a non-result result?

greying wanderer noted how botswana did well — very well — on the corruption perceptions index. the country scored like a middle-range western european country.

so, i looked up botswana on good ol’ wikipedia and the only thing potentially interesting (to me) that i could see is that, although there are several ethnic groups in the country, there is one that has a strong majority — the tswana.

hmmmm, i thought. maybe there’s a correlation between having a strong majority in a country and degree of (perceived) corruption in a country.

so, i looked up all the sub-saharan african countries included in transparency international’s 2011 survey to find out their demographics. except for zambia, all of the demographic data i used i got from wikipedia so … you know … the data are from wikipedia!

i found ethnic group size data for the following countries — the percentage represents the size of the largest ethnic group in the country:

Angola – 37.0%
Benin – 19.0%
Botswana – 79.0%
Burkina Faso – 40.0%
Cameroon – 19.0%
Cape Verde – 100.0%
Central African Republic – 33.0%
Congo Republic – 48.0%
Cote d’Ivoire – 42.1%
Djibouti – 60.0%
Eritrea – 55.0%
Ethiopia – 34.5%
Gabon – 33.0%
Gambia – 42.0%
Ghana – 49.3%
Guinea – 34.2%
Guinea-Bissau – 30.0%
Kenya – 22.0%
Lesotho – 99.7%
Liberia – 20.0%
Madagascar – 20.0%
Malawi – 25.0%
Mali – 36.5%
Mauritania – 40.0%
Mauritius – 68.0%
Mozambique – 18.0%
Namibia – 49.8%
Niger – 56.0%
Nigeria – 29.0%
Rwanda – 84.0%
Senegal – 43.0%
Seychelles – 70.0%
Sierra Leone – 35.0%
South Africa – 22.0%
Swaziland – 100.0%
Tanzania – 16.0%
Togo – 32.0%
Uganda – 16.9%
Zambia – 10.0%

edit – forgot these four:

Burundi – 85.0%
Equatorial Guinea – 80.0%
Somalia – 85.0%
Sudan – 73.0%

i couldn’t find any good numbers for the following countries, so they are not included:

Dem Rep of the Congo
Sao Tome & Principe

and was there any correlation between the size of the biggest ethnic group in a country and corruption?

nope. i got a correlation of 0.29. no correlation. nada. zip. zilch.


unless i take out the lowest scorers — the countries who got a 1 or 1.something on the corruption index. there were four of those: Burundi (1.9), Equatorial Guinea (1.9), Somalia (1.0) and Sudan (1.6).

then i get a correlation of 0.59, which is not all that weak for social data. it looks like this:

why are burundi, equatorial guinea, somalia and sudan so weird? — if they are weird.

well, the majority groups of equatorial guinea, somalia and sudan — the fang, ethnic somalis and the sudanese arabs respectively — are all groups based around patrlineal kinship groups — clans and tribes. and we know how divisive THOSE are. maybe it doesn’t matter that these countries have strong majority ethnic groups if those groups are divided into hostile clans and tribes. same difference, really — if you see what i mean. don’t know about the social structures of the hutu (the majority ethnic group) in burundi.

so, i either came up with a non-result, which is always interesting! or there is something in the ethnic/clan structure of these populations that possibly relates to corruption levels. unless i’m massaging the data. heh.

anyway. that’s how i spent my afternoon. (^_^)

previously: same old, same old

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segregation is good

ethnic enclaves are bad. if you want to keep people alive and prevent ethnic conflict, that is.

a couple of real world examples…

first, guatemala. in “Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Civil Violence: Guatemala 1977-1986,” timothy gulden found, amongst other things, that [pg. 29]:

The amount of killing in a municipality was correlated with its ethnic mix….

“The distribution of ethnic population among municipalities was highly polarized and the distribution U-shaped, as suggested by the gray bars in the histogram presented as Figure 3.

“Thus, at both ends of this histogram, where one group or the other [ladinos vs. mayans] represented more than 90 percent of a local population, and also in the middle, where neither group was more than 75-percent dominant, killings of Mayans, the principal victims, were fewer.”

here’s the histogram:

more from gulden [pg. 34]:

The ethnic mix histogram showed the greatest number of killings in municipalities with predominantly Mayan populations, but fewer killings in the most heavily Mayan areas. This pattern might have been produced by an attempt to clear Mayans from mixed Mayan-Ladino areas but a disinclination to do the same, to attempt ‘ethnic cleansing,’ in the Mayan heartland. The ethnic mix histogram also showed a small rise in killings where Mayans were between 10 and 25 percent of the population. Minority populations of such proportions might somehow have threatened or annoyed a local Ladino majority without effectively restraining it. Members of the smallest Mayan populations were safer; they might typically have been individual servants or laborers, with or without families, well known to Ladino employers.”

re. switzerland and the former yugoslavia — from an article i posted about the other day, “Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence”, the authors found that, in both switzerland and the former yugoslavia, there was the least amount of ethnic conflict in those areas where topographical and/or political boundaries clearly separated different linguistic, religious and/or ethnic groups, but where there were porous borders, there was more conflict. the former situation is more characteristic of switzerland on the whole, while the latter characterizes the former yugolavia, ergo more ethnic conflict in the former yugoslavia [pgs. 10-12]:

“Our work clarifies the ambiguities of mixed language and religion Swiss cantons by showing that in most cases the natural geography of the populations conspires to lead to a low level of violence, so that additional boundaries were not necessary; where they were needed, as in Graubunden, they were established. The highest calculated propensity to violence is between linguistic groups in the northern part of the canton of Bern, where historically unresolved real world tensions actually exist. Our analysis indicates that both administrative and natural barriers can play a significant role in mitigating conflict between religious and linguistic groups. Historical evidence suggests that for religious groups the boundaries in Switzerland were created to provide autonomy to a group with a shared identity and avoid conflict among multiple groups. Ongoing efforts to reduce tensions in Bern include introducing new political boundaries. The many political, social and economic factors that play roles in reducing violence build on a strong foundation of geographical borders.

diversity is strength … in killing games. =/

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virtual tribalism!:

“Online game mirrors Lebanese political scene”

“A new online game designed to mirror the Lebanese political scene allows players to join different tribes and parties modeled after the country’s own affiliations and pit themselves against one another in a bid to achieve social domination.

Lebania, which went fully live Wednesday morning after a two-week trial period, is the brainchild of a Lebanese software developer, who is keeping his or her identity under wraps at this stage because of the divisive nature of the game….

“Players of the game, which can be found at http://www.lebania.com, choose one of four tribes – Trinity, Quraysh, Yerevan or Tawhid – intended to represent Christians, Muslims, Armenians and Druze. To play the game, players must attempt to take over neighboring villages with their own resources. They also have the option to form strategic alliances with other players. [just like real life! – hbd chick]

“Reading the description of the tribes, it’s clear where the impression that the game is controversial comes from.

“The Trinity (as in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) tribe is described as having comparatively ‘high levels of social and technological development,’ while the Quraysh (the name of the dominant tribe at the time of the emergence of Islam) are characterized as ‘the plundering hordes roaming the lands’….”


see Lebanese people

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ever decreasing circles

ok. so here’s how i picture the levels (if that’s the right|best word) in which the battle(s) for replication takes place wherein the players (genes, individuals, clans, whatever) compete against each other as well as co-operate (for their own benefit, of course — none of the players gives anything away for free). when a player does help out another altruistically, it’s very often a situation where inclusive fitness is in play.

the flipside of altruism is a whole collection of acts from simply growing more roots to soak up more of the water and other nutrients in the soil before your unrelated neighboring plants do, to out-and-out killing and war.

these levels (which have fuzzy borders) seem to me to be present in all the higher animals. i think they’re kinda different when you start to look at micro-organisms — bacteria and viruses (they’re not even organisms, are they?) and the like — but i’m not sure. there’s some weird, but extremely cool, sh*t going on there anyway!

so, like i said here, i don’t think everything comes down to genetics; but i do think that everything comes down to biology (or chemistry, or physics). not all of our behaviors have to do with competing to reproduce (i don’t think…), but a h*lluva lot do. most people most of the time are not consciously aware of why they do what they do. they give all sorts of other reasons for the things that they do (religious, philosophical, political, etc.) — but those are not the ultimate reasons for why they behave in whatever way that they do. and i’m really only interested in the ultimate reasons.

so, without further ado, here’s my little chart (don’t laugh — i s*ck at photoshop!):

yes, intergenomic conflict does, indeed, occur (my “genes” level up there). i’m guessing that conflict also occurs at the “things smaller than genes” level, but i’m not familiar with any examples. parent-offspring conflict (as most parents can testify to!) definitely occurs, as does conflict between siblings — these are on the “immediate family” level.

westerners might not be all that familiar with extended family conflicts since we don’t bother much with our extended families, but you just have to look at the middle east or asia or even just sicily to start understanding THAT level.

the rest of the levels are pretty self-explanatory, i think. we’ve seen the war between tribes in libya, for example; we know about the french vs. the germans in just about every significant war in europe eveh; the race “wars” are ongoing right here in the u.s.; and, if and when the little green men from mars turn up, humans might just pull together for the “good of the species.”

the natures of group-level conflicts (anything above individual) also depend upon the degree and type of inbreeding (or out-breeding) within the populations in question.

again, i’m not saying that conflicts on any of these levels is (easily) predictable — or guaranteed. most of the competition seems to be over resources of some sort or another (water, sunlight, land, gold, ivy league scholarships), so you’re not going to see conflict unless there is some sort of crisis over some sort of resource (that aids in reproduction).

but, when you do see conflict, it’s a safe bet that it’s got something to do with all this.

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linkfest – 03/27/11

Still Red in Tooth and Claw

Tortoise and Hare, in a Laboratory Flask – on evolvability

First sex linked to better body image in men, not women“On average, college-age males become more satisfied with their appearance after first intercourse, whereas college-age females become slightly less satisfied.” (heh.)

Better Genes, Better Brains – from al fin

Study Undercuts View of College as a Place of Same-Sex Experimentation – via half sigma

On the Left Hand, There Are No Easy Answers

Girls more virginal than they’ve been in at least a generation – from the audacious

Skin color and the discrimination paradigm – from evo and proud via diversity is chaos

In a Brazilian Town, a Rogue Gene and a Boom in Twins

Darwinian Lessons from the Earthquake in Japan“[H]uman morality is not a dictate of pure reason, because reason without desire or emotion does not move us to action.”

Low-serotonin mice less choosy about sex of partners

Artifacts in Texas predate Clovis culture by 2,500 years, new study shows – neato! see also: Paleo-Indians settled North America earlier than thought, study suggests

Does belief in free will lead to action?

Why Some Kids Are Harmed by Mother’s Alcohol, But Others Aren’t“Exposure to alcohol in the womb doesn’t affect all fetuses equally.”

DNA and the New Identity Politics

The Brain: The Trouble With Teens“Fast driving, drugs, and unsafe sex: The risk-loving behavior of adolescents may result from a neurological gap in the developing brain.”

bonus – Caution: Middle East under construction

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tribalism makes a comeback!

(had it ever really gone away?)

Rise of the Hans
By Joel Kotkin

“But most people do not really see themselves as members of a large multinational unit, global citizens, or ‘mass consumers.’ Instead the drivers of history remain the essentials: the desire to feed one’s family, support the health of the tribe, and shape the immediate community. The particularistic continues to trump the universalistic….

“The new tribalism is also increasingly evident in Europe. Just a few years ago Europhiles like French eminence grise Jacques Attali or left-wing author Jeremy Rifkin could project a utopian future European Union that would stand both as a global role model and one of the world’s great powers. Today, Rifkin’s ideal of a universalistic ‘European dream’ is collapsing — a process accelerated by the financial crisis — as the continent is torn apart by deep-seated historical and cultural rifts.

Europe today can best be seen as divided between three cultural tribes: Nordic-Germanic, Latin, and Slavonic. In the north, there is a vast region of prosperity, a zone of Nordic dynamism. Characterized by economies based on specialized exports, a still powerful Protestant ethic, and a culture that embraces authority, these countries — including Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, and, arguably, the Baltic states — are becoming ever more aware of the cultural, fiscal, and attitudinal gulf between them and the southern countries….

“In a world dominated increasingly by Asia, northern Europe cannot be anything more than a peripheral global power, which may explain its new introversion. Instead these resilient cultures more accurately represent a revival of the old Hanseatic League, a network of opportunistic and prosperous trading states that ringed the North and Baltic seas during the 13th century. This new league increasingly battles over issues of trade and fiscal policy, often with ill-disguised contempt, with the southern European countries I call ‘the Olive Republics’: a region typified by dire straits, with rapidly aging populations, enormous budget deficits, and declining industrial might. Southern Europe now constitutes a zone of lassitude that extends from Portugal and Spain through the south of France, Italy, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, and Bulgaria.

“The last European tribe includes the Slavic countries, centered by Russia but extending to parts of the Balkans as well, places like Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, and Moldova that historically have looked east as well as west and are currently defined by shrinking populations and weak democratic institutions. A historic pattern of Russian domination is evident here, based in large part on a revived Slavic identity that embraces similarities in religion, culture, history, and language with countries living under Russia’s shield. In this sense the czars are back, not a great development for the rest of the world or for the fading chimera of a “common European home….'”

this is an ages old divide in europe — latins+the british isles (-the anglo-saxons, of course) versus the germans versus the slavs. going right back to, possibly, the neolithic when famers from the middle east spread out through europe, mainly taking a southern, mediterranean route (club med! who wouldn’t?), as far as i can see, through the balkans, italy, the iberian peninsula, up through france and finally hitting the british isles:

this tripartite division of europe has influenced|dictated so much in european history. i mean, look at the (broadly speaking) religious divide in europe (just look at it!):

latins+british isles=roman catholic; germans=protestant; slavs=eastern orthodox.

also, latins+british isles=piigs; germans=the thrifty, competent people who might get stuck bailing-out the e.u.; slavs=f*cked up former communist countries.

the economic|tribal divide in europe that kotkin talks about is the same one that has created the long-standing cultural divides in europe. all of it is founded in long-standing genetic divides in europe — i.e. there are different peoples in europe.

after all, where does culture come from again?

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