now (that the annual week-and-a-half of eating dark-chocolate easter eggs is over) where was i?
ah yes — i was saying that, even though i haven’t read Why Nations Fail, i don’t buy the authors’ explanation because, from what i can gather from the contents of the book and the snippets available online, they don’t appear to consider any biological reasons for the successes of some nations. acemoglu and robinson (a&r) think that nations fail because said nations lack the right institutions; i think nations fail because the populations of those nations lack the “right” happy combination of genes for all sorts of things like iq and altruistic behaviors, etc., etc. sure, the right institutions are important, but first of all you have to have the “right sort” of people who can build those right institutions.
a&r think that the glorious revolution in england established the right kind of institutions there — i presume they’re thinking of the english parliament’s bill of rights of 1689 presented to king billy as the conditions he would have to accept if he were to be allowed to
invade ascend to the throne of england. and, yes, this was the point that constitutional monarchy was formally established in england; but i would argue (and i don’t think i’m alone in thinking this) that there was a long-term trend toward constitutional monarchy in england and that, really, the “revolution” that brought that about was the civil war (or civil wars) that happened thirty to forty years before the so-called glorious revolution. and even those wars don’t explain why the english (and anglos pretty much everywhere) established all the institutions that they did and suceeded in the ways that they did.
steve sailer and dearime didn’t like the glorious revolution as the answer to why england succeeded either. steve says that the people who benefited the most from the glorious revolution were oligarchs and not the common men of england — i don’t know about that, but knowing how “revolutions” often play out it sounds pretty plausible. dearime thought i was off my rocker with my comments about the events of the glorious revolution (bad writing — sorry), but what i think really happened is that there wasn’t any revolution at all in england like the one a&r have envisioned — a revolution in which:
“People fought for and won more political rights, and they used them to expand their economic opportunities.”
not any single revolution, anyway.
what i think happened in england is that the changes towards making that society a more individualistic one based on the rights of individuals (and not extended families or clans or tribes) happened gradually over several hundreds of years (see here and here and here). (those changes are biological, btw.) like i said in the previous post, i think a&r are looking for a single anglo revolution of indepedence which established the “right” institutions ’cause they want to sell their idea to whomever believes that events like an arab spring will somehow result in flourishing liberal democracies with modern capitalistic societies based on trust. ’cause, you know … all you need is one little revolution that establishes the “right” institutions to release all these untapped human resources in any population anywhere. only that’s not how it happened in england.
and whatever did happen in england (i think it was, comparatively speaking, lots of outbreeding over an extended period of time which resulted in changes in “genes for altruism” in the english population) happened unevenly across the country. from what i have gathered so far — and note that these conclusions of mine will likely change as i find out more about historical mating patterns in england/britian (and maybe i’ll find out i’m wrong altogether!) — the greatest degrees of outbreeding occurred in the east of england — east anglia and kent, for example — and, to a somewhat lesser degree, in areas of wessex. greater amounts of inbreeding continued until fairly recent times in areas of western britain — wales and cornwall (i think) and western scotland, as well as in the anglo-scottish border areas. (there are a couple of areas in britain for which i haven’t got a clue about the historical mating patterns — they include eastern scotland and northern areas of england like yorkshire. i’m working on those!)
so, very broadly speaking, there’s an east-west divide in england (britain?) between outbreeders in the east and inbreeders in the west … and another kinda/sorta north-south divide in england between places like essex and wessex and northumbria. these mating pattern differences were, back in the medieval period, paralleled by different family types present in different regions of england/britain.
and, afaics, the english civil war(s) between parliamentarians and royalists was just a war between eastern individualistic outbreeders and western and northern group-oriented inbreeders. think of the eastern association: essex, hertfordshire, norfolk, suffolk, cambridgeshire. in other words, the most outbred of the english. at the outset of the civil war, it was them vs. the inbreeders:
anonymous is not convinced that all the peoples of western britain have historically (well, throughout the medieval period) been inbreeders. he pointed out that the scots convenanters were not royalists and they were located in sw scotland, so if my inbreeding-outbreeding theory is right, they should be outbreeders.
i don’t know what the historic mating patterns were for large parts of scotland, but i intend to find out. i’m pretty sure that the populations of the western isles — the areas that had been part of the kingdom of dál riata — and the highlands must’ve been inbreeders (like the irish) until quite recently since (like the irish) they have been more clannish than other scots until quite recently. while the covenanters of the sw (where exactly?) were not royalists, the more inbred highlanders were. i need to find out more about the historic mating patterns of the scots. i’ll let ya know when i’ve done so.
anyway, to conclude — i think that acemoglu and robinson are looking for an english revolution that didn’t happen — not at any specific moment in time anyway.
oh, and the eastern english outbreeders and western and northern english inbreeders fought a couple of civil wars against one another: once (or a couple of times) in the seventeenth century, and again a couple of hundred years later, but that time on a different continent.
biological differences die hard.
(note: comments do not require an email. “Bite him peper.”)