Re: Genes say: When Rich, have Fewer Kids

Robert Schrader (
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 12:28:06 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 6 Mar 1997, Robin Hanson wrote:

> There an interesting article on p1259 in the current (28Feb) Science
> about why birth rates have been falling. By looking at a quite pre
> industrial society in Africe, researchers find that even these people
> tend to have fewer kids when they get richer. Thus they suspect that
> this tendency is genetic, that passing wealth onto their kids once
> helped our ancestors get more descendants in the long run. If true,
> this is cause for optimism. Such a deep genetic tendency is unlikely
> to get selected out before technlogical change makes it all moot.

I'm suspicious of this leap from correlation of social behavior to genetics.
Our genetic structure evolved over eons, and in the vast majority of that
time there was no such thing as 'money', 'wealth', or 'richness'. Are
they saying that it is possible to encode such a concept as 'rich' in DNA?

Robert Schrader