When Public Policy Meets Elementary Biology

I have been thinking a lot about public policy, welfare, support of the indigent, and the growth of the underclass in industrial societies, mostly to prepare for this meeting. Public discussion and journalism routinely identify people as “right wing” or “left wing”. My reaction is that most public commentary—on both the right and the left—is hardly worth our attention.

Some trends that I find particularly distressing are outlined by Charles Murray and Robert Putnam in a youtube video which we discussed in a previous post. Both Murray and Putnam describe growing numbers of the underclass in this country with their failure of community and family organization. Single mothers are normative. Both speakers focus on white people: Murray explicitly restricts his recent book to ‘White America’ while Putnam’s new book is ethnographic in style about his own home town, again mostly white. Is there a way out of the trends they describe through social engineering?

Neither Murray nor Putnam have much in the way of policy suggestions. Murray identifies increasing isolation between the prosperous and the impoverished and the failure of the prosperous to advocate their own moral and social values to the to the poor. Putnam advocates a Soviet style system of public education in which teachers assume the duties and roles of parents, starting with early childhood education.

Politicians, journalists, and education advocates agonize a lot about issues of our social future but most of it is wordspeak and twaddle. Many politicians are shameless vote chasers with no principles, journalists seek sensation and scandal, and educators have had no real accomplishments in a century. What would be the outcome if social engineers understood evolution? Does biology have a contribution to make to the solution of do our social and economic problems?

The reasoning would go like this (straight from freshman biology): diploid organisms are shaped by evolution to generate copies of their DNA. In order to make these copies a diploid organism has to allocate energy and risk to competing demands of (a) growth and maintenance and (b) reproduction. Reproduction has two parts, mating and parenting. This allocation is the stuff of life history theory. The allocation problem is complicated by the presence of two sexes that are designed differently. This is especially so in mammals: internal gestation, mammary glands, and prolonged immaturity indicate of the commitment of females to bear the brunt of reproductive effort. Fish, for example, are not engineered in this way. In fish species where males mouth brood, mama fish is free to shed some eggs and abandon dad and the kids to continue her partying unimpeded.

Humans exhibit a diversity of strategy “choices” that are solutions to the allocation problem between mating and parenting. Males can devote most of their effort to mating effort, usually involving competition with other males. Male commitment to parenting effort is not common in mammals but there are familiar examples like beavers, coyotes, gibbons, and some humans. In the jargon the polar strategies of male mammals are called “cad” and “dad” strategies.

Females have a more restricted set of strategy choices because of their engineered commitment to parenting. At one extreme a human female can seek a dadly male who provides resources like food and protection to their joint offspring. At the other extreme, a human female can pay little or no attention to her mate choice, instead letting the guys work things out. In the jargon these female alternatives are called “coy” and “fast”.

You can find a more detailed account of this game between the human sexes works in a chapter of our book (that the editor discarded as “too academic”) on our website here. Briefly we are likely to find dad males/coy females in ecological situations where male labor and resources are critical for successful reproduction. Think of labor-intensive agriculture, European peasants and Asian farmers, as examples. In the United States in the past, “working class” meant stable mated pairs who together provisioned and cared for children. An archetype of working class in American television was Archie Bunker.

Social organization with cad males and fast females is found prominently among tropical gardeners where women provide most of the food for themselves and their children as well as for the men, who are often just parasites on the women. The euphemism in economics for these societies is “female farming systems”. These share many characteristics with our industrial “underclass” in which women have no ecological force pushing them into long term stable pair bonds.

Notice that in each of the above descriptions there are two hands clapping: in cad/fast social systems neither a coy female nor a dad male does very well while in dad/coy systems neither a fast females nor a cad male does very well. The two polar social types are deeply rooted in contemporary politics. The zany feminism of the 1980s (“a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”) precisely advocated the cad/fast setup. Our religious right with its chatter about “the natural family” and “stable marriages” and the like pushes hard for a dad/coy world.

Back to our social engineers who know biology. They share a goal of a society in which dad males mate with coy females because children enjoy the care and security of a stable home and streets safe from gunfire. The new policy is simple: welfare payments are to be given only to males.

This policy would mimic, they think, the ecology of most dad/coy societies. How would this work out? In a new post we can imagine how the new policy can be modified when the engineers are given a sense of human decency and responsibility for human well being.

Part II to follow ……

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

142 Responses to When Public Policy Meets Elementary Biology

  1. Reblogged this on ReactionaryThought and commented:

    A biological approach to welfare.

  2. JayMan says:

    “Back to our our social engineers who know biology. They share a goal of a society in which dad males mate with coy females because children enjoy the care and security of a stable home and streets safe from gunfire. The new policy is simple: welfare payments are to be given only to males.”

    Very interesting. I eagerly await Part II.

  3. pyrrhus says:

    The policy embodied in the long enshrined Aid to Dependent Children Act (no dads, fast females) being a polar opposite…

    • Anonymous says:

      Intermediary policy: payment to adults same regardless of number of dependents

      • Cathy McNeil says:

        I don’t think common sense, fairness, or workable solutions are allowed on this site! Lol! Great answer!

      • harpend says:

        The policy of the social engineers and their daydreams is, so far, a recipe for disaster I think but I look forward to viewpoints from our blog customers. Your suggested tweak here is IMHO (or rather in the opinion of our corps of social engineers) another such recipe because it applies sanctions to children, not adults. Anyone who has ever been around hungry children would I hope reject this out of hand.

  4. AnonymousCoward says:

    [i]“The new policy is simple: welfare payments are to be given only to males.”[/i]

    …wow. Color me intrigued.

    This is sure to be incredibly unpopular, precisely because it might work. It would emotionally punish women who opt for the r strategy with cads, forcing them to selfishly consider (second time around) whether the potential father of their next child is an asshole.

  5. Ilya says:

    Prof. Harpending: pushing males back into the provider scheme is a good idea. Good luck getting it implemented, however.

  6. melendwyr says:

    It’s difficult to imagine the political will necessary to make such changes to our welfare system.

    • harpend says:

      I am sure that everyone understands that these policy dreams are just that, idle daydreams exploring the possibility space.

      • melendwyr says:

        Except that ‘political will’ is one of the constraints of the possibility space.

      • Sund says:

        if their policy solution really is superior, it will just take ONE society to implement it, and other societies will then ignore it at their peril. Don’t think that these ideas can only be assimilated and carried out by the western societies they originated from.

  7. Greying Wanderer says:

    Awesome post imo.

    #

    “Neither Murray nor Putnam have much in the way of policy suggestions. Murray identifies increasing isolation between the prosperous and the impoverished and the failure of the prosperous to advocate their own moral and social values to the to the poor.”

    Full employment selected for dad males. There were still cads but on the fringes. Mass un and under employment combined with welfare meant the nest-builder males couldn’t compete any more because their brains aren’t wired right for the changed environment whereas cuckoo males carry on just as before.

    #

    “Putnam advocates a Soviet style system of public education in which teachers assume the duties and roles of parents, starting with early childhood education.”

    This idea is part of the cause of the mass epidemic of grooming gangs / forced child prostitution in the UK. Most of the white / blue collar gap thing is average IQ (partly age of puberty as well imo but mostly IQ) but because the PC types won’t accept that it has to be “environment” and as all their other attempts have failed the new thing was to basically snatch little kids from prole families and completely isolate them from their old environment in children’s homes in different towns away from all their friends and family

    which obviously turns them into perfect prey.

    #

    “in cad/fast social systems neither a coy female nor a dad male does very well”

    The cad males in those situations target coy females when they are very young i.e. past puberty but no brains yet, and try and get them to drop a kid before scooting on to the next so in the urban blight you see a lot of coy type females with just the one kid from when they were just past a kid themselves.

    #

    I was gonna say there’s no way out now as the over-supply of labor, especially low-skilled labor, was already too far gone to get full employment back but

    “The new policy is simple: welfare payments are to be given only to males.”

    very interesting.

    • harpend says:

      “…the new thing was to basically snatch little kids from prole families and completely isolate them from their old environment in children’s homes in different towns away from all their friends and family…”

      Napoleon Bonaparte was, among other things, an early nineteenth century version of Lyndon Johnson. His great society tried this with their system of orphanages. Almost all the children died. A good read is still

      Langer, W. L. (1972). Checks on population growth: 1750-1850. Scientific American, 226, 92-99.

      • Jim says:

        In pre-Revolutionary France care of orphans was almost entirely done by religious institutions. Such institutions also provided nearly all the hospital beds for the poor and nearly all schools for poor children.

        As a result of the persecution of the Church in the Revolutionary period the number of hospital beds for the poor collapsed and literacy levels also declined. It was not until about 1840 that the number of hospital beds for the poor and the general literacy level in France returned to that existing just before the Revolution

      • Toad says:

        Almost all the children died.

        What long term affect did this have on the affected population?

    • Harry Cross says:

      “This idea is part of the cause of the mass epidemic of grooming gangs / forced child prostitution in the UK. Most of the white / blue collar gap thing is average IQ (partly age of puberty as well imo but mostly IQ) but because the PC types won’t accept that it has to be “environment” and as all their other attempts have failed the new thing was to basically snatch little kids from prole families and completely isolate them from their old environment in children’s homes in different towns away from all their friends and family”

      There’s a world of difference between skilled blue-collar workers and the kind of chaotic households where no-one works and children are taken into care.

      Regarding education, it would be nice to think that girls could be indoctrinated to feel revulsion towards cad-type males. Nonsensical ideas like ‘If he’s mean to you, it’s because he really likes you’ are sadly still given credence by many dull-witted girls.

  8. Greying Wanderer says:

    forgot a bit

    @myself

    “Most of the white / blue collar gap thing is average IQ”

    Just to add, this in itself doesn’t guarantee bad outcomes because if if the social scaffolding is designed by higher IQ people and the lower IQ conform to it then they behave as if they had the higher IQ (on average).

  9. Francisco says:

    It seems in the current political climate there is very little chance of this kind of policy happening. Maybe because it suits the goals of elite males, as they would be able to father more children who reach adulthood now than in a more monogamous society?

  10. dearieme says:

    “welfare payments are to be given only to males”: no doubt that’s how Genghis Khan viewed his Empire.

  11. Very interesting proposal, Henry Harpending! Would it be welfare to males, or to dads with dependent children? How would you discourage males having children with many females? I look forward to Part II.

    • Lesser Bull says:

      It’s discouraged indirectly. The kind of man who would have lots of kids with different women (a cad) is a bad prospect for sticking around, so if women are reliant on men to support their children, they are going to stay away from the cads. Therefore they won’t be able to have as many children. Some women won’t be able to control themselves, but they and their kids will suffer for it and in the long run experience less genetic fitness.

  12. JayMan says:

    It’s also worth pointing out that fertility for
    White men (in the U.S. anyway, and a few other countries) appears to be already eugenic for IQ. Indeed, overall fertility might be neutral to eugenic for IQ:

    Idiocracy Can Wait? | JayMan’s Blog

    Why mess with that?

  13. Let’s for the fun of it push this scenario into the future 50 years. The cads and their easy women have had their fun and the unplanned results are everywhere. it is like this…

    The meek were supposed to inherit the earth
    but they aren’t the ones who most frequently birth
    it’s those without will
    who can’t swallow a pill
    whose love of their children is their source of self worth

    Now their is another Meeting like the one Henry is going to. Experts from all over the world come together to join heads and solve this really big really serious problem. Science has advanced considerably (not everyone is a stupid fucker) and their are some real options on the table.

    One stands out from the rest. Introduce a really contagious venereal disease that only has one effect, it makes those infected sterile. It is voted against but that doesn’t stop it because this meeting puts together the scientists that can do this with the billionaires who will fund it.

    The rest is history.

  14. Cracker1 says:

    We are not good at social engineering.

  15. Cpluskx says:

    From dad/coy to cad/fast: Middle East>India>China>S.Europe>NE Europe>Africa

    • harpend says:

      Why the order of the regions of Europe?

      • Cpluskx says:

        I think South and NE Europeans are a little different. S. Europeans are more family oriented (usually less non-marital births, more children living with 2 parents, more adults living at parents home, probably less abortion) Also maybe there is a correlation between the dad/coy order and having civ-strong states earlier too.

  16. karenjo12 says:

    You propose an environmental solution to what you describe as a genetic problem . Cads can’t help it. Since evolution takes a long time, you are condemning women and children from those groups, who by your own statement don’t have the genes for a dad/coy society, to starvation. Or is that actually the point?

    • Justin says:

      Can’t tell if you’re wilfully misunderstanding or not. Blacks had higher marriage rates than whites at certain points between 1870 and 1965. Black bastard children were relatively rare. Yet the black population grew in absolute terms. No one will starve (you nitwit) the welfare state is only 50 or 60 years old.

    • harpend says:

      The plans of our corps of engineers are not fully formulated yet. I doubt that there is much of a genetic problem here. I started graduate school with a keen interest in social science, dropped it after a year because it was intellectually bankrupt. Out of it all I identified one (just one) important socially transmitted suite of traits that I believed. That is those associated with father absence in humans. I still believe that human mating strategies are pretty plastic.

  17. Martin says:

    We already know what kind of policies would foster a “dad” society. Furthermore, for many sub-populations in society, such conscious policies would not even be necessary. If they were simply left to their own devices and allowed to dominate their own social environments, dad societies would be a natural expression of their genes. The problem is that the contemporary social environment also consists of sub-populations with genes that tend to “cad” societies. Moreover, sub-populations are generally hindered from completely insulating themselves from other sub-populations, and uniform public policies and cultural and social mores are promoted for the entire social environment by the government and other institutions. Thus what sort of public policy and social and cultural values are promoted depend on control and dominance of the government and institutions, and competition among various individuals and sub-populations for said control. And as long as there are significant numbers of sub-populations tending toward cad societies in the general society, there’s going to be people opposing public policy that favors dad society and promoting policy that favors cad society.

  18. Yudi says:

    “The new policy is simple: welfare payments are to be given only to males.”

    This isn’t going to happen. No one anywhere near the mainstream, not even the religious right of today, would feel comfortable with impoverishing single mothers and pushing them into the arms of underclass, often brutish men. In fact, from what I understand, the whole point of welfare was to financially emancipate such women from their men’s clutches.

    • chris says:

      A simpler solution would be the requirement of birth control in exchange for welfare.

      It would improve the problem by breeding the cads/sluts out over time.

      • harpend says:

        Exactly. I don’t myself think that it is a matter of breeding anything since I doubt that much of it is genetically transmitted, but we don’t really know since we can’t do the experiments.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          I think there are clear differences personally but it’s not binary i.e. there are cad (r) traits and dad (K) traits) and individuals are a mixture of the two so some people may be 80% cad and 20% dad while others are 20% cad and 80% dad and some are in the middle with the balance varying over time with selection pressure (you see this for example in binary attitudes towards in-group vs out-group i.e. someone may be strictly dad among their in-group but cad to women in an out-group).

          However as the cumulative behavior is a balance between two sets of traits (imo) and there are a lot of people in the 40-60 to to 60-40 range (imo) then the balance of behavior can be modified by social carrot and stick so the argument over cultural / genetic is moot.

        • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

          So, it seems that you still think that it is a facultative response to father absence rather than different frequencies of dad vs cad genes in the pool and different environments re-arranging the relative frequencies of each?

          Eg, during times of war perhaps more of those with genes for high levels of commitment enlist because they also have higher levels of comitment, and thus the relative frequency of such genes go down …

  19. Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    Since the selection of a mate is most likely genetically controlled, surely the only way to change things is truncation selection …

  20. Add that deleted chapter to the second edition of your book. It’s a good read.

  21. namae nanka says:

    Nothing new under the sun.

    ““Children will, of course, be the greatest gift possible to the State, and the woman who produces them will provided for, protected, and honoured. After all, this is a question of education.””

    https://wombatty.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/early-feminists-moderate-or-radical/

    The wage-gap nonsense is another facet of the issue and has been right from the very start.

  22. Wes says:

    Since the idea that parenting is important tends to get mocked around these parts, given the twin studies, this line interested me: “children enjoy the care and security of a stable home and streets safe from gunfire.”

    Is that basically all parenting/the shared environment is good for? And what about fathers in particular. Is a good father simply one that doesn’t abuse his kids or create an unstable home?

    • JayMan says:

      @Wes:

      Unlike a good bit in the HBD-sphere, I don’t care very much about creating stable homes (or I suppose I should say “intact” homes; life in these new two-parent homes won’t be very stable at all), because I know it probably won’t increase happiness much, and will no difference to outcomes whatsoever. (Even as I practice it.)

      The outcomes of the lower classes stem from the genes they carry. The best strategy is one that reduces the frequency those genes in the gene pool long-term. But this may be occurring on its own already.

      • Thanks for the links to your blog that carry on these topics. Good reads. I rather disagree with your last statement that there is a strategy in place that is eliminating the genes that help keep people in the lower class. Quite the opposite is happening. Long term you could be right but not right now.

        Speaking of selection for good genes there is in place a selection process that I haven’t seen discussed. We are obsessed with highly symmetrical faces and we value them mightily when we select a mate. Why on earth are we so vulnerable to fall head over heels in love with a pretty or handsome face? I don’t believe it is a coincidence, I think a symmetrical face is the best window we have to look into the genetic make up of another person and identify a good mate. A feedback loop has long been in place rewarding past generations to fall in love with a pretty face. While styles can come and go, for example a TV screen flattens a face so our idealized beauty is longer and narrower than it once was, facial symmetry is a prerequisite for any of our standards of beauty.

        • JayMan says:

          Well, I will say that the best study on the matter to date has found that IQ and attractiveness are uncorrelated:

          No relationship between intelligence and facial attractiveness in a large, genetically informative sample

          Since IQ is correlated with health, for attractiveness to also be correlated with health, they each must be correlated with different aspects of health(?) Does that make sense?

          • Greying Wanderer says:

            Did they look for a correlation within each different ethnic group or everyone all together?

            Cos obviously they won’t find it if they jumble everyone together.

          • If ever there is a test created that can correlate facial symmetry (facial attractiveness is too subject to personal bias) to a healthy genome I would give very good odds that there would be a positive correlation. But that isn’t happening anytime soon.

            Evolution works very quickly and very powerfully on sexual selection. For some reason we are very strongly drawn to emphasize facial attractiveness when we select a mate. There must be a reason. At the very least our obsession with faces would guide us away from unhealthy genomes, I don’t mean to be rude but retarded people clearly look off or funny looking a high percentage of the time.

            • JayMan says:

              There’s a big difference between ugly and a funny-looking kid.

            • JayMan says:

              It’s entirely possible we’re attracted to “attractive” features only because other people find them attractive. Like a peacock’s tail; we may like then solely because we want (not necessarily consciously) our children to have those features.

      • erica says:

        Jayman, I know where and why you stand on the argument regarding educational/socioeconomic outcomes not being determined by being raised in a one or two parent home or a “stable” v. “unstable” one. So far so good with the data.

        Where I’m still not convinced is in the data measuring how broken families, one parent families, and families that change status frequently affect the emotional lives of children, which is much harder to measure.

        Wait until your kid reaches the age of 6,7, or 8 and try imagining just how he’d respond emotionally/internally to your leaving him and your wife. Or to your wife remarrying or to her taking in a boyfriend or two as he is growing up. In the end, Jayman Jr. might still do all the right things for economic success that his “good genes” enable him to do. However, if you’ve been on this earth long enough to observe growing kids you’d realize there are effects other than those the research is easily able to measure.

        • JayMan says:

          @erica:

          All that has been covered too. See this post where I talk about the heritability and shared environment impact on adult happiness (i.e., quite a bit of the former, none of the latter):

          The Son Becomes The Father | JayMan’s Blog

        • Beyond Anon says:

          This is clearly only anecdata … however, my mother was unmarried when I was born and had to quickly find a step-father for me. He was somewhat abusive after consuming alcohol and she passed away when I was 10.

          Apart from the rampant racism, massive misogyny and other problems I seem somewhat normal. I managed to get married and stay married for some 30 years (and am currently married) and come to terms with the Chinese Mother approach to raising children.

          I also invested enormous amounts of effort in child raising although I acknowledge that all I really needed to do was to provide a stable environment. I can only say that I simply enjoyed doing those activities. Pretty selfish, I know.

          Having grown up in a working-class environment I understand that it was all the power of culture and institutions.

    • harpend says:

      I still think that we were mostly right way back when we wrote this paper:

      Draper, P., & Harpending, H. (1982). Father absence and reproductive strategy: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of anthropological research, 255-273.

      Google scholar points to a copy posted online at the University of Nebraska website.

  23. melendwyr says:

    Giving welfare only to men requires that we allow children of men who withhold funds to starve to death… and I don’t see that catching on in our society any time soon. People won’t stand for it.

    • How many children in the US died from starvation before tax payer funded government welfare? You act like charities and churches don’t exist. And it is also much easier for the public to pressure men than women. That is why women get housing vouchers and men go to jail when they have kids they can’t afford.

      • melendwyr says:

        I don’t think you understand. The originator of the charity is irrelevant – if it permits irresponsible people to successfully breed, the result will be disaster. If public welfare were eliminated, but private charity supported the same people with the same behaviors, the consequences will ultimately be the same.

        This won’t work, because working requires that lots of people die.

        • Sund says:

          It doesn’t require that people die, it requires that a certain type of lifestyle proliferates: the monogamous life style. The male based welfare system changes incentives so that people who are more likely to stay in a monogamous relationship will start families. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

    • harpend says:

      I have in mind a bureaucratized system with enforcement like marriage was a century ago along with modern technology.

      • Cracker1 says:

        Generous expansion of the EIC for men who live with and support their family could be good policy.

      • AllenM says:

        A combination of nudge, punish, and removal strategies will ultimately be necessary.

        I foresee a very interesting world where all children are geneidentified at birth, and children born to those that are indigent will only be allowed to have one full or two half siblings. In other words, a woman will only be allowed two children if she is a ward of the state, and any male unable to support his children will only be allowed to have two children. I fully expect that people who can subsequently support more children will have them, but that a limiting factor will be the ability to have those children gene engineered before implantation, and the costs of custom engineering children.

        By 2100 I see society basically protecting “naturals” as a dependent species.

        Full expression of genes may require we keep a pool of naturals to ensure enough genetic diversity.

        • Julie K says:

          Most Americans currently don’t have more than two children, so how much effect will your limit have?

          • harpend says:

            My imaginary social engineers impose no limits since industral societies are doing fine limiting themselves. Fertility is nicely below replacement all over Europe, in Japan, falling in much of Latin America, and so on.

            The engineers are coming up with a generous public welfare policy that treats people well in most ways, on the public dime, but does not have provision for reproduction without resouces to provide decent support for children. They are thinking along the lines of contractual male-female arrangements for child support, welfare for unattached women that would require depo-provera with the check. A big sticking point is that so far there is no good analogue of depo-provera for males.

            The contracts between man and women for child support would have teeth, something like marriage had teeth a century ago. Men would be able to be tracked down wherever they are and their children would have first dibs on any resources they have.

          • harpend says:

            I wrote you a thoughtful answer, hit the wrong key, lost it. I have no answer for your question. The bigger picture is the “demographic transition” that went along with the industrial revolution: no one has a good theory of that either.

            Please only ask easy questions in the future (grin).

  24. Matt says:

    Even if you give welfare payments to men, it seems like long term you are selecting against actual intelligence and economic ability (dynamism). Eventually, you’d just get a society of doofus dads who dependably pass on their welfare payments, but they’re still drug addicts and incompetent. That IdioDadcracy seems worse than a world where they’re comparably incompetent but at least have some caddish charm, flash, violence and dynamism. Who wants a society of dull, stupid incompetent dads?

    (While in the short term cultural Pinkerisation proceeds apace).

  25. chris says:

    Prior to the 19th century women were kept out of the professions, (I assume), so that this female forager model wouldn’t develop.

    What you are essentially arguing for is Patriarchy. And there will be a lot of intellectual and political opposition to it.

    Have you ever considered generating computer or mathematical models that prove the the existence of this dynamic?

    That might be more convincing to disbelievers of this dynamic than essays.

    • ChrisB says:

      “Prior to the 19th century women were kept out of the professions, (I assume), so that this female forager model wouldn’t develop.”

      That may have been one of the effects, but it certainly wasn’t intended. The main reasons are (1) in a strongly gendered society, no one thinks it natural that the sexes should share occupational roles, and (2) training for professions involves having young, unmarried people living and socializing together, and in that situation you can’t really mix the sexes unless you sign on to our modern, libertine views on premarital sex. You could have segregated professional training, but then you’re likely to have specialization by sex, and there will be economic pressures to push incomes in the female professions down, making the female forager model less viable.

  26. steve p says:

    Like the living or social wage that was once commonly paid to men in the pre-welfare state days?

  27. uh says:

    LOL. A society in which males are actually favored.

  28. ChrisB says:

    Archie Bunker is working class, but to match the archetype more closely he should have had three or four kids (rather than one), who, at the time All in the Family is set, would have produced enough grandchildren to keep Edith usefully busy rather than being the silly drone that she was.

    • Jim says:

      Didn’t Archie try to start some sort of business – a restaurant or something? He seems to have been upwardly aspirant. Personally I always found him very likeable.

  29. RCB says:

    Not so sure about this. Seems to me that this might give males more leverage in impoverished mating markets. Males could then demand what they want; impoverished women, having little leverage, would be forced to give it to them. If males’ demands happen not to be particularly good for society (e.g., loose sexual relationships? Why be a good dad when there are lots of desperate single women out there?), then we would have a problem.

    This view squares, I think, with some recent sexual selection theory by Hanna Kokko, Michael Jennions, and others, suggesting that males may behave “best” (more dad-like) when females have more leverage in the mating market – e.g., when females are scarce. Unfortunately I only have a passing familiarity with the theory and empirical support.

    • Yudi says:

      Yes, this was what I thought also.

    • chris says:

      But also when females have more leverage you would expect more cuckoldry/dual-mating by the women which would disincentivise long-term mating among men. How do you integrate that into your theory?

      • RCB says:

        Sure, that could happen. I suspect that the threat of male violence would still be enough to keep cuckoldry low (as it usually is, according to Cochran). But it could certainly be that females have their own nefarious preferences that hurt society. I would think that it ultimately comes down to this: give power to the sex whose preferences are the most prosocial.

        • chris says:

          “I suspect that the threat of male violence would still be enough to keep cuckoldry low”

          Not with domestic violence laws existing as well.

          Now if cuckoldry/dual-mating was criminalized, then that might do it.

          “I would think that it ultimately comes down to this: give power to the sex whose preferences are the most prosocial.”

          But it is not just people’s individual actions that counts. People’s actions exist within a system which feeds back into itself based on the actions of those individuals and subsequently alters both the actions of those individuals within the system and the system itself. Kind of like a market with supply and demand and prices.

          So it should perhaps be, give power to the social system which is the most prosocial. Or better yet, which is the most adaptive, (considering that societies compete againstt one another and it doesn’t pay to create a utopian society that can’t defend itself against conquest from a dystopian one.)

    • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

      What sort of selection would have to operate to produce such behavior?

      Could this claimed behavior of males when they are in oversupply (which seems only to have been seen in some groups) not be a consequence of the lower excitability and higher future time orientation of males in certain groups?

  30. hyber says:

    In Canada and some other countries the government tax and benefits system is giving a ton of money to wealthy families with children. You get a system where the $12 an hour forklift driver or clerk, both single and childless, are paying to raise the kids of their wealthier managers. It’s not so much an income tax as child support payments now and in case I have to point out the obvious: they are literally taking from the poor and ugly to give to the rich and beautiful and it’s an effective electoral strategy. .

  31. epoch2013 says:

    Where I live the upper middle class and the lowest class live almost next to each other. I lived in both neighbourhoods. One thing that struck me is that the successful upper middle class men were the opposite of the fearsome lowest class “alpha men”. In everything. The middle class men were almost whimpy, or at least had an underdeveloped visible aggressiveness, quite the opposite of the lower class men.

    It struck me that these lower class men, very visibly aggressive, must have deeply resented being completely out competed by men two of which they would easily take on in a fight. I sometimes think that resentment is part of the origin of crime: To get what they would consider theirs.

    • epoch2013 says:

      It was this that made me remember that:

      “Notice that in each of the above descriptions there are two hands clapping: in cad/fast social systems neither a coy female nor a dad male does very well while in dad/coy systems neither a fast females nor a cad male does very well. “

    • harpend says:

      In the psychobabble of the 1960s this was called “protest masculinity”. I expect that you also noticed brighter clothes on lower class males

      • epoch2013 says:

        But I would not consider it “protest”. These men get what they want and, considering “dads” are the lowest on their social status, and they get what they want by force.

        The coloured I met in the low class neighbourhood all showed cocky racist behaviour. “I am white under my feet, I walk over these white pussies”. I heard that literally.

        Bright clothes? Sometimes. But some of these folks dressed blackish, with dark baseball caps and a thing we called bomberjackets.

        • harpend says:

          ‘But I would not consider it “protest”.’

          You likely don’t remember how silly psychology was in the middle of the twentieth century. You have to understand the logic.

          a. Lower class males are mostly raised in matrifocal households.
          b. They acquire an underlying female identification.
          c. At adolescence they realize that they are really male.
          d. As a means of protesting their underlying identification they engage in hypermasculine strutting and posturing: this is protest masculinity.

          Never made any sense to me but people in the social sciences babbled like this all the time.

          • epoch2013 says:

            I would gladly invite one of those psychologists to explain to the aforementioned gentlemen that they had such a “female identification”. From a save distance it must be quite an amusing scene to develop.

            “What did you just call my mother?”

      • epoch2013 says:

        Let me rephrase that: I wouldn’t call that “protest masculinity” because these men weren’t at all interested in justice. They caused more injustice than ever was inflicted on them. No, these men were interested in the “booty” they considered theirs.

    • Jim says:

      I’ve read that testosterone levels tend to be higher in blue collar males than white collar males and that professionals tend to lower levels. I’ve sorta wondered if the type of males who would have been dominant in primitive cultures often do poorly in advanced civilizations and thus tend to be very frustrated by the difference between their actual status level in society and what level they would be comfortable with.

      I’m wondering if this causes the status hierarchy in advanced civilizations to be more unstable than the status hierarchy in primitive societies. Maybe the guys low down on the totem pole in primitive societies tend to be more hormonally adjusted to their place in the status hierarchy.

      I would be interested in what Henry has to say about this.

      • Sund says:

        Don’t discount gene-environment interactions. A group of low-testosterone white collar males may have a change if they are forced into physically rigorous jobs. It might take a generation to occur, but gene-expression could change a “pussies” into “bulls.” What would be ideal is a group of high hormone men who adopted a culture that promoted the dad/coy family model. A contradiction of terms? Maybe, but it might make for a more dynamic society.

  32. Sinij says:

    “Putnam advocates a Soviet style system of public education”

    As someone who grew up and was educated by that system, I can’t recommend it enough. Especially, math and Science education was top-shelf.

    • harpend says:

      Right, “Soviet” is not quite the right word. I was using it to derogate Putnam’s proposal as leading to a heavy handed and clumsy bureaucracy.

  33. Matt says:

    There’s some evidence that narcissists and the interpersonally aggressive are well represented at the top as well as at the bottom –

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/06/why-it-pays-to-be-a-jerk/392066/

    Certainly fits well with my experience of dealing with the upper middle class. How often they’re willing to put themselves and their career before others and how angry they get when that’s frustrated. You can get there on energy, intelligence and the will to achieve alone, it can help a little to enjoy stepping on other peoples’ faces on your way up. Whether high status narcissists are actually cads or asshole dads who screw others but use their paychecks on their kids I don’t know.

    • Sund says:

      The rich cads are the current aristocracy. The poor, criminal cads are the runners up. It’s the duty of the dad types to cut both of these groups out of society. That was the entire point of the Puritan colonies in New England.

  34. Bruce says:

    Dr. Harpending,
    What about hunter gatherers? Is there a difference between tropical and temperate hunter gatherers Cad-dad, fast-coy strategies, I mean.

    • harpend says:

      Since most hunter-gatherers are not around any longer it is difficult to answer your question. My impression is that when there is a fitness payoff to male work things get pushed to the dad/coy end while when resources are abundant males withdraw from work and do guy stuff like fighting and display. On the US northwest coast there were a lot of foods available and hard work only happened during salmon runs. Those males were violent and gaudy, potlatches and totem poles and scary war canoes. Men were also louder and gaudier in northern Australia while in the desert they acted more like Bushmen or Pygmies.

      My impression, I don’t know the archaeology, is that Indians on the great plains were dirt farmers until they got the horse. With minimal effort a male or group of males could kill vast numbers of bison with little effort and plains Indians quickly turned into stereotype cad/fast people. Look at the colorful costumes at, for example, the museum in Cody or many others, then read the account of Lewis Clark about the mating strategy of Sioux women.

      • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        That seems like an interesting thing to follow up.

        Can individuals switch between strategies based on circumstances during their early years or are we seeing, again, different frequencies of cads/dads and fast/coy in the gene pool that find themselves in better situations depending on circumstances?

      • Jim says:

        I believe that the Sioux moved into their present location during the late 18th century. Before that they had lived in Minnesota.

  35. Distr says:

    This strategy ignores a key distinction between the agricultural laborer class and the urban underclass, though: A society dependent upon hard male labor for its survival will function differently from a society where males receive welfare.

    If from birth men are raised to either labor or starve, then both genetic and environmental factors will influence men to be hardworking and perhaps more “dadly.” This is especially true because there’s an incentive for a man to raise kids if they’ll provide extra pairs of hands come harvest season.

    Simply giving free money to the males of the U.S. underclass is unlikely to accomplish the same result. IIRC, development economists have found that if you’re distributing handouts, it’s actually better to give them to women, since men are likelier to spend on gambling, prostitution or alcohol.

    Simply put, you need a society where male labor is valuable — not simply one where males get a windfall. Welfare doesn’t accomplish this.

    • dearieme says:

      “imply put, you need a society where male labor is valuable”: as the Black Death demonstrated.

      • harpend says:

        Could you elaborate this remark? Historians seem to vary in their evaluations of the plague: some say it was a disaster while others say it brought a long period of unprecedented prosperity.

        • dearieme says:

          In Britain at least, It brought prosperity for the majority of the survivors; the social niches were no longer full. Attempts to limit wages in the towns failed. Attempts to continue serfdom failed, and the institution melted away. People became tenant farmers on favourable terms designed to get the land back into use. Marginal arable was turned into pasture; imagine having tried to make a living growing crops high on Dartmoor, and the relief of moving down onto valley land!

          Or so I understand. Had things been so bad that there had been massive social breakdown, then it could have gone the other way. That’s one interpretation of the effect of the Plague of Justinian in the late Roman Empire. Mind you, there are writers who argue that on the contrary for the survivors of plague and invasion in Dark Ages Italy, life was better – in that they were better fed – than under the Late Empire. Their argument is based on measurements of skeletons. How representative these skeletons are I have no idea. Maybe they are representative of bigger Germans and Celts replacing smaller Italians? That period is controversial, but it involved conquest as well as plague, so isn’t perhaps comparable to medieval Britain.

          • Jim says:

            According to Joseph Cantor standards of living in Italy in the sixth century were higher than in the fifth century. Of course by the fifth century what was called the Roman Empire in the West was already mostly barbarianism.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Do historians disagree on any facts, or just on their definition of “prosperity”?

          My understanding is that it increased per capita wealth while decreasing aggregate wealth. There was no longer enough money (or at least money concentrated in the right hands) to fund culture and learning.

    • harpend says:

      Distr:

      IMO you are exactly right. The question is whether we can can engineer a substitute for male drudgery and work that has similar societal consequences.

      • melendwyr says:

        Why not simply let the population evolve according to the memetic and genetic selection pressures naturally present?

      • teageegeepea says:

        Your link referenced amerindian populations in which males provided resources, but only needed to work very infrequently. Your welfare scheme sounds similar to that (except with even less work).

      • Cracker1 says:

        Generous EIC for men who work would do this. The more they work and at higher wages the more the benefit of EIC. Drive other “welfare” down to bare subsistent levels. Women will choose men who work and can provide a “household” income. Even more than this, most men will choose this labor because it will allow for the dignity of providing for a household. For many un-skilled and un-educated men there is no way to join “normal” productive society. One doesn’t have to look back very far (or even look closely at the lot of millions today) to see that most men will work long hours at dreary work if it provides a better life for themselves and their family.

      • Distr says:

        Replied wrong before, so excuse the 2x post:

        Depressingly, I can’t think of a policy package that would even come close to generating the right effect.

        Someone has already suggested EITC, but this would require people to judiciously save and budget and file tax returns — a different type of challenge than agricultural labor, and one that ironically may be harder for the underclass to meet.

        You could also try thinning or eliminating most social safetynets for the poor while enacting a large minimum wage increase for jobs that are “male” and would instill a valuable work ethic, e.g. manufacturing. But from an economic standpoint, the externalities and unintended consequences of such a move might cancel out any social good. Alternatively, New Deal -style, the government could make point of hiring able-bodied males to perform labor-intensive infrastructure projects.

        Another way to interrupt the cycle of poorly-planned pregnancies and broken families within this class would be to condition the receipt of welfare payments on use of long-term birth control. That’s almost certainly unconstitutional, but so is denying welfare to women on account of sex.

    • Distr says:

      Depressingly, I can’t think of a policy package that would even come close to generating the right effect.

      Someone has already suggested EITC, but this would require people to judiciously save and budget and file tax returns — a different type of challenge than agricultural labor, and one that ironically may be harder for the underclass to meet.

      You could also try thinning or eliminating most social safetynets for the poor while enacting a large minimum wage increase for jobs that are “male” and would instill a valuable work ethic, e.g. manufacturing. But from an economic standpoint, the externalities and unintended consequences of such a move might cancel out any social good. Alternatively, New Deal -style, the government could make point of hiring able-bodied males to perform labor-intensive infrastructure projects.

      Another way to interrupt the cycle of poorly-planned pregnancies and broken families within this class would be to condition the receipt of welfare payments on use of long-term birth control. That’s almost certainly unconstitutional, but so is denying welfare to women on account of sex.

      • Peter Lund says:

        Someone has already suggested EITC, but this would require people to judiciously save and budget and file tax returns

        This can largely be automated. It is in Denmark, where I live.

    • harpend says:

      Exactly, but given our economy we need to somehow push things in the same direction with technology else provide opportunities for simple unskilled labor. IMO we need to do this without punishing children but we should be free to punish adults.

      • Distr says:

        When you say “with technology” — what sort of thing are you envisioning? Chemicals in the water that manipulate fertility?

        The New Deal infrastructure option would seem most viable, if also expensive. Another option would be to create planned, gated, managed communities — almost like boarding schools, except entire families live there. To qualify for welfare benefits, you must live in the community and abide by the rules. Then, you wouldn’t need to create an incentive for females to glom onto hardworking males — you could just regulate male and female mating behavior directly, and apply guidance and oversight re: child-rearing. I suspect this might not attract public support.

  36. Sinij says:

    Any proposed solution must be at least somewhat feasible. As such, it could only be voluntary participation and could not target one specific group.

    I think a lot of social ills could be avoided by making abortions easily accessible and even pay people to get them done. Open abortion clinic on every corner in low income neighborhoods. Less unwanted kids – less poverty.

    Create guaranteed income tax free paid for life for anyone willing to undergo sterilization. If you already have any kids, you are disqualified from this program.

    • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

      Whoa. From that blog posting:

      There is a deep evolutionary reason behind additivity: nonlinear mechanisms are fragile and often “break” due to DNA recombination in sexual reproduction. Effects which are only controlled by a single locus are more robustly passed on to offspring. …

      That is perhaps the clearest explanation I have seen.

      • Sund says:

        Let me make sure I’m understanding this article. All the shared similarities between twins is probably caused by very delicate and rare “linear additive” genetic similarities. Such genetic similarities are super unlikely in non-twin offspring, and thus twin studies are actually of little value in telling us if genetic heritage plays a large role in the similarity for human traits among most people?

  37. Toad says:

    Putnam advocates a Soviet style system of public education

    Sounds like a good idea, maybe we should try it? Maybe the Soviets should have tried it?

  38. Toad says:

    The euphemism in economics for these societies is “female farming systems”.

    Some also use the term “hoe culture”.

  39. Sean says:

    ” Park conservation managers and scientists opposed a general cull on the grounds that coyotes have the ability to reproduce quickly, and culling would be likely to have no impact, or the opposite of the desired effect.”

    Couldnd’t there be a hydra effect,, an increase in the population/
    unless the policy was applied with extreme severity. Real wages for men without qualification have falem over 20% since 1979; http://www.economist.com/news/international/21645759-boys-are-being-outclassed-girls-both-school-and-university-and-gap
    . Couldn’t this measure have increase in mean population size in response to greater mortality

  40. rob says:

    IIRC Steve Sailer mentioned that ‘welfare’ in Saudi Arabia goes to men and not women. Maybe the oil-rich Arab states could serve as a model or case study.

    • DistrWork says:

      If your objective is to force women to have husbands, Saudi Arabia has policies even more potent and direct than this that we could borrow.

  41. Old Curmdgeon says:

    When a system is a failure, as welfare is, the better response is to get out of it instead of tweaking it. Pick a reasonable time frame, say 2 to 4 years, and stop giving more money for any more children. Then decrease the amount given whenever a dependent child becomes 18 so there is far less incentive to have multiple children and a limit to the time one can work the system. Since the idea is to be “kind” to the children, permit one and only one child per woman (an easier system to verify than the men) for welfare. As things are, and would continue if paid thru men, the perverse incentive will destroy the very women and children who are supposed to be helped.

    • harpend says:

      Our engineers are thinking along similar lines. Men register for welfare but a female must have a support contract with a male to receive welfare. Without such a contract she can receive welfare but with the check comes a shot of depo-provera. Meanwhile a serious search for a male long-acting contraceptive goes on.

      Everyone has an ID document, like a passport, required for all employment and for dealings with the government, linked to a nationwide database.Slacker dads could be easily tracked down: Google could set that up in a few days. This document would have to have some serious engineering in it, for example encrypted retinal scans to verify IDs.

      We would need another tweak. For the SJWs appalled by the new rules there would be the opportunity to contribute a percentage of one’s income tax to unrestricted welfare. Certainly many people, for example writers for the New York Times, could contribute handsomely to the voluntary fund instead of complaining about it.

      • Peter Lund says:

        Everyone has an ID document, like a passport, required for all employment and for dealings with the government, linked to a nationwide database.

        That’s pretty much how most of the EU does it.

        It works surprisingly well here in Denmark, especially when you consider how bad the security of the system is. There are no retinal scans or fingerprints associated with it (unlike our passports) and you can get access to lots of records for a person if you have that person’s 10-digit number. The amount of abuse and cheating is surprisingly low.

        The voluntary tax thing was actually tried by the previous government here: there was an account you could pay into if you wanted to pay more, which of course nobody wanted to — which was precisely the point. It was closed quietly and quickly when the new (Socialist) government took over. The total amount paid was around 60,000 DKK (roughly 10K$). The current PM (a Socialist) had cheated on her taxes for years for at least 150,000 DKK which of course was just a “careless mistake” which she promised to rectify by paying up — which hasn’t happened yet, probably due to some other “careless mistake or mishap”.

    • DataExplorer says:

      Many states already have this policy. It is called the family cap. Not sure it works though because most of the kids are conceived accidentally.

  42. Julie K says:

    Why are rates of single motherhood so low among the well-educated women who seemingly are best able to support a family without a man’s help?

    • harpend says:

      Thanks for the comment. I replied but the reply is somewhere as if in response to another post you made, up a few pages.

  43. Julian says:

    I’m surprised and disappointed found that deleted chapter “too academic”. I remember reading it at the time the book came out and thinking it was fascinating.

    As noted above, making contraception (eg. temporary birth control shots) a condition of welfare entitlements would be another approach. Economist Eric Crampton noted welfare tends to already come with a list of requirements – adding a contraception requirement is not different in kind.

    http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/coercion-everywhere-welfare-edition.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s