[ExI] Impressive book: Farewell to Alms
hkhenson at rogers.com
Sun Feb 3 22:51:04 UTC 2008
At 02:15 PM 2/3/2008, spike wrote:
>I can take you down to the local hardware store right now and show you half
>a dozen sturdy looking amigos standing around in the parking lot.
Don't forget that people who immigrate may be rather different from
the ones who stay behind. Perhaps they are more in tune with the
place they immigrate to. And if people don't work as hard when they
come back to their native village, perhaps that's because there are
no rich guy lawns to mow.
Back to the topic.
There is little doubt that culture has a big effect especially on
people who immigrate. But ultimately evolved brain mechanisms
underlie culture. Clark also argues that the culture of settled
agriculture set the conditions for genetic selection--tuning up a
particular set of brain mechanisms.
There is also the cultural effect that it doesn't take a whole lot of
entrepreneurs and engineers to make thousands of people more productive.
A current consideration is a population wide slide backwards when the
selection pressure is released. Rich people certainly don't have
twice the number of kids as poor people today.
In fact, with female liberation and reliable birth control a lot of
the most accomplished people have no kids at all. Pinker is an
example. This would be more of a worry if we were not far from the
end of the gene.
The last part of Farewell to Alms is about the failure of the
Industrial revolution to spread in most parts of the world and the
exceptions to this rule. How much of that was genetic and how much
culture is hard to partition. It sure is interesting, if politically
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