clannish dysgenics

here’s another example of potential clannish dysgenics — from Studies on the Population of China, 1368-1953 [pg. 205]:

“[T]he lack of primogeniture and the working of the clan system proved to be great leveling factors in the Chinese economy. The virtue of sharing one’s wealth with one’s immediate and remote kinsmen had been so highly extolled since the rise of Neo-Confucianism in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that few wealthy men in traditional China could escpae the influence of this teaching. Business management, in the last analysis, was an extension of familism and was filled with nepotism, inefficiencies, and irrationalities. These immensely rich individuals not only failed to develop a capitalistic system; they seldom if ever acquire that acquistive and competitive spirit which is the very soul of the capitalistic system.”

previously: a sense of entitlement and inbreeding and iq

(note: comments do not require an email. chinese clan.)

22 Comments

  1. @jayman – “So the Chinese would have been even smarter had this not been going on? ;)”

    that is the logical conclusion! (~_^) maybe they would’ve had a couple of extra iq points if they hadn’t inbred — who knows?

    but, obviously, other selective pressures seem to be a lot more important wrt iq than inbreeding — and prolly the inbreeding can actually help raise iq. think the ashkenazi jewish evolutionary history. otoh, there’s inbreeding depression — so, the whole thing is pretty complicated, isn’t it?

    still, i think that clannishness might be a drag on iq for some populations. not sure — it’s just an idea. i’m more persuaded by my idea that clannishness leads to a sense of entitlement, to tell you the truth.

    Reply

  2. @redzengenoist – “Do you agree that their marriage patterns could be modeled as archetypical as well?”

    possibly, but i’m inclined to think no.

    i think mating patterns really seem to track: food production (whether you’re a hunter-gatherer, a pastoralist, or an agriculturalist) + population density (and maybe + pathogens).

    peoples change their mating patterns depending on these factors (and maybe others, too).

    wrt the sardinians specifically — lowland, agriculturalist(+fishing?) sardinians have, historically, had much lower inbreeding rates than the upland, pastoralist sardinians. so i think the marriage patterns just depend on a population’s circumstances. i don’t think the sardinians can be considered as “living fossils,” as it were, when it comes to their cultural practices.

    Reply

  3. “So the Chinese would have been even smarter had this not been going on?”

    I think you need to take population density into effect as well. An average Chinese clan (at least in the hotspots along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers) might be larger than an average Cambodian clan.

    For example if you look at the Chinese IQ distribution map from this post

    http://theslittyeye.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/iq-geography-in-china/

    You notice a high point around Gansu, Beijing and the odd-shaped low IQ hole between Hong Kong and Shanghai surrounded by higher IQ like a donut.

    If you add the paths of the Yellow, Wei, Yangtze and Xi rivers to the IQ map i think you get a possible explanation.

    It’s not entirely clear but if you flip between the two maps i think you can see the valley of the Xi to Hong Kong combined with the valley of the Yangtze to Shanghai fits the donut pattern and the Wei / Yellow river combo fits the Gangsu peak.

    So in terms of pop. density in the same valley over time i think you could have a pattern
    – 400 HGs
    – 1000 pastoralists
    – (if not mega riverine valley) 4000 standard farmers
    – (if mega riverine valley) 16,000 riverine valley agrarian mega-farmers

    Say for the sake of example the HGs were as exogamous as possible within the tribe simply because their total population was so low but all the other groups divided into optimal size clans and the optimal size was 1/4 of the total population in that valley. Then you’d have clan sizes of
    – 400
    – 250
    – 1000
    – 4000
    respectively.

    Alternatively if a non-riverine mega valley had a population of 4000 standard farmers but with an exogamous marriage system like the HGs then their effective clan size would also be

    4000.

    Same place* via a different route.

    (When i say same place here i’m thinking more in terms of things like IQ and that in terms of shedding genetic load so total average IQ = innate upper limit (latitude based?) minus genetic load (latitude based addition? minus cultural or pop. density based shedding?) + active selection for IQ (big headstart for China). IIRC Chinese and Europeans both have very low Flynn effects and i wonder if this is the cause – they shed a lot of their IQ related genetic load already through either a) high pop. density or b) the hajnal marriage culture.

    The differences in *how* it was shed explaining the other differences.)

    Reply

  4. @g.w. – “It’s not entirely clear but if you flip between the two maps i think you can see the valley of the Xi to Hong Kong combined with the valley of the Yangtze to Shanghai fits the donut pattern and the Wei / Yellow river combo fits the Gangsu peak.”

    cool! (^_^)

    Reply

  5. ““So the Chinese would have been even smarter had this not been going on?””

    Shorter version.

    I don’t think so because i think there are two separate things going on here,

    1) The shedding of genetic load which effects base traits like IQ and height
    2) Marriage culture effecting things like trust, corruption, commonweal-orientation and all that kind of stuff.

    However the two separate things also overlap.

    The hajnal marriage culture and high pop. density may independently effect load shedding so maybe

    hajnal marriage culture * medium pop. density == endogamous marriage culture * high pop. density

    (where medium and high are in pre-modern terms). I think the Chinese IQ is the result of latitude + high pop. density for a long time shedding the sheddable element of genetic load + cultural selection (exams etc).

    Separately i think population density also effects the choice between full cousin-marriage (fbd) and the more diluted cousin marriage (mbd) with the lower density populations tending to the most endogamous end of the spectrum and the higher density populations compromising because of the need for a larger number of related allies (with the hajnal system a fluke based on the late arrival of high-density agriculture to northern Europe in combination with the Church’s cousin ban).

    Not really a shorter version but maybe clearer, maybe not.

    Reply

  6. “So the Chinese would have been even smarter had this not been going on?”

    Actually just had a contrary thought. If the high average Chinese IQ is partly related to high load shedding from high pop. density in some of their mega river valleys then although the people from those places and those descended from them might already be at their shedding limit (hence low Flynn effect?) places outside those river valleys with lower average IQ wouldn’t have gone through that process therefore if the same shedding process was applied to those regions then the variance in Chinese IQ would go down and the *average* IQ would go up.

    Although i still think the IQ stuff is on a separate track to the cultural stuff.

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  7. @g.w. – “Although i still think the IQ stuff is on a separate track to the cultural stuff.”

    i don’t think it is — not entirely anyway. think of clark’s Farewell to Alms. i think some of his “middle class values” are connected to my “cooperative individualists/commonweal orientation” traits — and they all go together with selection for a higher average iq ’cause it was those individuals who were successful (i.e. the ones with all these traits) in the medieval/early modern period that had the most kids.

    otoh, it seems to me that familial altruism ought to create a drag on iq ’cause the dullards are supported by the smarter clan folks.

    but then there’s the chinese. the only thing i can think of wrt chinese history and selection for smarts that might’ve balanced the clannishness was that, during at least some periods, they had “landlordism” (as opposed to manorialism). sounds like that, in many ways, landlordism was a much harsher selection pressure than manorialism in europe was — at least for iq (and maybe even hard work):

    “Fu Zhufu has pointed to another difference between manorialism and landlordism. In the serf-based manorial system, the lord had to look to the subsistence and reproduction of his workers, lest the very basis of the manorial economy be undermined. But the Chinese landlord was under no such constraints. He could seek the highest possible returns that the land-rental market would support. Though Fu skirts the issue here, it is obvious that such principles became harshest when the pressures of social stratification were joined by the pressures of population; under those conditions, a tenant who failed to survive could always be replaced by another. Landlordism could become an institutional system in which the poor tenants were pressed below the margins of subsistence.

    also, you’d think the sheer numbers that they’ve had in china for so long would create a LOT of selective pressures for smarts. the competition must just be fierce — and has been for such a long time.

    Reply

  8. “i don’t think it is — not entirely anyway. think of clark’s Farewell to Alms. i think some of his “middle class values”…otoh, it seems to me that familial altruism ought to create a drag on iq ’cause the dullards are supported by the smarter clan folks.”

    Yes you’re right but i find unless i separate the effects of the marriage systems into separate categories i start to get very confused so i try and split the effects into the separate effect on
    – shedding of genetic load (or not)
    – competitive selection
    – cultural traits

    .
    “but then there’s the chinese. the only thing i can think of wrt chinese history and selection for smarts that might’ve balanced the clannishness was that…also, you’d think the sheer numbers that they’ve had in china for so long would create a LOT of selective pressures for smarts”

    That’s what i mean by the effect of population density.

    I think the hajnal marriage system allows the shedding of genetic load through sexual selection and it also allows for competitive selection on things like IQ e.g. the Farewell to Alms thing.

    The familial marriage system has less sexual selection and therefore less load shedding (imo) and also less scope for competitive selection (familial welfare) *however* i think both of these effects vary by population density.

    1) The larger a population is the more gaussian the IQ distribution of that population will become so if there’s any kind of competition within that population then the winner from a more gaussian population will on average have a higher IQ. So basically if you have a clan of 1000 people and a clan of 4000 and there’s IQ-based competition to be the blacksmith then the 4000-clan blacksmith will have a higher IQ (on average) than the 1000-clan blacksmith.

    2) Even in an endogamous marriage system a higher population density can mean more mating choices so more scope for sexual selection e.g. if number one son is fixed to marry a cousin from a particular allied family then if there is only one female cousin there is no sexual selection at all but if there are six equally eligible female cousins the family will probably choose the most attractive one and assuming attractiveness has some connection to health and fertility then you get some sexual selection.

    So basically what i’m saying is a valley with 16,000 total population divided into 4 endogamous clans of 4000 each and a hajnal marriage valley of 4000 population in total might have a similar* end-result in terms of genetic load-shedding and competitive selection for things like IQ but with completely different cultural traits.

    *weighted differently imo, hajnal weighted to sexual selection, endogamous weighted to IQ i.e. younger poorer men vs wealthy older ones.

    #

    I just realised i’ve been assuming clan size varies with population density because it might explain the Chinese example – but it’s just an assumption.

    so imagine all the above had an “if clan size varies with pop. density…” in front of it :)

    Reply

  9. @g.w. – “…i find unless i separate the effects of the marriage systems into separate categories i start to get very confused…”

    you’re not alone. (~_^)

    @g.w. – “That’s what i mean by the effect of population density.”

    ah! gotcha. (i think.)

    @g.w. – “I just realised i’ve been assuming clan size varies with population density…”

    hmmmm. yeah, i dunno how that works in the real world, either. -?-

    Reply

  10. “hmmmm. yeah, i dunno how that works in the real world, either. -?-”

    Yeah i have a habit of doing that, assuming a premise to see how it works out logically and then if it works logically forgetting it’s just an assumption, doh.

    Reply

  11. “I just realised i’ve been assuming clan size varies with population density”

    The mechanism behind why i think clan sizes may vary with population density.

    Premise #1
    An inheritance improves the chance that offspring successfully reproduce

    Premise #2
    An extended family therefore wants to maximize some kind of [inheritance * genetic similarity] number i.e. they want as much of their inheritance as possible to go to people who are genetically as simlar to them as possible. (If both inheritance and genetic similarity were on a scale of 0 to 1 then the perfect result might be 1 i.e. 100% of the inheritance going to offspring who are genetically identical to the previous generation.)

    Premise #3
    Maximizing the above number won’t be adaptive if the total number of inheritees isn’t large enough to defend the inheritance. Not having enough inheritees to defend the inheritance effectively reduces the number to zero as the inheritance becomes zero.

    So i think #1 and #2 are a plausible explanation for FBD or similar attempts to maximize familial relatedness. I think something like that *ought* logically to become default behavior as soon as you have familial level inheritance, all else being equal.

    Of course all else isn’t equal.

    For the sake of argument i’m taking the standard extended family size to be 100 people. It won’t be but it makes the numbers easier.

    Assume you have a valley with 8 extended families of 100 people each operating according to #1 and #2 and practising an FBD style marriage system where they try and marry first cousins as much as possible. What happens if two of the families come to an agreement where they will form a pair-clan where they will trade brides exclusively between the two familes.

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~anthrop/tutor/marriage/bixcuz.html

    This gives the pair-clan 200 people with which they could threaten the inheritance of the other individual families so as soon as one pair is formed the other families have to balance premise #1 and #2 with premise #3 and they all form pair-clans too ending in four pair-clans of 200 people each.

    Premise #4
    There are certain numbers of clans more likely to create a stable balance of power between those clans.

    This is the sort of thing which if true could probably be figured out by game theory (and maybe already has been) but for the sake of example i’m going to say it’s 4. Whatever the number is the allying process of building a larger clan size will repeat until it reaches the stable number of clans

    So
    – terrain supporting 400 people, 4 single clans of 100 people each, stable
    – terrain supporting 800 people, 8 single clans, form 4 pair-clans of 200 people each, stable
    – terrain supporting 1600 people, 16 single clans, form 8 pair-clans of 200 people each, process repeats forming 4 double-pair clans of 400 each, stable

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~anthrop/tutor/marriage/matxcuz.html

    If true then average clan sizes should (historically speaking) vary according to population density with for example clans along very fertile river vallies being bigger than clans elswewhere.

    #

    An alternate and/or additional way to a similar result might be if the standard extended family size was related to the fertility of a region so an identical allying process could result in larger clan sizes simply through larger base numbers i.e two vallies might follow an identical extended family allying process – pair then double-pair – for game theory reasons but if the average extended family size in one valley was 50 and 100 in the other the end result would be clans of 200 in one valley and 400 in the other.

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  12. This could be an example of clannish eugenics, or an example of a mitigation of dysgenic non-clannishness.

    Reply

  13. @kevin – “…or an example of a mitigation of dysgenic non-clannishness.”

    what are you thinking of? can you elaborate? thnx! (^_^)

    Reply

  14. @g.w. – “Yeah i have a habit of doing that, assuming a premise to see how it works out logically and then if it works logically forgetting it’s just an assumption, doh.”

    nothing wrong with that! enjoy doing that myself. the trick, tho, is to, at some point, make sure to recall the assumption part. (~_^)

    Reply

  15. @g.w. – “If true then average clan sizes should (historically speaking) vary according to population density with for example clans along very fertile river vallies being bigger than clans elswewhere.”

    this sounds like it must be right — upland areas which can sustain just a limited number of people must have smaller clan sizes — that’s sorta my impression anyway, although impressions can certainly be wrong. and, then, in richer, lowland areas — the lowlands of se asia or china — people can afford to bring more individuals into their clan system. (or maybe they even have to?)

    @g.w. – “An inheritance improves the chance that offspring successfully reproduce”

    speaking of inheritance, the weirdest inheritance system is primogeniture! i have a hard time getting my head around how that arose (i know it’s connected to european manorialism and all that, but still…). with primogeniture, you just wind up screwing your younger kids (sons). nw europeans — always doing things differently! (~_^)

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  16. “at some point, make sure to recall the assumption part”

    heh, quite

    “the weirdest inheritance system is primogeniture! i have a hard time getting my head around how that arose”

    Yes. It sort of implies putting all your eggs in one basket is somehow optimal or…

    thinking aloud.

    I wonder if it’s somehow connected to female infanticide again – or the lack of it. If you have a unit of production – a farm – that can support one family and you are at (or just below) the Malthusian limit (and you want to restrict population) then one womb per farm might be a solution in which case although all the sons get to inherit the farm only one of them gets to marry. What alternative system would have the same effect if a different population reached the same limit but without the option of female infanticide? Only one son gets the farm and the rest have to sink or swim?

    Then once you’ve decided only one son is going to inherit the farm then if you’ve been reading the westhunter stuff on paternal age it might make sense (on average) to make it the first one.

    The Franks used to split the inheritance between the sons so something changed and it does seem to have changed sometime around the whole heavy plow / manorialism time.

    Reply

  17. “An inheritance improves the chance that offspring successfully reproduce”

    Quoting myself, perhaps better to think in terms of units of minimum neccessary inheritance e.g. one farm, one herd.

    If there was 1 farm unit and 3 sons and 1/3 of a farm only improved each of their chances to successfully reproduce by 10% each whereas 1 farm unit increased 1 son’s chance to successfully reproduce by 80% then on balance primogeniture might make sense – especially if in some cases non-primogeniture systems were primogeniture in disguise i.e. all the sons inherited but only one inherited *enough* to marry.

    Although that last point might apply in some places iirc the Franks did actually split the land equally between sons (and probably a dowry for the daughters too) so i don’t think it applies in that case. I’m wondering if it might only start to matter when a population is close to a fixed limit e.g. a Frank with too small a farm can graze more pigs in the forest or hunt more but once the heavy plow arrives and the forest is gone and farms are everywhere maybe that flexibility goes and you’re faced with a starker choice?

    Reply

  18. @g.w. – “The Franks used to split the inheritance between the sons so something changed and it does seem to have changed sometime around the whole heavy plow / manorialism time.”

    i think it may have been the franks who, eventually, “invented” primogeniture. seems to have gotten going in context with manorialism anyway in/around austrasia. and then it was a bunch of northern frenchies again (the normans) who introduced the practice to the english … i’m pretty sure.

    Reply

  19. hubchik
    Yes and if it happened after/during the north european population explosion then that would seem to be a good place to look for the explanation.

    Reply

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