[ExI] Impressive book: Farewell to Alms

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sat Feb 2 16:55:31 UTC 2008

At 12:39 AM 2/2/2008, you wrote:
>On Feb 2, 2008 7:02 AM, hkhenson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> > It makes a case for intense genetic selection leading up to the great
> > leap of the industrial revolution that allowed England and a small
> > number of other countries to escape the "Malthusian Trap." and it
> > makes a case for why this didn't come about in other parts of the
> > world and isn't likely to.
>Would his argument being correct imply that we should find higher
>average IQs in Caucasian populations than in e.g. East Asian
>In actuality, East Asian populations seem to have higher average IQs...

If you read the book, East Asian populations were subjected to 
similar though perhaps less intense selection.

He also says:

This is not in any sense to say that people in settled agrarian
economies on the eve of the Industrial Revolution had become
"smarter" than their counterparts in hunter gatherer society. For,
as Jared Diamond points out in the introduction to Guns, Germs
and Steel,


  The argument is instead that it
rewarded with economic and hence reproductive success a certain
repertoire of skills and dispositions that were very different from
those of the pre-agrarian world: such as the ability to perform
simple repetitive tasks for hour after hour, day after day. There is
nothing natural or harmonic, for example, in having a disposition
to work even when all the basic needs of survival have been


Though, as I have argued, those who would not quit till the barn was 
totally stuffed were the ones who survived the exceptionally bad winter.


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