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Idiocracy is good for long-term elites, in the competitive sense - like I rationalized just above.

The demographic transition might be unprecedented, but it might trigger very precedented social dynamics. In particular, growing inequality might meet surprisingly little resistance beyond a certain point.

by das monde on Tue Jun 17th, 2014 at 11:58:08 AM EST
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Idiocracy is based on the premise that since lower class people - who as a rule will have lower results on class biased smartness measurements - have more children then higher class people when birth rates are declining through the demographic transition, the end result will be a really dumb humanity. Versions of this idea can be found essentially from when birth rates started to decline in the upper class.

das monde:

The demographic transition might be unprecedented, but it might trigger very precedented social dynamics. In particular, growing inequality might meet surprisingly little resistance beyond a certain point.

I don't quite understand your reasoning. Beyond a certain point in the demogrpahic transition growing inequality might meet surprisingly little resistance? How do you figure that?

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 17th, 2014 at 06:25:09 PM EST
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I remember the idiocracy discussion of the Bush years differently - as the counter-intuitive rise of dumb to decider positions, while the smart are left behind. It is a good representation (or a fat dream) of the GOP anti-intellectual lead. Your interpretation looks like a simplistic joke. Like in the financial jungle, the woes of (reproductive) trends for the middle class betas misrepresent the situation at the very top. That is mildly called competition.

growing inequality might meet surprisingly little resistance beyond a certain point.

Like I rationalized in the diary (the Social Protest section), a substantial enough inequality probably triggers an unambiguous hierarchy recognition and compliance patterns. The game is then "known" for ages.

by das monde on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 04:09:45 AM EST
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The decline in fertility among the upper class in the early 20th century was used as an argument for eugenics by sterilisation of marginalised parts of the under class, and that is no joke.

I looked around for studies to quote and found Fertility trends by social status

This article discusses how fertility relates to social status with the use of a new dataset, several times larger than the ones used so far. The status-fertility relation is investigated over several centuries, across world regions and by the type of status-measure. The study reveals that as fertility declines, there is a general shift from a positive to a negative or neutral status-fertility relation. Those with high income/wealth or high occupation/social class switch from having relatively many to fewer or the same number of children as others. Education, however, depresses fertility for as long as this relation is observed (from early in the 20th century).

So no, this is not about the woes for middle class betas, this is about declining fertility across the board, starting at the top and working its way downwards.

The result in Europe (pre-crisis) being 1-1.5 children/women in most of Europe and around 2 in Scandinavia and France/Benelux, which I think suggests something more interesting then your model. With declining mortility and fertility rates came time to spend on feminism, leading to a more emancipated female role in society. Where this change also has led to society at large shouldering a large part of the costs of child-raising you have around reproductive levels, otherwise you have shrinking populations.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 09:46:36 AM EST
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The data sets make no distinction between the top elites and subtop beta middle class that is still up in the "high status" half (in my reference). If needed, some knowledge to depress fertility on a large scale is there...
by das monde on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 10:27:37 AM EST
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The data includes both fine grained and more rough partition. On page 18 the author compares middle groups to lowest and highest groups. After the shift in fertility, highest has lower then middle that has lower then lowest. As we approach the present this difference decreases as fertility rate drop in in middle and lowest catches up with highest.

Do you have anything to support your notion that fertility is decreasing more in middle class then upper class?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 11:26:57 AM EST
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I am keen on finer graining still. When you compare the lifestyles of the <1% and the next 10-20%, there is so much fewer stress factors and in lesser strength. An abundance indeed.
by das monde on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 11:49:54 AM EST
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Can there be a higher fertility among the 1%? Sure. Unless someone has counted the children of the über-rich it can not be disproven.

Is it likely that there is nothing to back it up with except your theory? No.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 03:31:07 PM EST
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At some point this would be a political rather than scientific issue.
by das monde on Wed Jun 18th, 2014 at 05:06:02 PM EST
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The conclusions are of course political, but that only increases the importance of understanding the roles hierarchies play properly.

The demographic transition has changed the gender roles a lot. Going from high birth rate - high death rate to low birth rate - low death rate has decreased the amount of time that has to be spent bearing, givng birht to and raising children. The beneficiaries of freeing up a lot of time is women. Feminism is a feedback and consequence of low birth rates and also a way to change society. With falling birth rates power over reproduction shifts to women, and the faster it happens the faster the birth rates fall.

If successfull women in China are unlikely to find a mate, this reflects both that they are not dependent on finding one, and that society in China has yet to adopt to change. But that is nothing new, it is the same pattern repeating. If chinese society does not adopt to it, they will have low birth rates.

But this is the thing, there are socities that has adapted to the changes in demographics with changing gender roles. Which also changes pairing patterns. So your assertion that hierarchy's role in sexual attraction is something constant appears rather suspect.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 10:56:58 AM EST
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Feminism is a "feedback" in the West only. The low birth rate might be the adaptation, after all - ecological overshots must have a lo-o-ong evolutionary history.

The mechanism of how the increased women reproductive power leads to lower birthrates is a mystery - but I dare to see here not just increased economic stress factors, but paucity of genuine biochemical triggers in a high status woman's life. I just became a bit more convinced about this after reading about sexting. It must perhaps remain a not-so-politically-correct secret, but (on the sub-conscious level) the line between feminine arousal and forced situations can be very uncomfortably blurred. But I would rather stop insisting on that.

by das monde on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 11:29:45 AM EST
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But I would rather stop insisting on that.

I would rather believe you would. I'm not sure I do at this stage.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 11:35:27 AM EST
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