Re: Genes say: When Rich, have Fewer Kids

Dan Hook (
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 17:38:45 -0500

> From: Robin Hanson <>
> To:
> Subject: Genes say: When Rich, have Fewer Kids
> Date: Thursday, March 06, 1997 1:02 PM
> 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.
> Robin D. Hanson

I would not be so optimistic without a little more data. How is rich
defined? Is it a state of mind or certain physical conditions such as
sufficient food and freedom from stress? If it is a state of mind than I
would still worry. The definition of rich keeps rising. A person can have
a color television and be eating to obesity and still consider themselves
poor because there are people with more.

Dan Hook