Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where to be born vs. where people are being born

The Economist's "sister" company has made an earnest, contemporary attempt to determine which countries are the most and least propitious ones to be born into. Check out the list and notes on the methodology there.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the best places to be born are doing the least birthing, while the worst places are doing more than their fair share of it. The correlation between a country's where-to-be-born index score and its total fertility rate is a statistically significant .49. A couple of tweaks could easily make that moderately robust relationship considerably stronger still.

Firstly, give sub-Saharan Africa more reasonable representation. Of the 80 countries included, only four--including the 'crown jewel', South Africa (#53)--make the cut. The other three--Angola, Kenya, and Nigeria--rank 76th, 79th, and 80th on the ranking of where it's best to be born, respectively. They rank 1st, 3rd, and 2nd when it comes to procreation, however.

Secondly, reduce Eastern Europe's and central Asia's representation. There are a lot of old Soviet countries included that tend to be, rather uniquely, both crappy places to be born and places where there isn't much birthing occurring. A lot of attention is given to the question of which countries will be the globe's prime movers in the 21st century, but a less frequently inquired about question (and one with a clearer set of answers) is which places will be bit players.

That said, as constructed an observable pattern still emerges:


At one remove, the list paints a dysgenic global picture. Of course, the right-thinking editors at the august magazine don't actually mention anything about fertility (the closest they come is a parenthetical "demography", devoid of any expounding), but Economist readers can surely read between the lines (with quantification to boot if they visit this our humble online outpost here!).

It has become unfashionable for the Establishment to push population reduction as a policy goal even with the ascent of green thinking because of the rather obvious implication that the hardest hit if such a goal was realized would be NAMs--especially immigrants--domestically and third-worlders internationally. Even when the subject is bandied about in the more politically incorrect parts of the media world, the racial and ethnic ramifications are often glossed over.

Recently, Randall Parker wondered how to best sell leftists on how to cut the demand for low-skilled labor and, by implication, thus reduce illegal immigration from south of the border. Similarly, how best to sell them on promoting eugenic birthing?

Egalitarianism seems like the most plausible avenue to pursue. A simple thought experiment demonstrates. In the real world scenario, Mr. and Mrs. Rich, worth $10 million, have one kid, while Ms. Poor, worth $10k, has five. Kid Richie gets $10 million passed on to him, while each of the Poories get $2k. He's worth 5,000 times more than they are. In the Ideal World, Mr. and Mrs. Rich have five kids while Ms. Poor has one. Each of the Richies get $2 million, while Poorie gets $10k. Now a Rich kid is only worth 200 times as much. Presto, a 25 fold reduction in the wealth gap!

7 comments:

Average Joe said...

The problem is that many on the left would say that you should increase taxes on the rich and then the government should spend that additional money on the poor.

Black Death said...

I've often thought that we should address this problem of uncontrolled breeding among the lower classes by offering a bounty NOT to breed. I'm not sure what the right dollar amount is, but women of child-bearing age could be offered a cash bonus for not being pregnant. Completely voluntary, of course. A lady just shows up at her local SDB (Stop Dysgenic Breeding) clinic, has a negative pregnancy test, and she gets a check on the spot! See you again in six months! I don't know what the right dollar amount is - maybe a couple of thousand bucks - but this would be a lot to a poor woman. And she could spend it any way she wanted. Of course, she would still be free to breed as much as she liked, she just wouldn't get the nice checks twice a year. The money that she would have received would go to support her impoverished offspring. This would make NOT being pregnant cool (and profitable) among the lower classes. It's easy to see how this program would be a win-win. Liberals love giving away government money to poor people, and conservatives would be pleased that fewer resource-sucking poor children were being born. Lees money spent on education, welfare, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, public housing and, later, law enforcement and prison. The taxpayers would come out way ahead. But what about the high IQ, rich people? Well, a couple of thousand dollars a year would make no difference to Mr. and Mrs. Rich, who will spend more than that in one year to send their beloved youngsters to preschool. This is a government program that both Left and Right can support!

Dan said...

"I've often thought that we should address this problem of uncontrolled breeding among the lower classes by offering a bounty NOT to breed."

Yes, it seems like this is what is needed if you want to turn fertility eugenic before civilization is lost.

It would take strong leadership but you can say this, and it would be much fairer than China's 1 child policy, which is the alternative:

"Have as many kids as you want if you will not be accepting government money. If you will be accepting government money, a richness of benefits awaits, but you must acceed to birth control (e.g. injection)."

Audacious Epigone said...

Black Death,

Seems like it would be way more effective than voluntary positive eugenic incentivizing. Pretty tough political sell, of course (despite your rhetorical efforts here!).

Audacious Epigone said...

This is, incidentally, what Project Prevention does, albeit for drug addicts rather than welfare recipients.

Black Death said...

AE -

Yeah, I never said the politics would be easy - downright impossible sounds better. Nobody on the Left or Right wants to even acknowledge the problem of dysgenic breeding, which is going to destroy this country, unless the wheels come off the economy first.

Still, there are elements here to appeal to both ends of the political spectrum. Probably never happen, though.

Randall Parker said...

One way to boost breeding by high IQ people: Speed their trip thru college. Get them into college when they are 16 and have them go 12 months of the year. Bachelors by age 19 and a high income sooner. That's especially important for men so they'll feel confident they can afford being a parent.