[ExI] Impressive book: Farewell to Alms

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 4 05:42:43 UTC 2008

--- hkhenson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> selection pressure is released.  Rich people certainly don't have 
> twice the number of kids as poor people today.

I don't think this is some relatively new phenomenon. Whereas it has
been exacerbated in modern times due to birth control and the other
things that you mention, I would argue that historical records do not
support the notion of differential reproductive success of the rich.
Unlike Genghis Khan and Muslim shieks with harems, the rich as a class
of preindustrial England were not known for producing a prodigious
number of offspring.

Clark seems to ignore the fact that the industrial bootstrap of England
happened amidst the Victorian Era and the rich of the period were more
than just random individuals who had amassed resources but a closed
socioeconomic class of lords and ladies and the oddball merchant or
banker. And while the occasional daliance of an earl or count with a
maid or mistress may have given rise to an illegitimate child or two,
it was a frowned upon exception that would have been scandalous in the
Victorian court-- not the rule. I just don't see the early factories
and coal mines of England being staffed by the bastard children of
English nobility nor do I see the ladies of the Victorian court being
kept barefoot and pregnant.

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"Life is the sum of all your choices."  
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