[Paleopsych] Re: Meme 052: The Inverted Demographic Pyramid
checker at panix.com
Fri Dec 30 21:10:55 UTC 2005
Thanks for this, belatedly. I don't see how what you are saying is
incompatible with my general idea that the trade-off function was largely
set in the Stone Age. Maybe you need to elaborate on what particularity
On 2005-12-02, jgardner at effectiveaction.com opined [message unchanged below]:
> Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 21:24:19 -0700 (MST)
> From: jgardner at effectiveaction.com
> To: Premise Checker <checker at panix.com>
> Cc: paleopsych at paleopsych.org
> Subject: Re: Meme 052: The Inverted Demographic Pyramid
> How about a simpler explanation?
> Sub-groups of many species weed themselves out by being too particular.
> (One thing about the rich: they are definitively too particular.)
> Particularity is a good way to arrive at individual success, but a very
> poor one to regenerate group dominance.
> This is why the future belongs to China and india. Their top 2% of the
> ability hierarchy isn't any greater than North America, the Mideast or
> Europe. But it's a lot bigger. And shitloads less particular.
>> Meme 052: The Inverted Demographic Pyramid
>> by Frank Forman
>> sent 5.12.2
>> The inverted demographic pyramid, those richer and more able having
>> fewer children, has been a problem for evolutionary theory ever since
>> Francis Galton. My solution is that the decision about whether to have
>> more or fewer children is determined by a trade-off function set in the
>> Stone Age. What parents consider to be adequate support for a child is
>> determined more by what their peers do than the objective facts of the
>> situation today, which would indicate a much larger advantage for the
>> better off than in the Stone Age where incomes were far more equal. But
>> we listen to the "whispering genes within" rather than accept any
>> factual studies that back up the Ninety-Six Percent Rule, namely that
>> 96% of parents don't matter much one way of the other.
>> An article in the New York Times, shown below, about a surprising 26%
>> increase in the number of children age 0-5 in Manhattan between 2000
>> and 2004 induced these reflections.
>> This increase is probably just an effect of greater income inequality
>> in recent years, not a sudden reversal of the inverted demographic
>> pyramid This paradox, as we all know, has caused some to question the
>> whole selfish gene-sociobiological paradigm, and with good reason,
>> though I try to make a good crack at saving the paradigm here.
>> Animals in any species can chose, within limits, whether to pursue an r
>> strategy (mnemonic: reproduce, reproduce, reproduce) of many offspring
>> with little parental investment per child or the K (mnemonic: Kwality)
>> strategy of few children but high investment per child.
>> The trade off *function* was mostly set in the Stone Age. Conditions
>> have changed and rich parents should be able to have far, far more
>> children than the poor, since income inequality is far greater today
>> than then by I think every account by anthropologists.
>> But when you ask rich parents why they don't pack them in like they do
>> in the barrios, and you get told that that would be indecent and
>> inadequate with such vehemence that befit moral absolutes.
>> What's going on is that one's standard of decency or adequacy is not
>> set by thinking about Stone Age environments, nor by comparison with
>> those who lead far longer lives in the barrios and ghettos and whatever
>> Asian immigrants cram themselves into than Stone Age man ever did, but
>> by comparison with one's peers. Your neighbors surround their children
>> with a big house, give them an expensive education, and so on. The
>> Stone Age genes within you whisper to you that if you don't do these
>> things for your kids, they will not have their own children and you
>> will have no grandchildren. You will ignore any studies by Judith Rich
>> Harris that affirm the Ninety-Six percent rule that only the worst and
>> best two percent of parents make a measurable difference in how your
>> kids turn out. You will reject showings by economists that educational
>> credentials count for little beyond helping you children get their
>> first jobs. You look at only a small slice of the population, namely
>> your peers, in which effort does seem to matter more than innate
>> Indeed the big brains of primates are primarily geared more to getting
>> along with your fellows (thus allowing for greater and more complex
>> social cooperation) rather than for maneuvering the physical
>> environment by finding out what is really out there. It's an accidental
>> byproduct of blue eyes and flaming red (or blond) hair (my "Maureen
>> Dowd Theory of Western Civilization") that triggered off a larger
>> regard for objectivity. Mr. Mencken was often given to noting how weak
>> this regard is, even in America, especially in America, but he did not
>> know the rest of the world.
>> There are other factors involved in the inverted demographic pyramid.
>> Our drives work only remotely, and there is no drive for maximizing
>> inclusive reproductive fitness directly. (I don't need to beat yet
>> another drum for group selection here.) Of the Sixteen Basic Drives
>> Steven Reiss has identified through factor analysis, Romance certainly
>> seems closely related, this drive (no. 2 on my personal list) including
>> acts of coitus and also having aesthetic experiences. (I can't logic
>> out the connection, but these three are correlated so much on
>> questionnaires that they are cluster into a single drive.
>> The desire to raise one's own children (NOT clustered with the drive to
>> raise adopted children) would also seem to weigh heavily in the selfish
>> gene model. (It's no. 6 on my list, ranked that high, not because I
>> have spent a great deal of time, Kwality or not, with my children, but
>> because I chose to give up the teaching job I really would have much
>> preferred. Spending lots of time with them does not satisfy my no. 1
>> drive, Curiosity, all that well. I'd rather read books!
>> Indeed, Curiosity, which is so much more satisfiable today than in the
>> Stone Age (a supply side change) could well be responsible for a large
>> part of the inverted demographic pyramid. I suggest that those having
>> higher incomes (correlated 0.5 with intelligence but making a huge
>> difference between populations then and now) will purchase relatively
>> more satisfaction of this drive today, with the result of having
>> relatively fewer children, than they would have back in the Stone Age.
>> There's also the drive for Status (no. 14 out of 16 on my list, which
>> explains why we chose to live in an inexpensive apartment in a
>> high-toned neighborhood and let the neighbors snub as they may, as some
>> did), which means that parents will spend on their children to impress
>> their peers as well as to actually help their kids. This may also be
>> more readily satisfiable today than then. I don't know.
>> And so on, through the rest of the Reiss list. I resend my meme on them
>> at the end by the simple expedient of typing crtl-R|<meme/reiss>|enter.
>> Neat, isn't it, which is what a UNIX shell account gives you. I'm just
>> giving a framework for speculation. The hard work of empirically
>> weighing the changes in supply and demand for the drives, which as I
>> said are only loosely connected to reproductive success, begins. It
>> will be a nearly impossible task to do with full scientific vigor,
>> since we don't know all that much about the EEA. But, once again, don't
>> compare your findings against a perfectionist model but merely with
>> *competing* explanations, any more than you should compare the actual
>> workings of the market with an ideal government that would correct
>> market defects. P.S. I'm not a Reissian fundamentalist: it's just that
>> he has provided me with one of my many filters with which to view the
>> Some of the respondents to Dan Vining's 1986 Brain and Behavioral
>> Sciences target article, "Social versus Reproductive Success: The
>> Central Theoretical Problem with Human Sociobiology" (9:167-216), did
>> hint at the trade-offs among desires, but only indirectly, as none were
>> economists. My own allegedly expertise in the subject at least urges me
>> to look at a trade-off function that may have changed not
>> inconsiderably on the demand side: that for curiosity and objectivity
>> caused by the Maureen Dowd factor may be hugely important for the West
>> versus the Rest. But the biggest changes are in the supply of ways to
>> satisfy the Reiss desires. It is the changes on the supply side that
>> apparently outweigh the changes in demand, since the inverted
>> demographic pyramid is common to rich countries and not just to the
>> In any case, I hope I've managed to introduce some economic reasoning
>> to more fully explain the inverted demographic pyramid. Enthusiastic
>> eugenicists will have a terrific task ahead to change the demand and
>> supply curves. One of Reiss' drives is Idealism (no. 7 on my list), but
>> the sorts of questions he asked were heavy into redistribution. We
>> know, or should know, that the enthusiasm for redistribution is hyped
>> up with the the huge influence of 20th century leftists in the
>> education business. Issues were--and still are, there being a lot of
>> momentum (a/k/a culture lag)--largely framed in these terms, much like
>> debates in the Middle Ages were framed in Christian terms. Hauling in
>> manufactured emotions will be easier than changing underlying
>> biologies, at least until Designer Children come along.
>> Manhattan's Little Ones Come in Bigger Numbers
>> By EDUARDO PORTER
>> The sidewalks crowded with strollers, the panoply of new clubs catering
>> to the toddler set and the trail of cupcake crumbs that seem to
>> crisscross Manhattan are proof: The children are back.
>> After a decade of steady decline, the number of children under 5 in
>> Manhattan increased more than 26 percent from 2000 to 2004, census
>> estimates show, surpassing the 8 percent increase in small children
>> citywide during the same period and vastly outstripping the slight
>> overall growth in population in the borough and city.
>> Even as soaring house prices have continued to lift the cost of
>> raising a family beyond the means of many Americans, the borough's
>> preschool population reached almost 97,000 last year, the most since
>> the 1960's.
>> This increase has perplexed social scientists, who have grown used to
>> seeing Manhattan families disappear into Brooklyn and New Jersey, and
>> it has pushed the borough into 11th place among New York State
>> counties ranked by percentage of population under 5. In 2000, fewer
>> than one in 20 Manhattan residents were under 5, putting the borough
>> in 58th place.
>> "Potentially this is very good news for New York," said Kathleen
>> Gerson, a professor of sociology at New York University. "It depends
>> on whether this is a short-term blip or a long-term trend. We must
>> understand what explains the rise."
>> Indeed, nobody can say for sure what caused the baby boom, but several
>> factors clearly played a part.
>> The city's growing cohorts of immigrants may have contributed, as the
>> number of children in Manhattan born to foreign-born parents has risen
>> slightly since the 1990's. But other social scientists say that the
>> number of births is growing at the other end of the income scale.
>> "I wouldn't be surprised if it had to do with more rich families
>> having babies and staying in Manhattan," said Andrew A. Beveridge, a
>> professor of sociology at Queens College.
>> According to census data, 16.4 percent of Manhattan families earned
>> more than $200,000 last year, up from 13.7 percent in 2000.
>> Kathryne Lyons, 40, a mother of two who left her job as a vice
>> president of a commercial real estate firm when her second daughter
>> was born three years ago, acknowledges that having children in the
>> city is a tougher proposition if one cannot afford nannies, music
>> lessons and other amenities, which, as the wife of an investment
>> banker, she can. "It's much more difficult to be here and not be well
>> to do."
>> Over the past few years, New York has become more family-friendly,
>> clearly benefiting from the perception that the city's quality of life
>> is improving. Test scores in public schools have improved, and
>> according to F.B.I. statistics, New York is the nation's safest large
>> Sociologists and city officials believe that these improvements in the
>> quality of life in Manhattan may have stanched the suburban flight
>> that occurred in the 1990's. And while Manhattan lacks big backyards
>> for children to play in, it offers a packed selection of services,
>> which can be especially useful for working mothers.
>> In fact, the baby boomlet also may pose challenges to a borough that
>> in many ways struggles to serve its young. According to Childcare
>> Inc., day care centers in the city have enough slots for only one in
>> five babies under age 3 who need it.
>> And while census figures show that children over 5 have continued to
>> decline as a percentage of the Manhattan population, if the children
>> under 5 stay, they could well put extra stress on the city's public
>> and private school systems, already strained beyond capacity in some
>> neighborhoods. Private preschools and kindergartens "are already more
>> difficult to get into than college," said Amanda Uhry, who owns
>> Manhattan Private School Advisors.
>> So who are these children? Robert Smith, a sociologist at Baruch
>> College who is an expert on the growing Mexican immigration to the
>> city, argued that the children of Mexican immigrants - many of whom
>> live in the El Barrio neighborhood in East Harlem - are a big part of
>> the story.
>> But this is unlikely to account for all of the increase. For example,
>> in 2003, fewer than 1,000 babies were born to Mexican mothers living
>> in Manhattan. And births to Dominicans, the largest immigrant group in
>> the city, have fallen sharply.
>> Some scholars suspect that a substantial part of Manhattan's surge is
>> being driven by homegrown forces: namely, the decision by
>> professionals to raise their families here.
>> Consider the case of Tim and Lucinda Karter. Despite the cost of
>> having a family in the city, Ms. Karter, a 38-year old literary agent,
>> and her husband, an editor at a publishing house, stayed in Manhattan
>> to have their two daughters, Eleanor and Sarah.
>> They had Eleanor seven and a half years ago while living in a
>> one-bedroom apartment near Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side. Then
>> they bought the apartment next door and completed an expansion of
>> their home into a four-bedroom apartment two years ago. A little less
>> than a year ago, they had Sarah.
>> "Manhattan is a fabulous, stimulating place to raise a child," Ms.
>> Karter said. "We didn't plan it but we just delayed the situation. We
>> were just carving away and then there was room."
>> The city's businesses and institutions are responding to the rising
>> toddler population. Three years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
>> began a family initiative including programs geared to children 3 and
>> The Museum of Modern Art has programs for those as young as 4. In
>> January, Andy Stenzler and a group of partners opened Kidville, a
>> 16,000-square-foot smorgasbord of activities for children under 5 -
>> and their parents - on the Upper East Side.
>> "We were looking for a concentration of young people," Mr. Stenzler
>> said. "There are 16,000 kids under 5 between 60th and 96th Streets."
>> Many of the new offerings reflect the wealth of the parents who have
>> decided to call Manhattan home. Citibabes, which opened in TriBeCa
>> last month, provides everything from a gym and workplaces with
>> Internet connections for parents, to science lessons, language classes
>> and baby yoga for their children. It charges families $6,250 for
>> unlimited membership for three months.
>> Manhattan preschools can charge $23,000 a year. Ms. Uhry, with Private
>> School Advisors, charges parents $6,000 a year just to coach them
>> through the application process to get their children in.
>> Yet in spite of the high costs, small spaces and infuriating extras
>> that seem unique to Manhattan - like the preschools that require an
>> I.Q. test - many parents would never live anywhere else.
>> "Manhattan has always been a great place for raising your children,"
>> said Lori Robinson, the president of the New Mommies Network, a
>> networking project for mothers on the Upper West Side. "It's easier to
>> be in the city with a baby. It's less isolation. You feel you are part
>> of society."
>> Meme 023: Steven Reiss' 16 Basic Desires
>> Here's the results of research into the basic human desires. I've
>> ordered them by what I think is my own hierarchy and invite you to do
>> the same for yourself and for historical personages, like Ayn Rand.
>> This list is not only important in its own right but has great
>> implications for one's political concerns. Curiosity being my highest
>> desire, I am an advocate of what I call the "information state,"
>> whereby the major function of the central government is the production
>> of information and reserach. (Currently, it occpies at most two percent
>> of U.S. federal spending.) And since independence is no. 3 for me, I am
>> close to being a libertarian, in the sense that I'd vote with Ron Paul
>> on most issues. But someone for whom independence is his most basic
>> desire, he'd be advocating a full liberatarian order and impose it on
>> states and counties. On the other hand, an idealist could advocate
>> massive redistribution programs from rich to poor and military
>> intervention in foreign countries that do not live up to his standards.
>> I simply care much less than he does about such matters.
>> The task of designing a state, or a world federal order, that reflects
>> the diversity of desires and not just "this is what I want the world to
>> be" continues.
>> STEVEN REISS' 16 BASIC DESIRES
>> Curiosity. The desire to explore and learn. End:
>> knowledge, truth.
>> Romance. The desire for love and sex. Includes a desire
>> for aesthetic experiences. End: beauty, sex.
>> Independence. The desire for self-reliance. End:
>> freedom, ego integrity.
>> Saving. Includes the desire to collect things as well
>> as to accumulate wealth. End: collection, property.
>> Order. The desire for organization and for a
>> predictable environment. End: cleanliness, stability,
>> Family. The desire to raise one's own children. Does
>> not include the desire to raise other people's
>> children. End: children.
>> Idealism. The desire to improve society. Includes a
>> desire for social justice. End: fairness, justice.
>> Exercise. The desire to move one's muscles. End:
>> Acceptance. The desire for inclusion. Includes reaction
>> to criticism and rejection. End: positive self-image,
>> Social Contact. The desire for companionship. Includes
>> the desire for fun and pleasure. End: friendship,
>> Honor. The desire to be loyal to one's parents and
>> heritage. End: morality, character, loyalty.
>> Power. The desire for influence including mastery,
>> leadership, and dominance. End: achievement,
>> competence, mastery.
>> Vengeance. The desire to get even. Includes the joy of
>> competition. End: winning, aggression.
>> Status. The desire for social standing. Includes a
>> desire for attention. End: wealth, titles, attention,
>> Tranquility. The desire for emotional calm, to be free
>> of anxiety, fear, and pain. End: relaxation, safety.
>> Eating. The desire to consume food. End: food, dining,
>> Source: Steven Reiss, _Who am I?: the 16 basic desires
>> that motivate our actions and define our personalities.
>> NY: Penguin Putnam: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putman, 2000. I
>> have changed his exact wordings in a few places, based
>> upon the fuller descriptions in his book and upon his
>> other writings. The ends given in the table are taken
>> directly from page 31.
>> The desires are directed to the psychological (not
>> immediately biological) ends of actions, not to actions
>> as means toward other actions. He has determined the
>> basic ends by the use of factor analysis, a technique
>> pioneered by Raymond B. Cattell. Spirituality, for
>> example, he finds is distributed over the other desires
>> and is not an end, statistically independent of other
>> ends. And he finds that the desire for aesthetic
>> experiences is so closely correlated with romance that
>> he subsumes it thereunder.
>> Reiss' list is in no particular order, and so, after
>> much reflection, not only upon my thinking but upon my
>> actual behavior, I have ranked the desires by what I
>> think is my own hierarchy.
>> A few remarks, directed to those who know me, are in
>> Saving: Not much good at keeping within my budget, I
>> have a relatively big pension coming and have a large
>> collection of recordings of classical music and books.
>> Order: While my office and home is in a mess, I have
>> written a number of extremely well-organized
>> Family: Not always an attentive father, I have kept at
>> a job I've not always liked, instead of starting over
>> again as an assistant professor.
>> Idealism: I took the description from an earlier
>> article by Reiss, so as not to restrict it to state
>> redistribution of income.
>> Exercise: I am well-known for my running and having
>> entered (legally) the Boston Marathon, but I usually
>> just set myself to a daily routine and don't go
>> canoeing, for example, when on vacations. In high
>> school, I was notorious for avoiding exercise.
>> Acceptance: I can be rather sensitive to being ignored,
>> though I don't do much about it in fact.
>> Social Contact: Fun, for me, is intellectual
>> discussion, often with playful allusions on words and
>> Honor: I'm very low on patriotism, but I do like to
>> think of myself as having good character.
>> Vengeance: I've been told I love to win arguments for
>> their own sake, but I have only a small desire ever to
>> get even and never act upon it.
>> [I am sending forth these memes, not because I agree wholeheartedly
>> with all of them, but to impregnate females of both sexes. Ponder them
>> and spread them.]
More information about the paleopsych