RE: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 16:57:16 GMT

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    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 11:57:16 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: RE: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults
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    >At 01:23 PM 18/02/02 +0000, you wrote:
    >> <There was a time when children *were* wealth. You could use their
    >>labor to have more children yourself and to make the tribe resistant to
    >>being attacked.
    >>> Times have changed.>
    >> They have but not that dramatically. A few months back on the list,
    >>I believe we touched on research suggesting that the social investment in
    >>ensuring a child reached an acceptable level of social standing was behind
    >>the small number of children had by the most highly developed nations. The
    >>same principle is at work- the average middle class parents can't afford to
    >>send 6 kids to law school, so better just have one or 2, but if they get to
    >>law school, they'll be able to to look after the parents in old age, and
    >>provide for any children they may have at the same standard of living. In a
    >>subsistence existence, as millions of people still find themselves in all
    >>around the world, more kids makes sense due to low survival rates etc. etc.
    >You make many of the points I have considered.
    >There may be a deeper mechanism at work here.
    >Social status is (and more important was) a matter of so much
    >importance not only for the children but the parents that limiting
    >the number of children to invest more in the status of each of them
    >may have a higher weight than having more children. Wealth is, of
    >course, a major contributor to social status.

    And in my recent Frans DeWaal-inspired reformulation - wealth is a
    significator of accumulated reciprocal altruism.


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