linkfest – 12/02/12

Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase“In the most massive study of genetic variation yet, researchers estimated the age of more than one million variants, or changes to our DNA code, found across human populations. The vast majority proved to be quite young…. ‘Most of the mutations that we found arose in the last 200 generations or so….’ said geneticist Joshua Akey of the University of Washington, co-author of the Nov. 28 Nature study. ‘We have a repository of all this new variation for humanity to use as a substrate. In a way, we’re more evolvable now than at any time in our history.’ – i think greg cochran and henry harpending are now permitted to say — “we told you so!” — as much as they like and as often as they like. even to the point when it becomes annoying. (~_^) — see also: Too Much Diversity.

The Dark Enlightenment“‘The fundamental realization of the Dark Enlightenment is that all men are not created equal, not individual men, nor the various groups and categories of men, nor are women equal to men, that these beliefs and others like them are religious beliefs….'” – @mangan’s. see also malcolm pollack. (come to the dark side … we have cookies!)

Origins of English Individualism – from peter frost. (h/t jayman and bob!) – see also “mating patterns in europe series” in left-hand column below ↓, particularly the section on the english (you might start with this one), and … oh … pretty much every post on this blog for the last year and a half. (~_^)

Native Americans and Northern Europeans more closely related than previously thought“According to Nick Patterson, first author of the report, ‘There is a genetic link between the paleolithic population of Europe and modern Native Americans. The evidence is that the population that crossed the Bering Strait from Siberia into the Americas more than 15,000 years ago was likely related to the ancient population of Europe.'” – see also peter frost.

Expectations and reality: a window into the liberal-conservative baby gap“Genotypically, White Americans are getting more conservative, and the future will come to be dominated them (and the non-White groups in the country).” – from jayman.

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves – from malcolm pollack.

Ancient poo gives clues to human impact on environment“Researchers were able to use prehistoric poo to establish the presence and size of a population dating back over 7,000 years.”

No, 10,000 Hours of Practice Won’t Make You An Expert — gladwell debunked in fifty words or less. — see also “you, too, can have…” series.

Odd Reason Some Guys Have Fewer Sex Partners“Men who were born without a sense of smell report having far fewer sexual partners than other men do….”

Prenatal exposure to testosterone leads to verbal aggressive behavior“Relative length of adults’ fingers an indicator of verbal aggression.”r2d2 2d:4d stuff.

The geography of selfishness: Regional interest in Black Friday – from agnostic.

The Autism Advantage

Body language, not facial expressions, broadcasts what’s happening to us“‘[W]hen emotions become extremely intense, the difference between positive and negative facial expression blurs.'”

Why do humans have so little body hair? – from the straight dope.

bonus: Quiz: Can you pick out the “white Hispanic” amidst all the Hispanic Hispanics? – from steve sailer. heh.

bonus bonus: Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?

bonus bonus bonus: Grand Canyon ’64 million years older than previously thought’

(note: comments do not require an email. xkcd made me cry. d*mn him! [i’m such a girl.])

43 Comments

  1. The previous color scheme (black text on a white background) is much nicer. Nice links. I checked my digit ratio, it is 0.923. My wife’s was .98; I thought that hers would be low given her nerdy ways.

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  2. @t – “The previous color scheme (black text on a white background) is much nicer.”

    don’t worry. it’s just temporary. just thought i’d celebrate “the dark enlightenment” a bit. (~_^)

    @t – “I checked my digit ratio….”

    ooo! i’ll have to go check mine….

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  3. human pheromones are real! I always knew it just by watching my dog start humping things when I have girls over

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  4. @ Dark Enlightenment and the idea that all men are NOT created equal

    I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what equality means. As a metaphor think of it in terms of a family (with God the father and we — the people — the children ;) ). Parents know full well that not all their children are equal but this does not stop them from being equally concerned with the welfare of them all. A retarded child might need more care than there normal middle child, while it might also make sense to devote more resources to the education of the smart one because of the expected economic return, which can be used to finance the care of the one with Down syndrome.

    I know, I know, America (and the world) is not a family, but nevertheless this is the way our government can think when it thinks about the general welfare of “we the people.” The happiness of its people in this and succeeding generations is the object of government, according to 18th century Englightenment standards, and the greatest happiness of the greatest number (of people already here!) is the best you can do. We already think this way (well, not libertarians and a lot of self-identified conservatives, but I’ll come back to them.

    Thus the declining marginal utiliity of income (a dollar worth more to a poor man than a rich one) is the grounds on which we justify progressive taxation and programs like the earned income tax credit, which is essentially a graduated wage subsidy for low-income, less productive workers.

    Now back to those liberarians and conservatives (I know you are out there) who way the money is theirs, they earned it and by God they want to keep it. Least of all do they want to see the government take it away from them and give it to some lazy proles, many of Mexican and African descent.

    The counterargument is this: smart people with good educations are not productive just or even mainly because they are smart, well-educated, hard working, and devoted to their careers. This is obvious when we remember that people who were just as smart and well-educated and even harder working a century ago were not nearly as productive nor as well paid as they are today.

    The reason of course is capital. Accumulated capital is the source of perhaps 99% of the total productivity of a modern society. This applies to the rich as well as the poor and, if anything, applies to the rich more than the poor. But where did capital come from. Not to put to fine a point on it, it was wrung out of the sweat and the toil of the ancestors of today’s low-wage proles for the most part. Sure, it was saved and invested by other men — good job? — but that doesn’t take away from its ultimate origins. Peasants did most of the heavy lifting.

    So you see, these poor simple peoiple have a claim on the total productivity of society, not just the little slice the market awards them. It is their inheritance from their ancestors. Rougly put I know but that is the nub.

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  5. That was supposed to be good job! Not good job? Those Calvanists did a real service to mankind and modern businessmen continue that tradition to this day. But they are the stewards of capital not its absolute owners. They have a claim to a share of the usufruct in proportion to how well they manage it, but not to the whole of it. It’s like Jesus said in the parable of the talents. Managing capital is a sacred trust.

    All this is not just my personal opinion. I am speaking out of the Judeo-Christian tradition. You know, the one that guided the Founding Fathers and the men and women who fought and won the Civil War (thank you Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe and just about everybody else whose posterity we are.

    And to those who disagree? I could say f …., no, I should say America, love it or leave it.

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  6. @luke – “So you see, these poor simple peoiple have a claim on the total productivity of society, not just the little slice the market awards them. It is their inheritance from their ancestors.”

    ah, luke. our resident universalist. (~_^) (that’s a compliment, btw! (^_^) )

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  7. @luke – “Parents know full well that not all their children are equal but this does not stop them from being equally concerned with the welfare of them all.”

    ah, but they’re not.

    @luke – “So you see, these poor simple peoiple have a claim on the total productivity of society, not just the little slice the market awards them. It is their inheritance from their ancestors.”

    i understand where you’re coming from, and i’m inclined to think along these lines, too, but i don’t think it’s a realistic way of looking at the world (biology). if we’re to be totally honest with ourselves, nobody has a “claim” on anything. you either hang on to what you’ve got (your country for instance) or somebody else will take it (immigrants for instance).

    just as you can’t go around “claiming” that “my people are entitled to such-and-such an area of land” because “god” (or somebody) said so — or because we’ve been here for hundreds/thousands of years — i don’t think you can go around saying that we have a “claim” on some wealth even though our ancestors may have created it. it’s our d*mned misfortune that our idiot ancestors didn’t hang on to it for us!

    that’s life. that’s how it works. if we want to make things better for everybody (an idea to which i am not opposed), we need to start from that understanding of reality — not how we’d like the world to have been.

    that’s the message of the dark enlightenment.

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  8. When I said not based on genetics I should have said not framed in terms of genetics. Though even Jesus believed in naturals selection: some seed falls on good ground, separate the sheep from the goats, etc.. Folk genetics I guess you would call that.

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  9. @luke – “Obviously my world view is not based on genetics.”

    well, life’s not all genetics, but it’s definitely all biology (eh … and chemistry? and physics?). something we all should keep in mind — including me!

    @luke – “But it is cognizant of genetics, thanks in part to you. Thanks!”

    you’re welcome? (~_^)

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  10. BTW, hbd* chick, I’m not a universalist. I don’t think everyone can be saved. Thus I favor decadence in the cities (lots of drugs and hedonism) which will turn them into population sinks. And I favor higher fertility in small-town and rural America, which, as I guess you know, is where I would like to be:

    http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/

    In fact I’ve pretty much lived that life even if most of the people around me have not. Wish I’d had more kids though!

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  11. @Luke Lea:

    “I favor decadence in the cities (lots of drugs and hedonism) which will turn them into population sinks. And I favor higher fertility in small-town and rural America, which, as I guess you know, is where I would like to be”

    I think we’re pretty much there already (also here. ;)

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  12. I read something awhile back I thought I’d bookmarked – apparently not. Went to the link from jayman. Efforted greatly on ‘startpage’ but alas – but something similar:

    “Tomorrow’s children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom
    generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow
    and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of
    the rising generation may reject their parents’ values, as often happens. But
    when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they
    will find that most of their would-be travelers were quite literally never born.”

    http://creativeclass.typepad.com/thecreativityexchange/files/second_demographic_transition.pdf

    (apologies if you’re already familiar with the piece)

    Noted “Dark Enlightenment” over on Waka – kind of a struggle for me – yet I find this nagging suspicion (yet to be neatly formulated) that [Part 3 at Malcolm’s “the alt-Right grumpily accept it”] that contrarily at least in the case of Arkansas’ Right, the notion ‘that it’s mainly the poor’ who have their hands out toward the Cathedral – the net should be cast much wider. If one searches the USDA’s database for those who expect (as their “right”) The Clergy to offer succor to them.

    “Although the Kochs have long complained about corporate subsidies, saying they increase taxes and the price of goods, the company accepts subsidies for production of ethanol. Not accepting them would put the company at a competitive disadvantage, they say.”

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/10/13/171440/the-kochs-quest-to-save-america.html#storylink=omni_popular#storylink=cp

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/10/13/171440/the-kochs-quest-to-save-america.html#storylink=omni_popular

    Hope I’ve not confused.

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  13. luklea,

    there are all kinds of reasons people are poor (I’ll forego for now any lengthy discussion of what the liberal media and government here in America have taken to calling “poor,”…hint, the “poor” in ages past and in places all over the world aren’t considered “poor” when they have ample food, decent shelter, and nice clothing.)

    however, what has been metastasizing among what you might call the “poor,” is an unwillingness , an actual disdain for a fellow citized deigning to mention, deigning to even think that they should attempt to do something called “work.”

    “Me? I ain’t washing no windows or cars, ain’t gonna do no lawnmowin’ or working at no taco bell. Go fuck youself. Besides, my check is in the mail.”

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  14. @erica:

    “Me? I ain’t washing no windows or cars, ain’t gonna do no lawnmowin’ or working at no taco bell. Go fuck youself. Besides, my check is in the mail.”

    I think people underestimate the distinct disincentive to work caused by low, below living wages. If you work hard but can’t pay the bills and would only be marginally better off than you would be on welfare, you might as well be on welfare.

    Willingness to work hard is a product of generations of selection caused by first manorialism and then by the upper classed survival advantage. Indeed, in Americans, I would say the drive to work reaches “pathological” levels in many (since that word gets thrown around a lot, as in the case of “pathological altruism”).

    Indeed, the disincentive caused by low wages is further discouraging because modern society produces so much more stuff these days, and the remarkably high standard of living that is possible in today’s world is permanently out of reach for many, if not most people. As Half Sigma discusses, this problem is compounded by the advent of automation that is increasing making human labor obsolete. It possible, if not quite likely we will need an entirely new fundamental economic and societal model other than paying people for their labor.

    These are just a few things to consider before criticizing the poor for their unwillingness to work…

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  15. @JK:

    Interesting. I will have to read your link in more depth. I have certainly said that modern society is selecting for people who are more conservative and religious, whose women eschew lengthy educations in favor of traditional gender roles and produce large numbers of children; Half Sigma has said something similar. It will take a long time before we start seeing big differences in the population, but that is where the trends are headed.

    If there was no immigration and non-White births weren’t also high, this process would eventually halt once population began to decline. But, as we see in East Asia, that also takes a long time. It is likely that our current state of affairs will last throughout this century, perhaps really beginning to change by the 2050s…

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  16. I second the Dark Enlightener, beautifully said Luke!

    I can’t help but feel that HBDC has the long end of this, though. I think the grounds for humane treatment of weak/stupid humans must forever be our nuttiness. Or less bluntly, grounded in the same (irrational) aesthetic as humane treatment of dogs. We can justify our will to mercy for the weak by an argument that the ancestors of the weak contributed their toil to our current capital, in much the same way as we justify the painless slaughter of cows by the effect of this on the quality of the meat. But the justification is ultimately mercifulness itself, rather than the objects of that mercy. If we secretly knew that kittens had no consciousness, we still would not want our children to play with mutilating them.

    However, this doesn’t mean treating the kitten as well as we treat our own children, either. Nor that dogs have the right to breed as they please, or to eat as much as they want, or to refuse toilet training. No one has a “claim” to aught but what the strong believe they do! To evade the brute reality that men are as gods to their dogs is to shirk responsibility, and to leave the fate of dogs to less benevolent gods, because all of this stuff is ultimately in our monkey heads, however strong or godlike we become.

    I think of this godlike and horrible responsibility for everyone and everything as the ultimate consequence of the Dark Enlightenment. Ayn Rand would not approve, ymmv.

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  17. Dear erika and others. It is only the working poor I am concerned about. For those who refuse to work, and thus have no wages to subsidize, I think tough love might be the only answer. Wasn’t that the basis of welfare reform in 1996? People said people would starve in the streets. But it didn’t happen. Necessity is a powerful motivator.

    What stumps me is what do do about single women who have children they can’t afford to raise. I don’t know the answer to that problem. Maybe having children should be a privilege and not a right, at least after the first one. Long-term birth control. I really don’t know.

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  18. @Anthony:

    As I’ve said for a while now, for many, especially those on the bottom, work simply does not pay.

    Besides, with continued immigration, there actually aren’t jobs for a lot of these people.

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  19. however, what has been metastasizing among what you might call the “poor,” is an unwillingness , an actual disdain for a fellow citized deigning to mention, deigning to even think that they should attempt to do something called “work.”
    “Me? I ain’t washing no windows or cars, ain’t gonna do no lawnmowin’ or working at no taco bell. Go fuck youself. Besides, my check is in the mail.”

    So you’re saying they’re adopting Middle Class values that disdain toiling like a beast?

    That is, they think the same thing about “work” as the Middle Class, but unfortunately don’t have any useful skills to let them dodge it….

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  20. @lukelea (@lukelea)

    “smart people…are not productive just or even mainly because they are smart

    people who were just as smart…a century ago were not nearly as productive

    The reason of course is capital. Accumulated capital is the source of…99% of the total productivity

    But where did capital come from. … it was wrung out of the sweat and the toil of … low-wage proles

    Peasants did most of the heavy lifting.”

    But would as much capital have been accumulated by those peasants if they were harvesting their fields with scythes?

    A smart person like scots-irish Cyrus McCormick invents the McCormick reaper and now a farmer can harvest three times as much as he could before.

    Would as much capital have been accumulated by those proles if they were digging canals with pick-axes?

    Smart person James Watt improves the steam engine and allows them to dig with steam shovels.

    smart people…are not productive just or even mainly because they are smart

    If their smartness makes them capable of operating complicated machinery that performs the work equivalant of many workers it would.

    people who were just as smart…a century ago were not nearly as productive

    Accumulated capital is the source of…99% of the total productivity

    True, today’s smart people make use of labour-multiplying technology accumulated by past generations of smart people.

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  21. Snoopy – “True, today’s smart people make use of labour-multiplying technology accumulated by past generations of smart people.”

    Your point is well taken. But keep in mind those smart inventors had to be fed while they were cogitating their inventions. The oldest form of capital is a surplus of corn (grain) and in fact the words corn and capital are sometimes used interchangeably in 17th and 18th century economic pamphlets. Thus if a middle-class farmer had a big stock of corn he could hire workers to dig canals, drain fields, and otherwise improve his land. And of course the very concept of a tool is something that saves more labor than was required to produce it. But while you are producing it you have to eat — which implies a surplus of food. I’m talking about the very earliest tools — as in the storne age and neolithic. Later, of course, when tools are sued to build tools which are used to build tools that orginal relationship becomes obscured. But there is a genealogy of tools just like there is a genealogy of people. In fact — or rather, at least in my opinion — the steam engine and modern machine tools were the two real breakthroughs — ie, that broke through the cieling of maximum production possible before they appeared on the scene. Unlimited energy to power metal working machines and machines made of metal.

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  22. @lukelea (@lukelea)
    those smart inventors had to be fed while they were cogitating their inventions.

    True. In the case or McCormick, his father owned a 600 acre plantation and a saw mill, practically an aristocrat, so he was able to support his expensive hobby. Also, his father actually started the development of the reaper many years before. McCormick inherited this research and improved upon it, sort of like a ‘caste’ system.

    In the case of Watt, his father was “a shipwright, ship owner and contractor, and served as the town’s chief baillie”, also very rich.

    those smart inventors had to be fed while they were cogitating their inventions.

    The ‘Mudsill’ Theory,” by James Henry Hammond
    Speech to the U.S. Senate, March 4, 1858
    “In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life.

    Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement.”

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  23. Jayman said, “I think people underestimate the distinct disincentive to work caused by low, below living wages. If you work hard but can’t pay the bills and would only be marginally better off than you would be on welfare, you might as well be on welfare.”

    Surely the rising welfare rolls show us that when money is given out easily (Obama has indeed relaxed disability rules so more people are abusing the system and states like CA have made going on welfare easy pickings) people take advantage of the system.

    However, Jayman, I’d like you to consider that many groups use the age-old system of family members pooling their resources, even _when _those_ resources_ are_ the _results_ of _low_ wages, to climb the socioeconomic ladder. They don’t view their circumstances as static and they don’t see themselves as helpless, and they don’t want to be seen as lazy or dumb or arrogant. Consider many Mexican families living together in one house, with the teens working at fast food places, fathers working low-skill landscaping jobs, pooling their resources; consider Cambodian families which grab some white towels, rip them apart, buy some Windex, save a few bucks for an ad in a local paper, and start a residential window-washing business, using the labor of the mother, the father and any child old enough to help, and witness their business grow. Consider the pooling together of resources by the Chinese who open small restaurants.

    The guy who used to cut my grass, a legal Greek immigrant, helped put two boys through college, one to UCLA, the other to USC, with his yard business. He invested years ago in a pick up truck, a decent heavy-duty lawnmower and edger. His sons were bright, got scholarships that at least bought college texts, got grants and loans, and are now professionally gainfully employed, all with an immigrant dad who wasn’t afraid of work, and a mother who stayed home. He and I had many talks about the lack of a work ethic among Americans. He was a one-man business, and when he finally retired, he set me up with his neighbor, a Mexican immigrant who does the same work. This man employs three other people, and he, like Mike before him, brought up what I already knew, that blacks refuse to do such work, no matter their economic circumstances. They either fail to see there IS money in the work….or , as Daniel says, “They’re too god-damned lazy. They think such work is beneath them.”

    The large-family poor who have a work ethic and are bright seem to understand they can make it . Blacks have large families but don’t seem to pull together the way other groups do.

    My anecdotal evidence is that of other people as well. The enabling of people who already have an attitude problem has to stop.

    Stop the checks.

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  24. @Erica:

    Yes, there is little question that those with exceptional IQ, exceptional work ethic, or both, can rise despite highly adverse circumstances. That is not in dispute. Today’s poor however is, as we presumably all know, primarily composed of people who lack one or both of those traits. Many (most?) are only somewhat below average, however. When economic circumstances improve (high demand for labor, high wage:expense ratio), more people participate in the workforce, even those with sub-par ability/motivation.

    Stopping welfare, or disability even (I admit that the increase is likely at least partly due to those playing the system), without simultaneously improving employment prospects will only serve to increase crime or increase incarceration rates, and increase the general misery of those on the bottom. I’ve explained on my blog why that’s generally not a good idea, and detailed things we could do instead. The main culprit is the relentless march of immigrants (currently at about about a million/year) that enters the country, making it hard for Americans all around to gain employment and decent wages.

    Long-term, what you’re suggesting isn’t really viable, because technology is rendering human labor, especially low-IQ labor obsolete. The idea that those on the bottom will always be able to support themselves with work is naive.

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  25. @jk – “the notion ‘that it’s mainly the poor’ who have their hands out toward the Cathedral – the net should be cast much wider. If one searches the USDA’s database for those who expect (as their ‘right’) The Clergy to offer succor to them.”

    absolutely!

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  26. @redzen – “I think the grounds for humane treatment of weak/stupid humans must forever be our nuttiness. Or less bluntly, grounded in the same (irrational) aesthetic as humane treatment of dogs.”

    well that’s the thing. how is it humane to improve africans’ water supply which then leaves them poorer and in greater dire straits? or how is it humane to pay a poor woman in the ghetto enough money so that she can have as many babies as she wants, only to have half of them get killed in gang warfare and the other half live on to continue the pattern and pass the problems down to future generations?

    to be humane, those who want to help might need to be a little tougher: we’ll build you a clean water supply as long as you take measures to stop having so many babies. ditto for the woman in the ghetto.

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  27. @luke – “Necessity is a powerful motivator.”

    yup!

    @luke – “What stumps me is what do do about single women who have children they can’t afford to raise. I don’t know the answer to that problem. Maybe having children should be a privilege and not a right, at least after the first one.”

    “rights” don’t exist in real life (nature). they’re just something we’ve invented for ourselves (to make ourselves feel better or rationalize our behaviors or something…).

    having children is not a right — it’s just a part of life/biology. so is the fact that offspring will die if there aren’t enough resources around to enable the parent(s) to feed them properly.

    in our modern world, that’s something that humans have to plan for — having enough resources available. if you’re not able to plan accordingly, it would be wise not to have too many kids (and someone should explain that to you if you’re not smart enough to figure that out by yourself).

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  28. @sNoOOPy – “But would as much capital have been accumulated by those peasants if they were harvesting their fields with scythes?” etc….

    all very well said, sNoOOP. thank you!

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  29. @erica – just as a side-note, all the groups you mentioned in your comment — greeks, mexicans, cambodians — all of those are some of the familistic populations that i’ve been going on about here on this blog for a while now. some of the problems with familistic peoples are that they tend towards things like: nepotism, corruption, lack of interest in the commonweal.

    not germane to this discussion, really, but i just thought i’d throw that out there (hijacking my own comments thread! (~_^) ).

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  30. @HBDC: or how is it humane to pay a poor woman in the ghetto enough money so that she can have as many babies as she wants…

    Haha! :-D I’d actually intended my post as the (reluctant) opposite of universalism – I find myself going a step past paternalism, and into the realm of “human husbandry”, evaluating humans by the same standards by which I evaluate dogs.

    However, this doesn’t mean treating the kitten as well as we treat our own children, either. Nor that dogs have the right to breed as they please

    One thing that I think distinguishes us from dogs, however, is that our governance is infinitely improved by being done voluntarily.

    Offering some people large sums of money to be sterilized, and even larger sums to emigrate, and perhaps somewhat lesser sums of money to temporarily relinquish their right to vote, might rapidly pay for themselves, and could be accomplished under dignified, humane terms.

    One effect is that this would reduce certain subgroups of children, people, and voters. But another is that this would instill a higher estimation of the opportunities which lesser men have relinquished, in those who have not sold them.

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  31. @redzen – “One thing that I think distinguishes us from dogs, however, is that our governance is infinitely improved by being done voluntarily.”

    yes, i’m all for people doing things voluntarily — like encouraging the too many immigrants that we have right now to go home by offering them some sort of repatriation sum. if they want to take it, great! if not — well, maybe there are some other encouragements we can offer. (i’m talking about legal immigrants, of course. illegal immigrants should just be sent right back home. also, getting rid of the “pulls” — like free education, or whatever — is a must.)

    if there’s a crisis, though, one might have to put a little more pressure on people. like the one-child policy in china. that was smart. they had to do that. too many people. (shame about the negative consequences, though — i.e. the male-female imbalance in china today!) such measures should be a last resort, though. a very, very last resort.

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  32. My mom spent a lot of time advising the Chinese govt. about their one-child policy, it’s one of the most fascinating experiments of the past century, imho.

    One of the smartest things they did with regard to that was to remove the element of violent coercion, and to replace it with strong (but tapering…) economic incentives.

    I think that the difference between horrendously fining people for having more than one kid, and rewarding people enormously for being sterilized after one kid, is that the latter is both cheaper (hah! Yeah, paying one-time lump sums is hella cheap), more dignified, and possessing the curious byproduct of motivating the least desirable elements to reproduce the least, rather than the other way around (as is the case in China now).

    My moms anecdotes have persuaded me that sufficiently large rewards are almost always the most efficient form of pressure, especially in corrupt countries. Because a corrupt official is happy to take a bribe to look the other way for some poor mom having some poor kid. Is he equally happy to take a bribe to claim to have clipped her tubes when he didn’t? That changes everything! Corrupt officials have moral aesthetics too.

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  33. @redzen – “[A] corrupt official is happy to take a bribe to look the other way for some poor mom having some poor kid.”

    that comes back to one of lee kuan yew’s great insights: pay your officials well so they don’t feel such a strong desire for bribes — they don’t feel like they’re losing out in some low-paid job somewhere. smart way to reduce corruption! reduce the motivators.

    @redzen – “One of the smartest things they did with regard to that was to remove the element of violent coercion, and to replace it with strong (but tapering…) economic incentives.”

    yeah, that is smart. although i have read, occasionally, about violent coercion applied to some individuals, but those examples are, presumably, more local cases in which some provincial official wasn’t so smart.

    Reply

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