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The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
by Gregory Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.57

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empirically based social history of great originality, 22 Mar 2014
Hundreds of papers and books have been written, in which the authors are trying to prove by data on social mobility that human society is on the march to greater social equality. Most of these authors are not aware that their results are a function of their scaling of inequality. In order to measure social mobility you have to scale wealth, overall income, years of education, taxable income, social status or other appropriate variables none of which remained constant in the course of history. Because of random effects and imperfect scaling all these studies tend to overestimate intergenerational mobility. Already some researchers, who tried to scale recent and historical professions, jobs and social status according to underlying general intelligence to be successful, concluded that movements on the social ladder had changed little over the past centuries. This was substantiated by two books using samples of representative genealogical data covering several generations: La societe francaise au XIXe siecle: Tradition, transition, transformations (French Edition) and:Bevoelkerung Und Soziale Mobilitaet in Sachsen 1550-1880 (German Edition).

To measure social mobility in quite different countries and across centuries, Clark invented a novel technique: Tracking the frequency of surnames. Needed for such an approach are always data on the frequency of surnames in the general population and in the selected sample in the past and in the present. In a number of countries Clark and his coworkers were able to overcome these difficulties and to find or generate the databases necessary. The originality of this research deserves high praise.

However, to use surnames in such a way is not as new as Clark believes. About 1940 Karl Valentin Müller used frequencies of surnames of Czech and German origin to investigate their contribution to the upper stratum of cities in Bohemia. - Crow, J. F. and A. P. Mange published: Measurement of inbreeding from the frequency of marriages between persons of the same surname. Eugenics Quarterly 12 (1965) 199-203. Crow and Mange founded with this seminal paper a new branch of population genetics. Surnames can be understood as alleles of one genetic locus, and surname distribution and evolution can be analyzed by the theory of neutral mutations in finite populations. One may describe the genetic structure of a human population in terms of the inbreeding within its subpopulations and the extent of the sharing of genes among them. In the following decades, instead using marriage data, surname frequencies were also extracted from directories or census data. By applying these methods, the application of surname genetics was extended to measure genetic distance and historical changes within subpopulations and social strata, see, for example: Inbreeding and genetic distance between hierarchically structured populations measured by surname frequencies. Mankind Quarterly 21 (1980). And for an even wider outlook see: Familiennamenhäufigkeiten in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart als Ausgangspunkt für interdisziplinäre Forschungen von Linguisten, Historikern, Soziologen, Geographen und Humangenetikern. Namenkundliche Informationen 31 (1977) 27-32. However, 30 years ago, the databases for such an empirical approach were still lacking.

Outgoing from the medieval practice of giving surnames based on ones profession Günther Bäumler suggested a genetic-social theory of assortative distribution of traits of body build such as height, weight, and stature in a population of men called `Smith' (German: Schmied) and`Tailor' (German: Schneider). From this the hypothesis was deduced that among the top ranking athletes of the `heavy weight' branches of athletics, which require body strength and body height, there are relatively more persons that go by the name of Schmied than in the `light weight' branches of athletics, where more persons go by the name of Schneider. The hypothesis was empirically supported. See: Psychology Science 45 (2003) 254-262.

In the modern world we have a general negative relationship between the number of surviving children and the social status of their parents, in sharp contrast to the preindustrial world, where more children of the rich survive. Oded Galor and Moav Omer in their paper "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth" (2002) came to the conclusion that before 1850 the upper and medium stratum of society must have been more surviving children than the poor. Indeed, as a byproduct of his research with rare surnames Clark confirms that this turning point in differential fertility was in England already about 1850 (in Germany three or four decades later). Despite Clarkes conclusion that the most probable variable underlying social status and hence social mobility is the inheritance of general cognitive ability he dares not to cite the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations, supporting in such a way his argument on a global scale.

On some pages Clark seems to foster the belief that regression to the mean is a force equalizing any society in the long run. On other pages he is stating clearly that at the same time the random counterforce of segregation of genes is always creating new inequality in each new generation. Genetically pure lineages regress only to the mean of the line and not to the mean of the overall population. It is possible not only to study the decay of a social upper stratum by surname frequencies, but also its rise and creation in the course of some generations. In 1869 Francis Galton was the first to replace mere speculation on the inheritance of talent with statistical data. 100 highly gifted and very successful men had 26 fathers, 47 brothers, 60 sons. 14 grandfathers, 16 uncles, 23 nephews, 14 grandsons, 5 uncles of parents and 16 first cousins with similar giftedness and accomplishments. Astounding similar frequencies were found in other studies in different countries.

One can be sure that Clark will find followers studying the distribution and frequencies of French, Dutch, German and other surnames in the respective countries.


The Chemistry of Matter Waves
The Chemistry of Matter Waves
by Jan C.A. Boeyens
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 83.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dissident science at its best, 22 Dec 2013
At a first superficial glance, this book seems to be another good textbook, because anything is explained in the way of textbooks and can be understood by anyone with a classical background in chemistry and physics. However, at the end, the outlook of this book is a revolutionary one.

The discovery of X-ray diffraction promised to resolve the mystery of molecular structure, but a hundred years on it is fast receding into the fourth dimension. Quantum mechanics introduced, without explanation the notion of non-commuting dynamic variables, described by complex functions, failed to account for electron spin or optical activity and still appears to be at odds with special relativity. The confusion starts with Maxwell's formulation of the electromagnetic field, interpreted differently in quantum and relativity theories, and grows with the chemical practice of reducing complex quantum functions to real classical variables.

Boeyens is an avid reader, says his colleague Peter Comba. Jan Boeyens "investigations always entail an in depth study of the literature, and he makes a point of tracking down many obscure papers and insists on reading the originals of the 1920s and even eighteenth and nineteenth century papers, in the process discovering that many famous scientists have been misquoted in textbooks and even misinterpreted.

Jan is never content with only reading current publications on any subject, but always insists on obtaining and studying the original papers, no matter how obscure the journal or the publication is, or when it was published. Part of his ability to attack an old problem from a new and fresh angle stems from his insistence on precisely understanding what the original papers said, or which approximations and/or models were used by the original authors. ...

Jan's passion and focus has always centered on the theories which provide the framework for the physical sciences. He has taken a critical stance of the current paradigm that dominates science, and developed a rather unique approach in his own theories. ... Several common themes permeate his research, and in recent years he has succeeded to integrate his ideas on the nature of matter and molecules, the origins and theoretical description of matter, the nature of space, cosmology and general relativity", which have been largely captured in his other recent books Chemistry from First Principles, New Theories for Chemistry and Number Theory and the Periodicity of Matter.

Boeyens' ability to approach well-known and new scientific problems from an unconventional and sometimes rather astonishing direction, using very simple models, has yielded exceptional results. In his search for explanations for the observed periodicity in matter he uncovered new relations and new phenomena, new applications of number theory in Nature and new interpretations of Nature. For example, in the abstract of chapter 9 on "Chemical Wave Structures" he is summarizing: "The intimate connection between atomic properties and space-time curvature is convincingly demonstrated by derivation of atomic radii as a periodic function optimized on Fibonacci spirals. Details of covalent interaction are elucidated by the manipulation of ionization radii and the golden ratio as parameters to predict interatomic distance, bond order, dissociation energy, stretching force constant and dipole moments."

This book disturbs the reader, because the profound originality of its thinking differs so much from mainstream physics and what the new age has made of physics. It could be that it will, in the course of time, also disturb the course of physics.


Mathematics Of Harmony: From Euclid To Contemporary Mathematics And Computer Science (Series on Knots & Everything)
Mathematics Of Harmony: From Euclid To Contemporary Mathematics And Computer Science (Series on Knots & Everything)
by STAKHOV ALEXEY
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 117.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A breakthrough or even more!, 6 Dec 2009
Professor Stakhov has written a book that may well change not only the way we view the history of mathematics, but the future development of mathematics in its application to the natural sciences and computer design. This book is the result of the author's four decades of research in the field of Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Mean (also called the Golden Ratio or the Golden Section) and their applications. The volume contains chapters on the history of mathematics, the generalized Fibonaccis and Lucas numbers, the generalized golden proportions, the golden algebraic equations, the generalized Binet formulas, Fibonacci and golden matrices, and hyperbolic models. Stakhov suggests applications of number systems (Bergman's numeral system) with irrational radices in computers, coding theory, cryptography and mobil phone design, because irrational numbers are nothing else than commands for mathematical operations in space and time, see Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being.

Stakhov, of Russian and Ukrainian background, now living in Toronto, Canada, is an outstanding member of a minority of scientists, who has realized that the Golden Mean and its expression through Pascal's Triangle, Fibonacci and Lucas Number lies at the very center of the creative principle of nature itself. Recent scientific developments in physics, chemistry and cosmology have refocused attention to the mathematical properties of the Golden Mean and its meaning on the macrocosmic and microcosmic levels.

However, no scientific work can ever be complete: Stakhov is not aware of some developments in theoretical chemistry by Jan Boeyens, see Number Theory and the Periodicity of Matter and Chemistry from First Principles, supporting the fundamental role of the golden mean. Also the book A New Kind of Science is full of Pascal's Triangles!

Until now, from my point of view "From Golden Mean to Chaos" (printed in Argentina and, it is a pity, not on offer by amazon.com) by Vera de Spinadel is or was the most advanced book on the importance of the Golden Mean. Stakhov cites this book, but does not refer to renormalization and the Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser theorem, in which the Golden Mean plays a role, too.

Until now, our brains and computers have a quite different architecture. However, by encoding and decoding the information entropy of a system no other wave could be more optimal than a wavelet containing the Golden Mean and its mathematics itself. Indeed, based on empirical data, the paper "The golden mean as clock cycle of brain waves", published in Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 18 (2003) 643-652, suggests that our brain uses these advantages of "The Mathematics of Harmony"! And already Roopun, A. K. et al., Frontiers in Neuroscience 2 (2008) 145-154, confirmed empirically this conclusion of the substantial role of the Golden Mean in our processing of information. Does our brain even work on the basis of a Ternary Mirror-Symmetrical Numeral System, as invented by Stakhov?

The quality of paper and print of this book is far above average. In any case you will buy a book, which will find its place in the history of science.


IQ and the Wealth of Nations (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)
IQ and the Wealth of Nations (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)
by Richard Lynn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 46.68

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark book, 15 Sep 2008
Since about 25 years of IQ-research, this is the only book which is making a substantial difference. Around 1980 the last but one step forward had been made by Arthur Jensen, Hans Jürgen Eysenck, Helmar Frank, Siegfried Lehrl and myself in discovering the relationship between elementary cognitive tasks and IQ and hence working memory storage capacity. We had to wait long fo such a new breakthrough, and we are waiting still for even a far greater one, the discovery of the genes underlying psychometric intelligence.

Even I myself, active in this field for 40 years, till then did believe that the low mean IQ scores of some populations were mainly the result of inadequate sampling and environment. Since I read Lynn and Vanhanen, I am convinced that population differences are not mere artefacts.

In 2002, after the publication of "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" by Lynn and Vanhanen and the preliminary reports of PISA 2000, I became aware that PISA tests can be understood as IQ tests and that the transformation of PISA scores into IQ results yields very similar numbers. PISA scores, mean 500, standard deviation 100, can easily be transformed into IQ values, mean 100, standard deviation 15, by adding or subtracting the deviation from the mean in the relationship 100 : 15 = 6.67, that a mean of PISA 433 corresponds to IQ 90, PISA 567 to IQ 110, if PISA 500 is set to be IQ 100. Heiner Rindermann in his publications has confirmed that PISA transformed scores of nations are nearly identical with IQ means, published by Lynn and Vanhanen in this book.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule), the law of the vital few, states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The power of a nation does not depend of its mere number, but of the percentage of its cognitive elite, optimized by social evolution. Highly intelligent people are networking, and the economic effect of networking is the square of the nodes of the network, i.e. in our case the square of the number of people involved.

Lynn and Vanhanen show that non-market economies, in their increase in GDP, are not in step with market economies. While some former non-market countries with a high average IQ such as Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and especially China are narrowing the gap, those with a low average IQ seem to have no chance to catch up. On the one hand we have the impressive success story of Singapore, on the other hand are countries such as Haiti and Zimbabwe which are not only backward, but suffer from mismanagement and brain drain. In 1968, the Pacific island of Nauru possessed the highest GDP per capita in the world due to its rich phosphate deposits. Today, after the exhaustion of these deposits, Nauru -- faced with chaos amid political strife and the collapse of the economy caused by mismanagement and corruption -- has a GDP more in accordance with the mean IQ of its population.
One of the criteria which differentiate science from speculation is the power of prediction. In 2007, oil-producing Equatorial Guinea, a country with an average IQ of 59 (according to Lynn and Vanhanen), one of the lowest in the world, had a GDP per capita of 44,100$, one of the highest in the world. We can easily predict that, after the exhaustion of the oil, the GDP of this country will fall back into a range typical for a country with such a low average IQ. As long as the oil is flowing, a number of specialists and dealers of Lebanese, Chinese, Indian and other origins make money, but they will abandon such a country after the boom.

Even within developed nations the difference between prosperous and more backward regions amounts to 10 and more IQ points. For example, in Germany the IQ average of Bavaria is about 10 points higher than that of Bremen; in Italy the difference between Venice and Sicily is 13 points; in Spain the difference between Aragon and Andalusia 8 points; and in the United States the difference between New Hampshire and Mississipi is 10 points. Such differences, aggravated by internal migration between the economic core and the backward regions -- but not always of such magnitude -- will be found in any country. Within Brazil, the federal states of the south have an average IQ and GDP per capita similar to South Europe and four times higher than the states in the north-east of Brazil.
As we know, political turmoil and ethnic cleansing can eliminate or drive away the gifted of a country, and within a very short time harm the economy for decades to come . Highly-skilled citizens from stagnating economies are unlikely to merely watch their standard of living decline, and they will vote with their feet. Their migration amplifies economic divergence.
There are three types of men: Men (with IQ above 123), who invent machines, men (with IQ above 104), who repair machines, and men, who use machines. In a country where there are not enough men to construct and to repair a bridge, sooner or later traffic by railway will break down. This is the message of this extraordinary book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 17, 2008 1:49 AM BST


Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler: The Sense of a New Beginning Under Mussolini and Hitler
Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler: The Sense of a New Beginning Under Mussolini and Hitler
by Professor Roger Griffin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 20.69

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the core of the matter, 23 Feb 2008
Palingenesis has been used for the exact reproduction of ancestral features by inheritance. Roger Griffin understands the political ideology of Fascism as a palingenetic ideology, primarily as a result of the notion that Fascism itself is the rebirth of an empire in the image of that which came before it. The best examples of this can be found with both Fascist Italy and Germany - Italy looking to establish a palingenetic line between the 20th Century regime under Mussolini as being the second incarnation of the Roman Empire, while Hitler's 'Third Reich' was seen as being the second palingenetic incarnation - beginning first with the Holy Roman Empire (First Reich) then with Bismarck's Germany (Second Reich) and then resulting in Fascist Germany (Third Reich).

In other words it seeks, by directly mobilizing popular energies or working through an elite, to eventually conquer cultural hegemony for new values, to bring about the total rebirth of the nation from its present decadence, whether the nation is conceived as a historically formed nation-state or a racially determined 'ethnos'. Conceived in these terms, fascism is an ideology that has assumed a large number of specific national permutations and several distinct organizational forms.

Griffin's approach has already had an enduring impact on the comparative fascist literature of the last 15 years, and builds on the work of George Mosse, Stanley Payne, and Emilio Gentile in highlighting the revolutionary and totalizing politico-cultural nature of the fascist revolution (in marked contrast with Marxist approaches). Now, his latest book, Modernism and Fascism, locates the mainspring of the fascist drive for national rebirth in the modernist bid to achieve an alternative modernity, which is driven by a rejection of the decadence of 'actually existing modernity' under liberal democracy or tradition. The fascist attempt to institute a different civilization and a new temporality in the West found its most comprehensive expression in the 'modernist states' of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, which also revealed the destructive and self-destructive nature of all fascist political projects to 'regenerate' the nation or achieving cultural renewal.

In this context the reviewer was most impressed by page 351: "Inter-war fascist movements had no exit strategy. ... They were bound eventually to become bogged down in their dynamism, moribund in their vitalism. There could be no stabilization, no viable routinization of the charismatic legitimacy of the state (that means, no "Empire Artam"), no social or military peace, no institutional procedures for passing on power to a non-charismatic leader, or for reinvesting it in the party. Nor could power even on the paper be one day entrusted to the people itself in a gradual process of democratization ... . Had Mussolini and Hitler managed to cling on to power, ... then both regimes may have gone the way of Salazar's Portugal and Franco's Spain, charismatic power draining away to a point where the renewal of autocracy after their deaths was impossible, and rapid democratization ensued. However, such an atrophy of modernist energies would have been the ultimate betrayal of the fascist world-view."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2013 4:45 PM BST


A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
by Gregory Clark
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both great and naif, 5 Jan 2008
Since the sixteenth century the scholarly community in the West has accepted the existence of scientific laws. Over the past four centuries modern science has been preoccupied with the discovery and practical application of these laws. This has revolutionized both the natural sciences and human civilization. While the humanities have also made progress during this time, their results have been less remarkable. They have been unable to account for the forces underlying the changing fortunes of human society. The book by Gregory Clark is another heroic attempt to discover the laws underlying the course of human history.

In 1930 Corrado Gini published his Harris Foundation lecture: "The Cyclical Rise and Fall of Population". Gini understood much of the wheel of history, but made - because of the lack of empirical data - the wrong assumption, that the well-to-do have always fewer children than the poor. Indeed, such is the situation since the last quarter of the nineteenth century until up to today. For theoretical reasons Oded Galor and Moav Omer in their seminal paper "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth" (2002) came to the conclusion that before 1850 the upper and medium stratum of society must have been more surviving children than the poor. Clark could confirm this assumption with empirical data of his own, and he makes this finding to the cornerstone of his theoretical derivations.

It is a pity that neither Galor and Moav nor Clark are aware of a large body of historical data, supporting their fundamental assumptions and claims. For example, in 1990 a preliminary summary on the "Social and Demographic Originis of the European Proletariat" was published in which we can read: "The data show that rural and urban proletarians are formed from the socially downward mobile sons and daughters and grandchildren of peasants." Despite Clark's staying of one sabbatical year at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin, he does not cite any German source. In the Inventory of the German Central Office for Genealogy. Part IV (second edition, 1998, ISBN 3-7686-2099-9), he could find not only a complete bibliography of historical demography of Central Europe, based on local family reconstitutions, but also an exhaustive review (p. 74-176) of studies of differential fertility supporting his core argument. Clark could strengthen his point immediately, if he were able to read original papers and books in French, Dutch, German and Swedish, because the development in West, Central and Northern Europe was in principle the same as in England. - By the way, Ernst Engel undertook not studies of Prussian but of Saxonian working-class budgets.

Nevertheless, Clark wrote a couragous book of high originality, enriched with a large number of very interesting figures and tables, touching with their overall message the borderline of political incorrectness. But he should have better nothing written about the last decades. The last two chapters of his book are extraordinarily weak.

Despite his awareness (Table 14.4) of a general negative relationship between the number of surviving children and the social status of their parents in the modern world - the so-called demographic-economic paradox - in sharp contrast to the preindustrial world, where more children of the rich survive, Clark does not dare to draw any conclusion from this. For example, as Francis Galton became aware of this paradox, he founded the eugenic movement. Clark, too, understands the centuries where larger numbers of children in the households of the rich survived also as a process of a genetic enrichment of the cognitive basis of society. Could be the turning point (in England already about 1850, in Germany three or four decades later) in differential fertility also be the turning point of the cycle of industrialized society? Could it be, that the rich because of their rising social density would be the first to regulate their numbers in a cyclic fashion? What does or could this mean for the Aristotelian cycle of political constitutions, for the future of democracy? What are the differences and the similarities of the industrialized society with the rise and fall of the Roman empire and the repeated cycles within China?

"Why Isn't the Whole Word Developed?" is the caption of last chapter of this book. In agreement with his overall message and insight Clark could maybe find a contribution to the answer in the books by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen IQ and the Wealth of Nations and IQ and Global Inequality as well as in the most recent papers by Heiner Rindermann, Erich Weede and Garett Jones. Seen from this point of view Clark has written the first part of a new world history. To imagine and to write the second part should not be an impossibility. However, it will also be a dangerous look into our future.
Most important in this respect is the article "The Population Cycle Drives Human History ... ", published in The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies (Number Fall 2007).

Physical scientists are able to observe the natural world more objectively, because the observer is not identical to the observed. Science is not a potential battlefield for the survival of the individual scientist, as history is for the historian. This is the root cause for the failure of the human sciences to generate any laws governing history. I am sure, anyone who discovers such a general law or even the dynamics of the cycle of population and constitutions of the global industrialized society will be doomed to drain the hemlock cup to the dregs as Socrates.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2010 4:15 PM BST


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