Saturday, February 23, 2013

How your last name will doom your descendants centuries from now

How your last name will doom your descendants centuries from now

It’s well known that there’s a huge correlation between the earnings and social status of a person and the earnings and social status of that person’s parents. That correlation varies a lot by country. It’s very high in the United States, where there’s widespread economic inequality, and in Britain, which has a formal class system. But it’s much lower in Scandinavia.
Now, two researchers argue that the link is bigger than we thought — even in Scandinavia. Gregory Clark of UC Davis, the author of “A Farewell to Alms,” and Neil Cummins at CUNY have done two recent studies that track social mobility in Britain and Sweden using families with rare last names.* They figured that people with a rare surname are likely to all be related, which allowed Clark and Cummins to track the well-being of those people throughout the years.
They found that in both countries inheritance explains 49 percent to 64 percent of where you ended up in terms of social status. This is true whether you look at wealth, life expectancy or college attendance. In 2011, descendants of poor Britons from 1800 lived  2.3 fewer years, on average, than descendants of rich Britons from 1800.

Families tend to form a tree shape, a couple might see their ancestors as B roots of a tree so their wealth like a tree depends chaotically on what those people accumulated in assets and good genes. There is also a randomizing effect where genes come together and improve the family overall like a Ro herd mixes genes. In the future they can see their descendants like branches of a tree where the most successful might be competitors against other branches in that family like rivals, or against other families. A more Iv-B economy is more innovative so this root and branch effect is accentuated, people with abilities from these genes might do much better or collapse. A more V-Bi economy is stagnant so these abnormaly superior abilities are of little use in a random situation, families are then more likely to marry people with random abilities and characteristics diluting their "blue blood" distinctive gene heritage. This also happens in the Roy animal kingdom, a Ro herd might have dominant makes that mix their genes in the whole herd, to be replaced by a succession fo dominant males doing the same over time. Oy predators might select mates more on their ability and competitive advantages leading to more speciation and special characteristics.

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