accounting for emil’s outlier?

emil kirkegaard published an interesting paper recently — well, actually, he’s published a whole slew of interesting papers recently! — but i want to look at something in this one that he coauthored with john fuerst: Educational attainment, income, use of social benefits, crime rate and the general socioeconomic factor among 71 immigrant groups in Denmark.

it’s this chart right here which appears on page 10:

emil's outlier

the curious point on this chart is the flying outlier of lebanon. oftentimes exceptions prove the rule, but occasionally they’re indicators that something might be up. why do lebanese immigrants in denmark (many of whom, i take it from googling around, are actually palestinian refugees) do soooo poorly socio-economically when they don’t score so high on the islamic scale (presumably because about one-third of them are christians, if the joshua project is to be believed)?

emil is skeptical of the inbreeding-can-lead-to-social-and-economic-dysfunction theory, and that’s ok! skepticism is a good thing. but i think that he and john should take it into consideration in this instance. a study from the 1980s found that 16.5% of lebanese christians were in consanguineous marriages (and nearly 30% of lebanese muslims were). sixteen and a half percent is in the neighborhood of the cousin marriage rates in south-central italy, another population not especially known for its great ses achievements, so it’s maybe not surprising to find that the lebanese in denmark are socio-economically quite dysfunctional even though a large portion of them aren’t muslims. we see this pattern over and over again across the world: too much inbreeding (eg. cousin marriage) especially over time in a population and you wind up with social and economic dysfunction, corruption, rampant nepotism, etc., etc.

while it is true that all of the pops in the upper right-hand corner of the chart are majority muslims pops, what they also have in common is a long history of cousin marriage including very close (father’s brother’s daughter/fbd) cousin marriage. the lebanese — including lebanese christians — also fall into this group (although lebanese christians don’t marry their fbds much).

in fact, if you were to draw a horizontal line at .0 across the chart there, no long-term outbreeding population would fall above it. they all actually cluster in the lower left-hand corner of the chart (in other words, the most successful ses-wise): usa, canada, belgium, germany, finland, etc. and as you move upwards on the chart (i.e. away from ses success), you increasingly encounter pops that having been inbreeding for longer: russia, greece, india, china, bosnia, macedonia.

islam might correlate with poor ses in immigrant groups in denmark (and elsewhere), but i suspect that the extent of their history of inbreeding is a more direct cause of the dysfunctionality of these groups.

what the world needs is a good index of inbrededness (rates+history). am workin’ on it! (^_^)

btw, if you’re not regularly checking out the openpsych journals, you should be! “open access, free to publish, open peer review.” good stuff! (dunno why i don’t have them in my blogroll yet. need to do some updating to the ol’ blog here!)

previously: inbreeding amongst christian arabs

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clans in the news: the lebanon

with all the excitement going on in the arab/muslim world, you may have missed in the news some clannish hostilities going on in the lebanon over the last few weeks. i present to you, the meqdad clan:

for some reason that i didn’t bother trying to figure out (prolly some argument going back to the days of fakhr-al-din ii), one of the meqdad clan was kidnapped by somebody (some clan, no doubt) in syria. in response, the meqdads of the lebanon have been kidnapping all sorts of syrians and turks in their country:

“In Lebanon, kidnapping by clans raise alarm”

“The logic of the Lebanese Meqdad clan was simple: One of the group’s fellow clansmen had been captured in Syria, and they were going to kidnap as many people as it took to barter for his freedom.

“The detained clansman, Hassan Meqdad, was bloodied and bruised when he appeared in a video released by Syrian rebels on Aug. 13. Meqdad gunmen hit the streets two days later and grabbed at least 40 Syrian hostages, along with a Turkish businessman shortly after he landed at the Beirut airport….”
_____

i don’t want to bore you with the details of whatever the h*ll is going on here. but some of the comments made by meqdad clansmen and other lebanese/arab individuals about the case are really enlightening. THEY all understand what’s going on here of course (clan/tribal warfare), so it’s nice to hear from these people “in the know” on how clannish societies work.

here are some of those telling comments:

– “According to Allaw, what needs to be understood is that the bond between clan members is very different from the sectarian bond found within certain political parties, ‘which is why there are different sects within the clans … When groups like Hezbollah and Amal tried to enter these areas in the 1980s with sectarian ideals, they were rejected.'” [al jazeera]

– “‘Clan solidarity is primordial,’ says the senior source, formerly in charge of security in the Baalbek region. ‘Regardless of disagreements the clan always comes first.'” [the daily star]

– “‘It’s just a rampant culture of impunity — the state seeing itself as one actor among many rather than the enforcer of laws,’ said Nadim Houry, the deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch.” [wsj]

– “Lebanon’s Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said in remarks published Wednesday that he refused to treat the Lebanese Moqdad clan ‘cruelly,’ due to its abduction operations in the country. During an interview with Al-Akhbar newspaper, Charbel voiced his hope that the relevant groups would ‘understand the [clan’s] situation, [because] if any of [our relatives were] kidnapped, we might have felt the same way [the Moqdads] did.‘” [now lebanon]

– “As-Safir journalist Saada Allaw – of the Allaw family – said the clans ‘don’t count their family members in the conventional way‘. ‘They say, for example, we are 15,000 rifles, which indicates how many people are willing and able to carry weapons.'” [al jazeera]

– “‘Why do my people have to carry weapons? [maher mokdad] asked. ‘We have no government. We live in the jungle, and we have to survive. If the government cared for me, then I wouldn’t have to protect myself.‘” [wsj]

– “In the Hezbollah-dominated Roueiss suburb, neighbors speak of the ‘courage and loyalty’ of the Meqdad clan. ‘If anyone is in need, they will help them and they are always present in difficult times or to pay condolences,’ says Abu Ahmad, the owner of a snack shop in the area.” [the daily star]

– “‘If there’s a happy ending for Hassan [Meqdad], there will be a happy ending for them,’ Mokdad said. ‘If there is a bad ending for Hassan, there will be a bad ending for them. All of them.’ [wsj]

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lebania

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’….”

oops.

see Lebanese people

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