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>According to my ethology book (Ethology: the Mechanisms and Evolution
>of Behavior by James L. Gould) the less-offspring/more-investment
>strategy (called K-strategy) occurs in "habitats with relatively
>constant or at least predictable climates. Competition among
>individuals members of a species, particularly for that resource
>which sets the value of K is keen. Individuals of K-selected
>species, because of the predictability of their worlds, can afford to
>develop slowly and wait until they are at their competitive peak to
>reproduce. Because the environment is so nearly saturated, parents
>usually raise few offspring, but they invest heavily in their young
>to increase their chances for survival." (p341-342)
>So perhaps our culture has created a stable environment, and buffers
>us from the worst of the unpredictable. We are living close to the
>upper limit of our resources. And among other things, the "K" for
>which we compete is not only material resources but social standing.
>Species which produce lots of offspring but follow a more
>sink-or-swim approach to their young are "r-selected".
That seems like a very abstract way of putting it. What do the letters "k"
and "r" stand for? Social standing is just as important in my view as
resources, although people with high social standing usually have access to
more resources. I remember the marxist societies of China and Eastern
Europe where salaries were pretty much fixed and not too far apart that
social standing got one limosines to travel around in and a lot of
privileges as far as things such as dachas in russia and superior housing in
China. You don't have to own something if you have unlimited use of it.
Just the privilege of going to the head of the line was worth a lot in the
I'll have to get my hands on the book to see how the formula applies to
situations like that. Maybe William Calvin covers it in one of his books on
cultural evolution. Thanks for the tip.
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