Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Britain will not submit to reason!

It is an island with weird traditions and institutions, weird appreciation of leadership, population control.

by das monde on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 08:59:59 AM EST
England had a very large population increase during their demographic transition, which it handled with exporting population and importing food, both at gun point. (France in comparision is the Western European country that had a longer transition but with less of a population increase.)

And the English ruling class also made their food problem worse by enclosing food producing land and turning it into less food production and more wool production.

It is hard to see a worse candidate country for your idea of top-down population control being a staple of historical hierarchial societies. Not that your other candidates has been smashing successes. At some point you might want to check if the data fits your theories instead of just assuming that it does. And if it doesn't you might want to think about why you are so sure of your theories even if they don't actually fit, and rethink those grounds.

by fjallstrom on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 03:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The British transition was during the imperial era. The island was thus with special foods-importing and population-exporting privileges. But even then agricultural enclosures and industrial conditions must have put pressure on plebs' social, economic, reproductive ambitions.

In chapter 6 of "The Rational Optimist" Matt Ridley asserts: pre-industrial good times used to lead everywhere to more people rather than more wealth; population stress, rising autacracy signaled decline of economic specialization; England was rather exceptional that the poor had lower birth rates and their numbers were "sustained" by downward mobility, leading to rather educated, non-violent poor. That, and the imperial reach, facilitated the Industrial revolution enormously.

So England had that downward dynamics and lower birth rates of the poor for centuries -- could be typical for islands. Now England has to resolve demographic pressures (if any, yeah) without the empire and without industrial wonders. Hence the rise of pre-industrial, "Malthusian" autocracy (Ridley's expression), apparently signaling tough times for the majority?

Thatcher came soon after the Club of Rome report (incidentally!?) and openly increased the economic pressure on the social-reproductive ambitions of the plebs. Blair must have generated some optimism until the 2008 crisis.

Ok, let's try to submit to some data:

The birth rate actually increased under Thatcher, and went down under Blair! Good times must be measured by rentiers and financial sharks, I guess. Rich, patriarchal families may still have as many children as ever, and we would not notice from general statistics.

Without EU membership of the UK, the decline in its birthrates (and the quantity of good food) through the 2010s is likely to be irreversible next decades. But if EU industries and food quality are going to decline as well, Brexit may make sense... as a plot to put definite "sustainability" pressure on British plebs?!

by das monde on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 08:52:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More data post 1950s ...

Fertility by ethnic and religious groups in the UK, trends in a multi-cultural context

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 09:32:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Yap thread is a fascinating source of information about how certain frequent commenters apply orthodox precepts of anthropology to differential diagnosis of "civilizations". Thanks for resurrecting it. At the time I was slumming with the California Cohort of Petty Landlords who were preoccupied with transforming real estate into "money" and identifying ethnic deviants, near and far.

At the moment I'm reading Medical Apartheid, The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present which is turning out a guide to growth (V) of inter-continental demand (Q, $) among natural scientists for a doctrine of applied pathology. Which happens to coincide with my purchasing The History of Statistics, The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900. I'm sorely tempted to skip to Part II, "The Struggle to Extend a Calculus of Probabilities to the Social Sciences," as I would like to be surprised to learn that substitution of mathematical principle for acute absence of observations did not prevail in practical administration of imperium.

Similarly, literate US with leisure to read has now two definitive "impeachment inquiry" reports, one produced by the Committee on Judiciary, the other by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (formerly HUAC). A columnist for the New York Post noted with interest Chairman Schiff's overweening reverence of the first president of the US, first among equally powerful men, a paragon of wisdom among (English) factions (who had agreed to revise Articles of Confederation--similar to the TEU--agreed by representatives of the sovereign states). Indeed the Cmt. on Judiciary recitation of British America's colonial government leaves an impression not unlike that of the transcript of a bible study session, tattooed to one's back. One twists and turns before a mirror to decode the iconography.

"How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?" Schiff wonders, if a president places his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, the Union. Therein lays a strange inequality of two unknowns which is not balanced by either manifesto: a common set of experiences and the national interest personified by one person. ("Our President holds the ultimate public trust." --Cmt on Judiciary) Inexplicably, few doubt the assumption is true for HRM prime minister of the UK. Crazy, huh?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My view is that the US is better off now than in the past WRT most objective metrics. The questions are, I think:

  • How good is it compared to how good it could be?
  • What is the effect of pessimism driven by political campaigns? In other words, if both parties predict Armageddon if the other party wins, it is easy to say that we are all doomed.
by asdf on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 06:44:37 PM EST
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The missing unit of measurement is what?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 07:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A specific date in the past when things were better.
by asdf on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 03:16:30 AM EST
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