You are here

Overpopulation: Endogamy,Exogamy and fertility opportunity theory

Outside the property development and population growth lobby, very few people who are worried about population growth and high immigration appreciate the effect of endogamy (marrying within your people) and exogamy (marrying outside your people) on population size and fertility. They also don’t recognize its effect on the private amassing of wealthy estates and political power. Anyone who wants to understand modern day problems with overpopulation, poverty, and loss of democracy would do well to study this article. This article is intended to stimulate debate about democracy, wealth distribution, and overpopulation. The author invites critical comments and argument.

Article based on S.M. Newman Demography, Territory and Law: Land-tenure and the origins of capitalism in Britain, Countershock Press, 2014. and S.M. Newman Demography, Territory and Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013.

How to read the diagrams: White squares in the diagrams below indicate permitted marriages and black squares indicate forbidden marriages. White squares become black squares when someone is already married, although polygamy varies this factor. The symetrical rules for marriage to "in-laws" are indicated by mirror images, creating an overall pyramid form in the diagram of an extended family or clan.

"Endogamy" refers to marrying within one’s clan, tribe or similar social unit. "Exogamy" refers to marrying outside those units. The most extreme kinds of endogamy tend to be practiced by ancient royal clans, such as the Egyptians and the Incas, where there were sibling, father-daughter and grandfather-granddaughter marriages. Less extreme, but more common, are first and other cousin marriages, frequently practiced by nobility and other established clans and tribes. The wealthy, whether they are noble or not, tend to marry other wealthy people for similar reasons.

High Endogamy, Low Exogamy, Low Fertility

If you look at the white squares, you will see that the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt could marry their children and their grandchildren and other close relatives. The rigidity of this practice varied from pharaoh to pharaoh, and lesser relatives might also be married, however marriage within close blood relatives was encouraged.

The purpose of highly endogamous marriages is to preserve land and power within a small group of people (known as a caste). To this day, dynasties can only preserve themselves by intermarrying. Although sibling marriage and parent or grandparent marriage is widely prohibited, first cousin marriage practiced over several generations can bring about similarly close genetic inheritance.

Although this system promotes fertility, it only does so within a very limited pool of candidates. This means that dynasties are powerful but small populations, able to concentrate, conserve and control their material assets through numerous social, legal and genetic bonds.

Outside the easily recognized institutions of tribe and nobility, people in countries where tradition holds them close to the land and preserves their extended families, still tend to live near and to marry within their own class, region and culture. This is the case with most continental European countries. It has a moderating effect on fertility opportunities[1] and a strengthening effect on local self-government and democratic organization.[2]

Low Endogamy, High Exogamy, Low Fertility

There are very few white squares, so very few permitted marriages. With incest avoidance to the 8th degree fertility opportunities within a clan are very low. This is the opposite system to the Ancient Egyptian one.

In cultures, such as those of desert indigenous populations and South Korea, fertility is kept low by restricting marriage opportunities within the family and clan and relying on external opportunity where external opportunity is limited – for instance by distance. If you are a very small clan, with only your feet for transport and your activities take place many kilometers from the next clan’s location, your opportunities to meet suitable partners will be limited. Infertile environments - typically with low rainfall - make for low density populations and big spaces between clans. The difficulty of finding a mate in such circumstances is well shown in the film Ten Canoes. (Although admittedly there were canoes, their use in the film was local rather than inter-clan.)

High Endogamy, High Exogamy, High Fertility

High exogamy is well represented by the biblical laws of Leviticus 18, very influential on Western societies. See the diagram below.

Lots of white squares here mean that you can marry a lot of people in your clan. Brothers are encouraged to marry their deceased brother's wife and niece marriage is legal. The rules differ according to whether you are male or female. This was the system that accompanied the exhortation to "Go forth and multiply."

Western societies tend to follow the Leviticus pattern, although you do get legal restrictions on cousin marriage in some places (such as Illinois, in the United States) where first cousins are not allowed to marry until they are over 55 years old) and there are age restrictions and social restrictions on marriage between uncles/aunts and nieces and nephews.

Multiculturalism as high fertility exogamy and its effect on self-government and citizen capacity to organize

Extreme exogamy applies in the English speaking ‘settler states’ of the United States, Australia and Canada. The populations in these ‘settler states’ are in continual motion due to constant reorganization of suburbs and infrastructure to accommodate high rates of immigration. This people movement occurs at international, national, regional and inter-suburban and intercity level, rather reminiscent of the increased movement of molecules in a heated substance.

Because families and clans tend to be split and disorganized in these societies, the level of endogamy is reduced, despite lack of legal restrictions. Exogamy is strongly encouraged by policies of ‘multiculturalism’. People move far away from their parents and divorce, remarriage and serial families are frequent impoverishing factors. In continental Europe there just isn’t the same amount of structural turmoil. Although the first and second world wars in those areas did cause significant disturbance, the arrangement of clans and their geographic position in villages and towns persisted.

The most important thing to understand about endogamy and exogamy, however, is their role in promoting or limiting population growth. The diagrams in this article should help the reader to see what is meant by this.

Transport factors in creating the Post War Baby Boom


Another important factor already alluded to that affects these patterns in most cases is the introduction of new transport because it permits individuals to travel greater distances. Horses, camels and elephants will take people a lot further and afford them significantly more fertility opportunities than travel on foot will. Trains, cars, boats and planes multiply opportunity exponentially. Trains are associated with massive population growth, but they impose a geometrically restricted pattern. Those restrictions disappeared with the advent of cheap oil and the automobile. Without these there would not have been a post war baby boom without precedent in size.

More variations

In general high endogamy plus high incest prohibition means low fertility. It is difficult to find people who are not married already and who are not forbidden to you in marriage but who are also members of your tribe. A person in this situation might have to go quite a long way in search of a partner and it is likely that a fairly high proportion of the clans-people would die without marrying or having children.

High endogamy but low incest prohibition, where cousin marriage is frequent means high fertility. In these kinds of situations it is considered important to lock all the land up in the tribe but to have a large tribe with many workers and potential soldiers. Nonetheless there are strict boundaries. Marriage outside the tribe is rare, although usually some immigrants will be accepted into the tribe. Living examples of such tribes are the Karen, the Hutterites and some orthodox Jewish peoples.

High exogamy and high incest prohibition will tend to disperse a people so that they ultimately become unidentifiable as clan or tribe, so you won’t find many intact tribes like this. It is a major factor in the dispersal and disintegration of many previously discrete peoples after they become affected by colonization and lose their contact with their land. Examples include Australian aborigines and possibly the Dutch of the 16th and 17th century during the minor industrial revolution that occurred in the Netherlands and which entailed major population drift from country to city. The capturing of African slaves and their transport to the Americas and Pacific Islands like Haiti is another example where the transported survivors of peoples who probably had low fertility in their original tribes encountered significantly increased fertility opportunities.

Low incest prohibition and low endogamy mean that where a clan is not isolated, it has more fertility opportunities than one with stricter rules. Such patterns characterize the settler states of Canada, Australia, the United States and Britain. Usually even first cousin marriage is permitted, but families and clans are so dispersed and fragmented that marriage to members of unidentified and equally dispersed descendants of clans are common. With the very high immigration in these countries, this potentially results in huge population growth. These are synthetically structured societies. Such countries lack the capacity to organize from the bottom up that is possible in countries where several generations are embodied in clans and historically settled and networked in a particular locality within a larger polity. An example of this strong capacity to organize based on relatively natural distribution would be France or Japan. Some examples of this capacity to organize are the French Revolution, which was able to persist over several generations until a lasting republic was formed, and the German and Japanese manufacturing sectors.

There is good reason to think that variations in endogamy and exogamy are instinctive social responses to environmental fertility signals because these rules also occur in most other animals and plants, as The Rules of Animal and Human Populations explains in chapters 3 and 4 which are also published by themselves as The Urge to Disperse. In a globalized society these signals are diffuse, remote and confusing. Media and government interpretation of signals can influence false perceptions of real environments.

NOTES

Polygamy helps to make such populations larger. An exceptional case was King Abdul Aziz, who began the current Saudi kingdom in 1932 and had 44 legitimate sons by 17 wives. The Saudi royal family had more than 4000 princes and 30,000 noble relatives in 2002 and is considered the largest royal dynasty. Without the commercial industrialization of petroleum the kingdom and dynasty could never have been so powerful. Without this kind of intermarriage the Saudi clans would not have been able to maintain control over Saudi assets. Corporations and international interference would have eroded their power, as they do among ‘common people’ by keeping them disorganised.

“Ibn Saud fathered dozens of sons and daughters by his many wives. He had at most only four wives at one time. He divorced and married many times. He made sure to marry into many of the noble clans and tribes within his territory, including the chiefs of the Bani Khalid, Ajman, and Shammar tribes, as well as the Al ash-Sheikh (descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab). He also arranged for his sons and relatives to enter into similar marriages. He appointed his eldest surviving son, Saud as heir apparent, to be succeeded by the next eldest son, Faisal. The Saudi family became known as the "royal family," and each member, male and female, was accorded the title amir or amira ("prince" or "princess"), respectively.

Ibn Saud died in 1953, after having cemented an alliance with the United States in 1945. He is still celebrated officially as the "Founder," and only his direct descendents may take on the title of "his or her Royal Highness." The date of his recapture of Riyadh in 1902 was chosen to mark Saudi Arabia's centennial in 1999 (according to the Islamic lunar calendar).” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Saud (Accessed 26 February 2013.)

[1] "Fertility Opportunity" is a phrase borrowed from anthropologist Virginia Abernethy's theory of that name.

[2] Without intergenerational organization in the form of locally organized clans, the French Revolution probably would not have occurred. It had to persist over several generations.

Comments

Tony Boys's picture

As you say, the Karen tend to be quite endogamous. When I was observing the Karen directly 7 or 8 years ago, the Thai officials from the Thai Forest Department were continually claiming that the Karen (Pgaz K'Nyau) rotational swidden farming would eventually "destroy the whole forest" as the village populations rose and the swiddens expanded to feed the extra people. My Karen friends explained that this was patent nonsense for at least three reasons. 1) Rotational swiddening has a rotation of at least six years, so it is impossible to use more than one sixth of the forest at any one time. 2) Actually, only limited parts of the forest are suitable for swiddening. Since the Karen know where they are and have taboos about swiddening in many other (sensitive) areas, then it is impossible to "destroy the whole forest." 3) The population is rising very slowly (despite the fact that the villages I was generally visiting were predominantly Roman Catholic) and the Karens insisted to the officials that "We know how to control our population and that is no business of yours. You just leave us alone to do what we do as a people." (Thai officials, of course, think that populations 'naturally' increase, since they are usually from Thai cities, where fertility opportunities abound - the greatest of these being Bangkok).

At the time, the statement in 3) "We know how to control our population" was not clear to me, especially with the fact that the people saying this were Roman Catholics. When I tried to quiz an informant about this, I was told, "Oh, yes we have our traditional ways." It seemed that there was either something they didn't want to tell me (infanticide??) or something they did not actually themselves know. I think now they knew, but could not explain it very well. Anyway I was a bit puzzled.

Although the Karen are not obviously so now, they are traditionally matrilineal. Even now, a man will move to his new wife's village when they get married (and it is usual for marriages to take place between villages, rather than within them) - which does not, of course, prevent first cousins from marrying. As you said in your book, Sheila, Karen folktales suggest that first cousins will be allowed to marry, but that is in the folktale and may be a practice from a long while ago and a different location. In northern Thailand, the Karen and other ethnic groups have known for at least two generations that the land horizon has disappeared and they cannot easily move to found new villages. However, food-producing land is not unlimited and therefore population growth cannot be allowed to get out of hand. There is some outmigration from the villages due to study and work, but surpisingly little of that is permanent. Most Karen return to their villages. So what's the situation now? My most reliable imformant was very emphatic that cousins would not marry. It seems that, at least among my Roman Catholic friends, the current 'rule' is that it's OK for third cousins to marry. In terms of your diagrams above, they have effectively blackened out some of the cells in order to reduce fertility opportunities.

So the "game" for young Karen men and women now is to find a partner who is at least a third cousin and who preferably is from another village. I have described one of the ways in which boys and girls from different villages traditionally met and became acquainted in chapter 6 of my novel "Look Down, See the Women Cry" - through attending funerals in different villages. But that is not happening now! Also, since the Thai government stopped the people in many villages from doing rotational swiddening, many have been forced to turn to cash cropping to make ends meet. The difference is that with swiddening there was a two-month break between harvest and slashing the next swidden, and during that time many people would travel to other villages to visit their relatives, thereby giving young people the chance to meet potential mates in other villages. But cash cropping has made them busy 12 months a year, and now that is not happening (though with motorcycles and cars it is easier to get to other villages, but these visits are often for not more than one night...) So the fertility opportunites are again reduced. (Arguably schools make up for this. The children have to attend school with Thai children from middle school, about age 12, at the latest, many from primary school.) It appears that these 'barriers' put up to adjust fertility opportunities are the mechanisms by which the Karen attempt to control their population. It was not clear to me at the time, but it makes a bit more sense to me now.

Thanks Tony. It was great to read your update on the Karen. Yes, I did recollect your story about the first cousin marriage and put it in the book. When first cousins frequently married conditions were no doubt different. Marrying third cousins makes for fewer fertility opportunities unless travel or a population explosion brings more Karens together. It is a pity that Catholicism has taken hold. The Karen managed for so long and so well with their local religion, didn't they? Was it an animist religion?

What was the role of the Catholics? When did they come to the Karen? Under what circumstances? I have learned that missionaries often spearhead the disorganisation and dispossession of colonisation.

I like your examples of traditional barriers to adjust fertility opportunities.

It seems that, with the drift to the cities and then the contraceptive pill and the development of a kind of sexual and romantic consumerism linked to status, in the West, has made us naive and ignorant of other ways of life.

The idea of limiting fertility opportunities by simply avoiding contact and using different gender activity areas and pathways etc can strike 'liberated' Westerners as bizarre or even a cruel denial of sexuality or reproductive 'rights'. i get some angry, disbelieving reactions. Sometimes people simply cannot believe that traditional fertility regulation was effective for thousands of years, as testified by long term stable populations mostly before the industrial revolution.

As you wrote in your chapter on Japan in The Final Energy Crisis, Pluto Press, 2008, population in Japan was pretty stable during the Edo period, which sounds like a kind of golden age for Japan to me. I get the impression that the Japanese are still largely animistic too - so remain in touch with nature. Is that still the case in the cities? And, what was the traditional view of romance? Was romance something for outside marriage, with children and estates the responsibility of marriage? How has this changed in Japan since the Edo period? (If you have time to comment)

Sheila N

Reading this article makes one realise how disrupted people living in Australia really are. Even if they are of British Isles descent with e.g. an Irish Scottish or Scottish English mix as many Australians are, they are descended from people plucked out of their environment so that they meet where they normally would not. Sheila talks about the motor car postwar increasing travel to more possible marriage partners. To take it one step further, but it is not as ubiquitous, now there is the internet where one can meet with very little effort initially. A meeting could be between a Lao migrant living in Canada with a person of Scottish decent living in New Zealand or any other far flung combinations one might think of.

I am curious to know if Sheila thinks that clans would reestablish in the resulting global situation after oil depletion in an energy constrained world and does she have any idea how long this take to happen?

What you say about the internet is true. The internet adds a mixmaster to exogamy.
And the same internet mixmaster applies to housing sales in Australia. Since the late 1990s the sale of Australian land - and visas and citizenship - via the internet to the highest bidders has removed control over their local environment from Australians and created a second economy of investors and rentiers located overseas, feeding on high immigration that creates competition for housing and resources, as well as increasing fertility opportunities. Speaking of die-off, the increases in speed seem entrophic.

Yes, I think that clans would reestablish in the resulting global situation after oil depletion in an energy constrained world. Relocalisation seems inevitable and desirable. As Joseph Tainter said in The Collapse of Complex Societies, the default position of humans is the family unit. Rising fuel costs and shortages will diminish the ability to travel, to produce goods, to find work ... As this happens people will go back to live with relatives, sharing houses and land which they would not have contemplated doing in the 1970s. If people do not have relatives, they will cooperate with their neighbours. Neighbours will cooperate with each other to produce and exchange items of food. They will have to organise themselves locally. They will begin to act like clans in villages. Endogamy/exogamy balances will reassert themselves in line with emerging local conditions, in biophysical responses to environmental indicators.

Thanks for asking those questions. We need a lot more debate and discussion on these topics, Quark.

I don't believe this for a second. Fertility has hardly ever been significantly influenced by difficulty finding mates and certainly an almost pure function of contraception access in the present and future. The past is past and though there were a few societies that actually succeeded in keeping poor people from breeding until they could afford feed children, this had little to do with the clan of their prospecive mate; and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with it since the invention of modern contraception. This stuff is a historical footnote at best.

Hi Alan,

Firstly, please don't get me wrong and assume I have something against modern contraception. Not at all. The contraceptive pill in particular is a very liberating technology and so is the morning after pill. However contraceptives do not make me decide whether or not I want to have children; they only make it possible to avoid having them (for the most part) when I have sex. You may also misunderstand the way I use the term 'marriage'. I am not using it as some kind of sacred sacromony or a civil 'right'. I am using in the sense of a legal situation that gives a child membership of a tribe or state (i.e. citizenship) and rights to inherit (under most laws, although not in most English-speaking systems, where children can easily be disinherited - a flaw in my view.)

Thanks for coming out and saying how you feel! I welcome debate. Bring it on, I say. I don't care if you prove me wrong. I'm keen to hone my theory. So, anyway, to answer your specific challenges:

It's not really a matter of belief; you can read the examples documented in the book. It's not as though I made the animal incest avoidance and Westermarck Effect patterns up [a basis for endogamy/exogamy], nor their impact on fertility. If you read the book you will see that Chapters 3 and 4 are devoted to biological and zoological work on many other lifeforms that also practise varying degrees of endogamy and exogamy, gender separation (e.g. living or travelling in different areas), seasonality, delayed sexual maturation and other behaviours which affect fertility and fertility opportunity. Hormonal tests on monkeys have shown that, in the presence of close relatives, females do not ovulate and males have to look elsewhere (but also do not mature sexually). Note that other creatures also live in discrete populations which are the equivalent of clans and tribes. And that most creatures have stable, small populations unless disrupted by unusual events. (You need to read the book. If you have already done so then you would need to debate specific examples because, so far, absolutely no-one has disproven any parts of my theory and the examples. One or two have completely misunderstood them, perhaps because of prior prejudices and unwillingness to consider that maybe they did not already know everything.) The field is more vast than a single discipline, such as medicine or demography.

With regard to your statement that "Fertility has hardly ever been significantly influenced by difficulty finding mates..." this is easily disproven. It requires the simplest arithmetic to see that most kinship rules mean that a population of closely related individuals (of human and non-human species) must seek partners elsewhere and that opportunity here is affected by transport and population density as well as status and wealth and concerns to marry within one's tribe. [In Australia's contractual society tribal concerns have often become 'values', 'interests', workplaces, activities, fashion, drink venue, drug preference etc. where individuals lack strong traditional social contexts]. What I did in chapters 2 and 5 (from memory) was to (a) show how Pacific Islanders and others had obviously for thousands of years had stable populations without 'modern contraception' and (b) that their land-tenure inheritance traditions enshrined the same kinds of fertility opportunity affecting behaviour one finds in everything from wolves through to cockroaches, starting from incest avoidance and the Westermarck Effect, following through with relevant gender specific behaviours - including, for instance, females living together away from males. It is an ecological theory and fact.

Another example of current relevance could be that marriages and having children are decreasing among some classes because men lack the assets, income and housing (and therefore status) to attract a woman and support her in parenting. I suspect also that poor access to housing for males and females in Australia means that people of marriage age have to live at home under the shadow of their respective fathers and mothers and that this probably depresses hormonal output (as in the marmoset studies I cite at length from about page 89) and makes them unconfident, unadventurous and low-sexed. I am reminded of depressed young overweight men living in their childhood bedrooms playing computer games, lacking prospects or confidence to get a job, and, even if they got a job, still being obliged to stay at home because incomes no longer match house and rent prices. In many societies staying at home or in the mens' quarters was normal, so it is likely that depression was not a factor, but in our society, it is expected that men leave the nest.

With regard to your statement that fertility [is]"certainly an almost pure function of contraception access in the present and future", it sounds as though you may be unaware that modern contraceptives are not widely available in every country. They may be too expensive (for the poor in the United States, for instance); they may be technologically poorly adapted to certain environments and cultures as well as expensive. For instance, in the bush, desert, jungle ... using IUDs without access to pharmacies and doctors, or using diaphragms, without western hygiene options, is pretty impractical. Depot injections also need monitoring. The pill requires a pill-taking culture, habituation to calenders, a place to store pills and money and access to doctors for prescriptions and chemists for supply etc etc.

Also, population is not just about sex and fertility; it is also about settlement patterns and interactions, which then affect fertility opportunities and readiness. We have many many lonely disconnected people in Australian society where, not so long ago, those people had a geographical and social place and connection. Even in the 1950s and 60s there was much more stability. In other cultures, such as those of the Indian sub-continent, clan structure tends to prevail despite economic change in society. Parents help their children find mates, thus increasing their chances of marriage. The choice of mates is still much affected by status, money, location, profession, land-holdings etc. so that there are many obstacles ruling out every man for every woman and narrowing opportunity right down. Unfortunately, due to the increased size of populations and of communication between them, population momentum is overcoming the traditional impediments to fertility, with Indians still tending to aim for and succeed in high rates of marriage and children.

I also did not make it clear in my article (one cannot reproduce the entire book in an article) that we are talking about legitimate children. Legitimacy is not just a fuddy-duddy concept; it is about entitlement to membership of a group, i.e. citizenship and the rights that go with that (which foreigners do not have). Without the synthetic interface of industrial economies legitimacy obviously boiled down to inheritance of land-rights (to produce food). In my view, it still does, but those land-rights have been transformed and symbolised by money and contracts ... but that is for my second book, which should be out in the next month or two.

The kind of society that you, Alan, probably consider the norm, is one that has depended on plentiful fossil fuels, especially oil, to provide elastically for a growing population. This fossil-fuel economy has been so remarkably rich that the old rules to discourage (a) marriage between people without sufficient assets to provide for a child and (b) children born out of marriage (i.e. meaning born into poverty if you take (a) into consideration) were dropped.

Now maybe you believe that we will always have plenty of cheap fuel and things will go on forever as they have done since the second world war. We will have to disagree there. We are already getting much poorer with great social division and more and more children born into poverty to parents who have been misled by confusing signals that encourage them to have children and to believe that they have sound economic prospects when they probably do not. E.g the Australian baby bonus

Contraception would work for those people if they used it, yes. (But what makes them meet in the first place and decide to have children, or not to have children? This is also a very interesting and relevant question. It reflects social organisation.)

My scenario is that, as petroleum becomes more and more expensive the chemicals used to make industrial quantities of cheap contraceptives are going to become more expensive as will the fuels to run the factories, the supermarkets, the pharmacies on every corner...

So, what you seem to consider absolutely secure, I consider a blip in the 40-60,000 years history of humans in the Pacific... and elsewhere. Modern economics is based on this flawed concept of 300 yrs of industrialised fossil fuel society somehow establishing a new norm suddenly forever. (By the way, I deal with this in Chapter 1.)

Finally, I have argued in the article above that people will relocalise as things get tougher and the economy and government fall apart. Then the hormonal feedback factors that interact with environment will, not only determine fertility levels, but they will also determine dominance hierarchies and styles of local government and cooperation. In a local context environmental/situational bio-feedback is much more relevant, effective and clear than in a global or national context. In my view we should encourage everything in our societies that will assist this transition. Australians will hopefully rethink their inheritance laws and stop buying and selling land, preferring to lease - like the Maoris in New Zealand. But the basis of this assertion is complex and, once again, you would need to read the book.

Thank you again for your input. It was very welcome.

Newman is important to anthropology, but anthopology is NOT important to policy. If I were in the business of hiring anthopoligists, I might well hire Newman. But I have no intention of hiring any anthopologists, even if I win election and become governor, because I will be too busy hiring contraceptive nurses.
I also not how Newman only seems to be counting "legitimate" children, leaving the rest of the children to die slow, horrible deaths and I am totally unwilling to consider that kind of scenario part of my post-petroleum goal. I do believe strongly that the fossil fuels will run out at least as fuels, though enough MUST remain to produce synthetic contraception or we get hell on earth. Thus I am unwilling to consider old, population stable Pacific island societies as role models for the future partly because I don't believe they were that low fertility but rather that they allowed "illegitimate" children to suffer and die, which is NOT part of my future plans.
Even reading her book would take 20 bucks, which is 20 bucks less for contraception beyond free as exemplified here: http://www.projectprevention.org/ and the same would be true if I were a mayor with a library budget. Also, she seems to oppose migration where I support political migration of contraception supporters for the purpose of concentrating ourselves into political majorities as is taking place here http://www.thebigsort.com/maps.php where restrictive land use planning is a major hindrance to concentration of forces (see military concept). I WAS one of those depressed young men in the basement (or worse) for 7 years, from 18-25 and I have no intention of foisting that experience on others through regulated housing shortages.
As for "Demography, Territory & Law" I can believe that some ancient societies achieved steady states. But I will not believe for a second that these steady population states were anything but horrific by modern standards, involving almost always high and lingering child mortality or in rare cased draconian sexual repression. These societies were light years from utopic and cannot be considered goals. The ONLY possible goals relating to overpopulation involve MODERN contraception, where we have little to learn from ancient civilizations. Though we might have a little to learn from modern continental Europe, it does not involve land use planning.
Newman's theryy basically says that if you can't mate with your cousin and you can't mate with a strange, then you can't mate at all and this enforces celebacy and limits population growth. Well SO WHAT? Does she imply that we should return to such draconian sexual repression as a goal? As long a we can remember how to produce modern contraception, I'm not about to go there and neither is hardly anyone else.
-Alan

Please read these petitions advocating municipal environmental
contraception funding, which is increasingly politically realistic due
to The Big Sort in more and more towns, and helps women's rights, quality of life, and school taxes as well as being at
least 5 times more cost-effective than any other environmental effort.
http://tinyurl.com/townBC2
http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=12874
http://tinyurl.com/towncontraception
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/condoms/condoms.shtml
http://www.facebook.com/alan.ditmore
https://secure.prochoiceamerica.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAc tion&id=5319
http://nwhn.org/newsletter/node/1383
http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=599 9
http://tinyurl.com/opcensor
http://www.change.org/petitions/asheville-lgbt-rights-for-environment
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/transfer_all_environmental_funds_to_ contraception
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/transfer-all-environmental-funds-to-cont raception-especially-municipal/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/childfreetown/
http://www.thebigsort.com/maps.php

The prochoice and contraception movements are placing too high a priority on defensive actions in the red states when we should be going on the offensive, the side of "change", in the blue states, and cities. The worst places
will get even worse no matter what we do, but the unrealized political potential, the low hanging fruit, is in making the best places even better. This opportunity is being caused by The Big Sort. Mayors are not answerable to rural voters, unlike governors and presidents.
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily4_&page=NewsArtic le&id=34158&security=1521&news_iv_ctrl=-1
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily4_&page=NewsArtic le&id=27823&security=1521&news_iv_ctrl=-1
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily4_&page=NewsArtic le&id=27825&security=1521&news_iv_ctrl=-1
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily4_&page=NewsArtic le&id=32477&security=1521&news_iv_ctrl=-1
http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=12891
https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id= 12828
http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/end_abonly
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5041388
We americans love cars more than babies, Very soon we will have to choose, and we will choose cars.
http://www.projectprevention.org/
http://www.news.com.au/world/hillary-clinton-tries-to-silence-brave-bindi /story-fndir2ev-1226560803039
http://populationaction.org/newsletters/prioritizing-gender-and-climate-c hange-in-municipal-budgets-in-the-philippines/

Alan,

You have misunderstood just about everything you say is in the book and you have missed a great deal. I will insert my responses to your statements:

Alan: Newman important to anthropology, but anthopology NOT important

Newman is important to anthropology, but anthopology is NOT important to policy. If I were in the business of hiring anthopoligists, I might well hire Newman. But I have no intention of hiring any anthopologists, even if I win election and become governor, because I will be too busy hiring contraceptive nurses.

Sheila Newman: Although my book is about population, it is also about land-tenure and inheritance, which are the basis of economies and political systems. Political systems are very important for the promotion of stability or of overpopulation. Contraceptives seem ineffectual against big population systems. For instance, in Australia, where contraceptives are available and affordable, we nonetheless have massive and unsustainable population growth.
What does your theory of contraception as the only way to reduce population growth have to say about overpopulation in Australia?

My first volume analyses why this is so and identifies political qualities that help stabilise populations. These political qualities are primarily variations in inheritance of land and other assets.

This first volume of my proposed 4 volumes of Demography, Territory, Law, looks at how human and other animal populations work. It says nothing against hiring contraceptive nurses. It says nothing against contraceptives.

The populations I discuss are not all 'in the past' and not all 'in the Pacific'. However, of Pacific Islanders, plenty extant populations are stable and small. I point out that certain systems - notably the English originating ones - cause overpopulation in Pacific Islands and elsewhere. For instance, Japanese and French Pacific islands do not have the overpopulation problems of the English colonised ones

Alan: I also not how Newman only seems to be counting "legitimate" children, leaving the rest of the children to die slow, horrible deaths and I am totally unwilling to consider that kind of scenario part of my post-petroleum goal.

Sheila Newman: This is a really silly criticism that shows that the writer has not read the book carefully.
Where do I advocate for children to die slow horrible deaths as a post petroleum goal? I don't.

I am also critical of the bulk of writers in the field for placing too much emphasis on the role of infanticide. I point out on page 70 and on other pages that they fail to take into account the effect of biofeedback on genetic algorithms in reducing sexual activity and fertility via incest avoidance and the Westermarck effect.

"Infanticide, as mentioned previously, is another factor often suggested to be important for limiting births among hunter-gatherers, but rarely is it mentioned that infanticide has also been well-known in agricultural and 19th century industrial societies - which had unstable population growth rates and higher populations. Dilworth does argue that infanticide and abortion were often discouraged in agricultural societies because of the need for slaves, servants, laborers and warriors, however we know that it was still practised, albeit covertly where discouraged. Speaking of agricultural societies, Dilworth also says that up to one quarter of Chinese newborns were disposed of by infanticide (he does not give dates) and that there were also very high rates in 19th century India. It is however important when referring to such catastrophic rates of population growth and the explosion of measures to combat them to look at factors disorganizing the society, rather than assume that such high rates of violent birth control were the norm for centuries. In the case of India we know that massive overpopulation accompanied the disorganization of stable peoples and their territories through British colonialism. The beginning of China’s population explosion coincided with Portuguese colonization of Macau in 1557 and was in full swing by 1750 as the trade wars were capped by the British industrial revolution and colonial diaspora."

I did not invent the term or the condition of legitimacy. Legitimacy is a legal and anthropological term similar to 'citizenship' or membership of a group or tribe, conferring rights. Only with huge fossil fuel-based societies did it recently become economically possible to remove the stigma of illegitimacy. Whether or not Alan likes the idea, illegitimate children suffered from fewer rights of inheritance and thus fewer chances of survival prior to these heady days of lots of fossil fuel. In a post petroleum era, I am reasonably certain that automatic regulation of fertility will occur as travel between communities winds down and that infanticide will not be a frequent occurrence. Inevitably marriage [i.e. legitimacy] rules will reflect those natural patterns and citizenship/immigration rules will reflect local democratic perception of resources.

AlanI do believe strongly that the fossil fuels will run out at least as fuels, though enough MUST remain to produce synthetic contraception or we get hell on earth. Thus I am unwilling to consider old, population stable Pacific island societies as role models for the future partly because I don't believe they were that low fertility but rather that they allowed "illegitimate" children to suffer and die, which is NOT part of my future plans.

Sheila NewmanIn my book I argue carefully that, not only Pacific Island populations were stable, but most populations (human and non-human) were small and stable in usual circumstances. You, Alan, to the contrary, offer no evidence for your 'belief' that Pacific Islander populations relied mostly on infanticide. You also fail to criticise my arguments. I would suggest that you are exercising contempt prior to investigation in that you have not read my book but you are engaging in arguments based on fantasy against a book you have not actually read. In other words you are making things up for some reason of your own.

Since I am a scientist advancing several new theories, I welcome critical appraisal of those theories, since they are bound to evolve. But you need to have read them before you can help improve them.

Alan: Even reading her book would take 20 bucks, which is 20 bucks less for contraception beyond free as exemplified here: http://www.projectprevention.org/ and the same would be true if I were a mayor with a library budget.

Also, she seems to oppose migration where I support political migration of contraception supporters for the purpose of concentrating ourselves into political majorities as is taking place here http://www.thebigsort.com/maps.php where restrictive land use planning is a major hindrance to concentration of forces (see military concept).

Sheila Newman Immigration has a huge role to play in increasing population growth and democratic societies with self -government regulate immigration in line with the wishes of their membership and perception of resource limits.

Alan

I WAS one of those depressed young men in the basement (or worse) for 7 years, from 18-25 and I have no intention of foisting that experience on others through regulated housing shortages.

Sheila NewmanSo, let's see. You think that by providing contraceptives you won't have to provide houses because people will have fewer children? How are you going to get people to want to use those contraceptives if they see no reason to have small families? In Australia the property developers continually build new suburbs and then import immigrants to live in them, driving up the price of housing, so there are still plenty of depressed young men in basements etc, despite oversupply of housing.

In France, where housing supply and immigration are well-regulated and where fertility has naturally been low for centuries, the housing situation is no worse but the population situation is better.

Alan
As for "Demography, Territory & Law" I can believe that some ancient societies achieved steady states. But I will not believe for a second that these steady population states were anything but horrific by modern standards, involving almost always high and lingering child mortality or in rare cased draconian sexual repression.

Sheila Newman That belief again. Just prejudice for your own culture and experience. Not based on knowledge, not citing or dismantling documented evidence.

This is the kind of attitude one finds time and again on both sides of the population debate. People who advocate big populations and people who advocate small populations live with the delusion that for thousands of years humans lived short brutish lives. Yet there is so much evidence that this is nonsense that we are coached to believe in order to remain in harness in our own miserable economies with their repressive social structures. Again, Alan, you are talking through your hat about my book. You obviously are completely unaware of the evidence I cite.

Maybe, however, your anger will ultimately lead you to investigate what actually happens rather than what you kind of assume must happen.

Alan: These societies were light years from utopic and cannot be considered goals.

Sheila Newman Not 'goals'; factual information about how human societies usually are. Our current societies are aberrant. Where do you get 'goals' from what I have written (if you had read it?)

AlanThe ONLY possible goals relating to overpopulation involve MODERN contraception, where we have little to learn from ancient civilizations.

Sheila NewmanYou seem to be completely unaware that 'modern' contraception is impractical in many societies, for reasons I cited in an earlier reply. It is fine to disseminate modern or any contraception, but it is really silly to ignore what already works. We continue to dispossess people of their land and remove them from steady state villages etc in order to 'develop' them, and then their populations explode. That's really dumb.

Alan: Though we might have a little to learn from modern continental Europe, it does not involve land use planning.

Sheila Newman How would you know? You obviously have no idea of my arguments in this because you don't cite them and you don't counter them. You just put forward an opinion that exposes your total ignorance of the subject. The system is different in Europe and the outcome is much less population growth. That should interest you if you are worried about overpopulation. Why doesn't it? Are you wearing ideological blinkers that tell you that population numbers are only affected by contraception, when a lot of other factors actully affect them hugely.

Alan: Newman's theryy basically says that if you can't mate with your cousin and you can't mate with a strange[r], then you can't mate at all and this enforces celebacy and limits population growth. Well SO WHAT?

Sheila Newman Um, well, it makes for small populations unless you have modern transport. And knowing this makes you aware of what is generating such huge population growth in modern societies in the non-continental European first world. That's a big piece of information. I also have a lot to say about social organisation and self-government emanating from intact clan systems, which can persist in modern societies and do, of course, among those with inherited wealth and influence. Also, I do advocate relocalisation, because this strengthens self-government, empowers communities, democracy, improves biofeedback to populations and enhances chances of population stability (with or without modern contraceptives).

Alan: Does she imply that we should return to such draconian sexual repression as a goal? As long a we can remember how to produce modern contraception, I'm not about to go there and neither is hardly anyone else.
-Alan

Sheila NewmanNo, I don't imply that we should 'return' to such 'draconian' sexual 'repression'. This just sounds like macho-old man talk. Consumer societies of the late 20th and 21st century are characterised by a huge emphasis on and status invested concept of sexuality. It is (once again) very clear that you have not read my book because you have completely missed the theory of automatic hormonal regulation that winds sexuality and fertility down or up depending on biofeedback to a [human and non-human] population and individuals within it from the environment. In those circumstances there is nothing 'draconian'. It is automatic. People and other animals' energies simply turn to other activities. Romance as a basis for marriage is largely a modern fashion. In a lot of societies, romance occurs outside marriage and marriage is mostly for allocating land to children in most other societies.

I must say that a few old men have reacted similarly, as if I had somehow insulted their manhood. And as if I were pushing some line of white knuckle abstinence, like the pope, but I am not. So, Alan, you are feinting at shadows and you are being dishonest about my book, which you are quite unfamiliar with.

Tony Boys's picture

Thanks, Sheila,

I'll try to answer your questions briefly.

1) Yes, the Karen were (many still are) animists. If you look here: https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=0a586522c3d55a14 you will see a book I translated from Thai (but written by a Karen) about the annual cycle of swidden farming and the (animist) rituals that are performed. The Karen were first introduced to Christianity in the mid-19th century in what is now Burma, but that was Protestantism. In northern Thailand now there are Protestants, Roman Catholics, traditional animists, Buddhists and a few professing other religions. The major reason why (it is said) many Karen converted to Protestantism is that under the animist way of life there some rituals that need to be carried out when there are illnesses and other problems and these rituals require the presence of the whole (matrilineal) family and also need specially raised animals for the cooking of ritual food (the rituals take place over three days). This is all difficult to do, AND there must be no mistakes during the ritual! These rituals were therefore a considerable burden, and when Christianity came along, promising the same results with far less trouble, the people slowly began to convert.

The introduction of Roman Catholicism in northern Thailand is a rather different story. It starts after WW2, includes some missionaries, but there is one central Thai Roman Catholic father (whom I have met several times and who is mentioned in the novel) who has played a very important role. In the late 40s and 50s, many of the villages were poor, and with agricultural production fluctuating from years to year (as it usually does) some years some villages had food problems and other years other villages had problems. This was all very vigorously attacked by this man and the missionaries (all French as far as I can make out) and they have done a very good job of improving the Karen "economy" in northern Thailand, for which many of the Karen are very grateful. I am not a Roman Catholic and I do not even call myself a Christian, but it is not hard to see that the Catholic church has done some very positive work in northern Thailand, and not only with the Karen. Interestingly, the Catholic church in Thailand has NOT attempted to force the people to stop doing their traditional animist rituals (though many have stopped now) and neither do they try to deny animist spiritualism. My feeling when visiting villages (and I have been to 25 or 30, including some Protestant and mixed religion villages) is that the animist spirituality spills over favourably into the Catholicism. To me, this is not European Catholicism at all. It also seems to be quite different to what I see on TV and so on of the Catholicism in the Philippines and Central/South America. The Catholic church also works to protect the Karen from the Thai government/bureaucracy and army, so in that sense they are actually rather anti-colonial.

Yes, we are VERY ignorant about other ways of life. Modern Japan is not so different from European-type societies on the surface, but below the surface it is very different. Having been in Japan for over 30 years I then went to Thailand to observe the Karen for a year (after three years of sporadic visits and study) and was not expecting to find all that much except an interesting agricultural system, but walked into another universe (Thai society is also interesting in itself!). People who live in European style cities (as most Japanese do) have NO idea about the indigenous mountain lifestyle. The only way you can find out is go there and experience it (leaving most of your previous ideas at home).

The Edo Period population was fairly stable due to social rigidity (little technological innovation in agriculture) and due to the fact that the population had practically reached a limit given the farmland areas and technological level. There were several well-remembered famines in the Edo Period (at one quarter of the population of today, as I keep saying). Things changed after the Restoration of 1868, and for a short while in the late 1910s, when the weather was apparently warm and stable (something for global warmers to chew on there), Japan was even a net exporter of food. But still at about half the current population.

The Japanese are also traditionally animists. We can point to Shinto, which is traditionally an animist religion, but modern Shinto is very formalistic and it's hard to tell what the priests and the shrine visitors are really thinking. One sect that is interesting is "Fujikyo" - a branch of Shinto based on the natural environment of Mt. Fuji. I have participated in their rituals a few times and spoken with some of their spiritual leaders, and these people seem to preserve very much more of the original animist spiritual content than modern "shrine" Shintoism. Unfortunately, the Japanese who live in the cities are just about as "lost" as people in cities anywhere. You have to laugh when you watch NHK TV every day, because they show a lot of short video clips (between other programs or as travelogues, etc) of the countryside here. Clearly, they are doing this for the benefit of the city people. "It's still there. Don't forget it!" We laugh. So idealized and formalistic. (Especially after the nuclear disaster!)

Romance in Japan. Hard to generalize. Traditionally, you're right. The "house/family/clan" is everything and the secret wishes of the girl (sometimes boy) are of no concern to anyone. Basically, it's political, but that includes matters of land ownership and clan power. How has this changed since the Edo Period? For some people, it has not changed. Some of my Japanese friends here say that the Edo Period never really finished. It's still tapering out as the "new democratic thing" is trying to taper in (and not very effectively). Put all the people back into Edo Period costume and you won't be able to tell the difference. (There have been a few TV dramas recently about moderns finding themselves back in the Edo Period for one reason or another, but they fit in quite well. They just have to hide their modern knowledge and what they know about the future. One was a doctor who went around perfoming "miraculous" operations, but have a failed romance with one of the women he came into contact with. He simply accepted it as the way things were/are.) So are the young teens/twenties Japanese more romantic now? Not really. Or more accurately, they have always been romantic, but kept it well hidden. Like the Thais, the Japanese are pretty good at keeping their thoughts to themselves. It's historically "programmed". In that sense there has not been much change. However, the modern city has had a huge influence on behaviour and "fertility opportunities". Despite which Japan has one of the lowest total fertility rates - the reasons for this are complex, both to do with economic circumstances and medical problems, possibly due to a generalized pollution of the environment. Chris Busby would probably say it was largely the fault of nuclear weapons testing and the nuclear industry.