[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae, was: Impressive book: Farewell to Alms

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 10:16:14 UTC 2008

On 04/02/2008, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> In the current circumstances, what is the most successful strategy? In other
> words, what strategy will come to predominate? Two facts are crucial in
> coming to a conclusion:
>     (1) by definition, r-strategies produce more children than does a
>          K-strategy
>     (2) no child born today in an industrialized country will be allowed
>          to starve, nor to go without basic medical care, and will be
>          provided for until he or she reaches reproductive age, and
>          the cycle can begin again. (As a last resort, the government
>          will feed and care for all children born.)
> Hence it follows that the population will over time become composed
> predominantly of those following the r-strategy. At the present time,
> from a biological standpoint "the more children, the better". Hence
> those families churning out fifteen or twenty children must come to be
> the norm.

r/K selection theory is about evolution, i.e. selection of genetic
variants that are more likely to result in r or K behaviour. In modern
societies, the decision to have more or fewer children is a voluntary
one. I don't see how evolutionary psychology could have foreseen birth
control, or how genetically determined brain changes influencing birth
control choices could develop in a matter of, at most, centuries.
Social considerations such as the fact that more affluent people, for
whom the economic burden of having multiple children is not
significant, nevertheless choose to have fewer children are much more

Stathis Papaioannou

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