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Food for her and to support a ritual gathering of folks for support. There is no medical care out in the bush, but if there were people would certainly chip in to help pay for it.


Yes, of course, I will give you that. You are suggesting that "time preference" is way too global and vague a concept and I can't disagree.


They could certainly imagine investing: they have been invaded by cattle people over the last half century and they see husbandry all around. And they certainly could have afforded to keep their animals. But they just didn't (seem to) have it in them to "delay gratification". I think that our ability to invest and save resources must be new and different in our evolution.

I don't agree with you except a little bit. And there are foragers who do have some low time preference, like on the US Northwest Coast where they harvested lots of salmon that they smoked and stored. Interior Eskimo slaughtered migrating caribou herds and stored the meat by freezing.

But in general forager life has been almost literally hand to mouth. I have spent a lot of wasted time pulling my hair out about this. We have had lots of Bushman employees in the Kalahari, well compensated. We have spent hours pointing out that we would go back to America, they should invest in goats or cattle, build up a herd, so they will have something to live on after we left. Everyone agreed with us, but they minute Aunt Nellie got sick everything was slaughtered. Again and again and again. Aargghh......


I am trying to think about the genesis and maintenance of social class and about the dimensionality of class. We know from the biometricians at the end of the nineteenth century that cognitive ability is essentially a single dimension while athletic ability, for example, is multidimensional. I want to start with a pure inductive approach to class in North America and do the same thing with class. Fat chance, I have found, since every time I get started I get sucked back into genetics.


I think Greg's 'biologists' are a special subset of biologists. As I see it CP Snow was right about the two cultures. But within science there are also two cultures, one of whom speaks mathematics and the other that speaks organic chemistry. Speaker of organic chemistry share a view that enough lab work and enough data will answer all the questions. They don't need no silly equations.

In our field the folks who speak mathematics tend to view the lab rats as glorified techs. This is certain not right but it is there and leads to a certain amount of mutual disdain.

This kind of mutual disdain is apparently just not there in physics between the theoretical and experimental physics people. I wish evolutionary biology were more like physics.

I don't know but I can give you some candidates. One is torsion spasm (Idiopathic Torsion Dystonia). It will give you about a ten point IQ boost just by itself. Most of the time the only effect of the disease is vulnerability to writer's cramp, but 10% of the time it puts you in a wheelchair. So you could do science just fine.

Similarly the Ashkenazi form of Gaucher's disease is not ordinarily all that serious but it also give a hefty IQ boost. Asperger like stuff would probably also increase: many super bright people seem to be a bit not quite. Of course lots of other super-brights seem to be completely normal.

I am just babbling, I have no special insight at all...


When I did fieldwork in the late 1960s in backcountry Botswana I hit upon the idea of asking my sister (a dairy farmer) to send me a box of back issues of American cattle magazines. It was unbelievable: I could have made a fortune selling pictures from them, not to mention whole issues, to the local cattle people. At that time people carefully hoarded little scraps of paper to use writing messages.

In the late 1980s I brought some more such magazines with me, and no one was interested at all. The media storm had penetrated and everyone had school textbooks, magazines, radios, etc.

Can you elaborate your comment--sounds fascinating. HCH

I have no further knowledge or insight about that, but Greg might. I will call this question to his attention and we may see what he knows.


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