Many Western societies have seen pretty dramatic productivity-enhancing institutional changes in the last few hundred years that aren't explicable in terms of changes in genetic makeup.

Who said anything about genetics?

Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea seem to make a pretty strong case for a huge independent effect of institutions.

Korea is. China (I assume this is what you mean by Hong Kong and Singapore) is evidence against.

Oops, shouldn't have assumed you're talking about genetics :)

Still, if you're talking about character in a causally neutral sense, it seems that you need to posit character traits that hardly change within a person's lifetime. Here I admit that the evidence for rapid institutional effects is weaker than the evidence for institutional effects in general.

(Re: Hong Kong, Singapore, no, I do mean those cities specifically. Their economic outcomes differ strikingly from culturally and genetically similar neighbors because of their unique histories.

Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014

by MrMind 1 min read17th Nov 2014329 comments


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