RE: Genes say: When Rich, have Fewer Kids

Crosby_M (
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 13:37:32 -0500

Robin Hanson wrote about an article in the latest Science that
suspects that the tendency to have fewer children when one is wealthy
is genetic.

Now, I haven't read this article, and maybe I'm misinterpreting the
theory, but, how is wealth something that could activate genetic
parameters? It seems to me that the simplest behavioral explanation
would be that the bulk of wealthy people (those who have earned their
wealth without an inherited legacy) tend to realize what it will cost
(mostly in terms of educational expenditures (*)) to keep their
children wealthy; therefore, their child-bearing strategies tend to
emphasize quality over quanity. How could rational decisions like
this be genetic?

Mark Crosby

(*) This might be especially true of wealthy families in countries
that are generally considered poor and offering few opportunities for
the next generation. I'm sure most wealthy Africans have their
children educated in Europe or the U.S. It's a hell of alot cheaper
to put one or two kids in boarding school and fly them home once or
twice a year than it is do the same for a larger brood.