from healthy individuals.

    Reply

    1. @Tomislav “environments that tended to produce the greatest memetic competition are those that also produced the greatest genetic coevolution with biological pathogens — centers of trade.” One does think about the American Indians and their vulnerability to the dieases from Europe. On the other hand nowadays it is the poor tropical countries that bear a greatest disease burden, while the rich North is in booming health (if you can ignore obesity.) It reminds me of the joke: “Humans descended from insectivors that were around at the time when insects were biting dinosaurs. Birds, which humans eat, descened from dinosaurs and now eat insects and insects bite us. I wonder when we all stopped and started running the other direction. ” Yes, I know. Modern plumbing. But I still feel a little ill at ease on the issue.

      Reply

  62. RE: Japan
    So are you saying that somehow mates are less desirable in urban areas? Maybe I’m reading into what you’re saying. But the problem with urban life is an inability to form relationships, because relationships require mutual dependence, and mutual dependence requires mutual benefit, and mutual benefit requires some sort of unfulfilled need. People in urban areas have far lower opportunity costs. People are less valuable to them because they are less scarce, and resources are more plentiful. So I can’t get around the fact that the decline in breeding is purely driven by a lack of adaptation to urban environments, and material plenty, where interdependence is difficult to produce because interdependence is less necessary.

    I don’t see that our genes account for this. It’s a byproduct.

    Reply

    1. @ curt “So are you saying that somehow mates are less desirable in urban areas?” By no means. Growing up I had rural as well as urbanized friends. The city slckers were much more attractive; better complections, more sociable, better dressed of course. But in the village your are almost guaranteed to find a mate sufficienlty kin so that your children and grandchildren will be adequate in number. That is just about impossible in the city. As I’ve said, it’s epigenetic, not genetic. I was at a genetics conference about a week ago and a waggish lecturer said, “If you can’t figure what’s going on, just say, ‘It’s an epigenetic effect,’ ” but still I’m standing by my theory. Yes the epigenetic mechanism is unproven theory. I have evidence, but it is not published. The kinship-fertility effect is proven I think beyond reasonable doubt and documented in high end peer reviewed literature. I have the references, but I think I have steered you toward them before.
      So far as being adapted to urban life, there are two sides to that. Most animal I see would get along fine in my house, given access to the running water and the food in the refrigerator. We have made an enviornment that is quite desirable and not just for humans. Insects that wander in seem to prefer to starve inside rather than go back to the perils outside. On the other hand (this I think was posted a long time ago on nobabies.net) it appears to be the case that schizophrenia is much more common in cities than in rurual areas. In fact growing up in a rural setting protects one against the condition even if one then moves to a city. My impulse is so cry, “See there! Mixing genes (or maybe epeigenetic markers) makes you insane!” but since I have no other evidence I think I would be fairly shouted down.

      Reply

  63. @LInton Herbert
    “The good genes you can mix and match at will and never have a problem.”

    But genes don’t act in isolation, they come in matched groups that cooperate with each other.
    And there isn’t good genes so much as good gene combinations.
    A gene for a big eyeball would be coadapted with a gene for a big eye socket. A small eyeball in a small eye socket would also work. However, a hybrid with a big eyeball and a small eye socket would be less functional. ref.

    Also jaw size and teeth.
    The Heritability of Malocclusion: Part 2. The Influence of Genetics in Malocclusion
    “craniofacial abnormalities are not monogenic disorders and are produced by a combination of many genes”
    …Many components are involved in normal occlusion. … size of the mandible … number of teeth present
    …There is dental anthropological evidence that population groups that are genetically homogeneous tend to have normal occlusion.
    …Melanesians of the Philippine islands, malocclusion is almost non-existent.
    …in heterogeneous populations, the incidence of jaw discrepancies and occlusal disharmonies is significantly greater.
    …Stockard … breeding experiments with dogs… He concluded that individual features of the craniofacial complex could be inherited according to Mendelian principles independently of other portions of the skull, and that jaw size and tooth size could be inherited independently,”

    Evidence of a Large-Scale Functional Organization of Mammalian Chromosomes
    “clusters of functionally related genes.”
    “coinheritance of optimal sets of alleles”
    “Recombination that disrupts the preferred combinations of alleles reduces the ability of offspring to survive further inbreeding.”
    “genes that cooperate…are often clustered together on chromosomes”
    “a million generations…to develop coadapted sets of alleles… . Laboratory matings arbitrarily scrambled these combinations.”

    Reply

    1. @ sNoOOpy “But genes don’t act in isolation, they come in matched groups that cooperate with each other.” Thank you. Wow. I had heard something of the sort in terms of teeth needing to match mandible. And indeed that concept has influenced my thinking, although having heard so little about it in recent years I had begun to question it in spite of the logic. Your knowledge is, as usual, very impressive and I much appreciate your liniing up the data.
      Of course what is reasonably visible must, like the iceberg tip, be a small fraction and not the most important part. It is the ice under the water that puts a hole in your hull below waterline.
      The discussions of genes I see seem to follow the “Selfish Gene” assumption. Each gene promotes only itself. This gets extended into other fields, so that human cooperation is taken as a sign of weakness. This exasperates me beyond words. Cooperating is just about what genes to best. And in other systems, although competition is undeniable, it seems to be too readily dismissed.
      So thanks for restoring the balance. My brain feels better.
      There is a subtly here that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s something like this. One interpretation could be, “Right. Let’s all cooperate. We will maintain what we have left of cultural and biological structure because those elements have developed in a way so they can cooperate” OR “Right. Let’s cooperate. We will dump all our biological anc cultural diversity into one sump so every combination becomes possible.” So just saying, “Cooperate” does not make matters clear.

      Reply

  64. @LInton Herbert says
    “less that a hundred families, which the numbers suggest is quite viable”

    This has been the conscious policy of the various Anabaptist sects.

    Mennonite Historical Atlas
    “Paraguayan… 238 inhabitants … 180 inhabitants … 137 people … 125 settlers”

    The German Colonists in New Russia
    “The average colony in Berdiansk county, for example, consisted of 50 [farms];”

    Life in a Hutterite Colony
    “founding a new colony when the existing colony reaches … 120 – 130 people”


    “from 1880 to 1950, the Hutterites grew from 443 to 8,542 persons. This represents an annual increase of 4.12 percent, which appears to be the world’s fastest natural growth rate.”

    Reply

    1. @ sNooPy re: “LInton Herbert says “less that a hundred families, which the numbers suggest is quite viable” This has been the conscious policy of the various Anabaptist sects.” Wow. Moreover in the book Savage Imagination Robin Fox calculates the stage at which a traditional society will divide it’s population. I haven’t got the number at hand, but the degree of kinship where the population splits, going two seprate ways, is just about the degree of kindhip calculated in the Iceland study where the decline in fertility with decreasing kinship has the steepest slope.

      Reply

  65. @omislav
    “There has been some work done on the Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC) genes and sexual attraction.”

    A MHC with more alleles will give resistance from a greater variety of diseases. But if you have too many resistances you interfere with the production of T-cells. A too outbred MHC with too many alleles would have a weaker immune system than one with the ideal number of alleles.

    @omislav “correlation between sexual attraction and MHC distance between the male”
    People can be closely related and still have dissimilar MHC.

    Lifetime reproductive success is maximized with optimal major histocompatibility complex diversity
    “disadvantageous to have too many different MHC alleles.
    …each time a distinct MHC molecule is added to the individual MHC repertoire, all T-cell clones that can recognize self-peptides bound to that molecule must be removed in order to maintain self-tolerance. This process of negative T-cell selection can prevent an efficient adaptive immune response if an individual has too many different MHC alleles”

    In the nose of the beholder: are olfactory influences on human mate choice driven by variation in immune system genes or sex hormone levels?
    “there is an inverse relationship between MHC diversity and T-cell repertoire; an individual with all the MHC molecules required to respond to all potential pathogens would probably have no T-cells left to respond to them due to self-reactive T-cells.
    …intermediate numbers of allele matches conferred the greatest fitness, with females choosing optimal rather than maximally heterozygous partners.
    …interpreted their results as suggesting that women are attracted to a small, intermediate number of HLA matches, which prevents the loss of locally adapted gene complexes and provides the optimal balance between inbreeding and outbreeding. ”

    Does intra-individual major histocompatibility complex diversity keep a golden mean?
    “This suggests that selection may disfavour individuals with high MHC diversity.
    …there is a selective force acting against high MHC diversity in individuals.
    …high intra-individual MHC diversity may result in a depletion of the mature T-cell repertoire

    Reply

    1. @ sNoOOPy re “A MHC with more alleles will give resistance from a greater variety of diseases. But if you have too many resistances you interfere with the production of T-cells. A too outbred MHC with too many alleles would have a weaker immune system than one with the ideal number of alleles.”

      Wow. Fantastic. Thanks for clarifying that.
      btw Is there nothing you don’e know?
      Linton

      Reply

  66. @sNoOOPy“Possibly the invention of automobiles and their being made affordable to everyone is a cause. And before that you had steam trains.”

    @linton“In fact I have a 1695 map that indicates that the area that could support 100 families was about 6 milles across and had multiple villages. Since everybody walked, and an hour’s commute is about the limit, you your social horizon was less that a hundred families….”

    certainly modern transport has enabled some serious outbreeding since prolly the 1800s (steam trains/ships, etc.).

    but don’t forget that some medieval populations managed to outbreed over quite long distances without the benefit of modern transportation methods apparently simply because they thought it was important/necessary (’cause of church doctrine) to outbreed.

    Reply

    1. @hbd chick. “but don’t forget that some medieval populations managed to outbreed over quite long distances without the benefit of modern transportation methods apparently simply because they thought it was important/necessary (’cause of church doctrine) to outbreed.” Absolutely. As you suggest, the enthusiasm for outbreeding remains a puzzle. Saying “church doctrine” doesn’t help. That just means that there were enthusiasts in the church. The greater puzzle is the contemporary enthusiasm for outbreeding. We are right here and now and I cannot fathom it. The science is all on one side saying “Watch out.” But nobody can bear to look at the evidence.

      Reply

  67. @HBD_Chick, @Linton, @Snoopy

    But, in the end, are inbreeding and outbreeding ‘good’ or ‘bad’? I”m not sure I follow your reasoning.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    1. @Curt. “But, in the end, are inbreeding and outbreeding ‘good’ or ‘bad’?” That’s the right question. Pardon me for screaming but YES! The answer is yes. Inbreeding and outbreeding are ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It’s just like every other single solitary thing in life. You can have too much and you can have too little. That is the secret of the ages. That is the Tree of LIfe. That is what has made the difference between the horrors of history and reaching the stars. The balance – the size of the best gene pool whether for population stability or growth – turns out to be at a point orders of magnitude smaller than the common sense of it. But precious few concede that there is a balance point at all.

      Reply

    1. @Curt “Please help me understand a) boundaries large and small. b) impact of exceeding the boundaries.”

      Thanks for a chance to try to explain. There are 3 ways to approach it. Short and cost a few bucks; long but free; ideal but cumbersome.
      If you want to go to sciencemag.com and spend a few dollars you can get a copy of an article done a few years back. There’s lots of other evidence, but this one is the best. [An Association between Kinship and Fertility of Human Couples Agnar Helgason et al. SCIENCE vol. 329 no. 5864 February 8, 2008 page 813 – 816]

      The free approach is to look at a poster I presented to a genetics meeting in Orlando last year. Here is the link: http://nobabies.net/Orlando%20meeting.html

      But I presented a poster more recently, earlier this year, to a genetics meeting in Sydney, Australia. That would be ideal, but I have not put it up on the internet yet. It contains publishable material, and one is supposed to guard that. However I would be more than happy to send it to you as an attachment to an email. You can email me at mlherbert@aol.com or at into@nobabies.net. I promise to guard your address and not to harass you.

      But very briefly this is the pitch. 1) Because speciation only takes a couple thousand generations and because of the way chromosomes are passed along, a population of a thousand or so would be wiped out by speciation effects if you waited long enough, 2) Evolution has been around a long time and has impossed a mechanism that limits population size by reducing fertilty of a population if average kinship fall too low = population gets to big. 3) This effect is visible when you compare kinship and fertility in humans and animals (as in the article cited as well as other refererences in the poster.) This is observation. The theory is that it is epigenetic. 4) Societies seem to perish at about 300 years if they make it that long. This is an observation. The theory is that the damage is done by the infertility mentioned in “3” above.

      So the upper boundary of random mating long term population size is probably a thousand or fewer. the lower boundary of population size is where average kinship falls below, say, third cousins or maybe 30 or 40. I am not even sure whether “average” shoujld be arithmetic mean or geometric mean. Geometric I should think. Whole new horizons of my own limitations open before me.

      Impact of exceeding the limits is the same in any case. Insufficient fertility for long term suvival.

      Thanks again for asking such good questions.

      Reply

  68. OK. I get it. If there isn’t enough inbreeding then there is no way for the genes to check for errors. If there is too little diversity, then there is no room for experimentation. We don’t know the top and bottom numbers, but it’s probably open to estimation. The net effect is that we must remain somewhat tribal to persist as a species. If that is true it has profound import for political philosophy.

    What has happend, just this year and last, is that the group of people, and the remaining anti-eugenic sentiment from WWII is expiring, and the new research into political discord is demonstrating biologically determined viewpoints mandate permanent division. (which is obvious, to most of us.) However, egalitarian universalism must expressly deny those facts, since they’re contrary to their narrative.

    The difficulty is that high trust societies are necessary for high economic productivity and it’s clear that high trust societies originate when we break tribal bonds.

    So the problem we run into, is that ‘small is good’. Ie: that the small nation state is viable as both a biological and political entity and that the empire (federalism) is not viable. Because people are demonstrably not redistributive across cultural and racial boundaries.

    This fits with the political theory that ‘big is bad and small is good’ except for one thing: the ability of a monetary union to finance war, and to provide insurer of last resort functions. And while the fist is a good thing to lose, the second is not.

    Thanks for the update. I will email you and ask for your poster/presentation. I”ll also download the existing presentation and the article you referenced. We know certain things about human cooperation. If we can ground it in genetic necessity then, at least for my side of the fence, the political problem of ‘getting to denmark’ is a lot easier. That is, except for the people in washington and brussels who feed off the state. :)

    Thanks
    Curt

    Reply

  69. Hmmm… Ok, so I read the paper. It’s not conclusive. It doesn’t really tell us much. We know for example, that the most attractive females will leave the countryside, move to a city, and delay marriage, and childbearing under the hope that they will snare an alpha male, despite the fact that there is more competition from other women, in the vicinity., and they would have their choice back home. But we also know that women prefer to be surrounded by ‘plenty’, and are more concerned with the opinions of other women than they are those of men — which, for the upper third of women, are commodities. We know that the selection of men that remains local is larger, but because of the distribution of IQ in men being wider, the upper group of women. We know that in cities there are more forms of status seeking and entertainment. We know that in the countryside a family is the primary source of status seeking and entertainment. We know that familial entertainment is cheap (just watch recent immigrants hang together). We know that the most talented people leave the countryside first. (IQ flight). And that this has been going on for 150 years now. We know that moving to a city, if you’re above average, means a pretty big (15%-20%) increase in quality of life for you, or more.

    So, I keep coming down to the fact that all I can see so far is socioeconomic functions showing up in genetic relationships, not genetic relationships causing fertility rates. Not that the broader theory you’ve outlined to me isn’t true, but this report doesn’t really show us anything that isn’t more easily explained by the increase in available choices during the past century and a half.

    We do know that outbreeding leads to greater morphological variance that is less likely to produce symmetry, and therefore desirability. We know that racial outbreeding tends to produce intermediate social classes, and often (not always) less desirability for some and more for others, depending upon one’s group membership.. We know that more desirable women tend to have more children. (and they know it.)

    Now, I do agree that selective breeding in with near relatives within the middle and up classes will produce a superior distribution — like you suggest in england and greece and elsewhere. WE know that the advantage in IQ in the UK is almost entirely in the middle class (what we would call upper middle class) and that there is not much rotation in and out of it.

    I do believe the manorial system artificially constrains the birth rates of the poor. (As would the corporation without redistribution via government.). And therefore increases the median IQ of a population leading to superior norms, with lower friction transactions. But so far, I think all of these factors are the product of environmental cues and natural reaction to opportunity, rather than genetic influences upon our selective preference for family members — other than, as I’ve said before, what can be governed by familiarity.

    I would very much like to see some evidence that I can use if it’s out there… :) Maybe your other work will help me. I’ll wait for it.

    Thanks. :)

    Reply

  70. @linton – “Saying ‘church doctrine’ doesn’t help. That just means that there were enthusiasts in the church. The greater puzzle is the contemporary enthusiasm for outbreeding. We are right here and now and I cannot fathom it.”

    no. saying “church doctrine” doesn’t help, does it? ’cause it doesn’t explain why people would want to follow this strange doctrine.

    i can actually understand the contemporary enthusiasm for outbreeding because i think that nw european populations are so outbred (after several hundred years of outbreeding) that they’ve (we’ve, altho i’m from a rather inbred european population (~_^) ) lost a lot of the sense of attraction to close-ish family members precisely because we don’t share so much genetic material with them anymore.

    what i’m thinking of is genetic sexual attraction: people are most attracted to other individuals with whom they share a lot of genetic material, but there are mechanisms like the westermarck effect which help us avoid too much inbreeding.

    imagine, then, how attracted the members of a slightly inbred population (say your ideal population where everyone marries fourth- or fifth-cousins) are to one another. everyone in that population is going to feel greater attraction to their fourth- and fifth-cousins than the outbred nw europeans will since they share more genetic material with their cousins than we do to ours. see what i mean?

    nw europeans are probably not so attracted to their family members as individuals in inbred populations are simply because they are not so related to their family members.

    so, i can understand why nw europeans/americans today aren’t big into marrying their cousins, but i have a hard time grasping how the change over to outbreeding happened in late antiquity/the early medieval period. i can only imagine that it was a matter of 1) coercion from the powers that be, and 2) herd behavior — following what everyone else was doing because christianity was the latest, hottest new trend.

    Reply

  71. @curt – “But, in the end, are inbreeding and outbreeding ‘good’ or ‘bad’?”

    nope. you’re right. there is no “good” or “bad” in this. as far as Ma Nature is concerned, the only way to keep score is by tallying up who reproduces the most, so right now the han chinese seem to be in the lead. (^_^)

    however, if you want to try to build a modern society with institutions based upon trust between individuals, yada, yada, yada, then some amount of outbreeding might be good … at least i think.

    the problem then, though, is runaway outbreeding. like you said:

    “The difficulty is that high trust societies are necessary for high economic productivity and it’s clear that high trust societies originate when we break tribal bonds.”

    so, you’ve got to break the tribal bonds to get to a high trust society and high economic productivity (unless you have a lot of oil); but if you break the tribal bonds too much, then everyone’s only looking out for their own interests and society comes apart at the seams. plus, i think pretty likely, you have linton’s problem of not enough babies, so then perhaps you don’t even have a society at all.

    can’t help but think of the roman empire whenever i consider this big picture.

    Reply

  72. @linton & curt – “An Association between Kinship and Fertility of Human Couples Agnar Helgason et al. SCIENCE vol. 329 no. 5864 February 8, 2008 page 813 – 816”

    added the pdf of this paper to the bottom of the post above. shhhhhhh! don’t tell anybody. (^_^)

    Reply

    1. @hbd chick “added the pdf of this paper” I shall take your secret to the grave. I have truly enjoyed this debate. One major strength is that issues are considered over multiple centuries. Nowadays that is all too rare.

      Reply

  73. @linton – “I shall take your secret to the grave.”

    (^_^)

    @linton – “I have truly enjoyed this debate.”

    me, too! except i kinda missed it ’cause of my easter break! i have to sit down and read this thread one of these evenings. from what i can see, you guys brought up some really interesting stuff! (^_^)

    Reply

  74. @curtd59
    “outbreeding leads to greater morphological variance that is less likely to produce symmetry”

    This book on the inheritance of traits might be of minor interest. Various pure-breeds of dogs were crossed in different combinations (such as German shepherd and Basset Hound) and the resulting mutts were compared to their parents. The study lasted multiple generations with various back-crosses. Measurements of many different bones were recorded. Thyroid and pituitary structure was studied. Behavioral tests were conducted.

    Book has pictures of mutt litters showing inheritance of traits. Magnified cross sections of thyroid and pituitary shows a different cellular structure in different breeds.

    “The genetic and endocrinic basis for differences in form and behavior : as elucidated by studies of contrasted pure-line dog breeds and their hybrids (1941)”
    at archive.org
    PDF version is slow but has lots of pictures. Full Text is only 1.2 M.

    Reply

  75. @LInton Herbert

    Some interesting thoughts from 1889 by a friend of Darwin regarding infertility as a means to preserve useful adaptations.

    Wallace effect

    DARWINISM
    by ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE 1889

    “…the infertility…of incipient species would be useful to them when occupying the same…areas, by neutralising the effects of intercrossing,
    …Mr. Darwin tells us that, at one time, this appeared to him probable,
    …case to consider…two…varieties of a species, occupying an extensive area, are in process of adaptation to somewhat different modes of life within the same area.
    …If these two forms freely intercross with each other, and produce mongrel offspring…less perfectly adapted to the conditions of existence than either of the pure breeds;
    …let us suppose that a partial sterility of the hybrids between the two forms arises,…these hybrids will not themselves increase so rapidly as the two pure forms; and as these latter are…better suited to their conditions of life than are the hybrids
    …natural selection would preserve those portions of the two breeds which were most infertile with each other,
    …hybrid offspring…less adapted to the conditions of existence than either of the pure forms.”

    Reply

    1. @ sNoOOPy “Some interesting thoughts from 1889 by a friend of Darwin regarding infertility as a means to preserve useful adaptations.”

      That quote hits the nail squarely on the head. He is the same Wallace I think who also was thinking of evolution through natural selection; Darwin scooped him by publishing first, at his own expense I think. If they remained friends it certainly speaks well of Wallace. And Darwin in his book Origin of Species has exactly one word about the origin of species: happenstance.

      I think what Wallace says is true. (I often explain it to people, but not so well.) And of course that means that no line of descent can ever abandon speciation, because that would make them get outflanked by other species. Once that is accepted, and the rules are Mendel are understood, then some mechanism to limit population size would have to follow.

      I continue to be impressed beyond words at your observations. I wonder whether it would be all right to quote you on my own web site. Maybe it would be better to put in a link to this page.

      By the way, I had mentioned sending you a digital map of my copy of the old map of Dorset. I hadn’t heard and just wanted to be sure the offer got through. Same offer is good of course for anybody in the room.

      All the best,
      Linton

      Reply

  76. @LInton Herbert
    “quote you on my own web site”
    I’m mostly just copying Wikipedia, but that would be fine.

    “old map of Dorset.”
    If it is convenient for you, you can upload it here.
    I can make the link available for others to download if you want.

    Reply

    1. @ sNooPy ““old map of Dorset.”
      If it is convenient for you, you can upload it here.”
      Norton security went into a paranoid panic and pulled Photoshop off my hard drive, so I can’t even open the file, which I would probaby need to do to save it as a zip file. So give me some time. Maybe I can get Photoshop running.
      LInton

      Reply

  77. @LInton Herbert
    Doesn’t have to be zipped, just more convenient because you can only upload one file at a time. There is room for 2GB.

    Reply

  78. curtd59
    “Just as a sketch:”

    That list more or less mirrors what colonialism did but it didn’t last long enough (partly because colonialism created a more outbred native middle class who were better able to overthrow colonialism).

    .
    isteve
    “the country of Armenia is 144th in the world on the CIA World Factbook’s ranking of GDP per capita…I just went to an Armenian wedding across the Hollywood Freeway from Universal Studios and there were some pretty sweet rides in the church’s parking lot.”

    I think the key is clannishness creates poverty *except* where a clannish minority exists among an outbred majority.

    .
    IHTG
    “What gives? Why is Islam the big exception to Arab tribalism?”

    Generally it seems clannishness is only over-ridden by a perception of a common external threat. For Islam to provide the “common” element implies Arabs *really* don’t have an intermediate ethnic identity i.e. Iraqis *really* aren’t Iraqis in any sense people in the west would understand i.e. it really is clan A, clan B, clan C etc living in the geographical space called Iraq.

    .
    anon
    “In many ways the keenest anti-Jacobites were the Scots covenanters, who were concentrated in SW Scotland.”

    If i remember right SW Scotland has a different ethnic root being an offshoot of Brythonic Celts (Cumbria, Wales) so that might have something to do with it i.e. traditional enemies choosing to be on the opposite side of an argument they don’t care about as an excuse to beat up the other guys.

    .
    curt
    “But Denmark is a meaningless outlier in social science”

    Denmark is the most perfect and meaningful example of everything this blog says. It will be unpopular in academic circles because it completely disproves the two most popular ideas in academia i.e.
    – Diversity is good
    – Redistributive economics is bad

    (perfect in that it’s smaller population size means that even with maximal exogamy the population is still within the range of decent fertility)

    .
    Bob
    “The problem is that the definition of “subsistence” has changed…“Subsistence” used to, by implication, include reproduction”

    Agree. I do think the endogamy/fertility argument is part of it as well but the economic war against affordable family formation in the west and the offshoring of the reproductive part of subsistence is part of it too.

    .
    hbdchick
    “but i have a hard time grasping how the change over to outbreeding happened in late antiquity/the early medieval period. i can only imagine that it was a matter of 1) coercion from the powers that be, and 2) herd behavior”

    Well i think new settlements could explain it also. Take a German valley with a dozen clannish settlements of the seemingly universal 2-4 inter-marrying extended families type. Then add a new plough which over the space of a 100 years opens up a dozen new manorial type settlements in deforested land. Where do the settlers for the new manors come from? They’d be younger sons from each of the original 12 inbred settlements. Assume also the new plough can support a larger population size so the old settlements were c200 people each and the new settlements c600 people each. You still have 2400 clannish people living in the old settlements in the old clannish way but now you also have 7200 more outbred people in the new manors.

    So the clannish people don’t change. They just get swamped (but only in those regions where there was a lot of previously unusable forested land which suddenly became usable).

    Reply

  79. @g.w. – “Where do the settlers for the new manors come from? They’d be younger sons from each of the original 12 inbred settlements.”

    yes. also, at some points during the ostsiedlung settlers came from far and wide so there could’ve been a lot of mixing of people. i wonder how many settlers on eastern manors brought wives/families with them.

    i need to find out more about what happened on these newly settled manors that swamped the locals like you say. mitterauer (Why Europe?) argues that, already by the ninth century, extended families were gone on frankish manors and only nuclear families were present. not even stem families — just parents and kids. that sounds, to me, like outbreeding must’ve already been awfully strong and its social effects (breaking down clans and such) was already well underway. otoh, manors in eighteenth century poland encouraged endogamous marriages because the lords discouraged marriage off the manor (the polish lords didn’t want to lose their workers, i guess).

    so that’s a huge range of effects the manor system had in medieval/early modern europe. i need to look for more info on manorialism in medieval europe (small order!).

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