the problem with china

i remember reading a long time ago about how, when bangkok’s elevated train system was built (don’t recall if it was the failed berts or the skytrain or what), everything from the pillars to the platforms was made over dimensioned, because everyone, all the city planners and the engineers, knew — they all knew — that there would be cheating involved at every stage of the construction process — watered down concrete would undoubtedly be used, reused steel reinforcements would take the place the new ones that should’ve been installed, etc., etc. everything had to be over dimensioned to ensure that the whole thing wouldn’t just fall over. (costly, no?)

china has the same fundamental problem — what m.g. has referred to a disregard for the commonweal. the chinese (and other asians, with the apparent exception of the japanese) simply care less about unrelated members of their society than northwest europeans do. and this goes way back — from greif and tabellini [pgs. 18-20]:

“Charity in pre-modern China was generally given to kin. The innovator of the clan trust, Fan Chung-yen (989-1052), “had ruled that the lineage should aid only relatives with lineage ties that were clearly documented in the genealogy” (Smith, 1987, p. 316). Only in the early 17th century non-Buddhist, impersonal charity permanent organizations were established on some scale. Although the Chinese authorities encouraged impersonal charity, moral philosophers decried it viewing the diversion of assistance way from kin immoral. A popular 17th century morality book “tells of a generous scholar who was derided by a member of his lineage for lightly giving money away to strangers ”(ibid)….

“The lack of self-governed cities in China was not simply due to a more powerful state, but also to a pervasive kinship structure that facilitated state control over cities. Indeed, immigrants to cities remained affiliated with their rural kinship groups. As late as the 17th century, in a relatively new city “the majority of a city’’s population consisted of so-called sojourners, people who had come from elsewhere and were considered (and thought of themselves as) only temporary residents …. suspicions were always rife that sojourners could not be trusted ”(Friedmann, 2007, p. 274). As noted above, families that moved to cities retained ‘their allegiance to the ancestral hall for many generations, the bonds of kinship being much closer than those of common residence’ (Hsien-Chin, 1948, p. 10).”

allegiance in china, for a very long time, has been to the clan, not the broader community.

china’s being touted nowadays as the “IT” country of the twenty-first century (third millennium?). maybe. certainly the chinese seem to have the requisite number of iq points — and intelligence is, of course, essential in succeeding in this world. you definitely don’t get very far without it.

but — and if anyone ever takes anything away from this blog, i’d like it to be this — there’s more to human biodiversity than iq.

think, for example, about the probable differences in the life histories of your average person with an iq of, say, 135, and a psychopath with an iq of 135. or a neurotypical with an iq of 135 vs. an aspie with 135. different, right? (no, i’m not saying that the chinese are a bunch of psychopaths — i’m just trying to illustrate that iq is not everything.)

the chinese are not trusting — read greif and tabellini — nor particularly trustworthy (they don’t trust each other!). not when it comes to non-family members anyway.

it’s mighty difficult to build a civil society — or, i think, a successful market economy — without trust — without concern for the commonweal. i don’t see the chinese doing it anytime soon — not without a little evolution first.

china might turn out to (continue to) be a smashing economic success story — if it does, it’s going to look very different from what happened in europe/the u.s. the system won’t be built on trust in strangers — maybe in families/clans, but not strangers — so it won’t be built on corporate entities, not public ones anyway (see greif and tabellini, pg. 24). something to keep in mind if you’re gonna do some, what half sigma has dubbed, hbd investing in china.

(note that none of this is meant to be a criticism of the chinese, nor should it be taken as such. they’re merely hbd observations. we westerners might not particularly like how the chinese operate, but in terms of numbers, they are clearly in the lead right now in the Game of Life. their system may prove to be the superior one — although it didn’t get them to the moon first. or mars.)

previously: the return of chinese clans and the return of the return of chinese clans

(note: comments do not require an email. wake me when it’s all over.)

80 Comments

  1. I keep returning back to the subject of embryo screening, whenever projections of the future come up.

    I think we can all agree that everyone is going to try to select their children to be taller, higher IQ, and more beautiful. But when it comes to character traits… I’m not really sure we will select for the same things.

    I’ve lived in China for a while, and I’ve come to conclude that an elevated number of Chinese would not select for trust, or for that matter trustworthiness. I’ve noticed on several occasions that trustworthiness is discretely “looked down upon”, to an extent that I do not believe is the case in my own culture, or other NWE cultures I’ve visited. One very commonly used word for clever is more close to the word “foxy”, and has connotations of deception, while “straightforward” more or less translates as “simple”. I’m sure that these linguistic quirks cannot represent the psyche of 1B people, and I’m not sure if this can be said to be genetic, but I do wonder if it might not increasingly *become* genetic, as the traits of guile are admired and actively selected for via embryo screening, because it is believed that a wily, mercenary attitude will give the child a “leg up”.

    I’m not saying that this is unique at all to the Chinese, in fact I guess it’s normal most places. But I sadly have to agree with your assessment, Mrs. Chick. I hope that Singapore and Hong Kong will be different, and will serve as countervailing, cultural influences on the mainland.

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  2. Arthur C. Smith has a ton of observations on the absence of honesty in Chinese everyday life. As you say, certainly not a new thing.

    Thing is, I think it’s quite irrelevant to the overall economic picture. There’s a ton of high-IQ and non-public spirited countries that became rich (e.g. Italy; Greece; South Korea) and the ECE/EE countries – where corruption is as extensive as in SE Asia – are following in their footsteps.

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  3. @ak – “I think it’s quite irrelevant to the overall economic picture.”

    i don’t think it’s irrelevant to the economic picture for any of the countries you mentioned. i’m not saying that china — or any of the others — won’t become/stay rich — just that: 1) they’ll have to do it in a way other than how it progressed in western europe (which means, for them, maybe they shouldn’t bother trying to imitate the west so much ’cause the same rules don’t quite apply to them); and 2) if you’re planning to invest in china, these things ought to be kept in mind. iow, you’ll have to watch your back! to an extent not necessary in, say, the anglo or germanic world, that is. (^_^)

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  4. @redzengenoist – “But when it comes to character traits… I’m not really sure we will select for the same things.”

    well, that’ll sure make things interesting! i think you’re probably right, though.

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  5. Low trust and high corruption seems to be pervasive everywhere in the world but northern Europe and places colonized by northern Europeans. (I think is something to do with Protestant Christianity). Singapore is an exception, and has very low corruption. It was a British colony, but is not populated by Europeans. Hong Kong is also much less corrupt than the mainland, but more corrupt than Singapore.

    I tend to think it is a cultural thing more than genetic. Culture is a powerful force. Russia is a corrupt basket case. Is there much genetic difference between people in, say, Finland, and those across the boarder in Russia?

    I can see that some people might be born with a greater tendency to trust than others, but they probably learn from their environment WHO to trust.

    One thing is certain: high trust places seem to much better places to live in. They are so much better that the rest of the world is clambering to immigrate to the high trust places. But how many low trust people can move to the west before the west also becomes low trust?

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  6. (I think is something to do with Protestant Christianity)

    Protestant, like African-Americans?

    Russia is a corrupt basket case. Is there much genetic difference between people in, say, Finland, and those across the boarder in Russia?

    Russia is not solely composed of those across the border from Finland, so that’s irrelevant.

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  7. You might be interested in knowing that Roebling, who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, was also a bidder on the steel cables. When he discovered who Tamany Hall had selected to provide the cables, he redesigned them to include about twice as much steel. A number of years ago (1970s?), the cables were replaced, and tests showed that Roebling had been right, about half the wires in the cables were defective.

    Disregard of the commonweal is a criminal trope. China has a criminal ruling class.

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  8. @bob – “Disregard of the commonweal is a criminal trope. China has a criminal ruling class.”

    sure. but it’s not just the ruling class in china (although it IS especially them) — it’s how the whole society works. not every single last chinese person, of course — but on average. read greif and tabellini.

    interesting about the brooklyn bridge, though! i had no idea. but, really — boss tweed? a good ol’ scots-irish boy? and after him the immigrant native irish who ran tammany hall? no one should be at ALL surprised that the cables were dodgy! bunch o’ inbreeding clannish folks. i mean, just look at how the ulster-scots and the ulster-irish behave back in northern ireland. not to mention the scots-irish in appalachia and the backcountry. all clannish and corrupt when dealing with outsiders. par for the course.

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  9. To all commenters who keep mentioning that they think the differences between people is due to “culture”. Apparently, you’re not getting the central idea of this blog, ecapsulated by the question “where does culture come from?” Sure, there are quite a few learned behaviors in every society, but these likely arise from the collective responses to inborn traits of these people. One of the key point that HBD Chick has been trying to get across is that “different peoples is different.”

    @Melykin:
    “I tend to think it is a cultural thing more than genetic. Culture is a powerful force. Russia is a corrupt basket case. Is there much genetic difference between people in, say, Finland, and those across the boarder in Russia?”

    Yes: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2009/09/saami-not-descended-from-swedish-hunter-gathers/

    Even if it wasn’t so evident here, the effects of the genes aren’t linear (such that x% genetic difference = y% behavioral difference). The genes are like a recipe. Changing a particular line can have minor results or drastically different results (for example, imagine changing the line in a cake recipe from “bake at 350° for 20 mins to bake at 450° for 40 min”).

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  10. Excellent and interesting post. I’m particularly interested in possible strategies by which Chinese society might overcome or reverse this handicap. E.g., would a breakdown of the clans (for which the signs are few so far?) help? How about a reversal to female centered family loyalties; married couples moving to the wife’s village in other words. I’ve seen anecdotal evidence of this happening. What would be the effect?

    How about a religious revolution? The growth of Protestant Christianity in the rural countryside — and of so-called “culture Christians” in the intellectual centers — might effect accepted norms, or not? Not unless accompanied by more out-marrying, right?

    I love this conversation.

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  11. IHTG wrote:

    Protestant, like African-Americans?
    —————————————————————

    When I say that Protestant Christianity may contribute to low corruption, I don’t mean that Protestant Christians TODAY are necessarily less corrupt. I mean the societies where Protestant Christianity arose historically have somehow developed a culture with low corruption. Africa isn’t such a country. Africa Americans (or at least some of them) seem to have some sort of sub-culture that probably came from Africa.

    I understand that different groups of people are different genetically, and this accounts for much of the differences between groups. However it doesn’t account for ALL the differences. Culture is also very important.

    I think genetics largely accounts for things such as intelligence, tendency to aggression, shyness, friendliness and other personality traits.

    I don’t see a tendency to cheat non-family members as a personality trait, unless maybe a person is some sort of psychopath. I see it as something that is a part of some cultures, where almost everyone cheats non-family members. It is note worthy that people in the West also can easily fall into corruption if laws do not keep it strictly in check.

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  12. @melykin:

    “I understand that different groups of people are different genetically, and this accounts for much of the differences between groups. However it doesn’t account for ALL the differences. Culture is also very important. “

    Quite correct. No argument there.

    “I think genetics largely accounts for things such as intelligence, tendency to aggression, shyness, friendliness and other personality traits.

    I don’t see a tendency to cheat non-family members as a personality trait, unless maybe a person is some sort of psychopath. I see it as something that is a part of some cultures, where almost everyone cheats non-family members. It is note worthy that people in the West also can easily fall into corruption if laws do not keep it strictly in check.”

    Now this is where you’re wrong. Genes impact ALL those things. You can’t pick and choose the things you’d like to be influenced by genetics and the things you feel aren’t. ALL human behavioral traits are heritable—i.e., there is some genetic influence on all these things. Since these genes differ in frequency between human groups, some of the differences are due to genetic differences.

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  13. Jayman wrote:
    “where does culture come from?”

    ————————————————-

    Partly it comes from the genetics of the people, but it comes from lots of other random stuff too. Are men in Muslim countries genetically more oppressive of women and genetically prone to blow stuff up and behead/torture people? Seems unlikely that genetics is the whole story, since these traits are found in Muslim countries in different parts of the world and made up of different races. Maybe sometimes a destructive “religion” takes hold just out of bad luck.

    When I say Islam is a destructive religion I hope no one is going to jump all over me and say I’m an Islamaphobe. Muslim countries are mostly nasty, brutish places to live, often failed states.

    Communism also seems to have left a big mess in its wake.

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  14. bob sykes wrote:
    You might be interested in knowing that Roebling, who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, was also a bidder on the steel cables. When he discovered who Tamany Hall had selected to provide the cables, he redesigned them to include about twice as much steel. A number of years ago (1970s?), the cables were replaced, and tests showed that Roebling had been right, about half the wires in the cables were defective.

    ————————————————————–

    Maybe laws to protect society against corruption were not largely adopted until well into the 20th century, even in the West. Read “The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible!”, by Otto Bettmann.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Good-Old-Days-Terrible/dp/0394709411

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  15. “Are men in Muslim countries genetically more oppressive of women and genetically prone to blow stuff up and behead/torture people?

    Yup:

    “Endogamous pastoralist populations are those belonging to the ‘Arab sphere’. These populations are considered endogamous because of their preference for patrilateral first cousin marriage, i.e. FBD marriage which, in fact, occurs with a very high frequency.

    “Anthropologists explain such alliances in terms of the necessity of maintaining a close cooperation between an individual and his father and brothers for the benefit of the joint property, their livestock, and to further lineage stability.

    “Many authors stress the considerable importance that sons have for the furtherance of the household’s pastoral economy. The endogamous practice stems from the fact that ‘the lineage group aims, primarily, at keeping a young woman to betroth her to one of its own young men’. The priority of a close kinsman’s claim to a girl is so stringent that among most populations marriage requests must be approved by close kin to make sure that no closer relative with a claim to the girl may come forward later….

    And:

    “Suppose a man sees his identical twin drowning in a river, and estimates (correctly) that if he were to jump in and try to save his brother the probability of success would be 80%, while the probability that he would die in the attempt would be 20%…In this situation…genes that dispose a person to altruistic behavior will — on average — have more surviving copies than genes that dispose a person to act selfishly and will be favored by natural selection….Suppose that the man on shore is a brother — but not a twin — of the person who is drowning.”

    …but let’s add that the parents of these brothers were first-cousins. that makes these two guys: brothers AND second-cousins (i.e. the children of two first-cousins). so they probably share not only 50% of their genes in common as brothers, but also 3.13% of their genes in common as second-cousins. so the “push” to jump in the water to save the brother/cousin must be somewhat stronger in the inbred pair than for the brother to save just a plain ol’ brother.

    …but let’s make them double first-cousins rather than just first-cousins. what happens then?

    well, while first-cousins probably share 1/8th or 12.5% of their genes in common, double first-cousins share … well, double that! … or 1/4 or 25% of their genes in common….

    …or what about the depth of time i mentioned above? what if the family of my double first-cousins has been inbreeding for a very long time. a very, very long time. like for fifty generations or more. then the relatedness between all the family members, including these double first-cousins, will be even closer. natural selection ought, then, to favor such double first-cousins jumping in to save each other….

    …repeated inbreeding in a family reduces the diversity (whoa!) of the allele types within that family, and if we’re talking about “genes for altruism” here, then the variety of those must get reduced within inbred families, too. in a population that consists of, say, ten inbreeding families, the one that has super-duper altruism genes that lead all of its family members to help each other out more than the members of the other families will have the advantage (provided selection favors that advantage for whatever reasons). and those super-duper altruism genes will no doubt eventually spread to the other families since, in reality, no family groups inbreed 100% of the time anywhere — there will pretty definitely be gene flow between families. so then you’ll get a whole population of super-duper family altruists (note that these people are NOT altruistic to unrelated individuals).

    the human populations on earth today that inbreed most closely (within patrilineages) and often practice double first-cousin marriage — AND have been doing this for prolly at least a couple of thousand years (time depth) — are the arabs (who later spread these mating practices to the maghreb, the mashriq and far off places like iraq and afghanistan and all the other ‘stans)

    “When I say Islam is a destructive religion I hope no one is going to jump all over me and say I’m an Islamaphobe. Muslim countries are mostly nasty, brutish places to live, often failed states.

    Communism also seems to have left a big mess in its wake.”

    True, but where do ideologies come from?

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  16. it’s mighty difficult to build a civil society — or, i think, a successful market economy — without trust — without concern for the commonweal. i don’t see the chinese doing it anytime soon — not without a little evolution first.

    Corruption is like friction in a machine imo. If the engine is big enough then it can compensate but the per capita will never compare.

    .
    Thing is, I think it’s quite irrelevant to the overall economic picture. There’s a ton of high-IQ and non-public spirited countries that became rich (e.g. Italy; Greece; South Korea)

    Greece is bankrupt (precisely for these sort of reasons) and the wealth cline in Italy maps precisely onto this argument with the wealthiest northern regions being the least corrupt. With a high enough IQ and other natural or historical advantages i.e. a big enough engine, a corrupt country can still become relatively more wealthy than corrupt countries without those advantages but they’ll never get the same per capita result as countries like Denmark and Ex-America imo. The only potential exception to the rule so far may be the east asians. That is partly a result of them having the IQ to catch up on the western tech advantage in a short space of time (which obviously generates a lot of wealth rapidly) but yes i think they may also have at least partially solved the economies of scale problem differently to the west so i’m personally not as sure about the end result as some.

    I think the western solution to large scale co-operation is one solution – and by far the most efficient at producing surplus – but an *unconscious* high trust solution also has the free rider flaw which is destroying it. The eastern – keiretsu type – solution i don’t think will ever produce the same level of surplus – because of all the friction entailed by the corruption but time may show it has better protection against free riding.

    Personally as America collapses from the consequences of free riding i’m expecting China to take its place as the number one global power but not to gain the effortless global hegemony America had because i think the spare surplus America could spend on arms and space will be swallowed up in various forms of corruption.

    Time will tell.

    .
    Is there much genetic difference between people in, say, Finland, and those across the boarder in Russia? I can see that some people might be born with a greater tendency to trust than others, but they probably learn from their environment WHO to trust.

    Depends partly if you think the marriage system behind the hajnal line has had genetic consequences.

    .
    One thing is certain: high trust places seem to much better places to live in. They are so much better that the rest of the world is clambering to immigrate to the high trust places.

    True.

    But how many low trust people can move to the west before the west also becomes low trust?

    Already past the tipping point imo but the consequences haven’t fully worked through yet.

    .
    Low trust and high corruption seems to be pervasive everywhere in the world but northern Europe and places colonized by northern Europeans. (I think is something to do with Protestant Christianity)

    I think Protestant Christianity was a symptom of genetic changes among the northern european population as a result of the hajnal line – just an opinion though, not proved (yet :) )

    .
    The genes are like a recipe.

    I’ve been looking for an analogy as good as that.

    .
    I don’t see a tendency to cheat non-family members as a personality trait, unless maybe a person is some sort of psychopath

    Other way round imo. It’s the variance in the level of restraint for people in the moral grey area i.e. good people won’t do it in either case, bad people will do it in either case but the variance among the people in the middle is what shifts the average. In one system the middle people behave more like the good people and in the other they act more like the bad people.

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  17. @Bob Sykes:

    “You might be interested in knowing that Roebling, who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, was also a bidder on the steel cables. When he discovered who Tamany Hall had selected to provide the cables, he redesigned them to include about twice as much steel. A number of years ago (1970s?), the cables were replaced, and tests showed that Roebling had been right, about half the wires in the cables were defective.”

    Yeah, not surprising, since it was clannish Irish who were running that operation. Life in New York City is so fractious because of the vast number of ethnic groups who have and still do cohabit there. It’s a pretty interesting mix today, where there are roughly 10 ethnic groups (which includes the different strains of Whites) who live there with none having too much of a great numerical majority.

    This may have something to do with why we have problems like this:

    U.S. Taxpayers Are Gouged on Mass Transit Costs – Bloomberg

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  18. “Are men in Muslim countries genetically more oppressive of women and genetically prone to blow stuff up and behead/torture people?

    Jayman wrote:
    Yup
    ——————————————————–

    Yet we keep importing them into the West.
    I still say Islam is the main problem, not genetics.(not counting sub-Saharan Africans).

    There couldn’t be much genetic difference between Pakistanis and Sikhs on the other side of the border in India. Yet Sikhs seem to be able to immigrate to the West without causing the massive problems that Muslims cause. There are a LOT of Sikhs in the Vancouver area. While there are some problems (yes they are corrupt, and there are some gangs, some domestic violence) they don’t seem to form an underclass in general. They are quite industrious. We don’t tend to have riots, rape and Car-B-Q’s like Muslims in in France, UK and Sweden.

    Sweden even sent a delegation to Vancouver to try to figure out why Vancouver doesn’t seem to have many problems with multiculturalism (compared to Europe).

    Sikhs don’t seem to have any interest in converting people or taking over the world (unlike Muslims). They don’t have sharia law. They don’t have a supremist doctrine that tells them Sikhs are superior to everyone else (or if they do, they keep it to themselves, unlike Muslims).

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  19. Greying Wanderer – “it’s mighty difficult to build a civil society — or, i think, a successful market economy — without trust — without concern for the commonweal.”

    The phrase “civil society” is currently banned on the Chinese internet. Subversive talk from The Party’s p.o.v.

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  20. Keep in mind that though these traits have a genetic component they are a product of gene/culture interaction (bio-cultural) and thus can be changed much more easily (by outbreeding) than traits controlled by gene frequencies. (Disregarding things like Flynn effect, which are environmental.) At least I think this is true. Somebody correct me if I am wrong.

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  21. @hbd chick,

    i don’t think it’s irrelevant to the economic picture for any of the countries you mentioned. i’m not saying that china — or any of the others — won’t become/stay rich — just that: 1) they’ll have to do it in a way other than how it progressed in western europe (which means, for them, maybe they shouldn’t bother trying to imitate the west so much ’cause the same rules don’t quite apply to them); and 2) if you’re planning to invest in china, these things ought to be kept in mind. iow, you’ll have to watch your back! to an extent not necessary in, say, the anglo or germanic world, that is. (^_^)

    Well, not exactly irrelevant, but paling into near insignificance besides IQ.

    What does tend to happen in high-IQ but low social cohesion countries is that the economy is structured rather differently.

    E.g., Italy is rich, but much of the economy is composed of small family businesses. They tend to be small. And the share of the underground economy is large.

    In a place like Germany, companies tend to be much larger, relations within them far less personalistic; the economy is also very strong in sectors like machine building, where long term planning and scrupulous attention to detail is expected of every worker.

    Also we should take care not to exaggerate the level of corruption in China which is high but not all that high. According to a survey by Transparency International, 9% of Chinese said they or household paid a bribe in the past 12 months. This is much higher than in the UK (1%) or Germany (2%, IIRC), but only modestly higher than in the US (5%), and considerably less than Italy (13%) or Greece (18%); and the exact same as in Japan (9%).

    This doesn’t suggest that relatively high corruption / lack of social cohesion in China is going to be a very significant factor in its development.

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  22. @luke – “Keep in mind that though these traits have a genetic component they are a product of gene/culture interaction (bio-cultural) and thus can be changed much more easily (by outbreeding) than traits controlled by gene frequencies.”

    in one way, yes — it seems like, under certain circumstances, selection may be amplified by inbreeding/outbreeding. but don’t forget, we’re still talking about different sorts of genes (alleles) and their frequencies here — it’s still evolution by natural selection, so things will take time. there are no overnight solutions here.

    here’s something i’m working on but that i haven’t posted yet. it’s where i try to explain how this accelerated selection might work:

    “Consistent, long-term inbreeding reduces the genetic variation within families or lineages. Suppose a gene (allele) for altruism arises in one individual in a population via mutation – let’s call it the ‘familial altruism’ gene since its resultant effect is that its possessors somehow favor family members or non-family members. If this behavioral trait is not detrimental to those who have it, the familial altruism gene will be passed down from from our mutant to some of his descendants like any other non-detrimental gene would be. However, if his descendants inbreed – if familial altruism cousins mate with fellow familial altruism cousins – then each of the members in our mutant family will be more likely have a copy, or even two copies, of the familial altruism gene than if the family had never inbred. The genetic variation within the lineage is reduced – the familial altruism gene becomes concentrated in the inbred mutant family.

    “Now, if this familial altruism gene proves to be very beneficial to our mutant family – if they are more successful at leaving descendants behind than the individuals in families without the gene – then, like any other beneficial gene, the familial altruism gene will be selected for. However, it will be selected for more rapidly in this population in which inbreeding regularly occurs since the pace at which the benefits of this gene are accrued for the families possessing it is accelerated. Because a greater number of individuals in the inbreeding mutant family will possess the familial altruism gene than those in a non-inbreeding mutant family, the total amount of familial altruistic behaviors in the inbred family will be greater. Assuming again that the behavior is beneficial, then the inbreeding mutant family will benefit the most since, together, they possess the greatest number of copies of the gene and, so, as a group, will express the familial altruistic behavior more frequently than a non-inbreeding mutant family which has fewer copies of the gene totally.”

    dunno if that helps, or makes it worse! (~_^)

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  23. @redzengenoist – “I’ve lived in China for a while, and I’ve come to conclude that an elevated number of Chinese would not select for trust, or for that matter trustworthiness.”

    something i asked once before: who’s gonna go first?

    i mean, a lot of people will unthinkingly just go for babies that are going to be smart, good-looking, even “nice.” and that’s fine.

    but, if you have any smarts at all and think along the lines of, say, game theory — well, then — if most of your society is not “nice,” why would you go first in chosing to make your kids nice, ’cause they’re going to be at a disadvantage.

    alternatively, if most people in the next couple of generations in the west do select for “nice” babies, then it would be advantageous for your kid to have “not nice” genes. to be the hawk amongst the doves, know what i mean?

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  24. @melykin – “Low trust and high corruption seems to be pervasive everywhere in the world but northern Europe and places colonized by northern Europeans. (I think is something to do with Protestant Christianity).”

    those two thing obviously go together — northwest europeans and protestantism — but i think the protestantism stems from the effects of the long-term outbreeding of nw europeans. whatever behavioral genes that were selected for as a result of the “atomization” of nw european populations — those related to individualism, all of gregory clark’s “middle class values,” large doses of reciprocal altruism maybe — are now expressed behaviorally in the cultural phenomenon we call protestantism.

    that’s not to say that culture is only an expression of the underlying biology. culture can, in turn, affect the biology in a sort-of never-ending feedback loop. culture can, bizarrely, set up new selection pressures — like what greg cochran has been talking about recently (esp. the traditional late mating ages of australian aboriginal men).
    _____

    edit: iow, what g.w. said:

    “I think Protestant Christianity was a symptom of genetic changes among the northern european population as a result of the hajnal line – just an opinion though, not proved (yet :) )”
    _____

    @melykin – “Singapore is an exception, and has very low corruption.”

    singapore is very interesting and is a great example of how you can get similar results (in this case a well-functioning economy with little corruption) in different ways (evolution by natural selection in europe for individual traits which allow for such a system to arise naturally almost on its own vs. a top-down solution where one very smart guy, with probably the cooperation/willingness of a very smart population in general, imposes strong restrictions on everybody in order to repress their natural clannish instincts).

    Reply

  25. @melykin – “But how many low trust people can move to the west before the west also becomes low trust?”

    well, that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? =/ (no, i don’t have $64,000 to give anybody if they can answer it correctly! (~_^) )

    Reply

  26. @jayman – “…the question ‘where does culture come from?’ Sure, there are quite a few learned behaviors in every society, but these likely arise from the collective responses to inborn traits of these people.”

    yup! (^_^)

    the interesting thing with culture, though, like i mentioned above, is when it sets up new selection pressures for behavioral genes. crazy! makes me dizzy when i think about it. (~_^)

    Reply

  27. @jayman – “The genes are like a recipe. Changing a particular line can have minor results or drastically different results (for example, imagine changing the line in a cake recipe from ‘bake at 350° for 20 mins to bake at 450° for 40 min’).”

    @g.w. – “I’ve been looking for an analogy as good as that.”

    yeah, the recipe analogy is much better than the usual “blueprint” one — especially the temperature/length of time to bake part. (^_^)

    Reply

  28. @luke – “I’m particularly interested in possible strategies by which Chinese society might overcome or reverse this handicap.”

    the singapore solution seems to have worked really well in that nation, although that may have depended upon having a population — at least the chinese side of the population — having a rather high-iq and, so, being intelligent enough to see that lee kuan yew’s restrictive policies (compared to western societies, i mean) were in everybody’s best interests. from what i can tell, lee’s policies repressed, to a large extent, all those clannish instincts for cheating by penalizing anyone who practiced them.

    really, i think he should get an award for the cleverest applied social theorist since saints augustine and aquinas. (~_^) lew apparently understood how his own people work — and he saw the strengths of the english system — and managed to pick and choose just the right amount of features from the english system to make it work, while not doing anything silly like introducing liberal democracy for all. smart guy!

    china, today, also has a repressive system, but i have the sneaking suspicion that most of tptb in china don’t have the entire nation’s interests at heart — not the way lee seems to have had. tptb in china just behave like a bunch of clan leaders trying to get the most for themselves and their own.

    @luke – “E.g., would a breakdown of the clans (for which the signs are few so far?) help?”

    yeah, but you’d have to really do it. afaik, the only ones to have managed to truly to that to date are the nw european (by the outbreeding thing). the chinese have tried more than once to break the power of clans — examples that i know of: as far back as in the qin dynasty, during the tang dynasty, and again during the cultural revolution. none of these efforts worked. the ancient greeks also gave it a shot, too (cleisthenes and his reforms), but that didn’t stick either.

    apparently, you’ve gotta do it — outbreed — over the long-term, otherwise this solution just doesn’t take.

    @luke – “How about a reversal to female centered family loyalties; married couples moving to the wife’s village in other words. I’ve seen anecdotal evidence of this happening. What would be the effect?”

    dunno! over the long term it would probably have some sort of effect as this would (maybe) be one of those examples of a cultural feature affecting the selection pressures, but honestly i don’t know what they might be. never thought about it.

    @luke – “How about a religious revolution? The growth of Protestant Christianity in the rural countryside — and of so-called ‘culture Christians’ in the intellectual centers — might effect accepted norms, or not? Not unless accompanied by more out-marrying, right?”

    yeah, that might work — a religious revolution like in early medieval europe. again, though, it would be a long-term solution. not necessarily tens of thousands of years, but likely thousands of years, unless you throw in inbreeding which seems to accelerate the selection pressures. i think. (^_^)

    Reply

  29. @melykin – “It is note worthy that people in the West also can easily fall into corruption if laws do not keep it strictly in check.”

    i don’t think that’s the case. (not to be picky, but have you got some data to back that up?)

    i grew up in the midwest and nw european americans there are just honest to a fault. (some of my own family members, otoh, who like me come from an inbred population — i wouldn’t trust them as far as i could throw them!) i lived for years (recently) in a place where you could buy local vegetables on the honor system — vegetables left out for anyone to help themselves, leave your money in the box. no laws keeping anyone in check there — folks just felt that was natural. (not to mention handy and efficient.)

    Reply

  30. @g.w. – “Corruption is like friction in a machine imo. If the engine is big enough then it can compensate….

    yeah, that’s good. iq points can also help a population compensate (i think maybe you said that somewhere).

    @g.w. – With a high enough IQ and other natural or historical advantages i.e. a big enough engine, a corrupt country can still become relatively more wealthy than corrupt countries without those advantages but they’ll never get the same per capita result as countries like Denmark and Ex-America imo.”

    yeah, you did. (^_^)

    @g.w. – “…an *unconscious* high trust solution also has the free rider flaw which is destroying it.”

    a lot of this sort of destruction in the western system nowadays is, obviously, coming from having let in too many people from non-unconscious high trust societies. the system may have imploded on its own eventually with too many hawks appearing amongst the doves — and, come to think of it, there’s prolly an element of that happening in our societies today, too — but the importation of non-outbred populations ’cause you’re working under the assumption that all people are the same has to be one of the biggest errors in history or prehistory. ever. (an error that, ironically, is a feature of the system itself, i.e. assuming that others are just like you and can be trusted, etc., etc.)

    Reply

  31. @melykin – “There couldn’t be much genetic difference between Pakistanis and Sikhs on the other side of the border in India.”

    well, i don’t know for sure, but the possibility is definitely there.

    korotayev has shown that a particular form close cousin marriage (i.e. father’s brother’s daughter marriage) that is common in the muslim world (see map here) — in the middle-east/maghreb/mashriq/south asia — was probably introduced to these populations by the arabs by the eighth century. the pakistanis, then, could’ve been marrying their paternal first cousins since then. but, let’s allow some lag-time and call it the tenth century. so, the guesstimate: they’ve been inbreeding for 1100+ years or so.

    the sikhs, otoh, do not marry within the clan. you can see here that they have very low cousin marriage rates compared to muslims, and even hindus or christians, in india. sikhism got going in the early 1600s. again, allowing them some lag-time, let’s say they didn’t start outbreeding to the extent that they do until the early 1800s. that’s 200 or so years of outbreeding — which the pakistanis don’t have.

    what were the mating patterns of the sikhs — and the pakistanis for that matter — before they invented their new religion/adopted islam? not sure. the most common mating pattern for most peoples everywhere — especially in densely settled, agricultural societies — is some sort of cousin marriage, usually maternal cousin marriage. wouldn’t surprise me if the pakistanis were doing that before they were “arabized” into marrying in the paternal line. wouldn’t surprise me either if the sikhs were doing that before they became sikhs.

    however, the practice in northern india — and i have no idea how far back this goes (further research is required) — is, while folks should marry within their caste of course (and so marriage there is of an endogamous sort), they should avoid close cousin marriage [pg. 128 or 129]:

    “The Aryan traditions among the north Indian Hindus proscribes marriage within seven generations on the father’s side and five generations on the maternal side. Hence marriages among Hindus in North India are more organised around ethnic, caste and class boundaries and a large proportion of marriages are endogamous.”

    and more from that same source:

    “[T]here is considerable anecdotal evidence to suggest that first cousin unions were common among upper caste Hindus living in western regions of undivided Punjab (which now constitutes Punjab province in Pakistan), whilst such marriage were largely proscribed in Northern India.”

    so perhaps sikh outbreeding goes further back than the time of their conversion to sikhiness in the seventeenth century. dunno.

    in any event, the sikhs do have more of a history of marrying exogamously than pakistanis, which sets the stage for possible genetic differences related to things like altruism and other social behaviors. that’s the theory anyway. (^_^)

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  32. @luke – “The phrase ‘civil society’ is currently banned on the Chinese internet. Subversive talk from The Party’s p.o.v.”

    heh.

    Reply

  33. @anatoly – “Well, not exactly irrelevant, but paling into near insignificance besides IQ.’

    no. not “paling into near insignificance besides iq” — see, for instance, the examples of greece and italy (all the piigs, in fact) that greying wanderer offered above. all of the piigs — not to mention eastern europe on the whole — have had a longer history of inbreeding/endogamous marriage than nw europe, ergo (according to the theory — which, yes, is just a theory) have more corruption and, therefore, less success at market economy, liberal democracy, all that good stuff.

    that’s not to say that a nation can’t be a success without a long history of outbreeding — see the singapore solution discussion above — but just that they have to do it in spite of the clannishness. which is costly. and iq is, of course, the key.

    @anatoly – “What does tend to happen in high-IQ but low social cohesion countries is that the economy is structured rather differently.”

    exactly.

    @anatoly – “E.g., Italy is rich, but much of the economy is composed of small family businesses. They tend to be small. And the share of the underground economy is large.

    sure. but then, if there is less taxable income or wealth out there, then there are fewer resources for building up infrastructure, etc. then you have to have germany pay for it all. (~_^) or else have lots o’ scrumptious oil like saudia arabia or qatar.

    @anatoly – “Also we should take care not to exaggerate the level of corruption in China which is high but not all that high…. This doesn’t suggest that relatively high corruption / lack of social cohesion in China is going to be a very significant factor in its development.”

    those number are interesting, and important, but that is just one metric. check out what greif and tabellini have to say about levels of trust in china in the paper. or the civiness data i’ve got here from the world values survey. or the guanxi (i.e. china’s answer to cronyism) data here.

    i’m not saying china’s doomed to fail. they’ve obviously got the smarts, and have had them for a very long time. but they are given to clannishness and corruption, which is a problem — even more so when the leaders are like that, too!

    Reply

  34. A few random reflections/reactions:

    1. Hbd* chk (or Mrs. Chick as someone addressed her — would she prefer Ms.?):

    re: relationship between inbreeding and tendency to favor relatives over non-relatives: “but don’t forget, we’re still talking about different sorts of genes (alleles) and their frequencies here.”

    Suppose these genes have already gone to fixity. In that case wouldn’t the degree of inbreeding be the only important variable? Don’t most people (all people?) favor close family relations already? Is this an issue that can be experimentally explored? I’m assuming fixity, Hbd* chk is not.

    2. What does anyone make of this disturbing video which purports to show a crowd of Chinese pedestrians on a street somewhere in China randomly kicking an eight or nine-year old “white” boy who has fallen on the sidewalk? I am wondering if (hoping) the kid is half Chinese/half Euro, since prejudice against such mixed breeds is already well-known.

    3. re: Islamophobia

    A commenter above is careful to disidentify being an “Islamophobe.” If the term is defined to mean automatic hatred or prejudice against people who happen to have been born Muslim, then, yes, Islamophobia is bigotry. But if it means a fear of the religion of Islam as a force in society in cases where it has the numbers to be a force, then count me among the Islamophobes, then, if I am honest, I must say I think it is a rational fear — just as fear of Catholics was rational in England in the 1580’s when Catholicism was clearly identified with the forces of the Counter-Reformation as embodied (or instance) in the Spanish Armada.

    4. Genetic determinism vs. influence of culture and ideas

    This debate reminds me of the division between Calvinists and Arminians, one believing in predestination the other in free choice and the possibility that any person could be saved if properly informed and educated. I find it ironic that the predestinationists were the advanced guard of democratic reform, while the free choicers were on the side of monarchy and church hierarchy. Are there ironical consequences in the present debate?

    Reply

  35. Correction: the Arminians were not into educating the masses, the predestinationists were. Makes it even more ironical. The Arminians favored ritual, the Calvanists preaching and literacy (and free enterprise, free speech, etc.) Why were they so excited by the idea of predestination? Was it just a theological marker, a badge to distinguish our side from the other side? I’ve never understood the appeal.

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  36. Of course a third possibility is that the predestinationists were just being realistic. They understood variation and selection even before Darwin — as did Jesus for that matter! ;)

    Reply

  37. “something i asked once before: who’s gonna go first?”

    It’s a good question. Ultimately, I think that being a fairly decent person is (most of the time) going to be increasingly advantageous, especially in an internet age where every single stupid and dishonest thing you ever do will haunt you forever. In Korea, girls are even starting to be favored over boys in birth control, because of their behavior. Being a scumbag is a strategy that sometimes is rational, but even in China, I think it’s increasingly a bad bet.

    The question is, however, whether the cultural perception will catch up quickly enough to grasp this, or continue along the path of admiring the “clever” foxman. Who (on average) wins, and who we worship and want our kids to be like, are generally two different things…

    Reply

  38. @melykin
    I still say Islam is the main problem, not genetics.(not counting sub-Saharan Africans). There couldn’t be much genetic difference between Pakistanis and Sikhs on the other side of the border in India. Yet Sikhs seem to be able to immigrate to the West without causing the massive problems that Muslims cause.

    As hubchik says, different marriage cultures. This *must* have a genetic effect. The only question is the extent.

    It is note worthy that people in the West also can easily fall into corruption if laws do not keep it strictly in check.

    Sort of disagree. I’ve lived among people for whom the entire concept had become alien. They weren’t neccessarily “good” people in a conscious sense, it was something more instinctive. They were almost entirely homogenous and from specific populations with a high “denmark index”. It breaks down with the introduction of people who aren’t wired up that way and yes *then* you need stronger laws – which don’t exist because they weren’t needed – and the lack of those laws then makes it easy for those people inclined to be corrupt to be more corrupt hence the rapid rise in the corruption league table for the US and UK for example.

    People being wired to be non-corrupt is the point. It’s more efficient because if everyone is like that you don’t need the laws.

    .
    @AK
    This doesn’t suggest that relatively high corruption / lack of social cohesion in China is going to be a very significant factor in its development.

    hubchik already made most of the points i was going to make but the above statement can’t be true. I do think it’s possible that like the Japanese the Chinese engine may be big enough to at least partially outweigh the effects of a low-trust culture but the *form* of its development will neccessarily be very different because of it and the maximum can *neccessarily* never be as high as the high-trust form (in a homogenous population) if for example every bridge has to be built twice as strong to compensate for knowing all the high quality materials will be replaced with low quality. There will neccessarily be more friction. Even if the Chinese engine was big enough to match the US despite the corruption-friciton it would still be less than it could potentially achieve without the friction.

    .
    hubchik
    a top-down solution where one very smart guy, with probably the cooperation/willingness of a very smart population in general, imposes strong restrictions on everybody in order to repress their natural clannish instincts)…really, i think he should get an award for the cleverest applied social theorist since saints augustine and aquinas. (~_^) lew apparently understood how his own people work — and he saw the strengths of the english system — and managed to pick and choose just the right amount of features from the english system to make it work

    Yes agree, Lee is up there with Cleisthenes, Augustine, Aquinas etc. In effect he’s imposed high-trust externally via a judge dredd style umpire. I think it needs a high average IQ (and a low variance) to work though.

    but the importation of non-outbred populations ’cause you’re working under the assumption that all people are the same has to be one of the biggest errors in history or prehistory. ever. (an error that, ironically, is a feature of the system itself, i.e. assuming that others are just like you and can be trusted, etc., etc.)

    Yes i don’t think the high-trust system would generate the problem internally – otherwise it wouldn’t have evolved in the first place. I think it requires the combination of different populations combined with the assumption everyone else is the same way. The optimum – seems to me – is conscious high-trust i.e. a population self-aware enough to maintain itself.

    .
    Luke
    What does anyone make of this disturbing video which purports to show a crowd of Chinese pedestrians on a street somewhere in China randomly kicking an eight or nine-year old “white” boy

    Niceness isn’t the human default. The rare places where most people are nice-ish will be the product of centuries of various kinds of extremely unlikely gene-culture evolution.

    Reply

  39. “something i asked once before: who’s gonna go first?”

    I think one of the reasons altruism could spread despite it being disadvantageous to an individual is simply because it takes two to tango. It might not be in your interest to be an altruist but it’s in your interests to marry one because they will put your children before themselves. So altruism (within limits) could spread through being attractive to potential mates. If people are choosing traits for their children that process may not occur.

    Another option might be an elite manipulating a population into deveoping one set of traits while avoiding them themselves to create a kind of hi-tech caste system.

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  40. @melykin

    On reflection and thinking more about Lee Kuan Yew’s solution i now think it may be a bit more 50/50 than i first stated. Although among the high-trust populations there are a significant proportion who have a cop inside their head which prevents them even thinking about things like corruption there is also (uniquely?) within those populations a large number of *voluntary* moral punishers who take it upon themselves to guard the morality of the group – which ties back to the puritan thing maybe. This can obviously take an unpleasant turn depending on the rules this type of person chooses to guard and in the current culture that disposition has been harnessed to enforcing PC but in general the puritan type act like volunteer cops so with an adaptive set of rules they’d add extra free enforcement of those rules so it may be more the case that the lesser corruption thing is partly a question of people being wired out of certain behaviors but also partly the extra enforcement provided by the puritan type which no longer applies to the same extent because that type have largely been side-tracked into enforcing PC.

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  41. In Canada, Quebec seems to be much more corrupt than the rest of Canada. (This difference pre-dates mass immigration from non-European sources).

    Louisiana is the probably the most corrupt state in the Union. It also has French roots.

    On the other hand, I have never heard that Nova Scotia is particularly corrupt. Nova Scotia was largely populated by Scots, including Gaelic speakers.

    So how does this fit in with the idea of clannish Highlanders? Was France clannish?

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  42. HBD Chick:

    For thousands of years the Confucius golden creed of how to select a high official (& how to become a fine “gentleman” for that matter) has been

    “ Zhi (Intelligence),

    Xin(Trust) ,

    Ren (Mercifulness or Kindness),

    Yong (Braveness), and

    Yan (Strictness – in discipline)”

    – 5 key elements and precisely following this order of priority – in all Confucius cultures being China, Korea, Japan or Vietnam. What’s going on right now in mainland China therefore is not a historical norm because it’s not Confucius.

    HBD aside, the stage of economic development and political ideology of a state can have strong impact on the level of corruption and trustworthiness. China was/is Communist, under-developed (on per cap basis) and is governed by utterly corrupted elites who have forged a contemporary culture in the mainland that is against trustworthiness. Ferocious competition at 1.3 billion grass root level under state-sponsored capitalism in its break-neck process of industrialisation (not very exceptional actually when compare it to Victorian Britain) makes it even much worse.

    Not strangely in comparison, Singapore (by and large Han Chinese, but developed & no Communism): little corruption/high trust. Japan (the 1st fully developed NE Asian country & no Communism): much less corruption/high trust. Taiwan and S Korea (developed, no Communism): in the middle. Vietnam/North Korea are relatively the most corrupted amongst them being the least developed and still with Communism in place. To gauge what China’s future looks like, one has to look at current day Taiwan, and also Singapore.

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  43. “So how does this fit in with the idea of clannish Highlanders? Was France clannish?”

    Well i think the underlying driving force is the pattern of relatedness so although clans are a cultural mechanism for intentionally creating a particular form of relatedness things like low population density might have at least some of the same effects unintentionally and iirc both Quebec and Loiusiana had tiny founding populations. Also French settlers in Canada and the US were/are ethnic minorities so there may have been an added “their law not ours” effect. So i’d wonder if the pattern in either of those cases is the same as the extended family vs extended family form of corruption associated with clannishness elsewhere or whether it is more of an “us vs them” form of corruption? (Plus even if it’s high relative to Canadian Anglos that could still be pretty low by world standards.)

    As to Nova Scotia the raiding highland clans were focused on pastoralism – which seems generally to be the most clannishness inducing form of food-getting – but were the settlers in Nova Scotia originally from that background or from the gaelic speaking fishing villages? (I have a pet theory that fishing communities will eventually be shown to have their own unique pattern where they try and make everyone in the village equally related as a kind of insurance welfare system for crews lost at sea.) If relatedness is the driving force then i think communities like that would be extremely honest among themselves and not at all towards everyone else but at the same time their scope for being dishonest with everyone else might be quite limited so they’d rarely get an opportunity to display it.

    Those are just guesses off the top of my head to illustrate that the idea is not so much that particular marriage systems lead to particular patterns of behavior but that particular forms of relatedness lead to particular patterns of behavior and one of if not the major factor in patterns of relatedness is the marriage system.

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  44. @HBD Chick:

    “@melykin – “It is note worthy that people in the West also can easily fall into corruption if laws do not keep it strictly in check.”

    i don’t think that’s the case. (not to be picky, but have you got some data to back that up?)

    i grew up in the midwest and nw european americans there are just honest to a fault. (some of my own family members, otoh, who like me come from an inbred population — i wouldn’t trust them as far as i could throw them!) i lived for years (recently) in a place where you could buy local vegetables on the honor system — vegetables left out for anyone to help themselves, leave your money in the box. no laws keeping anyone in check there — folks just felt that was natural. (not to mention handy and efficient.)”

    I think Melykin is confusing a homogenous NW Euro society with the mixed inbreeder/outbreeder society we have with American Whites (think Chicago, Boston, or New York City politics). Homogenous NW European societies are very trusting and not very corrupt. It’s when you throw in other groups—be it those from the European periphery and Eastern Europe—or other races entirely—that you get corruption.

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  45. @melykin: “In Canada, Quebec seems to be much more corrupt than the rest of Canada. (This difference pre-dates mass immigration from non-European sources). “

    Some interesting things went on in Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes (and Canada in general). I suspect that GW is correct:

    “Also French settlers in Canada and the US were/are ethnic minorities so there may have been an added “their law not ours” effect. ”

    It’s corrupt because of French vs British Canadian friction, not so much because of clannish divisions between the French Quebecois.

    Anecdotally, according to my gf, this is illustrated by the differences between Montreal and Quebec City: Montreal is a low-trust society where people are rude and unfriendly—much like New York City. Quebec City, a city of half a million, on the other hand, is high-trust, where the people are friendly and pleasant. Montreal is more of a melting pot between the various Canadian settlers, whereas as Quebec City is almost entirely ethnic French.

    Nova Scotia, on the other hand, may be as GW suggests:

    “If relatedness is the driving force then i think communities like that would be extremely honest among themselves and not at all towards everyone else but at the same time their scope for being dishonest with everyone else might be quite limited so they’d rarely get an opportunity to display it.”

    And then, how many Highland clans went into populating NS?

    As for Louisiana, in addition to the French, let’s not forget about the Scotch-Irish that populates the rest of the U.S. South…

    Of course, I am particularly interested Quebec and Canada in general because I am trying to test my Pioneer Hypothesis by looking at other places where it likely applies (particularly, Canada and Russia). Quebecois are derived from a small founder population of 2,600 French settlers who underwent a population explosion and then, about equally dramatically, a fertility crash. Since a lot of the expansion occurred before the 20th century, while early-breeders would have been favored, this would only happen for so long before Malthusian effects set in. And then there is the question if there was significant emigration from Quebec…

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  46. GW wrote:
    But were the settlers in Nova Scotia originally from that background or from the gaelic speaking fishing villages? (I have a pet theory that fishing communities will eventually be shown to have their own unique pattern where they try and make everyone in the village equally related as a kind of insurance welfare system for crews lost at sea.)

    The Atlantic provinces in Canada are noted for being high trust/civic minded.

    My great grandfather was a fisherman in Caithness, in the Highlands. He didn’t come to Canada but his son (who was a blacksmith) came to Canada in 1911 with his wife and daughter. He settled in British Columbia.

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  47. @melykin – “In Canada, Quebec seems to be much more corrupt than the rest of Canada. (This difference pre-dates mass immigration from non-European sources).

    Louisiana is the probably the most corrupt state in the Union. It also has French roots.”

    well, parts of france certainly had a lot of inbreeding historically. anybody know where in france the ancestors of the québécois folks came from? a particular place, or were they from all over france? i’ll have to check around….

    @melykin – “On the other hand, I have never heard that Nova Scotia is particularly corrupt. Nova Scotia was largely populated by Scots, including Gaelic speakers. So how does this fit in with the idea of clannish Highlanders?”

    nope. on the surface this wouldn’t fit “the theory.” (oh, noes! (^_^) ) will have to look into this more.

    edit: there were also the planters, but — and my canadian history is a bit thin — surely the gaels in nova scotia outnumbered them, no?

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  48. @melykin – “On the other hand, I have never heard that Nova Scotia is particularly corrupt.”

    hmmm. nova scotia does seem to have quite a bit of corruption, and it comes in the form of patronage, apparently:

    “Sea of corruption
    “The MLA expense scandal is just the tip of the sordid mess that is Nova Scotia government

    “The words ‘corruption’ and ‘Nova Scotian government’ are perfectly interchangeable. Oldsters recount the not-so-distant days when party workers would distribute ‘rum and nylons’ on election day, straight-up bribes for votes. And once in power, the parties—both the Liberals and the PCs—ran a house of graft that would shame Boss Tweed….”

    also:

    Paying for power

    “During the first half of the last century, the Nova Scotia Liberal party perfected a lucrative if illegal fundraising scheme known as toll-gating. Companies wanting to do business with the government—from having their particular brand of booze stocked on liquor store shelves, to offering legal advice to crown corporations, to supplying the hamburger for the hash in local hospital cafeterias—knew they had to fork over a portion of the value of whatever they sold to their friendly Liberal fundraiser.

    “According to evidence presented at the 1981 influence-peddling trial of three prominent Liberal fundraisers, that party raised at least $4 million—and probably much more—from these illicit tolls alone during Gerald Regan’s eight years as premier (1970-78).

    “The Mounties did try to find out if the Tories employed similar fundraising practices when they were in power but were stymied because the party destroyed most of its files from those years and—according to testimony during the Liberals’ trial—at least one key Tory fundraiser burned his records…..”

    one nova scotian premier, donald william cameron, fought a battle against corruption/patronage in the region and seems to have been quite successful at beating it — to a good extent anyway.

    still, quebec does seem to be in the lead when it comes to corruption in canada:

    Quebec: The most corrupt province

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  49. @luke – “Suppose these genes have already gone to fixity. In that case wouldn’t the degree of inbreeding be the only important variable? Don’t most people (all people?) favor close family relations already? Is this an issue that can be experimentally explored? I’m assuming fixity, Hbd* chk is not.”

    no, i’m not assuming fixation for all altruism/other “innate social aptitudes” genes, and i don’t see why we should assume that.

    sure, it’s probably likely that the gene/s for “feed your kids” has gone to fixation since that’s quite an obvious one for simple survival/propagation of your genes reasons, but evolution in humans hasn’t stopped — and if cochran & harpending are right, then it’s actually sped up since the agricultural revolution (for the obvious reason that since that time there’s been more people around).

    and we’re talking about a multitude of behaviors here, not just one — everything from be extra nice to your kid brother vs. your younger cousin — to make sure to shoot first and ask questions later if some stranger shows up in your territory — to feel ok about killing your disgraceful daughter to ensure that your other kids will be able to get mates.

    think of it more in terms of evolution still being in action. for example, something like 1 in 25 ashkenazi jews are carriers of an allele for tay-sachs, right? but cochran, hardy & harpending showed that that allele had been selected for during the ashkenazi jewish history in europe AND that it probably significantly contributes to their high average iq. it hasn’t gone to fixation, however. that’s because we (meaning teh scientists) happened to take a “snapshot” of the average ashkenazi genome at this particular point in time. perhaps the tay-sachs allele is still being selected for in ashkenazi jews and in five or ten generations it will be more frequent in that population. perhaps the opposite is happening, i don’t know. either way — evolution/natural selection is ongoing.

    same applies to altruism/other “innate social aptitudes” genes. and in that case (likely in the iq case, too), there’s probably a sort of genetic arms race going on. the aggression towards outsiders genes in my tribe (aggression towards outsiders being the flip-side of familial altruism) get tweaked slightly by the selection for some new mutation at some point and, so, at some point in the future, natural selection results in your tribe acquiring a newer mutation that makes you guys even more aggresssive than us. and so on, and so on. with inbreeding just accelerating this process.

    Reply

  50. This is an interesting trend when talking about large numbers of people moving to the west from low-trust societies:

    “Vancouver: A trend caused by food shortage in developing countries is catching up in Canada as well after an unprecedented string of crop thefts has Richmond farmers flabbergasted as they watch their fall harvest disappear from local fields.
    Richmond farmer Bill Zylmans has long battled berry pickers who help themselves to easily accessible crops next to local walking trails and is used to seeing the occasional pumpkin pilfered from his fields come Halloween. But this year crop thefts have reached new levels.

    “It’s the worst I’ve seen it,” said Zylmans, who recently discovered several patches of potatoes had been uprooted in one of the many fields he farms across Richmond. The total area of the uprooted plants is about the size of a football field and he estimated up to 5,000 pounds of potatoes have been stolen, adding up to about $5,000 in damages and lost revenue.”

    http://news.saanj.net/canada-news/crop-thefts-leave-richmond-farmers-boiling-mad/

    Reply

  51. back to the altruism thing: are we defining altruism as sacrifice of one’s own chances reproductive success for that of another or in some other way?

    Reply

  52. @Melykin
    “The Atlantic provinces in Canada are noted for being high trust/civic minded. My great grandfather was a fisherman in Caithness, in the Highlands”

    Yes whatever the overall cultural background of a region i think (just a guess based on hubchik’s posts about small polynesian islands) fishing communities are liable to be skewed in that direction (on average) in the same way pastoralists tend to be skewed in the other direction (on average) with farmers in the middle.

    Reply

  53. @luke – “back to the altruism thing: are we defining altruism as sacrifice of one’s own chances reproductive success for that of another or in some other way?”

    important question. and the answer is … heh … both.

    here’s another bit from that post i said i’m working on (it’s about “the theory”) but that i haven’t yet posted (about half of it is now in the comments thread here…):

    “The theory, or the hypothesis, in a nutshell: long-term inbreeding can influence the selection of certain traits involved in group-related social behaviors; in other words, the ‘innate social aptitudes of man.'[1] Such behaviors range from the altruistic, in both the biological and the layman’s senses of the word[2], to other aspects of human behavior such as nepotism, cheating, and corruption, to name but a few.”

    and my footnote number 2 there:

    “[2] The biological sense of the word altruism refers to a behavior that increases the fitness of the individual benefitting from the altruistic act, while at the same time reducing the individual fitness of the actor. In the layman’s sense of the word, we might be talking about lending the neighbor a cup of sugar.”

    Reply

  54. @benjamin – “…an unprecedented string of crop thefts has Richmond farmers flabbergasted as they watch their fall harvest disappear from local fields.”

    oh, jeez. that’s terrible! =/

    Reply

  55. @sp – “For thousands of years the Confucius golden creed….”

    yes. but confucius also had this to say [pg. 147]:

    “The Duke of She said to Confucius, ‘Among my people there is one we call “Upright Gong.” When his father stole a sheep, he reported him to the authorities.’

    “Confucius replied, ‘Among my people, those who we consider “upright” are different from this: fathers cover up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers. “Uprightness” is to be found in this.'”

    not the basis for a terrific civil society.

    Reply

  56. Chinese Blame Failing Bridges On Corruption

    “[C]orruption and failing infrastructure have been a problem in China since the 1990s, when market reforms set the country’s economy on a rocketlike trajectory. The government went on a sustained building boom that provided unprecedented opportunities for graft.

    “Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance in Beijing, said bid rigging is the norm and there are no checks or balances on the procurement process….

    “‘China’s civil society is not strong enough,’ Zhang said over Pepsis at a local KFC. ‘It’s too fragmented and too weak and can’t force the party to make changes….'”
    _____

    From Progress To Problem: China’s High-Speed Trains

    “Construction Too Fast, Too Corrupt?

    “Ren Xianfeng, a senior analyst at IHS Global Insight in Beijing, says China has been building too quickly.

    “‘In a couple of years, the investment in high-speed-rail projects has increased by more than 10 times, which is simply unsustainable,’ she says.

    “Ren says the sacking of Railways Minister Liu Zhijun in February for corruption, followed by the subsequent arrest of another senior railway official on corruption charges, raised red flags. Official reports said that $30 million of funding was misappropriated on the high-profile Beijing-to-Shanghai line alone.

    “‘With this speed of construction, there are a couple of issues. First is the quality of the project; the second thing is corruption,’ Ren says. ‘It’s a legitimate concern about safety: How safely have they built their railway system, because so much money has been siphoned off to private pockets….'”

    Reply

  57. @benjamin – “…an unprecedented string of crop thefts has Richmond farmers flabbergasted as they watch their fall harvest disappear from local fields.”

    Richmond is mostly Chinese immigrants. They may be clever but they are very untrustworthy. But this is the first I’ve heard of crop thefts. :(

    Reply

  58. “The Duke of She said to Confucius, ‘Among my people there is one we call “Upright Gong.” When his father stole a sheep, he reported him to the authorities.’

    “Confucius replied, ‘Among my people, those who we consider “upright” are different from this: fathers cover up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers. “Uprightness” is to be found in this.’”

    not the basis for a terrific civil society. (hbd chick)

    LMAO. Yeah right Confucius boasts that father & sons of his folks ought to cover up for each other on crimes. If that shi*** translation were correct, Confucius would have been Head of Triad or Yakuza long long ago. No wonder none of Chinese classics is remotely close to even round one preliminary selection list of Nobel Literature Prize .^o^

    Reply

  59. @sp – “Yeah right Confucius boasts that father & sons of his folks ought to cover up for each other on crimes. If that shi*** translation were correct….”

    so this translation done by a person with a bachelor’s (with distinction) in chinese, a master’s in classical chinese, and a ph.d. in classical chinese philosophy is no good?

    ok.

    then offer a link to another one that you think is better. otherwise you are wasting my time.

    in any case, confucius was all about filial piety, was he not? (or do you dispute that, too?) confucianism is all about the family and the extended family — a pretty obvious reflection of a “clannish” society.

    Reply

  60. Let’s get it clear:

    All empires are corrupt by definition: strong central government with huge and powerful bureaucracy setup is a natural leeway for corruption. The longer an empire last, the more corrupt it tends to be. Europe’s version of Imperial China was Holy Roman Empire, albeit much shorter than Imperial China history. How corrupt it was? Heck, just look at today’s Italians…lol

    That said, Confucius ideals do not encourage corruptions at all at grass root level. That’s why contrary to conventional belief of Eurocentralists, Old China was a much more high trust and equitable society (along with Japan, Korea and Vietnam) than its historical European counterparts (even till the dawn of Victorian England) AT GRASS ROOT LEVEL, even though at very top corruptions were always there since it’s an empire (the longest in history)in essence.

    Industrial Revolution (along with the earlier European Enlightenment) changed Europe in a way that the efficiency of money-making triumphed all other needs. To be successful in that demands efficient and independent institutions setup enabled by the free flow of ideas that curb corruption by default – at least that was the initial intention. – (hint here why Europe has been more inventive than China since then, NOT due to some mystical “inventive” super power that enjoyed solely by White Europeans) – thus hard system (set by empires) can determine culture and triumph HBD explanation for a pro-longed period of time.

    Today’s Singapore, Japan and HK are amongst the least corrupt societies in Asia, and the world, even though everyone of those is hard core Confucius, while modern China is corrupt. Why?

    …because all said three adopted independent institutions and free flow of ideas. Japan was very lucky because it had much weaker central govt and economy at a time (relatively to über strong Chinese Qing Empire – at least prior to earlier 19th century ) and hence became the first Confucius society to be “conquered” by outsiders, namely American merchants in the 19th century thus adopted as series of outsiders’ ideas such as European industrial revolution and the associated setups on a wholesale basis. HK and Singapore are the similar phenomena albeit more recent.

    On the contrary, China was unlucky only because China was too strong as both the economic hegemon (with still far larger GDP than industrial England) and the mother culture core of the entire East Asia till the earlier 19th century, so strong that it have resisted outside (European) influences almost entirely unlike much weaker Japan. Ironic, isn’t it? That doesn’t help on curbing corruptions, though.

    In the more recent era China is unlucky, too: Mao’s Cultural Marxism and CCP’s monopoly of power have further encouraged corruptions which last till now and today both at the top, and at grass root level – more due to “centralised” industrial revolution (yet without independent institutions) at a breakneck speed. IMO, therefore, It has no too much to do with Confucius or HBD. It’s system, pure and simple.

    Reply

  61. “in any case, confucius was all about filial piety, was he not? (or do you dispute that, too?) confucianism is all about the family and the extended family — a pretty obvious reflection of a “clannish” society.”

    Not quite. You need to re-visit the whole basics of Confucius I am afraid. It contains far more than filial piety which only serves as the basis for responsibility setup of family/society (note that there’re also trade-offs whenever conflicts arise betteen the two), yet NOT the moral one.

    Reply

  62. @sp – “That said, Confucius ideals do not encourage corruptions at all at grass root level.”

    i never said that confucian ideals encourage corruption. confucian ideals reflect the “clannishness” of chinese society (both ancient and contemporary), and it’s the clannishness that leads to corruption (and lack of trust and all those other good things).

    @sp – “Old China was a much more high trust and equitable society….”

    references, please.

    Reply

  63. Another point on this “clannish” society – it’s true and false, morally wrong and right, both at the same time:

    Ture it is, as every other human societies notablely prior to Industrial Revolution. Old Europe (un-meritocratic) was even more clannish than Old China, was it not? it’s oke, since it’s natural and It’s indeed HBD in essence, isn’t it?

    False it is, since China is fastly industrialising, which logically means that people are becoming more loyal to money than to clan, as every single Victorian industrialist could testify. Yes or not?

    It is morally wrong, as you said, because it encourages corruptions ( not neccisarily low trust, some recent polls suggest East Asia, China , included, might have even higher trust indice, than many long Industrilised Western counterparts, I winder why). Fair enough.

    Yet is is also morally correct, to the extend that the survival of national(clannish) interests triumph that of multiculturalism interests put forward by cultural marxists. Hence in the long run and from bird’s eyes view it’s not neccesarily a bad thing per se.

    Reply

  64. @sp – “Old Europe (un-meritocratic) was even more clannish than Old China, was it not?”

    no, absolutely not. not post-christianity. and it all has to do with the mating patterns imposed by the catholic (and later some protestant) church/es. that is the whole point. please, read the posts under the “mating patterns in europe” series in the left-hand column below ↓, starting with this one:

    whatever happened to european tribes?

    Reply

  65. @sp – “False it is, since China is fastly industrialising, which logically means that people are becoming more loyal to money than to clan, as every single Victorian industrialist could testify. Yes or not?”

    not. (~_^) the victorian industrialists were industrialists because they were not clannish (due to their long history of outbreeding), not the other way around. the chinese today in china might become less clannish due to industrialization, but only (i think) if industrialization leads to a reduction in close marriages over time there.

    again, read the background posts.

    Reply

  66. @sp – “national (clannish) interests”

    national does not equal clannish. not in the sense of nation-state, anyway. quite the opposite. it’s difficult (impossible?) to get to national if you’re clannish. not from the bottom up anyway, although you might be able to impose a state on a clannish people if you have enough power behind you.

    Reply

  67. “@sp – “Old China was a much more high trust and equitable society….”

    references, please.”

    We all know the selfdomship of medieval Europe…well into the Enlightenment, to the slaves trade… yet China and the rest of mainstream East Asia(Tibet aside) had long abolished selfdom 2000 years ago. ==> much more equitable by definition?

    More importantly, there’s a Chinese word calles ‘”yi” (義), the same in Japanese kanji.

    The concept represents a long-established core Confucius concept which serves as a part of moral compass for individuals. Unfortunately, there is no known equivalent translation, no precise one at least to me, in both English or any other European languages of 義.

    義 has a rough meaning, IMO, of trust and help people (either known friends or unknown strangers) in need and/or in danger by the evils to the extend of sacrifising one’s own life at a drop of hat in the process if neccesary, in order to not only perserve good morals, trustworthyness in a society and but also help enhance one’s own morals as being a human. It certainly contains good samaritan meaning, but far beyond that to the extend of being soemthing akin to quasi-religious. 義 has a heavy doze of trustworthyness in it.

    The concept of 義, popular for thousands of years in East Asian societies, has conceptually indicated and justified extremely high level trust amongst people (either known friends or unknown strangers). And in that respect it hence justifies a moral goal of an equitable society at a theoretical level as well.

    Reply

  68. @sp – “The concept of 義, popular for thousands of years in East Asian societies, has conceptually indicated and justified extremely high level trust amongst people (either known friends or unknown strangers). And in that respect it hence justifies a moral goal of an equitable society at a theoretical level as well.”

    yes, that’s all very well and good: “conceptually” and “at a theoretical level.” i want to see/know how it actually worked on the ground. in reality.

    Reply

  69. @sp – “…filial piety which only serves as the basis for responsibility setup of family/society….”

    exactly.

    lol. you were fast… Pardon my English, it’s a second language… I meant “Structual Setup…not Moral one”.

    ——-

    Again on 義 , to dafame anyone in a Confucius society to the level of being a animal, the lowest of low, you claim him/her “Not 義”. This is how conceptually and culturally important 義 has been in China, and Japan, and cetainly Korea and Vietnam.

    Of course, this is at throritical level. In reality, Chiná today in the middle of industrilisation and iron grip of communists, the implementation of 義 is becoming weaker by the day. That’s why I said “(low trust and high corruption*) are not China’s historical norm, since it’s not Confucius”.

    * High leevel corruption only existed in China at the end of each dynasties.

    Reply

  70. @sp – “* High leevel corruption only existed in China at the end of each dynasties.”

    again, i’m going to have to ask for references. (i’ll probably go look for them myself, one of these days, but it might take some time…. (~_^) )

    i mean, you might be familiar with all these details, but i’m not … and while you may be right, i’m not very trusting (’cause i come from a clannish population (~_^) ) — especially of an unknown person on the other end of the internet. so, references, please — one will do!

    (^_^)

    Reply

  71. lol, so you come from a clannish population? hey, that makes two – so do I ! rofl. Due to the untrustworthy nature of both you and I if I dare to assume mostly from your part, I’d imagine no source would be trustful enough from my mouth thus none would do in the end let’s be honest here, what say you?

    (^_^)

    Reply

  72. @sp – “….I’d imagine no source would be trustful enough from my mouth thus none would do in the end let’s be honest here, what say you?”

    heh! (^_^)

    no, not at all. i’ll take any academic reference/s (preferably in english). academics should always be questioned, too, but they often know something about what they write about. (~_^)

    Reply

  73. “but they often know something about what they write about. (~_^)”

    Sure they often do. You mean sources, oh shall we say sources preferably in English, like those claiming Confucius said that “daddy covers up for me & I cover up for daddy”? I’m impressed. o_0

    Reply

  74. @sp – “You mean sources, oh shall we say sources preferably in English, like those claiming Confucius said that ‘daddy covers up for me & I cover up for daddy’? I’m impressed. o_0”

    look — now you sound like you’re trolling.

    you’ve made a lot of assertions about chinese society without any backup. you need to provide that backup, or else i am going to assume you’re trying to waste my time.

    as for the confuscius quote, i’ve found several other translations which amount to the same as the one i quoted above. if you dispute that translation, provide a link to one supporting your claim.

    here is another example of one that is similar to the one i quote above [pg. 270]:

    “Chap. XVIII. 1. The duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, ‘Among us here there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact.’

    “2. Confucius said, ‘Among us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this.'”

    Reply

  75. Here you go, another angle, from New York City:

    Saying Goodbye to the Face of New York’s Brownstones – NYTimes.com

    Note this part:

    Brownstone began appearing in New York City buildings in a significant way during the first half of the 19th century, and it quickly became the stone of choice for row house developers….Stone from Portland’s quarries came out of the ground near the Connecticut River, so it was easy to get it to New York City…and was relatively soft, which made it easy to carve.

    Unfortunately that softness, along with corner-cutting by developers and the extremes of New York City’s weather, made the stone liable to crumble, crack and flake.

    Reply

  76. @jayman – “…from New York City….”

    oh, nineteenth century nyc. you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. (~_^)

    good example!

    Reply

  77. […] of one another, which is consistent with their very long history of cousin marriage. Overall, Chinese and East Asian society in general is far more dysfunctional than in the West, with interclan conflict still an ongoing problem […]

    Reply

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