The Evolutionary Pressure of Profit
Capitalism, Communism, and Population Genetics
by Charles Brack
Hedge fund manager, this is your life: Jon Stewart quizzes Jim Cramer on the
coordinated hedge fund short selling that helped drive down the stock market
In evolutionary theory, there was an unwritten rule that cooperation and competition between two populations required them to inhabit overlapping geographic areas. Those were the good old days. In modern-day human populations, both cooperation and competition are reflected mainly in the movements of the world's various economic products. Populations can now compete and cooperate anonymously by economic proxy.
While international trade seems to be the latest variation on Darwinian game theory, it revisits some well established tendencies of the interaction of species: the tendency for habitat corridors to increase species viability in the connected habitats; and, the tendency for species to drive out competitor species if they can reproduce with less energy.
International trade circumvents many of the artificial niche protections associated with the rise of nation-states. The political organization of the world's territory into 194 sovereign nations is substantially under the influence of population genetics, and subserves the Darwinian function of protecting the niche to support those genetics.
The Kayser study (2005) of German and Polish genetic divergence illustrates this point. Kayser et al. found substantial Y-chromosome variations between German and Polish populations following the general rule: the genetic border between Germany and Poland matched the political border quite well. Interestingly, political borders are often based on natural habitat barriers, such as mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, as is the case with the rivers that separate Germany and Poland.
The study of how political borders modulate the spread of genes has yet to begin, and we can only speculate based on the evolutionary rule of natural habitat barriers: gene flow across political borders is inversely proportional to the difficulty of movement across that border. The impact of habitat and political barriers on population genetics can be substantial, as separated populations tend to genetically diverge over time.
North Korea provides a contemporary example of a political border that severly impacts gene flow, which has a net migration rate of nearly zero. The fact that communistic countries seek to decrease gene flow follows naturally from the Hamiltonian theory of inclusive fitness. Communistic behaviors increase with decreased genetic distance between individuals, and reach their peak within the nuclear family. Not so coincidentally, communistic countries are notable by the presence of long-term patriarch leaders and corresponding restrictions on migration, thereby stabilizing the political system by restricting genetic distance within the population gene pool.
An interesting side note to this phenomenon is the current decrease in migration rates to the United States, which was instigated by the economic downturn, and interestingly follows a stronger tendency towards socialistic policies. We shall discuss capitalism, communism, and gene flow shortly.
But first, let's look at some of the innate destabilizing forces within capitalism that make it a recurring problem when it comes to maintaining full employment, and why socialism eventually carves out a niche within capitalistic economies.
The Zero-Sum Games of Capitalism
It must be noted that purely capitalist and purely socialist economies do not exist in the world, and for good reason: pure capitalism and pure socialism are much less efficient models of total production than a blended capitalist-socialist model. While socialism tends to slow down the application and redeployment of resources, capitalism shuts down production quickly, and needs socialism to counteract the innate problems associated with the introduction of the profit motive to organize production.
Recessions hint at a fundamental problem with the internals of capitalism, which are hidden behind government deficits, increasing consumer debt, declining savings rates, and stock market meltdowns. Capitalism is a system of economic production that conceals the many constituent zero-sum games at its core. When total output is held constant or decreases, which happens during economic downturns, the zero-sum games become more obvious, along with the associated political countermeasures.
A zero-sum capitalistic game at work: collusion by corporate executives, serving on each other's boards, utilizing the compensation committees to disproportionately increase executive compensation. The average US CEO earns nine times the average Japanese CEO, and twice the average European CEO
To illustrate the primary zero-sum game of capitalism, let's start with the simple case of a two-person economy, with one capitalist and one worker (note that this model works for any number of capitalists and workers). To make this case even simpler, let there be only one product produced. Further, let's presume that the capitalist starts the process of production with $1,000, and during a calendar week, pays the worker $500 to help produce goods that the capitalist tries to sell for $1,000 during that week. The events are summarized below:
Capitalist starts with $1,000
Pays Worker $500 for the week
Tries to sell the goods produced that week for $1,000
Worker pays $500 for the goods that were produced
Capitalist pays $500 for the remainder of the goods
Capitalist ends up with $1000 at end of week
Capitalist Game 1 identifies one of the zero-sum problems the capitalist introduces into the market economy: the pricing of products in excess of costs. This problem is circumvented when the capitalist purchases the remainder of the product not purchased by the worker. But what if the capitalist doesn't? The unsold product is carried over into the next week, eventually reducing production as the capitalist responds to increasing inventories. No economic system responds as quickly to increasing inventories as does capitalism.
Obviously, it is important for capitalist economies to produce products that stimulate demand by the capitalist class, as this relieves the pressure the capitalist introduces by pricing products in excess of costs. Capitalism produces luxury goods like no other social system, and indeed, one of the chief byproducts of capitalist economies is the wide diversity of products and the rapid redeployment of the resources to produce those products. This counters the problems associated with the continual pursuit of profit.
The profit motive, while fundamental to the initiation of economic production, is by its very nature a destabilizing force in the market economy. But it isn't the only such destabilizing force. The improbable model above, Capitalist Game 1, works for any number of products, but only if they are produced in the same amount of time, and further, if savings rates are zero--a rather unrealistic scenario.
Let's see what happens when we have two products with different production periods (this model works for any number of products), and introduce personal savings. Further, let our two-person economy produce one nondurable consumer good, and one durable product, such as a house. Let's suppose the house takes two weeks to construct, while the nondurable consumer good takes one week. Further, the worker works overtime and introduces another destabilizer to the market economy: savings. The first week's activity is displayed below.
Capitalist starts with $1,000
Pays Worker $500 for the week to help produce consumer good, and $300 per week to build house
Charges $1000 for consumer goods produced that week
Worker pays $500 for the consumer goods that were produced, saves $300
Capitalist pays $200 for the remainder of the goods
Capitalist ends up with $700 at end of week, and has $300 of unsold consumer goods
and the addition of personal savings
The capitalist, at the end of the first week, has a problem. He needs another $300 to finish producing the house, and would fall short if he continues to spend $500 on producing the consumer good. To resolve this problem, either production of the consumer good must be slowed down, the capitalist must borrow money to maintain the same production levels for both the consumer good and the house, or he must improve the production process to yield more product for less cost.
In the real world, all three techniques are applied, among others, to smooth over the destabilizing nature of profits, savings, and varying production periods on demand. Consumption by capitalists reduces the market pressure induced by the profit motive, investment reduces the pressure induced by savings, and credit reduces the pressure induced by profit, savings, and the varying production periods of the various products, and one of the reasons capitalist economies tend to increase debt levels over time.
We must take special note of another countering factor to the above destabilizers: increases in aggregate wealth. The wealth impact on consumption, which was prominent during the United States real estate boom peaking in 2005, increased overall demand substantially. One estimate by Benjamin (2004) placed the impact of increases in real estate wealth on consumption at 8 cents per dollar. That is, for every $1,000 increase in real estate wealth, consumption increased by $80. Unfortunately, decreases in aggregate wealth have the reverse impact.
Capitalism's assault on stable wealth distributions is relentless, as seen recently by the collapse of the banking industry, and the struggle of corporate giants such as AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Wealth redistribution is also impacted by tax codes, which impact reproductive rates among the various social classes and are substantially under the influence of political trends.
Further, capitalism has a strong tendency to swell the ranks of the people that practice it, which works to counter its destabilizing influences. The way capitalism does this is particularly interesting, and of extreme genetic interest: the search for new territories, resources, and cheap labor sources. Even though we have identified some of the characteristics of capitalism that eternally destabilize it, we have yet to account for the business cycle, a major instigator of political and genetic change.
Socialism to the Rescue: the Capitalistic Quagmire of Business Cycles
The recent collapse of the world economy has been spectacular, and like the Great Depression, will invoke long-term social and genetic change. While socialism has problems producing adequate supplies of products, capitalism has the opposite problem, that is, maintaining adequate demand. Further complicating this problem, capitalism shuts down production more quickly than any other economic system, putting people out of work and underutilizing total productive capacity.
A distinguishing feature of sharp economic downturns is the increased influence of the central government, which fills in for the inability of free-market capitalism to maintain employment at sufficient levels so as to stay out of political trouble. But why do business cycles occur?
The origin of business cycles has no consensus among economists, which is most likely due to their many diverse causes. Theories range from climate-induced cycles to cycles in credit. However, there is a common theme in many of these theories, which involve the general inability of demand to keep pace with supply, primarily in industries that produce investment goods (e.g., machinery), construction (e.g., houses), and durable consumer goods (e.g., automobiles). As noted previously, diverse product production cycles are a key factor in destabilizing demand relative to supply.
In the United States, the primary offender in the most recent recession was the housing industry, which gives us an excellent window into how most business cycles work. Houses have some unique attributes when compared to other consumer goods: high cost, long useful life, and function both as a consumption and investment good. They also have several notable characteristics that help induce business cycles: high labor expense, long production periods (about 3 months), lagging productivity, price sensitivity, and purchased via long-term credit.
The labor-intensive nature of residential construction has a greater impact on consumer spending than a corresponding investment in other industries, at least in the short run. The economic impact of the longer production period of residential construction follows Capitalist Game 2, where the capitalist pays the worker to build a house, at which point the worker can spend that money immediately on consumer goods while the house will not be ready to sell for three months, thus temporarily destabilizing demand relative to supply.
This same phenomenon is also seen with durable consumer and capital investment goods. But the beauty of residential construction comes from the way it is purchased: via long-term financing. Residential financing constitutes a conversion of savings into consumption, and initially works to close the gap between demand and supply, that is, until the loan starts being repaid.
If an economic upturn is driven by an increase in the number of housing starts, it will have a bit of a problem as housing starts begin to level off. Every housing start creates about 2.5 short-term jobs. Therefore, stable employment in the residential construction industry is dependent on stability in the numbers of housing starts.
Further, residential construction becomes a negative influence on overall demand with every additional mortgage that needs to be repaid. Interestingly, one of the methodologies to correct the current economic crisis is to reduce mortgage rates, which neutralizes the drag that increases in the numbers of mortgage payments wreak upon the demand-supply ratio.
Thus the economic dilemma of residential construction: stimulating overall demand as long as housing starts increase, while steadily increasing the number of mortgages that reduce the ratio of demand to supply. There are indeed secondary economic benefits with new home sales, which involve the purchase of household durable products, but this again follows the cyclical pressures of high-cost products with longer production periods.
Further exacerbating the peaks and valleys of business cycles, demand for houses and high-cost consumer durables are very sensitive to changes in consumer confidence and the uncertainties associated with the job market. Thus, high-cost products with long production periods are major contributors to economic cycles.
The Genetics of Capitalism and Communism
Capitalism, more than any other economic system, quickly diverts resources to meet the demands of the market. Unlike communism, which tends to react slowly to changes in demand and inventories, capitalism shuts production down quickly, putting people out of work, and subsequently getting itself into political trouble. This opens the door for increased governmental spending and the conservative complaint of "creeping socialism".
Where capitalism smashed the Darwinian rule of geographic isolation and genetic diversity:
Hawaii is now one of the world's most genetically diverse human populations
One of the pressures the capitalist places on the market is the attempt to get more money out than he puts in. This behavior is best illustrated in the stock market, which emulates the rules of zero-sum games when gains and losses are measured relative to market averages (Harris, 2003). Of course, zero-sum games strongly favor "insider" information and collusion, both prominent features of any stock market, especially in the modern era of program trading, naked short selling, and the elimination of the uptick rule.
However, the best example of the zero-sum nature of capitalism, when factoring out productivity increases, is the staggering ascent of executive compensation relative to employee wages. In 1965, the average CEO made 50 times the minimum wage, while in 2005, that difference skyrocketed to 820 times. Zero-sum games disproportionately reward collusion, and the exorbitant increases in executive compensation are executed by members of corporate compensation committees that populate the executive ranks of other corporations.
As can be seen by the relative increase in CEO compensation, capitalism induces constant Darwinian pressure, prominently exposed during the economic downturns. But all this comes with an unexpected impact: the dispersal of human genetics over wider territory, and the increased diversity in population gene pools. Let's see how capitalism works its genetic magic.
One of the best examples of the relationship between capitalism and genetics is Hawaii. As a general rule, geographic isolation means genetic isolation and drift. The founder effect decreases genetic diversity in the founder population, as has been a distinctive trend in the human diaspora from Africa: throughout the world, geographic distance from east Africa correlates inversely with genetic variability in a population.
Hawaii is one of the most isolated habitats in the world, and subjected to two major human migrations from the Marquesas Islands (around 400 A.D) and Tahitians (around 1,000 AD) prior James Cook's discovery in 1778. Cook was involved in the very capitalistic pursuit of finding the mythical Northwest Passage, bypassing the continent of North America, which was lowering the profit from the English trade with East Asia.
Shortly after the introduction of the Europeans, the indigenous Hawaiian population fell sharply. Some estimates indicated a 95% drop in the indigenous population in just 100 years. Most of this genocide was due to European diseases such as measles and influenza, while at the same time, birth rates fell sharply due to venereal disease.
The Capitalistic Imperative for Genetic Diversity
One of capitalism's prominent characteristics is its strong tendency to expand the number of people that participate in it. Although this seems to be a capitalistic "ponzi scheme", whereby zero-sum games create profits for the originators at the expense of those that join later, it is not just the desire to expand markets that drives the capitalist: it is also the desire for cheap labor and resources.
As such, capitalism continually encroaches upon populations at the fringe of modern technology. These populations have lower wages and use less energy to reproduce, which has major Darwinian implications. This was noted by MacArthur and Wilson in The Theory of Island Biogeography (1967):
in an environment with no crowding, genotypes that can harvest the most food will have the most offspring; in crowded areas, genotypes that can reproduce with the lowest amount of food will displace less efficient forms of reproduction.
Like no other economic system, capitalism profits by interleaving populations with divergent reproductive energy-gradients and different resource-gradients. Profits are realized by the substitution of expensive labor and expensive resources with cheaper sources, diverting commodity production to low-wage populations with lower-energy modes of reproduction.
Interestingly, the longer these "cheap-labor" nations are involved in manufacturing and international trade, the more likely they will lose their cost advantages. As these nations raise their living standards, fueled by trade surpluses, they become targets of the same capitalistic forces, as seen by the current exodus of manufacturing from Taiwan and Hong Kong and into mainland China.
The zero-sum tendencies of capitalism act like a vacuum for nations at the fringe of industrialization by drawing them deeper into the supercomplex of global manufacturing. Further, capitalism does something quite remarkable from a evolutionary perspective: it reduces the reproductive energy-gradients between populations; and more importantly, increases gene flow between these populations. Interestingly, reducing the reproductive energy-gradients between populations facilitates gene flow between them, and vice-versa.
This phenomenon was best witnessed in Hawaii. Sugar cane was originally introduced with the emigrants from the Marquesas Islands, and subsequently became one of the major capitalistic enterprises starting in 1835. The devastation of the indigenous Hawaiian population, along with the explosion in demand, stimulated by the California Gold Rush, the American Civil War, and the Reciprocity Treaty, would require the importation of cheap labor from China, Japan, Portugal, Korea, Spain, Russia, and the Philippines.
Capitalism's Aftermath: Hawaii now has one of the most diverse blends of human genetics in the world
The truly notable event of the Hawaiian sugar industry, and one that would be repeated in every part of the world infiltrated by capitalism, was the reduction in the premium paid for Caucasian labor, which in the Hawaiian case, occurred between 1901 to 1915 (La Croix, 2002). The Caucasians lost much of their wage advantages to Asian labor during this time. The stunning Darwinian result was increased gene flow and lower reproductive energy-gradients between the various ethnicities, again, a pattern repeated in every corner of the capitalistic world.
Communism and the Pressure to Limit Genetic Variation
If you go to China, you are likely to notice something called the siheyuan, which pretty much sums up the behaviors that underlie Chinese communism. The siheyuan are a collection of dwellings occupied by extended families, and particularly notable by the walls that always surround them. China is the "wall" capital of the world, and it certainly follows that the Great Wall was built there.
The Chinese orientation towards extended family life is also reflected in their language. Chinese are named with the family name first, which is a very good clue as to how they distribute their altruistic behaviors. Adult Chinese, within their own families, are referred to by their relationship, rather than their given name: older brother, older sister, second brother, second sister, etc. It is also common that cousins are referred to by their given name appended with "brother" or "sister".
The average Chinese has a different model of inclusive fitness than the average Caucasian, and this seems to be related to the divergence in population density. Inclusive fitness is the individual's relative genetic presence in the gene pool of the next generation. Thus, brothers, sisters, cousins, second-cousins all have a coefficient of relatedness, which is simply the proportion of genes that are shared in common. One doesn't need to reproduce to improve the fitness of one's own genes, as this can also be accomplished by altruistic behaviors towards close kin. The evolution of altruism and morality can be laid squarely at the feet of inclusive fitness.
The proposal that the Chinese distribute altruism over a larger number of relatives than do Caucasians is certainly controversial. However, the Chinese extended family, with three generations living under one roof, is obvious evidence for this viewpoint. Chinese economic behavior has historically been organized around kin-groups and genetic closeness, and as Janet Landa (1981) pointed out, has an economic advantage when confronting competing non-kin based business organizations.
The Berlin Wall: what is the secret relationship between walls, inclusive fitness, gene flow, and communism?
The propensity for altruistic behaviors to increase with decreasing genetic distance, so prominent across the animal kingdom, has become the pillar upon which communism is built. As population size and genetic distance increase, there is a commensurate decrease in altruistic behaviors across that population. Note that political instability in communist countries (or any country) typically occur with the most ethnically diverse subpopulations, as is happening now in Tibet. It is no accident that the geographic and genetic isolation of the Tibetan plateau also happens to be the most politically unstable region in communist China.
The instability that genetic diversity places on communist countries is reflected in the dynamics of small religious communes, such as the Hutterites in South Dakota. Indeed, internal disputes were the primary reason for the dissolution of 19th century communes (Sosis, 2003). Unfortunately, the relationship between commune instability and increased genetic distance can only be inferred, since no direct studies exist. Splintering is indeed more likely as communes grow to over 200 members and genetics are theoretically more diverse. However, we must note that behavioral regulation mechanisms become difficult after a commune exceeds 100 members without the introduction of an authoritarian agent.
Religious or secular commune formation, almost by definition, is executed by some level of geographic isolation. Communes genetically diverge from their parent populations due to the founder effect. Further, communes tend to disproportionately favor the genes of the commune founders in the next generation (Galanter, 1989). This is particularly true of religious communes. The price of communal altruism is lower genetic variation and higher rates of inbreeding.
Political Instability at the Ethnic Fringe of Communism
Communistic behaviors are small-group behaviors that reach their pinnacle within the nuclear family. Fully executing these behaviors across large populations is problematical, and the greater the ethnic divergence, the greater the problem. As such, communist nations have some rather interesting characteristics, at least from the standpoint of population genetics. The propensity for communist countries to build walls and restrict migration reflects the politically destablizing impact of genetic divergence on communism. Further, communist countries are especially susceptible to political instability among the ethnic subpopulations.
Let's take a closer look at the Tibetan crisis in China, which is a classic case of genetic-memetic divergence and political instability. The high-altitude of the Tibetan plateau has induced some interesting physiological anomalies among the indigenous population, one of which involves blood nitrous oxide levels that are 10 times higher than those residing at lower altitudes.
Whether this is a genetic mutation or a normal human adaptation of high-altitude living is yet to be unequivocably established, however, mutations have been found in other species, such as in the Tibetan chick embryo (Gou, 2005). This leads to an interesting proposal: the more maladaptive the genetic mixing of two populations, the greater their political-religious conflict.
If indeed the various Tibetan populations have genetic adaptations tailored for high-altitude living, reproducing with low-altitude populations could be environmentally maladaptive. However, political-religious conflicts occur even when the adaptive value of genetic mingling seems to be neutral or positive, which implies a sort of "selfish-gene" hypothesis to political behavior.
The genetic divergence of the Tibetan and Han populations is under considerable dispute, although the split with the Han population, which makes up more than 90% of the total Chinese population, appears to have occurred more than 6,000 years ago. The Han began a very successful agricultural and low-altitude existence, while the Tibetan populations seem to have multiple origins: one branch from Central Asia and the other from East Asia, based on Y-chromosome analysis (Su, 2000).
The inducement for communist China to rule Tibet is both economic and strategic, as it constitutes an excellent buffer between India and Bangaladesh, providing China with one of the best natural borders on earth: the Himalayas. The tendency for human populations to arrange national borders based on natural habitat barriers is evident by the political map of Europe: Spain and France are separated the Pyrenees mountain range; the Alps separate Italy, France, Switzerland, and Austria; the Rhine river separates Switzerland from Germany, and forms part of the border between France and Germany; the Oder and Neisse rivers separate Germany from Poland, etc.
These natural barriers have historically restricted gene and meme flow, and provided the seeds for the formation of nation-states and their associated borders. While capitalistic countries are under pressure to expand markets and draw populations into the web of international capitalism, communist countries are less destabilized when they are surrounded by ethnic populations that are isolated from international capitalism.
Thus the cold war. The Chinese introduction of land reform into feudalistic Tibet resulted in conflict that drew in the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, highlighting the political-religious conflict with populations living at the ethnic fringe of communism. While high-tech capitalism is very good at gradually extending its social influence with consumer products, communism must induce social change directly, and subsequently build barriers to restrict genetic and memetic flow.
Let's Do the Darwinian
In July 2007, the SEC eliminated the 70-year old uptick rule, allowing short sellers, illegally coordinating their activities, to quickly decimate stock values. The nonsensical behavior of the stock market, where a diverse range of stocks could drop 10% or more in less than a minute, is an example of how effective coordinated short selling can be, especially without an uptick rule. The stock market began its sharp descent shortly after its repeal, and the stream of bad economic news was the short-seller's paradise.
While most investors lost money in 2008, the top 25 hedge-fund managers made a grand total of $11.6 billion--about $500 million each. Capitalism is replete with zero-sum games, from colluding hedge fund short-sellers to the executive-pandering compensation committees of corporate boards.
However, the most common zero-sum game is a very capitalist one indeed: the pricing of products in excess of production costs. The "zero-sumness" of this game is concealed effectively by improvements in productivity, capitalist consumption, increases in government, corporate, and personal debt, and the continual encroachment of capitalism into the more economically isolated corners of the world.
From the perspective of population biology, capitalism has had some remarkable outcomes: the rapid development of habitat corridors (easier modes of travel between geographic areas); increased global gene and meme flow; reduction in the variation of energy used for reproduction across populations; and the continued expansion of the total geographic area inhabited by humans.
This leads us to our opening discussion of the genetic impact of international trade, and the plight of the most recent sacrifice to the Darwinian buzzsaw of capitalism: the American worker. In a uniquely human variation of population biology, international trade introduces competition and cooperation between populations without the traditional requirement of overlapping geographic territories. The long-term result of international trade is to reduce the differences in the average energy used by geographically-separated populations, the best contemporary example being the rapid increase in energy demand in China, which is seven times faster than the United States.
The reduction in the energy gap has been accompanied by shifts in the distribution of wealth. Walmart has moved approximately 200,000 US jobs to China due to its heavy emphasis on Chinese imports. (Walmart ranks above Germany and Britain as an export market for China). While the American worker has born the burden for this practice, the primary beneficiary has been Sam Walton's four children.
Interestingly, capitalism follows the general rule: the greater the size of the capitalistic network, the greater the concentration of wealth. That is, global capitalism results in higher concentrations of wealth, as has been observed in the majority of countries, and follows from the zero-sum nature of capitalism.
While conservatives are less likely to believe in evolution, they are nonetheless the greatest practitioners of natural selection, and the greatest proponents of unrestricted capitalism. This propensity is a byproduct of the dopaminergic nature of conservatism, which seeks to reduce impediments to reward-seeking. On the other hand, the greatest believers in evolution, the liberals, are more likely to interfere with its unrestricted operation, and further, less tolerant of unrestricted capitalism.
Capitalism provides for a rapid diversion of resources to meet the demands of the market. However, it organizes production based on the profit motive, and subsequently results in rapid economic downturns and under-utilization of resources. Socialism is slow to react to changes in the market, and a less efficient model of productivity and resource distribution than capitalism.
However, it insulates against economic downturns and removes the negative consequences that the profit motive periodically has on total production. It is no coincidence that the severe world economic downturn also correlates with the decline in the influence of world socialism. Interestingly, the last sharp decline in world capitalism, during the 1930's, occurred before the post-World War II rise of world socialism. World capitalism is losing its buffer of world socialism, and is now more prone to sharp economic downturns.
This economic dichotomy of conservatism and liberalism provides for a symbiosis of capitalism and socialism, and interestingly, provides for a more efficient model of total economic output than pure capitalism or pure socialism. A mixture of conservatives and liberals actually seems to constitute a more effective model of total economic production than all conservatives or all liberals.
But many questions remain: what is the genetic impact of business cycles and economic globalization? Unemployment has disproportionately impacted Blacks and Hispanics in the United States, and it would follow that reproduction would be impacted. However, no formal studies exist on the impact of business cycles and economic globalization on population genetics. In other species, downturns in habitat yield reduce reproductive rates, increase competition, and ultimately increase the rate of evolutionary change. It therefore follows that economic cycles speed up the rate of change in gene frequencies among humans.
Charles Brack, April 2009
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