April 6, 2013
to be posted on nobabies.net

Phillip Conti

Dear Phillip Conti:
Thank you for your letter on, “the reason that birth rates are falling is hypergamy” saying “unless societies deal with the reality of female hypergamy cash benefits will not raise the birth rate. A reasonable compromise would be to get rid of the income tax to allow men to extract status out of working.”   And thank you for the link http://ricochet.com/member-feed/Rebuttal-To-The-End-of-Men
to your thoughtful essay.

For several days I have been thinking about the idea “the reason that birth rates are falling is hypergamy.”  Hypergamy is of course “marrying up,” marrying someone with more wealth or social status.

My first reaction is, “Well, that makes sense irrespective of whether fertility depends on sharing recent ancestors or not.”  If women are not attracted to men unless the men seem to be of a higher socioeconomic rank, then women will be attracted to older men, who are less likely to be fertile.”

Then things get complicated.  For one thing, although a man may be more fertile at thirty than at sixty, it probably isn’t that big a change.  At the same time, male sperm counts are falling steadily.  That leaves it an open question of whether the average sixty year old in any one year has a higher or lower sperm count than the average thirty year old in the same population.

My next reaction is, “It certainly didn’t work for me.  When I was young anyone could tell I was a good bet for being a good provider: smart, strong, healthy, honest, loyal, very much attracted to girls, patient, and so forth.  When I was working at my career I was paid very well although not in proportion to how hard I was working nor in proportion to the credentials I had won.  Yet I was hardly the target of women looking for a mate.  I never have been married, much as I always wanted to be.  And on the contrary repeatedly women who attracted me rejected me for men who were disasters.

That is depressing and not useful as it is a sample size of one.  So let us take hypergamy as a real phenomenon that is widespread.  And let us assume that this increased during the years that birth rate was falling.  I don’t really know of any data to support that, but let us just assume it because it is necessary in order to discuss it.

What we do see evidence of is that male development is being retarded: more incompletely developed male organs, smaller ones, lower sperm counts as well as fewer babies overall.  And I suspect that female development is also being retarded; women are having what babies they do bear at later and later ages. 

Of course I attribute this to a pathological mating strategy.  Couples do not share enough recent ancestors, which reduces their fertility and this effect accumulates over maybe five generations when fertility becomes very low indeed.  If the mating pool size then contracts, there may be a second cycle of growth and decline and probably extinction after the second cycle.  I have gone over the evidence at http://nobabies.net/A%20December%20summary.html
and was coauthor of M. L. Herbert and M. G. Lewis Fluctuation of fertility with number in a real insect population and a virtual population African Entomology 21(1): 119–125 (2013).

But that does not mean hypergamy is not involved.  If a person marries for money then that person is probably leaving their ancestral social group.  So yes, hypergamy seems to be part of the problem.

And now the fun begins.  I cannot speak for how women develop, not being one and not having a sister.  But I think male development goes something like this.  At age five or six the boy is a little stud.  Being manly is what it is all about.  When adolescence strikes he starts falling in love.  Initially he is likely to fall in love with another boy.  Or at least he is likely to make lifelong intense relationships with his playmates but unlikely to carry it as far as frank homosexuality.  (There is a ghastly book entitled Maleus Maleficarum by two loathsome men Sprenger and Kramer, so I cite it with hesitation.  It’s about how to convict women of witchcraft so they can be burned at the stake.  The authors express astonishment that homosexuality is not more common because people fall in love with people they resemble.)  A bit later in adolescence nature gets it right and he starts to take an interest in girls.  Initially they, too, are playmates, somebody to have around, to strut with, to enjoy the company of.  Then, if all is going normally, the young man makes a lifelong commitment.  And indeed marriage used to be lifelong although in the United States most end in divorce nowadays.  The commitment made to the wife, the man then ties himself down with further commitments, a mortgage, a job, saving for the education of the children.  His attention span is one of decades and events decades away dominate his day to day behavior.  Once the children are grown he takes an interest in the grandchildren.  Once they are grown he either takes an interest in the community as a whole, his own reproductive tasks done, or else falls despondent and dies rather early compared with women.  This, for evolution, is what is advantageous.  He no longer competes with the rest of the family for food. 

This is, or was, the expected pattern for most of the population of males.  Things now are very different of course.  But compare the life of a “normal” man such as I have described with the life of a power merchant: politician, rich man or social leader.  The politician does not see beyond the next election, the rich man beyond the next buck nor the leader past the next disciple.  Get this: the man of power is less mature than the ordinary man.  And not because of the nature of the work; that’s the way it has been set up. 

If not having enough shared ancestors is retarding normal sexual development, then you would expect this to be true.  The mighty of the earth are generally from high status families which in turn are less likely to be keeping to a tight little community.

Retarded sexual development has its up side, or so it would appear.  Women live longer than men, so one would expect under developed men to live longer.  One of the reasons humans have big brains is because it is maturation that stops the brain growing.  Delay maturation a bit and you should get more intelligence.  You might reduce or eliminate the depression of old age.  And we really don’t need maximum reproduction in the world at present; there are already too many of us by a factor of maybe ten. 

It is paradoxical that the mighty should be less mature than the humble.  And I think the mighty think that the humble are less mature themselves while the humble think the mighty are more mature; both are wrong.

The sexually retarded rich man is less likely to progress to the stage where he wants to serve the community; it remains “all about me.” 

And then to get back to hypergamy, the rich man persists in an adolescent mind set in which the woman is a plaything, an ornament, and he only wants the fertile looking ones.  So the woman is under serious pressure to choose a biologically, an old, unrelated, self-centered man whose genetic background has already been trashed.  Still I would think that might beat a young dud. 

I don’t see how society would be able to fix this; guess who runs society. 

Thank you again for your stimulating proposition.  I wish I could get as much mileage as that out of nine words.


Linton Herbert

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