Global Problems of Population Growth

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Lecture 1
Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies
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Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies

Reproduction is not simple or easy, nor is it fair. Females often bear a larger reproductive burden of child bearing and child rearing. Reproductive strategies can be simplified into two primary strategies for males and two for females: males often either engage in sperm competition or physical competition while females strategize to get resources from males, or to find the best male genes for the offspring. Rape and violence, as reproductive strategies, occur in few species, but violence is especially prevalent among the great apes, probably because eggs are so scarce in these species. Among orangutans, rape is common. For gorillas, infanticide is a common form of reproductive violence, and male chimpanzees regularly fight each other and batter females.

Reading assignment:

Wade, Nicolas. "Books on Science: Dr. Tatiana, a Dr. Ruth with Advice for Other Species." The New York Times, 5 November 2002

Forsyth, Adrian. A Natural History of Sex. The Ecology and Evolution of Sexual Behavior, chapters 1, 5, 7 and 8

Goodall, Jane. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns and Behavior, pp. 452-3, 477-8 and 481-7

Peterson, Dale and Richard Wrangham. Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, chapter 7


January 13, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: I want to start today with some stories from the newspapers: to set a tone. It was over the last few years.

Tehran: one afternoon Fatima Eskandari opened the front metal gate of the shelter she runs for runaway girls in central Tehran and was confronted with two men, armed with knives and rifles. "Who are you?" She asked. "We are the uncles of a girl named Ranach, we are told that you are keeping Ranach," and indeed that was true. Ranach was 16 years old, and she was inside, recovering from the bruises that she suffered at the hands of these same uncles. She had run away from home to escape them. The uncles had driven from Sanandaj in the northwest corner of Iran, hundreds of miles away; they demanded to see their niece. The uncle said she had shamed the family by leaving home a few days before. They had come to behead her. They were very open about this. There was no secret. [NY Times 11/5/00]

Staten Island, New York: A 17-year-old girl worked as a cashier in a convenience store. The store owner said that the girl was stealing from the register and he was going to fire her. The girl went to her father and said that the store owner had groped her. The father flew into a rage, grabbed a baseball bat and a gun, went down to the store, and killed two people. [NY Times 12/14/05]

Islamabad, Pakistan Zahida Perveen, 21-years-old was pregnant in 1998 when her husband, Mehmood Iqbal, bound her hands and feet with a rope. First he shoved a rod in one of her eyes, blinding her, then cut off her nose and ears. He SUSPECTED her of seeing another man. [New Haven Register 1/8/01]

Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Felicia Scott already had two sons, but she had an obsessive desire to have another baby. She convinced her boyfriend to help her get one, so they went out, shot a pregnant woman, and cut the full term fetus from her womb. [NY Times 9/28/98]

Saudi Arabia: New York Times--A young woman was raped by seven men. She pressed charges. The Saudi Court sentenced HER to 200 lashes--200 lashes is almost a lethal dose. [NY Times 1/4/08 p1]

Dominican Republic: Crucita Medina is 18, she's been married for a year in which her husband Jose beat her constantly. She had the courage to separate from him but she met with Jose after their separation when he asked her to talk. He took her to a desolate street on his motorcycle and they had an argument. He grabbed a container he had filled with - what they call the devil's acid, - a mixture of gasoline, hydrochloric acid, car battery acid, urine and other chemicals. He threw it at Crucida. The liquid disfigured her permanently. It burned her face, her arms, the right side of her chest, and a portion of her legs. She is still trying to bring her ex-husband to justice. [IPPF Reaching Out 22: Spring '02]

Gosarigaon, Bangladesh: I'm almost done with this. The village elders met under a lychee tree to put a value on a Payara Bigum's grotesquely ruined face. A young man had become obsessed with her; she was married and he was turned away. He took his revenge with sulfuric acid to erase the beauty that had once enchanted him and to empty her life of happiness. Her cheeks melted, her right eye was blinded and hollowed to a crater. The husband had to bribe the prosecutors before they would even take up the case. Eventually the perpetrator's family had to pay a fee of $3,000.

In one year, the year I have statistics for, 1999, there are 174 acid attacks in Bangladesh and those are the ones that were officially reported. Of course, probably the vast majority of these never get reported. The article mentioned a 13-year-old girl who was attacked as she slept. Some victims die, some are forced to marry their attacker, another was forbidden to come home until she allowed her husband to take a second wife. [NY Times 6/24/00]

Well these stories are obviously at the extreme of human behavior, but the purpose of giving you all that is to explain that human sexual behavior has extremely deep roots, very emotional, and very hard to change or manipulate. Male/female relationships are very difficult for humans to cope with. I think it shouldn't particularly surprise you that human sexuality is not particularly driven by rational calculation.

The few stories that I've pulled out of the newspapers are just the tip, clearly just the tip, of an iceberg, of a very widespread phenomenon. In the long course of human history across cultures you see are the--I gave you everything from Brooklyn to Bangladesh--these very similar sorts of things happen.

Females, through the long course of history and in most cultures, where most humans have lived, females are treated very badly. There's a huge amount of battering. Battering is the prime human version of violence, and females are so discriminated against that statistics indicate that there's something now, right now, something like a hundred million missing females. That these females are either aborted before they're born, killed by infanticide, pretty much as soon as they're born, or neglected so that they don't get the food, or they don't get the medical care that their brothers get. There's a dearth of something like a hundred million women in the world today. These are extreme incidents but it's an extremely common thing.

One of the purposes of this course is to try to get you to understand what is causing all of this. From a biological point of view this abuse of females is extremely weird. Males, as you know, can only reproduce via a female and so--and evolution is--the name of the game is reproducing, so almost all species--what kind of female do the males want? They want the healthiest, most well protected, the best fed female, and you'll see some examples of the extremes to which males will go to provide this so that that female can produce offspring for that male and carry on the evolution game.

In humans, we find that it's very general that females are treated atrociously, and it just doesn't make sense that human males should keep many of their females hungry, sick, and abused. In childbirth, if a woman does give birth to a child they can often be underweight, sickly, and it's because the mother is not in great health. This is all a biological disaster the way human males treat human females and we don't know--I mean we do--we have some idea, why humans do that and the first part of the course we'll talk something about that.

That's on the individual level, and evolution works on an individual level, but if you think on a species level, missing a hundred million of your breeders, that does not sound like a great tactic for survival of the species. I spent some time, when I started getting interested in this whole topic, reading the anthropological literature, the sociological literature, the feminist literature, and basically I thought all those explanations were a crock. I don't think they came close to an answer. In my own studies I had to go back to the very beginning and understand what sex was really all about.

I'm going to tell you a few important things about sex and reproduction. The first one is that reproduction turns out to be very difficult. One day I was sitting over in our botanical garden under a beautiful big oak--huge oak tree that they have, and the ground was just covered with acorns under this tree, and I asked one of the forestry people, because that's the kind of things that they know, I asked them how many acorns has this tree produced? They said, well the wind--this spread is so much and this line, and you know it's so deep, and they came up with probably 750,000 acorns a year. I thought wow, so I checked the literature and found that people that collect these notes for commercial purposes, a good oak tree can produce five hundred pounds of acorns a year, and many sources say that an oak tree produces millions of acorns in its lifetime.

Wow, a lot of reproduction right, there's got to be sex before it. Then I asked myself, how many of these million acorns survive to make a tree like their parents? What's the answer? Basic biology question, you might know it. Well, what if each tree on average, taking an average of tree made two acorns, how many acorns would there be--how many oak trees would there be in the--made two acorns that made trees--how many oak trees would there be in the next generation? Twice as many as now; what if they only did--and so that can't continue because then the Earth would immediately fill up with oak trees and we'd be this deep in acorns. Similarly, if the trees produced less on average, less than one, what will happen to the oak species? It goes extinct. So, over the long time, on average, each oak tree has only one acorn that grows up to be an acorn producing tree itself. That's an amazing fact--it puts out millions of acorns and only one survives.

Of course this is true not only for trees but fish, which spew out--fish females--huge numbers, hundreds, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of eggs; or males of many, many species that spew out billions of sperms that, in a sexual species, the way mammals are, two parents on average, two children. If two parents for a species average more than two children, the world fills up with squirrels or whatever animal we're talking about. If they have less than two over a long run, they've gone extinct.

Most species, in fact, in the history have gone extinct. The average of current species has got to be 1:1 or 2:2 depending on how you count, but for most species it's less than that because most species have gone extinct. So, the answer is, it is brutally difficult to reproduce. If any given individual in a species produces a lot of children, more than one or two, depending on how you're counting, then that means that some other individuals are having less, again, unless the species are humans, which are about the only species that are increasing continuously over the long time.

As an example, they now, by this genetic testing have tested: how many descendants does Genghis Khan have? The answer is 16 million descendants, this one guy, so that's an awful lot. Guess how he did it? By killing a lot of men and raping their women. So he has that many descendants because an awful lot of men, all the men he killed, don't have any descendants. That's just Genghis Khan, the Mongol Horde had a lot of males and I think they spread their seeds quite widely, and a lot of males and conquered people just didn't survive.

Of course every army in the world has done--essentially all--have done a huge amount of raping, and it's a wonderful instrument of gene flow in the human population. Because reproduction is actually so difficult, species have evolved all kinds of fantastic mechanisms for trying to be successful at reproduction, so that's Point One.

Point Two is that sex is not fair. It's not only difficult but it's not fair. Sex goes way back in evolution and even bacteria do it. This is--the biologists here are laughing. This is the bacteria that are in your colon and they have sex in this manner, and so right now billions of sexual acts are taking place in your unspeakable parts, and this is the way they do it. Now, in something like this, actually the exchange of DNA can be either way and this is--even though the hairy guy on the left is producing that long pilus, as it's called, there's more or less equality of sexuality here.

But when it comes to higher organisms you get quite a different story. You all know the story the chicken and the egg. Well the way I tell it is the poor chicken, the chicken has to build this big egg, it has to eat like crazy, put all that protein and fat into the egg which are--if you're not fed in the barnyard--which are hard to come by, and then once the chicken is hatched guess who sits--once the egg comes--out guess who sits on the egg? The female. Guess who protects the young? The female. So that's chickens. You can go all the way up to humans; females have to spend nine months pregnant and then in most societies and most times females are the ones that have the burden of responsibility for the children.

Meanwhile in all this, males just produce a little speck of protoplasm, insert it into the female, say, 'bye-bye, I've had my quickie and I'm off,' and--not in all species--but in most species, the male has a very minimal part in reproduction and the female has this huge burden. Now why does that come about? You'd think evolution would require that females just wouldn't play this game in evolution and they would require a more equal distribution of the labor.

Well it turns out it is--starts--as a division of labor. The first animals to evolve, first of anything, were probably--were almost certainly in the sea, and stuck down on the bottom or floating around and so they couldn't move. How do you mate if you can't get up and find your mate? Well you just spew out your sperms into the ocean; you spew out your eggs into the ocean, and you hope that they meet. Not a very efficient mechanism, but at that stage, the male has produced zillions of sperms, and the female has to produce zillions of eggs. If you're an animal and you have to produce so many of anything, gametes in this case, each one is going to be very tiny. Two tiny things meet and fuse; you've still got a tiny thing. The odds of survival of a tiny thing are not very great.

Evolution doesn't like that idea of the male and the female both spewing out lots and lots of these tiny gametes. What happens eventually is that the two sexes separate, that the female's job is to make a big enough egg, with enough nutrients in it, so that the organism can survive, and the male's job is to go find that egg. What do males have--what have the sperms evolved? Tails, to take them swimming. They find--their job is to find the egg, so there still has to be lots of those and they have to expend a lot of energy swimming. It's still an equal amount of investment.

Then the whole animal--once evolution proceeds, the whole animal can now get up and walk over and find a female, or vice versa, and now they can copulate or do some sort of insemination very close together. This now does not require zillions and zillions of sperms. If you're--if the eggs they already laid, like a fish in a nest, the male just lays the sperms right on top of the eggs, and you need some surplus over the number of eggs but nothing to compensate for the amount of energy she's putting into her eggs. You start getting an inequality. As soon as animals can find each other and mate in a more spatially enclosed way, then you start getting inequality.

Evolution goes down that path because it's turned out to be a very, very effective path, and what you get is that females make a few eggs, her eggs are very expensive, they are expensive and rare. Males still make many, many sperms; his sperms are plentiful and cheap. This is what we call a sexual dimorphism that males and females are taking different evolutionary routes. Once they take different evolutionary routes then different reproductive strategies come into play for males and females.

A male, through the first billion years of evolution has been producing a lot of sperm, and now all of sudden he figures out how to swim over to a female and he doesn't need all those sperms but he's still--evolution is conservative, it's still--he's still producing all these sperms. What is evolution going to do with all those sperms? One thing they can do is--he can evolve backwards and just make fewer sperm. That would save him energy, it would be good for him a little bit, but it wouldn't really get him an awful lot more children, which is the name of the evolution game. Now what he can do with those excess sperms, find another female. That his limit--there stops being a limit on the number of females that he can inseminate he spreads his sperm to as many females as he can find.

This dimorphism that sperm are cheap and plentiful, while eggs are expensive and rare, leads to different strategies of reproduction in males and females. It also sets up some odd situations where, for instance, males are expendable. If one male can fertilize a lot of females, females don't need a lot of males around. For instance, there's a certain female wasp that lays its egg in a caterpillar. Wasps are one of the major predators of caterpillars; they lay the egg in, the egg hatches and starts eating up the caterpillar. All of the eggs that are laid in a single caterpillar compete with each other for the food, that is, the caterpillar. What happens is evolution has arranged that the females hatch first and they eat up all their brothers except one, and then that one male can fertilize all his sisters and things go on. The males are expendable in that case, and if the females just ignored them and let them live, the males would be competing with the females for food, the females would grow less big and healthy, and they would have less eggs and evolution doesn't like that kind of a system.

We'll--all of these things, if you think, it's not very difficult to find human examples of this. Who goes off to war and gets killed? Males, and very often you don't very any reproductive--any change in rate; the females manages to get inseminated, in humans. In lots and lots of species, the number of males is really not a critical factor in the amount of reproduction that goes on.

Males can inseminate many females, but females want to worry about the survival of each egg, and similarly again, this is pretty obvious in humans that a female, if she gets pregnant, is going to be spending nine months pregnant, and then breast feeds and won't get pregnant again, so it's at least a year and probably at least a year and a half before that female can get pregnant again. We almost always bear only one child with an occasional twin or so forth, so a very low rate of reproduction where a male doesn't have any such kind of limit.

This does not mean that females are monogamous, because there are many other reasons why a female might want to have many mates. First of all, we'll see, she might want to get resources from many males. You'll see she sometimes will not mate with a male unless that male gives her some resource. She might want to mate with a variety of males because she can't tell which one has the best genes. She many want to mate with many males if her environment is unpredictable, and even if she can tell something about his genes, she doesn't know what the environment for her children are going to be like, so she wants to shake up the deck and try--have a variety of children with a variety of different genes. She might want each male to think that he's the father of the children so that he doesn't--that he protects and doesn't kill the children. There are species who do that. There's something called sperm competition where she may want to have a whole variety of different sperms from different males in her and then the sperms compete.

Even though this sort of comic book presentation says, all males are promiscuous and males want to go around and have a lot of sex, and the females want one, there's many species with many reasons why a female may also want to be promiscuous. It used to be believed that many species were in fact monogamous. Birds are a very good example: what you observe is that a male and a female meet at the beginning of mating season, they stay together all mating season, she maybe sits on the eggs, and he brings worms or some combination thereof, and people thought, 'Well this is great. This is monogamy and what wonderful animals they are.' Now we can do DNA testing and it isn't so--apparently--so they call that now social monogamy and distinguish it from sexual monogamy. While social monogamy is as we've always believed it to be, sexual monogamy is almost nonexistent. In species--when they measured--it turns out 10% to 70% of the progeny had been sired by someone other than what they called the resident male.

One article I read claimed that there's only one species where it is known for sure that they are 100% sexually monogamous, and in that case the male and female physically fuse together, so neither can go anywhere.

Males have the job of finding and gaining access to females. They have basically two strategies. One is to let their sperms compete. In that case they make just more and better sperm, and the sexual system in a species like that will be promiscuous, that the females will mate with many males, they'll have a lot of semen in their vagina, or spermatheca or sac for this, and then the sperms will compete with each other. Some scientists believe that in humans also, we have a variety of sperm, including killer sperm, and other kinds of sperm that go in and facilitate this. These killer sperm are supposed to kill sperm that have a different genotype, and it's very controversial about whether this is true or not. The data starts when you look at sperm they have--human sperm--they have very different shapes. And one version is, well, all these other shapes are just damaged, they're just bad, they're not effective and there's some evidence for that. The other story is that, no, these are doing different jobs then fertilization, and it's a hot area of research.

That's strategy Number One, to engage in sperm competition, and you'll see if we get time that in our related species, Bonobos, chimps, our group of species generally engages in sperm competition. What you get is very large testes, so you can determine this by taking the measure--the weight of testes--as a fraction of total body weight. If it's very large, you know there's sperm competition going on.

The other strategy of course is males can compete with each other for control of the females. This happens of course in motile--motile animals--sperm competition is the original thing where you spew zillions of sperms and then the best ones find--are the ones that find the females, but once they're motile, the males can come into contact with each other and they can fight in some way and control a territory, for instance. Coral reef fish control territories in the coral and the females cruise around, find a male who's got a good territory, then come and mate with them.

Well generally the males will actually fight with each other for dominance and then use that dominance to gain access to females. How does this--what are some examples of how this all works out? The females have also two basic strategies. One is to get the males to provide resources other than sperm, and those resources allow her to build big healthy eggs.

One of the really cute examples of this is in the jungle, protein, nitrogen, is very, very scarce. The soils are thin and the rains wash everything away so it's really hard to get nitrogen. Guess what's a great source of nitrogen? Dung. Any animal takes a dump in the rain forest, immediately there's all kinds of--especially insects that come and are going to utilize that nitrogen. It's a really scarce resource. Beetles have--are ones that are very good at this and there's a whole group of beetles called dung beetles. What do they do? They--as soon as they detect this--by odor probably, they come in and start rolling it up into little balls, because it's much too big for them. Let me show you a picture of--this is a dung beetle, and what he has done--there's a big pad--a big animal pad nearby and he's cut off with his cutting claws this big ball, and that's what he's going to present to a female.

A whole lot of dung beetles come in, they make these balls, then in the species I'm talking about they put it on their back and sort of parade around with it. Meanwhile, the females are on the outside, and they're watching all this go on and what males do they choose? The ones with the biggest balls. She wants resources and that's her resource.

Now the most extreme case of this is in praying mantises. So a praying mantis is a beautiful animal, as you may know, here's one of them, but they're very solitary. They have to actually catch insects. They sit on the ends of branches and--with these claws--and they wait for an insect to fly by, and then they grab it and eat it. It's not an easy way to make your living. They're poised; they're very quiet, and they want to capture a meal. They have just a few milliseconds of something buzzing by.

Now a male comes up and wants to mate with this female but she's ready to eat, so he's got the problem of approaching her and not getting eaten. In evolution they sometimes get eaten and that has led to a very interesting form of reproductive strategy. That what you see is that the male will come on and you can see--now that's the male on top and look how much smaller he is then the female. In many species the male is bigger, but he's smaller, and that's a sign that the males are not fighting with each other. You'll see later that if the male is bigger that means they're--almost always means they're fighting. She's big because he only has to make sperm, she has to make eggs.

Notice he has his head still on, she has her head on. That's the way it starts, and you think that something normal is going to take place, when actually in fact, she reaches around and grabs him, she's bigger and stronger than him, pulls him off and starts eating his head. What then happens is she allows him to go back, but now you can see she's still got her head, there's no head there. The way the insect nervous system is put out; all the circuits to coordinate the copulation are down here. What the head actually does is inhibit that, unless it goes and says--well most situations--no this isn't right to start copulating, but only in the very special situation where it's a female, when she eats off his head that releases those circuits from inhibition and he copulates her to completion. Now--and then she can--when he's done she can eat the rest of him. Now what's really interesting is--and he doesn't object, he doesn't try to get away.

What's going on? The key thing is that this is a sparse species. How many of you have seen a praying mantis? How many of you have seen a lot of praying mantis? One person, you must study them or something. They're not hard--they're not easy to find, there's not many of them. If a male is lucky enough to find a female and get in this situation, man he's in heaven, and it's unlikely if he leaves her he's going to find another one. That's just an unlikely event. How does he maximize his reproduction? Well in my one chance I've got to have that female produce as many eggs with my genes in it, so he wants her to produce a lot of big, very healthy eggs and so his body is the food for her, including a lot of protein so that she can make a whole lot of eggs.

In evolution it's worked out that males who sacrifice their bodies to this have more offspring then males who don't, so you see the evolution from him being prey just because he's prey to it being an actual part of the whole sexual situation. The next time someone tells you that evolution is the survival of the fittest, what are you going to tell them? Fitness has--survival has nothing to do with the price of cheese. That's only one of the ways.

Now, the next strategy of females--the first is to get resources, the second strategy is for females to try to find the male with the best genes and so that she--her offspring have good genes and are very successful. There's a whole lot of aspects to this and one is she has to be able to control which male is fertilizing her genes. The more separated the male and the female, when you spew out into the ocean eggs and sperm there's no control whatsoever. The closer that you come--the male and the female come to each other the more control that the female has.

One of the interesting ways of looking at this is internal fertilization, as in humans. It is among other things a strategy for female control. Internal fertilization and internal growth of the fetus has a lot of advantages. It protects the fetus, allows the mother to provide nutrition and waste removal continuously, etc. There are also these aspects to the female control strategy. Generally, if a female won't allow a mating, it doesn't happen. If a female doesn't allow it then rape has to happen. We'll talk about rape later.

In humans, as you know, females have a vulva and that's the Latin word for valve. She can open it, she can close it, and that's the whole idea. If the female wants to mate she gets excited and she lubricates, and the purpose of the lubrication is to ease penetration and ease the sexual act. Behaviorally she's also--aside from the beginning she's receptive, she assumes the proper posture, and everything goes just fine. But if these things--if she doesn't want to do it and these things don't happen, there's no lubrication, there's no assumption of the proper posture which is necessary for internal fertilization, then it's very hard for the male to intermit and probably sexual intercourse won't happen.

In a real rape, say among humans, the vagina does not lubricate, and that's why there's so much lacerating and tearing of the vaginal walls. That's why it's so dangerous because it's part of the human female strategy to control what males inseminate her is to not lubricate, but if she's forced there can be a lot of damage done to her.

How does a female know which male has the best genes, which male to allow to inseminate her? She has to either watch a competition or see the male in some way, or know the outcome of some competition that she doesn't see, by say, detecting a male's position in a status hierarchy. In some birds, like flamingos, there's a beautiful movie of flamingos doing this which I don't have time to show, there can be 100 or so males can gather together and start dancing. It's what's called a lek, and many of you may have heard of it or seen it in National Geographic movies. The males dance back and forth, back and forth, they show their coordination, they show how perfect their feathers are, they show their stamina because they're doing this for quite a long time, and again, the females stand around on the outside and try to notice a male who's a good dancer, a good strong well coordinated dancer, and then she chooses him and goes off and mates. By choosing these males that are not creeping around, she presumes that she's getting a male with a good--with good genes.

Another way that the females get to choose a good male is by choosing males who have--in species where males fight as part of male strategy then the females choose the winners. Males may fight, and you set up a dominance hierarchy, but there's nothing that says the female has to choose the top dog, maybe she wants to choose the middle dog or a bottom dog, but in general in species, females choose the top dog. They know the result of--in a variety of ways--the dominance fights, and the female then chooses the top dog. In the male fights, the winner gets the female, or maybe gets the whole harem of females, and the loser may get absolutely nothing.

Well the females are very happy to join the winner's harem. Why is that? Because once that starts in a species that means that male has some genes which allow him to win these fights. He's big, he's strong, he's vicious, he has sharp teeth, he's a violent character, and therefore he is successful in these battles and the female wants her young to also--wants being in this evolutionary sense of if she does that she passes on her genes--the female wants her offspring to have these characteristics of being able to win a fight, i.e., of being very violent. She will choose the most violent male, the winner of these battles to father her children because then they--then the odds are that they will also become these big, strong, violent males.

What happens, in this case, is in evolution males may start fighting and once the females select the fighter's then both male and female reproductive strategy colludes in increasing the violence a little bit in every generation. It's very interesting that males and females are colluding in the evolution of male on male violence.

What else does evolution do? Well if the males are fighting each other and reproductive success depends on winning these fights, then males will tend to get larger. You get a large male, humans, chimpanzees, males larger than the female, and that helps them in the fights. It also opens up a second strategy for reproductive success--a second strategy for reproductive success and that is that the male is now bigger than the female and he can start coercing the female.

He may not have to fight the males; he can just coerce, fight with and coerce this smaller female. Then guess what happens? If that gets into a species that the males start coercing the females, what is an evolutionarily wise female to do? She chooses a male who is most successful at coercing females, because again, her children will then inherit those genes which will allow them to successfully coerce females and get more reproduction and have more offspring. Again, we see that not only are male and female reproductive strategies cooperating in an increase in male on male violence, they also cooperate in increasing male on female violence.

It's really quite an interesting way of looking at things and explains--starts to explain some of this violence that we see in human interactions. Now the great--we belong to the great ape line of evolution, and it seems that our line of evolution seems to specialize in male on female violence. Consider rape, so a lot of political correctness about use of the word rape, but I'm going to do it in a straight biological sense. Rape is the coercion of an unwilling female into intercourse.

Outside of mammals there are only a very few species where rape occurs. Scorpion flies are one of the best known examples. Normal sex occurs when a male offers a female a dead insect or other food mass; she's getting resources from him. After she accepts she allows copulation to proceed, and it goes smoothly. Sometimes, however, sex happens in quite a different way. A male without an offering can ambush the female and she clearly is trying to escape and the whole time, he's got genital claspers to try to grab onto her, and she's trying to get away and push him away, fly away. In your reading, there's a description of this rape of scorpion flies so I don't have to go further with it.

In vertebrates, rapes occur in several species of ducks and in mammals there are only three species where rape is routine: elephant seals, orangutans and humans. Rape occurs occasionally in three other mammal species: chimpanzees, howler monkeys and gorillas when they're captive; it has not been observed in the wild. This is really quite striking. Of the six species, mammalian species, in which rape has been observed, five of those are the great--are apes. I'm sorry one is a monkey--of the five species of primates where rape's been observed, four are great apes like us.

Those statistics are way out of the range of chance. There is something special about ape evolution that has led to this emphasis on violent relationship between males and females. Most likely it is the extreme unavailability of eggs, so it's an extremely rare--in the great apes it's extremely rare to find a female who has an egg ready to be fertilized, why?

Well first, primates take many years to become sexually mature. In chimps and humans it's around 12 to 13 years before a female can ovulate an egg. Then primate mothers have these long gestation periods, eight months in chimps, nine months in humans, and so just counting gestation and the recovery from childbirth, females can have at most one young a year, which means one egg available for fertilization in a whole year. Then the females lactate and you probably know about lactational amenorrhea that when a female is lactating and the baby is sucking on the nipple, hormones are released and the female does not lactate--does not ovulate again.

The average for a chimpanzee is about another four years in which the female feeds--breastfeeds the infant and so she doesn't come into fertility again. Then they can sometimes stay with their young even longer time, so the average birth interval for chimpanzees is five and a half years. That means for any female there's one egg every five and a half years ready to be fertilized. That's Jane Goodall's number, a Japanese group says it's six years, for orangutans it's eight years, and gorilla females have a baby about once every ten years. There's an extreme dearth of eggs to get fertilized.

You have a chimp community, there's say 40, 45-55 individuals, something like that, maybe 10 or 12--this is a big community--10 or 12 sexually mature males, about the same number of females, non-mature males and females, and of those then, given the very long period, there's probably going to be one or two females in that whole year who are going to be fertile and in estrus and ready to get fertilized.

These males spend the whole year, in terms of their reproductive evolution, spend the whole year setting themselves up to have that one--to inseminate that one egg that's available in that whole year. You can imagine there's going to be a huge amount of competition, a huge amount of violence among the males. As we've seen that male/male violence then spills over into male/female violence.

Within this group--we belong to an order called primates, as you know, and within this group monkeys are fairly distant relatives but the rest of the great apes are fairly close. You can see there are a lot of similarities, these are some jokes about the singles bar, even in biology there's some sense of humor still left. Now, this is another professor at Yale and I always ask students--you have too many advisees--so I asked them wouldn't you rather go to this guy? He looks very fatherly and kind and everything. Well that's an orangutan. Of the great apes, it's as far a distance from humans as--the most distant species and yet looks pretty much--you can empathize with that as almost a human being. It doesn't take a lot of evolution to go between these two.

There are five species of great apes. That's a young guy. This is a time scale, about 15 million years ago there was one line of evolution coming up from a long time ago and the first event was that orangutans split off the tree, that the tree split and one branch became orangutans. Then about ten million years ago another--there was another split and gorillas went off, a group went off and became gorillas. Then about six million years ago another group came off and they evolved into humans. The most recent split is about two million years ago and gave two species, very similar species: chimpanzees and Bonobos.

The farther distant the split is the more there's been time to evolve differently, so an orangutan who as that nice guy, is very distant from the other species. That's our family tree and the difference--this is a fairly recent split here. The genetic difference between these three species, between any pair of those three species, is about 1.5%. If you draw out the DNA sequence for a chimpanzee and a human and look at the base pairs, out of every hundred, 98 or 99 will be identical and one or two will be different. We're extremely similar genetically.

Now, what does this difference mean? 1.5% or 2%, we don't have the foggiest idea of what it means. Obviously, you can look at a chimpanzee and say, hey it isn't human, and their behavior is different and they can't speak, and all kinds of things, but genetically there's not that big of a difference. I wouldn't draw any particular conclusions from the genetics yet. This is a rapidly evolving field and we're going to learn an awful lot very quickly, and one doesn't know what the conclusions are going to turn out to be.

One thing which may be solid is that if you look between a man--females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and Y chromosome, so you can ask, well what is the genetic distance between a human male and a human female? Guess what, 1.5%. Whatever you think of the difference, genetic distance of those species, you pretty much at this current stage of our knowledge have to think the same as the genetic difference between a human male and a human female. That's just for your thinking.

Each of the great ape species has evolved a different social system to organize reproduction. All but one have an awful lot of violence associated with it. Orangutans are the least social of apes. The males and females generally stay apart, and the mother and a child are the only stable social unit. The offspring stay with the mother until adolescence, very much like the chimpanzee story and like the human story. It's about ten years before the young separates.

For most of the eight years between births, the mother has no interest in males at all, no interest in sex at all; she doesn't really come very close to them. There are two kinds of orangutan males. There's a large one and a small one. The big males are about 200 pounds, the females and the small males are less than half that size, about 90 pounds. The small male develops normally up to adolescence and then just stops developing further. Doesn't develop the characteristics of the full male, doesn't grow a beard, crests of the hair, throat pouches, etc. They remain looking like adolescents. But, they are completely fertile, have a normal complement of testosterone, they're sexually totally capable, and they can stay in this adolescent stage for up to 18 years, maybe longer but that's the most that anyone has observed them.

They probably don't grow into a big male until the dominant male in the region has died or is too weak to defend himself. The females always want to--When they have a choice they always want to mate with the big males because the big males are more successful, and it's the old story that females mate with males of a type that are already successful because that is good for the genes that her children get.

In the mating between a female and a big male, sex is very relaxed, it takes on a languorous quality, an erotic quality, there's not a great rush. Matings can begin with oral or manual manipulation of the partner's genitalia, and it can be initiated by either the male or by the female, and when they finally do engage in intercourse they do it often face to face, missionary style, and it takes about as long as it takes humans: an average of 11 minutes and up to a half an hour, just in case you want to compare.

Now these big males are ponderous, they can't move fast, whereas, the females are lithe and they can go pretty fast, so you know the female is choosing the male, because if she didn't want him, she could be gone and there's no way that he could catch her.

What about the small males? They are not attractive to females but they have one advantage, they're small and they're fast, and they can run fast and they can catch females. That's what mother evolution has done. They try to catch and rape the females. The females are usually, as I said, alone with their young and if they're found by a single--by one of these small males they're chased and sometimes they get caught, and then the females show fear and they struggle to escape, and the males sometimes strike them or bite them, and the females scream and the young--they're dependent--the young scream, the females bite back, they hit, they pull the hair of the males while the copulation is going on and that lasts --not more than ten minutes.

How common is this? Different--orangutans are very hard to see. They live in a part of Borneo that's hard to get to and they're very hard to see. There are different studies coming to different conclusions. One ethologist found that about a third, 1/3 of orangutan copulations involve some degree of forcing of the female by the male. Japanese observers reported that 88% of the copulations were rapes and that these were of the severe kind. A Dutch observer judged half the copulations to be rape, so these are not rare events. They're a standard part of the orangutan sexual strategy.

There's a lot of examples where orangutans are close enough to humans that apparently a lot of those same sexual signals are passing. A woman primatologist who ran primatology research in Borneo talked about an orangutan who had lived with humans for a lot of his life, so he was very acculturated to humans. One day apparently he raped one of the female cooks, the orangutan, the male orangutan, raped one of the human female cooks at the camp. Apparently it was a complete rape with penetration and everything.

As you know, rape is a big embarrassment for the female, as well as the male, but in this case, and this was in Indonesia, the husband, very unusually, took it quite easily. The husband said that since the rapist was not human, the rape should not provoke shame or rage. He said, "Why should my wife will or I be concerned; it wasn't a man." There are all kinds of stories that I don't have time to tell you about.

Okay, now why doesn't evolution just keep the big males and the females together? Probably food density because food is hard to get and individuals have to forage alone to find enough food; if they foraged in pairs what they found would not be enough for two of them.

Now gorillas live in a region, and have an ecology that they have more food available to them, so they live in somewhat larger groups and in gorillas the females stick close to the male. Each male, big silverback male can have a harem of say three to four females.

In these harems, they spend most of their time just the few of them together. They're quiet; they're relaxed; they're affectionate with each other; the troop is stable with the one silverback, the three or four females and whatever young they have. Very little aggressiveness of--between the males and the females, or female to female, just hardly happens. But, as I said before, if one male is controlling three to four females that means there's two to three males that don't have any mates whatsoever.

What is evolution going to do with those bachelor males? Again, it isn't nice. The males--so the gorillas travel through the jungle, resting some, eating some, they eat fruits, they eat roots, they eat shoots. These bachelor males follow the troop on the uphill side and just wait until the silverback is not watching. Then they charge down, they can make a fair amount of noise, so often the silverback notices and goes over and beats the hell out of the guy and he retreats again.

Every so often he's successful; the male is with another female or off--never very far away, but a little away. He goes down and what does he do? He charges downhill, so he gets up a lot of speed, he charges right at a female with a young, he grabs the young immediately smashes it on the ground and kills it; runs away and doesn't try to do anything, but just kills the young of the female.

Now what does the female do? The female's are-- these are very smart, they're great apes so they're very smart; they recognize each other as individuals; they have long memories, so you would expect that this female would remember this male the rest of her life and fear him, hate him, avoid him. In fact the opposite happens. What happens is the female within a few days generally leaves the silverback that was supposed to be guarding her and goes with the single male and they go off and have a consortship. What the message that the male is delivering to the female is, 'Look you've put a huge investment into this infant and now it's wasted. That guy can't protect you. He has too many females; he's too old, he's too big and slow, he can't protect you. I can--you can stay with him, get pregnant again and I'm going to come down and kill your next baby too, so if you want to reproduce you come off with me.'

Of course none of this is verbal, this is an evolutionary story, I hope you understand that. They're not mentating this stuff that I'm saying. What you notice is in a few days this female leaves and goes with the male that has just killed her young and starts reproducing with that one. That may be stable and last a long time, or another male may come by and in a few months separate him--separate them.

Again, these are not isolated incidents. Diane Fossey had data on about 50 infants; 38% of them died before they were three, and 37% of those were from infanticide. About one infant in seven dies from infanticide, and each of the female gorillas she studied had at least one infant that was killed by infanticide.

In the gorillas, the females are trapped in this vortex of male initiated violence. At any moment a male may come crashing through the forest and kill her young, and the best way for her to prevent this is to go off with that male. She needs protection, she lives in a world of baby killers and she needs some protection from them.

Chimpanzees--so we're going down the list of species, and we won't get time to finish, but chimpanzees have yet another solution to this primate reproductive problem of very, very scarce eggs. Unlike orangutans and gorillas, the males are not solitary, but related males spend their lifetime together as a community. Chimps live in groups of about 40 individuals, with a dozen or so adult males, and a similar number of adult females. As with the orangutans, the chimp females spend most of their time alone with their young, and they're not separated from their young until the young are several years old, really into adolescence. First they hold them, they're not physically separated for several years, and then for several years they're not out of sight, and then for several more years they're not out of voice contact, so it's really very, very tight bonding between mother and children.

The males defend a rather large territory, numbers of square kilometers, in which they range and which the females range, and the males spend their time searching for food, patrolling the borders, the territory, and they're often with other males. This patrolling is often--is a bunch of males together and they go around checking on the females to see which ones have come into estrus or if any have come into estrus.

As I mentioned, the females come into estrus only about once every six years after their last young was born. They have a 35-day cycle, very similar to humans, and are sexually receptive for about 15 of these days in each of their monthly cycles. Her fertility increases during these 15 days and she's most fertile the last two or three days of this receptive period.

The females do an interesting thing, have you ever been to a zoo and looked at chimpanzee females? What do you see? Big red rump if they're fertile. It looks rather disgusting to humans, and I've been looking for a picture of it, and amazingly it's such a striking thing, I cannot find a really good picture of this. You go to a zoo it's very, very obvious they--they're called ano-genital swelling. They advertise their estrus. Oppositely to humans; humans keep their estrus secret; neither the male nor the female knows whether they're in estrus. Chimpanzees advertise it, everybody knows.

Now why do they do that? Well what happens is when a female comes into estrus, the males have been waiting all year for this, the males congregate together and what do the males start doing? Competing for the female. They're fighting, the dominant male arrives, and it's clear whose dominant, so the females advertise as a way of inciting male violence. That they want to be able to choose the dominant male, the ones that are in great fighting form, so they say, 'Hey I'm in estrus, all you guys come and fight, and I'm going to sit there and choose the best of you,' which in this case means the most violent of you.

Unfortunately, in this situation, all these males are not only fighting with each other but they're trying to get at the females, so the females are herded about. They have to run around to escape the clashes with the males. They regularly receive quite a lot of wounds when they're chased they try to climb up trees to escape this and sometimes they fall out of trees, and they have their young with them, and the young sometimes cling to them and then if they--the mothers fall, the kids fall. It's a very, very dangerous unpleasant time.

The violence is so great that when a male approaches a female, she doesn't know whether he's coming to be--to try to mate with her or to be violent toward her because as you'll read in the reading how the males have a long history of being violent to the females. It's a way of cowing them so that when they're in this melee, when they're in estrus and the male approaches them, they don't resist. If they do try to resist he does a lot of violence on them. The male has to--when the male comes and wants to mate with female, he has to signal to her don't run away, I'm not going to try to beat you up and he has--this is--orangutans, gorilla, chimpanzee with her young. This is the--this male is inspecting the female, not only is there a red rump but there's odors, chemicals, and he's trying to see what the status of her cycle is, and this is a male displaying--letting a female know that this is a sexual engagement.

Humans have been known to do the same thing. This is a picture from [New Guinea], the same sort of advertising, with pretty much the same message, and here's an incredible photograph. I don't know should I leave that on the board for you? I get in trouble leaving things like that on the--up for too long. Okay, now, so in this great melee, this great violent melee, there's all the males there trying to get at this female. If a male does--let's say that alpha male is off fighting with someone else and the female is alone for a minute, the male--any male that's around rushes in. He's not going to have a lot of time before the other males notice what's going on and rush into separate them, because they're all competing to inseminate that egg.

The males have a very short time in which to complete the copulation, and ejaculation occurs after just 15 seconds, with only 8.8 pelvic thrusts. I think those are very important numbers you should know, but the females make up in quantity what they don't get in quality. They appear--and there's a story behind this, but they appear to be quite promiscuous in their sex partners. In the community followed by Jane Goodall, in each estrus cycle, each female had at least one bout of intercourse with every male, so all the males are getting some chance at having intercourse. They average six encounters a day. Don't get excited, it's still only a minute and a half at their rate, and in each monthly sexual cycle they have about 100 or so bouts of intercourse, so there's a lot of sexuality. Do females have orgasms? Not known; there are debates about it, but not known.

All right, I guess our time is running out. We will continue on Thursday and I'll set up sections in between, and any questions? I stay after every lecture for as long as necessary if people want to come down and ask questions.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 2
Sex and Violence Among the Apes
Play Video
Sex and Violence Among the Apes

Chimpanzee males compete for position in a dominance hierarchy; status often depends on support from other members, including females, of the group. High-ranking males have much greater sexual access to females in estrus. Males control females by physical violence and intimidation. Chimpanzees also engage in purposeful raids to kill members of other chimpanzee groups. This inter-group violence can help explain intra-group violence. To fend off attack from other groups, males must remain in groups and that requires males to compete for mating opportunities within the community. Competition for the scarce resource, eggs, leads to male-male violence and male coercion of females. If the alpha male monopolized all reproductive potential, then evolution would push non-dominant males to either fight continually for dominance or to leave the group and find females elsewhere. The chimpanzee solution is to allow all males some, though very unequal, reproductive possibility.

Reading assignment:

Peterson, Dale and Richard Wrangham. Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, chapters 10 and 11

De Waal, Frans. "Bonobo Sex and Society." Scientific American (March 1995), pp. 82-88

De Waal, Frans. Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes, chapters 2 and 4

De Waal, Frans. Our Inner Ape, pp. 75-79


January 15, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: How many of you saw The New York Times yesterday morning? What did you see?

Student: The girls who had been splashed with acid by the Taliban on the way to school.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, so the front and center story in The Times is--let me get my pointer. So this girl--so in Afghanistan one of the ways of suppressing women is to keep them from getting any education. When these girls go to school--because, you'll learn a lot about that in the course of why they want to go to school and why their parents want them to go to school. They go to school and three guys came up on a motorcycle--a motor scooter and they just ask the girls, "Are you going to school?" They're walking to school in the morning, and the girls said, "Yes." Threw acid in their faces, and this story is about that kind of thing happening right now in Afghanistan. When this happened, the girl--everybody was of course very scared but the parents--one set of parents that were quoted here said, "You must go to school even if you're killed." That going to school is more important than their lives in these communities and you'll understand a lot later why.

Now one other notable thing happened--so that's quite amazing. I talked about it on Tuesday and Wednesday morning up comes The New York Times story. This happens every year. I think there's a spy in the class. The next thing is a student said she loved the lecture, but what did she love about it? She loved the dung beetles, and so she sent me her own personal picture of dung beetles, here, and she waxed a little bit poetic about them. "I have to let you know that dung beetles are among my favorite animals. The best part is watching the males agonize over rolling the ball over to the hole while the female rides relaxed, just planting her eggs inside it. The ultimate feminism, if you ask me." Now the student wants to remain anonymous, so that you all don't think that she's a little kinky maybe; nothing wrong with that. This is--we're very liberal minded here in this class.

Now how many of you were not here last time? A few of you, so I should give a very short summary of what went on last time. I was describing the basic biology of how the social organization of the species is organized around their sex and reproductive function. For virtually all species of higher then single cell organisms, the female puts a lot of--makes big eggs, a lot of investment; she doesn't make that many eggs. They're rare and expensive. The male sperm is very tiny; he can make a huge amount of them, and so they are plentiful and very cheap. Males then, given the excess of sperm, that males can inseminate many females.

The males then must compete for the females, and they have two mechanisms, either sperm competition where the sexual system is polygamous, promiscuous, and many males will mate with the same female; the same female will mate with many males, and then the sperms themselves will compete by a whole variety of mechanisms to see which sperm will fertilize the egg. The other male strategy is to physically fight with other males to gain control of the female or to compete in some other way like displaying your--the peacock with this enormous tail displaying, 'I've got a more beautiful tail than you do,' or we talked about birds dancing. The males dance for a long time and display their mental ability to dance coordinatedly and their beauty and stamina to the females. Then the females choose.

The females also have two strategies. Obviously this is a great simplification. The females also have two strategies, one is to get resources from the male, as in the dung beetle. The dung balls are full of nitrogen which is very rare, and so they feed this to the female, and the female then can produce more eggs in it, which is evolutionarily very good for both the male and the female.

Or the female wants to choose the male with the best genes; in some ways the males have to display what are the best genes, and best just means those that are successful reproductively. Sometimes bigger is better; sometimes smaller is better; sometimes fast is better; sometimes slow is better; better does not mean anything and fitness--the word fitness, which you've heard, does not mean anything other than 'leaves more offspring.' It can be any kind of phenotype you can imagine, any kind of body type, any kind of ability or the opposite. In some ecological situations being fat is good, and other times being skinny is good. The females either watch the male's display, watch the peacock's tail, or observe the end of fighting between the males; that one male becomes dominant then the female is happy to copulate with that male.

When males fight, the males tend to get large because that helps them in the fight. Evolution makes them larger, and they get larger than the females, and once they're larger than the females, they can start coercing the females. And that's really the origin of--the biological origin of--a lot of male/female violence. Males can either--to gain access to female--they can either fight with other males which can be very difficult and you're liable to get damaged or killed, or just coerce a female who's smaller and less strong, and so you get male coercion of females.

In primates, it's the last sort of--in primates and the great apes--we are all great apes--in particular, this tendency toward male violence onto females is carried to--is most prominent. The reason is, we invest enormously in our young. We spend a very long time with the young, taking care of them, and therefore, the females who do most of the investment can't have very many young; they can't have them very rapidly.

In the great apes, aside from humans, which we'll talk about next time as an exception, it takes five to ten years. The females don't have a second--they have a child--a baby, then they wait five to ten years before having a baby again, so eggs are very difficult to come by. In a group of chimps, maybe one egg a year is available for fertilization, and the males compete like crazy by every possible mechanism, including a lot of violence, to get access to that single egg.

One anecdote about the relationship of sociology and sexuality has to do with orangutans, who are the most distantly related of the great apes from us. They are just--they are very clever, like all the great apes, and they use all kinds of ways of being attractive to a male and vice versa. One of the ways they use, like we do, is intellectual brilliance. I think Yale students are evolved especially to use intellectual brilliance to be attractive. My college girlfriend, I fell, I guess, in love with her, because she could do the Latin and I couldn't. I was hopeless. She was--I was just stunned at how well--how good--how well she did it.

Anyway, in 1978 a graduate student from Stanford went to the orangutan research station in Borneo and his job was language. They--a lot of people want to show how close or how different great apes are from humans, so language is a special human ability. But the great apes have a certain degree of it and he wanted to find out how much. He taught an adult female named Rinnie sign language and the guy's name was Gary Shapiro, Rinnie was his mate. It turns out she was a brilliant student, she really should have been at Yale, but she was stuck in Borneo and didn't have the money to come here. Gary just could not believe how fast Rinnie learned the language, and so he was just glowing and he loved Rinnie, and his research project. He was going to get famous, probably being to teach more language than anyone else has ever taught to an ape.

Rinnie took all this attention quite personally. She thought there was something going on between the two of them; it wasn't all intellectual. She waited for Gary and nothing happened, so one day she took the dominant role, as I've heard Yale girls sometimes do, and she took Gary by the hand and did the obvious things to try to seduce him.

There's Gary, what is he going to do? Well he wasn't very up for this, like many Yale guys that I've heard of, and so Gary just pushed her away not thinking an awful lot about it, but being a scientist, he hadn't read his literature. He does not know that there is no wrath like the wrath of woman scorned. Thereafter, she lost all interest in signing, would not cooperate in the lessons, ruined his PhD thesis project. So let that be a warning guys.

We've talked about--we talked last time about orangutans--of the great apes, those five species, including us--we talked about the rape that orangutans do; we talked about the infanticide that gorillas do, and now we come to chimpanzees who have yet another system. Again, always coping with this idea of the rarity of female eggs. Unlike the orangutan and the gorilla, the males are not solitary. The standard--the most common, there is no standard; there are millions of species and they do millions of different things. The most standard mammal thing is for the males in some way to fight with each other and they push other males away and one male gets one or several females. There are exceptions to this but that's the most common sort of way. Chimpanzees don't do this.

They live in a group of males, and in fact the males that are born into a group stay with the group, so this a male group that genetically has been staying together for as far back as one can tell. Males basically never transfer groups; they never leave a group, so these are basically a long line, one family set of males. Within that community--let's see, I think I have some slides of this. Ah, that's a picture of the orangutan that fell in love with the grad student. We'll come to Jane Goodall in a minute.

Given that there are males together, what they do then is compete for dominance and a lot of that is physical fighting. Their dominance position gives them access to food and to females. When a chimp wants to move up in the dominance hierarchy, he may go through a long period where they're sort of jockeying in various ways, and I'll describe some of the jockeying going on. Largely big displays, beating the chest, if there's anything around, shaking branches, stomping on the ground, hollering, but they don't fight. But eventually, if in fact a reversal of dominance position is going to take place, a real fight almost always does occur, not always successfully.

Jane Goodall describes one of these, Sherry--and they give names to each of the chimps--Sherry, a younger male, was moving up in the hierarchy, an aggressive young male. You know some of those. He had beat out some of the lower ranking young males, but the next one on his list was named Satan. You can tell from the name this was not a wise move. Satan was not the Alpha male, but was higher than Sherry. They had a huge fight.

When it was over, Sherry was bleeding from bad wounds on his shoulder, both hands, his back, his head, and one leg. Sherry escaped and ran away screaming loudly. This was apparently such a bad experience that Sherry never again attempted to dominate any other male. He had been whipped, and he learned whatever his instincts may or may not have been about aggression, he learned that's not his game; he never tried this again.

They do a lot of threats and displays as--prior to these fights--but if there's going to be a real reversal, there's usually a fight and the fight's can get very severe. In the wild, the loser just runs away and they don't carry the fight to the death, and by the end of the lecture you should understand why they don't want to kill each other. In a zoo, when the chimps are in captivity, the males can't escape and then that proximity leads to a prolongation of the violence and sometimes to death.

Frans de Waal, who you'll do some reading from him; he describes one fight where the loser had an ear gone, the other ear torn, his hands and feet badly mauled with several bones exposed, and some fingers and toes missing. A gash stretched from one shoulder to the opposite hip, and toes were missing, and this guy was really beat up. They took him to a human type hospital and tried to fix him up. It didn't work; he died. Within a group the fights basically never end in death. In captivity they do end in death; that's within-group fighting.

This finding your place in the dominance hierarchy is a very serious business. You can either win and go up or you can lose and stay and either die or get badly physically damaged or be relegated to a low place. Humans call dominance hierarchy 'status,' and when I use dominance, think status. We don't always use the word here but think--one of the other things if you want to compare chimps and humans, think of the various things that humans do for status.

Chimps live in groups of about 40 individuals, with a dozen or so adult males, approximately the same number of females, and, as with orangutans that I've described to you, the female they have a big range, 15 square kilometers, 40 square kilometers, something like that and they wander about this. The females, when they have a young, are usually fairly isolated, not necessarily, not all the time, but mostly they're by themselves with their young. It's a very stable group that always stays together. As I told you last time, the mother is never out of either touch, or sight, or hearing of their young for five or more--five to ten years.

The males, on the other hand, wander around also but they bond together. They travel together and they are very often in parties, and they go around searching for food and patrolling the borders of the territory. They also of course visit the females, go around see which females--what the sexual status of females is and I showed you a slide last time of a male smelling a female's sexual secretions to figure out what status she's in. This looks like something that I've already talked about here. Is this repeating? All right, so I don't remember whether I did this.

The females are usually quite promiscuous with their sex partners. In the community followed by Jane Goodall, in each estrus cycle, each female had at least one bout of intercourse with every male in the group. Did I--I did do this yesterday. Forget this; I don't know how this happens.

How do the males do their--operate in their dominance hierarchy? It's not all violence. One aspect is violence but they also make friends with other males. Single males cannot be successful; it's a very, very social situation. These animals are very clever; they know each other individually; they know each other's propensities, which ones are dominant, which ones are not, which ones are smart, which ones are not, which ones they can fool, which ones they can't fool, and so on. So they do a lot of social manipulation to try to get allies in their dominance fights.

In these friend relations you mostly see it as a grooming thing. Males and females spend a lot of time with each other grooming, and what is grooming? Chimps, like all kinds of other animals are infested with parasites, which can carry diseases and be very dangerous, so they have to get rid of them. So one chimp will sit there and the other chimp will come by and spread the fur very carefully and then if there's an insect--it's good for the person from whom they take the insect because that insect is no longer-going to parasitize them--and it's good for them, they get a little bit of protein. They spend hours and hours doing this. Males to males, males and females with each other, and females to females; everybody does it with everyone else, and one of the things that the observers do is count how much time each individual spends grooming the other. The person--the chimp who's being groomed has this wonderful expression on their face, they're clearly enjoying this; it's like a nice massage.

The purpose of this friendliness or one of the purposes is to help the males when they engage in dominance fights. Jane Goodall describes one of these: Goliath, one of the males that we'll talk about later. Late one evening he arrives in camp all by himself, and he seems a little on edge. Every so often he stands upright and stares back at the direction from which he had come. He seems nervous and startles at every sound. Six minutes later, three adult males appear on one of the trails, and one is the high-ranking Hugh. They pause, they seem him; they pause, their hair on end, then abruptly they charge down toward Goliath but he--in the time that they were sort of waiting, he then has disappeared quietly into the forest.

For the next five minutes these three big guys thrash around the underbrush, they're looking for him, but he has successfully escaped. He is afraid, obviously one against three, he's afraid. The next morning Hugh returns to camp with two companions. A few minutes later Goliath--Goliath the one that had run away before--charges down, dragging a huge branch, that's one of their display kinds of things, and then he runs straight at Hugh and attacks him. The guy that ran away last time, one against three is still one against three, but now he's the attacker; very strange. It's not until the battle is already in progress where they're grappling and hitting each other, that it becomes obvious why he has done that.

There's a--the dominant male, one of the very--not the Alpha but one of the strong dominant males is a very big one called David Graybeard, and while this fight has just begun, David Graybeard appears from the undergrowth and he gives a display, and whoa and gives some pant hoots and he's clearly on Hugh's side, and had obviously been with Hugh just before Hugh came in, so now he had an ally and then the outcome of the fight was very different. Suddenly Goliath leaps right onto Hugh, grabbing his hair and shoulder, pounding on his back with both feet, and Hugh gives up and he manages to pull away and runs off screaming and defeated. The guy that was--I think I got the names right, the guy who was scared last night, when he has an ally, is now the winner.

The females are almost as good as males in the dominance coalitions against each other. Their behavior to arrange these coalitions is extremely complex and manipulative as I've said. They spend huge amounts of their time trying to organize these coalitions, and then as soon as there is--so several males will be in a coalition, one of them will get to be Alpha, almost immediately after they become Alpha, the other two go out and form other coalitions to try to displace him.

We have some of our faculty members like that. Last night I was reading a book about renaissance intrigue, and it was amazing how some of the big dukes, like the Medicis and the Sforza, and then you have some of these smaller guys, and then you have the Pope who's got his own army, and there's this constantly floating crap game of who's going to be allies with who and as soon as someone gets--one of these principalities gets to be dominant, the coalition rearranges and everyone else goes against him. You can read the history of Europe in the nineteenth century where there's all this balance of power stuff or you can read the newspaper today, and it's all balance of power where they're shifting alliances and we--Japan and Germany were our great enemies, now they're their our great allies, and et cetera. Russia was an ally in World War I and II, and then they were an enemy, and then they were an ally again, now maybe be an enemy again. It's--it really doesn't read terribly differently.

The purpose of all this fighting for status is of course to gain access to females. There's some degree of food, and we'll talk about whether food is a real scarce item for them or not, it's usually not a scarce item, but access to females--I think I mentioned this last time is dependent on the status of males. It's not simply size and aggressiveness at all that determines dominance but how good a social manipulator the individuals are, especially females. If a male has not been nice to the female, which means sharing food with them. They go and hunt Colubus monkeys, and if they catch a monkey how much of the meat gets shared, how much grooming they do, and if the male is boorish, the other chimps will simply shun him. They just--when he comes up and tries to start some kind of friendly interaction, they just turn their back on him and walk away. He's shunned and isolated.

The point is, no matter how strong, physically strong and violent a single male is, he can never be Alpha without the support of the community. It really is, not quite democratic, but has aspects of a democratic choice, and that the male must have the consent of the community before he can become dominant. This social acceptance, the value of your peers, and your social status is really the deciding factor in who will be dominant and therefore who will pass on their genes into the next generation.

Now going back to the females, when the sex behavior of chimpanzees was first being observed, the observers were quite struck with the obvious promiscuity of the females. The females just didn't seem to care who mated them. We discussed that last time, in each mating cycle a female will be mated by every single male in the troop, in Jane Goodall's troop, sometimes not quite so extremely. That was kind of surprising given the theory that I've described to you, that females should want something from the males. They should want to choose either the male with the best genes, or the male who's giving them the biggest gift, or something and this just sort of compliance under any circumstance, it was obvious that that's what they were observing but it didn't make any sense.

Finally, they observed more--the chimps were obviously not terribly easy to observe and over a lifetime so you know what's going on, and the story is this, that when chimps are young, either males or female, the juveniles are under the domination of their mothers and the females meet with each other every so often, so any female can dominate any young independent of sex. You really, if you just looked at the social behavior, you wouldn't be able to distinguish a boy infant and a girl infant. I'll give you some reading, about human societies, many what we call 'primitive human societies' have the same thing, that even the words for a young boy is the same as for a girl, that they're not distinguished, only at some sort of puberty right do the boy--do the biological boys become socially constructed boys, in a sense.

In chimpanzees--so when they're little the females dominate them, but of course the males start growing big and in adolescence they start to get up to the same size of the female, and then what happens is that these young males come and start attacking the females for no obvious external reason. When this first happens the female is still bigger and she swats him away and he runs off screaming, but as he gets bigger, he comes back and seems to sort of choose one female at a time starting up on--there's some mild dominance hierarchy among females, not very strong but a little bit there. He goes and just gratuitously attacks one female after another and keeps doing it: pushes her, punches her, bites her, pulls the hair, and she fights back, but eventually he's big enough to cow her and he becomes dominant to that female.

Then he goes to the next, and the next, and the next and eventually as they go through adolescence, the young males become dominant to each female. Then, that's not the end of it, that every so often thereafter, they again gratuitously attack the females for no particularly obvious reason. Let me describe to you one--read to you one of the descriptions of these kind of dominance attacks. This is one of the people in--studying in Jane Goodall's group in Gombe in Tanzania and this is--she is recollecting: "Nearly 20 years ago I spent a morning dashing up and down the hills of Gombe trying to keep up with an energetic young female. On her rear end she sported this small bright pink swelling, characteristic of the early stages of estrus." She was just coming into her fertile period and really wasn't particularly fertile at that time. "For some hours our run through the park was conducted in quiet--quietly, but then suddenly a chorus of male chimpanzee pant hoots shattered the tranquility of the forest.

My female rushed forward to join the males. She greeted each of them, bowing and then turning to present her swelling rear end for inspection." You know, 'hey guys get interested in me.' She's young and a little inexperienced, she thought they would be real hot-to-trot, but didn't turn out, and the males examined her kind of perfunctorily and they saw she wasn't really ready yet, and so they resumed grooming one another and showing no interest in this young female.

The scientist here, the anthropologist was rather surprised by this indifference to a potential mate. Then she under--she sorted of recalled and there's--well, her swelling is really pretty small so far so she' not ready, so she realized it. It would be a week or two before she was really going to be fertile. Then they'll be really interested. She was sort of watching this, the males basically grooming each other, ignoring this female, and then boom all of a sudden they attacked.

"The attack came without warning. One of the males charged toward us," the anthropologist was with the female, "One of the males charged toward us hair on end, looking twice as large as my small female and enraged. As he rushed by he picked her up, hurled her to ground, and pummeled her. She cringed and screamed. He ran off, rejoining the other male's seconds later as if nothing had happened." He attacks this one and then nothing happened. It was not so easy for the female to return to normal. She whimpered and darted about, darted nervous glances at her attacker and he--she was worried he was going to just charge at her again. The primatologist continues that in the years that followed she saw many such assaults like this.

What's the purpose of this? These attacks do not end in sex, so they're not rape. What happens is the male establishes a dominance over the female. She's afraid of him--as I told you they of course know each other individually and remember over many, many years and so these attacks during adolescence when they establish their dominance, and then the continual reminders that they're dominant and they can coerce them at any minute is what the purpose of this is.

So when she does come into estrus and all the males are around and there's only a very short window of opportunity when he may--she may be alone, the other males are fighting or not paying attention for a moment--remember he only needs 15 seconds, remember I described that last time for a bout of intercourse--he has 15 seconds before the other males are going to come and interrupt him. The last thing he wants is for her to resist. She has to be compliant in that very short time, sort of a like a private in an army, don't ask questions do whatever you're told immediately, and this prior violence the purpose of this prior violence is to cow the females into submission at that moment when they need this submission. That is the chimp system. It's--to our eyes it's not a very pretty kind of system and you can think how much of that we still do something similar and that's up to you to decide.

We've described now three other great apes, aside from us, and there's the fourth great ape species which you probably have heard of, called Bonobos, and for a long time--they're very similar to the chimps. I showed you last time the evolutionary tree. They split off from chimps and Bonobos have split off very recently, so they're still very much the same. The Bonobos are a little bit smaller; the difference in size between males and females is not so great.

Their behavior is enormously different. There's almost no violence in a Bonobo troop. The various Bonobo troops don't get into violent attacks with each other. What they do is have sex a lot, that anything that comes--anything that in a chimpanzee would elicit violence--competition for food, competition for females, whatever--they have sex, and somehow that diffuses it.

They do everything you can dream of--somehow there's something wrong. Anyway, what happens is, males or females may initiate the sex bout. They often do it face to face which is not a usual animal sort of thing, and the picture that I had, and I don't know where they--why they're not being pulled up--is first a male and a female copulating, sort of face to face and what you'd recognize immediately what was going on, and they seem happy about that. Then I have another slide of two females going at it, and what they do is they stand face to face and rub their genital regions together. Of course what do the primatologists call that? Genital-genital rubbing, perfectly neutral. Now the locals where these Bonobos live they are much--they understand better, and so what do the locals call it? Hoka, hoka. So there's a long picture of hoka, hoka. In previous years I had--I won't tell you this story, very interesting story--afterwards.

The question is--there's essentially no dominance of the males over the females, or very little dominance of the males over the females. You don't see this violent theme happening. You read about this, there's several readings on Bonobos because I don't have time in the lecture to talk so much about them, but it seems that what's going on is -- Bonobos live one side of the Congo River and chimpanzees the other side, and on the side where Bonobos are, there are also gorillas and so they compete for the same food source. I'm sorry, on the side where the chimps are they're also--have I got this right? Gorillas--and so they compete for the food source, there's not that much food so the chimps have to forage pretty much alone, the females get isolated, and therefore they're subject to male dominance.

In the Bonobos territory there's more--a greater food density so the females can stay together and forage as a party. As you will read, there's female power; the females stay together, and if a male comes and tries to dominant one of the females, her sisters support her and beat the male off. So in evolution they've sort of given up trying that trick, and now everybody copulates with everybody else. What do we call that when there's this great promiscuity? What's the form of competition going on? Sperm competition, and so one of the ways that the Bonobos evolve is that they're--in evolution the testes get bigger and bigger, and so you measure the ratio of testes size in a Bonobo which has a lot of sperm competition to chimpanzees which have a lot less, very little because they fight--the males fight each other, and what you find is that as a fraction of total body size, the Bonobo testes are much larger than the chimpanzee testes.

We've seen four different models of male/female relationships: the rape in orangutans, infanticide in gorillas, battering in chimps, and total promiscuity in Bonobos. One of the questions that you can ask is which one most resembles the human condition? Well it turns out that if you do the statistics, in human's, rape is relatively rare. Of course we all know that it happens, but it's not a frequent event. Infanticide, which you'll see happens very frequently, but not against the will of the mother. The males, unrelated males, killing the infants of other females is a very, very rare event in humans, again it happens, but it's quite rare.

The common form of male/female human violence, what do we call it? Battering, right. Battering is extremely common almost all over the earth and for as far back in history as we know. Various studies have been done in different places. In Punjab in North India, 75% of scheduled cast women, that's lower caste women, reported being beaten frequently by their husbands. There's an agreement there, 75% of the men report beating their wives. In Bangladesh 47% of the women report having been beaten. A study of ten countries ranging from Japan to Ethiopia showed that in most sites between 30% and 56% of ever partnered women, had experienced both physical and sexual violence.

Of course these are almost certainly, whenever you collect statistics on something that is not exactly appreciated in the society, you're getting a very low report. These are certainly under reports because people don't want to report it, but also when you ask about not just casual, a little bit of violence, but, 'Have you been severely beaten,' in a society where 75% of the women are beaten frequently, the standard for what they're going to call severe is going to be very high. If you used our understanding of male/female battering the numbers would clearly be much, much higher.

What's interesting is there's a fair amount of collusion between the males and the females in this beating, this battering. Both--in the culture--both the men and the women feel that it is the husband's right to beat the woman, and it's justified. It's the woman's due. She should be beaten, and they talk about this quite openly; 40% to 80% again in different surveys, 40% to 80% of wives agree that a beating is justified if a wife neglects household chores or is disobedient. Again, disobedient probably has a much more minor meaning--disobedience worth a beating would not be even considered disobedience by us maybe, probably very minor.

Severe beating is almost uniformly justified and condoned for many reasons, including for example, a husband--a woman disobeying her husband's orders. If a husband gives a woman a direct order and she does not follow it, she gets beaten. It's her duty to obey her husband and they describe it--the women talking to each other and talking to investigators describe it as selfish when she follows what she wants to do, which of course there is always conflict between what Person A wants to do and Person B, then they said, 'I was selfish, I deserved a beating. Or they say that of another woman, 'She was selfish and she deserves a beating.'

In the U.S. of course we haven't escaped this, this has now become--it was hush hush for a very long time, but now it's fairly open because of the feminist movement, and the numbers are something like 50% of U.S. women will be physically abused by the men with whom they live, so again this is partner violence. Six million will be really battered and that's way more than rape, and auto accidents, and muggings, and every other kind of mishap put together.

Battering seems to be both the chimpanzee mode of violence, it's not the orangutan, it's not the ape, and it's certainly not--not the orangutan, not the gorilla, and certainly not the Bonobo, but humans seems to engage in the same kind of violence as chimpanzees. The most wonderful quote that I have describing this is from a Palestinian woman and she says, "Men have small brains. If you feed them, cook for them, and clean for them, maybe then they will not beat you." That's a great tag.

Okay, so now I've spun a nice story for you, the way chimpanzee's social organization around sex and reproduction. I don't know if any of you have noticed there's something really wrong with the story. Wrong, incomplete, incorrect, anybody think of anything? What have I described to you? I've described to you on the first hand that these males fight with each other their whole lives. A male, he has not much else to do, than feed and think about his part in the dominance. In the whole year there's going to be one or two females ready to be inseminated, and what do they do the whole rest of the year? They're fighting for dominance, and finally you get to have an Alpha male, and most of the time he's in strong control and really can control all the other males. That's the naked ape kind of story which you've heard.

Wait a minute, what else have I also told you? Every time the female comes into estrus she does it with everybody. Those two stories don't jibe with each other. There's some contradictory thing going on there, and that's the next part of the whole story that we have to figure out. Why, since the Alpha male could easily win when there's a really strong Alpha male--could easily keep all the other males away from the females, it's only a couple of weeks that she's at all fertile, and he's spent the whole year being boss. Why doesn't he keep the other males away and get all the sexual activity for himself? It's an interesting--it's a surprising thing and it tells you that something is missing from the story.

This is where Jane Goodall comes in; she's responsible for almost everything about chimpanzees and the whole field of primatology. She's a real hero of mine. I'm angry that Yale has never given her an honorary degree even though she lives right here in Connecticut. It's really--that's shameful. What's her story?--Just a little bit of personal interest: she was 23 years old in 1960 and she--in her biography, she always loved watching animals. She would go into the hen house and just sit there and her mother couldn't find her, and then look where the hens are, well that's where Jane is. She's not from a family that was sort of education bound. She had not been to a university; she had no particular career, but she was invited to visit a friend in Africa and--in a lot of England, at that time, Africa is sort of a very romantic kind of place, because every young person wants to go and see Africa.

She took a job as a waitress because she wasn't trained to do anything else, and saved up enough money so she could get this steamboat passage to Kenya. She took a boat to Kenya in 1960. She met up fairly soon with Louis Leakey in the expatriate community, the English community there. Louis Leakey you may have heard of. His family has done all the paleontology, all the digging up of Lucy--I think Lucy's one of theirs, and all of the other skeletons, and sort of rewritten the history of human evolution. The idea being basically there were lots of branches that--our species just didn't grow out of chimpanzees but there were lots and lots of species floating around and all the others went extinct and what survived is us.

Here comes this young woman and she doesn't really have a job and she needs some support, and she loves Africa and she loves animals, and Leakey gets an idea that well, no one has been able to go out and see what chimpanzees do. They knew by that time they were our closest relative. They didn't really understand about Bonobos at that time, and Bonobos didn't live where he was anyway, and so he says to her, "Are you interested at all in going out and trying to observe chimpanzees?" She says, "Yes, yes, yes!" He says, "you know, they don't like humans. They run away, and if they don't run away they'll probably try to attack you. These are big, violent beasties, and you may be in physical danger." She says "Yeah, yeah, yeah I want to do it." He says, "You're an attractive young woman and…what did I say 23 or something? "There aren't going to be any men around. You're going to be living in the jungle basically by yourself. Are you sure you want to do it?" "Yeah, yeah, yeah I want to do it." He says "You know, it's going to take you ten years before you're going to be able to see anything, you have to get them accustomed to you so that you can even observe them, then you'll have to be able to watch them over long periods of time to understand their social behavior, do you really want to do it?"

Yes, she decides to do it. She later on recounts this discussion where he said it would take ten years, and she said if I had done it for only ten years I would not have seen the violence that I did eventually see. In fact, in took 25 years before she saw the events that I'm going to describe to you.

The violent events that I'm going to describe are in chimpanzee communities about once a generation. More or less like humans, if you take the time say in the West between--the Napoleonic War, the 1870 War, a little bit long from the French Franco-Prussian War, to World War I, World War II -- [humans] seem to do it more or less every generation or so, ballpark 25 years, and that's very variable and chimpanzee violence has that same sort of a character to it.

In 1962 she started observing a group of--it was a large group, much larger than is usual, there were 19 adult and adolescent males, and then along with females and the young. The main thing that they were watching was the social behavior. They weren't really interested in the physiology or that kind of stuff at the time; it was really the social behavior. They watched who was doing what with whom, and one of the things they noticed were two individuals that they considered best friends, Goliath and Jomio, and they spent a very long time grooming each other and all friendly interactions. They saw these two individual interacting over six years and it was nothing but friendly.

Gradually this large group--she had started banana feeding the group. in order to be able to see them she would put out bananas and they would come and get it and they would get used to her that way. For a long time other scientists thought she may have distorted the behavior, but it turns out everything she saw has been seen again when there was no banana feeding, so that was not a real issue. She watched this group for many years, six years or so, and then things started to change. Gradually the two groups started separating, there was sort of a northern mountain hill with a ravine and a southern mountain and hill, and one group started spending--one subset of this one big group started spending more time on the northern hill and another group on the southern hill. And the northern group was somewhat larger but not a huge difference. There were eight fully mature males in the northern group and only six in the southern group, along with three females, for instance in the southern group.

First she just--they just watched how much time they spent. They recorded everything and they started seeing the group split a little bit. Then when--but it wasn't absolute, they were still seen in each other's territory, but after a while they never saw males alone in the wrong territory; they started traveling only in groups when they were in the other territory. It was clear that they were beginning--this one group was beginning to fission into two rather separate groups.

One day six northern males, most of the males were observed traveling together in their own northern territory, but they were near the border. They were kind of patrolling what was becoming the border, and they heard calling from the south. They became silent and then moved very quickly directly to where they had heard the calling. What they saw was Godi, a southern male; he was feeding up in a tree and not doing anything in particular. He noticed them coming and he jumped down and ran away, but Humphrey, one of the northern guys, chased after him and tackled him. Then--Humphrey was big--once he had tackled him, he got on top of him, and held down his--sat on his face actually and held his hands, another one came in and held down the feet, so they basically immobilized Godi and then they started attacking him. The others--remember there's six males, two to hold him down, they attacked--ripped off his skin, gashes on the face, on the nose, on the mouth, puncture in the leg, puncture wounds in the ribs, and eventually he was beaten so badly that he was just motionless, plopped out there.

Then the attackers just left. They didn't kill him or anything, they just left, but he was so badly wounded that he died shortly thereafter anyway. Seven weeks later three northern males attacked Dee, another southern male. Dee runs up a tree and starts trying to escape by jumping from branch--from tree to tree, but these are big animals and sometimes they grab a not strong enough branch. He grabs a branch, it cracks, and he's left dangling. So they pulled him down, and the three males that had--doing the attack kept beating him, and he first huddled up and then he lay flat on the ground no longer even trying to escape.

There were females in party, at this point when he was not so much a danger anymore he was pretty motionless, they joined in, and the females then started dragging him. He was faintly squeaking as they dragged him along the ground and in the dragging the skin was torn from him and then they started biting him and flaying off his skin with their teeth, and then after he was sufficiently done they just left. He actually lived for a few months; his spine and his pelvis were protruding from outside the skin. His scrotum had shrunk to one fifth of its normal size. He died.

A whole year passes. Five males attack Goliath. Goliath is the one we talked about already, who by this time is an extremely old male with teeth worn down to the gums, so clearly not a threat to anybody, he was too old to be a threat, and Jomio, who had been his previous grooming partner, and had been watched for six years - they were buddies - and he's part of the attacking party and he attacks Goliath just like any of the others. Goliath was beaten for 20 minutes and he tries to protect his head, but eventually he's too beaten and just gives up and lies still, and in this particular case the adolescent males were along, and they watched this. They stay a safe distance away but they're watching this and they get all very excited, they hoot and holler, and jumping all around--you've probably seen kids--human kids behave that way. Then again, once Goliath was pretty much immobilized they ran in and contributed their degree of violence to this.

Again, same story, they didn't bother to kill him, they just went away, but he died. This continues and one after the other, and three years after the first kill, the northern males caught Sniff who was the last remaining southern male. Satan was one of the attackers, you've heard Satan before, and he grabbed him by the neck and sucked blood from his nose, he had been cut in the nose; he sucked the blood. Two males grabbed one leg each and dragged him down into a ravine and again the same thing, they beat him up, they left him to die, and he did indeed die. So Sniff was the last male in the southern group.

The females were also not spared. Madame B who was a crippled female, and her daughter Little B both were in estrus, so both were sexually ready, sexually available, but it didn't matter; they were attacked. They had a series of attacks on the females over the course of a year, and in the last attack, after she had stopped moving completely, Jomio--it was observed Jomio, the male we've seen, picked her up, slams her down, stomps on her, rolls her over and over along the slope, and then he let her go. When she tried to get up another male comes in and slams her to the ground again and beat her again until she's senseless, and she dies five days after this attack.

Eventually the southern group was totally wiped out. They saw some killing of the juveniles, of the infants, but they couldn't observe that all and the presumption is that the infants that they didn't see actually being killed, they lost their mothers, they couldn't survive so they just died in the jungle somewhere. But no individual from the southern group was ever seen again.

What happens then? Now this northern group, called the Kasakela Group, is dominant. They expand into the southern territory; now they have sort of basically twice the size territory and they sort of luxuriate in that in some sense, and it lasts all of a year. Then they come in contact with the next group to the south which is even stronger than they are. They had nine--that community had nine fully adult--fully mature males. In the next year that's--that next southern group starts attacking what was the northern group and almost destroys them, almost annihilates them. They're pushed out of their newly won territory and even north of their 'pre-war boundary' so they were worse off than they were before their two wars, and in the meantime, they were being pushed north but there was another strong community in the north pushing south, and it looked very bad for this group.

Jane Goodall and her staff by then, which had grown fairly large, was worried they had spent 20 years or 25 years studying these individuals, had all their history, it was the only group that they could really understand who the individuals were, and it really looked like they were just going to be wiped out. As it turned out, they got lucky that just at the time when it looked like her group was going to be wiped out, some of the adolescent males turned fully mature and the balance of power was re-established.

When two groups are more or less equally strong they don't engage in fights. These fights only happen when a group from one community goes and finds a single individual from the other community, and then they go and kill them, or beat them up very badly. The group that's attacking basically does not take any risks, and in the course of these three years, the northern group lost nobody and the southern group was totally wiped out. They only engage in this violence when they're sure to win.

You can read about human primitive warfare as it has very much this similar character. As soon as this group got strong enough by the luck of adolescent males becoming fully adult, what they then--the two groups would meet at the boundary, they'd scream and yell at each other and bang their chest and all this kind of stuff and--but then they'd back off and retreat into their territory, so Goodall's group was saved.

Now the question comes up, as I mentioned, does this have anything to do with the banana feeding? Did somehow Jane Goodall's treatment of these animal groups--they saw a big group in the beginning, maybe that wasn't a natural group, maybe it was two different groups that came into--that sort of joined for the purpose of getting bananas and then they reverted to their prior hostility--separateness and hostility. There's no way to really know that, and there are a whole lot of other hypothesis why this couldn't be the case, that everybody knew.

Jane Goodall had herself, before she saw this war, published a lovely book saying how peaceful chimps were, and there was all this popular literature about how humans were rogue species. We're the only ones that kill each other; we're the only ones that go to war, and we're really bad and it's modern civilization or capitalism, or imperialism, or all these cultural things that have made humans such a bad species because chimps, who are our nearest relatives, were just so wonderful. People were thinking of all kinds of reasons why what they saw was not true.

Meanwhile the Japanese, who were very, very strong in this field, and again females are really almost dominant in this field; they have the patience to go there and watch for such a long time, but there's this--even in--both in America and Japan, and England, the female researchers are some of the very best. They again, they observed a group--the Japanese were in a different part of Africa. For ten years nothing but peace, then during the second decade, so years ten to 20, all six adult males of the smaller community--they also had several communities--containing 22 members, vanished one by one. Apparently due to the aggression by males of the other two much larger neighboring communities which were dominant because of their size, size in the case meaning number of adult males.

Now in this case they didn't kill the females, but one after another the females of the annihilated community transferred with their offspring to the victorious M group and the M group also got control of K group's territory. Now the exception to this transfer of the females with the young is that the adolescent males were not allowed to--did not transfer and probably were not allowed to transfer, and they just basically stayed in the old territory and wasted away and died without their social community. All the adult males were dead, and the females had transferred to other troops and they apparently weren't allowed in.

Now is this--just sort of random violence, I mean it takes three years and there are a fair number of attacks, but it wasn't like every week they had another battle, so it was sporadic. Is this just sort of casual violence or was there some kind of planning in this? Let me cut to the chase here, so usually chimps--there are many examples of this but we only have time for one. Usually the chimpanzees, when they sleep at night, the males will get together and not like one tree and they next--they make nests up in the trees, but within a reasonable distance so they can call to each other, and they call to each other before they go to sleep, to know, 'where have you built a nest; where are we all.' They're usually fairly noisy about that.

One night, Mariko Hasegawa, a Japanese woman scientist, was observing them and she noticed and quite startlingly, there was no pant hooting. They weren't making any noise, and she had never experienced that before. She was surprised, and the next morning the troop got up and started attacking a neighboring troop. They singled out a mother and her infant and attacked and killed them. Why were they silent the previous night, which she had never seen before? It looks like not only each individual was planning but it was a group thing. No one in the group was making any noise, so this had somehow been decided as a group effort the night before.

When they're going to attack, several males together will leave the core of their range and travel clearly purposely toward the periphery rather than just wandering around, and I'll tell you a little bit about the wandering. It really has all the aspects of being planned ahead and purposive and this is really something that they planned to do.

The purpose of this violence is not at all clear. There's contending schools about this. The most obvious one is they get more territory and therefore they get more trees, more food. They live largely on fruit and largely figs, there's a lot of figs trees in all jungles, and so they just wander around and find a fruit tree and then depending on how much fruit there is they either go up and eat themselves or they can call over someone else and say, 'Hey I found a good fruit tree.' Most of the time the chimps have no problem finding food. Jane Goodall had one of her workers follow an adult male for 50 days--never out of sight, and one of the things they noticed, did he ever go looking for food? In this 50 days, never did he try to hunt food. He would just sort of wander through the jungle, and every so often his foot would step on a rotting fruit and squish, and he would notice it and look up and there's a tree full of fruit, and climb up and eat and maybe call over some others.

She was definitely of the impression that food is not a limiting factor for that. Later, Ann Pusey, another scientist, came to the opposite conclusion, that she noticed there's some sort of dominance hierarchy among females. Those females would have more fruity trees and where they ranged, do better reproductively, and Richard Wrangham, who you'll read some of his stuff, he's a food man so there's a whole group--I'm not wildly convinced by the evidence but I'm not in the field. There's a big thought that food limitation is important.

For instance, the difference between Bonobos and chimps has been ascribed to food density and the size of the parties, and so forth. One the problems with the food idea is that they have fairly large territories, and the young, healthy adults can basically always find food. They never seem to starve to death. It's the older individuals who are quite sick and not so motile that seem to have trouble finding food, and they can get in trouble in the dry season when there's a lot less fruit. They're probably too weak to--even when they have Territory A, they're too weak to even--they just can barely search Territory A, and if you give them twice as big a territory, it may not do them any good because they just don't have the energy to go search it. I think the field is moving toward the idea that food is the important thing. The evidence that I've seen doesn't convince me yet, but again, I'm not an expert in this whatsoever.

The other purpose of course is to acquire females. I've been going on and on about how rare an egg is, and so you'd think that's the obvious reason, but then you watch them go and they kill the females, even the females in estrus, so that doesn't make a lot of sense. Although in the Japanese group, sometimes the females do transfer. The story there is quite interesting, because as you know, small groups of individuals, if they interbreed, if the group was sealed, if the males are sealed and they stay together in this one community like forever, generation after generation--if the females also stayed there, it would be an inbreeding group. Inbreeding gives big genetic problems, so all species have to have some mechanism of gene flow, and they have to get genes in from the outside and/or send their genes out.

It turns out that in chimpanzees the females have access to other troops and they go out and have intercourse when they're away. Exactly how this is done because the males watch them when they come into estrus--they must disappear before coming into estrus and have it out there. It's not really known, but now they can do the genetics and again something like half of the babies are born with fathers that are not from the troop where they are resident, and very often the adolescent females will just transfer troops altogether.

It's very interesting, when a female tries to transfer, go into another group, if she's never had a young she's almost always accepted. If she's had a young, if she's not--if she's already really in this group because she's had a young--very often attacked or even killed, or kicked out, so there's something for some reason that's not understood at all. A virgin female basically is much more acceptable for transfer then an older female and that's not really understood.

That means since the females are going to move around anyway, and biologically and socially it has to be that way, it doesn't make a lot of sense that they're doing this for--to get extra females. There's a lot of unknowns here. Let me summarize this by--the summary of the chimpanzee social system. The--come back to the question, why do the males--why does the Alpha male not dominate totally to sexuality? The reason is that these groups fight each other. A lot of--we don't really know the reason why they fight but they fight each other and the winner is always the group--so far--always the group that has the most adult males and the group that is the attacking group basically takes no casualties whatsoever, so having a lot of adult males is very important.

If an Alpha male got so aggressive that he kicked out all the other males, he wouldn't last long. The other communities would come in and annihilate him. Because of this fighting between the communities, the males have to stay together, and once the males have to stay together that means they're going to compete for females. If the competition was such that only the Alpha reproduced, then evolution would push all the other males into some other strategy, as we've seen the big and the small orangutans, and you're going to read about a whole variety of sexual strategies. You think there's heterosexual and homosexual. No, there's lots of different versions which you will read about. Evolution would push the other males to fight all the time -- if they were not reproducing they would then be pushed by evolution to either fight all the time with the Alpha male or go away and try to start their own troop, or do something. That it's not a stable situation when only one individual can reproduce and everyone else can't. The males have to compete with each other, all the males have to have some chance of fathering children. This also has many subsidiary advantages, so every male thinks he could be the father of any of the young in the troop, so they're all very protective. Once it was seen that a mother was coming back into estrus and becoming sexually interested, the Alpha male who was with her was about to start copulating with her. Her young, who did not want to--evolutionarily generally doesn't want a brother, because he wants all the resources and attention of the mother, he gets in between them, and starts fighting, and in fact he bites the scrotum of the Alpha male, this little tyke. It really clearly is sub--not even adolescent yet.

What does the Alpha male do? He stops, looks at him, bends down, very gently picks him up, takes him over h

Lecture 3
From Ape to Human
Play Video
From Ape to Human

Throughout prehistoric, written, and recent history, human warfare has been commonplace. Nearly all societies engage in regular or periodic war. In many examples, human warfare has characteristics similar to chimpanzee war: an in-group fights with and kills members of the out-group. This information is not to be misinterpreted as either justifying human violence or considering it inevitable. When it comes to births and fecundity, though, humans are very different from the other great apes. Chimpanzees reproduce once every five to eight years; humans can give birth again within 18 months. It is likely that an increase in male contribution to child rearing allowed this greater fecundity.

Reading assignment:

Diamond, Jared. "Sex and the Female Agenda." Discover (September 1993), pp. 86-93

Lidz, Theodore and Ruth W. Lidz. Oedipus in the Stone Age: A Psychoanalytic Study of Masculinization in Papua New Guinea, pp. 27-37 and 51-59

Keeley, Lawrence. War before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage, chapter 2


January 20, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Now I've been describing the intimate relationship between sex and violence within the chimpanzee social system. This lecture, and forever after, we shift our focus to humans, and we want to ask what's stayed pretty much the same and what has changed. Today I'm going to discuss two topics, one: war in humans which hasn't changed all that much, you can certainly see a continuity. Then I'm going to talk about fecundity in humans, how many children we bear compared to chimpanzees and you'll see there's a very big difference there.

The most obvious similarity and one that gets the public quite excited is the similarity in--violent death has always been very important aspect for humans especially--well all the time, but I'm going to talk now about what's called 'primitive times,' and this is data from a tribe that's in Paraguay in South America in the period just before it had real contact with Western people. So it has nothing to do with modernity; this is apparently the way they lived for time immemorial.

What this table does is list the number of deaths by age, putting them in different age groups. Here are just children or we would call them infants almost, 0 to 3 years. You can notice there's a significant amount of death; this is all illnesses; that's communicable diseases and all kinds of other diseases; that's the percentage of deaths from that, and then there's other causes: congenital, degenerative, accidents some, but here's violence--various forms of violence. 56% of infants from 0 to 3 died because of violence. Here is children age 4 to 14 and again we see that all illnesses, about 15%, accidents. Violence 74%. Now adults during--this is a 45 year period, the number of years in the periods are not equal, and here is illness 28%, not insignificant; accident, not insignificant, but the various forms of violent deaths: 46%, and it's only when you get over 60 years of age--so in each of those three age categories violent deaths have been the dominant form of death. It's separated by males and females, males/females total, and that's true for males and for females, I'm showing you the sum totals. It's only even after age 60 violent death is still the dominant cause, a third of deaths, but it's the only age at which it isn't -- at least half of the deaths, only when you get that old.

It's quite striking how significant violent death is in human demography. Several things should be noticed there, that communicable diseases are less important for hunter/gatherers; these are very primitive hunter/gatherers, the Ache. One of your readings is from their own description of the way they live and the dangers that they face--that communicable diseases are less important because the population density is so low. Later we'll see--and so diseases just don't get to pass around. We'll see later that the influence of diseases rises drastically, especially among infants, when the population density gets high enough so that people pass around--disease is quite common.

Another thing you may notice from this, that more individuals die in the first 3 years of infancy, 131 deaths than in the 45 years of adulthood 126 deaths. So deaths in infancy are 50--per year are 15 times as common as deaths in adulthood. Of 383 people who are cataloged here, only seven people died of old age. All of them had other really identifiable causes. Given this background of the significance of violence, and this includes more than just war, but does not include deaths from animals--being eaten by animals which is considered an accident.

Defining war, going back to--we talked a lot about chimp--you might call chimp war and now talk about human wars, let's take a definition of war as the intentional killing of members of one group by members of another group. The killing is done because they are members of a group not because of any prior or particular conflict between individuals. It's a group thing that determines that the two sides that they're going to kill each other.

The human social system in primitive times and in some politically correct circles, you're not supposed to use the word 'primitive,' but I use it in its original sense of living closer to the way humans did millions--thousands--many thousands or millions of years ago. It's an early form of being human. During that time we lived in small tribal groups and they're multi-male groups, (again we talked about most mammal's solitary males) with strong male bonding, competition for status, lots of inter-group conflict, competition for females and violence against females. Everything that we know says that humans have lived in communities with those characteristics since as far back as we can -- know, and that is the same description you would apply to chimpanzees.

The archeological data shows that through early farming times we lived in these small dispersed settlements, and the average size seemed to be in the same range as current chimpanzees, about 40 individuals. Size of communities range but when you dig up these--the archeologists dig up these old settlement they're in that ballpark. The anthropologists studying currently alive people again find that the smallest organized group of humans is a politically autonomous group consisting of 20 to 50 individuals with a head man. They call this--the proper anthropological term is a band, again, basically the same size as a chimp community.

Among chimpanzees, as I've described to you, inter-group violence is a hit-and-run affair. With a small group of chimps from one community, patrol their boundary; they detect an isolated individual, a very small group, or even better, a single individual in another community, and then they attack. Anthropologists tell us that primitive warfare has exactly the same characteristics. Among current primitive groups the commonest form of combat is called raids and ambushes, and communities are constantly engaging in this hit and run--these hit and run raids on each other and they spring ambushes to catch lone members of the other group.

I lived for a while among headhunters in Borneo. Presumably they weren't headhunters anymore at that time, and it was perfectly acceptable for them to go out and find a child from a neighboring community--same tribe, same everything, but the neighboring community--playing by the river, catch him and take off his skull and they had their attics--were decorated with skulls. None of this was big--that whole community fighting that whole community, but little raids finding individuals, didn't matter if it was child, adult, nothing mattered like that.

You can draw many similarities between the chimp organization of this lethal raiding and human warfare. How does one think about this? Well there are two possibilities. Either whatever you think of the chimp warfare and the causes of it you have to think that a lot of that is still causing human warfare, or you can say as many utopians do, that they're different. That human--human warfare has nothing to do with chimp warfare.

One of the ways to prove or disprove that would be to look in history, as far as we can tell, and if it has different causes, what you have to assume is, we know for sure that this is what chimps do, and we presume that their ancestors some millions of years ago before we split--did that, but we don't really know that, but we presume it's true that chimps did that and then sometime in human history we have to find a period where we stopped doing it. Then at a later period we started doing it again but now for a totally different set of reasons than for the chimp reasons. The strategy of trying to figure out this question is then to go back in history and gather the archaeological and the anthropological--whatever data we can gather, and try to find out: has there been a period in human history where we were not--did not have this inter-communal violence.

The people who believe that war has different causes -- they think agriculture started it because land becomes valuable or private property of some sort, people wanted to get each other's private property, or governments, modern state governments, or very commonly you'll hear that it has something to do with modernity, that civilization has somehow corrupted the pure nature of early humans who were wonderful human beings and didn't go to war.

What was the situation for prehistoric humans? We can go back to the Neanderthals, which are a sister subspecies, and these guys as you know--heavy musculature, robust bones--they were obviously strong characters. When you take--study their graveyards, 40% of Neanderthal skeletons have head injuries. How does one attribute that? Either they were very clumsy and accident prone and always somehow managed to fall on their head--so far as we know they didn't climb trees very much and hang upside down and fall, or there was a lot of club wielding and head bashing going on.

Homo sapiens, not Neanderthals, the earliest human burials that haven't just decayed away are about 20,000 to 35,000 years ago and when you dig them up what do you find? Spear points embedded in the bones, cranial fractures, scalping marks, and so forth. These burial grounds are found wherever archeologists look. Some of the most prominent ones are Italy, France, Egypt, Czechoslovakia because that's where archeologists have had access to dig.

At a 13,000 year old cemetery in Sudan, over 40% of the skeletons had spear or arrow points embedded in them. The wounds--there were children buried there--the wounds found from the children in the cemetery were all execution shots in the head or the neck. They were just bashed to death in the head or the neck. This was not like one burial from one horrific incident, it was used over several generations. It was a continuing cemetery, and many of the adults showed not only the wounds that caused their death but many prior wounds, bone cracks and skull cracks that had healed, so you can see both a wound from some prior conflict which had healed and the new wound which caused the death at this moment. Individuals had gotten into a lot of conflict: one skeleton had 20 different wounds. That means bone cracks that you could still see 13,000 years later, and soft tissue injury we just don't have any way of knowing about.

When you get to modern times, still prehistoric, meaning before we have any written records--before anything you'd call civilization--things get a little stylized, that clearly culture is advancing. There's a middle Stone Age cave in Germany, only 5,000 to 10,000 years old, where there are two caches of skulls, just the skulls are there. They're neatly arranged like eggs in a basket, and they are the disembodied heads of men, women, and children with multiple heads--multiple holes not by axes into their skulls. I don't have--they didn't show a picture of that, but this is a modern version of it. This is actually from Thailand; this is the way skulls can get arranged. This--that picture has a totally different kind of purpose.

How many of you remember ice man? The guy that got unfrozen from the Alps; you're all aware of this. In 1991, one of the glaciers in the Alps disgorged this Stone Age man who had died they think 5,300 years ago. As at least a good number of you know, he had a lot of press and he was called the ice man. Since it took 5,300 years for him to come down the mountain, he must have died pretty high up in some high point of the pass in the mountain, so it was just assumed that he died--froze to death--while trying to cross the Alps and got encased in the ice and 5,000 years later came down. For ten years academic opinion said that, and then they finally got around to taking a CAT scan of the body. Guess what they found? A two centimeter flint arrowhead had ripped through his scapula and lodged six centimeters deep into his shoulder. He had been shot from behind by an arrow and he died of internal bleeding. Again, a violent death.

You come to even more recent times, a Native American settlement, American Indians from about 1325 A.D., so almost 200 years before they have any contact with westerners, and this contains the remains of 500 men, women, and children. This is not a great picture, but again, what you see that these victims had been scalped, mutilated, and then something a little unique, left exposed for a few months to scavengers before being buried, again, as a form of punishment, disrespect, or whatever. For the victim you not only slaughter them, mutilate them, maybe mutilate and then slaughter them, and then you leave the scavengers to chew on them and then finally they get buried.

In short, archeology documents warfare in every well-studied region for the past 10,000 years, which is when we have very good records. That's what you can dig up. The other thing is to look at currently primitive human beings and ask how many of them are truly peaceful. The anthropologists now take over from the archeologists. What the anthropologists find is that 90% to 95% of known societies have been involved in war that we can document. One sample of 50 societies, 45 engaged in war frequently; 4 did not engage in war because they had recently been driven into isolated refuges by warfare.

Have any of you been to the Aymara Indians in Lake Titicaca in Peru? It's a big tourist spot. There's an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca, and they're very peaceful people, they live on reeds, they don't have anybody to fight. They were pushed off the mainland by war and they've just been isolated, so that's one of the groups that's--well we haven't seen them get into any wars but they have no possibility of it. One which is called 'peaceful,' the Moonachie, which live actually in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California they say--we'll call them peaceful because they only rarely go to war.

In another study 66% of primitive societies went to war every year, 75% at least every two years, and up to 90% went to war at least once every five years, so the evidence is mounting up that so called primitive humans are not a terribly peaceful lot. The Dani tribes of New Guinea had seven full battles and nine raids in one five and a half month period. Some anthropologists was sitting there for five and half months and that's the number that he counted. One Yanomamo Village, that's in Venezuela, was raided 25 times in 15 months. In the U.S. West, 86% of the Indian tribes went raiding or had to resist raids at least once a year.

Now you come to groups that are usually peaceful, so there's a group in Malaysia called the Semais and they were recruited so--but during World War II, as you know, the Japanese took Malaysia, and the British incited a sort of guerilla movement against the Japanese; so they were retained as scouts by the British to fight. I'm sorry this was later--this was--they've--they were scouts to fight the guerilla insurgency by supposed communists. Eventually some of the guerillas killed a few of the Semais, a few of their kinsmen, and then even though they had never been known to be warlike they become extremely warlike. One Semai veteran recalled, "We killed, killed, killed, the Malays would rob the corpses, but we did not want anything. We thought only of killing. Wah! Truly we were drunk with blood."

It sounds like their culture, like many cultures, have repressed the killing instinct, or killing propensity for one reason or another, and then when the cultural controls came off, boom, the instinct just roars up, totally full blown, almost instantaneously. We've seen that in so many cases. In Yugoslavia recently where people lived together for a very long time in moderate harmony, all of a sudden, bang, they start killing each other. The Germans in the 19--before the Depression in the 1920s--were among the most civilized people on earth in science, and education, boom, they become savages almost immediately. I think the indication is there's something inside of us ready to pop out. Culture can repress it, but demagogues know how to stick their finger into populations and pull out that us/them and vilify the "them" and bring us right back to chimpanzee days.

You all know Yale has a center for study of the Cambodian genocide, where now one group of people, the Cambodians, sort of split into two and the slaughter was terrible. How many of you have seen the movie The Killing Fields? How many of you know about the Cambodian genocide? Again, most of you, but not all of you; it's one of the most recent, most horrific kinds of killing.

This killing is--can be--what basically happens is that one group does not consider another group humans, and if you look in primitive languages, very often the word for human is the same as the word for their group whatever their group is. In the American Indians that was also a common kind of phenomenon.

There's a good report from March 18, 1690 in Salmon Falls, New Hampshire, where a girl named Mercy Short lived. They were raided by the Abenaki Indians; that was at that time 1690, a real frontier town. Mercy saw them kill her parents and three of her brothers and sisters. She was taken to--on a long winter march to Canada, and the captors sort of dragged her up to Canada. During that March she saw a five year old boy chopped to bits, a young girl scalped, and was forced to watch with her hands tied as another fellow captive was stripped, bound to a stake, and tortured with fire, after which the Abenaki "danced about him and at every turn, they did with their knives cut collops of his flesh, from his naked limbs, and throw them with his blood into his face. Remember this is someone who is already a captive with his hands tied so there's no immediate threat.

It's a clear sign of just not considering these out-group individuals as humans. All chimpanzees have one set of morals toward an in-group, and as I've told you, that in the wild the male/male conflicts never result in death nor do the male/female conflicts within a group, but in an out-group if possible they always result in death.

Now what does one think of this? There's a very interesting story from early America, it's actually Amerigo Vespucci, after whom America is named, and you know Columbus discovered America in 1492. Ten years later they were exploring all around and Vespucci went on a--one of the exploration expeditions along the coast of South America. He had some interactions with the local tribe's people and had some interpreters on board. Columbus had brought some natives back to Europe, and they were able to do some kind of translation. He was very interested in how different they were from Europeans.

"Their marriages are not with one woman but with as many as they like, and without much ceremony, meaning they just get married very causally and we have known someone who had ten women married to him. They are a very prolific people, [meaning having lots of children], but they have no heirs because they hold no property." Even childbirth is without pain, "Women in parturition do not use any ceremony as ours do. They eat everything, go on the same day to the fields and wash themselves; it seems that they hardly feel their parturition." Parturition--giving birth--now you can see that what he's dealing with in the 1500s, the late renaissance attitude, political science theory. What is it that causes wars between societies, which they had lots of back then.

One of the issues is original sin, these are very religious people, and what was the major punishment for Eve's eating of the apple? Pain in childbirth, severe pain in childbirth; here were some people that had no pain in childbirth, and he waxes poetic about that. Were they absolved of original sin? That's the kind of issue that's in his mind.

He also says, "They are people who lived many years, and according to their succession, we have known many men who have four generations living." So that's about 80 years--what is he referring to here? Again, from the Bible; the span of life, what's the span of life? 70 years, very hard to fit four generations into that, so again, he's reflecting that these are not people like European people. He goes on with all the wonders of their civilization, or their un-civilization whatever you want to call it.

But, he says, "They are a warlike people, and when they fight they do so very cruelly, and that side which is lord of the battlefield bury their own dead, but the enemy dead they cut up and eat. One of their men confessed to me that he had eaten the flesh of more than 200 bodies." Continuing, Vespucci talking, "The most astonishing thing about their wars and cruelty is that we could find no reason for them, since they have no property or lords, or kings, or desire for plunder, or lust to rule, which seems to me to be the causes of war and disorder." Again straight late renaissance theory and political science theory. "When we asked them to tell us the cause of the war and disorder they could give no other reason except that this war began among them a long time ago and they wish to avenge the death of their ancestors." It's a very interesting passage, the Indians--Vespucci's idea is that original sin is what causes this and then political--the sins that humans do have the lust for power, etc., is what causes all these wars and none of that fits these South American Indians.

The same message, that -- it's not obvious what the cause of these wars is, comes from modern anthropology, so the Yanomamo of Venezuela and Brazil who are very violent people, there was a book called The Fierce People that describes them. They're very, very warlike. They're in that border between Venezuela and Brazil; they're involved in almost constant warfare and yet what are they after? Yanomamo villages are surrounded by abundant unoccupied territory. They're just not settlement, to settlement, to settlement, there's plenty of space in which they could expand. Napoleon Chagnon, who you may have heard of, the anthropologist who studies the Yanomamo, believes that the fighting between them was apparently motivated only by desires to exact revenge and capture women.

We seem to have come across this before, but again, just as in chimpanzees, in primitive warfare females are killed as often as they are captured and most of these primitive tribes, as well as modern people's, have difficulty getting food, not as a cause of war but as a result of war. Things get so disrupted by war, that's the reason they have trouble getting food.

All of this is archeological and anthropological, studying times or peoples who don't have really any writing system. So in a sense it's prehistoric. Once we come to writing, the record of violence flows hot and heavy. The first account of the exploits of mortals is our military histories. The earliest writing of the Chinese, of the Greeks, of the Romans, are concerned with wars and warrior kings. Most Mayan hieroglyphic texts are devoted to the genealogies, biographies, and military exploits of the Mayan kings. The earliest Egyptian hieroglyphics record the victories of Egypt's first Pharaoh's. The first secular literature written in cuneiform recounts the adventures of the warrior king, Gilgamesh.

The early and extreme warlikeness of the earliest civilizations is laid out in the Bible. You just read the Bible and you get the whole message I'm giving you. The earliest written part of the Old Testament, Exodus, recounts the brutal Hebrew conquest of Canaan. Numbers 31:7-18, The Israelites get the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not kill. And then they go off to conquer Canaan with lots and lots of killing. They waged war against the Midianites as the Lord--this is one of my favorite passages: "They waged war against the Midianites as the Lord had commanded Moses and killed every male among them, but the Israelites kept the women of the Midianites with their children as captives."

When Moses learned about this, the captains came back, thumped their chests, we've had a great victory; we've killed all the men and here we have the women and children as captives, Moses becomes angry: "So you've spared all the women, why they are the very ones who prompted the unfaithfulness of the Israelites toward the Lord. Slay therefore every male child and every woman who has had intercourse with a man, but you may spare and keep for yourselves all girls who have had no intercourse with a man." An echo of the chimpanzees who, when a female tries to transfer if she has children she's a goner, if she's young, presumably a virgin, then she will probably be allowed to transfer.

After the fall of Jericho the Israelites, quote, "Put to the sword all living creatures of the city, men, women, young and old, as well as oxen, sheep and asses." Next they attacked Ai, "there fell that day a total of 12,000 men and women, the entire population of Ai." The clear thing, it's quite striking how this comes so soon after the Ten Commandments, that what's clearly going on is, just as chimps--is an in-group, and clearly the Ten Commandments is -- intended for the in-group, 'thou shalt not kill,' straight chimpanzee. However, out-groups, if you don't kill them all you're not obeying God's commandments.

In very modern times atrocities continue with no lessening of the horrific nature of it compared to chimps or early human beings, and I'll describe one famous event to you which--how many of you know about the rape of Nanking? Again, not all of you, all of you should know these things that I refer to are very important things.

This is during World War II in I think it was 1937. The Japanese were trying to conquer China, and it was a big place and they were getting rather frustrated because--in Japan it's a small place, in China it's a huge place, and it's not an easy thing to do. But they captured a city called Nanking, south of the Yangtze River. In short order, the Japanese slaughtered 350,000 people. The total population of Nanking at the time was only about 650,000 and several hundred thousand had already fled. In short, they basically killed every Chinese that they could find, just like the Bible stories, or the chimpanzee stories.

A Japanese newspaper reporter watched Chinese prisoners being bayoneted on the top of the city wall. "One by one, prisoners fell down into the outside of the wall, blood splattered everywhere, the chilling atmosphere made one's hair stand on end and limbs tremble with fear." This reporter is talking only from Japanese and we'll see, Nazi sources because it's possible the Chinese sources may be exaggerated or something, but the belief is that neither the Japanese nor the Nazi sources would exaggerate.

Another Japanese military correspondent, even more constrained, described another locale where the murders were by samurai-style decapitations. "Those in the second row were forced to dump the severed bodies into the river before they themselves were beheaded. The killing went on nonstop from morning until night, but they were only able to kill 2,000 persons that way. The next day, tired of killing in this fashion, they set up machine guns. So great was the slaughter that the Japanese general complained that he could not find ditches deep enough to bury the enormous pile of corpses."

Tens of thousands of Chinese women were raped, often in schools and nunneries, thousands more were put into sexual slavery, forced into prostitution, and referred to in Japanese as public toilets, the women forced into prostitutions. Many soldiers went beyond rape to disembowel women, slice off their breasts, nail them alive to walls. Fathers were forced to rape their daughters and sons their mothers; not only did live burials, castration, and the carving of organs and roasting of people become routine, but more diabolical tortures were practiced like hanging people from their tongues on iron hooks, or burying people to their waists and watch them being torn apart by German Shepherds.

So sickening was the spectacle that even the Nazi's in the city were horrified. When the Japanese took Singapore, right after Pearl Harbor, they shot and decapitated another 20,000 Chinese. That was just a modern example to show you that whatever this is in humans that makes us want to kill members of another group, it is totally unfettered by anything that you might call control or civilization, when it breaks out the violence is just incredible.

The bottom line is that war seems to be characteristic of almost all, and possibly all human societies at all times in our history. There is no example, no period which we can find out, where there's a discontinuity between the chimpanzee behavior and our current behavior, and so again, I think whatever you think of what's causing the chimpanzee war, you probably have to consider very much the same explanation for human war.

The amount of death--I showed you one example from one tribe, the Ache in South America, and any one tribe's experience may or may not be characteristic. This is from a book, Lawrence Keeley, War Before Civilization, which traces a lot of the information I've been giving you, and what he does is, he collects all the data that anybody's ever collected, so that he sort of can get some idea of the percentages of deaths by war. This is percent of deaths from warfare--this is males, and this is everybody together, and these are different tribes at different tribes for whom we have data.

You'll see that the numbers--the male numbers go up to 50% or 60% of male deaths are from these wars, and the deaths of everybody which is this, is somewhat smaller, a fifth or a sixth, 15% to 20% of deaths, but going up of course to 40% of deaths. The point he's trying to make with this graph is, here's primitive warfare, these darkly colored bands, what he calls primitive warfare, and the white bands are so called civilizations and he calls civilizations anything that has a state, like the Aztecs had a state in one of these it is Aztecs.

From the data that one has we are--even though we think of World War II and all of these current and incredible wars and all our technology devoted to war--what's happening is that we have much--many, many more people die then did in the past but the population of humans has grown so much that the percentage is not so huge, and that wars are less frequent. Rather than having raids almost continuously as in a lot of primitive warfare, we have wars every 15 or 20 years or so in general between any two groups fighting each other.

What he shows, again, from the data that has large and unknown error bars--the civilized warfare which is the Aztecs, France in the nineteenth century with Napoleonic War, the 1870 War, Western Europe in the seventeenth century lots and lots of wars in the 1600s, U.S. and Europe in the twentieth century, World War I and World War II and so forth, that as far as he can tell the fraction of all deaths that is caused by war is decreasing.

One possible very nice way of looking at human history is that humans have some sort of a propensity, call it an instinct if you like, to identify an in-group and everyone else is out-groups. These in groups can be nationality, they can be religion, they can be color of skin, they can be language. Language is a big source of conflict in Canada and Belgium, all kinds of places; almost anything will do. It can be Yale versus Harvard, or Berkeley College versus Calhoun College, and Red Sox, the Red Sox fans. The English who are generally very civilized, get into a soccer stadium and they start killing each other.

Humans have this enormous desire to identify in-group and out-group. We even now pay to advertise a company, because anything that looks like a group membership symbol, humans love that, and will pay a lot to have a hat or a name of some team, or even some company on them. We have very different morals towards the in-group and the out-group. It seems that that's what's still going on in us, that as time--we have that still. But as time goes on, because of increased communication and increased education, probably what we consider the in-group grows.

First it was your little village, a little hamlet of 40 people, and then maybe organized into some sort of a tribe of 1,000 people and gradually it grows. If you read the history of Europe there are all these little cities, say Greece with city-states, a whole city could be considered one family, with a lot of divisions within it. Renaissance Italy you have the Medici's and the Pazzi killing each other, families within cities, but gradually it grows. You get nation states, and as they grow, the wars get less because people within say France don't generally have wars with each other, but France will have a huge war with Germany.

The group that people consider "us" gets larger, the frequency of war goes down, but since you have so many people fighting so many people, the war causes more and more deaths. Possibly, this is optimistic, that as we become more interconnected and we consider more people "us," and fewer people "them," that gradually this behavior will disappear. But that's just guess work.

Now Keeley, who gathered a lot of this data, he has his own summary. Again, in frustration about not really understanding … what these wars are all about, he does not accept any idea that there's any biology involved. He says, since he can occasionally find some group that hasn't been to war for 20 years or something like that, then it can't be biology. The view of biology that many social sciences have is sort of that --….--if it's biology, it's a knee jerk reflex. If you're not--if your nervous system is not impaired, every time I hit your knee with a hammer your knee will kick out and there's no volition. They say if we ever see a human not doing some behavior, that behavior cannot be instinctual.

Of course that was disproven in around 1910 by Pavlov, you all know about Pavlov? He takes an instinct as basic as eating, and a dog sees a piece of meat and starts salivating, and then very rapidly he rings a bell a minute before the dog sees the meat and the dog starts salivating to the bell. Since 1910 at least we've known that even the most basic behavior can be controlled by something with as small a brain as a dog, even though one would never say the dog does not have an eating instinct, does not have a salivating instinct, of course they do and yet dogs can control it.

I tell a story about my dog, so a smallish white Samoyed, and I'm at work all day. I work long hours and so she's at home all day and by the time I come home she's a little frustrated. She's been cooped up, and I'm a little frustrated. So what happens: I get down on my hands and knees and I growl at her. She immediately picks up the cue, she's snarling back at me, and then I swat her one, a gentle swat but she gets--she snips back at my hand and we go at it. We have a great time. Unfortunately my dog has died, but we had a great time and in the course of these she's snapping--she's aroused, her hair is standing on end, her tail is straight up, her fangs are showed, and she's snapping away at me and I get, maybe--we do 20 minutes or so maybe--at least 50 to 100 bites where she actually wins. I win, I smack her, she wins and--so what that means over the years I've had many tens of thousands of times where she's grabbed me and all that, and guess what, not once in all those many thousands of bites has she ever pierced my skin.

All right, this is a peaceful house dog; she doesn't know anything about killing. No, not true. In the morning I take her out running in the woods, I don't know if she takes me or I take her, and if she sees a bird or a squirrel, she's off and she comes back with a dead bird in her mouth, clearly killed, she clearly bit through their skin--very, very proud, walking there with a dead squirrel. Here's an animal and I love her dearly, but her brain is not very big, and she can get into the depths of real instinctual responses and yet her brain is clever enough to be able to control it and not--and to kill the squirrel but not to kill me or not even break through my skin.

I think the idea is a lot of people think when you've described biological basis for behavior that it's inevitable. The human species were lost, we're never going to change, but that's nonsense. Humans are like chimpanzees, we're quite intelligent, and we are capable--we have instinct, I believe that we have instincts for sure, you'll see it come out in the most horrible ways and in some good ways, but it's not that difficult to control. My dog can do it, you guys can do it.

The other issue which--these are good topics for discussion in the sections--is, some people also say when I describe duck rape or orangutan rape, that some of--my describing it and saying that animals do it I'm justifying it. There's this whole thing now that what's natural is good and what animals do is natural and therefore it's good, and it slops over to foods and everything. This whole idea of natural law, that you can tell from nature what is good and what is bad is not to be taken seriously. That finishes that topic, and I think you've had enough violence.

I want to skip--switch to the opposite side now. Demography is, of course, births and deaths; those are the two main things in demography. We have been talking about one of the main causes of human death on one side, and we find that there is a clear continuity between chimpanzees and humans. Now let's talk about the other side, births and there surprisingly, humans are drastically different from chimpanzees.

How do we know this? Chimpanzees were never very successful demographically. At their peak there may have been two million chimpanzees. A very small Chinese city is two million individuals, and now because of the rise of humans they're taking over their territory, the guess is they've been reduced to about 100,000; 5% of their peak population. They are restricted to central Africa; they have never spread beyond central Africa.

Humans, on the other hand as you know, number in the billions; we've spread to the farthest corners of the earth from the ice cap around the North Pole to the hottest desert and jungle. There are tens of thousands of times as many people, humans, as there are chimpanzees, and humans have become absolutely dominant basically everywhere on earth. From a demographic point of view, maybe the first question we should ask, why are there so many humans and so few chimps? What is the secret of our demographic success?

Let me give you a clue about the time scale. We separated from chimps about six million years ago, and I've shown you--this is another version of the deaths--don't worry about it. Remember this--the family tree here, and here is the split point where humans branched off from chimps and bonobos and its ballpark six million years ago that we split off. The population size, what is believed, that the population size of all--the group that became these three species was only about 50,000 individuals at this split point. That comes from the genetics, the variation in genetics.

This small group branched off and started behaving--evolving quite differently. What happens when you have a small group to begin with of 50,000 breeding individuals, then a small group breaks off and they may further subdivide into smaller groups that may not come much in contact with each other, you have inbreeding, and inbreeding causes a lot of genetic problems, but it also allows evolution to go very rapidly. For mutation, if it is beneficial it appears, it can spread to a small population very rapidly whereas it's extremely difficult for it to spread into a large population. The tinyness of the number of our human ancestors allowed a rather rapid evolution away from the other groups who were also evolving of course because they were also in small groups.

That--at the split you start going down this pathway and it's shown here as a single line, but as all of you know from the newspaper, there are many, many species splitting off at different times with different characteristics all in the humanoid, hominid line and by chance all of those other species went extinct except one. That's another characteristic: if you're a small group then it's very easy to go extinct. And all of the--we know 20, 30 other humanoid species, and all went extinct except one. The genus Homo, which is the group of species in which we sit, originates about two and a half million years ago, and they start calling skeletons Homo sapiens about a half a million years ago, but even though they're Homo sapiens their brains are, at that time, significantly smaller than ours are now, and anatomically modern humans date only from about 100,000 to 150,000 years ago.

All during this period the number of humans was clearly very small. It's very humbling to realize that with a small group that's evolving rapidly, which means it's not yet mastered it's environment because you don't--once you have optimized your relationship to your environment evolution slows down, but if we're evolving rapidly that means we haven't yet mastered it. So a small group struggling in its environment, very likely to go extinct; most of our sibling species went extinct, and I think with a very small role of the dice differently the line towards humans could easily have gone extinct.

It seems that about 100,000 years ago there was a bottleneck in the growth of human species, and the humans living at that time, a small group, were the ancestors to all current human beings. There was a small population of about 2,000 to 10,000 they believe, and that the total human population, from 2,000 to 10,000 of humans living in Africa and interbreeding. There may have been other human populations somewhere else that disappeared. We don't know, and the numbers 2,000 to 10,000 some research puts them a few times higher, we don't really know, but again a very small number.

We know from that period that there was no substantial population growth, so that means the average number of surviving children was two or maybe teensy weensy bit higher then two, so that meant when you have on average two children per couple, that means that most lineages have died out, that most individuals who were living at that time of this small number now leave no descendants at all.

If you trace back, the genetics suggest that all current humans, all races all over the world are the descendants of a single human female. That every other line, from the time when she was alive has died out, and similarly for males, we are all the descendants of a single human male. All other lines have died out, and those two didn't have to live at the same time. In fact, almost certainly did not live at the same time; it's just the randomness of lines dying out and the genetics tells us that we know the rate at which DNA mutates and diverges and so we--and we know the range of a variation in current humans so we just sort of narrowed that back and it goes back to this--what did I say 100,000 years ago.

That's the genetic Eve and the genetic Adam that the newspapers just love this story but it's just a common result of -- a population that doesn't have a lot of surviving children--lines are going to die out. You can read that the royal houses of Europe is where you're all exposed to it. Look how few generations the royal houses last before they don't have any heirs, and that's in modern--these are the richest people at their time and have all the food and protection and everything that they want and they can't stay going for more than a few generations.

In primitive times, the rate of extinction of lines was great. About 50,000 years ago--we're going to spend a few million years in Africa, then about 50,000 years ago a group of humans migrated out of Africa. Again, the numbers and the times, some people say it was as late as 25,000 years ago that they migrated out. Then amazing things happened, once they burst out on the rest of the world, they spread everywhere. Humans are found everywhere on the Eurasian continent, that's from Siberia to Spain by about 20,000 years ago, and then from Siberia they crossing the Bering Strait, which was a land bridge at that time, and expanded into the Americas and reached the very tip of South America by 10,000 years ago.

In 40,000 years which is a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms, humans spread everywhere on earth, an incredible population explosion. This is the first and greatest explosion, a population explosion of humans. You should note that something was making us superior at that time, and clearly it has nothing to do with modern technology. All of this fantastic expansion even pre-dates the invention of agriculture and most of what we consider civilization starts with agriculture.

What is the main difference that has allowed this story that humans have done this and chimps have done this? Well you ask, what is the reproductive rate of chimpanzees? Well I've told you that a chimp mother has one young every five to eight years, so at that rate it's going to be very hard to increase at any great speed. Human females have babies much more frequently, it's quite possible to have a baby every year, or every year and a half, or two years, and this is common--my brother was born 20 months apart from me. How many of you have siblings less than two years apart? Most of you.

So humans are quite capable of doing something that chimps just cannot do. They have a rate of reproduction of about four or five times slower than we do. The mothers, the chimp mothers cannot take care of more than one young at a time. They will have a young that's clinging to them and then perhaps an adolescent son or daughter with them but they'll never--you never see two infants at a time, whereas, humans can easily take care of two infants at a time.

Twins in chimps? I have never heard--read anything about chimps occurring in--twins occurring in chimps, and I don't know whether they ever do. It may be just that we don't have enough observation that maybe occasionally chimp twins do happen, but it's not been reported that I've seen. Anybody take a--

Student: Not about twins, I was just going to ask if that's regulated by hormones completely. Like you would say that lactation stops--

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes.

Student: But it's a chimp is nursing a baby for five years?

Professor Robert Wyman: They're nursing them for a long time. I don't recall what the number is, but there's many behavioral mechanisms. So in nursing, the actual physical stimulation of the nipple releases hormones, Oxytocin, [more likely prolactin] which prevents ovulation again, and that can be prolonged for quite a period of time but is not absolute, so there are other behavioral mechanisms, other internal hormonal mechanisms which ensure this and in chimpanzees we--it's very hard to capture a chimp and do the physiology and experiment, so we basically probably don't know most of the answer to that question.

The--a major difference -- between humans and chimps is a tremendous increase in human fecundity. Now in demography we use the word--fecundity means the ability to have children. Fertility means the number of children you actually have, and that comes from French usage and French use the word sort of oppositely to the way we do and demography was born in France. When I say fertility I don't mean the ability to have children, that's fecundity, but I mean the number of children that any given set of women actually have.

We have to ask ourselves what evolutionary factors allowed this change in fecundity. What limited chimp population, what limited chimp fecundity? Well in primate evolution the main factor is the time that brain development takes. A body that's capable of walking and chewing and so forth can develop rather rapidly in all kinds of animals, develop in a very short time scale and are immediately capable of doing those things, but if you're going to have a species with a big brain, that's a slow process. In all the higher brain--the bigger brain primates, the slow thing is brain development.

In order to not have to carry this baby like for--until the brain is mature at age 13 or something--they say we don't really progress beyond adolescents--so in humans and great apes the baby is born with physically somewhat mature but the brain is still growing enormously. Really there's post-natal development of the brain, so even at the nine months of pregnancy, we're not at the end of the period of brain development. The brain is nowhere near its final size or complexity. That limits the rate at which one can have childbirth and because the infant is born in chimps and in humans, is born incapable of taking care of itself, the mother has to stay with the child and take care of it.

In chimps the mother stays exclusively with her infant for several years. The chimps get very little, as I mentioned, very little in the way of resources from the males. They mostly watch and they do--they don't come in contact with males all that much, they and their young forage by themselves, and etc., etc., and the males are just patrolling. They see them every so often and the males protect the boundaries. In terms of taking care of the young the males basically have no role whatsoever. As a result of this need to have intense care of the young, and no help from anyone, sometimes other females will help, but basically no help at all, the period in which the mother has to devote herself exclusively to that one young is quite prolonged.

Now in humans, males do play some more intimate part in child rearing. Not anywhere near as much as a female but they do bring resources. In general, in most human societies over time, males are responsible for bringing some resources to the female on a rather continuing basis. We don't really know how this evolved because these things you can't really tell these things from fossils.

What we know is that Africa--the chimps started in the jungle and then Africa started drying out and so some subset of the chimps, maybe pushed out by stronger individuals or clever individuals, were pushed into this drying out grasslands where there was less cover and less fruiting trees. Dry land doesn't produce the big fruiting trees that chimps depend on. As a difference between chimps and bonobos, when there's a lesser food density the population has to spread out. That if an individual is going to find any food they're not going to find enough for a large group, so individual females would have to go forage quite separately.

You can speculate further that as the females spread out, the dominant males could no longer keep watch over and control over these females, they were just too far spread geographically. While in chimps--while the male or female may go off for a short time period, in what's called a consortship and there may be matings at that time, there's no lasting, no continuing relationship between any particular male and a female. Chimpanzees, as I mentioned, are male bonded and they spend more time with each other, male to male, than the males do with the females.

In humans of course we still have a lot of what they call male/male bonding, military units, sport teams, all male clubs, football, pre-wedding parties, watching football, watching parties, etc., but we've evolved in the direction of much more male/female interaction and contact. Female sexuality changed. While chimpanzees always mate from behind, humans engage in frontal copulation, and since the face is how humans and also chimpanzees detect each other--they know individuals largely by their facial structure--and they detect emotions, it's a very important part of communication to detect the emotions and respond to each other by facial cues--so this face to face interaction, especially in the intensity of the sexual encounter is considered a large part of the evolution of male/female bonding.

I forgot to show you last time, but it's an excuse to show you this time, here is a bonobo engaging in front to front sex, male and female here, and she's grinning. She's clearly being pretty happy about this, and I also said I would show you--this is two females doing the same thing. If you didn't--if I didn't tell you it was--this was two females you wouldn't know the difference. Unless you're watching you can see that they both have their swellings, that's how you tell that they are two females. I mean the guys who took the picture obviously knew a lot more but you can tell that--so this is what I described--that the locals call hoka, hoka. This whole evolution of sexuality in the human line, the clitoris has moved forward for--which in face-to-face copulation probably makes it--more female pleasure during the act of copulation and therefore again reinforces this bonding.

Another big difference and this is not an extreme case of the rump--that's another topic. Humans do not advertise their estrus. Not only do we not--remember the chimps advertise their estrus in order to get the males together and have the males compete for them. Humans keep it secret; not only don't the males know when a female is in estrus, but the female herself does not when she is estrus, and for a very long time it was believed that females are fertile during their periods. It was only in the 1930s that it was found out by a Japanese group that females are fertile in the mid-period between their periods, and even further, it was believed in the 1930s that females are fertile a few days before and a few days after the middle of ovulation in the middle of the period, and in fact, we now know just from about ten years ago that the actual fertile period always is only precedes ovulation. Then intercourse must take place before ovulation.

Not only do we--do human females not advertise to the females, they don't know, and scientists, with all our investigations, have just now finally figured out, we think, when a human female is fertile. This is a big, big change. It's such a big part; the advertising is such a big part of primate sexuality, why has it disappeared in humans? It may be sort of the reverse, that if females are out there alone and there's carnivores, you read about this from the Ache, that there are lions and tigers out there ready to eat them, and they need protection of various sorts and maybe help in finding food, so it's important to have a male hanging around.

A male's evolutionary purpose is he wants to inseminate the female, so if he knows when a female's having estrus, he has to be there then to inseminate her. If he knows when she is in estrus he also knows when she is not in estrus, and when she's not in estrus he may have no evolutionary push to stay there but go out and try to find some other female. The purpose of not showing your estrus may be to keep the male uncertain of when you are fertile and therefore he has to attend to the female all the time, and once he's there he might as well help her because that will insure that whatever infants come along are in good shape.

If that's correct, and certainly males and females started spending more time together, and they're more dispersed; that reduces male/male competition. Remember the male/male competition is a result of a group in which a lot of males stay together. When you're more dispersed, male/male competition has to be reduced. It looks like in the evolution to humans that's--what's switching is from the advertising which allows the males to compete and the female gets the male with best genes, she's switching to wanting resources from the male. She's no longer interested so much in male competition but in whatever resources the male can bring to her by having a male around continually.

This story is rather complicated and very controversial and there's a very nice reading in your packet. It might be interesting to consider that, how does the male respond to this change in strategy? If the road to monogamy starts going down then paternity becomes more certain. In the chimps, where the female is copulating with everyone, there's no reason to be certain of paternity at all. Once it becomes clear that, yes, this child is almost certainly mine, then it becomes evolutionary advantageous for the male to start putting resources into this mother and child because that insures their survival and things start developing in a different direction. Where stable pairing becomes an evolutionarily advantage, the male putting resources into the pair are for evolutionary advantage.

It seems pretty clear that an increase in the male contribution to child rearing is one of the major reasons for the increased fertility of humans--why humans are able to out reproduce chimpanzees. Of course, as you all are aware, monogamy has not by any means taken human societies totally over and some societies overtly sanction polygamy, but even in our culture which Europe and North America--genetic testing shows that 10% to 15% of humans do not have the father that they're supposed to have. 'Father' is usually defined as the resident male; he's not the father, and that's quite a large percentage.

American women report 6 different sexual partners lifetime and males report 16 female partners, lifetime. Now one thing we know if you're at all mathematical that the--since it takes two to tango, the average has to be the same so it can't be both 6 and 16, and who knows possibly somewhere in between is correct, but probably higher because these things tend to be under reported, no one wants to really say--well females certainly don't want to say how promiscuous they are usually and also that's old data. This is from 2001 and with the change of sexual mores in the Western countries, I'm sure the numbers are exponentially increasing.

What's--another thing about this thing with respect to human evolution is that when you're a chimpanzee the male--the main form of competition is male/male fighting, male/male status jockeying which takes a certain amount of intelligence to arrange coalitions and so forth, but basically evolution is pushing you to be big and violent. Now the individuals disperse, the male stays with the female, the males starts bringing resources, violence is decreased. The importance of that in the male evolution decreases and the importance of being able to provide resources become evolutionarily important, so the kind of intelligence required to find food in a scarce environment, to find shelter, to protect from animals and so forth becomes important.

A fair reason for the increase in human mental capacity might also be this shift from a dependence on violence for competition to a dependence on acquisition of resources for competition and for evolution. I've run out time and so we will continue with humans and how they are different from chimps next time.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 4
When Humans Were Scarce
Play Video
When Humans Were Scarce

Hunter-gatherer populations were much less dense than later agriculturalists. The variety of their food supply protected them from crop failures and their sparseness reduced the spread of infectious diseases. Hunter-gatherers were healthier and worked less than early agriculturalists. Why didn't their numbers increase up to the same level of Malthusian misery? Their numbers may have been limited by violence between groups. Agriculture is more work intense and offers a less varied diet. Populations seem to grow rapidly and then die out suddenly. Populations are subject to climatic- or disease-caused crop failure. But farming allows individuals to produce a surplus of food that can then be stolen by warrior tribes or military castes. The surplus allows for population growth, cities and stratified societies. The death rate, until perhaps the 1700s in Europe, is enormously high: only approximately a third of women survive to the end of their reproductive period. At this death rate, surviving women who are able to reproduce must have more than six children on average or the society goes extinct. All the great religions and cultures develop in this long period and all stress the requirement for high reproductive rates: "Be fruitful and multiply."

Reading assignment:

Hurtado, A. Magdalena and Kim Hill. Ache Life History: The Ecology and Demography of a Foraging People, pp. 1-6

Livi-Bacci, Massimo. A Concise History of World Population: An Introduction to Population Processes, pp. 31-36 and 42-48

Caldwell, Pat, John Caldwell and I.O. Orubuloye. "The Destabilization of the Traditional Yoruba Sexual System." Population and Development Review, 17, pp. 231-238

Geertz, Clifford. "Book Review: A Society without Fathers or Husbands. The Na of China." The New York Review of Books, Vol. 48, no. 16, 18 October 2001

Smith, Robert J. and Ella Wiswell. The Women of Suya Mura, chapters 4 and 5


January 22, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: As you may have noticed, the course has been proceeding somewhat historically. First with pre-primate animals, the whole evolution of sex from things that swam in the ocean, and then we discussed the primate mating system as you've seen--in the same sense as on the board. The first--the pre-primate is a few millions of years--I'm sorry, tens of millions of years; primates maybe ten million years or so. Then last time we started discussing the transition from ape to human, and evolutionarily modern humans date to something like 150 thousand years ago.

We're coming up to time and today we're going to discuss fully anatomically modern humans. They have the same brain capacity that we do, etcetera, etcetera. The earliest groups that we have any kind of decent demographic data on are hunter gatherers which would include cavemen and people that are hunter gatherers but do not live in caves.

Last time we asked why there were so few chimps and so many humans and today we're going to ask very similar questions about--we're going to start with, we're going to cover a lot more; we're going to ask very similar questions about hunter gatherers. There never was a great density of hunter gatherers. There is certainly not now and the question is, why?

If you look where hunter gatherers live now they--each small group, and the again the small group is the same size we've been talking about something like 40, are spread out over a very large area and they use that area to hunt in and to collect fruits and nuts, and whatever they can get from the trees. It looks like a very simple question, why is the density of hunter gatherers so low? Why are there so few of them?

For a long time, the answer was: they didn't have much food. That they needed all this space to get enough food to survive, and if they overpopulated that space they couldn't survive. In sort of modern hubris, we looked back and thought hunter gatherer is a very inefficient form of food gathering, not modern, and we're so much better than them now.

The data is quite clear on some part of those assumptions; hunter gatherers, at the time when all human beings were in the stage of hunter gatherers, before--farming starts about 10,000 years ago. There's--what is the number here? There may have been like two million people on the whole earth. Remember I said hunter gatherers spread out of Africa, spread amazingly over the whole earth, and maybe the total population of humans at that time was something like two million people. Now we have over six billion people, that's an increase of 3,000 times in the human population, so clearly there were fewer hunter gatherers than now.

This is a very--you'll see this in lots of discussions of this field, but it's a very elementary kind of consideration. It talks about the long scale of human demography, of human population growth, and we came out of being other species of primate, of hominids and we gradually grew up to some sort of a limit. There's the idea that the various productive systems that we use, like hunter gathering--limit is some sort of a carrying capacity limit, and so the idea is that the human population increased until it reached a limit and then for a very long period of time it can't get beyond that limit.

Then 10,000 years ago, maybe it's 12,000, farming is invented and all of a sudden the whole system changes, there's many more people and we jump up and then again reach a limit, and we'll talk about that as some Malthusian limit in this particular period, later we'll discuss that, and then around here the industrial revolution happens and all of a sudden the population increases again.

This is a logarithmic scale so it's not linear. Each of these jumps is by a factor of several thousand. That's a very, very schematized version of human demographic history and we're talking about this period. What limited hunter gatherers to this level whereas farmers could go up to this level. Again, the obvious answer and looking at this kind of rough data is that it was food.

Whoever then--archeologists, paleontologists go and actually try to examine this and there turns out to be the data does not fit that theory terribly well. What do archeologists do? They dig up skeletons and they have a good representative set of skeletons from the last 7,000 years in North and South America. One study looked at more than 12,500 skeletons so we're talking about a good scientific sample. What did they find out? These were set into communities, and communities lasted so much time, so you can date the whole archeological site to a certain period.

The medical anthropologists got into it and started looking at the bones and dentition and all this, and not only did they find the violence we talked about last time, but these people were also sick. They had diseases at different times. You could see bone problems and how well the bones grew and from the teeth how much calcium they had, and all this. What does it turn out, that contrary to the idea of progress that you'd think the later people were more healthy, in fact, it was earlier people in the--the earlier individuals that were healthier. As time goes on, the skeletons get less and less healthy, that they're getting less food and less good food, and were more subject to diseases.

It was quite a shocker when this status started coming out. The researchers attributed this decline in health in large part to the rise in agriculture. Two main factors they say, the rise of agriculture and the rise of urban living, and we'll talk about the urban story in a moment. If you again go like we did last time from the archeology to the anthropology and look at current hunter gatherers, it's a little bit of a distorted study because nowadays almost all hunter gatherers have been pushed out of the good lands that they used to live in, into very marginal lands.

You know this from U.S. History in high school, how the European farmers pushed the very earlier farmers or hunter gatherers of the American Indians, the Native Americans into Arizona, into desert, into the Badlands in the West, the dry Badlands and to the West of the U.S., farming peoples push hunter gatherers into inhospitable land.

There's a story in the Smithsonian Magazine recently about Pygmies in Africa. I don't know if you know a little bit about the history of African demography, which we'll also cover, but the Bantus have expanded from south--the bulge of southwest Africa basically all around and have pushed other people's out and the Pygmies are one of the groups that have been very severely discriminated against and really pushed into inhospitable places.

Another example is the Bushmen of Africa who were pushed into the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Even in the desert these guys eat 85 different species of plants, and it's almost inconceivable in their culture, for someone to die of starvation because plants will bloom some years and not bloom some years. They will get a fungus some year, or a virus, plants--any one species is not generally very reliable. When you have 85 different species to survive on you're not going to go without food. There will always be some group of plants that are going to be available to you and so you're not going to starve.

Further, the anthropologists lived with these people and they start writing down what they're doing at every point in time. Per hour invested, the Bushmen get more food then the early agriculturalists. Not modern agriculturalists who can drive a tractor and in an hour do a lot, but we're comparing hunter-gatherers to the first stages of agriculture. The Kalahari--the Bushmen in Kalahari spent 12 to 19 hours a week collecting food and the rest of the time they used for a lot more sleep than current farmers, and a lot more leisure than farming people, so life is more generous to them.

You have to think now, this is for people pushed into a desert, a very inhospitable place, and now if they--if you can imagine them living in a lush forest region where they originated, life must have been much, much easier so the amount of time exerted to get your basics of food and everything must have been much--a lot less. Not only do they have to work less and they get more food per hour, but the variety of foods is very good for you because you need different minerals, you need different other micronutrients, you need different vitamins, and as we are bombarded with in the popular press, a variety of foods is very good for you. You don't want to eat just one kind of food, so they had a very diverse and healthy kind of diet.

Agriculture comes in and indeed it enormously increases the amount of food per acre when land is limited, when you have a population density such that land becomes limiting rather than your time or your need, when land becomes limiting then agriculture becomes important because per acre you can get a lot more food than hunter gathering, but you have to spend lots and lots of hours to get that land to give you that amount of food.

The question remains 'why are there are--why were there and still are of course, why are there are so few hunter gatherers? Again, a Malthusian type question that, if we know they lived quite well, we know that later people going into agriculture lived a lot less well in terms of basics of life, how come the hunter gatherer population did not increase up to the same level of misery as early farmers, which is basically one of the earliest examples of a Malthusian type question. Malthus thought those same kind of thoughts but for a much later population.

Well in truth, we don't really know the answer to this and it's greatly argued about, but I can tell you some things that are known. Current hunter gatherers have a moderate number of children and many survive. They do not have an enormous infant mortality, certainly not compared to later populations which I'll show you that have a huge infant mortality.

If they are Nomadic, and I'll tell you about an example of that later, they have to move quite a lot and that means carrying children around. I think Bonnie has sort of indicated to you, even dealing with a lot of children in one place is difficult, but the difficulty of moving with very young children, and packing up everything and moving for a very long time, over a long distance is difficult and Nomadic peoples very often show very clear signs of some form of conscious population control. They know they can't cope with more than "x" number of children. We'll get to that all societies have indeed controlled their population but mechanism they were not totally--not clear what they think the reason for their doing things were, but Nomads apparently know what they're doing.

Hunter gatherers are moderately healthy. Again, their burden of sickness is not severe, again compared to later populations; however parasites are always a problem. I'll show you again a modern case of parasites. This is a girl, modern girl, current girl in Central America, and you may notice the swollen belly. You know what's inside there to swell it? Worms--exactly and when they purge her that was what was inside that girl, all those worms. Humans have had this problem since time in memorial. Hunter gatherers are not immune to this.

Infectious diseases they have less because they're in small groups, so infectious diseases as you know need large groups to keep spreading and they're hostile to their neighbors, just again like chimpanzees so they don't come in a lot of contact with neighbors, so diseases don't spread from group to group and each individual group is not large enough to allow for the maintenance of a disease.

Each village, if you--anthropologists go and sit in one village for a long time and they have a high population growth rate. Each village seems to be expanding quite noticeably, and you think, well in each village that we go study population is increasing, again, it doesn't make sense why haven't they--been living that way a hundred thousand years, why haven't they filled up their space? Why is each village surrounded by lots of--basically unused space?

Even today, a lot of the very tropical lands are not high--densely populated. We may have the image that they are but they're not. New Guinea is not densely populated. If you call densely populated--the Netherlands is I think the most densely populated in the world, Bangladesh, the livable regions of China, the livable regions of Japan, these are densely populated. The tropical regions of the world, nothing like that; New Guinea I said, Borneo very sparsely populated, the Amazon, Sub-Saharan Africa vast open areas, so these are not situations of high population density, yet any village that you sit in is increasing its population. What's going on?

What are the--what the archeologists find out is that when they study a site, and I sort of mentioned this already, what you see is this. You go to--you start digging a site and you actually dig in reserve, but you go to the bottom and you see there was nobody there before certain years, and then a small population, and what you see, you can count the amount of food remains, all kinds of things, the population grows more or less exponentially. That means that the same percentage every year. A half of a percent a year or whatever it is, and it grows up faster and faster, because there are more people producing that same percent of population growth.

You get this phase and then all of a sudden you reach the top of your pile and your village is gone and there's nothing there. Some sort of a crash happened, where if it's not totally gone it's really knocked down tremendously, and then you either wait--look at that site again like the biblical sites which they dig, and dig, and dig and sometime later starts up again, or a different site starts up again and you get the same phenomenon.

Forget this line, this is the idea of -- the carrying capacity, but you can see nothing fits the carrying capacity. It just maybe stays there for a little here, so the idea of carrying capacity for humans doesn't work very well. What are the reasons--so--then the explanation for the population staying more or less constant and not filling up the space is not that each community doesn't exist, but communities--here's your space filled with community A, B, C, D, E and as each community increases some other community just disappears, goes out of existence. If you measure over the whole big space you have a floating game of different communities each growing, but then disappearing completely, and the population and the whole space stays more or less the same. I don't want to push that as it really becomes super duper constant, but more or less the same--does not fill up.

What are the reasons why a community would grow very happily, more or less, very vaguely, exponentially, and then go out of existence? One is of course climatic disaster. There could be a freeze; there could be a drought, these real climatic things, and if you look at the Anasazi of Arizona that lived near the Colorado [and Rio Grande] River regions, one of the thoughts--they're one of the communities that fit this. They're healthy, you go see their ruins, and then they just disappeared. How many of you have been to Anazasi site in Arizona? Just one student, something you've got to do. There you're living in a semi--a true desert now and a semi-desert back then, so climatic things are a reasonable explanation.

You go into the tropical regions you don't have droughts that last, you don't have freezes, and yet you see this same kind of phenomenon. While undoubtedly climatic things happened occasionally in the temperate zones, certainly in the northern zones, most hunter gatherer societies probably that's not the explanation.

The next thing is diseases of the crops, that some fungus came by and wiped out your crops. Well we've just talked about that, that since they're eating 85 different kinds of things in the desert, there isn't any kind of microorganism that cuts across species like that, so that explanation doesn't seem to work. Diseases of humans, same thing, not diseases of plants, but diseases of humans, again, the data just doesn't fit that, that because of the isolation they don't have a huge problem with communicable diseases.

That leaves the possibility of violent confrontation from one community to another. We've seen in the chimps how the northern group will completely wipe out the southern group and so forth. What kind of evidence can one adduce that this might be what's going on? If one looks at any modern population and looks at the survival curve, so this is the number of deaths per 1,000 per year. This is India, for instance, and it's fairly recent--1960s. Antibiotics are just coming in at this stage, so very high infant mortality rate, 80 per 1,000--one out of every 12 kids dies almost immediately and then that high rate continues until about--comes down to something about six or seven years old so a lot of your population is just wiped out immediately.

Then you have a pretty low level of death and fairly flat until it gets to be what's considered old age in different populations and then the death rate rises. You have this very standard u-shaped curve, and here after you have sort of modern medicine--this is Sweden in the same year as the infant--primarily the main thing is the infant mortality drops like crazy and the old age stuff--everything drops but the main drop is in infant mortality. The idea is--what I just want you to get out of this--we'll see this graph again and again in a couple of times, is that during the adult years the death rate is very low compared to either here or here.

Now if you look at what we can gather from archeological data from hunter gatherer communities, you have a high death rate of kids. Not as high as when you get all these communicable diseases in modern societies, and then you have a flat period, and then all of a sudden there's this big bump. What they call an excess mortality in exactly the young adult years, and then it comes back down again and you get a more or less normal old age situation.

Well what is it that kills people in their middle years? Violence. So this kind of data--again we don't totally--we don't really know the answer, but this kind of data leads you to suspect that indeed one of the major reasons, not the only reason, but a major reason that the hunter gatherer communities and the early archeological communities disappear so suddenly is that they are wiped out by some sort of violence.

We're right back in hunter gatherer times as far as we can tell to what you've seen before of these mass--I've showed you last time these mass graves that are characteristic of this period.

Okay, nevertheless, over the very long scale of time--our period of being cavemen and hunter gatherers lasted hundreds of thousands of years--but gradually population did slowly increase, and as population increases, the land available to people gets less. We talk, I think next time about Africa, which has a culture where land is not a scarce commodity and now it's getting to be scarce, but in their traditions, land is not the scarce commodity, but as the population grows the land per person gets less and then you have to make a more intense utilization of the land and farming gets invented. A big discussion whether it actually was the population pressure that caused farming to be invented or whether that was just some brilliant stroke by somebody that invented--that people slowly figured it out.

They actually can trace the origin of agriculture to--the current data is 11,700 years ago in the Middle East, in Anatolia, what's now Turkey, now eastern Turkey, and it expands on the average from the original sites you can watch it expand and it expands at one kilometer a year. That's the average. Then it eventually takes over the whole world. The number of people, and when you invent agriculture, the number of people that can be supported on one plot of land grows up enormously. We've seen that and so these people become more numerous and so in military confrontations and warlike confrontations, they're going to be dominant, almost no matter what the technology is, no matter what the bravery is, if you have an awful lot more people you're going to wipe out or push out groups that don't have that kind of population density.

Agriculture spreads; in the early days of agriculture you don't know an awful lot yet and you probably have one crop that you really know how to grow. For instance, in the Americas, the big crop was corn that most of Latin America even to this day lives on corn, and the North American Indians lived a lot on corn. Of course in Southeast Asia a great big population, it was rice, and you basically lived off most of your calories, most of your food from one single crop.

That's not very healthy because each crop is missing something. Corn, you may know, misses lysine, one of these essential amino acids and over a very long time the Americans learned to--a rather complicated procedure for boiling it in lime to extract this amino acid from the plant, but until that was discovered they must have been extremely unhealthy.

Rice, you know, is missing all kinds of vitamins and people have very severe vitamin deficiencies if their diet is too much rice. You're not getting a health--in early farming you're not getting a particularly healthy diet and you're not getting the vitamins and micronutrients that you need.

Furthermore, your food security goes down. Again, as I've mentioned, that a virus or a fungus, or something attacks your crops, and that's 80% of your calories and that is wiped out in a year you're gone. Or if locusts come by and eat them up or some insect infestation comes through. Also an increase in calorie availability; you can--more people can stay alive and so you get dense populations. The social structure changes, now previously each person could only get enough food basically for himself and maybe a very small family. As you develop the technology of agriculture, an individual can produce a surplus, not everything he feeds. Well who's going to get that surplus? In an egalitarian society he keeps the surplus himself, his family, and so forth.

But there's other guys that are either stronger and nastier then you and they come in and steal your surplus from you, and they have to leave you just with a small part of your production to just keep you alive because they want you to work for them, and so you get societies now where there are classes. There are people who in way or another take the excess food from the farmer and use it for other purposes, usually their own purposes. They can largely hire military to keep them in power and to protect them from other places. That's a large use of the food surplus which agriculture puts up. Also manufacturers come in; they hire artisans to make beautiful gold objects for them, or to make beds, or chairs or all the manufacturing starts on the agricultural surplus that agriculture brings in because an individual human now can produce more calories than he needs to keep going at a subsistence level.

What you see as agriculture progresses is the hunter gatherer societies are generally quite an egalitarian. They'll more or less have a head man but he won't--or a wise man or an old man, but they won't have authority. He can't order other people around; the community has to agree on some project if they undertake projects at all. As more food wealth becomes available, societies start stratifying, you get social classes, you get castes, and this inequality changes everything about the way humans live.

The congestion in the cities--cities start growing up and then you start getting the spread of these infectious diseases where one person spreads it to the next in large agglomerations of humans. That just gets worse and worse up through the 1400s in Europe when you get the Black Death and wipes out a huge number. That is--as civilization progresses the death rate from infectious diseases just keeps going on up.

Adding all this together and the data we have, is that hunter gatherers--their lifespan is ballpark 50 years. In early agriculture societies that goes down to 35 years, so we're really--and I'll show you data that in a lot of places it's probably even lower than that. We have this situation where humans--not counting violence that humans live--when they weren't being attacked by their neighbors, humans were living very well, the hunter gatherer society; sort of Garden of Eden. Then agriculture comes in and the vast mass of humans become peasants; the land becomes owned not by them but by someone else, and they have to give most of what they've produced to someone else, so life becomes miserable.

There's a lot of thought that the various of Garden of Eden myths--I mean almost every culture has some sort of glorification of a very distant past where people did not have to work so hard. In our culture we call it the Garden of Eden; everything was perfect, then something happened, and after the fall of one sort or another, now it's the sweat of our brow. It's a very nice description of what I've been telling you of the hunter gatherers living in a lush environment--before they're pushed into the desert--living quite well, and however, later on then they have to be farmers, the sweat of the brow. And violence like Cain and Abel is what is the fly in the ointment of that beautiful Eden story.

Now we come to the agricultural period in our historical romp through history. There are some really fundamental issues that you have to understand to understand what was happening with population in these times. There's constraints on human population, and the first was this enormous infant mortality which I showed you. Again, we're looking at 1960 here in a very civilized place, poor India in 1960, but still even into the 1960s where we're very modern, the infant mortality is enormous. You go, even currently, to a less well developed place, just cut out this quote from Haiti in 1979, before this recent rash of problems, a Cornell trained Haitian, comes from Haiti to Cornell, gets a medical degree, returns to Haiti, and he gets a job at a pediatric hospital: "40% of the infants, of the babies," the birth rate--he's working in among other things a maternity clinic, "40% of the babies were dying of endemic diarrhea. A man would come to pick up the bodies three times a day with a big bag. The noise of the skulls in the bag was unbearable." And this is 1979 in--how far is Haiti from Miami? A hundred and fifty miles or something like that.

The data--we have various data sets for what life expectancy was like, and this is various populations and what this is, this is a survivorship curve. So you take--for 1,000 people born in any given space of time, in an earlier period--so this is Cisalpine Gaul, this is Roman times, that's the part of Gaul that's this side of the Alps according to them, Cisalpine Gaul. Out of 1,000 children born, and actually this shows females but it's more or less the same for males, almost immediately half of them die. That's very characteristic of human societies until modern sanitation comes in, which is in Europe 1700s, and in Asia maybe 1900s.

You have this tremendous death rate of children and then it continues at a fairly high but decreasing death rate, and then finally there's very few people left. This is not the curve which showed you the percentage of death in age thing, but how many people are still surviving? At any point in--by age 15 here, this dotted line, only about 40% of people are still alive, 60% have died before age 15. This again is women, so a lot of these deaths in this middle period, by the time--this is the reproductive years, these dotted lines is 15 to 45 or so, I think 50 in this case, which is the years in which women can reproduce and most of the death in females in this period is childbirth itself. In a developing population, in a pre-medical population, childbirth itself is one of the most dangerous things in these years and the death rates are very high from childbirth itself, so a lot of that is female--is childbirth. If you looked a male population it might even be more extreme due to the--probably due to the violence that we've talked about.

Now as times goes on--we're going to come back to this graph, but as time goes on, this is Italy in 1921 and things have gotten--at all ages the death is less, so there's more people surviving, and then you come to Japan; again 1984 and you have very, very little infant mortality, very little mortality through this period and then again old age takes over and people do die. This kind of bump here compared to say this, is again possibly violence in that era, but again, we don't really know.

For our purposes, going back in time, we're really interested in this lower graph which is characteristic of humans from way back until really almost Napoleonic times, maybe through Napoleonic times but the death--the violence in Napoleonic times was enormous. If you look at women, consider this just a graph for women. Of 1,000 women born, 400 are still alive at the beginning of their reproductive period and about 200 are still alive at the end of their reproductive period. If you average that out something like--it would be the same as if something 300 women lived throughout their reproductive period.

Well, if that society is going to keep going, what is needed to happen that these more or less 300 women have to reproduce 1,000 women, right? If they reproduce 1,000 women they also have to reproduce 1,000 boys. So 300 women have to give rise to 2,000 children and if they don't do that then there's fewer and fewer people in each generation and rapidly you don't see this population anymore. How many children is that that each woman has to have? Three hundred women making 2,000 children-- 6 2/3, almost 7, so that means that in--when you have a mortality curve like this, which again is most of human recorded history, most of human history not counting hunter gatherers who did live longer apparently, the absolute minimum that a society could cope with is women have basically an average of seven children.

Wait a minute, I've made this a better case, that's of the--all that this graph shows is women that are alive in this period. What fraction go infertile? What fraction have infertile husbands? What fraction never get married? What fraction are too sick to have children? What fraction of women are worn out after two or three children and can't bear many? That's also a very large number which depends on the population, so if you subtract those--let's call them infertile women for a variety of reasons in which they or their husbands, or their health they're infertile, then there's even fewer people alive and so this curve goes--if you didn't graph just women alive but women that are alive and in childbearing condition, the curve gets much lower, so the number of children that women--the women that were physically capable of it had to have in these pre-modern times was more than seven, and probably eight or nine, or you have to do the calculation and people don't know how to evaluate the--what fraction of Roman women were fertile or infertile? You can't calculate that.

We have a huge problem that somehow there must be cul--there must be mechanisms to insure that no women are wasted, that any woman that can reproduce does reproduce, and when they reproduce they go at it. They just keep going and going, and of course men have an equal part--well they don't do the amount of work but they have a part in it. As I said, this level of mortality continues into quite modern times, it's quite striking.

Europe got out of it a little bit earlier, I say somewhere in 1700s, but for instance in 1912 in Australia--we have an Australian T.A. is she here today? Went to the--she got a ticket to the inauguration--1912 Australian census shows that 60% of all children born died unmarried. That's this number, we have them--well it was about the same number as this, this shows that only 40% are left and this says in Australia 60% are dead, so that's the same number. Sixty percent of children born died unmarried, and among the married one-ninth of marriages were sterile, and just 11% of the men and 14% of the women produced half of the children.

That means those that could reproduce and were married and had to really have very, very high birthrates, as late as 1912. China, as late as 1930, had a nearly aboriginal birth and death rate. The total fertility level was at these levels of six, seven, eight children per woman, yet the population was not increasing, which means the death rate was just as high and they were in this kind of a situation for reproduction. We're going to talk a lot about China later of course.

At that death rate, and this is data for China, in order to have a 50% certainty--so as you know many cultures, and Chinese included in traditional times, for sure wanted at least one child to survive. They do a calculation at this death rate how many children is the minimum you have to have to give yourself a 50% chance of having one son survive; five children. If you're not thinking of reproducing the population, but just reproducing your own family which is the way individual families think, and they have to have a son and you have this mortality rate, at five children you have a 50% chance. If you want to have an 80% chance of something you're back up to eight, nine, ten children which explains the desire--not necessarily--they don't necessarily keep this birth rate but the desire for these very, very high birth rates.

The result is that in most pre-modern societies, women spend their whole post-pubertal lives either pregnant or lactating. There's basically never a time when they're free of the biological aspects of childbearing, not counting the children that are now not breastfeeding anymore that Bonnie was talking about. For instance, in Bangladesh in the 1990s, we're coming up very--75% of the women in the age group of 20 to 39 were either pregnant or lactating. That means four out of every five women were, at that moment, any moment that you look, they're either pregnant or breastfeeding, and there's a small period in which they rest and then it starts over again.

We're not talking--in the need for these very high birth rates, we're not just talking about primitive tribes by any means, we're talking about the period in which all the world's great civilizations developed. Civilization--one of the things that civilizations had to do was insure a birth rate like this. In the period in which cultures were learning to write and producing a classic literature, and developing the great world religions, all of these if you read through them are calculated in some sense to keep fertility high. All of these things glorify high fertility. The religious doctrines push it; there's community sanctions; the cultures just developed in a way that--in order to increase fertility and any culture that doesn't do that and doesn't increase it successfully, they're just not here anymore. Of course most cultures that you read about are not here anymore, and they were not successful.

In our Western culture, the most famous of these things is the First Commandment in the Bible: be fruitful and multiply. Well that fits us, if you didn't do that then the Hebrews would be gone, and we wouldn't have any of what we currently have in terms of religion; any kind of the monotheistic religions. There's all kinds--you look at the culture--the religious tradition of any culture, you'll find all kinds of laws about regulating sexuality.

Now, Yale students don't know much about the Bible--how many of you know--you know masturbation is supposed to a bad thing, do you know what the Bible is supposed to prohibit that?

Student: Story of Onan spilling his seed.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, so it's the story Onan spilling his seed, and do you know why he was spilling his seed or what the situation is?

Student: There's different versions, one is that he was having sex with his brother's wife and didn't want to impregnate her.

Professor Robert Wyman: Why was he having--so she said he was having sex with his brother's wife and didn't want to impregnate her; that's correct.

Student: Well he was doing it because his brother had passed away, and according to the Levirate marriage tradition, he was then supposed to do it, in order to have a kid that would--have his brother's kid, but he didn't want to have a kid that would count as the brother's kid, he wanted his kid to count as his kid, so he would always pull out and spill his seed on the ground, and God said that's immoral and struck him dead.

Professor Robert Wyman: Right, exactly correct. I have to repeat this for the camera. The situation--it's a very short passage, a very interesting passage, and it's giving out various moral--it's in a section giving out moral laws, and it says, 'someone had sons and one of them was Ur, and Ur was married, and Ur died.' It doesn't say much about Ur except that he died. Onan was the next brother. Repeated in the Old Testament many times is that if a man's brother dies he has the moral obligation to inseminate the sister--the sister-in-law--in order to secure an heir for the dead brother. That if he fathers a child with his sister-in-law then that is not considered his child, it is considered the dead brother's child, and that's one of these important things of carrying on the family lines which is one of the ways of course insures a high population birthrate.

This is a way of keeping women, whether they're married or not, whether their husband is dead or not, you've got to keep them reproducing or the culture disappears. Why doesn't Ur want to do--why doesn't Onan want to do this? Well he may or may--it's not his kid so it was born--there's none of this sort of power and authority, and macho stature to come with having a lot of kids because it's the brother's kid, in the culture it was the brother's kid, but on top of that he would have to support this kid. Economically he would have to support not only the wife but the kid, and he didn't want to have to support kids that weren't his, so he engaged in the sex act because that was the fun part of it and--but at the last minute he pulls out and spills his seed upon the ground.

Then the Bible passage is very curt, it doesn't say more--and then God killed him. There's not a lot of explanation for this. It's repeated, this particular law called the levirate laws, as a student said is repeated in several places in the Bible and it's very, very clear that people didn't do this. People did not insem--did not want to inseminate their brother's wives because of these reasons and so whenever you see a law sort of demanding something over and over again you know people weren't doing it and that's why the law is demanding it.

That's just one example of how religion gets involved in enforcing fertility, and in this particular example, it's one of the mechanisms for keeping every woman pregnant as much of the time as possible, independent of her state of marriage.

The--anybody know why the Muslims took to polygamy? Why Mohammed allowed four wives; no Muslims in the class?

Student: To free women from slavery.

Professor Robert Wyman: What?

Student: To free women from slavery. Married women--that's the version that I remember.

Professor Robert Wyman: No. The standard version is they were going through a lot of wars. The Muslims were conquering the whole world, they were constantly at war, the men were getting killed. There weren't enough men, so what do you do with the other women? They--I mean many reasons but one of--they need support and so it's a beneficial thing, but their society needed more men, more children, so let them get married multiply. You just--whatever religion you want to look at you'll find similar kinds of examples.

When we get to family planning issues later on, how people controlled their reproduction, one of the major beliefs that the early--we don't really know again, but in the West was that the mechanism people used was coitus interruptus, because it was the only thing they knew about. It's in the Bible, it tells you what you do, it tells you the result of it, and so that Onan passage is currently interpreted to say that masturbation and contraception, all kinds of things are bad, when in fact the passage has nothing to do with that. That's not what that passage is about but that's what it's used for today, but it's been used absolutely for the opposite. People use this, oh that's how I can avoid having children and so it's--culture twists itself about and has unexpected consequences.

Okay, so I've been stressing for you that culture pushes up fertility and up to this high limit. What is the limit of human fertility? We have to evaluate that. There's a very famous calculation of this and it's set by the number of years a woman is fertile, which is generally 15 to 45 more or less, it can be a little bit younger, occasionally a little bit older, but they usually consider 30 or so years of fertility. At that--well if she gets pregnant, she's pregnant for nine months. Ovulation rarely starts again before at least three months, if she's lactating and therefore going through--not ovulating again, there's going to be more months.

If a woman has sexual intercourse it takes an average of five cycles to get pregnant. When we talk about abortion we'll talk about why that is, but if a woman's having normal sex trying to get pregnant, the average is five months before she actually does get pregnant and we'll see where that comes from. If the child dies, fetal mortality introduces a month there--anyway you add all of this up and you get 18 months that--pretty much the maximum that human females can do is 18 months or one and a half years. Dividing--what they usually do is choose 20--any particular woman will probably be fertile for 25 years, divide that by 18 months, and you get a theoretical possibility of 16.7 children. Now how many of you know somebody's who has had more than that? What's the maximum number of children you know about?

Student: I know someone with 18 children.

Professor Robert Wyman: Eighteen; I'm bid 18. Only one in the class?

Student: I think the world record for a woman is somewhere--it's really high, much higher than 18. I thought it was like in the 60s.

Professor Robert Wyman: Oh, no not 60. That's really crazy unless there's some crazy multiple birth. Now with modern drugs sometimes there's multiple, but not 60. This is an unusual class, but as time goes on, families get smaller and people don't remember. The maximum I got out of this class was 24 children. I think it was a Chinese student, I don't totally remember, and that 24 was only two sets of twins, so there were 22 separate successful pregnancies, two of which produce twins, 24 children, one woman.

Even--forget this--independent of this calculation which I've just sort of sketched for you at the--even before the calculation was done and the person who did the calculation knew about it--this is not--here is the--Norway in an earlier set of women which is this set, and a later set of women, and this is the number of children that the women have, and the percentage--the per 1,000 of women that have that number. In the late 1880s the most common number from Norway--again we're talking Norway 1890, we're not talking about anything very primitive, is 10 children. The mode for Norway was 10 children and it goes out to 18, which was the record that someone here knew. There were--of course if you had a bigger assembly you get an occasional of something more.

Student: The world's record it's 69 children.

Professor Robert Wyman: What does it say? Good for him--what--that's something special; does it say anything about it?

Student: She has--

Student: Sixteen sets of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets.

Professor Robert Wyman: Okay so it was--what was the total number of--yeah so--okay I was wrong. Send me--both of you send me the reference for that because next year I'll use it.

Now, just as long as I've got this slide up there, look what changes. We go from 40 years later, not a huge fraction of time; we're going to talk about this later in the class. It goes from the mode being 10 children to the mode being 2 children. Something drastic happens in between these two in 40 years, and this is common over Europe. This is just one data set and we're going to talk about that a since it's up here. In this period of time that we're talking about women had this very un--in the mode there's a very large number of children and they far exceeded what's calculated as the maximum.

Let's see okay, the answer is that the biological limit is very high. I'll say 24, you say 69, and we have to read that stuff. In a human population, and continuing for any length of time, the highest well-documented fertility is that of the Hutterites in the 1920s. Anybody hear of Hutterites? It's a Christian religious sect that are an--what's called an anabaptist sect that originated in Europe, migrates here, they're in the upper mid-West in North Dakota and going on over into Canada, and they're very successful in both economic ways and in population ways. They marry fairly early, not extremely early but fairly early. They have a good diet, they're farmers and very productive farmers, and they have good medical care. They engage in sex regularly; they're supposed too, and their religion forbids contraception or abortion. Not only do they have--they obey these rules. Many people have those rules in the books but this is a very religious group and they obey the rules.

Their, what we call total fertility rate, which at this moment you can consider the average number of children that a woman in that society would have was 12.4 children. Nothing--that's high--you think that's high, I saw someone blanch here, as an average, but nothing like the 24 or 60 that we're talking about. This is the highest human population that we have documented, can have that, and it's nowhere near any kind of calculation for a limit.

The most usual limit, and you see a lot of cultures in at least some part of the history where the--eight is current cultures were or historical cultures where eight is kind of a maintained average. In the colonial United States, for instance, for a short time when the frontier was wide open they had a fertility rate of eight children per women, but as soon as the frontier would close in a region the fertility rate would drop. It's clearly land availability had something to do with it.

There's good data for Massachusetts, Concord Massachusetts, very good demographic data there. People had these high birth rates until the frontier closed. What did the frontier mean in 1600s in Massachusetts? It meant like Springfield, these were people living in Plymouth, and Concord, and Lexington, right near the coast and the frontier was Springfield, and as soon as--if they had a lot of children, the children would have to move out to Springfield or somewhere which is 100 miles or something like that and that was beyond the frontier. As soon as the children had to move more than a day's horse ride away the fertility rate drops, so there's something about having the support of your children, really having a group that increases the fertility. As soon as the children will have to disperse and not anymore be of some sort of support to you, or some part of your group, fertility comes back down. No society really has ever come close to the biological limit.

Before we talked about how culture pushes up the birth rate, but now we see that something is pushing down the birth rate, that we're coming to an intermediate level. What's going on is again fairly straightforward and simple. That it was this slide that I want--here is again fairly recent data. Chinese women interviewed in 1981, but referring to their pregnancies which had been sometime in the past and it says it tried to gather data on what was the birth interval of your children and how many of them survived? If the birth interval was less than two years 45% of the children died. If it was between two and three years, 34% of the children died. If it was more than three years, only 19% of the children died.

In every culture and every time and place where we have data like this it's very clear that if the birth interval is too small, the children just don't survive. What's going on with pushing down the fertility rate is that it--especially in situations of poverty where resources are not great, women are not especially healthy, there's no--any kind of medicine available, that if the child does not get a lot of resources, which a large case is milk from the mother is the primary thing--in China there's no dairy products at this time in this social class. It's largely food directly from the mother; the children are just going to die.

The reason that fertility is pushed up from below, is pushed down is not to reduce total number of children but to maximize surviving fertility. What people aim is not to just keep popping them out and having them die. What people aim at and cultures have learned to accommodate to is to maximize surviving fertility. Not total fertility, which is just being born, but maximizing the number of children that are going to stay alive to become adult reproducing members of the society.

Now people have many mechanisms for limiting the birth rate. One that is often quite conscious is breastfeeding; it's a very standard method across many cultures. You've all heard of this, lactation amenorrhea, and many, many cultures don't leave--I mean in our culture a woman can breastfeed a little bit or long, it's totally up to the individual. Many cultures are very strict rules about this. You must breastfeed for at least--and there's a certain period of time.

Among the !Kung of Southwest Africa, which these people speak this click language, they've got all these--you've heard of them. Mothers keep the infant with them at all times, they nurse all day, at intervals separated by only 15 minutes. Bonnie how would you like to have that all day long? Nurse every 15 minutes the child; they sleep next to the mother, and have access to her breast all night long and the nursing continues until the child is more than three years old. By that mechanism, primarily by the lactation amenorrhea, the birth interval among !Kung is four years which fits--is beyond this survival issue. This is the kind of--I talked about Nomads and people that have--fairly conscious--they're probably are aware that this is limiting the births and it's something that they want to do.

When the women go foraging they carry their children--again the !Kung, they carry their children with them until their four years old and while carrying the infant she walks up to 12 miles round trip to--it takes 6 miles to go out and find some food and come back; 12 miles round trip and then in addition to that she carries loads of 15 to 35 pounds. Here's a woman who--being a hunter gatherer is probably fairly healthy, she's carrying an infant on her back, walking around 12 miles, and coming back with a load of 35 pounds of food. It's quite a feat and it's clear that they can't--they're not going to have a second infant, one on the back, one of the hip, this is not a way of improving survival. That's--lactation is one mechanism.

There's many taboos on sexual relations, especially after birth. In many cultures, as I said, a prescribed period of nursing. There's also a post-partum taboo against having sexual relations, and again, another obvious mechanism for birth spacing. If you--again this gets to the degree of consciousness of these methods. If you ask a member of a society that has a taboo they report for instance that sex at that time is very dangerous, a life and death matter.

It is dangerous to mix the man's blood with the woman's, and the man's blood is transmitted through semen. It's a bodily fluid and they don't totally--the biology is not very strong. Their course at Yale was terrible--we'll talk a lot about--not a lot--some, about what pre--pre-education people believe about reproduction and everything. If man's blood gets into the woman through his semen then it also gets into her milk, and then the man's blood goes back into the baby through the mother's milk and this is poison for the baby. That's their version of why they shouldn't--why they have this taboo.

We see this in the evolution of cultures, I mean just as we evolve biologically, of course evolve culturally, that cultures may--will pick up a behavioral pattern for who knows what reason, and they may have no clue what it's 'real' as we see it, it's 'real' purpose is, in this case to space births apart they have some kind of cultural story about it and it doesn't matter whether that cultural story has any degree of reality. If they've picked up a cultural norm that works, the society is still here, and that gets passed on. If that cultural practice does not work, not only reproduction, all sorts of ways, that society is gone. This post-partum abstinence is a major issue, especially in Africa now. The abstinence is up to three years which is--that's sort of the mode of this in Africa.

In addition to limit births, there's another thing which again is a population limitation issue, because we've talked about individual family limitation issues, trying to keep the kid alive. If the village is resource limited they may have mechanisms for keeping the whole population of the whole village down, and so in Africa especially, they have a thing called terminal abstinence. That means at a certain point in life the culture demands that you stop having sexual relations. Very often this is when your daughter has her first child. After that you're a grandmother, and you're not supposed to reproduce anymore. It's interesting what--to prevent--they perceive it as preventing conflicts between their duties as mother and their duties as grandmother, so a grandmother is supposed to help raise the grandchildren.

And there's a lot of biological theory about why do humans, somewhat unique among animals, why don't we just die -- females especially after their fertile period, there's no reason for you to evolutionarily stay alive, most animals they don't have a post-menopausal period. The theoretical reason is the grandmother effect, that as a grandmother you support the children of your child, and that increases their survival, and so it's evolutionarily good. Here in these tribes in Africa, are basically saying the same thing that if you're a grandmother you're going to have a conflict between taking care of your own children and taking care of your daughter's children, and that conflict is bad so you have to not engage in sexuality.

Up to the middle of the 1900s in Ireland, rural Ireland, people lived in households with many members of both sexes and several generations, big multi-family houses. The Irish believe that there should be only one sexually active procreative couple in the household, so they also practice grandmother abstinence. These cultural items are--they may seem a little outlandish to us in our modern day but they were effective. They kept that society going.

Another issue is exogamy, that just like chimpanzees, it's again in most animals, it's the males that disperse, but in chimps and humans it's the females that disperse. The females leave the community at birth, to go live with the man's family, and so she's under the control then, in many cultures basically a slave to the son's family, and the reproductive rules are then set by the son's family and she has no choice in this and we'll talk about that extra--this out marrying--remember with chimpanzees they were hostile to the neighbors around us, human societies are that same way. The professor in the lab next to me is from China, a village near Shanghai, and he describes this to me in China, and he says my village, which have all the same name as him, it's all a male bonded, the males have been there forever, they all have the same last name--they're hostile to all the villages around them so they won't marry the village around them. To get married they have to go two villages away and they're still sort of enemies.

In New Guinea where all over the world that's the same problem, you're fighting with your neighbors, and yet you have to get wives from somewhere, you have to exchange genetic material, otherwise you get inbreeding and so the Mae Enga they say in New Guinea that we marry our enemies and--this is a great story. Time is up; I will continue this story next time.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 5
Why Is Africa Different?
Play Video
Why Is Africa Different?

In addition to cultural controls acting to maximize fertility, there are important, and often competing, interests of individual families to limit fertility. Unwanted births are dealt with by infanticide in many cultures. Additionally, fertility is regularly controlled by limiting marriage within a culture. Another very important factor in population growth, especially in the tropics, is food availability. Heavy rains in the tropics wash nutrients away, leaving deficient soils. Much of Africa is either too dry or too wet. Africa was, until recently, not densely populated. Since land was available and because more children meant more security and power, a culture evolved that emphasized high fertility, justified by the need for descendants to pacify ancestors. Sub-Saharan (tropical) Africa has the highest birth rates in the world. As an example, Niger, just south of the Sahara desert has a fertility rate of almost eight children per woman while, in the Mediterranean zone, Morocco, just north of the Sahara, but also a Sunni Muslim country, has a rate of only 3.3 children per woman.

Reading assignment:

Caldwell, Pat and John Caldwell. "High Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa." Scientific American (May 1990), pp. 118-125

Boserup, Ester. Woman's Role in Economic Development, pp. 15-52

Van de Walle, Etienne. "Fertility Transition, Conscious Choice and Numeracy." Demography, 29, pp. 490-496

Bledsoe, Caroline, Fatoumatta Banja and Allan Hill. "Reproductive Mishaps and Western Contraception: An African Challenge to Fertility Theory." Population and Development Review, 24, pp. 15-18, 20 and 33-45

Daley, Suzanne. "Screening Girls for Abstinence in South Africa." The New York Times, 17 August 1999


January 27, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: I see this is largely, but of course not exclusively a female class, and I know that's because of the reputation of the class as being very tough on men. What have we learned about men so far? They're violent, they contribute only a speck of protoplasm to the next generation, they help hardly at all in child rearing. In the Tuesday reading you found that they're even afraid of their wives, and on Thursday how many of you did the reading about the Na? What do they believe about man's role in reproduction?

Student: Gardening.

Professor Robert Wyman: Just do gardening, they just water it. That the baby comes totally from the woman's substance and men just have to water it occasionally. As you know water is water, is water so it doesn't matter which man waters it, and they have a very promiscuous sexuality. Feeling very sorry for the males, and I don't want them to go through too much of an ego crush, I have to tell you that some cultures indeed give credit to males in all of this.

In particular, the Barre tribe of Venezuela, who are one of the isolated tribes in the Venezuelan Amazon, and they believe that a woman's body is just a vessel and that men do all the work of reproduction. The only limitation--the very first act of sex must be between husband and wife. They have marriages but the first copulation has to between husband and wife because that plants the seed, and it's very important that the seed belong to the husband. Once he has planted the seed the growing fetus is not done with male need, so the fetus obviously has to be nourished, it's keeping to grow has to get the nourishment. It doesn't get the nourishment from the mother, it gets it from semen.

The fetus needs a constant contribution of semen all along to make it grow. The Barre claim that this is very hard work for men to support a pregnancy. They have to have sex all the time to do this and the women are worried about wearing out their poor husbands. Now this is not just this cultural--just dreaming stuff up, this has real empirical basis and the Barre say, 'look it's obvious, women grow fat during the pregnancy, while men they grow thin from all their work,' so they have good reasons for believing what they do.

What's the solution? Well they ask other men to help. The husband--they don't want to wear out their husband, he's got to do a lot of stuff. They ask other men to help, and it's strange, even though it is such hard work, the men seem quite willing to pitch in and help. It's very nice, it's very heartwarming that men can, at least temporarily, stop all this male/male competition and help another guy when his wife needs a little nourishment.

When we get to discussing the reproductive biology that relates to abortion much later in the course, you will find that actually Western scientific knowledge does not go much beyond what the Barre understood until about 1840 and well into the nineteenth century. That's--until then what--how a fetus was formed, what the male contribution was, what the female contribution was, was a big hot argument. Some thought it was all woman, some thought it was all male, and they just had no idea. Human fertilization was not discovered until 1840 in the West. We were having the same argument that the Barre do.

Furthermore--anybody know approximately how long it takes if a human couple wants to get pregnant how long it takes on average? It's more like five months. You'll hear--again when we discuss abortion you'll hear the reasons for that. Actually, in that five months, the husband gets the first copulation, but thereafter a lot of guys have to help, so by the time five months rolls around, the average for getting impregnated, an awful lot of guys have had their seed in there. Again, in actuality, paternity is totally uncertain. That is it comes right back to the chimp story that the community hangs together, one reason because no one knows anything about paternity.

Okay, last time I was describing how all cultures have mechanisms so that families in fact only have about half as many children of which they're biologically capable. Remember we did this calculation and we found this 69 number and so forth. I was in the middle of a story and actually it's in your reading. It's reading for last Tuesday about the Mae Enga of New Guinea. They believe, the males and females both believe, that the sexual fluids and odors and emanations from women are dangerous and even lethal to men. Hence, the men are terrified of having sex with the women.

Now you read this in your reading and you may again throw it off as just one of these cultural practices of primitive people, and that's not the way you should approach this class. You should--on the other hand ask how does such a practice arise? What are its roots? How does it help their culture to survive? The theory being that most of the things that people are doing have some role in helping them in a difficult world.

As you know, in chimps as in most human societies, they're exogamous, that instead of the male going out to mating, the males stay together in one community, and the females go out to mating. The same is true with the Mae Enga, and females transfer groups. Also we know that, as in chimps, in New Guinea each of these tribes is always at constant warfare with their neighbors. They are truly enemies.

When women are exchanged between neighboring communities they don't travel very far; they'll get killed if they travel very far, so the only people they know are the neighboring communities and someone from this community will marry--will get a woman from a fairly neighboring community which means getting a wife from their enemy. That's again very similar to the chimp setup.

The Mae Enga are very much aware of this, as you've read, 'we marry the people we fight,' and there's a lot of distrust and fear of the enemy wives. Because of that, the husband does not sleep in the hut with his wife and children but sleeps in the men's hut. It's a male bonding sort of thing rather than a male/female bonding sort of thing. Apparently culture has used this distrust of the wife, this fear of the wife, as a mechanism for restricting sexual activity.

Of course, the Mae Enga like every other human has tremendously strong sexual drives but they're living on very fragile ecological land and they can't overpopulate it, so they have to have some mechanism of tamping down reproduction. This is one of the mechanisms; the men don't even sleep in the same house with women. It's a rare event when the women--when they visit the women, a rare and dangerous event and that keeps the birthrate down. Now in the reading, there's a third point that's very easy to miss because it's just one little phrase and it talks about how dangerous sex is.

You remember who it says is particularly vulnerable? The young males are partic--she remembers that. The young males are particularly vulnerable to these dangers and so their health will be undermined, not only by frequent intercourse with women, but even by frequent contact with women. Of course the older men are rather immune; as you grow older you gather immunity to this. Now we know younger males are driven very much sexually, older males it cools down somewhat, and so here's this cultural belief counteracting biology. It's the inverse of what you would expect. You would expect the younger men to have a lot of sex and the older men to sort of tail off on it, but what does it insure? It insures the control by the older, dominant, mature men. Again, it goes right back, it's the Mae Enga; it can be perceived as the Mae Enga version of dominance hierarchy in the chimpanzees. Well there's an extended description of this in the reading which is wonderful, which I hope you've already done.

The--so far I've been describing how culture, communities push fertility up, because, if you don't get on average eight or so children from each woman, the culture disappears, but they also have to push it down because if reproduction goes too wild the children just die. I showed you data about inter birth interval can't get too short or the children just die. Individuals--that's all from the community perspective so far--but individuals, and individual families, they have to adjust these rules. There's these cultural rules which are usually very strongly enforced, but individual families have--each has a different situation and they have to adjust the rules somehow to cope with their individual situation.

Of course this leads to conflict between what an individual or an individual family wants and what the culture says you must do. One of these examples, I mentioned last time, is post-partum abstinence, that in many parts for instance of Africa, after a child is born there will be three years in which a woman is not supposed to engage is sex. Obviously, primarily a mechanism for spacing births, so that the children stay alive and the woman doesn't get killed from too much strain on her resources.

Now if you think about that a little bit, you have a young woman, young husband, marriage is fairly young generally, the husband will be a good bit older but still young and he's facing--the wife has a kid, he has a kid, and the wife is face--the husband now facing three years without any sex. What is he going to do? He's going to want to take a second wife or maybe visit a lot of prostitutes and spend money. That's something that often the wife--the first wife or second, or third, or wherever she is in the chain, will not want.

Sometimes she does want that and we'll talk about polygamy later and why women very often choose to be in polygamous relationships, but very often she won't want him to take another wife unless he's got a lot of money he just won't be able to help more than one wife. What does she do? She has to figure out of way of resuming sexual intercourse but not get pregnant. What does she use? Contraception; so surprisingly in Africa, one of the major reasons for the people accepting contraception is not a desire to reduce fertility as in most all the rest of the world, but a desire to resume sexual relationships without getting pregnant.

She has to do this not only to protect herself because she knows that if she has children too often she wears out her body, and there's a reading on exactly what certain groups in Africa--one group in Africa considers this wearing out of the body. Also, if she gets pregnant right away the community knows that she and her husband have violated the taboo, and there's very strong social proscriptions against--proscriptions against violating the taboos, so contraception which you take privately is sort of the perfect solution for women wanting to return to sexuality but not to get pregnant.

Another aspect which we already--I just mentioned of control of fertility is what I call gerontocracy, ruled by old folk. The old folk can monopolize--the older men, can monopolize the sexual activities of younger women, and because they're not as vigorous shall we say that reduces--is one mechanism for reducing fertility. One of the ways which came up in one of the sections is the idea of bride price. Dowry is more commonly known is where the wife's family pays the husband, the husband or the husband's family when the wife gets married.

The reverse of that is called bride price and it's much more common then dowry in Africa. In this case, the man or the man's family, or the man's side must pay the father of the wife for the--before he gets the woman. It's sometimes in the West considered buying the woman but it really is not a buying situation. These bride prices can be very high and a young man usually does not have the money to buy a bride. Who controls the money of the village? Who controls the resources? Why the older men who are the village elders and control everything.

They dole out very sparingly the bride price to allow men to get married. This is like among the Maasai of Kenya, very tall people with a lot of popular press about that. And because the young men are not getting married and there's roughly--equal numbers of males and females, that leaves a lot of excess young girls, fertile young girls, and who gets them? The older men go polygamous and they can have several wives, but remember for every man who has more than one wife that means there's another man that has no wife whatsoever.

When you read the ethnography of this, the anthropologists who go in, it's very clear that the young men are held in a state of sexual frustration and the young men have ways that they talk to each other, and they are just on the verge of rebellion. The strategy of the older guys is to keep these young men just below that--keep as much sex for themselves but keep the young men from getting together and rebelling. They co-opt what we now were--they co-opt the young guys when the older more dominant of the younger guys, when things start to get out of hand a little bit, we now have bride price, and you can go and get married and that co-opts him and takes him out of the cabal that might start a small revolution.

This is all going on subtly, often hidden within these communities. These are large--affects this whole polygamist situation. In much of West Africa almost half of all wives are in polygamous marriages and that means about half of the men have no wives whatsoever. And in the 1920s--so a lot of what I'm describing is traditional culture and we all know that the whole--everywhere in the world is changing very rapidly, but you can't understand where they're going unless you know where they're coming from. In the 1920s, 40% of the men got to be 40 years old without having been able to marry, so that's almost half your population without "legitimate sexual outlet" until they're 40 years old.

Today, even today, and this is from a few years ago, the median age of marriage is still almost 30 and great pressure and power from the older guys is necessary to maintain a situation like that. They also leave sort of a pressure valve on this whole situation that they don't totally suppress the sexual activity of young men. They turn a blind eye to a fair amount of prostitution; that's reasonably accepted, and to "discrete access to the younger wives of older brothers or even of their fathers." Again there's the dominant males who are sort of officially in charge, but there's a lot of extra stuff going on. Again, it's the great ape kind of pattern. Even today, this story of the dominant older males getting the most sex has by no means disappeared.

Now it gets a little more unpleasant because this control of population by pre-[modern chemical contraceptive societies] is very often post-pregnancy. We've described so far all kinds of pre-pregnancy mechanisms reducing sex, etc., but women still get pregnant and very often they or their families decide that they can't have these children. A lot of this is post-pregnancy population control and even--and post-natal also.

Abortion and infanticide are common among--or have been recently--among almost all human groups. Different communities and different individual families have a different amount of resources and they must match, in some way, match their fertility to the resources that are available.

This is a very discussed and studied topic in population circles, so a few years back Karen Mason, who was president of the Population Association of America gave a wonderful quote about how people adjust their family size. "Parents kill their infants, abandon them, neglect them in the hopes that they will die, give them into the care of wet nurses where they usually die, sell them, give them up for adoption, marry them off at a young age, loan them to other families for fostering, send them into service, or into other households, send them to the military, the merchant marine, prostitution, or send them overseas as migrants."

All of these are very standard mechanisms for individual families controlling the number of children that they have to rear. In Western culture it's certainly not unknown, the founding myth of Jewish people? Moses. What happened to Moses? He's a baby; he's thrown in the basket, floated down the Nile. You go to China, a very standard way of getting rid of children--everywhere--every culture that has a river, babies are put in baskets and floated down the river as a way of getting rid of them. Of course the Bible story that the Pharaoh's daughter finds this baby floating down the river and you can believe that or not, but obviously, that sort of behavior of putting a newborn infant in a basket and floating him down the river was apparently extremely common at that time, so the story wouldn't have been surprising.

Student: There is one minor difference. Moses mother didn't want to kill him, on the contrary, she wanted him to survive.

Professor Robert Wyman: That's the story.

Student: Yeah, because the Pharaoh would have had him killed otherwise--as all the Jewish boys were killed.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yeah, if you read the original--you're completely correct, if you read the original story it reads as if 1. She wanted to keep him alive and Pharaoh was going to kill them all, and 2. that she saw the princess sort of on the other side of the river and thought that the princess would see it, so you can interpret the story as you want, but it's a very standard multi--many, many cultures, cross-cultural mechanism of infanticide and there it appears. What is the founding myth of the Roman people?

Students: Romulus and Remus.

Professor Robert Wyman: Romulus and Remus; what's the story of Romulus and Remus?

Student: Raised by a wolf.

Professor Robert Wyman: Raised by a wolf, so Romulus and Remus twins--we'll talk about twins in a moment, left out on a hillside; standard form everywhere in the world of abandonment, you know some animal will eat it, but in this case the wolves didn't eat the babies, they suckled them and they came up to found the Roman Empire.

Sure, so it's quite interesting how many of the founding myths have this abandonment story in them. With respect to twins, for instance, the Uwa tribe who were very traditional, isolated people in Columbia and South America, when they have twins they abandon them in the forest or toss them into the rivers, and their cultural belief is that they bring bad luck. Of course in this situation where a mother is undernourished she probably is going to have difficulty bringing up one child, and two is just kind of impossible.

If she believes, or the culture has sort of over history figured out that the children are going to die, one or both of them, then the amount of resources put into trying to raise a child who you know is going to die anyway is just not acceptable. Of course none of this is a conscious calculation. If you ask the people why they're doing it, they always give some kind of religious or mystical, or magical kind of interpretation to this behavior, but we can see it as one of the mechanisms for having families limit their fertility to what they think they can cope with. In addition to controlling the rate of reproduction, the control of population continues after birth. We haven't talked about abortion, but during pregnancy via abortion, we'll get to that later.

Societies are also really very careful about controlling the number of child bearers and they--in England, for instance, and we'll talk a little more about this at a later time, people couldn't marry. The peasant on somebody's estate could not get permission to marry unless he had enough property to support a wife and children. Very often this meant that he couldn't marry until his father died. The father was living in the house and he just had to wait until the father dies and then he was owner of this property, then he could take a wife.

Well the father dies when the guy is maybe 40 or late 30s, and so that cuts down his reproductive potential a lot, and of course the wife that he marries has not been married up until then, so her reproductive potential has also been knocked down. In many ways, since the fertility of a society basically does not depend on the number of men, it depends primarily on the number of women. We saw this--last time we discussed the permissibility of polygamy even with limitations when a lot of men are dying in war, but this happens in many, many situations.

In India, as you know, traditionally it's almost never practiced nowadays. A man dies, what happens to the wife? Sacrificed on the funeral pyre. Again, there's all kinds of religious and cultural explanations for it which the people will tell you, but standing back from it among other things, it's a way of controlling the birthrate of the population.

Sometimes in a single geographical setting you can see the two different things working together. The Mae Enga, which you've already heard about in New Guinea, they live in an overpopulated territory. They are pressing up against the ecological limits of their resources. The women are severely degraded; funerals are held to honor men and pigs, but not women or children. If a husband dies, if a man dies, his widow is strangled within 24 hours of his death.

On the same island, New Guinea, the Fore people have a different problem. They have kuru, which we now call Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease, a prion that destroys the brain so they have a very high death rate and their territory is quite under populated; they have great difficulty in getting enough people to stay alive. In that culture, where everybody is scarce, they mourn women and children as much as men; they encourage premarital sex, and widows are not killed but immediately courted for remarriage by the men. Again, this is a society when you're way below the limit, then you want to keep a woman's womb full and you want to keep them reproducing.

I've told you this mechanism for reducing the number of child bearers is severe, very severe around the world, and I mentioned and you'll hear it again, that the estimates that there are by various mechanisms of discrimination against women, there's a hundred million women missing in the world and this is a big part of the global control of population. We've seen some people and a lot of the popular discussion thinks that fertility control, contraception, all that is a new thing that's burst in 1960 or something when the pill was invented--that it just burst on the world and some people think it's wonderful and some people think it's immoral, but in fact, cultures have always had mechanisms for controlling their fertility. They've often been more brutal then what we currently have.

I want to shift gears a little bit. It follows along the following way: so we've been talking about the way people regulate their fertility. What is the main limitation on fertility? Well it's often food, and food depends on how much land you have. Most of what we read in history and what we're used to thinking of human society has to do with very crowded places from Europe, or China, or India. In historical times all of these places have had very high--historically compared--very high, even dense populations. In all of these cultures you have masses of peasants without any land, landless peasants, called land hunger, everybody wants land and there isn't land for it, they fight over land, if you manage to own land, you're going to be very rich from land, you don't have to work it yourself, there's always plenty of landless peasants that can do the work for you, and so forth.

This is pretty much true of--pretty much the characters of recent human history, but for most of human history that was not true at all, the opposite was true. The world was open and there was plenty of land available. We were not a numerous species; we had almost no population growth rate, and so what was scarce was not land, land was plentiful, but what was scarce was people to fill up the land.

Cultures have been aware of this problem, as well as the opposite problem, but this problem for a long time, so one of the great Chinese philosophers, Mo Zi (Mo Tzu) fifth century B.C. wrote, "What is hard to increase?" He's talking about politics and everything, "Only people are hard to increase." He argues--he says that there are policies which can increase population. "The kings of old required that all men marry by the age of 19 and all women marry by the age of 14. Now those who want to marry early marry at 20; those who want to marry late, marry as late as 40. We can expect two or three more children to survive if we were to reduce the age of marriage. Through universal marriage we should be able to increase the population size." This is his advice to the rulers on how to increase the population in their territory. There's plenty of land, that's not a problem. They have to be strong because there's neighboring warring states, they're always fighting with each other, if they don't have a big population their neighbors will come in and wipe them out.

Of course this idea that the government should be an agent of control of the population again has not disappeared; China does it now. In the old days they wanted to use the government and did sometimes use the government to increase the population. China now wants to use it to decrease the population, but it's the same idea that control in one way or another is important for every society.

In this--the rest of this lecture, we'll see how long it takes; we're going to talk about under population of places. The examples are largely going to come from the tropics, and especially we're going to talk about Africa, and that is because until recently the tropics have generally not had a dense population. They have been what you might call under-populated. People were scarce. Up to now we've been talking about--we talked about biological determinants of population size, of reproduction, we've talked about cultural determinants.

There's another whole big factor: geographical determinants. And we're going to talk about three very important geographical determinants of population size, and largely we're using the tropics as an example of this. The tropics generally have low agricultural productivity. The great granaries of the world are not in the tropics. They have parasitic diseases which are endemic, and geographically they're often isolated from the rest of cultural worlds.

This is the--just a general map of Africa and what you see is, this is very standard, here is the equator and--I'm sorry here is--no this is the equator up here, so what you have is in Sub-Saharan Africa, well in all of Africa, you have in the center a rain forest. This is the very traditional jungle and it's flanked north by the Sahara Desert, south by the Kalahari Desert. Then here is another green zone right along the ocean and the very north, this is Tunisia and Algeria, Morocco--just the coastal sections of Africa are green, they have rain. We're not going to talk about North Africa because that's included in the Mediterranean world, just culturally that the Sahara Desert divides.

We're going to talk about Sub-Saharan Africa. You may note that these deserts continue into Saudi Arabia, then into the Sind Desert of Pakistan and the Rajasthan Desert of India, and then the Himalayas interrupt it but you get the Gobi Desert up here and it continues across and in the Americas there's the Amazon around the equator, a very dense jungle, and what's the desert to the north of the Amazon? The Sonora Desert of Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, that desert is in the similar geographical position to this, it moves up and down.

What's the southern desert in South America? The Atacama Desert of Chile and you go over the Andes and it's not quite as desert but it's the Pampas, which is a very dry region in Argentina, so all over the world you have this--a central zone around the equator which is extremely wet, flanked by desert zones, and then once out of the desert zones you get a moderate rainfall again.

Quickly, the reason for this is quite simple. This is the tropics, heat comes down, the hot air rises, it's the hottest part of the earth, so the hot air rises, bringing up the moisture from the tropics, as it rises it cools, what happens as hot air--hot moist air cools? Rain, so this is a very rainy region. Now the air has risen, it's dropped out its moisture, it's dry air, the air that continues to rise pushes it away, so it goes either north or goes south, and it now by the time it reaches somewhat farther away it's cooled a lot, it's dry because it lost its rain, so now you have cool dry air, and because this region is sucking air back in there's a little bit of a vacuum, the air falls back down as cold from being up here, cold dry air, and you get the desert regions.

They happen in the north and they happen in the south so you get deserts here, and you get deserts here. This is just a characteristic of the whole world, and of course this is interrupted by oceans; this is interrupted by something like the Himalaya Mountains so there's a lot of-- it's not a perfect schema but it explains an awful lot of the geography of the earth.

In this schema, as I've just showed you, in Africa, look how much of it is taken up with that schema. It's from here, from the north edge of the Sahara Desert to the south edge of the Kalahari Desert. It turns out its 97% of Africa or something; 93% of Africa lies in one of those regions; a very wet jungle or too dry and you just have a very thin region here, and some region here, which gets some of the monsoon circulation of air, of warm air out of the ocean.

We have the image of the wet tropics anyway as extremely lush and fertile and you think what a wonderful place for farming. It's a tropical paradise. Actually nothing is farther from the truth; the tropics are generally very difficult to farm and if you do farm them, they're very poorly productive regions. Why is this? How many of you are aware of that, that the tropics are not good for farming? All you Forestry guys ought to be aware of this. The reason is that the soils are very bad and they're bad for a number of reasons.

Well let's go back a little bit. Plant growth is very rarely limited by sunlight. What the tropics have is plenty of sunlight but it's very rare that that is the limitation on plant growth, so the most productive part of the world is in terms of bio-productivity? The ocean around Antarctica--very, very cold region in terms of intensity of sun, every part of the world gets the same number of hours of sunlight in a year, but the intensity around Antarctica is very much less, so there's very little sunlight, yet you get these tremendous algal blooms, the krill eat them, the whales eat the krill, and it's a tremendous productive region. Why?

It has nothing to do with sunlight; it has nothing to do with temperature. You have Antarctica, the continent of Antarctica, which has rock down below it, it's not like the North Pole, there's rock there and the glaciers slide down to the sea and they grind the rock. Where the glacier is coming--falling into the sea, underneath is a layer of what they call glacier flour and that's ground rock, falls into the sea, fertilizes the sea, tremendously valuable--tremendously nutrient rich and then that circulates up the west coast of Chile, for instance the pacific coast of Chile, the Humboldt current you may have heard of, brings up all these nutrients and the richest fishing banks in the world are off Peru where the Humboldt current comes up and brings all these nutrients to the surface.

All over the world nutrients are almost always what limit agriculture. Well what's the story in the tropics? The soil may have started with a lot of nutrients at some time back, but the rains come, a huge amount of rain, and what does rain do, washes the nutrients back away. In most places nutrients are recovered by several mechanisms. One is by mountains being eroded down, that the mountains erode. In February, I was in the Peruvian Amazon and you're sitting there right in the shadow of the Andes and the rains come into the Andes, erode the rock, and parts of the Amazon have rich water flowing through it with the Andes nutrients. Most of the Amazon is flat, does not have any runoff from the Andes Mountains, infertile as hell, no nutrients there.

How does the jungle--so you have this nutrient poor soil, if you go there you'll see the soil is extremely thin. You take your boot and you kick it and a few--an inch or two and there's no soil left and if you look at the trees, what do the roots of tropical trees often look like? These huge things because there's not enough soil to support them on deep roots, there's nothing down there, so they spread out and hopefully stay upright because with these huge, huge buttressed kind of roots. Everything is telling you, if you know how to look at everything, it's telling you that this is thin and poor soil.

Nevertheless, there's all this biomass in the jungle and the mechanism is that the whole floor of the jungle is covered with a fungus, with a fungal mat, when a leaf falls and it's wet, and so then it's never--cannot fall far from a fungus because they're everywhere. The fungal hyphae, the sort of root of the fungus in a sense, invades the leaf and very rapidly sucks out its nutrients. What does it do with those nutrients? Well one end of the fungus is attached to the decaying leaves and other stuff that falls down. The other end is attached to the trees, and it gives these nutrients to the trees. Why is it so generous? Well the trees must be giving something to the fungus.

Well the trees are up there in sunlight. The jungle floor is dark. The canopy of the forest let's very little sunlight in, so they can't photosynthesize down at the bottom. It's--there's not a lot of grass and stuff under jungle trees. The trees make the sugars through photosynthesis, they send them down, pass them to the fungus, the fungus decays and everything else sends the nutrients back up into the tree. It's a wonderful cycle and so basically all the nutrients are up in the jungle canopy, up in the forest, not in the soil.

This stuff, this decaying vegetable matter is the source of fertility and you measure how much of it there is, and the productivity of the soil depends very closely to the percent and depth of the humus, this stuff is called humus in the soil. In tropical soils it's less than 2% of the soil that things live in is humus. In temperate soils it's always over 10%; in upper New York state or Ohio it's 10% to 12%, and the richest Iowa farmlands it's up to 16%. So you can see the productivity of Iowa is just going to be--just from the soil consideration--there's going to be an awful lot greater than the productivity of the Amazon.

Another thing is the rapidity of decay aside--anything that the fungus doesn't get, which is rare, decays by bacteria and maybe other fungi that don't feed the trees. It's hot, it's hot all the time in the Amazon, and what does temperature do to chemical reactions? Speeds them up, so for every ten degrees warmer the chemical reaction in general goes twice as fast. In a jungle floor--in a jungle you'll have maybe 30 degrees higher than New York state, than Ohio, or Iowa so that's two, four, eight--decay will go eight times as fast as in say New York or in my backyard; to say nothing of the absence of the winter where decay basically doesn't happen at all.

I know I make a mulch pile and it takes four years. When I put in a leaf, four years later it's down to good soil, and then takes more years, I don't know how many before that turns all back to carbon dioxide and water. The whole thing is organic; the whole thing eventually goes away. In a jungle it happens much, much more quickly.

To summarize all this, this is--you've got to have some biology in this course. What is--which is more fertile, the Sahara Desert or the Amazon Basin? The answer is really surprising. There's a quote, "Annually millions of tons of dust from the Sahara are blown by the northeast trade winds, thousands of kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean. There they settle upon the Amazon. Some scientists suggest that this is one of the major sources of soil nutrients for the poor soil of the Amazon." It's really--and not a mild situation; it's very extreme, if nutrients from the Sahara can blow a few thousand miles and drop in and be a very significant source of nutrients for the Amazon.

Now, what happens if you try to farm this place? Try to farm in a jungle, what do you do? Well you have to chop down the trees, right? Now mind you, I told you that the forest floor is moist and dark, and if any of you have been there, you'd know that it's very striking. You're not boiling at all. Now you cut down the trees; the sun now beats down, the tropical sun can be quite brutal and it dries out the soil, it bakes the soil. What dies? The fungi die because fungi need coolish and moist environment. They die, your means of recycling nutrients is gone; the soil has very little nutrients itself.

What have you done with the trees that you chopped down? If you're a commercial agriculture place you ship them down river to a saw mill, so the nutrients that are there, they're taken away. The secret of what's called Swidden agricultural, slash and burn agriculture, is that yes they do chop down the trees but in a very local, very small plot of land, and they burn the trees in place and that puts the ash as the mineral nutrients which are so missing and that fertilizes the soil. It's not wonderfully efficient but it does work if you keep your plot small because then the fungus, which is killed there, can reinvade from the surrounding trees.

You start doing commercial farming with many, many acres of spread then there's no way that soil is going to regenerate. How does this work out? For instance, in the Yucatan of Mexico, the Maya lived there for a very long time. In the sixteenth century, a Franciscan bishop Diego de Landa, who was--he wrote everything, everything we know about the pre-colonial Mayan existence comes from him. The Yucatan, this is from him, "The Yucatan is the country with the least earth that I have seen, since all of it is one living rock, and has wonderfully little earth." When you read all these chronicles they always are--they're speaking always of famines in the Yucatan because there's so little productivity and how do they avoid the famines, and this is again before the Spaniards came. They take care of their--they have exports which they exchange for food from better regions. What do they export? Honey; which you don't have to farm, salt which you don't farm, and slaves.

That's another use for "excess people" and controlling your population, you sell them as slaves. You look all over the pre-modern world and of course you know it's not gone in the modern world, slavery is a very big thing and a very big part of what happens to population. We'll talk a little bit about that later. Well let me say it now as long as the topic came up. What is slavery a response too? It's very relevant to this lecture--under population. You don't have enough laborers so you import slaves. In the middle of Europe, where you have teeming populations, or India, or China, are you going to have an awful lot of slavery? No, there's no land for them to be utilized.

Slaves get used, like in the Roman Empire, not as farmers; there were hordes of Romans, peasants that would love to have some land to farm. They're used in the mines; there were household slaves, sex slaves, in the mines. The Arab countries took a lot of slaves through Madagascar and continental Africa; household slaves, sex slaves, somewhat in the mines but they didn't have that many mines. Slavery is a response to under population. Where do you get huge slavery? When you discover the new world and how you have this very thin Indian population in these worlds, largely because we killed them with diseases as you either have read or will read.

You have an under populated--two under populated huge continents with much good land, you first in Western--in history first you try to enslave the Indians, the Indians don't do very well, they die out, so you stop that and you import African slaves who manage to stay alive. Slavery itself is a response to under population. It fits exactly into what I am talking about. Wherever you see massive slavery you're going to find under-population, you're going to find areas of land that have nobody on them, and someone can, by military force, capture people and force them to work for themselves. There's many other reasons why the tropics are hard to farm. Where are the grain belts in the world? What do you know about--where is grain grown? Where is the really rich places? Anybody?

Student: US.

Professor Robert Wyman: U.S., where in the U.S.?

Student: Midwest.

Professor Robert Wyman: Midwest, upper Midwest, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota. Does it go north of the U.S.?

Student: Yes.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, Saskatchewan, Alberta, way the heck up there, you have this fabulous production of grain. You see pictures of northern Saskatchewan in Canada with the big grain reapers. China, where are the great grain fields of China? Wheat--up in Manchuria, goes up the northeast of China, is all grain, all wheat, way up into Manchuria, and Manchuria goes up it's more or less the same as Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In the south you don't get your great grain growing regions in the tropical region, certainly not in the desert regions. You get them--Morocco, for instance, has very productive agriculture right on the coast where it's a wet region. That's not very far north, and down in South Africa, and Africa just doesn't go that far south. In South America you get it down in Argentina, so again--so there's something that agriculture gets more productive the further north you go, with a limit of course, it doesn't go into the tropics. Why should that be? That goes contrary to our expectation.

Again, the reason is biologically rather simple. During the daytime, plants take in the sunlight and make sugar, make energy. They also respire, they also have to run their own machinery, so they're also using energy, using sugar all the time, they use it day and they use it night. Now the sun goes down and photosynthesis shuts down, but respiration continues, they have to keep themselves alive at night just as we do, we don't stop breathing when we go to sleep. The ratio between daylight and nighttime, how many hours of daylight and how many of nighttime is a very important factor in plant productivity. In the tropics what's the ratio of daylight to nighttime the whole year round?

Student: 1:1

Professor Robert Wyman: About 12/12, about equal. What is it up in Saskatchewan or Manchuria? Daylight, daylight, daylight, very little nighttime. The plants have so many more hours in which they're photosynthesizing and much smaller amount of time where they're not photosynthesizing but still respiring. That's one big factor why you get these grain belts going up north. Also temperature, how much energy does it take you to just keep yourself alive? Well we've just said, all chemical reactions go--every ten degrees they more or less double, so respiration plants the warmer they are, the more respiration they have. At nighttime it's still warm, so everything is working rather fast in the tropics.

In Canada, it's a lot of sun during the day, but it cools off at night, and so respiration is at a very low level. The productivity of a plant is the balance between its photosynthetic productions, it's production, and its respiration, use of that produce for its own purposes. There's a big difference in the ratio in the north from Iowa to Saskatchewan, or from the Yangtze up into Manchuria, that ratio is just much better than it is in the tropics. We won't continue too much with this.

We can also talk about the diseases that--in tropical regions you get Malaria, you get a whole bunch of insect borne diseases, tsetse flies carry sleeping sickness, etc. One to two million Africans die of Malaria every year and that's about the same number as AIDS. Malaria and Aids are about equally devastating to a population. It's about 11% to 22% of all deaths in Africa are Malaria deaths. Yellow fever, Leishmaniasis, bilharzia [Schistosomiasis], roundworm, hook worm, the number of parasites that live in tropical regions is enormous and very often they kill humans and make--they can't go in there to farm because they'll die.

Why are the tropics so much more susceptible to disease, this kind of disease, insect born stuff than the northern regions? It's a simple factor, winter. Winter kills insects, it kills them massively, very hard for insects to not freeze to death over the winter. Tropics don't have winter so it's a whole class of problems; they dry out, the winter is extremely dry, they go desiccate and freeze and it's very--organisms kill them. In the tropics, nice all the time, insects just have a good time and they can evolve, use their evolution to attack animals and people much better. All of this really adds up and geography counts and people have to adapt to the geography.

In this case the adaptation is to an under-population and I'm going to show you--well just to give you an idea of how densely populated Africa is or isn't, here are some European--some non-African places. Netherlands is one of the most crowded in the world; 1,011 people per square mile. Japan: 870, but that's--in terms of arable land Japan is mostly mountains. They just have very small areas where people can land, so to compare the Netherlands are all flat, people can live everywhere. But if you want to compare this to that they're probably--per arable land where it's more crowded than the Netherlands.

Belgium same as here, India, China and again China is the same thing, they have the whole Himalaya Mountains in the west, the whole huge dry regions in the north, Tibet--Mongolia and the northwest regions so this is way an underestimate for China. Mexico has a lot of desert, looks fairly under populated, but a lot of that is because you got desert space.

Now you go to Africa, Nigeria one of the most densely places is 346, that's not extreme. Since Nigeria it's all--no mountains, no deserts. In principle all of this land could be used so that's a real number, whereas, the Chinese number you should multiply it by a factor of three, it's about a third of the Chinese land that's actually arable, so China is ballpark 1,000 and Nigeria is about a third of that. Kenya is down--again Kenya is pretty much all livable, and they have a low population. Madagascar's all livable. Angola is all livable. Mali and Niger have deserts so those numbers have to be corrected. Congo doesn't have deserts.

The point is that the population density in Africa is a lot less than other places that we think are--we don't think of Holland as overpopulated, but in terms of just a simple people per arable land it definitely is. Africans, again, we're looking at something that has a big historical component. I have to be careful when I'm talking--what era of time I'm talking about. These are modern numbers I'm going to show you but they reflect people's attitudes that have changed that are appropriate for some time in the past, and only change very slowly.

This is Morocco on the coast, this is not part of the Sub-Saharan Africa zone. This is very integrated into the Mediterranean zone. Almost everything you can say about its culture, it's really a Mediterranean culture. Look what's happened to its fertility over time. It was very high, more or less equal to every other place, 7.2 children per women and that stayed the same, but in recent times it's gone down to less than half of that, 3.2. This is not the most recent data. I wanted to show you a little bit older data. It's gone down even further. That zone of North Africa, Tunisia is at replacement fertility level, and North Africa has characteristic of this.

Now I'm going to show you the next country to the south which is Mali. I'm sorry Niger, because Mali is also there, but Niger is--when you go south you cross the Sahara Desert and you're in Sub-Sahara and Africa. Now look at its fertility, this is even a little bit later in time, and look at its fertility rate, it hasn't budged at all. It's again, eight--seven, eight children, middle, eight children, and it ends up here even more then it was in 1950s. It has not changed. The fertility rate has not responded to whatever it is about modern times and we'll talk about it a lot what has caused fertility to go down.

Now one thing you can say is how many women don't want to have any more children, and that, of course, depends on the number that you already have. It gets up too--it starts women have no children, very few, most of them want children, and they have one child that's enough for two. At two children already you have like 40% of women already saying, two children's enough for me; again this is Morocco in the Mediterranean zone. Then when you get up to six children almost everybody says enough. The average for the whole country is--that's like 53.3%. More than half of the women say, okay no more children, and again this data is seven years old, it's even lower now.

You compare this to Mali and this is the number of women that don't want any more children, and I think the final there is 8.6 or something, an enormous difference. That no matter how many children they have even--this is eight--six and more children, still only a very few, about a third of them say six or however many I have, six and over is enough for me. This is in respect of those two, you might say, well Niger is a very poor country, Morocco is not anywhere near so poor, it has something to do with infant mortality. This is indeed Morocco, and look infant mortality has come down quite a bit. It's getting there and so you say, oh well that's why Morocco--Moroccan's want and have fewer children because they have a better situation with infant mortality, but then you look at Niger and not--it's not as good as Morocco but it's still come down quite a bit and since then it's come down further.

You expect--well you'd see some response in the fertility levels to that but you don't, you don't see it at all. What's the difference? It's not religion. So both Niger and Morocco are Sunni Muslim, and as far as I'm aware, there's no big differences in the interpretation of religion there. You see the same story in Christian Sub-Saharan Africa countries. This is Tanzania, again about the same years, and basically no change in fertility--a little drop in very recent times.

Zambia is coming up next, in Zambia it's--even went higher and then it's down back to where approximately where it started. This is characteristic. It's not a religious thing. There's something special about Sub-Saharan Africa. Even South America doesn't look like this at all. If you're in South America the fertility is way, way down. There is something quite special about Africa, and we're going to have to try to figure out what that is.

You'll read a really interesting article by John Caldwell which talks about a whole culture of reproduction. Again, Africa is a huge place, has many different cultures and we're just talking Sub-Saharan Africa. North Africa is a different story; South Africa we have the European settlement, that's another different story, but the bulk of Central Africa to some degree fits this. You have places where you don't have bad soil, so in the tropics Java has volcanoes, volcanoes replenish soil. The mountain slopes of Kenya have good soil from--again from volcanic soil. The stories there are a little different. In general, we're talking about those parts in Africa where it's hard to stay alive, it's hard to get a population going that we're--that places traditionally under populated and just now with Western medicine are the population rates coming up to where you might consider it crowded. A place like Nigeria now is certainly crowded.

In Africa, reproduction is at the core of--the central core of traditional culture. Their religious ideas are all tied in, very--essentially, with reproduction in the lineage itself that means your line of ancestors. The prime duty of a human, in this cultural setting, is to reproduce the lineage, keep the lineage going. This is not at all unique to Africa. In Indonesia I saw there was an awful lot of this going on and I'll talk about other examples of it. It's very pronounced in Africa but not in any sense unique.

The idea is that--one of the ideas is that when a man dies he doesn't just disappear. We have a nice funeral service and say bye-bye, and maybe once a year we come and give flowers onto the grave, but we have no sense that that person is still around. In these traditional parts of the world the person lives on in kind of shadow world, but he can communicate with his descendants. That's often not very difficult, and he's dependent on his descendants for sustenance. If they don't feed him and give him what he needs in the afterlife he is in big trouble. If a man does not have descendants then he really doesn't get anything when he dies.

Again, I saw this in Bali enormously, where there was enormous effort to bring offerings to the recently dead ancestors. They're very, very sensible about it. You see in Bali the women carrying these--they're beautiful in their beautiful dress, and they have these huge platters on their heads filled with the most delicious fruits and arranged just gorgeously, and they bring them to the temple and the ancestors can partake of them, and the next day they come and take it home and eat it, because they understand that the ancestors are getting spiritual not the physical stuff. So they leave it there and then the ancestors can take what they get out of it, and then the humans can take what they get out of it, so it's not wasteful. Every store and every house will have a little--every day a little thing out in the front with a little bit of grain and everything. The dogs come by and eat it. Of course the dogs come by and eat it, but that's okay. The ancestors have taken, and the spirits have taken what they want out of this.

In temperate zones we associate religion and our culture--big empires, big states, the United States is huge and any western country population is large compared to say a Balinese Village or an African Village. Religion is big. How many billions of Christians are there, how many billions of Muslims are there, of Buddhists and Hindus, we got everything--everything is big.

In Africa, in a sense, each family's ancestors are its gods, and both traditional and political authority, and religion are very, very local affairs. They're not agglomerated into big things. No one expects the people in this village to worship the same as the people in the next village. There isn't so much the idea of a central monotheistic type of god which is--that comes up when you have empires. You have a central emperor and you have a central god. When you don't--when your political thing is just your village, again traditional times, there's no concept, no need to have these either central political leaders versus central religious gods. Immortality for you is provided by your descendants.

Immortality is very local; it's your own descendants. That changes in Western religion, especially in the Muslin Judeo-Christian tradition. It's the religion, it's God that gives you immortality. It's not your descendants, so everybody's interested in immortality; it's very important whether you go to heaven or hell and so forth. The huge shift is whether it's given to you by your descendants, whether they take care of you and give you a kind of immortality, or its given to you by your big mega-religion, which tells you what you have to do in order to gain immortality.

When a person dies, there again, they don't go off to a distant heaven, they stay right locally and gradually after a few generations they kind of disappear into the mist and they have a very careful departure. Again, in Indonesia, again comparing tropical regions, one of the big islands is called Sulawesi or Celebes as we say in Western languages. Again, in many different cultures, but in some of them a person dies, you don't want to disturb that person because they can do bad stuff to you.

You swaddle them; he's going to rot, so you got problems, you give him swaddling clothes and you sit him in a chair, him or her, in a chair right in his own bedroom, right where they live in houses sort of, thatch houses, and they sit there for a long time and gradually as they decay, they smell, they take off the swaddling clothes, get rid of that and swaddle them up again until they're down to bones. And then they're taking up--so they're not disturbed, by that time they're ready, they don't have their flesh anymore, they're ready to leave, so they take them to these big cliffs overlooking the village, and there's caves, natural caves in the cliff, and the dead bodies are brought up there to sit, and look down over the village, they're not very far away. It's really quite wonderful.

I was in Bali stumbling around under funny circumstances in a cemetery, and all these graves were open. I said, what's going on are they expecting--have they dug an awful lot of graves expecting everybody to die soon? No, it turns out that a rich man had just died. Now the poor people want to provide for their ancestors in the next life but they don't have money; they don't have any stuff, so they bury him and they wait until a rich man dies. Then a rich man has this huge procession. They're wonderful things to see with big caskets, and big chariots, and all this--just wonderful preparation and he's very rich and the rich man's body is thrown into the ocean and all kinds of stuff is thrown into the ocean to support this rich man in his afterlife.

Well, the poor people, and it's quite okay because it's a very communal culture Bali, very supportive of poor people, they dig up their bodies, and they bring them in the same time the rich man is put into the ocean. Poor people are put into the ocean. They partake of all of this. What happens the next day, of course the ocean--all the coins and what not have come up on the beach and the rag-pickers, the really poor people come by and collect all this stuff. It has--this cultural act of burying the rich, not only does it equalize the afterlife of the rich people and the poor people, but the very poorest people who are still alive get some income out of it as well as of course everybody who prepares the funeral. It's a wonderful sort of way that everything sort of hangs together as they usually do in cultures. We will continue next time.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 6
Malthusian Times
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Malthusian Times

In many regions, the central cultural idea is that of a lineage, a family and its line of male ancestors and descendants. The prime duty in these cultures is to keep the lineage going. Religion is small scale with the ancestors performing many of the functions of gods. Denser populations and larger political entities lead to large-scale religion where conformity is stressed and cultural rules are codified in a book and not subject to discussion with the ancestors. In pre-modern Sub-Saharan Africa, land was not limiting, so a maximum number of children was desired. Neither monogamy nor chastity were valued as much as fertility. Families were not nuclear; husbands and wives did not engage in many activities together; children were often raised by other members of the village and women had the responsibility for economic support of the children. In many areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, farming is the work of women. Women often prefer men with resources which leads to polygamy. Women in polygamous relationships form support groups for each other and men enjoy the fruits of several women's labor and children. In temperate regions, the land eventually fills up and the dangers of overpopulation come to the fore. Peasants are miserably poor. Massive epidemics (the Black Death, 1347 and onward) and wars (the Catholic-Protestant wars, 1562-1648) can kill a third of the population.

Reading assignment:

Livi-Bacci, Massimo. A Concise History of World Population: An Introduction to Population Processes, pp. 37-42 and 49-57

Tuchman, Barbara. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, chapters 3 and 5


January 29, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Last time we started talking about tropical places where high productivity agriculture is generally just not possible. Hence, without productive agriculture you can't support dense populations. Those cultures grew up in time--in places where plenty of land, land was not filled up, it was people that were scarce. While individual women of course still had to control their fertility so that the children--the infants that they had didn't die and there's many, many things that they do for that.

The community cultural controls on fertility are generally absent because from the community point of view you always wants to be, at that time, larger and among other reasons to protect your community from the ravages of hostile neighbors because almost all of these communities are--just read any history of any part of the world constant, constant warfare, as we've discussed a lot.

Of many places in the world, which one could describe, traditional Africa provides some of the best examples of how these cultures operate. Again, I want to emphasize that this a tradition--a picture of a traditional time and things are changing now extremely rapidly everywhere in the world, including of course Africa. As I showed you last time, Africa really is different than the rest of the world. I showed statistics comparing Morocco on the north coast of Africa, included in the Mediterranean cultural zone. You cross the Sahara, you're in Niger, or you're in Mali, and totally different situation. The number of children is much high--people have is much higher, I showed you that, the number of children that they want is much higher, infant mortality has come down in both places, in Morocco the fertility responds to it, in Niger the fertility does not respond to it.

While we're going--so we're going to discuss this region and using a lot of generalizations which will not fit any particular culture. If you add up all the birthrate statistics, Sub-Saharan African has about twice the birth rate of North Africa. Again, it's all Suni Muslim we're talking about, so religion is not the difference, but the something else about the southern culture which we've been talking about. It probably starts with the agriculture and then goes into other fields. Of all the things that are changing in Africa, fertility--the attitudes toward fertility--again I'm always using fertility as the number of children a woman actually has and not her ability to have children. The attitudes towards fertility are sort of the most resistant to change.

These societies have what you might call a culture of reproduction in which the central idea is that of lineage, a family and its line of male ancestors. The prime duty in these cultures is to keep the lineage going. Of course you've all read stuff about China, China is not--traditional China is not particularly different than this. The important thing is to provide descendants for the ancestors. Not only is your own future--if you don't have the son as your own future as a shade, as sort of a spirit that hovers around, is dependent on continuation of the line. The whole history of ancestors, stretching back, is dependent on your having descendants. The future line which is perceived as sort of almost in existence, of potential existence, the whole line from the distant past going through you to the distant future is all dependent on you having descendants, male descendants in the line.

The central purpose, the central goal, the central job of existence is to continue this line of fertility. Now the traditional religion is based on this lineage idea. Because it's your own--the gods are in a sense your own ancestors, people that you knew, people that you talk too, they stay more close to you after they die. Unlike Western gods where you pray but it's never clear whether your prayers are being answered or not, in an ancestor worship situation, the answer is right there, and you can talk back and forth with them. They're not distant, eerie, supernatural kind of characters but rather like a grandfather who just stays near us after his death.

This kind of description comes from the ethnographers, the anthropologists that go and talk to the people in these traditional cultures. The lineage head, who is almost always the old--often the oldest male member of the lineage, he often can communicate directly with these ancestors or there may be a soothsayer in the community and then the head man will commission the soothsayer to ask the ancestors some particular question. The ancestors are quite available to discuss the most ordinary and mundane issues of life or they can discuss very weighty affairs. This doesn't require waiting for some big holiday or some huge amount of time, it can be--the whole thing can be transacted in 15 minutes or maybe a half an hour. Sometimes they're contacted, they provide their answers, and you've got the answer that you need.

One of the interesting, with respect to this course, one of the interesting things that goes on is that family planning is being introduced into Africa, has been now for quite a while, and it's becoming available. The people are thinking it over; it's a hot topic. They're discussing it, they're trying to figure out whether it's good for them or not, whether it's permissible for them or not, what's going to happen if you use it, what's going to happen if you don't use it. It's a very hot topic and of course they want the wisdom of the ancestors on this.

In the middle of this, one set of demographers went into--in Ghana there's a group of Nankana--the name of the people there, and they went into their villages and they wanted to see how this worked out. If this discussion with the ancestors, as they call the traditional religion, would be hostile to the introduction of family planning because elsewhere in the world of course the more conservative the more--it doesn't depend on the individual religion, a particular religion as I have said and will say again, but it does depend on the religiosity of the person. The more religious a person is, in almost any tradition, the more hostile they will be to change, and in particular to the adoption of new reproductive practices like family planning.

They're interested in this issue how this would work out in traditional villages in Africa. He asked the village head man--one of the anthropologists--to inquire of the spirits how many children should a family have; a simple question. Here's what the spirit said, "Listen to what I have to say, children are the lineage, if there are no children the lineage will end. We ancestors want many children; the women should give birth to many children." That was a pretty clear answer; there was no futzing around with that one. But being Western skeptics, they didn't really believe that the ancestor was saying that, so he was saying, well the headman put into the mouths of the spirits whatever the headman believed, and that was not--made the anthropologists quite satisfied with this.

He was a good scientist and he did the control experiment, he asked the headman, the same headman who had just reported the conservative views of the ancestors. Well what do you think, he got a completely different answer. "Women need to have just enough children. Currently it is very difficult to fend for the children. There's no food to feed them. If they are in school it is difficult to pay their school fees and to buy them school uniforms. Taking them to the hospital when they are sick demands a lot of money. That is why we need to give birth to few children." Well that's a little different take, and so then the demographer's brain starts rolling and says; now I got the scene, now I got it right. The ancestors are giving the traditional point of view, well that's true, that was what the older generation believed, but the headmen are part of the current generation and they're going to take current views into consideration and take a more moderate view.

They interviewed the next--they went to the next village and interviewed the next lineage head and that hypothesis didn't stand up. Speaking for himself, the headman said, "I would like them to have many children because a large following it makes one a chief. There is power in numbers." This is the idea that if you have only a few people in your village you're not very powerful, your neighbors can ignore you, they can take advantage of you, but if you have a big set of descendants and a big family and extended family, a big village then you're a powerful chief and he wanted children so that he would be powerful.

But then this same guy was asked to see what the ancestors have to say about it, and the ancestors said, "Everybody should have a small number of children, but they should not refuse to have children altogether." Since the ancestors are close at hand, it's perfectly reasonable that they're aware of current trends, and one of the ancestors said, "It is now difficult to get an education as well as to do farming. If a problem crops up and the child is sick then money is everything. You have to buy medicine," meaning modern medicine, "And even if you go to the herbalist," traditional medicine, "You need to take a fowl," a chicken or something, "along to pay for the treatment. It's no longer the same as in the olden days when everybody did farming." That's the ancestor speaking, very well aware of current trends and problems.

After they interviewed a whole lot of these Nankana villages in Ghana they summarized the research, and the result was no pattern of responses at all. Sometime the headman and his ancestors they agreed; sometimes they disagreed; sometimes it was the ancestor taking the conservative line; sometimes it was the headman taking the conservative line. It was indeed like a discussion between a man and say his grandfather that was going on and they will have different points of view and individuals will be different. This contact with the ancestors seems quite natural.

You read this story--you hear this story as 'oh my God,' but it's perfectly natural to the people. These people in northern Ghana they have no word for supernatural. It just doesn't exist. They don't have any--they don't have scientific explanations for anything, so all explanations are sort of somewhere floating around, some are empirical and observational, and some of them are supernatural, and so there's no boundary between these kinds of explanations for things, and so they don't have such a word and they don't distinguish these kinds of discussions with the ancestors from real things, real dreams or daydreams or anything else. It's all a very fluid kind of thing.

To people living in that kind of a culture the Western idea of an unwavering set of rules, cast in stone in some book thousands of years ago, like the Bible, like the Koran, would seem ludicrous to Nankana. To them, our system of a book that says everything you need to know is as crazy as our view of them talking to the ancestors. You should then compare this kind of individualistic, flexible style of religion to the mass monotheistic religions that we have in the northern temperate zones, at least the Western northern temperate zones. These religions are all part of a big political structure which requires uniformity of the subjects of some king, or some emperor, and submission to that person.

Of course, as you probably all know, the word Islam itself means 'submission' and the ideal in monotheistic religions is often--notice the uniformity. This is women at prayer and notice the--as you see--when you see a bigger picture of this there's just a sea of women at some big event all dressed identically, all looking identical. When I was in Morocco I got a little instruction book that is given to children about how to pray, and every detail is specified down to when you bow down during prayer the position of the toes is specified--are they curled under, are they spread out, you have to know that. Conformity is a very important part of mass religion.

Of course in the west how is conformity enforced in Christianity? You burn the heretics, a long history of burning and killing by the dominant church, wherever it is, you just slaughter the people that--even on very tiny theological differences if they don't believe exactly as the authorities think they should believe, off with their head, so it's a very different kind of pattern of cultural understanding of religion and ancestors and the world.

Given this intensity of devotion to the lineage, the main virtue in Africa then is fertility. The main sin is to be barren, is not have children. An inability to have children, barrenness, is not just a passive thing that happens to you but it's punishment for something bad that you have done. There's very little distinction between infertility, the woman just can't get pregnant, and of course they don't accept the idea that it might be the man's fault, but the woman doesn't get pregnant, she's infertile, she has miscarriages, goes partway through the pregnancy, or infant deaths. The important thing is to have descendants who can carry on the line and however--whatever the mechanism is by which a man or woman, or the family, is incapable of having descendants, that's the worst sin and it's your fault. It's not a passive thing that happens to you.

Barren women can be divorced, they can be shunned, and sometimes they need to--they're not even allowed to live in the center of the village because--of course they have no scientific explanation for barrenness, but maybe it's catching in some sense, either by evil spirits which are keeping the woman from getting pregnant and you don't want the evil spirits to attack you, or some other reason they can often be required to live on the edge of the village.

Given this emphasis on, one way or another, getting pregnant, monogamy is not strictly enforced; it's not the kind of obsession that it is in the West. Here's a wonderful story--recent 2000, this is The People Newspaper from Nairobi, Kenya. "A group of women stormed the Kenya police station to demand that officers either make love to them or close illegal drinking dens. They said the drinking made their husbands impotent. The women said the population of the district was falling off as a result of the poor sexual performance of the men. The women," it was Kanda actually, north of Nairobi, "brought the businesses in town to a halt with their daylong protest against excessive drinking by their men folk. 'Our men have turned to vegetables; they leave home early and come back intoxicated. There is no one to meet the sexual needs of the wives.'"

Guess which group it was where these women came from? It was 24 Catholic Church groups in Kenya. They came together and demanded that the officer in charge of the police station order his men to make love to these women. The newspaper discretely does not say how the police responded to this demand.

Now--so the women must be fertile and the men must be believed to be potent or fertile, of course it's harder to tell whether the man is or isn't. The men of course, in a sense, want to keep the fertility of the women for themselves but it's more important to have children no matter who is the biological father. Not only in the family but once a child is born, perhaps under obviously uncertain circumstances, the village will accept--the community accepts the children. They need people; they want strength in numbers, and so promiscuity is not frowned on particularly by the community. Everybody knows it goes on and just keeps quiet.

I was reading this week and last a history of a Lesotho. How many--Lesotho is a small country--you've been there? No, okay. A small enclave totally surrounded by South Africa. This was a history before the Europeans came about the 1700s. There was a king then and the king, it was a very small group at that time, not much more than a village, and when the third son--this is sort of a quote, "When the third son of the king died he left a widow who was still of childbearing age but had no surviving children. By custom the widow should have gone to live with her husband's younger brother so that she could continue the seed of her dead husband." Exactly as we see in the Old Testament that we talked about last time.

The widow didn't agree and she went off and actually got pregnant by sort of a no good who wasn't even of that tribe. Now this is a real no-no and--but nevertheless the child, since that woman was legally part of a certain lineage, that child by someone who wasn't even a member of the tribe and against the convention was still accepted as a member of the king's lineage there. It turns that the child of this--illegitimate in a sense--child became the greatest king that Lesotho has ever known, a very important guy named Moshoeshoe.

Moshoeshoe himself, the grandson of the time I'm talking about, he was reputed to have 140 to 200 wives. You read the history, they of course--they have whatever written records they have and the first one says well--when he was young he has 35 wives, then he has 80 wives, and every time this is reported as he gets older, and probably accumulates more wives, the number goes up. The last report was 200 wives. Of course we don't know anything about the accuracy of this. But it was said most of his latter wives were regarded as distinctly inferior. Moshoeshoe would summon whomever he wished to spend the night with him, and he undoubtedly sired a vast progeny. He also offered these lesser wives to visitors for the night by way of hospitality, but according to custom, any children these visitors produced were regarded as Moshoeshoe's own children.

Again, in the West, chastity, monogamy is valued, who the father is. In under-populated cultures, in cultures that have responded to under population it's the children that are wanted, and the mechanism of biologically fathering a child is much less important. I experienced this myself quite surprisingly. I think I mentioned I had been in Borneo living with some headhunters for a while, and I got along pretty well with the young guys. Sort of the guys stay together and so after I was there a little bit they offered me their sisters and said, 'you shouldn't be sleeping alone,' and for discretion, I won't tell you what happened.

Even nowadays many African scholars maintain that African societies don't even really distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate births. 15% to 25% of women in various west and east African countries, including Kenya for instance, report premarital births, so they may or may not marry the guy that's there before marriage. As all these estimates of behavior that is now becoming with the Christianization and the Islamization becoming somewhat questionable, if the official statistics are 15% to 25% for sure it's a lot larger than that.

Of course the husband again isn't really wildly happy about all this playing around and--but what's most important to him is his status. Again, the biological parentage of the child is less important. He knows whatever child his wife has will be officially his, but he doesn't want to get to be known as impotent. His potency is what matters to him. As long as the woman--and this happens a lot because very often the man is quite significantly older than the wife, especially younger--as he gets older and accumulates more wives, then younger wives, and so his potency may really be flagging quite a bit, so it's a real concern.

As long as--if the wife--as long as the wife is discreet and doesn't make a public display that this kid is really someone else's then not a big problem. The legal father accepts the child; the community accepts the child. Anthropologists of course thought this was very interesting and they--one wonderful--Susan Watkins from The University of Pennsylvania, a sociologist, works in Kenya in the Luo, with the Luo on the west of Kenya; Luo people. She got together a focus group of women to discuss this issue.

It's a long thing, I'll just tell you a little bit from it, and so Susan says, "So sometimes women were unfaithful," pretending a Western perspective and the women said, "Yes being unfaithful started a long time ago," another woman: "Long ago the older woman, the elder women, would tell us that the only time you could sleep with another man was if your husband was not able to make you pregnant, but it's not that way anymore." The moderator again asks, "Once you got the baby of the other man, was it for your husband or the other man?" Notice the for is taken for granted that this is a gift, and who did you make the gift for, is it a gift for your husband or a gift for the other man. The women are somewhat incredulous, "Of course it is for your husband. The other man is just like a bull; doesn't your cow wander and mate with another bull from the next field? When the cow gives birth, is the calf yours or is the calf the owner of the other bull? Of course it's yours." All the women join in. It's a wonderful kind of little story.

In this the women are kind of incredulous that Susan Watkins herself does not have any cows. They sort of presume that in their answers that she does. It's also pretty obvious how sort of matter of fact the women are about men's limited biological role, as one might say. There's no romanticization of the relationship, none of the Western fetish about biological paternity.

Not only is extra-marital fertility not frowned on in the same way that is, at least officially here in the West, but premarital promiscuity is reasonably acceptable. Maybe not surprisingly, you all know about truck drivers going around spreading AIDS from village to village, guess who else spreads AIDS? School teachers; so a school teacher is someone who has an education, has been perhaps in the capital or some big city, has actually been to some sort of secondary or college education, and has an income, a white collar job, a steady income from the government--teachers are in much demand. This is a very high status person and he's assigned--finishes college, he's assigned to some village in the bush. He's maybe the--the only--the highest status person, so what do the parents of all the eligible daughters do? They bring their daughter to them and offer him, 'try out my daughter,' and which sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. The statistics are now very clear that these teachers have picked up AIDS in the city and they are one of the roots of spreading AIDS in the villages.

Along with this loose attitude toward paternity, toward who is exactly the father, the children then are held a lot to a large degree in common. The idea of a nuclear family, we have a mother and a father of well defined pair, their children no question about who are their children, an idea of a nuclear family is not common there. 30% to 50%--when they survey, 30% to 50% of the children are not living in the compound with their biological mother or father in either case. Nuclear family is--very, very simple things define a nuclear family. How frequently does he eat his main meal--does a man eat his main meal with his wife? This gets studied. How often he eats his main meal with his children? These are things that we take just absolutely for granted. How frequently does his wife go with him when he visits friends? How frequently does his wife go with him when he visits relatives? How much of his free time does he spend with his wife and children?

The studies of this over the years, there's a good study in Kenya for instance, and the answer to all these are "rarely". There's a very low degree of nucleation of the families. Again, this is changing and families are becoming more and more nucleated and one of the things that's studied is the percentage of people in marriages that are considered nuclear. The last statistic that I saw was 21%--only about one-fifth of families were what we would call nuclear families. Just that idea of a tight-knit family, exclusive in many ways, is just not a common sort of thing.

Another result of this attitude is what we might call quasi-prostitution. In that traditional system the father, the husband, is not necessarily required to provide economic support to the children. He is probably a rich man or has some land, he gives that to his wife, if he has several wives he divides it up among the wives. They then grow the food on the land; they also have to do some work on his land because men don't want to work, and so the wife has the responsibility for the children.

She must get the money for health, she must get the money for education, she does the farming on her land. This puts the women in difficult strait and they're always needing resources and if another man can come in and provide some resources for her and her children, well that's okay. And so a fair amount of sex involves, shall we say, a gift from the person. It's certainly not considered prostitution in that culture but we might use that word for it. It's a very necessary part of the whole system that resources can come into the mother/child family other than from the legal husband who may or may not provide very much.

Now all of the--the whole way this society is set up favors having a large number of children in many different ways. For instance, consider land tenure. The idea of private property that one guy owns one plot of land, it's a new idea there and traditionally the village or the community held a bunch of property. They would defend this against other villages, so in a sense it was some communities' property, and there was constant raiding and constant contestation, but they would try to defend their territory. Within the territory the land did not belong to any individual and this was totally rational because again very high death rates, hard to keep people alive, so one family would die out, have no descendants, another family would have many children. So each generation the land just gets redistributed; more or less equal amounts of land per child, however many children that you have, and again land is not especially limiting.

The result is that if a male wants to be powerful and have a lot of land, which means that if one part of land goes fallow for some reason, he has other land, so he wants to have a lot of children. They all are guaranteed land, and the more children he has, sons usually the case, the more his financial security, his hunger security, and his power goes up. The society supports this by giving land to whatever children there are. This is now breaking up because it's becoming impossible, and again, there are studies in Kenya that in 1981 the average land holding was 5.1 acres. The agronomists say, and the local people are aware of this, that about 4 acres of--with their technology of farming at that time, about 4 acres of good land are required, and intense cultivation you have to really work it, were required to support a family of the size of the father's generation.

Even at that time the system was to divide the land more or less equally among the sons. Well if you take 5.1 acres and the average number of children was four you get down to about one acre, which is way below the amount of land that can support a family. A crisis has eventuated and a variety of things happened that when the economy is good in Kenya, which is occasionally, there are jobs in the cities and everyone hopes that one of their sons, at least one will go off to the city and get a job and send back remittances, but a lot of the time the economy is bad and the sons have to stay on the land, or migrate to the city without a job and become this kind of urban proletariat.

Under the influence of this pressure the number of children that of--the average males wants has gone down from five to about three, but still if you have two or three acres and you divide it up three ways it's an impossible situation. The sons cannot live on the land that you have given. So while everybody is aware--there's no ignorance or stupidity involved--everybody is aware of the situation, the cultural prodding is so strong, the history is so strong that the father's don't want to reduce their desire for sons. What has actually happened is the number of sons desired has shrunk but from 4.5 to three, and currently, if they divide up their land each child gets a half an acre, whereas four are necessary to support the family.

In respect to the work on the farm, that the man will usually own it, that varies in different parts of Africa, own it in some sense while he's alive. It goes back to the village on his death. In this slash and burn agriculture that really pre-modern people use, the women do almost all the work. The only thing that the men do is work that women are basically physically incapable of doing, which in this case if you're living in the forest, is clearing the land, chopping down the trees, hauling away the logs, and this the men do. It's heavy labor but it lasts about two weeks out of the year and the whole rest of the year it's the women doing the work.

This--and men don't like--in traditional these--I mean traditional--every period is traditional, some period it is traditional, but whatever period you're talking about is traditional to some later period so it's not a great term. Giving you a comparison in 1784 when the United States was being settled, there were 6,000 Iroquois spread across New York state but they were competing for land with 240,000 New Yorkers of European descent; 6,000 versus 240,000. One tribe, the Oneida from upstate--and I was actually born up there, had only 600 members to the whole tribe, but they inhabited 6,000,000 acres of land. This is what's talked about by population--low population density, 600 people on 6,000,000 acres.

As in Africa, the women did most of the farming, they had a kind of slash and burn agriculture also, and the women did most of the farming. Well some of the colonists were friendly to the Indians and wanted to help the Indians so they would suggest repeatedly that why don't you take up farming, that with your hunter and gatherer culture you're never going to have enough people to resist the Europeans. If you want to resist the Europeans and maintain some of your land you have to increase your population, and the only way to do that is you've got to go to agriculture. The men refused to do that and they--one quote one of the Iroquois, "Farming is women's work. Man was not made to go to work in the earth like a hedge hog, but to go to war and hunting."

Given that women are doing the work in many cultures, they are very valuable, and so bride price comes from this idea that--in some sense you're buying a woman and she is going to work for you and there is a very rough generalization that in cultures where the women do the work, and the farming work especially, the man--the bride price will go from the man to the woman's family. In other places like India, many places in India where the women do not do the work but are sequestered and kept at home maybe covered up or something, but only do internal household work, then it reverses. Then the man is taking care of the woman and the woman's family must pay the man or the man's family, a dowry situation. The issue of dowry and bride price is extremely complicated and cultures handle it very differently, but that's sort of the rough generalization.

Polygyny results from this; since land is traditionally not limiting but the number--you need women to work the land. Men of course want as many wives as possible, possibly also for sexual reasons of course. Again, comparing North Africa with Sub-Saharan Africa, in North Africa and the Middle East about 1% to 7% of men are polygamists. It happens, it's condoned, but it's kind of a rare thing in the Mediterranean zone. Even in the nineteenth century, Mormons, again desert people in the United States, less than 10% of the men were polygamists. The maximum of course is 50%, polygamy can never go beyond 50% of the men because if one man have two wives, then another man has no wives, so 50% of the--maximum 50%--if they're limited to two wives and maximum 50% of the men can be polygamists. And if some are allowed more than two wives, or can manage to get more than two wives, then that maximum goes down.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, and this is 1989 data, in different places 12% to 38% of the African men are in polygamous marriages. If they're limited to two and 50% is a max, those places where polygamy is 38% of the men, means that most of the women are in polygamists relationships. Again, as we saw in New Guinea, now a widow is very valuable, again the women are doing the work for you, and so in Senegal, for instance, 95% of the women who are widowed remarry within five years and 75% of these widows are married polygamously to a man that already has wives. Compare that to an equally poverty stricken culture like Bangladesh this almost never happens, that widows don't get remarried in Bangladesh.

Polygamy, contrary to the way we often perceive it as an abuse of women, it is not usually considered an abuse there, and women will often choose a polygamous marriage over a monogamous one. Because what they want is a man with resources, and such a man will probably already have some wives. The other wives act as a safety net and a support group, so if the woman gets sick, or her farming doesn't go well that year, or for whatever reason she can have a group of other women who will help her in a mutual kind of aid society. When a woman gets sick, and again sickness in pre-medical societies, their sick a much greater fraction of the time then we are, and it's a big part of their lives and they have to prepare for it. They have children to take care of and yet they're sick, the other women can come in.

Also if they're circumcised and not--in some of the severe ways and not say enjoying sexuality; the burden sometimes in many of these cultures the idea of female pleasure, in some case it's known, in some cases it's not known, and it may be very painful if she's had a circumcision operation, so the burden--so sexuality can be considered a burden on the women, but if there's many wives that burden is spread around. In many ways polygamy is an advantageous situation for a woman to be in.

One anecdote here: in Kenya a white French woman anthropologist married an illiterate Maasai warrior. She said, and she wrote a biography, she said that despite their cultural differences she and her Maasai husband, as well as his other wives, got along famously. She wrote this memoir and it was originally entitled, The Six Wives of My Husband. In a later edition it was amended to The Nine Wives of My Husband. In between he took three more wives.

I think you get the idea of what goes on in a society where land is not limiting, people are limiting. Now to contrast this whole system to that--in the temperate zones; agriculture is much more productive in the temperate zones. The key switch is where a single man can, by his agricultural efforts, or a woman depending, can produce more food then he and his--whatever his family unit is, can consume so that there's an agricultural surplus. In hunter/gatherer societies there's basically no surplus and a lot of the early traditional African societies, there's basically no surplus. With this surplus, of course, they have more children, the children are kept alive; there's enough food for the children, and the population starts growing, and eventually you fill up the land.

In this Lesotho story that I'm--this history--there's several books on the history, the Bantu people, who again, I mentioned this, started in West Africa, move east to just under the Sahel and then come down the east coast of Africa, and at the period in the 1700s they're sort of moving into southern Africa where conditions are pretty decent. Who's there? The Bushmen. And they are kind of pushing the Bushmen out of this part of Africa in the 1700s. The land is, as they see it, is open because the Bushmen are very, very sparse, they're not a threat of any sort and mostly the Bantus seem to take the Bushmen's wives. They don't seem to bother to kill the Bushmen, just take their wives.

Later on, by the 1800s, the land starts to get filled up and then not only do the Basotho of Lesotho, the people call themselves Basotho, start having conflicts among themselves but the neighboring groups, another Bantu group the Zulu--a big group generally called Zulu start getting politic--they start getting politically organized, they try to get land and you have tremendous wars in Zululand which also slops over into the Basutoland and tremendous destruction, tremendous dislocation. Again, eventually the land fills up when you have the kind of decent agriculture that you have--you can have in the Lesotho, which was again temperate zone and that south enough in Africa to be below the desert zone.

The land fills up and all kinds of things change. People come into conflict, and because individuals can produce more children than are needed to work the land, each individual can produce more food than is required, the excess children must go off and become basically landless peasants looking for scarce work or go into some villages, which eventually become cities, and become landless laborers, and the urban poor. Meanwhile, since there is this excess, now it becomes worthwhile for some people to get control of others, because that surplus, in a situation where each man just produces enough for himself and his wife and children, if it's the man doing the work, then there's no sense capturing him and enslaving him politically--controlling him politically because he doesn't have any surplus to give you, for you to take. Once agriculture is productive enough so that he has surplus then he has something worth taking and you start getting the chief--the chief's want to become kings and they want to take over your land, and they want to control you, and they want to get your surplus.

Actually civilization starts that way because with the surplus they buy luxury ornaments, and they have craftsmen, and they have trade, and they have scholars, and they have priests and all this kind of stuff because not every man is needed to farm the land. You both have, as a result of an increasing population density, the rise of civilization and the rise of a lot of the horrors of civilization in these massive wars and massive poverty.

This understanding of the dangers of overpopulation have been perceived for a long time, surprisingly early in history, when local regions got filled, but even surrounding them there could be lots of empty space. Here's a Greek epic from around 700 B.C. "There was a time when the countless tribes of man oppressed the surface of the earth, of the deep bosomed earth," deep bosom meaning deep soil, deep soil earth, "and Zeus saw it and he had pity on the earth, and in his wise heart resolved to relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the great struggle of the Trojan War, that the load of death might empty the world." Again, this is his explanation for the--whoever wrote this epic--explanation for the Trojan War, that it was a Malthusian thing, that the earth got too crowded, people couldn't support themselves anymore and they had to be cleaned off.

About 900 years later, Tertullian, a Roman [Christian] theologian echoes this; 200 A.D. "The earth is currently more cultivated and developed than at early times. Now all places are accessible, all are full of activity; everywhere there is a dwelling, everywhere a multitude, everywhere a government, everywhere there is life. We are burdensome to the world. The resources are scarcely adequate to us, and complaints are everywhere while already nature does not sustain us." Tertullian continues, "Truly pestilence and hunger, and war, and flood must be considered as a remedy for nations like a pruning back of the human race becoming excessive in numbers." That's quite lovely.

Of course the Europeans are not the only ones to worry about population. In China, in 500 B.C., Han Fei Tzu complained, "People at present think that five sons are not too many, and each son has five sons also, and before the death of the grandfather there are already 25 descendants." The women aren't counted. "Therefore, people are more and wealth is less. They work hard and receive little." This growing population density is well understood to be causing problems.

One of the problems that happens at population density is that communicable diseases--there's many, many problems. As the population gets denser, the wars become larger, maybe not as a percentage of the population but you have these enormous wars with enormous numbers of deaths. Another thing is disease starts spreading, communicable disease because the population is dense enough that the disease does not die out.

Again, this is local even though at the time of the Peloponnesian War in Greece, about 420 B.C., it was written about in 420, a lot of that world was not crowded, but Athens--the Athens area was indeed crowded, and Athens itself was crowded, and during the war they had a--everybody had to get into the city and the city was blockaded and the population density in the city was large enough that a plague, some sort of plague, we don't know what the disease was, broke out. This is Thucydides describing this, "Words indeed fail when one tries to give a general picture of this disease." He's writing The Peloponnesian War as--how many of you read The Peloponnesian War or some pieces of it? A few; it's very interesting.

"Words indeed fail when one tries to give a general picture of this disease, and as for the sufferings of individuals, they seemed almost beyond the capacity of human nature to endure. People were dying like sheep, they died like flies, the bodies of the dying were heaped one on top of the other, and half dead creatures could be seen staggering about in the streets, or flocking around the fountains in the desire for water. The temples in which they took up their quarters were full of the dead bodies of people who had died inside them." He goes on to describe the result of this plague which is the people going through emotional despair, civil society just collapses, and all kinds of lawlessness breaks out.

In later Europe, Europe underwent huge vicissitudes of population. In the classic ages, up through Rome, through the whole Roman Empire, the population of the Mediterranean world was clearly increasing; whatever data we have always points to that. Then starting with the Dark Ages, maybe as early as 300 or 400, Europe gets invaded by all kinds of "barbarian hordes," as they are perceived by the Romans. First, it's the Germanic tribes, then it's the Huns, then it's the Saracens, then it's the Vikings. By the year 1000, European population is extremely cut down; European civilization is cut down, and we don't really have good ideas of why all these invasions stopped. One history that I particularly like says the reason they stopped, there was nothing left worth taking in Europe.

About 1000 the invasions stopped and then civilization started recovering, and it only took about 200 years for Europe to basically repopulate itself. When you have land, when you have space, people then have a lot of children, and keep them alive. In these good years, it was good climate at that time also, life expectancies in the 1200s were between 35 and 40 years old, which is very good for this very early era.

Then around 1250 the population stopped increasing, and for another 100 years or so, it was more or less level. When you find a level population that means there's something limiting, some block, and they can't grow beyond this block. Historians attribute it to the whole sort of a state of culture there, so the land was not owned by peasants. So the peasants--if you your own land you'll have a lot of interest in farming it maximally and improving it, and doing stuff and when someone else owns the land, you don't have much interest in that and the worse the conditions you're under, the less interest you have in improving the land for the landowner because he's going to take as much as he can away from you and leave you just the bare amount that you can live on.

At this time the Catholic Church was by far the biggest landowner in Europe, and they owned 30% to 50% of all the productive lands in Europe. The peasants on the land were serfs and lived in this extreme poverty, and they were not allowed to leave the estate; they were stuck to living in that kind of condition. The ones that--well the church itself got very rich. This is a period of the tremendous dominance of the church. The income from church lands, going to church nobility and to Rome, was ten times larger and all the church lands--you had all the crown lands of the crowns in Europe. The church got ten times as much income from their lands as did the so-called civil authorities.

The civil authorities controlled what was left of the land, the kings and so forth, and it turns out that the serfs on the civil land had somewhat better conditions, somewhat more rights than on church lands. On church lands they were really the lowest of the low, but on civil lands they had somewhat better situations, but they were still deep in poverty. Because of this serfs just continued, they were totally uneducated and totally illiterate, and so they continued to farm the small plots just as they had done for centuries, and so the productivity of the land did not increase and the population could not increase.

Europe was full so there was no place that a serf could just get away and start his own farm with someone else because that land was owned already by someone else. In the cities which were beginning a little bit, the Guilds were trying to keep members away, they were closed, they only took children of the members of the Guild, there was no way for someone to rise up and become a craftsman.

Historians describe this in about 1300 as a Malthusian situation that it's--we'll talk more about Malthus later, but a demographic and economic situation where you just can't support more people. The productivity of your system is just not enough to provide for any more population then you have and that if population rises something is going to come--happen to knock it down again.

The thing that happened in Europe in this era is the plague. The plague first hit Europe in Sicily in 1347, the previous time it had been there was six to seven centuries ago, in what's called the Justinian Pandemic, near the end of the Roman Empire. The plague spread throughout Europe killing millions and millions of people. There was wave after wave of this and there was a wave in 1347, as I said, the biggest and initial wave. Then again in 1360, 1371, 1381, 1388, 1398, and every few years the plague would come through again and kill lots of people. Numbers are hard to come by, most estimates say that about 1/3 of Europe was killed by the plague. Numbers can range from 1/6 of Europe to 1/2 of Europe, but massive, massive death and brought Europe back down to below what you might call its carrying capacity with the then current technology.

Plague--they don't know why the plague came into Europe at exactly this time, and it may have been a random event but the--one of the more reasonable ideas is that plague kills, and plague is endemic in Asia, but it has to get from Asia to Europe, and if someone were traveling from Asia to Europe they would be dead--before this period--they would be dead long ago from the plague. But in the early Middle Ages, travel--shipping and all kinds of travel were getting better and faster, and so one of the things the plague may have been able to get to Europe because a ship leaving the Black Sea is where they caught it from, could get to Sicily before everyone who had the plague--everybody on the ship was dead. That's one hypothesis.

It took from this nice high level in 1250 and so forth, stagnant period, and then it was knocked down. It took hundreds of years, minimum 200 years before the population of Europe recovered to its 1300--1340 levels--and some historians think it didn't really recover until about 1715, so 400 years or something to recover from this. The plague continued for hundreds of years and more than 300 years after the plague started, it killed more than 70,000 people in London alone; one city. This is Daniel Defoe, The Journal of the Plague Year; some of you have probably read that, really horrible, so that's 1664 and 1665, more than 300 years after the plague starts.

One of the reasons it's persisted is they--the people had absolutely no idea what was causing the plague, absolutely no idea what to do to protect yourself from the plague, no real idea of contagion or contamination and there was no science whatsoever. This was before the enlightenment, before rational attitudes towards all these things. What would someone believe back then not having any sort of real understanding of the whole disease process and infection process? Pretty obvious, it's God's punishment.

Humans are sinful, we all know that and so God is punishing you. Well what do you do if you've been a bad boy? You have to get punished. Penitence. And people would whip themselves, they're called the flagellants and--have any of you seen The Seventh Seal? Ingmar Bergen; this is a great movie, it starts--it's set at this time in Europe and the opening scene is sort of a bleak, barren European landscape with a long line of Pilgrims going through each one with a whip, beating the guy bloody, the guy in front of him. This is atoning for their sins and this was a way that they intended to try to stay alive. What was the actual result of this? They're weakening themselves, they're cutting holes in their skin which is a barrier to penetration--flea bites; flea bites carry plagues--so these were sick, desperate people and they were going from town to town. They would pick up plague in one town, carry it to the next, carry it to the next, carry it to the next, so the very mechanisms by which they were trying to keep the plague away was exactly one of the major mechanisms of the spread of the plague.

You read the history at the time, there are all kinds of crazy--what we consider crazy things that they tried. So syphilis was introduced to Europe at about that time from the new world, so we're talking 150 years later, and while it was a new thing on the horizon and a number of doctors somehow got the idea that syphilis would protect you against the plague. One of the standard cures was to get infected with syphilis as a form of protection from the plague. As far as we can tell, this was a remedy taken up only by rich people; whether it's true or not I don't know.

The plague, being a very major demographic event, knocking the population of Europe way down, was one of the seminal landmarks in European civilization and marked a complete change in how European civilization developed. I described medieval Europe as having this sort of Malthusian kind of land lock, that things were unchanging and couldn't change because no one was allowed to do change, and then all of a sudden you get the Black Death, and then immediately after the Black Death you get the renaissance.

What happens is a lot of fluidity, people can leave the church estates, can leave their lords' estates, there's plenty of empty land, they go out there, they can farm themselves, the Guilds don't have members, they can join Guilds, they can do technology, they can move around, all kinds of things turn up. The first and most virulent wave of the plague lasted from 1340s to 1400, and the next generation was the core of the renaissance. So 1420, Brunelleschi designs the Great Dome over the cathedral in Florence, Ghiberti is creating the Great Bronze Doors for the Door of Florence's Baptistery, and Donatello makes the first David. I don't know if you ever--you know Michelangelo's David, but Donatello made a very delicate one before him which is sort of very different but equally beautiful. Da Vinci, Michelangelo all worked in the 1400s, Machiavelli, the Medicis, all of this century and at the end of the century, 1492, Columbus discovers America.

You have--you go from this extremely tight, locked in medieval thing lasting hundreds of years where basically almost everybody is miserable unless you were a lord or a bishop and then boom you reduce the population pressure and the world explodes in creativity. Now that's--not everybody had to agree that that was the seminal event that caused the renaissance in some--nothing is that simple, but it clearly was one of the major things that one has to consider in describing why did the Renaissance happen. There were of course antecedents to the renaissance before that, and as I've said, European civilizations started recovering in the year 1000 well before the plague. There's a simplistic explanation but certainly an important part of what was going on.

Now we're almost out of time, but even after the renaissance, and continuing up into surprisingly modern times, people still lived very badly. Better than before but still badly, so from the time of the Black Death until the industrial revolution started making things better, we're talking something like 1350 to maybe 1850, we can push that back to 1800 if you want. We have about 500 years, again, where the population pressure is not great, civilization is improving--is making great advances in terms of art, or culture, exploration of the world, but the common man doesn't really see much improvement in the situation at all.

The population is still overwhelmingly made up of peasants, just living on the edge of existence, and this is a description, a typical house in Europe in the late Middle Ages is made of wood or various scraps of vegetable material, mixed with mud or clay. The roof is of straw or reeds, the floor is of dirt, and there's a pit in the middle for fire. If it is winter the family huddles cold together around the fire in semi-darkness, with the animals nearby for warmth; one of the reasons for living with the animals is for the warmth that the animals produce. They don't understand ventilation and in ventilation you bring in cold air, you heat it, and you let it go out so they don't want the cold air coming in so they close themselves up, but they need a fire to keep from freezing, so the room is filled with smoke with maybe a small hole for the smoke to go out, so they're not breathing fresh air.

This is a description of the late Middle Ages, 300 years later there's little progress. One of the great French historians, George Huppert has studied a village in France in the 1600s, and there's a village about 500 to 700 people. "One-third of the babies died in their first year, another third died before adulthood, thus only one-third survived to reach their reproductive ages." Remember I showed you that graph from Roman times, same story, 1500 years and basically no progress. "The little children who managed to survive were good looking but, if they reached the age of 10 or 12, they had already assumed the generally unpleasant appearance of adults. The people tended to be stunted, bent over, and of a yellowish complexion. They did not look healthy. Their bellies were distended," lack of protein, "They moved slowly, they had poor teeth, their growth was retarded." He has village records from this era, "Of the 350 births only 145 would reach adulthood and marry in turn, but of the 75 female survivors marriage was almost universal," again if a woman managed to survive she was going to be married and start childbearing.

Since they were unhealthy, they didn't have good nutrition, the girls did not reach menses until about the age of 18, and finally they started menstruating and became fertile, and so they married late about age 23, they just weren't healthy enough to engage in a marriage before then. Childbearing was almost universal--marriage and childbearing was almost universal and we'll see this again in China, but maternal death severely cut short the period of childbearing. Having a child itself was extremely dangerous and of the third--of the one-third that reached marriageable age, most couples had only one or two children before either the husband or the wife died. So again the limitation on the number of children is poor nutrition, late maturity, leading to late marriage, and then early death and they have only one or two children.

The end result of his statistics isthat, by the time 100 female children of the preceding generation had died or finished their reproductive years, they had produced only 70 daughters. The population was not replacing itself. This is one of those situations where, if no one comes in from the outside, that village is going to go extinct. There were other places with apparently somewhat better agriculture that did produce a surplus of children and they wandered around looking for some home and the village made up this deficit by marrying excess people. Maybe the daughter of--daughters of transient artisans or laborers, and again, as we saw in the under populated areas of New Guinea, when a man died leaving a wife, no time was wasted. The widows and widowers remarried right away.

If--since land was so scarce that a lot of the marriages, and another reason for the late marriage, was they had to wait until the father died. That was important for working the land that there was so much that could support so many people, and you had so much labor that was required to work that land, the father died, that's one--they die fairly young, when they're still being able to work, so that labor is gone, you have to take in a wife to replace the labor of the dead father, then the children come on and the generation keeps repeating. This situation in France was characteristic of France for 400 years, and during that time the population just hovered around 20 million. It came out of the Black Death and it rose to 20 million and then they were not able to get over that for the ballpark of 400 years.

In--I think--I'll just tell you that the population started to recover then late in this period, and by 1560 it had really returned to the 20 million before the Black Death; this is France, but then religious fervor starts up. In the wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth century and you know -- the wars between the Catholics and the Protestants in Europe, and previously, the Christians had religious wars always against Islam. They were--that was the main enemy, the Turks were very strong and much more advanced then the Europeans and they were battering at the doors of Europe. They surrounded Vienna, and so all of the military activity was of religious origin was against the Turks.

That threat receded and now you have the reformation and now you have two--both Christian religious groups in Europe and they start going after each other. About a quarter to half of the German speaking people of Central Europe were killed in this period, it was really most severe in Europe. In France it was sort of stamped out that early on in this period Protestants were doing very well in France. They had a large fraction of the population. Have you heard of St. Bartholomew's Day? On that day the--it also had to do with the royal succession--the Catholic forces got together and just slaughtered all the Protestants they could find and that sort of stopped the reformation in France. Europe again went through then 130 years of this Catholic/Protestant bloodletting before they finally realized that this was not a wise thing to do. We'll continue with what happens to European civilization after these slaughters--the religious slaughter dies down. See you on Tuesday.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 7
Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline
Play Video
Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline

European populations grew only slowly during the period 1200-1700; factors include disease and wars. Human feces and rotting animal remains were not sequestered and often contaminated drinking water. Cities were so filthy that more people died in them than were born. About a third of children died in infancy, many from abandonment and lack of care during wet-nursing. Children that survived were subjected to harsh discipline to control their tendency to sin. Ineffective and even harmful treatments, like blood-letting, were all that medicine could offer. Starting with Newton's Principia (1687) and the Enlightenment (eighteenth century), scientific attitudes began replacing religious ones: the biological and physical world became objects of study. Sanitation, hygiene and public health improved. Inoculation and vaccination were developed. The Industrial Revolution began. As death rates fell, population rose. While most believe that an increasing population is good, Malthus worries that population can grow faster than the food supply, trapping people in subsistence misery.

Reading assignment:

Langer, William. "Checks on Population Growth: 1750-1850." Scientific American (February 1972), pp. 92-99

Langer, William. "Europe's Initial Population Explosion." Harvard Today (Spring 1964), pp. 2-10

Livi-Bacci, Massimo. A Concise History of World Population: An Introduction to Population Processes, pp. 100-101 and 104-115


February 3, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Did I tell you the story when one of my friends was offered--to buy from me? I was in upper Egypt and I was traveling with a young lady, and a third woman, a little bit older, sort of was traveling alone; it's not terribly comfortable. She asked to join us I and said 'that's fine,' so the three of us were sitting there near Aswan, and there were two men sitting sort of across the room. One of them dressed in clearly Arab garb, and one dressed in a rather modern suit, and at some point the guy in the suit came over, introduced himself very politely, and he was a Palestinian and the other man was a Saudi Arabian sheik, and they had noticed that I had two wives and so the sheik had wanted to know--would like to purchase the second--the older one, the second wife from me.

Since it was the somewhat older one, he thought I wouldn't mind very much. It was a wonderful scene because, as you know, Palestinians are very sophisticated; they've been living with Jews, who are basically Europeans, for a very long time so they're just like anybody else. The Saudi Arabian sheik was obviously living, not in the modern world and this poor Palestinian had to intermediate, so he was very scared how I would respond. Would I make a scene, would I slug him, would I try to get him arrested, or any of this sort of stuff?

Of course it was immediately obvious to me what was going on and to my two lady friends and so we played it very cool and we, you know--please sit down, let's discuss this, how old is the sheik, how many wives does he already have, how many has he divorced, does he have any concubines in addition to his wives, how much money do you have, etc., etc. We had a very, very nice polite thing and you could just see the intermediary his face just relaxed because he was expecting something terrible.

Everybody played along and it went off very well, and in the middle of this the sheik calls the intermediary over back to him, and they talk something and out comes a velvet purse given to the Palestinian and he gives it to me as a sign of good faith on the part of the Arabian, he wanted me to have this. What is it? A set of Muslim prayer beads, beautiful cat's-eye stones, many--not just a chain but beautiful, beautiful handiwork and probably very valuable. I was looking for--to bring to class--actually last time and I can't find it right now. Everything worked out, the women paid very great attention to what was going on, and we said politely at the end that we would consider and give them an answer tomorrow.

In the end she didn't want to be bought, even though she's obviously going to have some good chunk of change out of it, or at least I was.

Two things will have to be delayed because Eliezeri is not here and we have to add something to Noah's presentation. Let's skip that.

Last time we were discussing Europe and we were coming into the--we started to discuss the Middle Ages and we start with Europe because we have the best data. We have very, very good data about lots and lots of things from Europe. It's not so good from the rest of the world. From about--for about 500 years, from 1200 to 1700 the data, poor as the data is, shows that population really didn't rise terribly much. They were in some sort of stasis. The reasons for this we had discussed a little bit.

We talked about the plague, and the plague lasted like 500 years--this is--remember the plague hit Europe in 1347 so this table where they have good data starts 200 years later. The plague has been around for 200 years and still there's a number of cases; that's not individuals but different cities and places in which there was an outbreak and we just don't have good records of how many people died, but 1550, 1600, 1650, see the plague is dying out slowly and there's many, many theories whether people got resistance to it, or the rats that carried it, died or were out-competed by another species of rats. Not known, but the plague did eventually die out. From 1347 to 1849, is 500 years where the plague keeps recurring. That was clearly one of the reasons why population couldn't grow.

Then there was violence, there was constant small level violence, and then when the Protestant Reformation happened, the religious wars broke out and according to one of the standard textbooks of European history they ran from 1531 up to 1657, so another 130 years of slaughter and they rolled around different places in Europe. By the time they were done the most contested--southern Europe stayed Catholic, and very northern Europe became Protestant but the middle of Europe was strongly contested--and so something like a third to a half of everybody got killed in this time because of the religious wars.

This is the period that Malthus is describing and we'll come back to Malthus--that Malthus knew about. This is the history that he understood and we'll come back to what his theories were, but the historians now agree pretty much that productivity of the land, especially agriculture, because that was the main occupation, was rising very slowly during this period, but population is also rising very slowly during this period, so pretty much the gains in agricultural productivity were balanced by the gains in population and the average standard of living did not improve and we'll talk a good bit more about that.

Now why--so the question I mean is pretty obvious why they were not able to improve agricultural productivity, why they were not able to significantly improve any other kind of manufacturing productivity, why they were not able to do anything to fight these diseases. It comes down to, that not only was there no scientific knowledge as we currently understand the word scientific, there really wasn't any particular interest in--intellectually in the real world. Everything was focused on religion and the other world, so there was not a lot of intellectual energy expended in trying to understand what was going on around your feet so to speak.

Because they had all kinds of problems that we take for granted, all kinds of ways of dealing with the real world just were not even--were not really thought about in any serious way. Sanitation, up until the eighteenth century, up until the 1800s actually, the sanitation in Europe was just absolutely atrocious. There was no system for disposing of human waste. Nobody bothered to pay attention to what to do with human waste.

Feces were basically everywhere. Wherever you went there was someone else's feces. In the eighteenth century the city streets everywhere had ditches down the middle of the street and that's where the feces got dumped. There were buckets inside the house and some servant, or the housewife would take the bucket and dump it into these ditches. They were also used as latrines, people would just go out there and if they didn't have a bucket in the house, or if they didn't have a house, go in and do it in the latrine.

Again, in each case--I was in Belize City in Latin--in Central America as you know, not that many years ago in the middle of the street there's one big latrine, and the stink was just incredible. Now you didn't actually have to--were not required to actually take your bucket of feces and dump them in the street, you could throw them out your window. But eventually people did start thinking about that, and the issue was not to dump it on someone's head. In Edinburgh, Scotland they rang bells at 10:00 p.m. at night when they figured people should be off the street and that was the specified time for dumping excrement out your window.

Some of the older of you that were properly brought up--the young men were maybe told that you should walk on the street side when you're escorting a young lady. Do you know what that's for? When stuff gets dumped out the window it's to prevent splash from cars, it's way earlier then cars, it was to--so that when someone dumped stuff out the window it would--the lady would be under some kind of awnings there.

It wasn't only the common people, the poor, the uneducated that were living in such filth, it went right up to the royalty and we have records of this. In 1665, there was a great plague in London, one of those that I've showed you there and that's the one that--written about by Robinson Crusoe author, Daniel Dafoe. The King, Charles II, and his court took his refuge in Oxford University. Now Yale is modeled after--a lot of Yale is modeled after Oxford, so you have a good image of what it looks like. The plague was over, it took about a year, the plague was over, they went back to London and just left whatever they left in Oxford, and the cleaning people came in and what did they find? Excrement everywhere, they described it excrement in every corner, in chimneys, in studies, in coal houses, in cellars, just all over the place.

Now some of this information comes from the diary of Samuel Pepys. How many of you are aware of this? Some of you again if you've taken history or literature, he was the famous diarist from that. He was England's first Secretary of the Admiralty, a Member of Parliament, President of The Royal Scientific Society, so he was not your ordinary average guy. He was educated, had money and in the upper classes, but he writes that -- when he had to defecate in the middle of the night--he didn't bother to go to the privy, he just deposited his feces in the fireplace. You can see that it was a smelly place to live in.

Now along with no concern or no thought about where you deposit your excrement, the idea of keeping drinking water separate from this excrement was not in anybody's mind. That very often if there were public holes or someplace where the public could go to do their thing, then maybe right next to it was a drinking fountain. In terms of the waste in the streets, it wasn't just feces but everything else was just dumped into the streets. England especially had lots of animals, Europe had animals, unlike China, and when animals died--just left in the middle of the street to rot. Butchers that pulled out the entrails, the guts of the animals and inedible parts, dump it in the street and so the streets are just full of not only human excrement but the waste of all the animals, and of course the flies and insects lay their eggs in it and grow, and it's very unsanitary.

Dead people were not handled any better than this. As more people died, the urban cemeteries got filled up. There was not so much space and so they stopped burying the poor people in--properly in cemeteries but just what they call 'poor holes,' just large pits in which piles of bodies were just laid out side by side, row by row, and row on top of row and they were not closed until they were full. You had these pits of rotting bodies just festering there in the middle of all the cities that had enough people to bury. Of course the stench was just overwhelming and the rich people were not buried in these pits but if they were--they could be buried in cemeteries, but if they were really important they bought space in the church crypt or they contributed money and got space in the church crypt. Many of you have undoubtedly gone to churches and in the basement they've got these crypts of dead people and guess what? They were rotting and stank, so the churches stank. One quote is that 'they stank out parson and congregation'--that people just couldn't stand to be there.

In 1742, Dr. Johnson, who you know wrote The Life of Boswell--excuse me, Boswell's Life of Johnson, so he's quoting Johnson. Described London as a city, "Which abounds with such heaps of filth as a savage would look on with amazement." The death rate--cities were so unhealthy from all this filth that the death rates were enormously high and cities did not keep themselves going. If left to itself a city's population would just disappear and some estimates are that about every generation, about a third of the inhabitants of a city would die.

I mean everybody died, but the population left--the city just left to itself would go down by a third in every generation, and the only reason that cities were able to prosper was that in the countryside where things were healthier just because of space, there wasn't the demography, there wasn't the crowding of people that constantly the excess births, the excess population from the countryside would keep migrating into the cities because they had primogeniture in England, for instance. Only the oldest son could inherit the land, so younger sons had to migrate into the cities or into the army and that's what kept the cities going. There's a constant stream of people coming in from the countryside.

Now it's not only London and the great cities, and it's not only that part of Europe, but we have descriptions of some of the other cities, and one of them is currently politically very relevant. It is Jerusalem and now all the great Western religions claim that Jerusalem is central to their religion and they compete viciously; they fight viciously over Jerusalem. They all claim that they've been interested forever in this, but in fact, … until Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in the Middle East, it was totally ignored as a physical thing from the crusades to Napoleon it was totally ignored.

In 1840 it was a tiny town of 15,000 people; 7,000 Jews; 5,000 Muslims; 3,000 Christians from the records that we have. In a place like that, presumably the seed of the Western religions, the feces were 50 feet deep and had been collecting since the destruction of the second temple by the Romans. Before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem there was some sort of sanitation going on, but between then and 1840 the feces just kept going up.

Of course in this filth everybody was sick. Basically everyone had malaria, and malaria was endemic there. When cholera came through, which it came periodically, 75% of the people would die of it and one quote describing this, "The sanitary condition of the city of God insure that any pilgrim who sought to spend his last days on earth there could look forward to fulfilling that ideal with great dispatch."

Personal cleanliness: this was also unknown. We have one professor of medieval history who gives a great lecture and if he ever gives it as a public lecture that I've seen him give. If he ever gives it again absolutely go. It's called '1,000 Years Without a Bath,' so this is in Europe, the Romans were very careful about personal cleanliness and they built these great big baths. … Have you visited the baths of Caracalla in Rome; a couple of you have. How about Bath--the city in England named after its baths and so forth? All these are Roman creations, so the Romans very careful, as much as they could in a place like that with personal hygiene.

But after the fall of Rome the morality changes, the church takes over, and the church wants people to concentrate on their souls not on their bodies, and washing was considered too much of a sign of preoccupation with the body, and especially for women. It's not good for women to pay too much attention to their bodies.

Europeans at that time, boasted and you've probably heard this that they only wash three times in their lives. How many of you have ever heard that? Once when they're born, once when they get married, and once when they die they get washed, and the rest of that--not only didn't they wash they thought that water that you washed with carried disease, contagion, various theories and that if you washed you would probably get sick from the washing. The solution was not cleanliness--the solution to the bad conditions--but perfume, and perfume comes up in this era because people stank so much that, if they had the money, they would buy perfume. Anybody know why--yes?

Student: Was the water likely to make you sick because it was so dirty?

Professor Robert Wyman: Good question, was the water likely to make them sick? If they drank the water, yes. If they washed in the water, no. There's very little in temperate zone water that's going to get through your skin. In tropical zones there can be parasites in there and they can be dangerous, but in Europe I'm not sort of aware of anything that washing in the water will get you sick.

Student: On the hand if you wash yourself and it stays on your skin and then you eat or something could you then get sick?

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, if you wash yourself, it stays on your skin and then you eat with your unwashed hands--well probably what was on there before you washed is going to be worse. In general, I think nobody washed unless something comes off--the burden of whatever's on the skin gets less. All of these things are what we modern people think about, but obviously, back then, just these kind of very simple straightforward questions were not really considered. People back then, George Washington, King George wore wigs--anybody know why? Some of you probably know why they wear wigs--underneath the wig was--

Student: Head lice.

Professor Robert Wyman: Lots of lice, shaved heads, they had lice. Lice was endemic, they couldn't get rid of it, so they shaved their heads. I think we just saw that on television with the John Adams story. Every so often--did any of you see that TV show? HBO--anyway he takes off his wig and there he is bald, that was to prevent lice.

One of the reasons--one of the major reasons for this lack of population growth for hundreds of years in Europe, just no idea about sanitation, hygiene, any of this kind of stuff. Another aspect which you'll be reading about is infanticide. Infanticide was a very large factor in European demography and the rest of the world, as you will read about, but in Europe it was very important. There was always a level of infanticide and--of various sorts but in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it apparently exploded--the number of kids that were done away with.

In Milan, from 1840s to 1860s, one third of all children born to married parents--we're not talking about unmarried situations--were left at foundling homes and in foundling homes the death rate was near 100%. More than half of all the children born to working class parents were left in foundling homes, and almost all the illegitimate children were abandoned and the death rates--it was a form of infanticide, you just gave them to a foundling home, they were taken, basically, no care of, they died. It was out of sight.

Again, not just the ordinary ignorant person but you all know Jean-Jacques Rousseau? The famous French philosophe who wrote a lot that encouraged the American Revolution. This is a quote from him, "My third child was thus deposited in a foundling home just like the first two, and I did the same with the two following. I had five in all. The arrangement seemed to me so good, so sensible, so appropriate that, if I did not boast of it publicly, it was solely out of regard for their mother." There was no--here they're abandoning these children to almost certain death and it--there was just no moral compunction about it whatsoever.

Aside from absolute abandonment to foundling homes or … just leaving them in the streets--you'll read about American and England where the kids were just often left in the streets. Another mechanism was sending out children to nurse with wet nurses and the death rate of wet nurse children was enormously high. So, if parents tried to rear their children, the death rate was about one in six at this time. In eighteenth century France between a half and two-thirds of infants that were sent out to nurse died. Even at a higher death rate were the so called baby farms, in the nineteenth century Europe there were--it's like we call them puppy mills now, they were baby farms, and they took in vast numbers of children presumably to wet nurse, but almost none of them survived.

As I showed you from these and all kinds of reasons, about a third of children died in infancy. The idea of being a parent and the family idea of childrearing was completely different then we now understand. The standard thing was a child was born, it was almost immediately sent out to wet nurse, someone that doesn't care about them. A lot was written about wet nurses getting drunk, having the baby in bed, getting drunk, rolling over on the baby and squashing the baby. Whether that was an excuse or the real reason for the child's death is unknown.

They would wet nurse for a couple of years and then those that were still alive would come back home, maybe age two or three or something, and then by age seven they would be sent back out to work again as an apprentice somewhere. How many have read Charles Dickens: David Copperfield, and Oliver Twist? What age were they sent out to work? Seven. Seven is the standard age, there are scenes of one of the Dicken's characters going to work in a dye factory dying cloth, and he comes out black every day, covered with the dye. That was quite a standard thing.

In 1646, the rich and very progressive town of Leyden in the Netherlands, Lehyden was one of the most advanced places in Europe, limited the working day for children to 14 hours, whether the law was obeyed or not we don't know, but children could not do that. Of course Charles Dickens is a couple of hundred years later in the nineteenth century. Apparently, in every one of his novels, there's some scene of child labor going on.

Now I'm talking about up to the 1800s but this does not disappear. Now you look what Europe--the situation Europe was in, in 1800--some of the developing countries are currently in. So official figures from India, the government figures, say there are 12 million child workers in India. Opponents, activists on the labor issue, estimate that it's closer to 60 million children in India are working. They do have child labor laws now in India and they prohibit children under age 14 from working in hazardous jobs. When the scandal about Gap, our clothing manufacture Gap came out, the factories that were investigated had children as young as ten years old working up to 16 hours a day making the dungarees … that we wear.

All of this sort of misery leads not only to physical misery but change in attitude toward life, and death came very easily, it was very common and so life was cheaper. There's no question about it from the literature that life was cheaper then we consider now. Because children especially were so likely to die, as well as anyone else, it was considered imprudent, not wise, to be particularly affectionate with or emotionally entwined with any other human being. Your husband might die immediately, your kids might die, your wife might die. And so as far as we can tell from the writings of the period, what we call affective relationships, emotional relationships were rather cool in this period, except of course violent anger which always pops out.

Going back to this, here's all these problems, and what did people do about some of these things? An idea of disease comes from the Greeks and probably farther back then the Greeks, that the body is controlled by four humors, fluids that run around the body, something like the Chi of Oriental thought. And these four humorous must be in balance. When you got sick the problem was that the humors got out of balance.

One of the things you did was get bled. That was a standard procedure; let the blood flow because that gets rid of the evil humors. George Washington was apparently killed by an excess of bloodletting, so when he was older he got quite sick and the doctors--while he was sick, bled five pints of blood out of him and then he died. We take--when we go to take blood they take one pint and they consider that sort of the maximum safe amount for young healthy people. Here he was old and sick, five pints, he dies.

His nemesis--George Washington in America and King George III in England--you know the saying, mad King George? He was mad and he was mad with a genetic disease called porphyria which affects the hemoglobin in the blood. It caused episodic madness, so he would be sane, then he would be would mad, then he would be sane, then he would be mad, and when he was mad what did they do? They bled him; they bled him enormously. They tied him to a chair, they did all kinds of things to him. They had no clue either how to handle any of these diseases nor of a humane way, no idea of a humane way to treat someone who has something wrong with them that you have no clue what it is or what to do about this. If you ever want to see that, there's a great movie, The Madness of King George, about 1995 if you ever want to--it describes this aspect of his life.

Leeches, another form of this bloodletting was, instead of taking a razor blade or a blade and cutting a vein, which is hard to sew up, leeches are wonderful. You stick leeches on you and the blood--leeches suck out the blood and we know this goes back at least to the ancient Romans and it was practiced for 2000 years, this bloodletting, on this ancient theory of the humors.

1860, we have data, in the hospitals just in London, so in 1860 that was Rule Britannia. England was the richest, most educated ruler of the whole world in 1860. In the hospitals in one city, London--7 million leeches were used. The idea again being that until you know what you're doing, you don't know what you're doing and just use anything and it's all--no evidence whatsoever that any of this ever helped anybody, and of course we now know it was in fact--not only didn't it help them, it made them sicker.

We now have sort of a rage in America and Europe for natural medicine, and its various versions. Well this has a very old history and so how many know the author Wilkie Collins, Moonstone, Woman in White, it's one of the--they're on PBS Television all the time, you've seen them. He had gout which was--what happens is back then they ate a lot of meat, had a lot of protein in the blood, the breakdown part, protein is urea. If you don't excrete it fast enough it's not very soluble. It crystallizes in your joints and then every time you move a joint these little sharp crystals grind in there and it makes it very hard to move and your joints get swollen; a very, very unpleasant disease.

What did they do for gout? Late in the 1880s they treated gout with a poultice of cabbage leaves covered with silk, with oiled silk, and this particular author, Wilkie Collins wrote about it, that's how we know some of the details and it didn't give him any relief whatsoever. Surprise, surprise. What he did, he turned to opium to dull the pain because opium really does work, it's the basis of morphine and he probably died partly of opium poisoning because it does other bad things to your system.

Now continuing this story of what happened, this all relates to death rates in pre-scientific times. You American history buffs, what happened to President James Garfield? He was assassinated, he was shot, but he wasn't really--he was shot but he wasn't really assassinated because he lived like for a year after he was shot. So whether you call that assassination or not, I don't know. The bullet went in--apparently into his back and lodged in some fat. Now fat is not very permeable to anything, the bullet lodged in a lump of fat, the lead doesn't--the lead poisoning from the bullet doesn't get out, nothing much gets out so it's not a really dangerous thing to have a bullet in a lump of fat.

His doctors, and some of them were homeopaths, which was the big thing back then, and some were allopaths--what those words mean you can ask me after class, and they had opposing theories. Homeopaths thought that whatever is wrong with you--so I am telling you the theories--whatever was wrong with you, you should give a little bit of the same thing and that would cure you, and little bit meant you could dilute it infinitely so that there's actually nothing in what they were giving you, maybe pure water but that was supposed to cure you. Allopath was supposed to give them something of the opposite, and there's been--you can see it in every drugstore nowadays, homeopathic remedy and what that legally means is, there's nothing in it but that's okay.

They had these opposite theories and they kept fighting about what to do with this President who was sick, so what they did is, they stuck metal rods into his wound to try to pull the bullet out even though the bullet was doing no danger, although sterilization--Lister had done his work--was known already, these doctors didn't believe in that, so they stuck in these metal rods with no sterilization. He of course got infected, apparently not from the bullet because he lived a year, but from the metal rods that they kept poking into him.

Their understanding of, or their interest in, physiology was so nil that they insisted, for reasons that I have not found, that he be fed rectally. They fed him beef bouillon, egg yolks, milk, whiskey, and drops of opium rectally. The problem is the rectum does not absorb food; the purpose of the rectum is to take water out and conserve water. They're feeding him this way, this was the only way he was allowed to be fed. It's not healthy to put food in this way and so what happens, what do you think happens? He loses weight; how much does he lose? A 100 pounds from July to September. In three months this guy loses 100 pounds.

Does anybody notice this? Does anybody pay attention to this? Does anybody have the scientific cast of mind that, 'well I have a theory and I'm applying that theory, and, oh my, it's not working, so maybe my theory is wrong.' No, that's just not the critical scientific mindset. They knew that that was the right thing to do and so they would not give up their theories and basically it seems he starved to death. They infected him and starved him to death.

What happens when new ideas do come out in a pre-scientific era? One of the current public health measures is you don't eat food with your hands. Your mother tells you that all the time, because you wash your hands first which they didn't do, but even then you eat with a knife and fork, which your mother has--or your dishwasher has--cleaned very nicely. Europeans of course, as you've seen from any movie, ate with their hands for many hundreds of years, but at that time the Arabs were much more civilized then we were; we, the Europeans, and so in the Levant, the middle eastern coast there, where Venice had lots of commerce they were already eating with knives and forks--used a fork.

Well this was first introduced into the Europe by the Duke of Venice, the Doge of Venice, and his wife became aware that the Arab civilization was doing this thing of eating with forks and she thought she would introduce it into her dinner parties. She started having forks at her dinner parties. And the cardinal--one of the cardinals at that time was St. Peter Damien and he says that--he was just totally opposed to this. And the idea was that the stuff that you eat are animals and plants, they're God's creations, and that by using a fork she had set herself up above God's creation and the quote is, "To touch meat with a fork was impiously to declare that God's creatures were not worthy of being touched by human hands." That kind of phrase was repeated all the way into the seventeenth century and forks came very slowly into Europe.

Lightning rods. When Benjamin Franklin invented lightning rods what was most likely to get struck by lightning? It was a church steeple, right, because they stuck up into the sky and had points. As you may know, if you take physics points attract lightning, pointy things, so churches were always getting lightning and burned out. Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning rod, and oh my God, the opprobrium that he came under because lightning was obviously one of God's creations, that he was punishing people with it. Now Benjamin Franklin was interfering with God's punishment.

Going back to the family, which is relevant to the population more than lightning. So one of the--of this whole brutal society in which life is very insecure, people are very violent to each other, they're not careful with their persons or anything like that. Childrearing practices don't escape this whole context in which people lived. And the traditional Christian view in the West, and this was strongly reinforced by Calvinist theology after the reformation, was that children were born with original sin. Original sin is the view of human nature.

What is human nature considered to be in these times? Now we think of human nature as genes versus environment, but back then it was original sin and children were born into sin. The only hope of holding the sin in check was thought to be the most ruthless repression of child's will and its total subordination to the will of the parents. He was subordinate to his parents, to school masters, and to anyone with authority over him. Theologians and moralists insisted that parents ruthlessly crush the wills of young children by physical force if necessary.

That has political ramifications. If you're taught when you're young, and your parents believe, that the most moral thing is that you must be obedient, you must not have a will of your own; this leads you to believe that authoritarian political structures are the normal and right way that humans should be governed. The American Puritans were very much a part of this and the primary concern with respect to childbearing of American Puritans was in making children sin free enough to merit an afterlife, so they threatened totally healthy children by telling them that they would soon die.

Jonathan Edwards, for whom one of the Yale Colleges is named and he was President of Princeton, he was not President of Yale; once I said he was I was wrong. He lectured a group of children: "I know you will die in little time. Some sooner than others. It is not likely you will all live to grow up." Children's storybooks, one of the popular children's books was A Token for Children: "If other children die, why may not you sicken and die?"

Again, we try to protect our children nowadays, nurturing, loving, try to protect our children from these worries but back then it (1) it was a reality, and (2) that reality was used to suppress their--what was called then their will and subject them to enforcement by the parents. Of course in the literature there's a--this sort of reading of history came about 50 years ago when this was sort of noticed and there's been a large reaction to it that no--some parents at least were loving during this long stretch of European history, and of course, not all parents were sort of--so brutal to their children but some were.

They were--one of the things was to force a child into the mold, the behavioral mold that you like and also into the physical mold. So girls were supposed to have narrow bodices, narrow waists, there's at least one case on record where a girl was put into an iron cage to squeeze her, and as she grew older the cage squeezed more and more and she couldn't breathe and she died of suffocation from being put in this iron cage to mold her physical body to the shape that was wanted by the parents.

The conclusion is that life in this pre--modern, pre-scientific times was not only sort of miserable in the physical sense but probably also quite miserable in an emotional, inward kind of sense. That people were not warm and loving to each other very much but very frequently cold and disciplining and controlling kind of people. We have some centuries of this period and you can go back to maybe the fall of the Roman Empire when really learning about reality in the West kind of stopped with the fall of Rome, so you have more than 1,000 years where sort of no intellectual progress with respect to reality is made.

Then things all of a sudden start to change and we're going to talk about that now. Within 200 years the death rate falls dramatically and so has the birth rate--falls dramatically. These changes are sort of the centerpiece of what, of course in demography--historical demography anybody that usually studies--is called the demographic transition: the fall in the death rate and the fall in the birth rate. You'll hear this many times because it's so basic that in these periods, old periods the birth rate is very high, the death rate is very high. They're about equal so population basically grows not at all or very, very slowly.

What we're going to talk about now in turn is first, the fall in the death rate, and the second, then the fall in the birth rate, and then theories that we have to explain these enormous changes in what it means to be a human being. What happened--we don't know the causes or we have many, many theories. Maybe we many, many times know what the causes are.

One of the standard textbooks of European History says--this is going back to the wars of religion which is just before all these changes started happening before Galileo, for instance--"One thing was clear, 130 years of senseless bloodletting in the name of religion inevitably sparked off a reaction in the minds of intelligent people. The wars of religion offered fertile soil for the fragile seeds of reason and science. People began to realize that religiosity was hostile to civilization." Europeans say, because of this period of sort of utter irrationality, that the bad results of it were so immediately obvious to everyone. Everyone was getting scared of getting killed by the people in the neighboring town who were of the other religion; they rejected all that and were ready for some sort of a rational attitude toward things.

The results of that we can see were really quite dramatic. Here is what we can reconstruct of life expectancy and going back 8,000 years ago where the records are very poor, but it certainly wasn't much better than this. And there was wavering, and probably some slow increase in life expectancy. This, just above 20 years of life expectancy is what I showed you in the graph of Cisalpine Gaul from Roman Times and what I've told you is true of Europe during these hundreds of years that I've been talking about.

That stays more or less the same with perhaps some improvement. It doesn't matter whether you're looking at France-the dotted line, or you're looking at China-the solid line. As far as we can tell they're pretty much the same until around 1700, all of a sudden something majorly changes and the life expectancy goes--starts going sky high. We're talking about not just one of many, many things that happened in history that you can take all kinds of history courses about, but in terms of what it means to be a human, you finally can stay alive beyond the age of 20 or 25. That is such a tremendous change in life that there's nothing else as important.

Of course a large part of this, to reinforce this, was infant mortality. Look what happens, back here it's going up and down like crazy and it's very high. This a quarter of children and this is European data, so this is about a fifth to a quarter of children die as children and it's out of control. You can see that the epidemics come through and then times get good, and then something else comes through, and so it's very variable and very high.

Then it starts swooping downward, and not only does it come down but it evens out, that we start getting control, not only over the overall level but all the things which cause these wild swings in it. Again, an amazing change in what it means to be human. Well what is this date where things start happening? 1770s we're into the Enlightenment and you all have probably, at least in your high school history, have heard of the Enlightenment. And that is the big opening out in Europe of rational discourse on almost everything, and everything from science to politics.

Disease, for instance, was considered divine punishment upon mankind for their sins, that's a quote from somewhere. Medical research was considered sacrilegious. Dissection of cadavers what objected to because "If you cut the bodies into pieces what's going to happen to them at the time of the resurrection?" There are all kinds of reasons that you shouldn't do anything to get even the most basic knowledge of what's inside a human body and without that you can't make any progress.

The major, major event in the enlightenment is Newton's Principia. Newton's discussion of something that sounds rather abstract. What he was worried about was how the bodies go around in heaven. That's what everyone was trying to figure out. You may remember Copernicus had already said that things didn't go around the earth but they went around the sun that was older. Keppler had gotten the mathematics right, so they went around not in circles but in ellipses, but nobody had any explanation for this. It was a simple theory; it was great regularity, but no one had any idea why.

Newton's gravitation was what made it rational in the sense of understanding that it was just a simple force of gravity and people don't always understand the--you know the story of the apple dropping on his head? The story is that gave him the idea of gravitation. Apparently--(1) the story is probably apocryphal totally but the import is what everyone was trying to figure out was the heavenly motions. The moon around the earth, the earth around the sun, the planets around all of these sorts of things. He goes to sleep under the tree and the apple falls on his head and he wakes up and he realizes, 'oh my God the apple fell on my head for the same reason that the moon is held in orbit around the earth.'

As you know if there was no gravity the moon would just--here's the earth, the moon goes around, you shut off gravity the moon goes off in a straight line forever. That was kind of understood already by Galileo, that things in motion will go in a straight line unless you pull them in somehow. They knew that the earth--the moon was constantly falling toward the earth. The earth was constantly falling toward the sun; all the planets were constantly falling towards the sun. That was understood, and they knew that apples fell to the earth but they didn't put the two of them together. The great insight of Newton apparently was realizing that this thing on earth that we could observe and measure on earth, was the same reason that the heavens worked, and this was sort of a bombshell that led to the whole theory of celestial mechanics and gravitation and all of Western science really starts from this.

Within 25 years--and people were--Newton was lionized during his lifetime. It was realized what a tremendous achievement this was, and the relationship to this is not only the scientific achievement that the planets orbited by the same force which drops an apple, but it was previously believed that yes well events on earth might work by some sort of physical laws, you had Galileo working on that, but heaven was ruled by supernatural laws, and now Newton's great insight was, no they're the same laws. That there's nothing special or different about the heavens. That they work by exactly the same laws as stones and apples falling on earth. This was really a tremendous impetus to realize the power of rationality and so within 25 years the whole attitude about everything changes tremendously.

As the bubonic plague receded, for reasons we don't know, that I showed you that data, then smallpox starts becoming the leading cause of death; one replacing the other. As opposed to what had gone on before, which was supernatural ideas about it, in the 1710s very shortly after Newton, The Royal Scientific Society again started, at this same time, began a search program, research program to gather information from any place in the world on how smallpox could be controlled or cured. Just a new kind of way of dealing with disease that just hadn't been seen before, and so what did they find?

They found that, in Turkey, that they were inoculating people, and what inoculation is, the early form--they take someone that has the disease; they take pus from the disease--what is pus? It's white blood cells that have eaten the virus or bacteria, depending on whether it's plague or smallpox, and have engulfed it and they kill the bacteria or virus, the pathogen. You have a dead pathogen but it's molecules are still there and so you can take the pus, inject it, just cut the skin, put it on a person, and hopefully they're not exposed to anymore of the live virus but the dead--presumably the white blood cells have killed the virus, and you just get their molecules and that induces an immune reaction and you become immune to this disease.

Local governments started--I'll tell you more about smallpox in a couple of minutes. In 1750s, again this very early time, local regulations for sewage disposal are getting started. In the 1790s the rich start using water closets which are toilets of some sort. Not only do they introduce vaccination, but 1796 they try to make it better. They don't just say, oh this works by some magic, they try to figure out what it makes it better, and Jenner discovers vaccination, which is instead of using pus from a person who had smallpox--there's a very closely related disease called cowpox which the cow maids--the milk maids get very frequently, and it was noticed, because they're now observing all these things, that these women would get sick but most of them would recover. This was a not a lethal disease, so instead of taking the actual smallpox virus, which vaccination--the early inoculation--did not always work and you sometimes did catch the disease and died. Taking it from cowpox rather than smallpox was less dangerous, but since the viruses are closely related to each other a lot of the molecules are the same and you get--from cowpox you get immunity to smallpox and so these diseases start going down.

Not only in health but it starts the industrial revolution, in 1711 James Newcomen invents the steam engine. It's a very, very inefficient steam engine, and it's used only where you had--can have a very big placement and it's used to pump water out of mines. Coal is becoming important for England to fuel the industrial revolution, and you have mines that are underground, and water seeps into them. You've got to suck out the water, so how do you pump it out, well he invents the steam engine. Then James Watt figures out--looks at it more scientifically, more rationally, and again just like inoculation being supplanted with vaccination they start improving. It's not just that something works and our ancestors did it this way and we don't know why it works, we don't why care it works, we do it the same way our ancestors did.

No they keep thinking about what they're looking at, what they're working on, and he improves it and in this case what James Watt did is, after the steam comes out, he had a condenser to condense the steam so drop the pressure on one side of the piston going out. Just by taking the condenser instead of--letting--having a way of cooling the steam really improves the efficiency of a steam engine and now with a greater efficiency you can make a smaller steam engine that works just as well, and you can put it on wheels and you start getting the railroad and all kinds of smaller factories can start using steam engines.

In politics, this idea is also terribly important. The previous idea was that of a hierarchical system with God appointing kings being--ruling over nobility and then everyone else must obey up this chain. Well what is Newton's idea? That everything obeys the same law: gravity. That the sun attracts the earth; the earth attracts the sun, equally and opposite. There's no difference. The sun does not rule the universe, it's not better then the earth, it works by exactly the same rules. The sun and the earth, the earth and the moon, everything acts by the same rules, there is no need for some sort of central sentient coordinator of all this, but each individual planet, each individual body, all bodies, apples, working by their own laws, by the same laws as everyone else the universe works beautifully. In fact it works as it does it work.

This idea is very consciously taken over into politics and the idea of democracy, again changes that each person acting under his own desires, his own self interest, his own morality can, by interacting in the same way the planets do, can come out with a system that works. The original theorists of democracy were very conscious of this shift in the way they looked at the way the universe worked and very conscious of its--their debt to Newton on that.

In economics, how many of you are economics majors? The bust has really taken effect; we used to have lots of economic majors. What is Adam Smith's idea? The basis of modern economics is Adam Smith's--that no you don't need a Mercantilist government to control everything, that if each person acts in their own self interest by their own internal rules, then the economy will work just wonderfully and be more productive. Freedom of religion is again the same thing, freedom of conscience, it's a similar kind of idea that each person has its own--has his own way of working things out and that does not destroy the harmony of the universe.

We see that this rationality changes everything about the way humans live. One of its most important effects is demography. That the population stops dying and can start increasing, and this is exactly what happens. As all this rational attitude toward death and toward disease starts taking hold, the death rate falls tremendously as I've shown you, the life expectancy goes up, infant mortality goes down, and population starts increasing tremendously. Most people, at that time, believed that a big population was a wonderful thing and they're very optimistic about it, and one of the standard ways of judging a government, when you saw a country that had a lot of people in it, well obviously the government was doing something right. The king at that time was doing something right because people were able to stay alive. If you saw a country with a low population, well something was wrong, and that was not necessarily an improper attitude.

Up until Malthus, with some exceptions, it was generally the idea that there was no limit to population, that the more the population the merrier. Malthus came along and said, 'hmm there is a problem with population,' and he had been watching--he collected very good data. You read his stuff, it's really wonderful to read because it's extremely modern in that he tells you the data he is collecting; he analyzes it; he tells you what he--what's wrong with the data, why he believes it to a certain extent but not beyond that and all things about the data. Very--he's writing is like 1798 but it reads like a modern PhD thesis, just about.

His knowledge was the following, and it's very simple what he said. He did not say--many people thought that--as previous people had often said like Edmond Burke, who was the father of conservatism, that the economic pie is constant, there's just so much stuff out there, and the more people you just have to divide the pie smaller and smaller. That's one way of looking at it. Then it's perfectly obvious that population is a bad thing because there's fixed production and you have more people to eat up that production.

Malthus was much smarter, by the time he wrote in 1798 the Enlightenment had started to produce results. He could see that agricultural production was improving year by year; modern methods were--modern at that time--were beginning to take over and he knew that production rose. What he assumed, and what he saw from the data was that production rose linearly, that every year there was sort of--you could produce a little bit more out of the land. Now he said, but what about population? In population if you have 100 people and they increase by let's say 50% that's 150 people, you've gained 50 people. But now from the next generation you again grow by 50%, you're starting with 150 people you have--now you're adding 75 people.

The graph--this is time, this is agricultural product, and Malthus said this is growing like this, which was quite reasonable for his time. Population, no matter where it starts grows--he called it geometrically, we call it exponentially, so if it starts that there's just enough food for people to eat, then it almost immediately goes above food production. If it starts even below, it doesn't matter; it eventually rises--catches up with food production and goes beyond it. He believed that there was no doubt that population increases geometrically, or exponentially as we say, that means a certain percent a year. It may increase one percent a year or two percent a year, or three percent a year, but remember that's one percent of an increasing number so it's more and more. Whereas, agriculture he thought increased linearly by the same fixed amount each year, and if that's the case you're going to run into starvation.

He said, since population can always outrun productivity, eventually you get into trouble, that whenever you increase the number of people--if you ever--you're at some sort of stasis level, where resources fit the population. But then as you get some increase in productivity it allows a rise in population only to match that, but then the greater number of people eat up that increase in productivity so you're right back down to where he--you started with. His idea was that increasing population was not a good thing. It could not lead to any improvement if it outran your productivity gains, and this led to all kinds of what we now consider very conservative and even retrogressive political ideas. So poor laws--he was initially against poor laws. There's no sense to keep the poor alive because if you keep them alive they're going to reproduce and make even more children and you're right back to where you started from.

He was a strong conservative in that sense. He later changed his mind as he got smarter about things. He was also aware of, even though population could increase like this, maybe and he was aware, that people were smart enough to stop this in some way. He knew about various methods of contraception, withdrawal and so forth, and various perverse sexual practices. But he was so opposed to them morally, as was everyone else in his time, that you should not control reproduction, that that was immoral, but he said 'people are never going to do that.' That what happens to balance it is not people themselves controlling this in a very rational way, which he thought was not possible at that time, but famine would come in, disease would come in, and whenever your population got too big people would get very poor. They were open to some disease, the disease would wipe you out. You either starved directly immediately from too much--the population getting ahead of agriculture productivity, you either starved or you got to so weak that diseases come through and wipe you out. Okay we will--time is up we will continue onward next time.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 8
Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline
Play Video
Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline

Prior to Malthus, population growth was seen as good for the power and wealth of a country. The rapid population growth of America was crucial in expelling England (via the Revolution) and France (via the Louisiana Purchase) from the US. But in fact, the numbers of the poor were growing in Europe in the 1700s. Malthus argued that poverty was due to an imbalance between people and resources; since population could rise very fast, it could always outstrip any gains in productivity. He did not anticipate an exponential increase in production or a voluntary decrease in fertility. However, Malthus' thinking is still important because high population levels and environmental limitations are in fact problematic today. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, mortality was falling in Europe and this caused a population explosion. The productivity gains of the Industrial Revolution were nearly balanced by the increased population; per capita income of the working classes was not much improved. Fertility didn't drop until late in the nineteenth century; per capita income started to grow rapidly. The reason for the fertility decline is not well explained by declining mortality or rising standard of living or any other socioeconomic factor. The mortality and later fertility drop is called the Demographic Transition. The extension of lifespan and the freedom from continual childbearing and child rearing is one of the most important changes ever in what it means to be a human.

Reading assignment:

Gillis, John R., Louise A. Tilly and David Levine. Introduction to the European Experience of Declining Fertility 1850-1970: The Quiet Revolution, pp. 1-6, 13-27, and 66-82


February 5, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Last time--so last time we discussed two factors that limited--that retarded and limited your progress. Remember, I'm describing that Europe was in a pretty bad situation. One was sort of mental--cultural, there was a mindset that largely focused on the supernatural and did not have that mindset to question received wisdom and to test whatever they believed against what they saw in reality. The second was a food and population balance that left vast numbers of people in conditions of near starvation.

Around 1750--around 1700, Europe started to outgrow these limitations and we started talking about that last time. We saw how the scientific revolution, given great impetus by Newton, he wasn't the only one but the fabulous success in explaining the universe that Newton's three very simple laws--you learned that certainly in high school if not in junior high school--explained how all the heavens work and that was an amazing creation of the human mind and it had tremendous import and started what's been called the Enlightenment.

That sort of changed the mental set into something more progressive, and then as you've read in--I hope in your course packet the introduction of foods from America sort of cut down--got rid of the physical limitation on population and economic well being in Europe, that the amount of food went way up. So this--especially the food--increased the European population. There's all kinds of different numbers available but anywhere from 62% up to a doubling of the European population due to the introduction of American foods.

Now the standard belief about population at that time was that population is a wonderful thing. Jean-Jacques Rousseau who we've talked about, who was abandoning his own children by the car load to control his individual family's--the number of children they had to cope with--in terms when he thought about the grand--the political system he said, "that government under which the citizens do most increase and multiply is infallibly the best. Similarly, the government under which a people diminishes in number and wastes away is the worst." He's very clear that not only is high population good but it's infallibly good.

Benjamin Franklin, around 1751, argues about this. "There were upwards of one million English souls in America," This is before the Revolution. "This million doubling supposed but once in 25 years," which is not a bad estimate of the doubling time of American population at that time, due largely to immigration. "Doubling once every 25 years, within and another--will, in another century be more than the people of England. What an accession of power that will be." And the realization of American increase in numbers and therefore increase in power was very important in the history of that time.

After the French and Indian War, before our Revolution that you know of, the settlement that the English got Canada, which was barren wasn't worth very much at the time, and the French kept the islands in the Atlantic which were very rich, sugar and plantations, slavery of course. The French kept those and the English took Canada. Why? To keep the Americans in check because they knew that the Americans would get very strong.

Thomas Jefferson often said, 'population is power,' so in 1800 when the U.S. was only ten years old, so very fragile in terms of our military strength and everything like that. Napoleon had recently--Spain had owned Louisiana which was the whole vast territory to the west of the 13 colonies, and during the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon got charge of them. He was going to send French troops there to occupy Louisiana because they were such a big and important territory, but the U.S., of course, objected. We were having this huge population growth, immigration, they were flooding over the Appalachian Mountains into the territories. The next boundary was the Mississippi River, and America did not want any of the European powers taking control there.

The French Ambassador in America realized that America was growing so rapidly in power and he thought Napoleon's idea to send troops was stupid, that Napoleon would lose the war. This guy was very clever, he did one thing, he sent to Napoleon a summary of the American Census of 1800. Remember that in The Constitution we have to take a census. There was one taken in 1800 and it showed such a great rate of American population increase that that's all he had to send. It showed that the U.S. population was doubling every 22 years, not the 25 that Benjamin Franklin had estimated. Napoleon got the message immediately; there was no way that France was going to be able to hold Louisiana against American objections. What did Napoleon do? Sold it to us for a pittance, basically a pittance, because he knew he could not hold it; the power of population.

Now why did governments love large populations? Why was it power? Two things, one a lot of men and what do you do with men? Take them into the army so you have big military power, also more people farm more land, produce more food, and other goods. Then what can you do? You can tax it, so the governments get a lot of tax and a lot of people if they have a big population. There was no question in anyone's mind that a big and growing population was just a wonderful sort of thing.

What they didn't realize is one of the things that I'm trying to get across in this class, that that system works for a situation where you have no limitation on land or resources. It's like I've been--I was describing for Africa where the population was small and land was large, then population is--can be a benefit in the way just described. The reality, for Europe especially, was different. After 1750, again largely due to the American foods, people filled the European countrysides to overflowing capacity.

These are quotes from various sources back then. "Mountains spilled over with people, cities grew and the plains became full, but this increase in population brought more mouths to feed. Population rose and the resources could not match the population." When you have more consumers then goods, law of supply and demand, prices rose, people couldn't afford what they previously could afford, and poverty deepened.

In this period in Europe people often moved--migrated seasonally to get jobs because they didn't have enough income from their own land. They would go to where some harvest--they were needed to harvest or needed to work on a building project, but at this time this population of people wandering around looking for some sort of work increased so much that the line between migration and vagabondage, becoming just a vagabond, was crossed by hundreds of thousands of Europeans. They were just wandering around looking for some kind of work to keep them alive for a little bit longer.

This was written--noticed and written about a lot at the time. They flooded the highways, roads were opening up at the time. They flooded the highways of France, Germany, the low countries, all of these places this was noticed. Children at the time--again you read there's crowded orphanages and foundling homes, women and children--very large number of beggars arose at this time. Women and children begged on church steps and on roadsides. This problem of poverty as I've mentioned was much observed, much worried about, much commented upon, and in fact, all of the great intellectuals of the day, whose names we still know, commented upon it.

You all know Edward Gibbon? Gibbon wrote, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, one of the most famous intellectuals of that time. Right after that he wrote, "In the civilized world the most numerous class is condemned to ignorance and poverty." Why were people poor? Well the general consideration then: they were poor because they were in some way deficient. The idea was that God had given some people--kings and aristocrats--the abilities and capability to rule and all the others were relegated to the lower classes. They just didn't--they had bad heredity, they were lazy, they were "the wrong sort," they were inherently incapable that their nature, their human nature, they didn't really have genetic ideas back then, was to be incapable of leading the good kind of life.

Well, this was a nice theory and people who are upper class enough to get an education to write about it could live comfortably with that theory. Then America opens up for colonization and guess what happens? Who moves to America? The poorest people, especially from England. The lower classes moved to Australia at a somewhat later time, and then they empty out the prisons going to Australia so they have really the lower classes. What happens to America? As I've just showed you the people work hard, they're industrious, they make a lot of money, they get ahead, everything looks very good in America and so the theory just didn't fit observation.

As I've mentioned, people are, by now, paying attention to what's around them and this idea that Americans had been so poor in England but they moved to America and things get better. The question arose: why were the poor so poor in England? Kind of an obvious question; again not the first time that this question had been asked. The Bible, and again sorry for--keep referring to religion but you cannot, just cannot discuss Western intellectual history without going there because that was the basis of the way people thought. What the Bible says, Ecclesiastes, 'when goods increase they are increased that eat them.' If you have more stuff, population grows and they eat the food. Very close to what we'll see Malthus says later.

Edmund Burke, who as you know is now considered the father of conservative political philosophy: "The laboring people are only poor because they are numerous; numbers in their nature imply poverty." In a fair distribution--what liberals were saying share equally, "In a fair distribution among a vast multitude none can have much." He was talking against spreading the wealth because under that condition if you spread the wealth everybody is extremely poor.

Those kind of thoughts started people thinking about the relationship between population and resources. What was that? There's this sort of a fairly new way of thinking about things. Where did they turn to? Again, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, science was the leading source of intellectual new ideas and natural history was going on--was getting going at that time, studying of plants and animals in their natural habitats, just like all your TAs for this course.

Adam Smith, among others, paid great attention to what the naturalists were saying. In The Wealth of Nations, 1776, "Every species of animal naturally multiples in proportion to the means of their subsistence and no species can ever multiply beyond it." Then he explicitly says, "Men, like all other animals, naturally multiply in proportion to their means of subsistence." So he's immediately applying an ecological law from the study of animals to people. Well how fast can humans multiply? David Hume, another one of the luminous philosophers, 1742: "Almost every man who thinks he can maintain a family will have one, and the human species at this rate of propagation would more than double every generation."

Adam Smith again got some of the problem; he realized that if wages increased, if things started to get better and wages increased, this would lead to an increase in population. He explicitly says, if people have more money they're going to be able to feed their children more and they will stay alive, and there will be a decline in mortality, and the population will grow. He--very surprising--did not close the circle and did not--never apparently realized that this growth in the population would mean more competitors for the jobs and would push wages back down again.

That was the great achievement of Malthus--and all this interest in what is the cause of poverty, and there were many other things. There was an enclosure movement in England at the time where the lands on which the peasants had lived were being closed in and controlled by the squires, the country squires and so forth; a lot of other things going on. This was the kind of argumentation that was going on at the time.

Malthus was the one that realized that population and wages and mortality were in a negative--what we now call a negative feedback loop. If wages increased, as I've just said, then population grows and if population grows the competition for jobs and for food and for everything else pushes wages back down, or pushes prices back up so if you earn the same you're still getting less. In short, although the population could grow and the economy on a gross scale could grow, the per capita income, he basically said, could not grow.

In the strongest statement of this, and he went through many editions with many different statements, but in the strongest statement economic progress is basically impossible; looked at from the point of view of per capita income, the living standards of the average person. Malthus was very clever and thought more deeply about it and he was aware of two contradictory changes that were happening throughout the eighteenth century; he writes in 1798, at the end of the eighteenth century.

As I've mentioned and you've read there's no question that agriculture was improving, not only American foods, but also agronomy was coming in as a science and people were learning, even with the same crops, to improve the crops, to improve their livestock, to fertilize better, to rotate fields better. They were learning to grow more food. Nevertheless, even though there was more food around poverty was growing, and that was also very clear at the time.

His argument is based on a few very simple kinds of statements. Contrary to some previous thinkers who envisioned the relation between population and resources as there's a fixed amount of resources. There's a pie. We now use the expression pie; there's a pie and depending on how many people there are you divide the pie into smaller and smaller slices. The more people, the smaller slices of the pie. That is completely wrong and never has been correct. All people do some kind of work and the pie grows with each person some--the pie grows to a certain degree and the question is how much does the pie grow?

For instance again, in the United States at the time, we had these vast lands to the west where we were killing or had killed the Indians and they were very few of them anyway, so that allowed each new person--so as the population grows--again when you have no limitation of resources--a new family is living on the frontier, the frontier becomes crowded. American population was growing very fast; they were having lots of kids, lots of immigrants, where do the new people go? They just move some miles to the west and they get a beautiful new farm and the land is just as good as what was left behind and they grow as much as the farmers that they left behind. The population increases, the gross economy increases, and the per capita standard of living does not decrease because this guy has the same amount of resources as the previous generation had.

This was not the condition in Europe, or in England, or the rest of--actually all across Eurasia. Here the law of diminishing returns takes effect because land starts to be limiting. When land is limiting--people are naturally smart, what do they do? If there's beautiful land, fertile land by a river, of course they farm that first, and so as the population grows that gets taken up, all the good land comes under the plow and is good. Population keeps growing, well the next set of people have to go to less good land, maybe drier land, maybe hillier land, and their productivity is not quite as good as the previous group that got the best land. Population keeps growing and people have to move high on the mountaintops, into dry areas, into desert areas, into swampy areas, in all kinds of areas where their production is not going to be as high.

The average income, from say farming, decreases as you use less good land and so things--conditions get worse and finally all the land is used up and there's no land for farmers whatsoever. This is the law of diminishing returns. If you travel around you can really see the law of diminishing returns happen--a mix of how people always do some work, but when there isn't much resource to take advantage of they can accomplish very little.

Quite a few years ago I was traveling in the highlands of Bolivia and Peru, and a lot of native Indian markets there--very colorful, tourists love to go to them--but you watch the ladies sit down and they have a blanket in front of them and they display their wares and they--it's all agricultural and they'll have maybe a few fruits, and a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and they have almost nothing, almost no stock on the blanket. They've grown this over the past say months or something; they've walked all the way maybe even days to get to a market, and then they have very little to sell. Even if they could sell everything that they brought at some sort of a profit they didn't have enough--their total amount that they would take home was still very, very little. They were producing some, but not very much.

In the cities--I have to tell you one story. I was in Lima in Peru, this same trip, and a lot of street vendors doing stuff and I saw one guy had a pair of socks up there, and he had some sort of a knitting needle or something. He was holding up the sock and as he was talking to the crowd, jabbing the sock with his knitting needle, and he was saying, 'You can't destroy this sock. You can't destroy this sock. It'll last the rest of your life.' Bash, bash, bash. I'm watching for a while and I'm skeptical but the socks seemed okay. I thought, the poor guy; I bought the pair of socks. Those socks, I could not destroy them, I used them for about 20 years. It was really true. He was making some sort of a meager living but it wasn't good. If he had a better job, if there were more resources that he could utilize--his low wages would not drag down the average.

You must realize of course that when one says a phrase like that, that he could--there were resources that he could utilize--brings up a vast consideration of power and everything else. What other resources and who gets to utilize them and so forth. It's a much more--of course I say a little bit and there's much, much more to say about all of these things.

The law of diminishing returns reduces the average productivity, but there's a counter-veiling trend which he also was aware of that I've just mentioned. That the productivity of the land was increasing, again through the new foods and new agricultural technologies. These two factors work in opposite directions, and Malthus had to make some sort of a guess as to how these two factors would balance out.

Which would predominate? Would the introduction of new technology improve faster than the law of diminishing returns decreased it, and his conclusion was that technology would be somewhat stronger then the law of diminishing returns so that total productivity--per capita productivity and total productivity--would indeed keep increasing. He thought it would increase sort of at a constant sort of a rate.

In graph terms, let me see if I can get right to this graph--here's--this is the standard kind of graph about Malthus. Here is the way he thought that resources, mostly food in his--in the case--the time that he was talking about--he thought they would increase in a more or less regular way, per every year if you consider these years. Every year would increase by about the same amount. He called that an arithmetic growth. We now call it a linear growth.

He and everyone else knew that population can grow faster than that, so you probably understand a little bit about exponential growth. If each couple has four surviving children, not unreasonable when there's a moderate amount of food, and then these children have four and so on, the population does not grow 4, 6, 8, 10, 12--a linear kind of thing. It grows 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 you're used to counting this way from bits. That's called exponential growth where each generation doubles or improves by some percentage.

I've just made this graph at growing 10% a year. No matter where you--and the growth is like that, that's an exponential curve, and all exponential curves look like that, you can change your scales but they all look exactly like that. It doesn't matter where you start. You can start in England where these two curves would be pretty much matched at the time Malthus was writing or you can start in America where resources are way above population at the beginning, but then you just wait, America starts filling up more and more rapidly, as the population grows. 10% of a large population adds more people in a year then 10% of a small population, so as time goes on the increment per year gets bigger and bigger, and eventually it outruns resource growth.

This was Malthus' mathematical formulation of his ideas and he believed it to be an inevitability that this was an iron law of economics, and that you couldn't avoid this and so human population was doomed to a per capita misery kind of thing. He put it in this particular mathematical form, but as you can see, the mathematical form doesn't really matter. As long as population can grow faster than resources you're eventually going to get into this situation. Even if population grows linearly, if it grows at a faster pace than resources, you're back into this situation. The idea, the simple idea is that population can grow faster than resources and I think that's for sure true.

Malthus was certainly partly correct. He was right and he was also wrong, and he has been--you've probably heard Malthus always gets discussed since he wrote a big subject of controversy, and I think the current sort of fashion is to, is to put him down. How many people have heard discussions of Malthus? In how many does he come out well? How many does he come out badly? It's about split. In certain kinds of circles it's unfashionable to be a Malthusian nowadays.

He was right and he was wrong, and what was he right about? First he had apparently--although the historians argue about this--quite an accurate description. This Malthusian situation is an accurate description of Europe from about 1200 to into the 1700s, so for about 500 years very strong arguments can be made with whatever data is available that Europe was in this Malthusian trap. It also, as I'll show you in a minute, that as the industrial revolution took hold, he was still right for almost another century, and then things changed.

He didn't have this--he had a crystal ball, he was pretty good, but he didn't have a real modern model crystal ball. There are two things that he did not foresee. He lived at the very beginning of the industrial revolution and didn't really realize it's power. So when he saw it, he thought he thought production of all sorts, not only agriculture, would increase kind of linearly but constant increments every year, but in fact the way it has turned out is that not only can population increase exponentially, but production can increase exponentially, and for the same reason basically.

When you produce, if you're in this scientific--this post enlightenment era where we know science makes life better--then as your economy increases you have more money and you devote a certain fraction of it to research, to a technology and so as your economy grows every year you put more and more money into research, so in the same way that if it's a percentage of your total income--total national income or something that you invest, and you get a good product out of it then just like population, every year you will have more income, more gross national product, more when you invest a certain fraction you have more, and also technology and science grows exponentially. What happened is that eventually technology grew--production--just as fast as population, and in fact, somewhat faster than population.

We sort of realized that when we say that our economy grows like 2% a year we don't say--we sometimes say it grew by a $100 million dollars year, something like that, but more often--which is a linear statement, $100 million, $100 million, $100 million--but if you say 2% then next year you have 2% of 102%, and then next year 2% of 104%, it grows faster and faster. Again, this kind of percentage increase in technology in production has exactly the same limit as population. That there must be no external limits; no resources that are limiting. Now of course we realize we do have to worry about the limits of the environment. People have multiplied; people have basically filled up the earth and the--we're using everything that looks like we're using virtually everything that humans can use, and there's not much left. So the question is, can we continue to increase our production? We don't know the answer to it.

The second thing that Malthus didn't foresee was a big drop in the birth rate. He again, acting sort of in the Newtonian mode of pronouncing scientific laws that were inviolable, and inevitable, he said the sex drive was an instinct--people liked sex--and that would not go away so they would keep reproducing. Now he was also aware of contraception, people were doing various things even at that time, and it was certainly an awareness. He was so--he was a minister--he was so morally opposed to that that he just would not really consider that people would ever do that, so he dismissed that kind of idea. What happened, that in some sense makes him wrong, is that after about another 100 years after he writes, production increases enough to keep up with population and the birth rate starts dropping and we're going to talk about both of these--both of those things.

When you think about Malthus getting into these discussions that the strict formulation of his ideas, that we can't make any economic progress and disaster is imminent, that's clearly not the case, but if you just slightly rephrase his questions and ask not whether you have a dead stop to population growth--to economic growth--but that in those countries and those places with very dense populations, even though economic growth is present there, would the people be better off with a lesser population? Is Malthus right not in the extreme but in the reality that you can--even in very dense populations--you can have some economic growth, but would the people be better off if they had less--a lower population? Then instead of asking whether food is your limiting factor, asking whether the environment is your limiting factor and that--with those rather small changes in what he said makes Malthus as relevant today as at any time.

Let's look at some of the things that I've been talking about. You've all seen--you've seen this graph before and you remember this is for Roman times but characteristic up to--from way, way back almost into the 1700s. that 1,000 females are born, not very different for males, most of them die--about half of them die as infants, then childbirth and they keep dying and eventually there's very few left. This is the number that are born and the number that are left. The reason I show this again is because there's one number here that I didn't describe before, but is one way of characterizing this E0 is--E is for the expectancy of life, how long you're going to live at age 0, at your birth. When a child is born how long do you expect them to live? Of course that may be say 70 years old nowadays. My mother, for instance, is 97 and so her life expectancy is like 102, so the life expectancy depends on when you're measuring it and so this is life expectancy at birth and at this time it was just under 21 years of age.

We've see here that when the death rate is such as to have this kind of a life expectancy, that something like a third of the women are doing all the reproducing because the others are dead, and if it's a third they have to have six children to keep the population going, but since a lot of that third is infertile or sick, or unmarried or whatever, the average has to be six--the women who actually can reproduce have to produce a lot more. It turns out that that's about the limit. That much--with an expectancy of life of much less than that, much less than 20 or even maybe get it down to 20, your group, your population goes extinct.

Think mathematically just a little bit that if the average lifespan is 20 years then in every one of those 20 years, an equal number every year, 1/20th of the population is going to die and 1/20th is 5%. You can think of a 5% death rate as sort of the maximum. 5% of the population dies every year is kind of a maximum that humans can sustain. More than that and you have a lower E0; your population goes out of existence.

As time goes on, I've shown you this slide also, conditions get a little better so here is the way this graph--this is rather stylized, we don't have great data to make such a graph, but this shows the life expectancy between 20 and 25 years, which we think is more or less the characteristic of humans for a long time, and then very slowly over thousands of years it gets better, and up here you're maybe at 25. At 20--at 25 years, so 25 years--if people are going to live on average 25 years that means 1/25th of them die every year, 1/25th is 4%. When you see a death rate of 4%, which can be expressed as 4 per 100 or 40 per 1,000--did I say 40%? I meant 4%.

What has happened over these thousands of years is that we managed to keep 1% more people alive every year. From here we're keeping the death rate as maybe 5% a year and the death rate here is maybe 4% a year, so keep those numbers in mind as a primitive kind of minimum using say the 25, that 40 per 1,000 deaths and the population is going to be fairly stable, so 40 per 1,000 people. That's what was going on through most of human history.

Now if you look at the actual numbers for Europe, you see that Eastern Europe has a--this is the death rate of not 40 per 1,000 but 38 per 1,000 here. Very, very little bit better than the rate at which you really can't keep your population alive anymore. This continues in Eastern Europe until 1860, until Civil War time. This is the Civil War in America. Russia frees its Serfs at about this time; you've got a lot of the great Russian authors and musicians who are starting at around that time. So in Eastern Europe if you measure standard of living by the death rate, the death rate has improved very little over the 40 or 50; 50 is from thousands of years ago--then the 40. Then modernization takes over and it falls very slowly.

Western Europe, where the enlightenment hit first, is doing better at this time, and the line is sort of where Genghis Khan--the line between Eastern and Western Europe was basically where Genghis Khan--the Mongols occupied Europe. Here in 1800 Western Europe already has a death rate down to 28. Remember I told you in the 1700s the Western foods come in and things start getting better, so the death rate has been dropping at least all during the 1700s and depending on what historian you read, possibly before the 1700s. Eastern Europe 100 years later, this is 1800 and this is 1890, Eastern Europe is 100 years behind Western Europe, more than 100 years. Europe has already--Western Europe has progressed somewhat and at this level the population is increasing quite rapidly.

During this period, again population is increasing, resources and production are increasing somewhat, but the balance is not in favor of standard of living. For instance food. Grain accounts for, during this period, about 80% of the calories of the poor and even for the upper classes who had more meat, and eggs, and this kind of stuff it was about 50%. You can look basically at grain prices and wages and grain prices and tell how the people were living.

In Strasburg, which is very favorably situated on land on the Rhine, just on the border between Germany and France, sometimes it's Germany and sometimes it's France, between 1400 and 1500 for instance, the amount of work needed to purchase a month's worth of wheat was in the range of 60 to 80 hours. This is just before the Reformation for instance, 60 to 80 hours. By 1540, populations were already increasing, it had risen to over 100 hours and it doesn't--and then it keeps going and it doesn't come back down to 100 hours until the 1880s. We're talking very; very late the people are not living better.

The wages of German workers, again measured in grain, because prices go up and down, but how much grain can you buy whether you work is the important number. It fell roughly 50% between 1500 and 1650. The percentage of males in Frankfurt in Germany with enough property to be citizens fell from 75% in 1723 to 33% in 1811. We're watching the population get impoverished. Massive unemployment in Germany caused wages to fall below subsistence levels, especially in the 1840s, and living standards in Germany showed no signs of improvement before 1850 at the earliest. We're talking very modern times, well into the industrial revolution, and things are not getting better if you look at per capita income.

Again, population is growing, the total national economy is growing, but per capita you're not improving. In England, buying power started falling in the 1500s and didn't recover to that level until well into the nineteenth century. In Paris, bread consumption did not increase per capita, did not increase between 1637 and 1854. Pastureland didn't increase, so the same amount of meat basically was produced with some improvement because of some cattle breeding, but now it was divided among more people, and not only that, but because potatoes had come in and potatoes could keep more people alive, a lot of pastureland was taken away from pastureland and put into potatoes so basically meat became very scarce in European diets. Again, it decreased between the Middle Ages and 1800, it doesn't start recovering.

Forests did not increase, in fact were cut down to have more land for agriculture, so wood becomes scarce for housing, for heating, for heating houses, for building houses and so forth. What happened during this period is that people--standard of living was going down, they managed to stay alive, they had to work harder and harder, the hours that they worked to get--to maintain themselves alive kept increasing and yet they didn't make any progress. We're talking about ballpark 100 years into the industrial revolution which we now--that's what you learned in high school, the industrial revolution is such a wonderful thing and it improved incomes and the modern world during the industrial revolution. But in actual fact the data shows that's really not the case, that for about 100 years the industrial revolution while making tremendous progress and total national economies are growing very big, the per capita income of all but the very upper classes doesn't really grow.

By this time of course Malthus is dead and we know he's been laughing in his grave because he was very controversial. When he was alive he was very controversial and it really wasn't until the Irish potato famine, about which you have read, and massive numbers of people died for lack of resources, a bug killing the potatoes. Then people said, 'oh yeah Malthus was right,' and then it kept going. His idea that progress could just be eaten up by population growth turns out to be characteristic of many hundreds of years of European history and the rest of the world also of course.

Now an amazing thing happens in this to start changing the story and it happens in France. What happens? The French, which looked up until about 1800, 1750 or so, looked like any other population in Europe. They had lots and lots of children, but then they stopped having a lot of children. It just came out of the blue, and what changed? The age of marriage didn't change a lot so that wasn't the cause of it. The age at first birth didn't change a lot, they weren't getting married then delaying childbirth, that stayed about the same. The interval between babies didn't change very much so they were not using much control within marriage apparently. Once they got married they just started popping out babies.

But, they stopped having children at a young age. The age of--the age at first birth doesn't change much, the age at last birth changes by ten years. Families stop having children about ten years earlier, chopping out a very large fraction of their fertile years. This behavior is called "stopping behavior" and we see it all around the world eventually. No one understood what was going on but they were horrified, they knew it was happening, it was--people were well aware of it and they were quite horrified by it.

Any of you that watch television know that John Adams and his wife Abigail went to Europe about that time, I think it was 1782, and she especially was distressed at the French people's "feeble commitment to family life," exemplified by the French families only having three or four children rather than the eight or ten that you were supposed to have. Americans at the time were having eight or nine. They were equally horrified--this is again from the Adams', they were equally horrified by the French upper classes easy acceptance of adultery. This they found was, and this is John Adams speaking, "an indication of the general moral and social disintegration." He said, "The French are not a moral people."

What happens is all this behavior which was wildly decried by everyone, within a century after France starts doing it, all of Europe takes off and starts doing the same thing. Here is a graph of that. This graph starts in the year, and we'll talk about it later, where fertility has already dropped by about 10% and here's France and this states that--when the fertility change has already been going on to the 1820s, when it's actually started before that, and then every other country in Europe starts dropping its fertility within this period. It goes down by--in this space of time--by 30%, an enormous change. Even though France starts it early and everybody's horrified by it, in fact, everybody starts copying this.

This is Europe but in another century, Asia, and Latin America--follow suit. This is really a major change in what it means and how one lives life as a human being. I've stressed the biology of reproduction, of course we have a biological drive to keep having sex and that produces children. The culture or the cultural religion presses upon people to keep their birth rates up and this goes on for thousands and thousands of years of human history until the late 1800s, early for France and then all of a sudden all around Europe and then later in the world this very fundamental way of being a human changes.

The big question in demography, since this was noticed a long time ago, what cause this change? Why did all of a sudden with no--why did this all happen? The people at the time were absolutely dumbfounded, and dumbfounded especially that it should happen in France, because at that time France was at the height of its power, it was about the richest country in Europe, it was the most powerful, it was the most advanced in learning, all the Philosophes were there, the encyclopedia was there, it was the top of the world. Why should, of all places on earth, the richest people on earth--stop having children? Now--it wasn't important at that time, it wasn't considered to be important, but of course France is a totally Catholic country and so why should a Catholic country be the first one and way ahead of everyone else to reduce its birthrate?

Historians have come up with all--we don't know the answer, let me tell you that right out. But, historians do have lots of answer for it. One--the reasons for the French fertility decline lie in the moral and religious reassessments that occurred in the tumultuous years of the French Revolution. For sure, a moral realignment was certainly taking place. How many of you know Madame Bovary, the novel?

What's the novel--what's the centerpiece of the novel? It's an adulterous affair, right? Here's a woman, a young married woman, has a child, and she has a perfectly nice husband who adores her and is quite permissive. She really has nothing objective to complain about, but she considers him boring and so she takes an exciting lover or a series of lovers.

I'm not going to give away the plot but the book was taken as a justification for having extramarital affairs. Now that's okay for men and has been okay for men, but here's a woman, here's Flaubert justifying a woman's having an extramarital affair, not because the husband was beating her or anything, he was a perfectly decent guy. That was considered terrible and he was promptly arrested and prosecuted by the government for "affronting religious morality." Of course that was very good for sales of the book, so everybody read that book, including a lot of us still at Yale.

People were--the rest of Europe were well aware of the French lead in this and in English speaking countries France was blamed for the problem, and especially French novels, and they were corrupting our people, they were fomenting extramarital liaisons, and by implication the use of contraception. This spreads very rapidly so who knows the plot of Anna Karenina? An adulterous affair, and again, her husband wasn't quite as nice as Bovary. He was kind of a stiff guy but he wasn't beating her; he wasn't really a bad guy, she goes off and has a wild affair and that--War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and The Brothers Karmazov, one of the three greatest Russian novels, are exactly on this same mode of Flaubert and they're all really talking about this whole change in attitude toward fertility and sexuality that was overcoming Europe at this time.

Much later, not that much later, after the European fertility transition was over, which only lasted until about 1930. It starts in 1870, you'll see these dates, the fertility drop out--except for France starts in about 1870 and is all over by 1930 and social sciences start thinking about this fertility drop but not in moralistic terms anymore, not how it was ruining our morals, but in terms of sort of quantifiable explanations. The major--again asking this, which is probably the most important question in all the social sciences, the most important change in how it is to be a human, and what is the cause of this?

They did a very massive project and we'll have a guest speaker who's one of the main people in this, Michael Teitelbaum, that they set up what they call an office of population research and they did--every graduate student got a different country in Europe, and he went into that country and looked at all the provincial records and dug out everything they could find and they got a mass of statistics on everything they could figure out about every province in Europe, and not only Western Europe but all the way across Europe into Russia and so it was the most--probably the most massive social science investigation that ever took place.

What had come up by that time already was kind of a schema of what's--what we now call the demographic transition. I've shown you how the death rate, there's no particular dates, this is sort of very generalized kind of idea, that the death rate--the first thing that happens in time is that the death rate falls. Then at some time later the birth rate falls--there's--early on I described the drop in the death rate and now we see that sometime later the birth rate fall happens. Well what happens in between is this population growth.

In old times the birth rate was very high and the death rate was very high, but they pretty nearly matched, there's a little bit of difference, the population does grow but it grows very slowly. When it's all over, the birth rate is low and the death rate is low, and again there's a little difference. Population grows slowly, or nowadays in a lot of Europe the birth rate goes below the death rate and population decreases somewhat slowly, but there's no super rapid change here, there's no big rapid change here, but in between the death--the time when the death rate falls and the time when the birth rate falls--all of this is population growth because the birth rate is above the death rate.

This is the period of the population explosions and the first of these population explosions was in Europe, not in the poor countries, not in the developing world, but in the richest part of the world at that time which was Europe. The same schema is supposed to apply later on. This is, as an empirical generalization … medium--that some countries fit this. Nobody is terribly far from this, the birth rate and the death rate always go down in some relationship to each other, but the question which arises is, is the correlation good enough that the death rate actually--the drop in the death rate actually causes the drop in the birth rate, and the theory runs in a rather obvious way, that parents know how many children they want. They know roughly how many children they can keep alive, how much farmland they have to give them to inherit, how many they need to take care of them in their old age.

When the death rate is very high, and not only high but very variable--I showed you last time in Sweden the death rate going up and down, when the death rate is high and variable you don't know--if you have a lot of children you don't how many are going to survive. You need not only as many children as you want, and taking into account the death rate, but taking into account the variability of the death rate. What if an epidemic comes through when my kids are young? So you have to have a lot of children in order to insure that in your old age you'll have some to take care of you.

As the death rate falls people gradually really--the theory is that people gradually realize this and they reduce their fertility because they don't need to bear so many children in order to have so many left at the end because the children--they start getting confidence that the children are not going to die. This is a lovely theory and how many of you have heard that, some version of that? It's one of--you'll see there's about ten standard versions--theories about why fertility falls, this is number one. That it's the fall in the death rate causes the fall in the birth rate, so now we're going to--this is--look and see how accurate that this is.

This is Norway actually, and here is the death rate--this black line for Norway--and it starts falling from about middle of the 1700s, and pretty continuous fall during all this time. Here is the birth rate, pretty constant across here and then it finally starts falling in 1900 I think, so there's a long time period between when the birth rate starts falling and--sorry when the death rate starts falling and when the birth rate starts falling. The difference between those rates is this line here that all of this is population growth, and in this period here where the death rate is quite a ways down but the birth rate hasn't responded very much yet, the Norwegian population grows by this amount.

That's standard, that's the way it's supposed to work. That's the way the schema shows it working. Now you look at England, England and Wales, and you don't get this picture. Here is fertility, the gray thing, and fertility starts dropping as I said around 1870, maybe 18--this shows it a little bit after 1875 or so, and then it drops rather continuously. This is fertility. Infant mortality, which is a good measure of total mortality, doesn't really start dropping, it's pretty constant, ups and downs, until 1905 or something like that and it only starts going down.

Here it's the reverse situation that now you have fertility falling first and mortality falling later, and you can make a causal explanation for this, that when people are having lots and lots of kids they can't take care of them. They don't have enough food, they don't have enough this, that and the other thing, so there's a very high death rate among the children. If you drop your fertility you have more resources for each child. And that's actually as compelling an explanation--in the absence of data--as the reverse explanation.

If you look across many, many countries which the Princeton project did, this is the drop in the mortality rate, this graph, and this is the drop in the fertility rate. This is the years, same year starts in 1825, this is 1975, so this is the period when the change was happening and for fertility here this period is when birth rate has already come down by about 10% and you'll see that's some kind of threshold, and when it's down then something like 30% I think it ends and mortality has also its limits. This is the period when mortality is falling in Norway and Denmark, and Sweden and England, and Wales and so forth.

All you have to do is look at the order of these things. As I've shown you for fertility, France is the first one by a long shot it starts--they put it in the early 1800s, it's down by 10% already and it's all over by 1900 or so, France way ahead in time of anybody else. Now you look at the mortality and you say well where is France? It's not Norway, it's not Denmark, it's not Sweden, where is France? Do I even see France here? There it is. Its way in the middle of the pack, that doesn't fit the theory and if you go the other way, Norway is the first one to drop its mortality rate and where is Norway, more or less in the middle of the pack when you look at fertility. These two things don't correlate as nicely. Again, this is the Princeton project; don't correlate as nicely as the theory would have us do.

The end result of all these graduate students studying the relationship between mortality and fertility was? We don't know what's going on because we saw everything under the sun. There's no very strong correlation. They were very smart and they tried all kinds of things and another way you can look at it is to see at what level of mortality, maybe looking at years is not the right thing but the level of mortality. They looked at infant mortality levels at the time when the fertility dropped. What you have is, in France, the infant mortality was still very high; just infants it's not total mortality just infant mortality, almost 300 here when France starts dropping its fertility sometime this--puts it somewhere in the late 1700s. The fertility started dropping and the infant mortality was still very high.

Then you can go around the world all different kinds of places, Japan 160, Norway 100, that there doesn't seem to be any kind of commonality here in what the infant mortality actually was when fertility drops. Remember the 400 is sort of the primitive level, and actually when you go into Asia you can see that in places like Taiwan and Mexico--Mexico doesn't--that moved from Asia. In Mexico and Taiwan the mortality was 35 [350], so very close to the primitive level where you can just keep your society going and yet fertility starts dropping. Basically you see the whole range. The whole range is something like 35 [350] or 40 [400] and you don't keep your society alive less than that, and modern Japan would be at this time be about 5 and you see that--the range is what you actually see is this whole range, anywhere in that range of what mortality levels people actually achieve can be the range at which fertility starts to fall.

There's no real conclusion possible. What's explanation number two that you all have heard? Economic development, how many have heard that explanation? Not so many, that's very standard, the whole Reagan--the whole Reagan policy was--and for a lot of the world was that--forget about family planning and pushing that, that economic development is what reduces fertility so that's a very good theory also and we can look at it and wow the data looks pretty good. Down here is per capita income and each of these is a separate country here, for every country as per capita income goes up fertility comes down. It can come down a fairly straight line, or it can do some wiggles and jiggles, but basically as per capita income goes up fertility goes down.

You like that theory? There's some problems with it. How much money does it take to keep people out of bed basically? Well, the French start dropping their fertility when their per capita income is something like 180--this is in--converted basically to dollars $180 a year, 50 cents a day, back then that was more money than now, it keeps the Frenchmen out of bed. Now anybody of Italian extraction will be very proud to realize that it takes Italians twice as much, $360 or something to keep them out of bed. We have now scientifically and quantitatively proven that Italians are definitely sexier then French people.

Then you go along, here's the Germans a little bit stolid here, and of course who--we are at exactly the opposite of what we presume that the English are supposed to be so straight that they don't do it at all and yet in order to keep the British out of bed you have to really pay them awful lot. They have to be somewhere in the--between $700 and $800 dollars in income. There doesn't seem to be any particular number of income that has a huge range that is required before people drop their fertility. When you think about it a little more this whole way of looking at it is not very convincing because here's per capita income, but we're talking about the time of industrialization and after fertility starts dropping. So once fertility starts dropping per capita income does start rising.

That's sort of the most important take home message for today, so I'll say it before time runs out, that the industrial revolution by itself didn't really improve the standard of living of people. Up until about 1870 there was tremendous increase in productivity, tremendous increase in population. They cancelled each other out and for the average working person the standard of living does not rise. Starting roughly 1870, people dropped their fertility rates and the standard of living starts rising and we see it starts rising all along here.

If you take any dates from 1870 until today or until a few months ago anyway, per capita income is rising everywhere in Europe at different rates, but everywhere in Europe. Anything is for guessing, in everything that you can measure about Europe, changes in what we call monotonic in a single direction. Education goes up, urbanization goes up, the number of the year goes up, everything, women's education goes up, anything that you can think of goes up, and fertility goes down.

So when you make graphs like that anything that you put on this axis is going up. This happened to be per capita income, it could be education, industrialization, urbanization, and fertility is falling during this period--so any two variables that you put together will give you similar graph to this and it tells you absolutely nothing except the only thing you can think of that--well there is no particular level of income which causes people to drop. When you get into the developing worlds the levels are way, way below, they're out here and they start dropping their fertility levels.

They repeated this over and over again for all kinds of hypotheses and they always got the same kind of answer that nothing really correlated very well. Literacy is another answer that people started getting more worldly because they can read, and fertility began to fall and literacy rates were very low in France and Bulgaria, in Hungary but literacy was already very high in England and Wales when its fertility fell.

Urbanization, the British fertility declined when it began in Britain in 1870, 72% of the British were already in what are called conurbations, in urban settings, but in France when they started 100 years earlier, very, very low level. I won't continue this but that Princeton project was a massive, massive study of all the--every socio economic variable that you can think of, all the theories, all the ten theories that you hear around and from your friends and think yourself, none of them really worked out as something you could really nail to fertility drops because of infant mortality drops, or income goes up, or education goes up, or any of these sorts of things. Next time we will continue and tell you at least what the Princeton people thought was the real cause.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 9
Demographic Transition in Europe
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Demographic Transition in Europe

Prior to the Demographic Transition, fertility in northwestern Europe was controlled by limiting marriage. Marriage was regulated by landowners and the churches, and was not allowed unless a man had accumulated the resources necessary to support a family. Long periods of being landless, a servant, or an apprentice, precluded marriage. Once married, there was no control of fertility. But, only about half of adults were married at any given time, so fertility was about half of what it might have been. Eventually, contraception was accepted and fertility within marriage fell. Society no longer needed to control marriage so tightly and marriage rates rose dramatically. The options of marriage, sex and childbearing passed from community control to individual control. The fertility decline occurred very rapidly in Europe, mostly between 1870 and 1930. It has been difficult to prove a socioeconomic basis for the decline. The largest study, The Princeton European Fertility Project, argued that cultural transmission of new social norms was crucial. The Demographic Transition encompassed a ten-fold increase in population and a three-fold increase in life expectancy. It drastically changed the human experience of life.

Reading assignment:

Coale Ansley and Susan Watkins. The Decline of Fertility in Europe: The Revised Proceedings of a Conference on the Princeton European Fertility Project, pp. 38 and 420-449


February 12, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: We're discussing the fertility transition and we've talked that prior to the fertility transition there was control of fertility, but it was at a very high level. In different parts of the world we talked in very general terms about it. I want to just describe a little bit about what the story was in Europe, exactly how fertility was controlled. One of the main reasons, I mentioned this before, but didn't really describe it, is control of marriage. That the number of people that were allowed to, and in some sense, get married changed with economic conditions and agricultural conditions.

You can see that very clearly wherever you get statistics from the period. As you know, the first year of the Black Death was 1347-1348, and huge numbers of people died and their land was immediately taken over by someone else. Immediately these new landowners got married. There was an enormous burst of marriage. Like in one small French village there had been 10 to 12 marriages a year in the preceding decade. In 1349, the first year after that phase of the plague passed it went from 10 to 12, to 86 marriages, an enormous thing.

What was going on is there was--before the Black Death when Europe was crowded for its system there was a huge pool of unmarried individuals who really wanted to get married, but did not have any land on which to support themselves or a family and the opening of the land allows marriage to take place. Then not only did they get married right away, but the women got pregnant immediately, and one contemporary observer wrote, "There are pregnant women wherever you look." This is 1349. Up--this fertility rate was a flexible system that moved up and down according to economic and demographic conditions.

In England, there's data from the 1550s and later, the gross reproduction rate, that's the number of women--there are a certain number of women in one generation how many female children do they produce? In the 1550s it was 2.8, so one will reproduce a woman, the gross reproduction rate will be one, but they were producing 2.8. A century later it drops down to 1.8 and that's the 1650s, and by 1880s it rises again to over three, so there's enormous range between one, close to one, less than two, just reproducing themselves getting into this dangerous thing where--with the very high death rates, where the whole society at that rate won't continue--and a factor of three women which will do just fine.

You can see the same thing at the age of marriage, not only the numbers of marriage of course but the age of marriage. During the early 1800s remember that was a time when the American food is there, European population was rising, strong as a high birth rate so land hunger became--land--there was no extra land available so marriage became later and later, and eventually reached 23 to 28 for females and even older than that for males. By that time probably the average lifespan was 35, it had improved some, but if you're fertile at say 15 and you don't marry until 28, that's a huge chunk of your reproductive life where you're not reproducing, that reduces the birth rate and keeps the population in check.

However, once in marriage, the children just flowed. There was no--apparently no control within marriage whatsoever. In 300 years--all the data that we have says that in 300 years in Europe there was no control of fertility within marriage, all the control, all the social control of population was in how many people got married, what they called the nuptiality; the fraction of people that got married was the total mechanism of social control. There's of course external control by disease, by famines because some plague of the plants, and then there were individual controls which we've talked about infanticide and so forth. In terms of social controls, the northwestern--the Northern Europeans, especially northwestern European model was controlled marriage and it was quite effective.

These marriage controls didn't just happen automatically, people just didn't sort of have a rational sense that said, 'Oh I can't get married.' There was really--the controls were forced upon them. Most land was owned by some landowner and the man was given a plot of land which he could work. It was the size so that one individual could work this plot of land. He starts having children. Well the landlord knows that only one son is needed to farm that land, and the father knows he can only give that land to one son, so there's tremendous pressure if you have extra children they can't stay at home. You'll see when we talk about China a very different model. He can't stay at home, those people are forced off to the cities, and in the cities are very dangerous and disease ridden places, so they just die in the cities, and the cities are growing this time but very high death rates still in the cities. About one-third, each generation had to be replenished as I've mentioned to you, but about one-third in the cities.

The landlord of course didn't want these extra children around because he would have more and more people to feed with the same amount of land therefore the same amount of production. You had to get the landlord's permission in order to get married and if you didn't--if he didn't have extra land for you, you couldn't get married. Of course officially it wasn't the landlord but it was the local parish church that you had to get married in, but guess who hired the parish minister or priest? The local landlord, and the whole structure of churches almost everywhere is that they are very much either controlled by or mutual support of the gentry, the rich people and the religious authorities intermix. They weren't allowed to get married either by the landlord or by the church. It was very--you had to post what they called banns so everybody knew there was a marriage, and of course the landlord would notice, and so it was impossible to do anything about that.

Another mechanism was going off and becoming a servant that was one of the very standard kinds of things. They would leave home very young become a servant and--males and females both servants in the houses, you've all seen these Victorian movies and earlier movies, how many servants they have. Of course they were never allowed to get married, not allowed to have sex, no boyfriend, no girlfriend, none of that was allowed--very, very strict rules on house servants and house servants were a very large faction of the young people--of everybody in, say, England.

Then those that didn't become servants would go off and become an apprentice. One son stays at home, the others go off and become apprentices, and apprenticeship was a very long period of time in which they had to learn the skills and get some sort of resources so that they could buy the equipment and rent the shop and set up eventually on their own, or wait until the master died and then inherit the master's place.

The end result of all this is that it took many, many years to establish a sufficient economic base so that the society would allow you to get married. Many people never got married; I'll show you a little bit later what the marriage rates actually were in Europe during this period, and its surprisingly low. The culture adapts to this. What do all these unmarried men and women do? We have the spinster woman; we have the confirmed bachelor, again you've seen men in much British comedy and British movies about--always has characters in it where some confirmed bachelor, he's just not getting married. Presumably a fair amount of the homosexuality that was present, especially in the British upper classes is due to this whole tradition that a lot of males are not going to get married, and then they do something with their sexual impulse. Of course that's not proven; we don't really understand the basis of homosexuality.

Females were also, like the males, forced off the land, if they were not the wife of the one son that inherited the land, they had to go somewhere else so they went to the cities where there were not jobs, especially not jobs for women so they become sort of a floating population, very largely prostitutes--huge explosion of prostitution at this time both because of the excess women that are trying to stay alive that have migrated into the cities, and there's all these bachelors there having some sort of job that could pay for their services. Of course you know that babies that resulted from any of these situations were very often just abandoned and left to die.

This control of marriage, that marriage was the control, the social control on population lasted well into the 1800s, well into and possibly even through the Victorian era. These mechanisms together reduced the north European birthrate, and especially in England, to about 50% of what it otherwise could have been. Remember we did calculations of how many children one can have, and then there's always examples much to the high end of that. But in England taking a reasonable number, these controls of marriage cut the birthrate in half.

What did it feel like to the people involved in this? I suspect a fair number of you have heard this quote. It's a letter from a woman to her uncle. Don't shout out but raise your hand if you know it. "I think dearest uncle that you cannot really wish me to be the mother of a numerous family, for I think you will see the great inconvenience in a large family would be the hardship to myself. Men never think what a hard task it is for us women to go through this pregnancy very often."

Have you heard this? No, no one's heard this letter, it's very famous. This is a woman in this situation. She's married, and therefore she's having children one after the other with no kind of control, and she's complaining, 'this is hard on me and why don't you men ever think how hard this is on me?' What social class, is this a poor woman, middle class woman, upper class woman? Having all this--no ideas; it's Queen Victoria. Here's by far the richest woman in the world, has all the help, all the money, all the food, and, even for her, it's a burden and she probably doesn't have to do much of the burden except handle the pregnancy and childbearing, and if she perceives it as a burden, then can you imagine what the common woman thinks of it. By the way, it's Queen Victoria to her uncle who is King Leopold of Belgium, you've heard this before.

When sexuality itself since--a lot of problems with sexuality at that time. You've been reading some stuff about it, and one of the things is that men, aside from the childbirth aspect of it that women were of course always worried that if they had sex they would get pregnant and often they didn't--usually they did not want to get pregnant, but also the men were not very skilled. They either did not know how to pleasure a woman, they didn't want to, or they thought it was very improper to even try to pleasure a woman. Here's another quote from Lady Alice Huntington--Hillingdon--1857, she died only in 1940 so we're really coming up to fairly recent kinds of times, and presumably, this was written in her journal in 1912.

No one can find that journal so they don't know the state of--how apocryphal this is, but this is a quote that again you've probably heard, at least part of it. "I am happy now that George," her husband, "calls on my bedchamber less frequently then of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week and, when I hear his steps outside my door, I lie down upon my bed, close my eyes, open my legs and think of England." Sometimes the quote is, "think of Victoria," but apparently think of England is the proper--again we're not talking about some poor woman with a brutal husband, as in some Oliver Twist movies, this is a very high status lady.

How did this change and who was arrayed against this? People, women especially, were not happy with the situation. Young men of course wanted to get married, couldn't until they were old, and we've talked about that situation in Africa where the bride price is very high, the old men control the bride price, they don't allow the young men to get married until there's almost a revolution. This is an aside, but with respect to the bride price, we hear a lot about older men marrying or having sex with younger women. In the West it's one of the things we sort of complain about, about other cultures that this great disparity in age--an older man with a younger woman.

We tend to blame the man who's getting married, but if you think of it from the point of view of their society, that man has been under the control of even older guys, the really powerful guys, and so he's been abused and not allowed to get married until he's old. The women of his age are already married to the much older guys so this is his only option. Again, within a society these things all intermingle and form a pattern, not necessarily a good pattern, not necessarily a pattern that the people like, but it is a tight web.

Coming back to Europe, there was this unfortunate situation where young men weren't allowed to get married, young women weren't allowed to get married, once you're in marriage the sexual mores were so straight jacketed that it was not pleasurable for most of the women apparently, and who knows what the men were using, the Victorian pornography during this period is lots of mistresses, lots of prostitution and lots of being whipped. They loved to get punished themselves, which is a surprising preponderance of masochistic sexuality in the Victorian literature of that time. At least from our point of view, sexuality was a mess.

So some people tried to change this, of course there's always pioneers, and in England one of the pioneers was a man and a woman, Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant. In 1877 family planning was--contraception was coming into possibility in England and so they distributed--printed and distributed what we would now consider a very mild pamphlet about birth control called, The Fruits of Philosophy. It was very abstract and philosophical. Of course what happened to them? Arrested, indicted, and the official indictment accused them of 'inciting and encouraging the subjects of the Queen to indecent, obscene, unnatural, and immoral practices, and to bring them,' the citizens of the Queen, the subjects of the Queen, 'to a state of wickedness, lewdness, and debauchery.' This is because they were saying that--well there's these things called condoms around and why don't you use them.

This trial was very interesting in that in a culture there's certain things you can't talk about. If something is culturally forbidden, like almost anything to do with sex in marriage, you just couldn't talk about it. Now here's this big trial in London, very famous, all the newspapers are carrying it, and guess what everybody learns about? Birth control; and a very big thing and some scholars, some historians attribute--there's just the period when the use of birth control is increasing tremendously in England, -- and that this trial popularized it.

What did we have something similar a few years ago in America with our President? Bill Clinton and oral sex, are you all too young to--that was a taboo topic, you could not discuss it and then the right wing, the conservatives who were opposed to this kind of free sexual activity publicized it and publicized, and publicized it until every teenager in America knew about oral sex and now the data is that oral sex has just gone exponentially down into the high schools and even junior high schools. I could tell you stories about that, but I won't.

With all this moralizing about it that the religious leaders, the political leaders, the medical doctors said it was bad for you, you've read some of that in your reading, everybody is--they were terrorized in a sense. There was an intellectual terrorization of the people, they feared legal prosecution. Most of these things were illegal, to buy things, to use things, to write about them, to publish them. They were told that they would get physical injury. You may have heard that masturbation will make you blind and that--I don't know if any of your parents said that but I heard it in my time. Mental injury, if it doesn't make you blind, it'll make you crazy, and deep moral reservations and just straight aesthetic distaste that when the society frowns on something we sort of have incorporated a kind of revulsion to anything which society considers disgusting, and contraceptives themselves were considered repulsive, unnatural, only for prostitutes, that kind of thing.

Of course, at that time, almost--a lot of people were starting to do it, but since you couldn't talk about it publicly, no one knew what everyone else was doing so they thought they had to take this great leap themselves in defiance of everything that their culture is telling them. How did it--what happened an individual's starting to think about these things. We have some interesting--a lot of interesting stuff referred to in the reading. Some of this in your reading is letters to various pioneers, Margaret Sanger or ho was it in England the--I'm blocking on the name of the clinic in England [Marie Stopes]. We have letters from women sort of begging information on how to keep from getting pregnant again.

A lot of it is not with any official organizations, just women talking to women, and some of it can be relaxed at a little bit later stage. There's a series of nice interviews from the 1920s and 1930s with elderly Italian and Jewish women in the United States. They talked to each other about technique, because techniques is one of the things, and this interview is from an Italian American woman born in the U.S. in 1920, recent immigrant parents, and the conversation took place in the late 1930s.

She works in a hair dressing salon and she gets engaged, and of course all her coworkers know about it, and so an interviewer--an anthropologist--a sociologist--goes in and starts asking her about it. Apparently prior to this little quote they had brought up the topic of birth control so the interviewer says, "How did you learn about condoms?" Nina: "One of my customers said, 'I really hope you don't get pregnant, let him wear a raincoat.' So I started wondering, I'm thinking, I'm working and my mind just can't work out what a raincoat is." Then Mary White who worked for me said, "Baby what's on your mind? I said, "Mrs. Jacobs said a funny thing to me, she said my ring was lovely," her marriage ring, "but she hoped I didn't start a family and he should wear a raincoat. But I can't ask Johnny to wear a raincoat to bed." This Mary White laughed and laughed and says, "She means he's to wear a condom." "What is it?" Nina said.

And then she got told and got enlightened in this and it's that kind of conversation where individual people of not very high class are learning that it's okay to buck the trend and even the basic information they previously don't have. It doesn't always work out that, when these discussions take place, that the participants do take on the new behavior, sometimes they don't want to do that.

Gossip--most conversation by humans is gossip and there's very good studies showing this. We know that from our chimps days we're a very social species, that status is so terribly important and status translates to social acceptability, so the purpose of gossip is to find out what the limits of social acceptability are. Gossip is almost exclusively about someone who has stepped over what was perceived to be the limit and either gotten away with it or not gotten away with it, or something that's now just inside the limit. A large fraction of gossip is to see what is socially acceptable in my circle, and sometimes like we've seen here, the use of condoms becomes socially acceptable as a result of discussions like this. Sometimes it--at least this individual at this time it doesn't become acceptable.

Where is this other quote that I'm looking for? This is another two women, and the interviewer asks, "How did your friends have abortions?" The issue of abortions came up and as you probably have read or will read, abortions at this time were very, very common, all illegal, but very common. "Peggy, I'm trying to think what they would take because they'd tell me, a lot of them would have a friend who would put something up there that would bring on their period." The interviewer, "A knitting needle?" Peggy, "No not a knitting needle, some kind of fluid, like hot boiling water or salt water, they would ruin their insides, they would say, 'Oh Peggy don't you do that.' Oh no I would never do that, that's my husband, it's the man who takes care." It's interesting that in this particular case it's usually the woman's responsibility in most cases, but in this case whatever was going on in the marriage she perceived it as the husband's case, and in further discussion that it was his responsibility to use a condom all the time.

The reason given by the woman is not any moral consideration, no life--that's not the consideration, but it's a medical thing, it's just at that time the methods since it was illegal, and if you didn't--even if you went to a practitioner it was very, very dangerous but the kinds of things that women actually used on themselves were so incredibly dangerous, so the reason she's not having an abortion is that she doesn't want to ruin herself in the medical sort of way. You take this same woman, transpose her 50 years later, where now abortion is safe and possibly legal, this same woman may have a very different attitude toward, but of course we don't know anything about that.

The point of this--series of stories is a big change in culture, that prior--every society has to control population in some way and we've talked about the physical constraints, the disease and famines, we've talked about the social controls like not being able to get married, but up until--in Europe up until very recently there was no individual control. Individuals themselves did not have the cultural freedom to make these kinds of decisions. Once married, procreation just keeps going one after the other until either someone dies or the woman becomes infertile.

Now we're seeing a transition where individuals can start deciding for themselves, a very big change in the extension of agency that what a person thinks they can control about their lives. Here is an elderly Jewish woman, who was talking about her mother and said the way the neighbors now start controlling this, so the mother who did not use any kind of fertility control, her friends and relatives would sort of get on her case but mild, chided her mildly. When she would get pregnant they would say, 'Oh!, Esther not another belly,' and so at this time friends, relatives, neighbors start imposing a new culture on you. There's some aspects of freedom that the individual now gets to choose but the culture comes on and now at least starts to import a new cultural norm on you.

In Sicily, reputed to have very high, actually having high fertility rates, but at some point they go through their transition and this is in 1980--in the 1980s, very late, and this is a report of woman who's one of the few remaining peasants in this village. Sicily, like all the rest of the world, is changing and growing up. She reported that these families that still had child after child, after child, their neighbors called them animals. And this is Sicilian to Sicilian.

Here's another example of this, a Jewish immigrant in the U.S. writing to her mother back in Poland. This is a lovely letter. "Here in America, it is the custom that if a woman wants to she has a baby, and if she does not want to have any, she doesn't. David's wife, I don't know if that's a brother or something, "David's wife says that she will have a baby every four years. I think it is good to have one every three years, and so after three years I shall have another. It is terrible that at home women suffer only hardships in childbearing." Home being Poland in this case.

It's really interesting that the technology is not of interest to her. She doesn't--in this case talk about the wonderful new contraceptives that they have in America which of course they would not have had in Poland. Nor about the availability of--the knowledge about it, the availability of it, the technology of it, she doesn't talk about economics. She doesn't say, 'Oh we can't afford it or we can afford,' any of that sort of stuff. She talks about what to her is this startling new idea that's under her control, that she can choose herself what to do, and someone else can make a different kind of a choice. What she's exuberant about is the lack of cultural constraints; she's now a free individual to navigate the world as she sees it in herself.

Also in all these discussions men are rarely mentioned, it really is sort of women's decision here, and the women are working it out, and again in most of these things--well in a lot of these things sometimes it is the man, 'no matter what I say he won't stay away from me,' but once the contraception comes in then men want the sex and you get a lot of conflict if they're using contraception, but once contraception comes in it seems to be much easier to manage the females. You have read some of this in your readings.

Until the demographic--so now I'm going to go back to talking about marriage--until the demographic revolution as I said, the marriages rates are controlled by the community not the individual. Let's look at the marriage rates here if I can find them without--this is Belgium and various provinces in Belgium, and Belgium as you know is a totally Catholic country, and we will talk a little bit more about Belgium in a minute. Here are the dates from before the transition to 1970, very recent. This is the marital index, what fraction got married and look at that 40%, only 40% of people got married in that year--that ever married, so more than half of people are not getting married.

We think of the old days as everybody had to get married. No. As time goes on, as the fertility transition takes place as people are having fewer and fewer children within marriage, the marriage rate goes up drastically until it's 70%, 75%, which is kind of a modern rate. The same thing, this is another set of provinces, another set of provinces, there's Antwerp, the big cities, Luxemburg which--a lot of provinces in Belgium.

A very interesting thing is that, again keeping in mind that societies have to control their fertility. If you're controlling marriage, if you don't have any mechanism of contraception then when people get married they're going to have babies boom, boom, boom, boom so you have to control one method, you have to control the number of marriages, so you control it extremely, 40% marriages.

In China--we're going to talk about China later--do you know what the rate of--the Americans complain and Chinese too to some degree about the one child policy and the excess of female -- of males--that there aren't enough girls to get married and this is going to cause incredible social disruption. You know what the rate--what the absence of females is there? At maximum like 15% or 18% and so nothing like--here 60% of people aren't getting married. The Chinese situation is still above--if all the males--if all the females get married something like 85% of men can get married. If you compare China and Europe, it's again, it's not necessarily a reality based thing this worry about the male/female ratio.

This is a map of Europe, and the whole of Europe including Russia, and this is 1870 and it was 1870 Europe, this was from the Princeton project and every one of these little things is a province of Europe, and every one these provinces they've collected data on everything under the sun for, and this is the marriage rate. Look here, the red is less than 30% and you have an occasional place, northern Scotland, I think is--it's not Bulgaria, Bulgaria is more over here, I can't tell from the map but it's a province in the south here. [It is a province of Austria.]

Look at the red here, that's under 40% of people are getting married and then some of the lighter stuff you get into the 40% to 50%. The same true through middle Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Finland. All through here they're all in the 50% and less, less than 50% of people are getting married. 1870--a little bit in Spain you get up into a more reasonable range and you have to go all the way out to the Caspian Sea, the border of the Caspian Sea to find people getting married, 80% of the people getting married, a number that we consider something sort of reasonable for our--not now because marriage rate is falling but that was the general preconception of Westerners growing up in our society is that from time immemorial almost everybody got married, but it's not the case. The Eastern Europe, which was in a rather different mold, had a higher marriage rate.

Now you look at this, this is 1870 and you come up to after the fertility transition and look what happens, everybody's gone bluish. Marriage has just shot up all over Europe, including--which is actually what you've got left; these are sort of doing the reverse, but Western Europe where we have lots of lots of good data and understanding there's almost nothing pink left.

Guess now who has the lowest marriage rate? Ireland. What's special about Ireland at this time? Catholic and no contraception so they're not allowed to get married. They're back in the 30%, 40% and that's sort of very characteristic of the sociology of Ireland. That the men are very close to their mother and get married either very late or don't get married at all. Whereas England, their Protestant neighbor, sharing all kinds of other cultural aspects is up there in the 70% to 75% of marriage, so that's one of the really amazing kinds of things that happened that basically the spread of marriage; that in Europe--different story in other parts of the world that--because of the need to control total population in the old days people just weren't allowed to get married because once they were in marriage they weren't allowed to use contraception.

Once you flip that equation and open up to individual decision, there's no requirement--that in all of this there's no requirement to use contraception but families naturally want to have fewer children then they would have naturally and so fertility in a family declines. The social control of marriage is not needed anymore and the marriage rate goes up very high. Of course along with marriage that--I call this a democratization effect, marriage gets democratized and of course sex gets democratized.

Prior to this, all these people that aren't married either have no sex, or they have homosexual sex, they go to prostitutes, I mean they--we don't know much about how much sex they had but they had some sort of sex, and that [lack of marital sex] was what society demanded of them. Normal marital sex was not allowed and [only] a small fraction were able to get married and have sex--so along with the democratization of marriage you also get the democratization of sex.

Let's look at some of the details of this happening. While I've got these pictures, these big maps are hard for the computer to calculate apparently.

This is some the contraceptives that were coming at this time. Some of these--there's several museums in the world that get all the contra--one is just stones, putting stones in the--other sort of various forms of blocking the canal to absorb the semen, and you put cotton or something in a little bag like this, put it in the vagina and--these all helped. This, I don't know exactly what that is, but again some blocking substance, then they could be made not only of vegetable matter, but of metal. There's a whole bunch of things called pessaries where the cap--a cap made out of porcelain or something is put over the cervix.

There are--this is a variety of condoms, including some fairly modern ones, but the older ones--this is an old way they were made--older ones looked like this and what do you think was--how they originally made condoms? The technology was borrowed from something else. What else comes very commonly purchased item come--sausages, exactly. What was--before there was plastics what was sausage casing made out of? Intestines, animal intestines, they can be made very thin because they're just a small barrier for absorption, very thin and so they were called skins and I don't know which of these things are which, but that was not a very difficult technology to make them out of skins.

Here are some more modern things, various kinds of IUDs, everything under the sun was tried, including the more modern. This is a very ancient technique. People at different times have believed that almost anything works as a contraceptive, this is a bone on a string, again placed inside, and heaven knows what the theory was why that would work. It might have just prevented the man from entering far enough or something, who knows. The string, like a modern IUD, whereas a string hangs out and you can pull it down. One of the problems with modern IUDs until recently, and the same problem here, you have a string and what does the string do? It's a route for bacteria to swim up so the strings are dangerous things.

Let me get back to the beginning of this a little bit. Now we've talked about individuals sort of in a variety of ways how this happened to individuals and cultural things. Here--you didn't--this wasn't in your reading this particular graph. So here is a graph of the date, again Europe, the different countries of Europe and when--within marriage what their rate of fertility was within marriage, with actually 1.0 being the Hutterite level which is the maximum level people have achieved.

What do you make out of that? It's kind of a mess, right? You can see something, you can see France being lower already by 1860, we know it had its transition and you can't really see much else. One of the data that you read about, if you take those same graphs and now change their time thing and ask, well let's gather each graph at the point--there's a traditional level of fertility, eight or so children, and in each country it may be a little different somewhere between six and eight, and then at some point it starts to drop and when it's dropped by 10% is a critical stage, so the Princeton people argued, and so they've gathered--this is the years after reaching the 90%, so at this point in time all of these countries have dropped. These curves are gathered to put together the point where they reach 10% drop from their pre-transition level.

Then it makes more sense. Look at the way it falls down like crazy until it hits some sort of roughly a new plateau at about half or so of the earlier plateau, a little bit less than half. The amount of time here, this is zero years and it's all over maybe in 50 years, and if you look at any one place it's a much shorter period than that. Within a very--what Princeton decided a couple of things. One that's hard to figure out but there was, for some reason, various groups started their fertility decline and we'll talk about various theories of that, but once it became--whereas everyone else was horrified about whatever they say, it was rich people, it was outcast people. How did in--so it was upper class--the fertility decline happened first among upper class, among city class, among Jews, and so it's always some sort of a non-majority social group that starts social change.

What made the discussion of condoms legitimate? In America when I was in--you could not mention condom, no television discussion of it, news reports never mentioned it, and what is it that allowed condoms to be discussed in America? You know--AIDS epidemic, and where did the AIDS epidemic start in? Homosexuals, so a marginalized group starts something, it spreads into the culture. Where do our clothing fashions often come from? From the poorest kids often, I can see--go into the ghetto and see what the kids are wearing and six years later you guys are going to be wearing exactly what they're wearing, long baggy pants and so forth and showing various parts.

The idea is one, that something happens up here and there's a lot of discussion about that but once it becomes socially--the idea is that once it reaches that 10% level, it just falls down, fertility just falls down like a stone. In this period, up here you can get all kinds of economic levels, that different economic groups are having different fertility, different educational groups, difference between urban and rural, difference in whether they're agricultural or in an industry, and you can find all these differences, but once this fertility thing starts like this, everybody does it. What they call these differentials, these socio economic differentials just disappear and a farmer is just as likely to be limiting his fertility as a bourgeois person in the cities.

If you try to think of how rapidly the economic situation changes, or how rapidly does education increase, and you look at all the various variables, none of them increase with this kind of rapidity, none of them change with that kind of ability, infant mortality, almost anything you can measure, nothing goes with that kind of a rate. What goes with that kind of a rate? A fad, a fashion. If you look all around Europe, and this was in your reading, what you see is the date of the beginning of the decade. This is the decade where that 10% level was reached and what provinces are this? This is all France. Then there's a long delay, a surprisingly long delay, and boom all the rest of Europe then does it in basically--most of it's done between 1870 and 1930, it's almost all done.

This just sweeps through Europe, and again as I've showed you on the maps, it includes Russia, Eastern Europe, economically and educationally very underdeveloped kinds of places, and yet the fertility drops, this is all of Europe, nobody is left out. Again, it makes it difficult to put an economic or an educational, any of these other variables on it. What you have instead is, and one of these stories you read about in your reading--remember that each of these graduate students and post docs was put on a different country of Europe in the Princeton project. One had to do England, one had to do--and have the who did England is going to be guest lecturer here next week, next Thursday, he's not going to talk about that because you'll have had enough of that by then.

There was a guy who was assigned Spain; this guy is William Leisure, and this I think you read a little bit about. He gathered all this data, a huge amount of work in all the Spanish archives of every province from going way back to 1830 or something, whatever was there, he looked at. And he put it all together and he could not make any sense out of it whatsoever. This guy was going out of his mind and he took to drawing a map of fertility rates, sort of like those kinds of maps I just showed you, fertility rates at different points in time in the different provinces of Spain.

He showed it to everybody and apparently he was walking around campus one day and he saw a professor of Spanish Literature who he had met somewhere and he said he buttonholed the guy and showed him these graphs and said, 'I can't make any sense out of this,' and he told the professor what it was. The professor said, 'That's the linguistic regions of Spain.' As you know Spain had a variety of kingdoms, they were controlled by the Muslims, and then the Northern Christians kicked them out, but there's Castille and Navarra, and Aragon and all of these cultural things. And still the Basques consider themselves quite separate, the Catalans consider themselves separate, so Spain, to this day, has serious regional diversities.

What apparently Leisure had come up with unknowingly was a map of the linguistic boundaries of ancient medieval Spain and they still remained. The idea that he came up with, as well as is fairly obvious, is that people that could speak the same language, the same dialect, were of the common culture would talk to each other and that it was social spread what kept the province, a linguistic region uniform in its fertility practices was the cultural spread, but that was the cultural unit as well as the linguistic unit and it didn't cross boundaries.

Another more quantified example of that is Belgium and here is Belgium, in Belgium they speak two languages which are? French and Flemish, and Flemish is almost the same as? Dutch, which is almost the same as? German, so it's a big divide, it's a Germanic/Romance language divide. This is a big language divide and in Belgium here are the various provinces of Belgium, and these are the southern ones near--France is over here--so these are all French speaking and Holland is up there, and Germany is over here--these are the Flemish speaking provinces.

When you look at their fertility what happens is that--when you look at their fertility France is, as you've heard 100 times, starts the fertility transition, fertility drops there. It goes--it takes a fair amount of time but it goes first into French speaking Belgium and French speaking Belgium then conforms to the French norm. Then there's this language line and you compare across that line and nothing north of the line changes and it takes 60 years to cross that language line that I showed you. It takes 60 takes to cross the language barrier.

This guy Lesthaeghe, the guy who studied--who was assigned to Belgium, and he is Belgian himself, he said well what could be causing it, what are the differences between north/south aside from language? When he was doing it they didn't really come up with this--when he was originally--when he started it they didn't--hadn't understood this cultural difference and so he's looking at socioeconomic variables. And so he took villages across that boundary line there, and you take no more than five kilometers difference and he would take villages that were matched: the soil was kind of the same, the agricultural productivity was the same, and every kind of socioeconomic variable that he could find was not different across that line except fertility.

That the northern line just had an awful lot more children then south of the line, French speaking Flemish speaking and presumably eliminating all these socioeconomic variables by comparing these neighboring towns all across Belgium from east to west, all across this line he looked at these kinds of paired villages. Well he said what was doing it? Well there's--so they started thinking about cultural reasons, and at that time in Europe there were two--democracy was still fairly--real democracy was still fairly young but most everybody had the vote and there was a lot of discussion about who would control democracy, whether democracy was a good or bad thing, so the suffrage, the expanded kind of suffrage, they still had kings and all that, but the power was being eroded by parliaments and there were two sets of parties as really there still are in Europe.

One was the Catholic party, the conservative party called--the other was the socialist party's or the communist party's, and anybody know what they're called? The Social Democrats and there are a variety of names other party's--the Christian Demo--the parties that are still named Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. Like in Germany they pass the premiership back and forth between them. That was established at this time and it was considered a fairly good marker for what we call secularization that how much a person was still believing in the old morality, the old styled things was religious, they would usually vote for the Christian democrats.

People that had undergone some sort of a transition and now were buying socialist theory or worker solidarity theory, or believed in unions would vote the Democratic Socialist party. What he did, he said, 'okay let's look at each of the provinces again, this is a smaller grouping then province and see what their vote is.' There's the Catholic party, and this is the percentage of non-Catholic party, and then he just compared this with how much their fertility had declined, again, always within marriage.

It turns out the more non-Catholic they are the greater the decline in fertility. It's kind of a backwards thing, and very nice line of proportionality. This is an exact proportionality and the points stick really very close to that line; it's not hard to see what that line is, and so people--what became clear is that culturally people that were voting for the Catholic party and therefore were in the older mode of culture did not drop their fertility very much. People who were voting the socialist, the left wing, liberal whatever you want to call it, had dropped their fertility by 60% to 80%, a huge drop in fertility. All right, these kinds of data kept coming up.

To conclude--the bottom line is that in this Princeton project they just could not tie fertility change to any of the standard socioeconomic variables. Now the word socioeconomic, I think, is a terrible word. What is not either socio or economic? I always go around and ask people descriptions of it and I think it basically means anything you can quantify, and you get interesting variables like education and we'll see this sort of disastrously from understanding the situation when we come into the third world.

Education suits you for a better job, especially women, so when people get educated it's an economic variable because it suits you for a better job, you can get higher pay, it makes it more worth your while to go out and work than stay home and have children. But, education also gives you a window on the world and makes you more open to new ideas, a greater sense of agency that you can talk back to your husband or your mother-in-law, and so forth, so a lot of the variables--you can't decide is this an economic variable or a social variable? It's very unfortunate that they use this term socioeconomic variable. But, I think it was early stage in understanding the problem and they didn't know what to do about it.

Also another problem, it's always in the social sciences when you try to do these studies, getting the data itself is really very difficult. Since Europe is organized politically into provinces that's where the data was gathered and that's--they had province level things, they didn't have individual village level information, they didn't have individual family kind of information. When you do an aggregation, even as finely as they could do, I mean it's amazing to do every province in Europe so that was for the--for that period of social science that was the low level of aggregation, but still within each province you have a huge range of people in very different circumstances, and maybe you're missing a lot by this aggregation, so aggregation is a problem. Since this period a lot of social science scholars have come back and argued tremendously over this and saying, 'no there really are economic reasons for fertility decline,' and we'll talk about those in a later lecture.

I just want to summarize--we spent a lot of time on this demographic transition and it's theory, and a lot of reading--and every year students say, 'oh I hated that part of the course,' but it is in a sense the most--for the modern times it's the most important part of the course because everything else that you read, every understanding of the what's happening now in developing countries is based on this stuff, either agrees with it or disagrees with it, or uses the same methodology or very self consciously tries to use a different methodology, this is the foundation of the fields. That's one reason you should know about it.

The other is it's such a tremendous change, it may be to my mind, it's the most important revolution ever in human history. Look what happens throughout this period. Life, people get to live three times as long, imagine if you're at 20, how many of you are under 20? Okay, half of you would be dead, half of this class would be dead if we weren't--if we hadn't gone through this transition of modernization. He's happy about that.

The numbers of human beings, the number of people that we now are able to keep alive is ten times larger, everyday it gets bigger, but last time I counted ten times larger than what we think the population was back then. So an enormous--even though it's the introduction of contraception which limits the amount of people or tries to limit the amount of people. In fact, the number of people on earth has just expanded enormously, both in numbers and in how long each one lives.

Wealth, individual per capita wealth, we saw that the industrial revolution by itself got into Malthusian problems and didn't, at least up until the fertility transition, did not improve people's individual wealth. That required the combination of industrial revolution which increased production and fertility control which put a limit on the number of people trying to get advantage from that increased production.

We've seen a tremendous democratization of marriage. Imagine a society where 30% of--70% of the people are unmarried, we sort of talk a lot about marriage and how marriage is going away as an institution. We're way, way ahead of that. China is way ahead of that and so imagine there was that--very few of you would have prospects of ever getting married because society just didn't allow it and the same for sex as I've mentioned, the democratization of sex. Your fertility coming under your individual control, what a big change in life, that you, now it's one of the big decision you can make. Do I want some children, many children, few children, whatever, when do I want them? All this comes under control.

Within marriage, previously couples were constantly under the pressure of constant childbearing, that the wife was always either pregnant or lactating. Later I'll show you some statistics from the third world that women are almost never free, they're always either pregnant or lactating until they die. Men had to go out--this is a period when men were basically the breadwinners. They had to support an ever increasing number of children under difficult economic circumstances. So men and women were freed from the requirement--they had no choice--the requirement of supporting, taking care of and supporting these large families.

There's so many issues that changed during this time. If you--if any of you are thinking of doing term papers there's just an infinite number of things that have not even been looked at. For instance, we talked a lot about abandonment of children, infanticide. When do you think that disappeared? Something in about this time; you read about it into the 1800s there was a lot of it and then it goes away. There's a lot written about the period when it was heavy and not much understanding of why did infanticide disappear. Was it due to this? I don't know the answer; I don't think it has been discovered; investigated, a great term paper.

What about the romantic conception of marriage? When marriage changes like this it becomes less of an economic thing, less of a childbearing thing, you don't need your wife to work, especially on the farm. What is the tie in between romantic conceptions that we all now have about marriage and love and all that and this whole demographic transition? In almost every way you can think of modern culture, this is at the root of it, that this is a thing that you always have to consider as whatever you believe, however you're leading your life, how much of it is due to these pioneers that we've talked about that started controlling their fertility as an individual decision rather than as a community decision?

Okay, there's no reading for today because the lecture is now caught up for the reading, so next week we'll talk on Tuesday and then on Thursday we have a guest lecturer. The schedule changed from what you have.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 10
Quantitative Aspects
Play Video
Quantitative Aspects

Census data is often politically influenced and hence inaccurate. The birthrate in developing countries is nearly twice that in developed countries. Most humans live in less developed countries, so the world birthrate is near the higher number. The world birthrate is two and a half times the death rate; we are not close to population stabilization. Almost everywhere, the death rate has been drastically reduced; further changes will not massively affect demographic trends. Changes in fertility rate now control population. Demographic data must be corrected for age structure. A young population in a poor country will have a lower death rate than an older population in a richer country. Countries with high birthrates and exploding populations will have a high proportion of children. There are more people in each younger age bracket than in older ones. Many more adolescents will come into reproductive ages than older women will leave fertile ages. Fertility per woman is falling in the world, but, since there are ever more childbearers, the number of children born does not drop. Because of this 'momentum,' it can take over 100 years from when fertility falls to replacement level (approximately 2 children per woman) to when population stabilizes. In developing countries, even though fertility has been reduced, population growth often outstrips economic growth. People may give up on modernization and instead, idealize a return to some imagined past that was glorious.

Reading assignment:

"Family Portrait: A Clan Keeps on Growing." National Geographic (March 2001)

Weeks, John R. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, pp. 40-45 and 53-57


February 17, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Let me start. I'm going to read you something and you have to guess what kind of a scene I'm describing.

"A ghostly stillness descended over the country, this country today, with every restaurant, bar and teahouse in the country closed. Every store shuttered and police patrolling the streets to make sure no citizen dare to step outside. Avenues normally clogged with traffic were so empty that picnics could have been held on them, except that nobody would have been allowed to attend. Plazas that are perpetual nightmares of congestion and exhaust fumes were abandoned to wandering dogs and cats. It was also a good day for the fish because the thousands of fishermen who line the shorelines on Sunday were all at home. The waterway itself, one of the world's busiest waterways, was as flat and silent as a woodland pond. The government decreed a six-month term--jail term for any citizen who didn't spend the day at home. All in all, the country today looked like a land on which a neutron bomb had been dropped devastating the population while leaving the buildings undamaged." What do you think it is? It's drastic.

Student: The plague?

Professor Robert Wyman: Nope, good, reasonable guess, but no. Governments weren't as strong then. It's the census day in Turkey. Some places take their census' very seriously and require that people really be in the place of their residence so that they can be counted and that they get a very good set of numbers. The waterway that they're talking about between Europe and Asia running through?

Student: The Bosporus.

Professor Robert Wyman: The Bosporus, right. Now compare this to another country. An educated and motivated guy got one of the temporary jobs as a census taker. He was high class enough to get an article published in The Atlantic Monthly. This is New York City. I'll tell you because you'll guess. He was 6'4" and Caucasian. They sent him to Chinatown. People took one look at him and slammed the door. Others offered him money to go away; even most of those who tried to cooperate did not have time to fill out the long form.

He asked to be assigned to another area. He got Wall Street. Same story, no one would cooperate with him. He couldn't even get into one building, but this was a motivated guy, like a Yalie. He climbed onto the roof of the next building, the building next door, he jumped over the partition, not across the street but over the partition -- to get into the building that he was supposed to take the census of. Right there on the roof was a dilapidated shack. Okay maybe someone's living in the shack.

He knocks on the door, someone inside flings open the door. Inside he could see several apparently naked people lying on hospital gurneys. The man who opened the door was wearing a white coat, "Go away!" He screamed, "I'm giving my wife a cancer treatment." New York City. A more experienced census taker told him that he wasn't doing it right. What you have to do is what they say, "curbstone it". What that means is you sit on the sidewalk and guess how many apartments are in the building. You look up at the building, you guess how many apartments in the building, and fill out that many forms with guesses about how many people live in each apartment. That's the way censuses are done in New York City, a comparison to Turkey.

Now these are describing the 1990 Census. I'll get to the 2000 Census in a moment. That census was the most expensive ever, it missed more than two million children, of course mostly minority children, and imagine what this does for school planning, etcetera, etcetera, it missed all together--not counting just children--ten million people and it double counted, or it counted in the wrong place another six million people. Between censuses the census bureau uses the count of the last census to make its projections. They know the population is increasing every year, how much do we have now, now, now?

By the time they came from the 1990 to the 2000 Census, there were seven million more people in America then the Census Bureau thought there was. The population had been increasing something like one and half times what they had thought it was. Does this slop matter? The poor quality of the United States census. Well, nowadays these numbers might seem small but more than $185 billion dollars a year in federal aid to states are apportioned according to the census results, so every state really wants its people counted. On top of that, what else is apportioned depending on the census? Congress, the House of Representatives is apportioned, so people want their state to have as many representatives as possible.

Given the importance of this, why is it so bad? Why is the U.S. Census so bad? The answer is primarily politics. It is well known, the kind of problems that this census taker had in New York is very well known, and it's well known that these people that are considered somewhat marginal: minorities, immigrants, poor people, they are heavily undercounted. This is well known. The problem is that these people don't vote Republican and when this story that I'm telling you takes place, the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, which controls the budget.

The census has been missing this eight--ten million for the 1990 Census, eight million for before, roughly eight to ten million people, and again, it's these minority groups, minorities, renters, urban dwellers, and so Democrats--and they generally vote Democrat--and the Democrats have been pushing to get them counted, to make an accurate account. But a Republican redistricting expert wrote a memorandum in 1997 predicting that adjustment could cost the Republican Party 24 house seats, which is a huge amount. So, since then, the Republicans have blocked any modernization of the census.

For the year 2000 Census, President Clinton appointed a new director of the Census Bureau, a woman named Martha Riche who we've had here at Yale. She came out of a scientific and research environment and was really very competent, scholarly, knew how to do it right, and she announced when she came into office, "All industrial democracies will be holding a census in the year 2000. We want the United States to win a gold medal for accuracy." She thought she was smart. In fact of course she missed the boat, because she thought she was supposed to make an accurate census, and no, that wasn't what she was hired for.

What she had proposed was a statistical way of dealing with this. You know the groups that you've missed, you know where they live, so after you've counted everyone as well as you can in the whole country, you go back to the inner city neighborhoods, the various places where you know that you're going to miss people and you really blanket that and do--those areas very carefully, a sample across the country. Then you find out what your errors are in that large sample and then you can adjust the whole population, assuming you made the same mistakes everywhere.

She was very open, that's what she planned to do. At the time, though, Newt Gingrich, I don't know if you know that name with the New Deal for America or something, was the Speaker of the House, controlled the budget, and he said, 'yup, you have the authority to do that, you're the Director of the budget [correction: Census], but, if you do that, I will cut your budget to zero.' Basically she wasn't allowed to do that and so she had to resign. She just would not do a census that was less then what we're capable of doing.

The census was done the old fashioned way, it cost $1.7 billion dollars more than it would have with sampling and was not anywhere near as accurate. Now these same considerations apply almost everywhere. In China, for instance, you know about the one child policy and the government is strongly trying to push the birthrate down. We'll talk about this later in much more detail. A provincial official gets the word this is--we want your population growth rate to be no more than whatever percentage and then he sends it down to the prefecture and down. Do you think any of these officials, after the census, are going send up information that they have not been doing their job, that the birthrate is higher? No, so there's problems with that.

Who collects this data? Well luckily several--many organizations collect the data but primarily the UN. Who owns the UN? Member countries, and if you are, say, a conservative religious country, and if the UN demographer says that contrary to government statistics, that there actually is a high rate of illegitimacy or abortion in the country, all of which comes out of the statistics, they're not going to allow that to be published, so the UN has to sort of cut some corners so that the countries from who it is dependent on to get the data, will continue to send them the data.

In addition, even when a country tries, there are something like 50 million--birth registrations not done everywhere in the world and there's something like 50 million babies, worldwide, who were never registered, they don't exist on the official registers, so when you try to do what demographers do, you have a count of--a count of a census in one year, you have a count of a census in a later year, in between you have a list of births and deaths, supposedly both births are registered and deaths are registered, and you see is this reasonable? Is the difference accounted for by births, deaths, and migration if you have reasonable amounts of migration. If millions of the babies are just not registered you can't check things that way, so there's a lot of problems.

Another thing is that in many, many countries there's conflict between different groups, we've talked about Democratic, Republican in the United States. In Nigeria, in Sudan, there's a huge conflict between the Muslim populations in the north and the Christian or Animist populations in the south. You may or may not recall the Biafra War in Nigeria, a huge war between basically--over oil--but between the Muslim north and the Christian south; millions of deaths and millions of deaths now currently in Sudan over something of a similar issue.

When censuses in ethnically or religiously split countries are taken, the key event is the ratio, the key outcome that everybody wants to know is the ratio between how many Christians, how many Muslims, how many this, how many that. And so the censuses get totally distorted by people trying to raise their numbers and lower everyone else's numbers. Before the Biafra War there was apparently a reasonably accurate census in 1952 to 1953, then the Biafra War intervened, and the next several censuses were very controversial.

So the accepted official figures, in Nigeria, were 88.5 million people, but the World Bank said, no, that's wrong, 102 million people. The United Nations: 120 million people. So, basically, for a country as big and as important as Nigeria for their last census we have figures ranging between 88.5 million and 120 million, a 50% uncertainty for Nigeria, so big. The point of this initial part, point one, is that even the simplest numbers like headcounts, we're not doing anything fancy, we're just trying to count how many people there are, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, there are systematic errors and very often those errors are intentional.

Now all of these numbers--well I say when I described these numbers and I probably won't do it enough. When I put up a demographic number it should almost always be qualified by, 'and there are large and unknown error bars,' but we don't have error bars for it.

Various organizations collect all this data and this is called the Population Reference Bureau, which is a source of statistics and news, everything about population and it's a very big sheet here. I'll show it to you blown up and it has every region of the world, every country of the world, and a large number of demographic statistics for each of these countries.

Let's look at one of these, so here is one page of this sheet--can you see that well enough? I don't need to put the lights out. What you see is the various numbers that they count, population, birthrate, death rate, rate of increase, migration rate, in or out, plus for coming in, out for going out, what their projected population is for 2025 or 2050, and so forth down there, a number that we'll try to get to describe later called the total fertility rate, which is more or less the number of children women are expect--will have as they go through their lifetime. Then on this side it's broken down first into the world, broken down by level of development, then by geographic region, so there are a lot of really very good data, very clearly put on here, and you can look first at the world's population here, so that's the first number in the whole thing.

This is the middle of 2008 so there were 6.7 billion people on earth and still rising. The expectation for mid-2025 is 8 billion and for 2050, 9.3 or 9.4 billion. Those are guesses about the future and I'll tell you maybe a little bit about how those are done. Look now at the birthrate here, so this is births per 1,000 population and the birthrate of the world is 21, and I'm going to go crazy going back and forth there. How accurate is that? Again we don't know, large and uncertain error bars, it's something like a third of the children in the world that don't have proper birth certificates and you can't know whether they've been counted at all.

Another thing that you should notice about the way it gets organized--is not only the world when it breaks it down into development categories there's less developed countries, that includes China and less developed countries excluding China. It's important to get those two things different because China is considered very exceptional, 1) because of its one child policy and they think that the birthrate is abnormally depressed, and 2) it's tremendous rate of economic development. If you want a real characterization of the less developed countries, even though China's average income is very low, it's changing very rapidly, then you do it without China and you get different numbers there.

Look next at the birthrate for--the birthrate for the whole world is 21 per 1,000 per year, and the birthrate for the less developed countries is 23, not a big difference. Why is that? How come it's so close? Whereas, for the developed countries it's 12, why is the birthrate for the world so close to the less developed?

Student: Because the majority of the population resides in those places.

Professor Robert Wyman: Right, the overwhelming majority of the population is in the less developed countries, so whatever we understand about that, that is what we have to--that is characteristic of the world. This difference in birthrate between say 12 in the more developed countries and say 23, 26, even 36 for the least developed countries, that is a huge difference. It's a factor of three between the most developed and the least developed, and a factor of something like 2.5--over 2 in between, which means that now most of the world is--in the underdeveloped countries most of the population and that will continue and will get more extreme.

Here is an example of that, this is--we are now about here and the more developed regions like the U.S. are still growing very slightly but basically going to be flat as far as one can project out here, but the less developed countries are undergoing this population explosion. If the ratio between the less developed countries and the developed regions is this now, that will only increase after 2050 out here. This--that the world is demographically characterized by the poor countries is a fact now, and a much better fact, as time goes on, a more complete fact.

That's--the first point is about inaccuracies of statistics, the second one here is that it's not the developed countries when you think of what's happening in world population don't think of the developed countries, what's happening is what's happening the underdeveloped countries or the developing countries.

Now let's shift and look at the death rate. We looked a little at the birthrate, and you notice something very interesting; here's the birthrate we've just been saying for the world 21 per 1,000 per year. Look at the death rate, eight, that means there's more than two and a half times in the world now--there's two and a half times as many births as there are deaths, an enormous difference and you can compare, in the less developed regions, there's something like three times as many births as there are deaths, 9 deaths, 26 births, so there's a huge--right now there's a huge imbalance between the births and the deaths.

As you know population stability, which many people think would be a good thing for the world, depends on the deaths and the births being equal, which means that the world is out of kilter, the ratio between births and deaths is now out of kilter by a factor of something like 2.5 to 3; 2.5 for the world, 3 for the developing countries. What that means is either the death rate has to come up to that level or the birthrate has to come down or some combination. Part of this is, well, we'll see--what's going to happen with part of it a bit later. The major point of this is that the world is very far from population stabilization.

You've probably heard lots in the news about declining birthrates in Europe, and Japan and so forth, and our next lecture will be about that, will be just about that. It's not characteristic of the world. The world is way out of balance, and even in the United States which is one of the few developing countries that still is having a population increase, we have 14 births for every eight deaths, and that's 1 and 3/4 times the number of births as deaths, so the United States is way out of whack, and that's births versus deaths. That doesn't include immigration. It includes the children of immigrants that are born in this country but doesn't include immigration, so our births plus immigration is going to be at least double our birthrate, so our population is also not anywhere near balanced.

Okay, now unlike the birthrate which is very different in different parts of the world, the death rate is not extraordinarily different. Here--I see you squinting; can you see it well enough? The death rate in the developed countries is 10 per 1,000 and in the less developed countries, again without China, it's 9 per 1,000, a very small difference. The reason for that is, is that mortality has fallen--because of vaccination programs, especially vaccination programs, oral rehydration for diarrhea and a lot of very basic public health matters, not open heart surgery or anything like that, but the most basic public health measures has dropped the death rate in the world tremendously, again especially the infant death rate.

Sub-Saharan Africa is somewhat of an exception to that. Anybody remember--maybe you studied it, what I said was sort of pre-modern death rate, somebody said it, I think they said it right; about 40 per 1,000 and now it's down to ¼ of that which is a modern rate and it's not going to decrease an enormous amount more. Fertility--so the changes in the death, when you look about the future of population, further changes in the death rate will have some effect but not an enormous effect. Its change in the fertility rate, the whole future world population depends essentially on the fertility rate.

A little bit from a change in the death rate, somewhat from people aging, but primarily fertility rate is what you watch to find out what's going to happen in the future of world population, unless of course we have atom bombs or something like that and everybody dies. Now as an example of this death--flatness of the death rate -- this is from Egypt, there's a lovely graph notice the little baby in swaddling clothes. This is from the Egyptian Statistical Abstract, the Egyptians published this themselves, and it's not the most recent. It goes up to about 1990 and maybe now they've gotten more computerized and don't dress the things up like that, but I just liked that and that color is the original color in the original statistical report.

Notice the number of births increasing continuously with some small dip here but basically it goes from 1,000 to up here would be 2,000. In this period of time the birthrate nearly doubles and this is absolute number of people, not a percentage, but look what happens in the death rate, very little change. The death rate, starting way back in 1952, so way before a lot of very modern kind of medical stuff, so it's basic medical--basic public health, basic sanitation that's responsible for this. So the number of deaths is staying more or less constant and of course the natural increase, the increase in the population is the difference between births and deaths, so you have it increasing every year, you get more and more population increase. This is the population explosion and you've seen numbers like that.

Now is the death rate staying constant? No, the death rate is not staying--because the population is increasing and yet you're having the same number of deaths, so the percentage of the population that's dying each year is going down slowly, not at a -- as a percentage -- it is a slow decrease, so over this period time period and continuing, the death rate is decreasing but not in a--significant enough to make a big difference in the total population growth statistics.

The basic thing in the world is that the fertility rate is what can change a lot, can make the difference between a world whose population keeps growing or stabilizes or starts decreasing.

Now, anybody notice anything funny so far? One number that should have--one pair of numbers that should have--what? Let's go back to that, anything funny about these numbers?

Student: The less developed countries have a little less.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, so the less developed countries have a lower death rate than the more developed countries. That's surprising that their health systems or their health is better than ours. Let's just check that number and let's look at for instance compare the United States with our neighbor, Mexico. We know Mexico is much poorer and probably doesn't have as good a healthcare system, well here's our deaths per 1,000 in the United States is 8; Mexico is 5, it's a good bit less then we have and further, here is Central America there's not a single country that's as high as we are. Every single one of the Central American countries, including some pretty poor countries, El Salvador has a lower death rate then the United States and Mexico is kind of in the middle between the 4 and the 6. Striking, you go further afield here, here's the Caribbean and these are more in the range of the U.S. level but they're--the U.S. is not better than almost any of them except for Haiti. Haiti is the only place that has a noticeably worse death rate then us.

Student: Do those death rates include the infant mortality rates?

Professor Robert Wyman: What?

Student: Do those death rates include the infant mortality rates?

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, these are total death rates. Once you're born, if you die after you're born, you're counted. Don't include spontaneous or induced abortions. We got a problem here, what do you think is the reason for this?

Student: Because the United States has more older people than other countries.

Professor Robert Wyman: Exactly, the United States has more older people, and it's a funny thing about older people, they're the ones who tend to die. Once you get rid of your infant mortality issue, people tend to die at the older ages. That's exactly correct, and it's an extreme--in a developed country it's an extreme difference. Here is what's left, so this is the United States. This is the deaths per 1,000, the age of the people, and here's what's left of the infant mortality, it's still more dangerous to be an infant than later, but there's virtually--you can't even see the death rate through the middle years, but then boom it goes up as you get on into the older ages.

Indeed, the death rate is completely sensitive to your age distribution, a country that has more young people will have a lower death rate. A country that has a high birthrate will have more young people, will have a lower death rate, so what you're seeing in that anomaly there, what looked like an anomaly, is basically that Mexico has a higher birthrate of people. This funny thing, you happen to be born young and you die old, and so that is the explanation for that.

Any time--almost any demographic number that you want to interpret, marriage rates, birthrates, death rates, fertility rates, almost everything of interest is affected by the age distribution. In understanding demographic statistics, the most important thing is always the age distribution. You always have to pay attention to that, and later on I'll show you one of the mechanisms for paying attention--for getting statistics--adjusting statistics for the age distribution.

How--first let's just look at it. So here is the easiest way of looking at an age distribution. What you have here, this is for Germany and the pink is the old--this is 1989 when East and West Germany were still split, so this is the German Democratic Republic, East Germany, the pink is East Germans and the dark is the Federal Republic, West Germany, and on the left is men and on the right is female, male and female, and what this graph says is that every year--so this is age zero, you're just born, to age 100, that every year they ask how many people are there? How many kids are there between age zero and one? Well there's so many males and so many females, this number in East Germany, this number in West Germany.

You can go through every age and just count from your census the number of people at that age and draw it out like this. It's a wonderful huge amount of information in a single graph; you can see all kinds of things. This is World War I, the people born during World War I, they're almost all gone, but here's the ones from World War II and look at the big difference. Here's your females. Here's your males. What's the difference? War deaths; the men are in the Army and the get shot up on the Russian front, so you have many more females then males. It's partially that women live older also but this case in Germany is almost exclusive--is overwhelmingly the deaths from World War I, here there's still some females, there's no males, and then the deaths from World War II.

You can see the birth deficit, these are people who would have been born during World War I, these were adults, fighting age adults during World War I. These would have been born while the men were away so they didn't have any babies. They had very few babies during World War I and the same thing you see for World War II, and you see again the deficit of--well we talked about that.

You can see that, then you can see there's a post war baby boom, after the deficit in World War II people make up for it and more than make up for the deficit, so you have this huge bulge in population, both males and females, but now balanced, more or less equal numbers of males and females, and then you get the baby bust and you get a little echo effect, so there's variations--fluctuations in population--almost every country has--Western country has these kind of data plus the Asian countries that were involved in World War II. You can see it's a wonderful way of understanding a country.

Now this is India--the census of India, that's a weird one. What the heck is going on there? That's weird, so what it is, is people don't know their ages, they're innumerate, and so it gets counted every five or ten years, so here's a five year or a ten year period. They know their ages approximately, to approximately a certain year, they don't know it exactly. It's not important, in a pre-industrial country their exact age is not all that terribly important. You get this--that's called age heaping, that when you get a large excess in five or ten year increments.

My own father, who was an immigrant, did not know his age. There was--he was born in either 1904 or 1907 because he even had a birth certificate but it was in the Russian Cyrillic characters and the four looks like a seven, so he and my mother argued constantly over how old he actually was. Even countries that have had a long--European have the same thing. Here is the Soviet Union from their 1937 census and here again you get this same age heaping effect. Not quite as extreme as India but very clearly here, and to a degree worse with women then with men, because women are less educated, see the big bars here, the small bars here, and in principle it should be getting less with younger people it should be clearer, and you certainly do get rid of these extreme on certain of these but it's not--it's persisting into the 1930s this 'I don't know how old I am except within a five or ten year bracket.'

Here's another weirdo, what's that? Just to show you that you can immediately, once you get used to this, immediately tell an awful lot about a country from an age pyramid. Anybody from Arizona? Nobody from--what?

Student: [Inaudible]

Professor Robert Wyman: It's Sun City, Arizona which is a retirement community and they don't allow anybody--I think most of these have an age limit of 50, you have to be at least 55, so this is the retirement age, and where my mother lives in Century Village in West Palm Beach looks like this -- Florida looks like that, various retired--California has retirement villages they look like that.

These population pyramids are wonderful with lots of information packed into this and from seeing these pyramids you can tell a lot about the socioeconomic character of the countries because we know that the poor countries have less literacy, etc., etc., and they have higher birthrates and so we'll look at what that looks like right now.

Here are two of these population pyramids and here is--you saw in those the splitting of the world into more developed regions, and less developed regions. What do you notice right away? The total area under this, so this is now five-year age heaps rather than single year, so between zero and four is this amount, or this amount, so it's the area under this is how many total people there are. One you see there's a lot less area here, a lot less people, the less developed regions are the bulk of the world but also the shape is very different.

Here in the developed regions you have a more or less similar number of people in all ages. It's not exactly that way. Of course at the old age people are dying and that starts about here in the 50s and then accelerates and there's very few left, so it narrows here and also it's narrowing down here because the birthrate in the developed countries is now below replacement level and so the pyramids are getting to be fewer people in the younger ages then there are older people. Contrast that with less developed parts of the world and you see that there's more and more younger people, each age cohort has more and more people.

You can look at an individual country, and this is a clearer example. This is Nigeria as far as we can tell from their census, but they--you can tell an age distribution and this is now percent rather than total from sub-samples, you don't need to count absolutely everybody to understand what the age distribution is. Here is a 50-year change, there's not one--it's not changing very much. This is what it was in 1975, they know more or less what it is now, and they're projecting it out to 2005--;I'm sorry. This is pretty current and it looks about the same, and vastly as you go in this case, as you go to younger and younger people, vastly more children than older folks.

So what's happening here--see what the ages are here, especially in Nigeria, 15 to 45, these are the ages in which women are giving birth and this number of women is giving birth to more than two children, they're more then replacing themselves, so each bar is bigger than the last, and some of this in-swing, especially this is Sub-Saharan Africa, some of this reduction is infant mortality and child mortality. Some of the differences, especially between this bar and this bar, that's in there, but it's a small effect. The major effect is that every generation is bigger and they produce more and more children here.

Now--so when you look at how--what's going to evolve in the future--so here is your women who are 40 to 45, that's this bunch of women and women on this side, so that's the number of women. They're producing part of these children. In another five years, if you look at this five years later, these women who were 40 to 45 are now 45 to 50, no more fertility, pretty much. In Nigeria they're not using a lot of IVF and everything. So they have stopped reproducing but that cohort of that size is being replaced by the ones of this size coming into fertile ages, so women that were 10 to 15 are becoming 15 to 20 and starting their childbearing, when women that are 40 to 45 which have not so much childbearing left, are going out of existence and stopping childbearing absolutely.

The number of women, the number of child bearers is increasing drastically. In this case, it looks ballpark like there are twice as many women coming into reproductive age as are leaving reproductive age, each year, each five years however you want to count it. The number of childbearing women is increasing tremendously. The result of that is--here's another comparison, whereas in the west, in developed countries the number of 40 to 45 year olds is not enormously different then the number to 15 to 19. So the women that are leaving reproductive ages are more or less replaced by the women that are coming into reproductive ages.

Of course with population decline, eventually you get fewer women coming into reproductive age in developed countries then are leaving it, so that you have fewer child bearers, so this phenomenon can--if your population is increasing the problem gets more and more severe, if it's decreasing the problem gets more and more severe. There's a positive feedback on this with your number of child bearers either growing or decreasing.

Here is in billions--the number of women of childbearing age in the world, and it just keeps increasing, right? What you may be aware of, I haven't really talked about this much yet, because it's in my next lecture, here is the birthrate in the world, children per women. The birthrate has been coming down. Two opposite things are happening in the world. The number of childbearing women is going up but the number of children that each of them have is going down. They predict optimistically that by 2050 it'll reach about replacement of about two children per women, but it's not there, we're not there yet, we're almost double-- we're way above that now.

The result of this number of women rising, their rate of childbearing decreasing is that the number of births, you sort of multiply those two out, the number of births is expected to continue increasing for the predictable future. That the absolute number of births will increase as a result of these two crossing factors.

Now the birthrate is coming down and it eventually, let's presume in the future, gets to be two children. What then happens? You still have a pyramid like this but now it starts flattening out, but it flattens out--I should not do this by hand. In fact I want to go to this graph. It shows this--this is what's actually predicted to happen, so this is again developing countries and this is the kind of pyramid that we've seen. This one goes back to 1985 with this broadly increasing thing. It's basically a triangle, you can think of it is as a triangle.

If immediately, God sticks his finger out of heaven and says two children, and even more surprising, people obey him, what happens? This is the number of children, people that there are there, that the population pyramid will grow up but with this as a base, so that it will become square but there will be this many people. You go from a triangle to a rectangle with the same base. Can you see that? The number of people is the area inside that and you have the same base, you go from a triangle to rectangle--remember from high school geometry what the area is?

It doubles. Because, if you have a triangle and you go square, you just flip that--half the triangle over and you've got that many people again. If a miracle happens and fertility stops dead right now and we go immediately to two children per woman, the population doubles before it stabilizes. What this shows you, of course is that miracle is not going to happen. This is quite optimistic and is already not the case, that the base will also increase. Since the population is still increasing, the base will increase, and yes it will get more rectangular, but even by 2025 it won't yet be rectangular, so that you will, on this kind of projection, more than double the population from 1985 because the base is growing as well as you're rising up.

There's an expectation of quite a lot of population increase left. This whole phenomenon where because you--once you start having an increasing population you're going to--the population is going to keep increasing because there's more and more child bearers unless something drastic happens to the fertility rate, it's called population momentum because you're sort of moving in a certain direction of increasing population, it just continues.

The same thing happens as you'll see in the next lecture with population decreasing, and when population decreases you have fewer and fewer child bearers in each generation, as say Japan now or Singapore, and so unless the birth rate increases tremendously you'll have fewer and fewer children. What this shows you is that, if there's immediate replacement, this kind of miracle that everything--that everybody comes to just two children immediately, then the population would be this, so this effect is all momentum. All of this increase, from where we are now to up here, is just a momentum effect, just the fact that there's more and more children coming into reproductive age and that takes a very long time to work out. Then the fact that there's in fact -- they're not going immediately to two children, not immediate replacement. This is the United Nations guess as to what's going to happen. The actual population is projected to go like this.

If everybody immediately goes to two children you get this population rise. What is actually expected is somewhat more, so huge amount of what's happening with population future is already determined, it's already momentum is in there and even if birthrates really come down very rapidly, the world's population is going to continue increasing. That's sort of an important thing to remember. In the world the fertility is decreasing, the population is increasing and those are not canceling out.

From 1985 the prediction was that the world population would somewhat double, we've made some progress between there, but still we have 6.7 billion now and the expectation is something like 50% more people on earth in 2050 and perhaps continuing to increase beyond that. Huge amount of momentum effects, here is--let me go back--this is Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean and it's one of the examples of a small underdeveloped country that had a very surprising fertility decline.

This is probably the influenza epidemic here, but starting in around--right after World War II in the late 1940s, it's death rate fell down; modern public health comes in to Mauritius, so the death rate falls dramatically. Then this fits the standard characterization of the demographic transition. About 20 years later, about one generation later, people learn, well we don't have to have so many children because they're not dying, and the birthrate comes down thereafter and population growth is in here.

This is a country that did well, that starting fairly early for a developing country, 1951 say, their birthrate is falling down. They really sort of got it under control and--but look at this. So this is the birth--the total fertility rate which is a birth rate here, and it stays stable and then it starts falling down quite significantly, but look at here's total population size. You don't even see a change; all momentum. Here the birthrate has started dropping in 1965 and now we're 25 years later and you don't see hardly any change in the population growth rate.

That's what we talk about by the momentum effect that because at this time, before they drop their fertility, at this time there were so many more children than older people that the number of women child bearers just kept increasing and increasing, and increasing, so even though fertility drops the number of children stays high, even gets higher, and the population just keeps increasing. It's a very, very strong effect and the number of--and it's not flattened out there yet, 25 years later.

This is a projection of how long does it take before it flattens out. This is the first one, the first box is the year--this is our current size as of whatever year this was. By 2030--this is the United States. This is the number of people, so this graph was made in--it doesn't say the date but our population will increase somewhat by 2030 and this really is ignoring the changes that have happened with immigration and so forth that we will--we reach two child--if our fertility comes down we reach two child in 2030 and we stabilize because we have not had a rapidly expanding population so we stabilize right away.

Nigeria, which you saw, current population, it's supposed to but some optimistic assumptions reach two children per women in the year 2035, but then it doesn't stabilize until 115 years later at again a much increased population. In the case of Nigeria, after it reaches two child per woman, after it reaches replacement level, it takes another 115 years before population actually stabilizes. This is Bangladesh, 125 years. This is Iran, 110 years; Iran has had a big crash, we'll talk about that and its population. Brazil 145 years, it takes an enormous amount of time for momentum to work itself out after the fertility rate comes down. It's quite striking, and that's the reason why we expect so much more population growth to happen.

Again, you can look at an individual country, and this is Algeria, and look at what Algeria has done between--in 20 years: that's an enormous rate. Here's its crude birthrate, it's--crude means not corrected for age or anything, just take 1,000 people, how many babies were there for that 1,000 people. In 1965 there were 50 and it dropped to 38, a very large drop and it's a drop of 24%. They cut their birthrate by a quarter, that's 25% in 20 years, that's more than 1% a year, so there's a very, very rapid change.

Because of momentum the population growth rate was 2.4% in 1965 even though the birthrate is going down the population growth rate is going up, all momentum, and the percent of change that the growth rate increased by 19%, again all of this, because at this age, they had been having a population explosion, so many younger children than older. The population almost doubled from 12 million to 22 million, population went up 83% and the annual population growth rate increased from a quarter million to 600,000; 0.6 million, it changed 217%.

Here's the dilemma for developing countries, that basically all the developing countries understand that they need--that economically they'll be destroyed if their population growth rate increases and virtually every developing country has now an official national policy of trying to get its birthrate down. We'll see later that that's okay with the people, they're generally in accord with this, and they can do wonder--they can do miracles.

These countries--you'll see some of the drops next time, I'll talk about--next time in my lecture I'll talk about some of the fabulous drops. I mean this is not exceptional, this is a very significant drop but it's not exceptional around the world, and yet, even in the face of that, their population goes up into massive amounts, 83% up, 100% up, more than somewhat. As the government is pushing modernization, and as the government is pushing reducing the birthrate, and as grass roots organizations push to try to get the birthrate down, the population keeps increasing.

Industrial development, if it's not extremely rapid, can't keep up with the birthrate, so while these countries are modernizing they can see conditions deteriorate, poverty can grow, crowding can grow, homelessness can grow, again because population, even though you get your birthrate down, your population keeps increasing so extremely.

Some theory--believe that there's kind of a window of opportunity for the developing countries that, for instance, you take Egypt which I'm sure it's also had one of these drops not unlike this. They were kings of the world, top of the world in the Pharaoh's time, you all know that kind of history. Then iron was invented, but not in Egypt, and Egypt was in the bronze age during the Pharaoh's time. Iron is invented maybe in Turkey, I don't know exactly where and the other people's of the world picked up iron and made iron swords.

The Egyptians, for some reason, never really caught onto iron, maybe they don't have any iron anywhere there, and so from 1000 BC or something until 1950 they were always subject to somebody else. They were always ruled by someone else until Nasser got rid of the British in 1950, they were ruled by the British, and then before that by the Turks, and by all kinds of peoples, the Greeks before that--in Alexander the Greats time and so forth, and the Romans, they were ruled by someone else. Well here come--here's 1952 I think, Nasser's revolution, gets rids of the British, sets up an independent republic.

The people are very enthusiastic, they're very excited, they now throw off the shackles of imperialism, and colonialism, and they can now be their own country. But the birthrate is still very high, the population growth rate is very high, they have to industrialize real fast. They can't and they don't industrialize that fast, they don't modernize their economy. Why? A whole lot of reasons, one of which is they waste huge amounts of money on the conflict with Israel, that they have war after war, and have to spend huge amounts of money on the military that would be better spent on their economic development.

Time passes, and the people have tried to modernize, that's been the ideology, they've tried socialist modernization, they've tried capitalist modernization, and what they see is more and more crowding, poverty is not going away. Conditions are not getting very much better. I mean they do get a little bit better, but not terribly much better and so they give up on modernization. When they give up on modernization they glorify the past, they say it was better in the past, and they go to a romantic attitude to what it was like in--and can try to reverse modernization by resisting further drops in birthrate, for instance, going back to religion.

When I was in Egypt some years back, went into some sort of a restaurant and they seat you sometime at long tables, so people you don't know you sit next to, and if they happen to speak English I could talk to them, I don't speak Arabic, and so the ones that I could talk to were upper class--educated people and therefore upper class people that spoke fairly good English.

And you meet this nice young woman and she was at the University of Cairo which is an elite school, and she was an engineering student, so perfectly intelligent, perfectly modern in that way, wearing a head scarf, which her mother did not wear which was not in the previous generation. That she doesn't believe in modernization basically. For her own self-benefit she'll become an engineer because she wants a decent job. She doesn't want to herself go back and dig in the desert dirt there to try to get some food. She wants to be a modern person with a good job, at least she wants a good job, but she doesn't believe in modernization.

The rest of her ideology, aside from her personal desires, is backward looking, that things were better in the past, modernization has not worked. This is--there's this window of opportunity when countries first try to get modernized and one of the things that goes along with modernization is a reduced fertility rate. If it doesn't work people will reject that. A lot of what's going on in the world today with respect to the developed and underdeveloped countries, and the Arab countries, and the Western countries, has to do with this rejection of modernization because it did not work for them.

With that, if the birthrate stays high as it has, not in the Muslim countries. Many Muslim countries have had fabulous progress, but in a lot of the Arab countries the birthrate has stayed very high, and there's these huge numbers of unemployed young men, the economy cannot absorb them, they're hanging around, they're idealistic as all young men are, and what ideals do they pick up but going back to some imagined past that was glorious.

The world may hinge on this window of opportunity. How many countries can take advantage of it? China clearly took advantage of it, Japan took advantage of it. A lot of the East Asian countries took advantage of their window of opportunity, a lot of other countries did not take advantage of their window of opportunity.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 11
Low Fertility in Developed Countries (Guest Lecture by Michael Teitelbaum)
Play Video
Low Fertility in Developed Countries (Guest Lecture by Michael Teitelbaum)

Concerns about low fertility have been present in many countries for at least 100 years. A large population was considered essential to national power. But the issue is never simply a shortage of warm bodies: overall the world population has increased dramatically over this period and untold numbers would immigrate, if allowed. The issue is the number of the 'right sort' of people, defined as those having preferred national, religious, racial, ethnic, or language characteristics. Fertility levels are below replacement in many economically advanced countries. As a result, these countries are aging; medical and retirement costs are increasing. Countries must either raise fertility, accept immigrants, or adapt to a smaller, older population. Policies to raise fertility have not been very effective, except in severe dictatorships. To keep the ratio of working age people to dependents constant, hundreds of millions of immigrants would be required such that 70-80% of the population of receiving countries would be immigrants and their children. Adaptation is probably best, but the required changes (raise retirement age, tax the pension benefits of the wealthy, etc.) are politically difficult.

Reading assignment:

Teitelbaum, Michael and Jay Winter. The Fear of Population Decline, pp. 18-36

Caldwell, John, Pat Caldwell and Peter McDonald. "Policy Responses to Low Fertility and Its Consequences: A Global Survey." Journal of Population Research, 19 (2002), pp. 1-20

Teitelbaum, Michael. "The Media Marketplace for Garbled Demography." Population and Development Review, 30 (2004), pp. 317-326


February 19, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Today we have our first guest lecturer. I have the pleasure of introducing you to Dr. Michael Teitelbaum. He was an undergraduate at Reed College where he double majored in biology and sociology; that's an interesting combination, he's Phi Beta Kappa and at the end of that became a Rhodes scholar. How many prospective Rhodes scholars do we have in the class? Then he went to Oxford as a biologist to study reproductive biology and his advisor died.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Well first he was paralyzed for--he died a horrible slow death, yes.

Professor Robert Wyman: Something bad happened.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Something terrible happened.

Professor Robert Wyman: Then got into the statistical and quantitative aspects of that and then eventually he got a PhD in demography itself, and since then he's come back to America and he's taught at Oxford, and Princeton, and here at Yale. Unlike most academics, he actually ventured into the real world, although I'm not sure some of these are really like the real world, like the U.S. Government.

Dr. Michael Titlebaum: Yeah, somewhat unreal.

Professor Robert Wyman: He was the staff director of a Select Committee on Population for the U.S. House of Representatives and then was U.S. Commissioner for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development, so that's pretty important. He's been with the Ford Foundation, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and he's now with The Alfred Sloan Foundation where he's been vice president and in charge of science and technology programs.

He's been on the advisory boards at National Academy Sciences, National Institutes of Health, American Association for the Advancement of Science. He's authored seven books, but I could only find four: one, two, three, four. So in addition to your reading packet, which I hope you all picked up--this is just your reading for tonight. In addition to--this is half his books--five major government reports, 75 articles, etc. One of his major contributions is what we've--one of the topics we've just been--just finished discussing, he wrote--I think I mentioned this to you during the lecture that part of the Princeton project on Britain, the book on the British fertility decline, there's the author. And The Times Higher Education Supplement, wrote on that book: "An unsurpassed profusion of original data presented and analyzed with clarity all too often lacking in works of this kind. The book is invaluable; it clarifies and orders the complex rang of forces, which underlay the modern decline in rates of fertility."

He's also worked on global environmental issues and population and resources, he wrote this, an environmental book, is one of the best investigations. So, you have the honor, not only the lecture today, but he's agreed to come to dinner and all the students are invited. It's going to be at Timothy Dwight starting at 5:30 and I know you have other things. If you can't--we'll probably have a leisurely--casual leisurely dinner, so if you can't get there at 5:30, come when you can--or if you have something else afterwards, come and go. At TD. There's some sort of a small dining room as you leave--as you come around.

Okay in the last lecture we discussed the fertility declines in Europe and Tuesday we discussed how this fertility decline--started discussing--has continued in Europe and spread around the world. I showed you a graph of the decline in fertility rates globally. In the developed countries--so in the world as a whole, as you've been told, the fertility decline has not been enough to keep the population from still going up very rapidly, we discussed that, but in Europe, Japan, the advanced countries, the fertility decline has caused the population to come down enough, and these countries are now facing rather serious problems of a decline, a possible decline, in their population, certainly a change in behavior structure and this is what Michael is an expert on and so that is what he will discuss today as soon as I shut up.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Well thank you very much Dr. Wyman and it's a pleasure to be here. I just want to say, you're a very lucky bunch of undergraduates to have Robert Wyman as your professor. He's a--I've heard him lecture and I know him and he's a wonderful academic and scholar. Going through that list of--

Professor Robert Wyman: We give each other $100 tip.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Going through that list of publications makes me realize why my wife has been so annoyed with me for the 40 years nearly that we've been married, because a lot of that work has had to be done when I wasn't an academic and that means it comes out of your hide or out of your summer holidays, or weekends, or evenings, but it's interesting, exciting, and wonderful to do, and I've enjoyed doing it.

I know that you have been discussing--because I've seen your prospectus for this excellent course. I know you've been discussing high fertility rates and the demographic transition and you know therefore that high fertility has attracted a great deal of attention for at least two centuries and has always been related to poverty issues, concerns about poverty, underdevelopment, developing countries and so on, or poverty back in the 1800s when Malthus was writing, and also related to concerns about the environment and so on.

What is less known though is that, for at least 100 years of those two centuries, there's been discussion about low fertility as a problem as well. This has a long and, I would say, tumultuous history, lots of proponents worrying about it, often very prominent people in politics or science. I would say the debates have been plagued by misunderstanding and confusion as have the debates about high fertility, so there's something about population that stimulates misunderstanding and confusion. Now in general, low fertility has been linked to a decline in power.

You have to think about this in political and economic terms. National power, empires, the decline of empires and so on, but the links have been made, but it's often very fuzzy as to what the causal flow is. Is the low fertility a cause of the decline of empires or decline of national power, or is it a symptom? Often the commentators don't make it very clear what they're talking about. Those of you who know the French debates about these issues will know that it's a very prominent feature of French intellectual discourse going back into the 1870s, for example.

The French are hardly alone in this. You will find many such anxieties expressed in Germany in the 1930s, in Great Britain, Sweden, U.S., Russia, etc. More recently, let's say over the past four decades or so, in Eastern Europe, in Japan, in the U.S. certainly, and in the Asian Tigers most recently: Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea. Because it's about power, national power, or sub-national power low fertility has long been closely tied to political ideology and to cultural values. In some cases, low fertility has even been used as a tool to achieve desired social policies.

I want to make one point, that I hope you'll take away from this, which is that the concern about low fertility has never, ever, been solely about the number of warm bodies, human being warm bodies that is, but instead it's been visualized through the lens of these socio cultural values. The reason I say it's never been about warm bodies can be illustrated there, because if what I said is not true there really could never have been any concern about fertility since at least 1950.

The world's population, as you see, has grown dramatically over that half century and neither could there be any concern about future population demographic trends because the projections no matter which variant you take from the UN all show substantial growth going forward. In reality, the fears about low fertility are also framed in terms of regional or national, or religious, or ethnic or sub-national populations defined culturally. I would put it rather crudely, if I may, that since the onset of mortality decline which you've heard about already, at least two centuries ago, there have never been any shortages of humans. There have only been perceived or relative shortages of particular kinds of humans.

The most critical category is national groups in these discussions and then you can get into language, or religion, or the other subgroups. To give you an example of this I just want to point out that when he was Mayor of Paris, the later President of the Republic of France, Jacque Chirac, he warned about the decline in the population of France. This is consistent with French perspectives that right to left, all French people think that there are two few French people and yet at the same time he urged the repatriation of Arab immigrants and the restriction of future immigration. I mean now that classically shows you that it's not about the number of warm bodies; it's about the number of French warm bodies in France.

There is no ideological uniformity in these things. I've already said that in France the range of concerns is right from the left to the right, right across political spectrum. Democratic thinkers of what you might call liberal in the U.S., or left wing in Europe say, and of conservative orientations, have all expressed concern about this in one form or another.

Those are democratic thinkers, non-democrats such as the nationalist right in inter-war Germany and Italy, and nationalists parties such as the Front Nacionalé in France and other European countries have expressed such concerns, as have the authoritarian lefts of Stalin and Nicolea Ceausescu in Romania. There's a whole story about Romania which I've written about. If you want to see a bizarre situation read about what the Romanian government did in the 1960s.

On the political right, low fertility has generally been seen as a threat to national power, imperial power, or from the point of some with a more economics orientation, to the capacity to restrain wages and the power of unions. Many on the right have also expressed alarm about fertility differentials between social classes and races, ethnic groups and so forth, but frankly such concerns are subliminal but there in other political persuasions than the right. Meanwhile, as I said, the political left has often shared these nationalistic and strategic concerns.

In the 1930s, Hitler's Germany adopted very aggressive pronatalist policies to raise fertility in Germany but so did Stalin's USSR, same time, same place or different places same time, same policies in many ways. Then there were the socialist states, I mentioned Ceausescu, had a very strong pronatalist policy, but in the meantime the People's Republic of China went from pronatalism to strongly anti-natalist, probably the most energetic fertility reduction policy in world history, same country, same party in control -- taking population very significantly.

Now, in the West, the democratic left has concentrated generally on the threat posed by low fertility to their desires to expand and strengthen the welfare state, and in fact, if you look at in 1930s you'll see a fascinating debate led by the Myrdal's (prominent economists, Nobel laureates later of the left in Sweden) who promoted what came to be called the welfare state to the conservative parties in Sweden on the grounds that they needed to do something to raise fertility and that was the way to do it. If they didn't raise fertility, there would be no Swedes left in 50 years or so, and they actually co-opted the right successfully into supporting the welfare state that they promoted.

What about demographers? Have they been involved in this stuff? Yes, they have including some very prominent ones. One reason for this was the discovery, the development in the 1930s by demographers of some very powerful concepts and techniques. I don't know if you've actually studied yet the intrinsic rate of increase, net reproduction rate, total fertility rate, and demographic projection models. All of these being developed--technologies developed in the 1930s and these led to predictions from demographers that the population of the United Kingdom, for example from the 1930s to the 1960s, would decline very sharply and there were some very pathetic novels and academic books written with titles like Twilight of Parenthood, Race Suicide, and other such tomes. That forecast, using demographic projection models, that there would be too few whatever's, of the relevant group.

Now in some respects these were flawed predictions, obviously. It didn't happen, and they arose from misunderstanding because these were new technologies that had only recently been understood and developed and there was a typical excess of enthusiasm, academic enthusiasm, they really thought they had developed a window into the distant future. They could project the population using intrinsic rates of increase and projection models and they could see 50 years into the future. They thought. They were wrong. All of those projections proved to be empirically wrong.

We know better now because we've seen they were wrong. It helps to actually see things go so badly wrong, but these same errors of believing demographic projections to be forecasts of future populations are being made right now as we speak, mostly by non-demographers. Demographers have all learned they can't believe projections as predictions. Non-demographers haven't learned that lesson or don't want to learn that lesson, and they use these projections to forecast decline of the West, and decline of the Soviet Union, decline of Russia, decline of Italy, whatever category they want to talk about.

What about--I said there were a few very distinguished demographers who also did this? Yes, the most prominent was the great French demographer Alfred Sauvy, a very distinguished man indeed, probably the dean of French demographers. He did this kind of relationship of low fertility equals decline for most of his professional career, for 40 years basically.

Let me just list for you some of the events in history that he attributed to fertility rates being too low. He said the decadence of ancient Athens and then of Rome, item one. The failure of France to industrialize, the decline of the French Navy in the nineteenth century, the collapse of the French army before the Germans in 1940. He used very evocative language. He said, for example, "The terrible failure of 1940, more moral than material, must be linked in part to this dangerous sclerosis resulting from low birthrates. We saw all too often during the occupation," German occupation, "old men leaning wearily towards the servile solution. At the time that the young," that's the resistance, "were taking part in the national impulse towards independence and liberty. This crucial effect of our senility, is it not a grave warning? Depopulation for France carries with it, fatally, a general legacy of decadence." You see how powerful the rhetoric can be in this area.

I do not want you to get the impression that demographers shared these lifelong concern about fertility being too low, to the contrary, they were not widely shared among demographers after all the gloomy forecasts of the 1930s proved to be wrong. The past is one of confusion and anxiety. What about the future? I'd say it's likely to be a future of great unpredictability. The truth is that currently we are in a period of low fertility rates that are without precedent in their lowness, if you will, their smallness and without precedent in how widespread they have become around the world.

Having no precedent we actually lack any way of knowing if they will continue at these very low levels, if they'll rise somewhat, perhaps even above the magic 2.11 replacement level, or could they decline further to levels such as the league table [of country rankings] leaders with low fertility which would be surprisingly enough Italy, Spain, Hong Kong. We don't know. Anybody who tells you they know, you should not believe, they have no way of knowing.

We do know that the very low fertility of 1930s was short lived but then was followed by a substantial baby boom in some countries that had low fertility in the 1930s and not in others. All I can say to you is why don't you all come back for your fiftieth reunion at Yale in 50 years and we'll have a talk about whether fertility rates stayed very low, went lower, or rose in these countries that were very low. That's the only way we're ever going to know. This graph will surely be wrong as a prediction, I will predict that.

There's an irony here, we have moved from a society in which 90% of women have no effective control over their fertility to a society in which 90% of women do have effective control of their fertility, rational control of their fertility. The result is that analysts, demographers and you, are less able to rationally anticipate what they will collectively do now that they individually, rationally have control over their fertility. A very wide range of population projections is plausible, that's just a narrow range compared to some you could do if you wanted to make--these are quite conservative assumptions on the high side and the low side.

Under these kinds of conditions of really profound uncertainty, can we offer any cautious interpretations of historical experience that might provide us with some kind of insight into the future? Well I'll offer a few and you can shoot me down if you would like to do so. First, I think it's nearly inevitable that we'll see populations with much older age structures, much older age compositions then those of the past. That's the consequence of low fertility. Of course if there's a nuclear catastrophe or some other catastrophe all bets are off. None of these projections or future looks can assume catastrophe.

The only way to return to the youthful age structures of the past would be to have very substantial fertility increases to those of the past and to sustain those very high fertility rates. This in turn would apply--would imply rapid population, increase ad infinitum. I think most of you know that that's not likely to happen. Now my other point here is that societies that have very low fertility rates, like 1.1 child per woman on average that you might find in Italy or Japan, Japan's a little higher but 1.3 in Japan.

I think it would be desirable--this is a value judgment on my part, it would be desirable for fertility rates to rise somewhat to more moderate levels but I don't think they will ever rise in those countries to the levels pre-transition. The challenge is going to be find creative mechanisms to smooth the transition from younger to older demographic age structures and to put in place adaptive mechanisms that will allow such societies to prosper over the longer term under these new conditions.

The second point I'd like to make is that we are in danger collectively of making two errors of demographic interpretation and these are both significant errors. First, we are in danger of putting undue emphasis upon what are called period rates. Have you discussed period rates?

Professor Robert Wyman: There's a reading from the last lecture.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Okay. We are in danger of focusing on period rates. I've just done it myself; 1.1 child per woman for Italy, even though we know they are distorted rates. They're well below the underlying rates of how many children the average woman will have when she finishes her childbearing, that's a cohort rate. Second danger is--and we're doing it every day, mis-specifying the category aged and thereby misconstruing what demographic aging means. Let me say a few words about both of those.

In Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, countries like that in Europe, there have been significant increases in the mean age of marriage and hence the mean age of first birth typically. These are large increases by demographic standards and they are large enough to cause distortions in the period rates over the time period during which the mean age of childbearing is rising. This is a well known phenomenon to demographers; it's not well understood among political leaderships.

When I was working on The Hill running a congressional committee, I learned not to use the term 'cohort,' because as soon as I said cohort the Congressman would say, 'you mean your friends, your cohort?' I said 'no, no it's a generation concept.' 'Oh I don't get it, don't bother me with the facts.' But even the term is misunderstood. Given that it's really too easy to distort, for that kind of audience if you want to make the case that we're all going to hell in a hand basket to distort these period rates and say this is what's going to continue indefinitely into the future.

Professor Robert Wyman: Can you just say--repeat what period it is.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Period rate--

Professor Robert Wyman: Not all of them have read about it.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Okay, a period rate is--it is expressed--let's say--let's take the total fertility rate which is a period rate, it is synthetic in the sense that it is an attempt to summarize the fertility behavior let's say in 2009 of women, demographers care only about women by the way, of women of all ages. It's the fertility rates of women 15 to 19, 20 to 24; these are different cohorts as you can see in 2009. They're born in different years; they each have a characteristic fertility rate by age. If you sum up the rates of all of those age groups in a given year you will get a period rate, which is an attempt to summarize the overall fertility behavior of the entire population of all ages. Then we express it, probably confusingly, in terms such as 1.1 child per woman, or 2.1 children per woman. It's not actually any real woman, it's a synthetic woman.

Professor Robert Wyman: The best kind.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: The best kind of women yeah. If you--another way to imagine this--imagine you had 1,000 female demographers. That's a frightening prospect when you think about it, and they formed a pact, they were all age 15, so they're 15-year-old demographers and they form a pact that they will bear children collectively at the rate of each age group in that year that they make the pact right through their reproductive lifespan. At the end of their reproductive lifespan, 40 say or 45, they collectively would have an average children ever born equal to the total fertility rate for that year, but of course that would never happen. I mean I'm just trying to give you an--ask you to imagine what the rates mean.

The problem with the rates--well let me say what's good about the period rates. They give you a summary of what's going on in a year or in a five year period, that's why it's called a period rate. It's a current kind of summary rate. The cohort rates don't do that, they tell you how many children women age 45 today had through their entire lifespan. The problem with the period rates is that they can be distorted if women delay or accelerate their childbearing. Each year if there's a delay they may end up with the same number of children when they finish their childbearing, but they stretch it out over more years, so the annual rates, the period rates are depressed therefore.

We know that's happening in southern Europe, we know it's not happening in central Europe, so low rates in central Europe are not distorted in this way, the low rates in southern Europe are distorted in this way. That's probably enough about period rates.

Now I've said the second possible error is the mis-specification by demographers and others of the boundaries of the age dependency category. Convention, when do you get to be aged dependent? The answer 65. Where did that number come from? Arbitrary. Who came up with it? The people who designed the Social Security Act of 1935 who had to decide at what age did a person qualify for a Social Security pension. Why did they say 65? Well actually initially they were going to say 70 because they were copying Bismarck's social insurance scheme from the nineteenth century, and the Bismarck system you got your state pension at age 70.

It was a time of mass unemployment and so there was a desire to encourage older workers to leave the work force to make room for unemployed younger workers, so they moved it down by five years, 65. It's been that way in the statistics, in the data, ever since. Demographers have not adjusted to the reality that the meaning of 65 in 1935 was very different from the meaning of 65 in 2005 or 2009. That's a problem because we will spend a lot of time calculating to the third decimal place the aged dependency ratio and yet we know that the meaning of the boundary between working age and aged dependency is increasingly out of touch with reality.

The same is true, by the way, of the young dependency ratio, youthful dependency ratio, which is usually set at age 15 or 19 on grounds that after that people become productive labor force people like you. That's all changed too but we still stick to these boundaries and we're misleading ourselves and everyone else I'm afraid by doing that. There are a lot of alternatives to this. I won't go into them but one obvious possibility would be to shift the age boundaries upward for both the youthful and the older boundaries, say to 20 years and 70 years, rather than 15 and 65 that would make sense.

You'd want to keep the old series as well because you would want to have some comparability over time, but to have an alternative ratio would be useful. Another possibility would be to fix the number of years of remaining life expectancy rather than the age, the absolute age as the boundary between aged dependency and working age.

Now let me talk a bit about policy responses to very low fertility. There are basically two basic types of policy responses that have been strongly urged. First measures to increase fertility, that's a pretty obvious and direct one, and second measures to adapt to low fertility over the longer term. I am not embracing any of these recommendations but I do want to give you the analytic possibilities that might--that have been put forward.

First, and this will offend most of you, it has been urged and implemented in some countries to limit access to fertility control. If you banned contraception, abortion, etc., sterilization, fertility rates would go up. That's basically what Ceausescu in Romania did in 1966. This would be probably unworkable in a liberal democracy. Romania was not a liberal democracy to say the least, and it would be unacceptable in many other ways. It would probably result in a revolution in the United States, but that's analytically a possibility.

Second, economic incentives to encourage higher fertility and these have come in many forms in the past. How about cash bonuses for bearing a child? Or allowances, annual payments per child you have in the family, from the government, or tax preferences to people with children, those are part of U.S. tax law, of course. These can be flat, meaning each child is treated the same in terms of the amount of bonus or tax incentive, or they can be "progressive"--I guess you put that in quotes--with increasing amounts per--for later births. You might give no incentive for the first birth but a big incentive for the third birth, for example.

You could give 'in-kind' benefits. For example, in much of Eastern Europe, families with more than two children had access to larger and preferential flats, preferred flats, government flats. They got preference in that way or subsidized housing, or you could give early retirement bonuses to people. You could say, well a woman who has three or more children can retire at age 55 instead of 65, that would be an incentive. In both the Soviet Union in the 1930s and in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, women got prizes, gold medals, mother heroine awards, gold medals for eight or more children, for example, in the Soviet Union.

You could counterweight existing dis-incentives to large families for example, by facilitating female labor force participation for women who have children in various ways; the French Crèche System which is a government financed early childhood, before the schools start, system of childcare is an example of doing that. The Swedish government has lots of policies of this kind. Those are benign examples but there are some harsh examples. You could take measures to deter female labor force participation on grounds that you think it conflicts with maternal behavior.

Now among Western countries, there have really been only a few that have adopted explicitly pronatalist policies of these kinds. France, Luxemburg, Greece, Quebec come to mind, although other countries have policies they do not describe as pronatalist policies, they say they're social policies, but they have the implicit effect of being pronatalist and they don't acknowledge that typically. In France there have been proposals never adopted for an official maternal wage, and it's called that, in which mothers who stay at home with young children would get monthly payments from the government, they get paid to be mothers that would be calculated in those proposals at about 25% of the prevailing wage for employed women.

In the socialist countries, former socialist countries of eastern Europe, there were lots of these policies. They've all disappeared or almost all have disappeared since the fall of the communist system, but those countries had child allowances, birth bonuses, maternity leave at full pay for five months, paid leave until the child is three years of age, and substantial subsidies and grants in kind. The only non-Western low fertility country that's pursued this kind of policy, that I'm familiar with it so far at least, but there will be others almost surely, is Singapore.

Singapore has embraced strong pronatalist policies and there have been some modest ones in Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia. In Singapore too they have policies about encouraging highly educated young men and women to meet each other, they have dating services, they want them to meet each other and marry and have children, which always causes amusement outside of Singapore. They don't think it's funny; they think it's perfectly sensible.

It's fair to say that the impacts of these policies on fertility are probably there, but they're small impacts. In some countries they were very expensive policies as well, but they didn't have much impact. If you tried to do the kinds of things that eastern European socialist countries did in the 1980s proportionately in Western countries the costs would be enormous, 1/3 to 1/2 of average wages for a family with two or three children for example; the cost would be very large.

Now what about measures to adapt to low fertility over the long term? Well, first it's easier to adapt if the shifts are gradual, so very low fertility countries having dramatic shifts in the age structure, it makes it much harder for them. Then I've already mentioned the question of the boundaries between dependency and so on, I won't repeat that, but it's fair to say that the elderly dependent population, however defined, is going to cost more than the youthful dependent population, mainly because of healthcare.

Education is the main public investment in youthful dependent population, the rest of the costs of those children are borne by families. When it comes to the aged dependent population the families are no longer paying the costs, and the healthcare costs are very high and rising. Here I would have to say that, of the industrialized countries of the West, the U.S. has the largest problem in this regard. Not because it has the oldest age structure or the most rapidly growing elderly population, but because it is politically incapable of controlling it's expenditure on healthcare and that's a generic problem in the society, but it has special import for the elderly age structure.

What could governments do? Well they could modify the terms of the social pension provisions, they could shift the effective age of retirement, they could privatize part of the pension system, they could subject pension benefits of well off retirees to substantial income taxation. But, in fact, the politics of pension policy in most of these countries have operated in the other direction, in the opposite direction. Most countries, if anything, have taken measures to lower the pension age until recently when they've started gradually now to reverse the lowering of pension ages that they engaged in, in the 1960s and 1970s.

As far as the youthful population is concerned, it's going to be smaller with these low fertility populations. Well, one could certainly convert age related facilities, such as schools, for other purposes, and going forward, it would make a lot of sense to design new schools in a flexible way so they're easier to convert for other purposes, which leads me finally to immigration.

Immigration is often put forward as a way to deal with an aging population. The truth is that the potential pool of immigrants to low fertility countries, the potential pool, is very large and it could easily be tapped. In fact, many of these countries are having problems restraining the flow which is exceeding what they would like it to be. It would be quite simple for a low fertility country, any one of the ones I've mentioned, to simply augment their populations by allowing additional immigration. That sounds a lot easier than changing the pension system and then all the other systems.

Now let me take you back to my point about concerns about low fertility not being about the number of warm bodies, but about the numbers defined as part of the nation or other ethnic or cultural group, so that's the paradox. Under conditions of very low fertility, substantial immigration would produce very rapid transformation of the composition of a population socio-culturally defined, and historically such rapid changes have led to passionate public opposition.

The irony here is that, while you might think, as an analyst, sitting here in lecture room at Yale that why not just have more warm bodies immigrate and that'll take care of the issue. It's exactly in a low fertility setting that the public opposition is strongest to increased or substantial immigration. There are some examples in which immigration can be of--by people who are defined as part of, or similar to, the indigenous population, and in those cases, there's less--typically less opposition and I can give you a few examples.

Like the post war migration of East Germans to West Germany, for example. Or the Germans, so called Germans -- the Volga Germans--from Russia to Germany which turned out to be quite controversial, but they were defined as Germans returning home even though they're ancestors had left 300 years earlier. The Pied Noir's to France after the collapse of the French Empire, in Africa mostly; the "return"--think about that, the "return" of Jews from North Africa to the new state of Israel; of Italians or Italian Argentineans rather, to Italy; of Japanese origin people, the Nisei from Brazil and Peru to Japan; of Angolan colonial settlers to Portugal, so there are examples of this kind of migration being less controversial.

I think one should also say that moderate levels of immigration do not appear to be all that controversial. This is not a question of people being passionately against immigration, but it's a question of quantity. This will lead me, if I can get this to move forward--here's a Jacque Chirac quote which I meant to show you, I'll let you read it. You see Chirac was saying that in 2004,--we already know what the population was in 2004--but that Europe would be empty in 2004. He said that in 1984 and one thing the demographers have learned is never make a prediction over a time span in which you might still be alive because you will probably always be wrong; Chirac was clearly wrong.

What I want to talk about is a study, and this will be my last section here, a study of the question of substituting immigration for missed fertility in low fertility societies. There was a study done by the United Nations Population Division in 2000. It asked the question, how many immigrants would be needed to compensate for low fertility in Europe? The answer was: A lot. This was no surprise to the UN Population Division or to demographers, but it was a surprise to The New York Times, which in 2001 ran this story--or 2000 I guess it is, back in January 2000 ran this story picked up by The Herald Tribune in Paris and so on, about this study.

I know a little bit about the history of why it was published on the 2nd of January 2000, which I can tell you because it's a story about how the press works. The study had been filed months before by the journalist Barbara Croset, and was literally filed in a file cabinet, had not been published, and then on the second of January, day after New Year's, slow news day, nothing was happening, the editor on duty said, 'oh we have that story from six months ago let's just throw that in the paper.' They put it in the paper, it had already been written and edited, and notice the headline here, the subhead, 'It's The American Way,' you can imagine how this appealed to the nationalists in various European countries. Europe stares at a future built by immigrants, it's the American way.

The reaction was described to me by the head of the UN population division in one word. He said it was "mayhem." They started to get calls almost immediately from almost every newspaper in Europe. The Secretary General of the United Nations got calls from most European countries, from the governments, and not surprisingly the Secretary General's office called over to the Population Division and said, 'could you please send us the study.'

The truth is, there was no study. They had done some back of the envelope calculations and had done a one page talking point thing for a General Assembly meeting that they thought it might come up at. What they did was a press release that was I think two pages, summarizing the back of the envelope calculations, and within a few days Le Monde story here, here's the press release. Here's Le Monde, I think, and Le Monde actually dropped the question mark at the end of the title of the press release. You see there, the press release says, "Replacement Migration, Is It A Solution To Declining And Aging Populations?" and Le Monde translated it as 'a solution to declining, etc., populations.'

There was suddenly a big story in Europe, here we have Le Figaro, the report that alarmed Europe, it was translated--I think there's an Economist article here. Here's a cartoon from Figaro saying, what's the distance from Europe to the United Nations, etc., a man and a woman talking over the--about that. Here's The Economist, fewer and wrinklier Europeans--all the major German newspapers had articles, Belgium, Spanish, Italian, the French TV main channel sent crews to the UN to interview the authors of the study.

There was still no study. All there was was that press release that you saw before. Well for some reason the Secretary General took the view that they should now do the study and they did the study, and unfortunately what happened was that the press in Europe interpreted the UN study or the press release as the UN recommendation to European countries to admit more immigrants. "The United Nations is preparing a new report which will argue that Europe may need to accept many more migrants over the next 50 years to maintain population levels and the size of its workforce." It's not--they did do the study, very quickly. It's not what the study did. This is an inventory of all the articles that were published after the press release.

What did they actually find? Well what they did were hypothetical scenarios to 2050 and they asked the following questions among others, how many immigrants would key countries need to prevent decline in the total population, assuming that their projections on fertility were accurate, to hold constant the population 15 to 65, there we are again with those 15 and 65 age boundaries, and to hold constant what they call the potential support ratio which they defined as the ratio of people of working age, meaning 15 to 64 to those who are aged dependent, meaning 65 and over.

For the last, which was in a way the most important one, here were the numbers they came up with: that Germany would need 188 million immigrants by 2050, at which point 80% of the population within the boundaries of Germany would be represented by those immigrants and their offspring. Italy would need 120 million, and you see the percentages here, always 4/5ths of the population would be accounted for by immigrants and their offspring. The U.S., even the U.S. which would need 593 million immigrants would be at 73% even with its higher fertility rates.

The paradox here is that if you combine low fertility with high immigration, from an economic view or let's say our Yale undergraduate perspective, immigrants or substitutes are complements, they're workers, they have skills, they bring skills, they pay taxes, they subsidize retirement for older residents. But the public view is that immigrants are human beings, that they have cultures, religions, politics, languages, so if fertility is low, immigration is less acceptable to public's than if fertility is high or higher. Meanwhile, elites like us, take that more economic perspective. I think probably if we did a survey of this group we would be more positive about increasing immigration then would the public at large.

The outcomes of this are really unknowable. There's been a lot of heat, there hasn't been a lot of light about international migration. The data are weak, fertility data are much better, mortality data are the best demographic data, fertility data are the second best, migration data are by far the worst. They are very weak, but we think there are about 200 million international migrants around now and that it's gone up about 2/3rds in 15 years, increasing at about 2.3 million per year. If you put them all together where do they fit? 200 million would be the fifth largest population in the world, so it's a non-trivial number, but it's a very small fraction of the world's population, like 3% or less. We have tens of millions of people migrating, but overwhelmingly, the majority of people do not migrate, so just keep all of those paradoxes in your head about international migration.

In absolute terms, the U.S. has the largest number of foreign-born people at 35 million in 2000, and The Russian Federation is next. Here, if you can read that, I guess you can, you see the U.S. at the top there, The Russian Federation and then the other countries are a lot smaller in terms of foreign-born residents. If you look though at the percent of the population you get a different list then the one I just showed you of the different league table [of country rankings].

The Persian Gulf states have the highest percentage of the populations who are immigrants or international migrants. Largely because they have substantial numbers, small compared to the U.S., but substantial numbers of international migrants of the base of a very small indigenous population. Most of their migrants are temporary workers; they are not immigrants in the sense that they're allowed to stay permanently. You have 3/4ths of the populations of the United Arab Emirates and the Qatar who are foreign born and more than half in Kuwait. I say here that Israel and Jordan are about 40%, it depends on how you define the Palestinians in Jordan, but if you call them international migrants then it's 40% or so in Jordan.

Then you can find a few European countries but they're tiny, like Lichtenstein, that have high percentages of foreign born people, but generally speaking, the highest percentages are in small countries and here's the league table [of country rankings] there. I don't know if you can read it, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Singapore, Oman, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Gabon, and Canada. You see the big countries don't by and large appear in that league table [of country rankings].

If you look at countries that have 50 million or more, so we're starting about--we're starting to talk about significant population of countries, the percent of foreign born exceeds 10% in only three such countries, in the Ukraine, in the U.S., and in France. The Russian Federation and Germany are getting--are pretty close so we should include them probably, but there aren't many others that are above 5%.

I've already said that low fertility might imply increasing immigration and there are plausible arguments about--in favor of that to meet the labor force needs that employers say they have, as there's more economic integration, more international migration is inevitable, and immigrants can arguably finance unsustainable pension systems, pay as you earn pension systems. There are equally plausible counterarguments, and you're just going to have to decide for yourself. I don't think anyone can convince you one way or another of what's right here, or what's the proper mindset.

One argument here would be that low fertility rates are likely going to be temporary, that public opposition will prevent an increase of international migration to very high levels and that these pay as you earn pension systems are going to be restructured, and I am firmly on the fence on this. I will sit uncomfortably on the fence as long as I can stand it. It's painful to sit on the fence, but in this case I don't think there's a clear correct position on these things.

Here are summary and conclusions: very low fertility now is widespread and it's continuing to spread. I think--the last I looked and don't quote me on this, but last I looked if you don't include China because China tilts everything, it's 20% of the world's population, so let's be conservative and not include China, which does have below replacement in fertility. Without China, 40% of the world's population now lives in countries with below replacement fertility and rising. With China, 60% of the world's population live in such countries.

In the past we know that these low fertility rates, in fact, not as low as some of the rates we see today, have led to exaggerated alarm and to nationalist responses. Fertility rates could rise in the future, there's nothing to stop them. Most sociologists, anthropologists, and demographers don't think they will, but they have no way of knowing. I don't think they will, but I could easily be wrong.

It's hard to increase fertility rates via policy in liberal democracies. Increased immigration is often invoked as a solution to the problems resulting from very low fertility but it's not very effective, and it's likely to stimulate its own passionate opposition. My bottom line is, and I'll stop with this, that adaptive societies, societies that are capable, flexible enough to adapt to changing age structures, up and down and sideways, are likely to fare the best in the future. Thank you.

Professor Robert Wyman: I think we have time to take questions--anybody has one?

Dr. Michael Tietelbaum: There have got to be some questions because I didn't explain some things that I just asserted.

Professor Robert Wyman: Let me just start off--and this is a biggee.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Okay.

Professor Robert Wyman: I know there are whole lectures on this. There's bunches of theories, I was going to make the question more elaborate but let's make it simple. What do you think is causing this very low fertility in Japan and Singapore?

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: How long do we have? There are a whole range of theories about this. There's a whole theoretical structure called the second demographic transition theory which explains low fertility on grounds of secularization of societies, the collapse of religious social control over behavior which relates heavily to marriage and childbearing, of the rising labor force participation of women, and women's labor force participation being in conflict with fertility and childbearing and child rearing, and a whole range of other things that you might just characterize as modernization.

From this point of view theoretically, low fertility is permanent and inevitable in advanced societies. That no society of that kind is going to ever again approach--well they would--I don't know if they would say this, but they might, would not ever exceed replacement level and you'll have high percentages of women who will be childless throughout their lives, low marriage rates, why should anybody bother getting married when there's no problem in cohabiting without being married socially, culturally, and legally if all the benefits of marriage can be accrued without needing to get married, why bother.

You actually see that, especially in the Nordic countries, where very high percentages of the population, again of women, we can look at men too but women are the important fertility carriers if you will. Very high percentages of women age 30 are never married and don't look like they ever will get married, very high rates of cohabitation, and in the case of Sweden fertility has been rising from low levels under those circumstances, which is posing some theoretical problems for the proponents of the second demographic transition.

We can't explain things like this. Life is too complicated, and collective fertility behavior is too complicated to explain things like this. If you look at Japan, for example, in Japan you have very low rates of marriage among women in their 20s. It looks like Sweden in terms of marriage behavior, but there's a huge difference in the percentage of births in Japan versus Sweden that are outside of marriage. If I remember correctly, it's like 2% of births in Japan are outside of marriage and in Sweden it's almost 50% of births are outside marriage, so you have the same marriage behavior roughly, but higher fertility collectively in Sweden then you do in Japan. Italy, European country, looks more like Japan in this respect then it looks like Sweden or Germany.

Student: In the media, this isn't as much of the crisis that you talk about it being, or at least in America you hear more about terrorism or the war, health. Within the government how much of a big issue is this and at what time in history is it prioritized?

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Well the U.S. has high fertility by the standards of its peer countries. It's very close to replacement level to--last time I looked it was 2.0 versus 2.1. It was one 1.1 or so in Italy, 1.3 in Japan, so there's less concern here than there is in--among political elites in other countries. What the U.S. does have that most of them don't have, however, is a very large baby boom generation. The U.S. had a big baby boom, you've probably discussed this in previous lectures, or you will. The U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand really were the four baby boom countries post World War II. In the case of the U.S., fertility went from below replacement level to 3.7, doubled essentially.

It peaked in 1957 and started declining sharply in 1965 but there was a period--the so called baby boom generation, if you will, 1947 birth to 1965, who are now reaching the statutory retirement age and that bulge is going to rapidly increase the proportion of the population in that post 65 age group for about 20 years because it's just aging its way through the age structure. Given that the U.S. government has proven itself incapable of getting control over health care expenditures that will be a major crisis for the Medicare system. I can predict that without any doubt whatever. I don't know what's going to happen, how it will be handled; I just know it's going to be a major crisis. Yes, ma'am?

Student: Could you speak briefly to--could you provide a response to theorists who would argue that widespread moderate decline--or moderate to severe decline in populations is actually, isn't addressing social and environmental concerns and that kind of thing?

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Yes. I have a firmly on the fence moderate position on these things. I think both rapid population growth and rapid population decline are problematic for societies. There are too many things tied to age in these societies like public provision of schools versus healthcare and other things that rapid shifts will cause problems. I think I alluded to this; it's easier for societies to adjust to change if it's slower in general.

Whether it would be desirable as some environmentalist's think for the population of the world to decline sharply from where it is, six point some billion to whatever they think the carrying capacity of the earth is, and that's a highly speculative calculation of course is another matter and I don't think anybody can really resolve those debates. People feel very strongly in both directions about those sorts of arguments.

I would say myself that the optimal trajectory would be fertility rates, plus or minus 10%, 15% of replacement level, not 50% above, not 50% below, not fluctuating a lot because if they fluctuate a lot it causes all kinds of oscillations in the age structure over 75 or 100 years, and those are problematic for societies but moderation in all things is probably a good a maxim for these kinds of long lived, slow changing but powerful.

They're--demography is like--I think of demography as being like the tectonic plates of the earth, it's moving very slowly by the standards of elections or economic collapses, or economic booms, very slowly but huge force behind it and huge momentum behind it too, so you don't want to get in the way of tectonic plates if you can avoid it. I saw another hand, yes sir?

Student: From a policy perspective, I guess specifically for the U.S., are all warm American bodies equal or do you take into consideration economic circumstances or anything else?

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: From whose perspective?

Student: The government's or whoever's working on this currently.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Well the government doesn't have a brain. I mean the government--

Student: In your perspective, are all warm bodies equal or--

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: I would say it depends on the economy. If you had to choose, this is a personal interpretation, it's not a fact, if you had to choose let's say between a group of very highly skilled immigrants or a group of very low skilled, let's say illiterate immigrants, and they were moving into society where the--most of the population was illiterate then it wouldn't--the illiterate immigrant population would not be a serious issue really, but if they're moving into a society in which you have to be literate in order to have any chance of economic sustainability and advancement, it would not be a good idea to import large numbers of people who are not going to make it in that society.

It's a question of both the nature and characteristics of the immigrants and the nature and characteristics of the economy and society into which they're moving. Governments--if you ask me what is the position of the U.S. or British government on this, they don't really have one. It's just the pushing and shoving of different interest groups and wherever the vectors of pushing and shoving end up is what the government policy is, but it's not necessarily thought through in a kind of logical way.

I think I saw one other hand. We're running out of time.

Professor Robert Wyman: Time's up.

Dr. Michael Teitelbaum: Okay, good.


[end of transcript]

Lecture 12
Human and Environmental Impacts
Play Video
Human and Environmental Impacts

Until recently, the world population has been growing faster than exponentially. Although the growth rate has slowed somewhat, there are about 80 million more people each year and about 3 billion more will be added by 2050 (a 50% increase). Population will probably increase more beyond that. Such growth is unprecedented and we cannot predict its long-term effects. The environmental impact of this population increase is bound to be astronomic. Large populations engender two problems: over-consumption in the rich countries which leads to environmental misery, and under-consumption in the poor countries which leads to human misery. People living in abject poverty ($1 per day) don't limit their fertility. Factory jobs in poor countries pay double that, approximately $2 per day. For population to stabilize, income must rise. If population is to increase by 50%, income needs to double -- we are looking at a tripling of the world economy. The environment is currently overstressed. Can it survive a tripling of the economy?

Reading assignment:

Weeks, John R. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, pp. xix-xx, 1 and 4-6

Sengupta, Somini. "In Bombay, Public Indignity Is Poverty's Partner." The New York Times, 10 February 2002

Ying, Hong. Daughter of the River

LaFraniere, Sharon. "Another School Barrier for African Girls: No Toilet." The New York Times, 23 December 2005

Deutsch, Claudia. "A Not-So-Simple Plan to Keep African Girls in School." The New York Times, 12 November 2007

Bumiller, Elizabeth. May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey among the Women of India, chapter 5


February 24, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Okay, we are now at the part of the course--we're coming up to fairly modern times, it's been a very breathless run from six million years of chimpanzee evolution through many--few million years of human evolution, and we're coming up to more or less the 1960s, which is the period of the greatest percentage increase in human population on earth ever. So this is the peak of what's called the population explosion and we're going to be talking about that until almost the end of the term now.

I have to tell you a little bit, truth in teaching or something. How I got interested in this topic. When I was just a little bit older then you are now, I did the fairly usual thing of going--putting on my short pants and going around the world, around Asia anyway, with almost no money in my pocket. You all, if you have never done that, you should do it definitely, and after you graduate college is a great time to do it. One of the places I went to was Hong Kong. Now Hong Kong at that time there were huge numbers of people coming out of China. China was still extraordinarily poor at the time, and any time anybody could leave they left, and so Hong Kong was incredibly crowded with very poor people and it's still an incredibly crowded place of course, and migrants are still coming out if they can.

One of the--where were these people going to live? There were hillsides with shanty towns, lots and lots of shanty towns, but also the--it's right on the ocean, it's an island, part of it's an island, so the water is free so many people were living in little sampans, little boats called sampans in--just in the harbor docked sort of almost anywhere. I thought well that's interesting, and one of my friends, I had a number of Chinese friends took me to look at the boats. It was interesting, I wasn't yet really interested in demography but I couldn't help notice that basically every boat had a little girl on it 11, 12, 13 or something, maybe younger.

And then we got invited on the boat, one of the first--one of the boats and people were extremely polite, even the very poor, very polite and a lot of bowing and shaking hands on my part, and they wanted to offer me something, a little bit of tea, a little bit of rice cake, they're just as wonderful as they could be. I noticed that when something had to be done like the tea had to be gotten, or this that or the other thing, it was that little girl that was doing all the work. Okay, so what, that's one the kids, it's good for kids to have some chores.

Then since--they didn't have didn't have television or a lot of entertainment and here was this Westerner and they weren't so used to seeing a lot of Westerners on their boats--I sort of got passed from boat to boat. When you go walking around the world that's a very good, if you go to places where they don't see Westerners you can get passed on very easily--so in boat after boat--and this phenomenon repeated itself, that there was this little girl in every boat and she seemed to be doing all the work. Finally, I asked my friends, what's going on here?

A little hard to get the information out of them, but in actual fact it was a form of shall we say family population control that the--there--this was a non-contracepting population so children just coming and they couldn't support the number of children that they had and they did not value girls very much. What they did is, basically, they sold the girls from one boat to the next boat, and then the little girls were basically servants, again you can use the word slave it you want, but servants in whatever boat they had been sold to, and some money changed hands, of course all illegal because Hong Kong was then under British rules. It's illegal almost everywhere anyway.

They were just working, doing as much work as could be gotten out of them. Well that was very sad, but it wasn't a disaster because everybody was living very poorly. Then later, same trip, with my medical connections, I got to tour one of the big British--Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one of these big city hospitals, it had ward after ward, and one of the things I was taken to see--tuberculosis was a very big problem back then, leprosy was a problem, tuberculosis was a problem.

I did something stupid with leprosy I visited--there was a leper colony on an island off of Hong Kong and they were constructing stuff, and I cannot stand around while people are working and me not so I grabbed a pitch--a pickax and started working with them and of course the pickax is rough. It's made of not terribly well polished wood and there I was banging away with it and it rubs whatever--Leprosy is a bacteria that gets into your skin and the only way to get it is to get that leprosy into your skin, so the lepers had been working with it and rubbing it into their skin and they were rubbing into the wood of the ax and then onto me.

I did not get--it was really stupid in retrospect but you do a lot of stupid things and I did not catch leprosy, and in fact, by that time most--they had a drug, an antibiotic against leprosy and most of the leprosy bacillus in these people was dead, so it probably wasn't quite as dangerous as it might have been. Anyway, I did not catch leprosy; you can check my hand and so forth. The people there had the old--this is an aside but it's about poverty so I'll tell you. Leprosy affects the nerve cells and it doesn't make--directly make your fingers or nose fall off, but you don't feel wounds, so you don't--because you don't have the nerve cells--so you don't take care of wounds, eventually the fingers get infected and damaged, the damage is kind of constant and parts of you fall off actually. But it's not the leprosy bacteria itself, which only attacks nerves, it's the damage that you're not paying--you're not noticing, you're not aware of. Sorry that was an excursion.

Leprosy was a big thing in Hong Kong at that time, as was tuberculosis and in the big British hospital I went in and one of the things I saw was huge wards, they're big places with--again I saw a ward full of these just pubescent or pre-pubescent girls and they all had TB. Then there was two or three of these wards actually, so a very large number of girls there, and I said what's going on? Then the full story came out. That yes, indeed, there is a lot of selling of the children between boats, and yes they work, and because they're underfed and overworked and TB is rampant, these girls get tuberculosis.

Then what happens is they take them to the health station and the doctors say you've got to build up this girl and they give them milk powder. Milk powder is taken, and what do you think they do with the milk powder? Give it to the boy child, so the girl gets sicker, and then she's getting quite sick and she's brought back, and now she's given medicine, an antibiotic, and guess what happens with medicine? Taken to the market, sold, the money is used to buy rice or milk for the boy children.

Eventually--so TB, as you're probably aware, gets the lungs, it can also get in the long bones of the body, and eventually it infects the long bones and the long bones start--huge amounts of pus builds up and eventually it breaks through the skin, so someone who has a child with this kind of long bone tuberculosis sees basically pus, the skin eventually breaks and the pus starts pouring out, and the parents are terribly afraid and they're afraid for their biological kids, their biological sons especially. As soon as this happens to the girl they just dump her at the British--at whatever the public hospital is and they just abandon them there. What the doctors told me was that the girls are now 13 or 14, the tuberculosis is so far gone that there's nothing they can do. And the girls die.

This was my first introduction to that nexus of extreme poverty, extremely crowded conditions, overpopulation, and I'm not saying the causal relationship between those two is a complicated story which we will get to, but that nexus of--you always see, whenever you see incredibly dense populations you always see this kind of poverty and the kinds of things that people undergo. I was trying to put myself in the mind of a parent, what kind of a situation are they are in, that they sell their daughters to fairly certain death and the situation is as I've described to you.

Even though I saw this as a huge--as a very large phenomenon I've never seen this in any literature. I've never seen an academic paper about it, I've never seen a newspaper story about it, it's not discussed in demographic circles, and some public health circles which I'm aware, it just isn't brought up. I'm thinking to myself, I was not a scholar of this thing, and I said, "have I misremembered this?" You very frequently misremember things, have I blown up, did I see one or two cases and have I somehow aggrandized it. I eventually, after telling the story quite a bit, even in the early runnings of this class, I started doubting that this--that somehow--why such a big thing, why wasn't it shown?

One year I decided: this is the last year; I'm not going to tell this story again because I don't have any references for it. Everything I say I try to--if a student comes to me I can give you a reference and you can see in the notes a lot of things have little references which you probably can't read but if you call me or email me I'll tell you what that little scribble means. Anyway at the end of that lecture, actually it was about two lectures later, because there was an exam coming up right after that. More than in this class, in previous years, students used to come up and we used to spend a half an hour or an hour discussing whatever they want to discuss.

And one girl stayed by the side and then when everybody is gone she came up to me, a little bit shy, and said, "Thank you for telling that story. My mother was one of those girls." What she knew, from her mother, was basically what I had said, but the difference was that this was her biological mother, and this wasn't an abandoned girl. She said she remembered being in the hospital with all girls basically--the mother--I said "Oh my gosh, would your mother come to class and describe what this situation was like?" Yes, the mother was in fact a professor at a college in New Jersey, not Princeton, and she came up here and described it, and again, described it in great detail and more or less as I've described it.

She said that when she was in the hospital, she saw all the other little girls, more or less the same age, same medical problem, and she said, as a little girl she always wondered why their parent--their mother didn't come to visit them, why their parents didn't come to visit them. She was one of the few whose mother--I guess the father, I don't really remember that detail, did come to visit. Well the doctors kind of noticed that this girl had a bio-parent and so they took her out of the big ward and put a lot of incredibly special effort into this one girl and eventually she got the bacteria out of her and survived.

She was--walked like this, missing a hip and had a fair number of sequelae from the bone TB, but she got cured, grew up, managed to get educated, migrate to America, and became a professor at, as I say at a college in New Jersey and had a daughter at Yale taking this course. It's one of the miracle stories but I'm convinced now that I didn't dream this stuff up. That's really my personal motivation, that started of course the motivation for being--doing all this course stuff.

What's the word we describe for this era of the 1960s? The population explosion. Why do we use the word explosion? It's a rather emotive kind of word and it's for this reason, that here is a somewhat fanciful recreation of history, but we know it can't be very much different from this because we know what the--we start knowing what the populations were here, so you put some sort of a reasonable growth rate and populations, its going to look like that. The only thing you can really see is the Black Death, then as we've talked about in this class, starting roughly in the 1700s population just takes off.

You've heard of exponential population growth, and you may or may not know what that means, but what it precisely means is there's a certain rate of growth, a certain percent per year, and each year the population grows by that same percent, 1% a year, 2% a year, 3% a year, but the percentage growth is constant. The numbers of people added every year grows because the base grows, but the percentage added every year is constant, that's exponential growth. In fact, during this period, in fact during most of this period, the percentage rate of growth has been increasing. It increased from somewhere out here of .001% to then 0.01, 0.1 and in this period it went up to 2%, even 3% globally, the whole world population growth rate in this incredible expansion.

As you can sort of see again, in this somewhat schematized graph, that the incredible rate of growth has slowed down a little bit and we'll talk about what that means, but it's still growing outrageously, or they project that it should slow down. This is--we are now at about 6.7 billion so some of that graph is a projection. You can call this kind of population growth hyper-exponential where the rate, not only does the growth get faster in an exponential way, but the rate of growth itself grows so it's hyper-exponential growth.

Now there's a--the whole issue of population growth is very politicized, some people don't think that we should pay--there's no problems, some people think we shouldn't do anything about it, some people think it's too politically sensitive to say anything about it, and in this discussion one of the things you hear is, oh the world's population has been growing for a long time, we've been able to cope with it, our economics is wonderful, and we've industrialized, the population has been growing, and people have been getting richer and that is certainly true since Malthus wrote, the population has multiplied many times and yet these mass, mass starvations have not happened.

In fact, not only, as the population has grown, people have gotten richer. They say, we've coped with this in the past we can cope with it in the future. The problem is that this is unprecedented. That we don't really have any significant length of history for something like this, so anybody who tells you that they have--that they know what's going to happen in the future is just ignorant and this is absolutely and just unknown territory. Unknown territory doesn't mean, I'm not saying there's absolutely going to be a disaster, or it's absolutely going to be fine, it's just that we have no way of predicting basically anything with a population growing like that.

Up until a few years ago basically nobody predicted all the environmental--for instance nobody predicted all the environmental problems that we're having now, that came essentially out of the blue. Now this is a schematized thing, here's kind of a more cartoonish, even more cartoonish, but it doesn't go quite so far back so it's a little bit better data here, and again, showing the same thing. This was--you're here this was drawn in 2004, we're now in 2008 [spring 2009] and we're about 6.7 so in just the four years since this was made we're still on this trajectory; nothing very unexpected has happened.

Here is the U.S. Census Bureau projection, updated December 2008, so it's as recent as you can find. For what's happened--they do 100 years and you may notice three billion, four billion, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and it just keeps going and out at the end they're predicting a little bit of fall off but one doesn't know. By 2040 they're expecting nine billion people and still growing. There's no--you've heard a lot about Europe and Michael Teitelbaum gave you a lecture on the low population growth rates in Europe, in Japan, and in quite a number of countries in the world and that's correct that the population growth is extremely unbalanced in the world.

The developed countries are having zero to at most 5% of the increase, they're growing at .1%, whereas, some of the poorer countries are still growing at 2% or 3%, so I'll show you a minute that basically all of this growth is in the poorer countries where they're least--have the least resources to cope with this amount of growth.

Now here is the population change in millions and we'll see that that has basically been growing. This is where we are now, it basically grew up to 1990, it's fallen off a little bit here, and then it's predicted to keep growing for another few years and then it's predicted to go down here. I emphasize--guess work--this was not on the original. This is data, we have fairly decent reason, but again this error bar is on here and we don't know what error bars--how big they should be and this is really guess work.

The guess work is not too bad for the near future because the women who are going to have these children are already born, they're already close to maturity, we know that fertility rates generally don't change all that fast although I will show you plenty of exceptions to that in the lecture. You can maybe more or less believe the next dozen years here or something like that and then you make various projections, and I'll show you those projections can be almost anything because we don't have a very good basis for that. The near term projection that the number of people added every year is going to go up is probably pretty accurate because it's very near term.

Now, again, the optimists take that data, that here is the number of people added, you see it has been going up, it's kind of jiggling around, and it may or may not decline in the future but because the base has been growing, because the population keeps growing, if the same number of people are added every year then the percentage increase goes down. So when you hear a lot of optimism about the population situation, what they're talking about is that the peak RATE of growth here in the 1960s has come down as a percentage of the base. As you just saw, since the base is growing the number--actual number of people added has not changed all that much.

Again, we're growing, the world is growing something 1.25%--1 to 1.5% a year currently and the guess work is--and the hope is that will continue down. In fact, this continued decrease is based on some pretty optimistic assumptions. We may get time to talk about them later but, fertility has been falling. If you presume that fertility has fallen as far as it's going to fall and now it's going to stay constant, so the most conservative projection is constant fertility. Whatever we are at now that's the way it's going to be, then you don't get anything like this, you get a huge takeoff. This presumes that fertility will keep falling until people have two children per family and fairly rapidly. That's a nice guess, a nice prediction, but we really have essentially no decent theoretical basis to presume that.

Now here is the one number you should really keep in your mind, this is right up to date, this is the Census Bureau 2009, this gives you the world events and it just--for being kind of cute it breaks it down to how much is the increase each year, month, day, you can do it down to the second and notice--and I gave you these numbers last time as ratios as per 1,000 this is the number of births per year 135 million and the number of deaths 55 million, so that's the difference, that's the population growth rate 80 million people. That's--I think that's one of the key numbers to just keep in mind, round it off, 80 million that the increase every year on earth now is 80 million and it's been roughly that for quite some time.

The maximum here was something like 90 million, not quite 90 million, and now we're just about 80 million. When people say the birth--everything's coming down, things are getting better, we're going to come to a soft landing, well what we actually know is the difference between 87 million and 80 million with large and unknown error bars so it might not be a decrease at all. I mean we just don't know. Nothing drastic has happened to engender such optimism about the future of human population, although you will hear that over and over, and over again.

Now as I showed you, this graph that we are here at the--actually here to 6.7 billion and all of the projections show it to continue to increase. Again the rate of increase gets fuzzier and fuzzier as you go further out in time, but it will increase, and the projections are that by 2040 will be nine billion and still growing. We're adding a billion at 80 million a year we're adding a billion every 12.5 years. If it falls a little bit we'll add a billion every 13 years or every 14 years and that's to keep in mind when you think of those numbers, that's a billion people every 12, 13, 14 years, pick whatever number you like, and think of, everybody's green.

Anybody green in this class? Anybody not green? Are you environmentalists? Yes, who's an anti-environmentalist? Hooray! One, Two. Well I'm going to return to this theme but this can't be repeated enough times, think of the environmental footprint of a billion extra people every dozen or so years, a billion extra people. Now add up all the environmentalism, all the achievements of this wonderful environmental movement. It's a wonderful thing, but it pales in comparison that it's just we're playing a losing battle with the environment. As long as we're growing at a billion people in so many years we are not going to solve the environmental problems no matter what we do, it's just too great an increase of people.

Yet, environmentalists generally never talk about human population; it's too politically dangerous to talk about that. Hence in this course one of the very few in the country or anywhere in the world that really hits--talks about population straight on. Why do we--why are we--why is everybody projecting that the population is going to keep increasing there? It's simply you look at the age structure and something like half of the world's population is under 15 years old, i.e., just coming in--I'm sorry 1/3 of the world's population is under 15 years old and so just coming into reproductive ages and we know that for the next--they will come into reproductive ages and then be of reproductive potential for the following 30 years and we know that this increasing number of now 10 to 15 year olds will be coming into reproductive ages will keep the population increasing.

It's certain that it will increase although the rate of increase and how it changes is certainly less certain. It's under almost any kind of reasonable assumption the population is going to grow another several billion people. Again, we're in unprecedented territory, most people think the earth right now is incredibly stressed and it is environmental things, situation, and now add another couple of billion people to that in the near future and see what's going on. Since we don't have crystal balls--the students usually ask me the question, 'what's going to happen?' I always have to say, 'I left my crystal ball in my closet.' I didn't bring it today, I do not have a way into the future, but anybody who tells you they know what's going to happen in the future, and especially if they're going to be optimistic about it, is a very blind kind of person.

You've all heard discussions of the population problem and it's really two different problems. The first problem, which in the West we're very cognizant of, is over consumption by rich people. A good fraction of the world is what you should definitely call rich and they consume like crazy, and a lot of what we consume is frivolous like Hummers and great big--some little person driving this great big SUV that they never carry anything heavy and they certainly don't have to drive over logs or something which an SUV is actually good for. The over consumption depletes the world's resources, increases pollution, destruction of habitat, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, so environmental misery is largely caused by rich people consuming profligately, unnecessarily and profligately.

The other side of the coin is poverty, the world is definitely split and the split is getting wider between poverty and over--people who over consume - and their problem of course is under consumption and they lead to all of the problems of poverty which I have discussed in Hong Kong and I don't have to tell you very much about what the problems in the world of poor people are. We have these two opposite problems, what I call environmental misery and human misery, and they're both very largely the result of too rapid population growth that we might, in some utopian scenario, eventually be able to cope with, say the population levels that we have now, maybe. But, at the rate of growth it's obvious just looking around you that our technology, our economy, our governments, have not been able to cope with this so far.

It's very interesting as a political note that there are these two faces of the population problem, the environmental problem and the people misery problem, and it's amazing how people focus on one or the other. There's people like--work in planned parenthood and various feminists and women's organizations, they're interested in people misery. They always talk about poverty and its attendant problems. Then there's the environmentalists and they're worried about trees and the survival of animals, and forests, and nature and both are of course very important and very good causes to work on, but it is absolutely mind boggling how rarely you find anybody that's sort of, is really in any way, concerned about both problems, or in any way realizes how population is the centerpiece of both of these problems.

Let me talk just a little bit about over consumption and who's the number one bad guy in over consumption? We are. So here's the story for--some of the story for the United States. This is the growth of the United States population from 1900 to 2000. We in 1900 had about 75 million and in 2006 this--so in 2006 we passed 300 million people and that's a quadrupling that our population has quadrupled in that one century. We were almost like an underdeveloped country in our population growth rate.

That is up to the--almost current, and here is again the latest Census Bureau thing from--again this was--just got it out of the computer last night actually, the latest numbers, that here's the standard--one of the standard things is give you 100 year time frame, currently they're using 1950 to 2050 and we are, as you know, right about here and here is the U.S. population growth rate and just almost a perfectly straight line. There is no prediction that the U.S. is going to slow down in its population growth rate, we are growing at about three million a year, currently that's 1% of a year, and because of natural increase that's births over deaths of people already in America, plus immigration, we're just going here.

In our population growth rate, it's about 2/3 births over deaths of citizens already here and about 1/3 immigration. Of immigration, the guesses are that it's about 2/3 legal and 1/3 illegal, obviously the illegal is an enormous guess, the absolute number, the percentage of anything that it is, if you look at how they come up with these numbers it's really 'seat-of-the-pants.' We don't know very much about the magnitude of illegal immigration but it's an enormous political issue.

Now on the consumption side, of course we consume so much, and again numbers vary kind of wildly but the range of numbers are that an American consumes something between 20 and 40 times what a person in a developing country will consume. If you multiplied our three million population growth a year by a consumption factor of 20 that's equivalent--a population growth of 60 million poor people and so if you do it that way it looks like that our population growth is as damaging to the resource and environmental situation of the world as the whole rest of world put together, and that's just considering our population increase not the population base which is also consuming at this great rate.

We are--indeed it is certainly correct that we are a tremendous strain on the environment and resources of the earth, and as I showed you it's not getting better, our population is just increasing. You have to balance against that that a lot of our population growth is of course people coming in from other countries so that it's not, in some sense, Americans who are getting richer but its poor people coming in and getting richer. You can play these numbers in all different ways and we'll talk about the politics in a moment.

The U.S. Census Bureau used to say that we will reach--that the U.S. population will reach 300 million by the year 2050. We reached that number 44 years earlier than the Census Bureau thought, and we are still growing and now the Census Bureau says there is no sign of stabilization at all. They cannot give you a number at which they think the U.S. population will stabilize, because as far out as anybody can project, there's no reason to believe that stabilization is in view.

Now some of the argumentation is that again people--this is a very political issue and half the people say, 'it's all those poor people that are over reproducing, can't they learn some self control?' Then you have people saying, 'all those Americans and Japanese that consume like crazy, can't they use some self control?' It's an extremely sterile argument that goes on and on and people don't think beyond two or three sentences into that argument.

As I'll tell you, if you do it out numerically the increasing damage is more or less equal and it depends more critically as Americans usually blame ourselves that we're the problem, there's a very kind of--I don't want to use the word racist but a very Euro-Americo centric argument because the presumption is when it says, well we're the consumers and--all the poor people, we don't have to worry about, is that they will stay poor. It's a Western assumption that poor people are going to stay poor and they're not--not only are they not consumers now, but they're never going to be consumers. And that is just nonsense.

We've seen how the Chinese have come up enormously, the Indians have come up enormously, the Indonesians have come up enormously, everywhere in the world these vast numbers of poor people are now starting to be serious consumers. I think the CO2 production in China I think has just outpaced the United States, but I didn't look that up recently, and so there are equal problems, so if one gets out of one's head the idea that poor people are going to stay poor forever, which is a pre-globalization idea--now a worker in China can compete with a worker in America and eventually there's going to be some leveling.

I think the proper thing is, if you think there are too many people on earth, for either human misery issues or environmental misery issues or both, any birth you should consider more or less equal. Preventing a birth in America, in Japan, and Indonesia, everywhere that in the not too distant future these people are going to be more or less equal and we'll see in next lecture what the people themselves want with respect to this thing. I hope after this course that none of you get involved in the sterile argument of us versus them, it doesn't get you anywhere.

In the world as it is today most of the--almost all of the population growth is in the poorest countries. Again statistics are pretty bad, there's something like 95% of population growth in the world is in the poorest countries. As you know, new people need schools, they need healthcare, they need a place to live, they need jobs and all of this takes money, takes capital, and that's what the poor countries are missing, they don't have the capital, they usually don't have the technological expertise, they don't have often the quality of government that can cope with these enormous problems so it's the places that are least capable of coping with a population increase that are in fact saddled with it.

The magnitude of this growth is incredible. As far out as we can project the poor countries are going to have to build a city equivalent of one million--a city to cope with a million people every week for the next 45 years which is as far as we projected. If you look at--you know the big cities Shanghai, Beijing and China, just pick almost any name and go to an almanac and you'll see there's so many mega million cities in China that--cities even that I've never heard of, when you look up their population, they're in the millions and a place like New York with seven million people is nothing. Sweden, where I lived in Sweden for a while, has like seven to eight million people. New York City has seven to eight million people, cities in China that's a small town almost, and India's not far behind.

People in the United States generally don't have much of an idea of what poverty really looks like. One of the best descriptions of this comes from Bill Ryerson who is going to be a guest lecturer later, and he describes flying into Bombay, and this is again a few years back but in this period of extreme population explosion that we're talking about. He goes to the airport, and the airport is way outside the city as all airports have to be, and by the international flight schedules they come in early in the morning.

He starts driving in and almost immediately, at the airport, he starts seeing poor people begging, on the street you see shanty's that people are living in. When he comes into the denser places people start begging and you see very commonly a mother holding an infant, and you can look the infant is clearly nearly dead, and the mother's 'please give me something, anything so that I can keep this child alive until tomorrow,' and there's one after the other, after the other and it gets denser.

And then the sun comes up and it gets warm, India's generally a rather warm country and there's all these jitney's and motorbikes, and trucks, small trucks putting around and they don't have good catalytic converters, those are expensive because a lot of them have platinum in them, so they produce a lot of pollution and the air gets very thick with this black smoke very early--black soot whatever you want to call it in the early morning so you're not breathing fresh air. And then of course they have no toilets around, and you're going to read some articles about what that means, and so very soon the stench of human waste--you're on a main street going into the main city, the stench of human waste comes up at you and it smells terribly and more and more beggars and it's just absolutely heart wrenching description of what's going on.

And then you think that here are millions and millions of people that will never have a real house, they live in some cardboard shack somewhere. They'll never have a real job, they'll never probably go to the bathroom in a toilet, and they may never even breathe a breath of fresh air, so poverty is really a very, very serious kind of situation and you can go to lots and lots of cities in the world and see similar kinds of descriptions.

Now to do the numbers on this poverty, so we compare it to the United States, so General Motors before its recent demise. These numbers are three or four years old, so they pay wages to the workers, then they have health benefits which you've read about as very high because they pay them for the rest of their life and they pay pensions, so when you add all that up how much lifetime they're going to pay for a worker and divide it by the number of hours the worker works, it comes out for General Motors was $80 an hour and that was somewhere near a maximum for union wages, not counting like airline pilots who get an awful lot more than that. The upper middle class--that's blue-collar workers at GM--the upper middle class people mostly in this room are going to be earning an awful lot more than that.

On the other hand is the poverty level which for a family of a mother, father, and three children is defined as $24,000 a year, that's the 2006 number, the official U.S. number which is $13.35 a day per person, that's the poverty level as officially defined in the United States. Wal-Mart, a worker, a sales associate earns $6.10 an hour or $12,000 a year--$6.00 an hour--is $12,000 a year they are below poverty level so the next step UP for a Wal-Mart worker is the official poverty level.

When you go to developing countries you have to cut--to get any idea of a scale you have to cut the Wal-Mart wages by at least a factor of four. Wal-Mart makes its pants in El Salvador and the pants sell for, in this particular article, on this $16.95 in their United States stores, and how much do you think the women in El Salvador get to make the pants, per pant? 15 cents is the wage level that they get for it.

The UN reported that about half of the world's workers, which is about 1.4 billion people, earn less than $2.00 a day. The average wage, the median wage in the world is something like $2.00 a day. That's per wage earner, not per family, not per person, but per wage earner and that then has to be divided among however many dependents that person has.

I've told you that what the U.S. sets as its official level for poverty, every country in the world of course gets to decide its own level of what poverty is, and the official poverty level in the poorest ten to 20--poorest 20 countries is $1.25. You're only poor if you earn less than a $1.25 per capita, per day. In both China and India the official poverty level is closer to $1.00 a day and this is at 2005 prices, again statistics are always a couple of years behind things. In rich places like Latin America and Eastern Europe $2.00 a day is the more appropriate poverty level and that is for all the developing countries, $2.00 a day is the median, their own self-defined poverty level.

Within each country and each region there's great inequality of course in income, so about 1/3 of the people in Latin America are living on less than $2.00 a day, 2/3 of the people of Pakistan live on less than 2/3--$2.00 a day, but more than 58% of the population in Kenya lives on less than $1.00 a day; Brazil 25% of the people on less than $1.00 a day; the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa 44% of the people on less than $1.00 a day and it's not only these traditionally poor countries, but in Romania, after the Soviet bloc fell apart, 40% of the people live on less than $1.00 a day. Indonesia had a government work program so that people could get some kind of work and laborers got $0.75 a day for five hours of work a day, that's $0.15 an hour.

I don't know how much time it takes to sew Wal-Mart pants but maybe an hour, probably less but--so $.15 an hour is a wage that for many people in a place like Indonesia, which has a lot of oil, it's not overall necessarily a poor place, $0.15 an hour for an hour's work; $0.75 a day and that's much more than they can get working--getting agricultural jobs around where they live.

Here's a description from Zambia, a nine-year-old boy, Alone Banda, his job is to be beat rock fragments into powder. He doesn't have a hammer, he found a large steel bolt from some construction site, he found a bolt, he grips in his bare hand and pounds the rock with it. He takes raw rock, takes a bolt that he found and pounds with it and he can fill--it takes him about a--in a week he can fill about half a bag with this powder which is used for construction and he gets about $1.50 for the half bag and it's used for making concrete in Kenya for instance.

Children start working at five or six--we saw--we talked about Charles Dickens who so much of his writing was about children going to work at age seven, while seven is old, they go to five and six and they work as prostitutes even at that age; minors, construction workers, pesticide sprayers, all the kinds of dangerous and miserable jobs. In Sub-Saharan Africa there's something like 48 million children 14 and younger who are working, and four years later it says, by 2004 it had increased by 1.3 million, so the number of children working at these poverty level jobs is increasing because the whole population is increasing and so forth.

This is the poverty rates around the world and just compare--this confirms the numbers that I'm telling you that these are the headcount in number of millions, the percent below poverty line at $1.25 a day, less than $2.00 a day, and if you take out China, China is still one of the poorest places when you add in all the peasants, it doesn't get--it gets some--actually China makes it worse, when you add in China you have a higher percentage at these poverty levels, same for whatever poverty level you want to work. These are the appropriate poverty levels for developing countries.

Now, again you have the same two ways of describing this--the absolute number of people in this kind of poverty is growing up, so as the whole population grows the number people in these levels are growing up, yet there has been economic progress in the sense that, as a percentage of people, the poverty numbers are going down, so there's more people in poverty, but there's a lesser percentage of the total population in poverty. Again, you can, depending on your political orientation, you can describe this as an increasingly bad situation where more and more people are in this kind of poverty, or a situation that is getting better because the percentage of people in poverty is going down.

Now the miracle--so you've all heard of the economic miracle in East Asia especially. Anybody come fairly recently from China? None of the students come from China. Well the average income, and again, income how you define--of course the Chinese don't earn dollars so when you express it in dollars there's a translation and the best way of doing it is what's called PPP, purchasing power parity. One way is to use the official exchange rate, how many--they earn so many Yuan and how many dollars can they buy with that Yuan? That exchange rate, as you know especially in China, is manipulated by the government and is not a real number.

A number that makes the Chinese income look more favorable and is closer to a real number is what they call purchasing power parity. You say how much does a sack of rice cost in China, how much does it cost in the United States, and you try to use a basket of commodities appropriate to what the people in that country actually use and say how much would that cost in dollars so you can have a parity. On that kind of a level, a Chinese peasant on average earns a $1.00 a day. The person--a $1.00 is the average income in the Chinese peasant family.

The jobs in the modern sector, which means one of these manufacturing jobs, and they migrate to some city, they live in these dorm rooms where they're just stacked like cord wood, and they basically have no free time and they're--it's a miserable life but they double their income. The economic miracle in Asia is when people go from $1.00 a day to $2.00 a day, and there's hundreds of millions of people, you add up China and India, hundreds of millions of people who are desperate to earn $2.00 a day; it's a doubling of their income. When you read these horrible stories, horrible to our ears, of how, especially women, moving into the big cities Guangdong, Canton or any of the big cities, how they're living and the conditions they're working under, remember it represents a doubling of their income and it's so much--they can send most of that back to their home village and home villages are all living on this kind of income.

When we talk about poverty--we will later talk about population in China - you must realize that basically all of those workers who now have access to moderately decent education can compete with us. There's very few jobs that we can do and they can't do, and so we at up to $80 an hour for a blue collar worker are basically in competition with someone who's very happy--and they grumble, people working for GM grumble, and in some of their conditions the grumbling could be quite fair--but they're in competition with people earning $2.00, that wish they would earn $2.00 a day.

In places--this is not only our competition but jewelry making, very labor intensive--of course countries with low wage rates attract very labor intensive jobs and hand making of jewelry is a very labor intensive job. Sure enough, Bangkok was one of the centers of jewelry making, and because it was the center and it requires a fair amount of skill, the wages actually rose in Bangkok for these jewelry makers and they got up to $8.00 a day for a jewelry worker in Bangkok. Guess what happened? All the factories moved to China, they're back down to $2.00 a day, a saving of 75% on your labor costs; of course they're going to do it.

Not only in China, but Mexico, all the maquiladoras, the border between Texas and California and Mexico has a lot of factories and because of various trade laws they can assemble things and just ship them across the border with low trade tariffs and everything, and they have been nearly wiped out with jobs moving to China. Now of course, for a while anyway, conditions were getting a little bit better in China so the jobs moved to? Anyone reading the newspapers? Who's now competing with China? India, at a high level, but Vietnam, Cambodia, places that are even poorer than China are now even taking jobs away from China.

In Romania, which is one of the poorest countries in Europe, the wages average about $83.00 a week, so $10.00 or $12.00 a day. When they got into the European Union what did the Romanian workers do? They moved out to France, Germany, England to get the higher wages that are available there which left a lot of jobs unfilled in Romania where they get $12.00 a day as I've just said. What did the Romanians do? Imported Chinese, who worked for less and filled the jobs, there's an unlimited number of peasants in China that would love to work in Romania under almost any kind of conditions, and they leave their husbands, their children, everybody is left home usually under the care of grandparents who are too old themselves to work.

Keep that in mind, abject poverty is a $1.00 a day, the economic miracle is $2.00 a day. Okay, what does living look like in these places? We've been talking about Bombay, and Shanghai, these are big places that everybody knows about. You'll never guess where this is and you've probably never heard of it. This is the capital of Mauritania. How many know where Mauritania is? Good, it's on the Atlantic coast of Africa. I should remember to always make a slide--geography map slides but I didn't. It's on the Atlantic coast it is--the capital is a place called Nouakchott. Nouakchott is over there somewhere and this is the suburbs of Nouakchott and what it is is desert it's--all of Mauritania is basically desert, until it rolls into the ocean in which case it becomes an ocean.

In the desert all these people live in shanties of any kind of construction material that they can find. The national government, the city government does not have the resources to deal with these people at all, so they get no sanitation, they get no policing, they get no water, there's just--these are called unplanned communities and they sort of basically don't exist. What are they to the government? They're a source of problems because very poor people, who have nothing to lose, revolt every so often. They say you've got something, we don't have it, we want it, why is the government not doing anything for us, so this is a source of social discontent, and the shanty towns are around every big city in the world are great sources of social discontent.

What you see here is a road, and I've just said they basically don't have roads. What happens is that the military in each of these countries wants to be sure to be able to control the people, so every so often they send in a bulldozer, you can sort of see another road here off to the right. Let me get a better one of these--they just come in one morning and the people are asleep in their shanty's because they don't have any jobs. And very early in the morning they just hear this rumble and they walk outside to find out what it is and the bulldozer is two minutes away from their house and they just go down and knock out anything that's in the way. If you happen to be in the path that the military bulldoze knocks down, well sorry, sorry, that's gone, and then the soldiers can go into these situations.

The point being that these enormous dense populations, which we associate with Calcutta or Bombay, or Shanghai, Canton, are in fact almost everywhere in the world now including this--this is where Nouakchott meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here's the Atlantic Ocean there, and what do they live on? Well they live on fishing and each of these little things here, if you can see, is a fishing boat, a little boat that they row out and fish. Look at how many boats there are, all trying to get an occasional fish and that's not a terribly rich fishing ground of the world. It's very close to the equator and there's no big upwelling of nutrients, there's not a great big fishing down there. This is how the people have been competing with each other for the few fish that are out there.

Now--so that's the desert and here is the jungle. This is Brazil in a place that you may have heard of Serra Pelada, peeled mountain or naked mountain, anybody who has heard of it or seen pictures of this before? One--a couple of people, it's very well known, so if you travel in Brazil all the big cities again have shanty towns where people are desperate for some kind of a job. Every so often a truck rolls through and says, I have some jobs, and people just pile in, and I've watched it, and they don't ask how much, where am I going, what's the kind of work; a job is like a magic word, it's like manna from heaven, they jump in the truck.

Well one of the places you're taken to is this place, and this place is way in the middle of the jungle, like 1,000 miles from Rio or Sao Paolo and what it is, it's a mountain that they found gold in. Normally if you've seen like mining in the western United States they have these steam shovels which have a bucket as big as this whole room probably, and each drag of the bucket pulls up hundreds of tons, I don't know the actual numbers. In Serra Pelada, human labor is cheaper than to buy a steam shovel. What each of these little dots are is a person.

What it is? This is a pit and they're digging in the mud there, they carry the mud up--the sluicing is up here on the top where they have--sluicing is--gold is heavier than soil so they take, basically mud, dump it into someplace, water runs over it, washes away the mud, and anything that sticks down falls heavy in little flakes or tiny nuggets of gold; that's the primitive way of doing gold mining. Just flow water over mud and there's very, very low concentration you get a gold flake there.

What do these people--how do they work? This is--they go down, then climb--these are wooden ladders, and another part they climb down the ladders and they have burlap sacks on their back, the cheapest kind of sack, and they go down and with very primitive implements or maybe their hands, they take the earth from the bottom of the pit, they put it in these packs, they put the pack on their back and they climb up the stairs and dump it into the sluice apparatus and then go back down. That's their whole life. There are miserable wages, they can't leave because they're in the middle of the jungle, they have no way of getting back to any kind of civilization. The companies do indeed provide prostitutes for them. This whole village is full of prostitutes which are the women that come out the same situation. Send a truck around and say they have jobs for women, they jump on with little or no questions asked.

How is the whole thing kept under control? By soldiers with guns or paramilitaries with guns, and here is moderately typical, one of the workers has not even the clothes on his back, and there's huge numbers of them and they are kept in control. In this particular instance the things were looking like they were going to go out of control. Again, this is all around the world you'll find situations like this.

Sometimes I talk about--everywhere in the world. If you go up to Mt. Everest--we've got--what are the ends of the earth? There's the deserts, there's the jungles, and there's Mt. Everest and I just copied down some statistics on Mt. Everest, how much population there is in the world. There's--up high, and I used to mountain climb a lot, a single footstep can require eight breaths, you take a step you pant eight times, and people like me it would be a lot more than eight times. On one particular day, and standard in the couple of months that you can climb it, there's 500 climbers waiting to climb up Everest.

The place is just littered with dead bodies, it's littered with oxygen bottles, I mean Mt. Everest is kind of a congestion zone, it looks like Grand Central Station that have been sort of cleared out of people on many days. There's 120 dead bodies littering the top of Mt. Everest, so population has gotten so extreme that it's not only the big cities, it's basically everywhere that you look people are.

Let's just conclude today with a little bit of future guessing. We know that fertility--so now we have most of the world at a very high fertility rate, population going gangbusters. Now can we dream up a scenario where this gets better? It may get better, it may not get better, things may get worse until there's some incredible crisis or things may stay as they are now, or things may coast to a soft landing, we don't know. Let's draw ourselves a scenario for the soft landing situation. One of the things that we know is that there's very, very poor people, these $1.00 a day people don't limit their births and the exact reason for it we'll discuss later. A lot of it has to do with education, that they don't--a lot of things about how their bodies work they don't understand, so they're afraid of modern contraception, a lot of issues which we will discuss.

We observe around the world that some increase in standard of living has to take place for--before people start being willing and want to limit their fertility. Let's take the minimum situation, let's say someone gets one of these $2.00 a day jobs and that's--then they start thinking differently about themselves in the world, they may be in the city where they get some education, some awareness of what's going on in the world, they want to limit their population so let's say that we go from $1.00 a day to $2.00 a day, that's incredibly optimistic that $2.00 a day is sufficient but you'll see what--where I'm going. That's a doubling of income of the poor people.

Again, something like a third of the people on earth are in this $1.00 to $2.00 a day range, so you double their income and all of sudden miracles happen and population stops growing, not real, way overly optimistic. Another thing that we know is that when incomes around the world rise the poor people have the smallest rise and the rich people have the biggest rise. If the small people are doubling their income, what is the average of the whole world doing? It's going to be much then doubling. Again, you can pick--I'm sure economists have these numbers, I don't have them, you can pick whatever you want. If in order to raise most of the world from $1.00 a day to $2.00 a day you need to double their income and does the whole world rise by more than 2 times maybe 3 times, but we can pick any number that we want.

I've told you two facts, that the population of the world is for sure going to increase by something like 50% before, if, and when it stabilizes. We can sort of see ballpark a 50% increase coming. Now, but this average standard of living has to at least double, and probably triple or quadruple, or again pick almost whatever number you want, so at the minimum of doubling the world's per capita income, 50% more people are doubling the income means a three--that the gross economy, well it has to triple because you have 1.5 time as many people, each earning twice as much, that's a tripling of the world economy. If you want to say that the world--that to double the income of poor people you have to triple the world economy, then that's three times more or four and half times as much.

Basically we're looking at a optimistic scenario for the future where we come to a soft landing and then in order to come to a soft landing we have to have the economy of the world increase by a factor of three, by a factor of four, four and a half, five, six, somewhere in that range of numbers. Now technology--the improvement of technology allows us to grow our income with--a somewhat less than proportionate increase in resources, and again, you can make a wild guess about how much technology will improve in the future so that we can double our income without quite doubling the drain on world's sources or the amount of pollution we put it into, or the amount of carbon dioxide we put into it.

We're looking at this enormous increase in order to come to a soft landing, we're looking at this at least a tripling of the world economy, and something like a tripling of the pollution in the world, the carbon dioxide in the world, the use of resources in the world. Most people believe that we're at the limit of what the earth can cope with in terms of the economy, which is basically how much we're taking out of the earth. We're at the limit right now but with population we're not going to have a soft landing unless we triple that, at least minimum triple that. That's the significance of this population issue that can the earth cope with the tripling of the economic activity on it? I left my crystal ball home so you're going to--you are definitely going to find out the answer to that question. Okay, next time we will continue.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 13
Fertility Attitudes and Practices
Play Video
Fertility Attitudes and Practices

Surveys show that most women are having more children than they would prefer to have. Further, studies show that the vast majority of women know about various forms of contraception. One World Bank study has shown that family planning programs have little impact unless they are attended by improved living standards and increasing status of women.

Reading assignment:

Kenney, Paul. Preparing for the Twenty-First Century, pp. 3-13 and 21-46

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. "Death without Weeping." Natural History (October 1989), pp. 8-16

Robey, Bryant, Shea O. Rutstein and Leo Morris. "The Fertility Decline in Developing Countries." Scientific American (December 1993), pp. 60-67


February 26, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: This is data from Bolivia. It came out the end of last year and it's from the year 2003. Demographic data is always delayed because it takes a long time to collect it, and analyze it, and so forth. This is a fairly standard thing that's happening. This is various five year bunches, they take these surveys every five years, this is from a thing called The Demographic and Health Surveys which are done basically in every developing country of the world by their own statistical service. Every country has a fairly decent census and statistical service and they go and ask either all the women, if it's a census year, or a subset of the women if it's not a census year and they ask all kinds of questions, some of which you will see.

The first thing of course is how many children do you have? They used--when they started these kind of surveys they used to ask men and they would get a number, the husband. Then they'd ask the wife, get a different number, and when they checked it turns out the woman was right and the man had no clue. Veena will tell you, maybe some stories about it's not even a simple question, even to the woman how many children have you had.

In a lot of ways, men's data was unreliable and in the early days they really were interested in getting a real ground--they didn't know how many people there were in the world, what the fertility rates were, how fast population was growing, so just to get the basic ideas, women were asked. From that date on men have somewhat been excluded from the data collection, so a lot of what we know, in fact almost all of what we know is about women, but nowadays its changing. In the last number of year's people realize it takes two to tango and men are starting to come more into the picture.

Anyway here by 19--so this is a five-year age group and this is the total fertility rate. In 1965 and 1970 and other years they were having roughly 6.6 children, then gradually every five-year increment it came down until the most recent number is 3.8 children. Now keep that 3.8 number in mind because we want to compare that to some other things, and you probably know a little about Bolivia. It's totally Catholic, it's quite poor, it's mostly agricultural, it's not very urbanized, education is at a fairly low level, and the status of women there is not really wonderful.

With all those indicate--what they call social indicators what would you think about the fertility desires of women in Bolivia? High? Low? High. All of those are sort of standard classical factors that would make you think that they want a lot of children, but when you look at the actual data it's rather moderate. It's still very high by our standards of one or two children but still--and it's still important for the world because at 3.8 you double the population almost every--not quite double it every generation so this is quite high, but it's nothing like a 6, 7 child thing or in the past the traditional number of 7 or 8, or maybe 9 children per woman, so it's a situation of moderate fertility.

Now what--the next kind of set of questions is well this is the number of children you're having, how many do you want? They asked--this is asked--it's a very tricky kind of question as you'll probably hear so there's a lot of different ways of spinning this question. The first is they ask you, 'did you want your last child?' That has a whole complicated set of answers and just look out here for the total numbers that 'did you want the child at the time that you had it?' Well 38% of women said, yes I wanted it when I had it, but not wanted at all, somewhat larger 40% of women didn't want it at all. That's a surprising split and then in between there's another 20% of women who gave a more ambiguous answer, 'well I didn't really want the child right then but I probably would have wanted a child in the future,' and a lot of guess work on the part of the respondent in that about what their future desires will be. As you know, humans change their mind every five minutes on important topics, but that's a very interesting statistic that there's more children unwanted than are wanted and that's somewhere in between.

Now there's probably a lot of bias in this data. This is not considered wonderful data because you're asking a woman who's just had a child, or fairly recently had a child, did you want that child? What's the bias? You say yes. I mean it's very--you have to really not like that child in order to say, 'oh yeah I had him but I didn't want him.' It happens and you see that at 40% of women do say that, but this data is probably biased to put more kids in this category then what the woman really feels, although again, intentions are very changeable and attitudes toward other people, husbands, children, one minute you love them and the next minute hate them and so forth, so that's problematic, the data there.

One way of getting around that particular problem is to ask them, 'do you want another child in the future' because that's more volitional, that's not saying I did something wrong or something that I didn't want and so here's that set of data; again all this from the Demographic and Health Survey. Again it's sort of what you would expect, this is women who don't want, want to stop childbearing, don't want any more children. If they've had no children already very few of them don't want any children 6.5%. If they've had one child already 30% say one child is enough, I'm ready to stop. If they had two children you're up to 2/3 of the women now say that's enough for me, I want to stop and when you get to three you're almost at the maximum, and then four and above you're into the 91%-92%.

You notice it's kind of interesting that it rises and then it stays flat, so there's about 8% of women who no matter how many children they have they always say 'no I want more, I don't want to stop.' This is what we call very traditional women, that as many as God gives me, here comes in one version or another, but it's 8% it's a very small number, women who don't seem to have an idea of some number at which they want to stop, or some of them they've already had whether they want to now stop.

Now you can ask another kind of question, you say this is called an ideal number of children, and you ask a question like, if you could go back to the beginning before you had any children, how many children would you have wanted as your ideal number? You get these kinds of numbers that women who have no children want to have two--who now have no children asking what they think their ideal was; they want 2.1 children. Women who already have one child 2.1, those that have two say 2.4, and then the number goes on up, including women who have six or more children. Now it's pretty clear that one should really expect this kind of thing because the simplest, most obvious reason is, women who want more children have more children. As you have more children that's a sign that you wanted more children. That certainly may be the biggest factor, just a very simple kind of thing.

Another factor is women who have had more children are older. Remember we're talking about a period in history, I mean this is recent, where ideas are changing, fertility is changing, standards and norms and personal desires are changing, so the older women just by the age factor will probably be of a somewhat older generation. I won't go into it but this looks at that, here is the age of a woman and again, how many if you went back to the beginning, how many children would you have liked and you get just an age factor, but not wildly different from this. Just generational change is a bigger factor in that then you might expect.

And also in this rise is what we've just talked about that women already had a bunch of children, when they reconstruct back what they used to think or now think that they would think they--again well I have three I'm either happy or whatever they think about it, it's hard for them to say no I don't want this many.

Have you noticed anything funny now? Anything about the number, these numbers and the number I told you to remember? No class of woman wants more than 3.3 children. Most of the women are in the two range and only those that have six and more children want 3.3, and the same if you look it out by age, no group of women wants more than three. What did I say about how many they're having? 3.8. This now accords with the other stuff that you've seen that women want--it looks like women want fewer children than they're having. Well this is Bolivia, maybe there's something a little bit special about Bolivia, and you always have to check and see whether you're getting some sort of outlier or is this the general situation.

You don't have to look at that too closely yet. An economist at The World Bank, a guy named Lant Pritchett, did a paper and the first thing he did was collect all that data from every country. These Demographic and Health Surveys are published every time a country does its own statistical demographic survey, and so all of this information is available, and now it's computerized and so forth, and there's uniformity. There's a group called Macro International that sort of helps these various countries design these surveys so that they can be compared internationally and get fairly good comparability of the data.

What he did is, of these various statistical ways of finding out how many children women want and they have different numbers. This is average ideal number of children, this is desired total fertility rate, and here's a third one, the wanted total fertility rate and they all correct for different factors in different ways, but the only thing I think that you have to sort of notice is that they're all about the same. No matter how you spin this you get a picture that looks something like this. What is it? Wanted TFR, in this case is how many children does the woman want? Self report, this is how many she says she wants, do you want 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and this is the total fertility rate. How many children is she actually having?

The countries are luckily all named here, and you can see Syria for instance, the women want 5 children and they're having 7. something children. Here is--pick another one, Pakistan, they want 4 children they're having 6 children. You can look at that and every country is in there. One important thing is how important the desire, whatever children want, that there's a very strong correlation between the number of children that you want and the number of children you actually have, aggregated by country. I mean we're taking a lot of people and lumping them into two numbers, this number and this number, and there's great variation of course within in each country but that's certainly an important factor.

The key line, because Pritchett in gathering this data, wanted to make a different point which we're not going to get to today. He leaves out a really important line here which is this line that I've drawn this in. What line is that? That's the line where it is if you want two children you have two children, if you want three children you have three children, if you want nine children you have nine children, so any country that was on that line people are having the number of children that they want. What do you notice about all these countries? Every single one of them is above the line, meaning that in every single country they're having more children then they want. What they want is what they have; they're all above that line of equality.

This is some of the cleanest social science data I have ever seen, the way they're all one side of the line, they follow very nicely the regression line. This is the regression line that he drew in which is just a line that is closest to all the points together, a statistical way of making the line as close as possible to all of the points. This gap here between what people want, if they got what they wanted and what they're actually having is called unmet need. A very complicated idea, much argued about, and Veena may or may not discuss it, but what it tells you is that there's a very noticeable difference between--it's describing that difference between the number of children people have and what they want. It's roughly one child per family here. This number in principle should be one and a half children, but there's certain connections, it's actually about one child per family; the difference between what they have and what they want.

Now in the developing world this is a little bit old data, but in the developing world today the average fertility rate is about 3.5. In order to come to stable population in the developing world it has to come down to 2.1, but if all the women here in these countries that are reporting what they want, if they actually had the number of children that they want you'd subtract out from the 3.5 (one child), you're down to 2.5 and you're actually very close then to what's called replacement level fertility this 2.1 children.

This difference of what women want and what they have is an extremely important issue. In one version of the kind of thing that Planned Parenthood and other international and domestic organizations do is help women get to the fertility that they want. Not as pushing them into something but giving them something that they already want. This data, as in all data, brings up a whole bunch of questions. One: does this really reflect people's data? Have we actually--have these kinds of questions and this kind of statistical analysis really tapped into the real emotions and feelings of the people? You always have to question these kinds of survey data.

You remember that you read this in readings in Africa, that when the women were asked how many children do you want, it was a meaningless question to them. They said whatever Ala says, whatever God says, they can't--it's just not in their--what their technical term is 'calculus of rational choice.' Well there's women like that in this survey and what number do you put down for them? These women, as I've said is basically--is all collected from women. What about men, do men want more children? Do they want the same? Do they want less? Is it that women's desires don't matter? It is men's desires that really matter? Why do women up here in Kenya and Mali at this time want so many children and have so many children? Whereas, countries you might not think of wildly different Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Fiji, various other places are way down here. Why some countries here and some countries there?

Another thing is that in most of the world people actually know about contraception. Here is data again from the Bolivian survey 2003 and do they know a method of contraception? Well they know any method yeah, 95% of the women know about contraception, and even the modern methods which are listed here, 92% of the women they know about it and many of the women know about more than one method, so 80% know about the pill, another 80% the IUD, another 80% the injectables. That means there's a lot of overlap between these. They don't know one method, they know two, and three, and male condom they know about, female sterilization they know about and so on. This is lactational amenorrhea which is the traditional method that we've talked about of spacing births and half the women know that if you breastfeed you'll prolong the interval between your births.

Not only do they know about the method but they've used the method, 77% of women have tried something, a fair amount of that is 20% of these women are using only traditional methods which include rhythm type methods, but still 57% have actually used a modern method. Currently using drops down. They've tried it and for some reason they've stopped.

One is this medical problem that the dominant reason why women say they're not using contraception--so you've seen the data, they want to stop childbearing, it's overwhelming. You saw like Bolivia--what was the final number, I don't know I pointed it out, 70% I think it was--something like 70% of the women say ‘I don't want any more children ever, I want to just plain old stop,' and then if you add in those that are not sure about the future, but they say well at least not in the next two years and then beyond two years I don't know so you add at least another 10%--something like 80% of women want some kind of protection, they either want to mostly stop totally or at least for the next two years.

You can even go down, this is again older data from Bolivia, that's one of my favorite places; I was--spent some good times there. If you just take teenagers age 15 to 19 already about 40% of them say I've had all the children I want the whole rest of my life and the average age of that sample is 17 years old. So you have these huge number of women who don't want--want to stop childbearing and yet if you look from the Demographic and Health Surveys at the contraceptive prevalence, like in Bolivia again, at the time of Robey article that you have read last night or are going to read, the women who want protection either--are about--were about 80% and the women that were using protection was like 12%, and you ask them why and largely, and especially more recently, it's medical reasons. There is first of all a campaign by conservative, especially religious people in places like Kenya to--they're opposed to the use of contraception and they really blow up medical problems, so the people are getting very poor information on it.

Now here's an example, one of the undergraduates that took this course a few years back, a very energetic young lady and she got interested in this stuff and so I arranged for her to go to Kenya to answer exactly this question. Why is it that women--and you'll hear a little later--why is it that women who say they don't want any children, they're living in Nairobi and there's plenty of contraceptives available in Nairobi and you can get them more or less free, or a small cost, and they're not using it, then they get pregnant. They can't have that baby, they don't want the baby, so they go to some bush doctor, and it's illegal in most of Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, all of Africa, abortion is illegal but here they got pregnant so they go to some horrible clinic. The death rate is very, very high.

Here's women who don't want children, don't use contraception even though it's available to them, and yet when they get pregnant they're willing to undergo an operation, a very crude, illegal operation by an untrained practitioner that will lead to a very high rate of death and they're well aware of that fate. Everybody knows somebody who's died from a botched abortion and you've read some of that in the European--in the era in America and Europe when that was common.

She went there and it turns out that women are very much influenced by rumors, what they hear, because their education is not really their thing. This student, this Yale undergraduate collected these rumors, and one of the rumors, one of the most extreme rumors was well mostly in Africa, and I think you read this--the people that haven't been to university don't distinguish between stomach and uterus, it's all one big cavity. Was that in one of your readings? I think it was, anyway it doesn't matter; it's all one thing there.

Now you take a pill, and they know something about pills, penicillin and everything, but every day for the rest of my life, why do I have to keep taking this pill? Why don't I take a pill and that settles the issue? Well they figure I get pregnant and the fetus starts to grow inside me. Well what does the pill do? The pill goes down and dissolves, they have some idea that it's wet and dissolves, and then reforms over the fetus and starts coating it. But everyday they know the fetus is getting bigger, so you need to take another pill to add to the coat of it, and at the end what you grow and what you get is a mummy. You get a fetus that can be fully grown and coated with a white stuff like an egg and that's what you deliver.

Well if you believe something like that you're not going to go anywhere near pills, right? Some of these similar kinds of stories happen with everything else. This young lady herself got the five little silastic implants in her arm and she when she came back she was very--she got it in Kenya, one because she wanted it and two she wanted to show the women sees it's not dangerous, I'm even doing it myself, but that's irrelevant.

One thing is--any--no clue about medical stuff, physiology, digestion, anatomy inside, huge numbers of women don't have any clue about this. This girl did a very clever thing, she was a Yalie, and she then asked the women--Kenyan women are not any stupider than anybody else, they're smart women, they said do you believe such a rumor? They were just reporting it as a rumor and the women were of course very skeptical of this. Well I've heard this and that is it true or not and they were properly skeptical of it.

She collected this whole range of rumors, and she found that--she asked, which ones do you believe more than others, and she sort of could get a ranking on it, and then she asked all kinds of questions and it turned out that it was very simple, that they believed something depending on how many times they had heard it. This particular rumor was not one of the most prevalent, some other rumors were, equally not true, but if you hear it a lot then you believe it because they don't have a sense of expertise, scientific competency, any of that sort of stuff.

A sociologist at Penn, Susan Watkins, who I may have mentioned before and certainly will mention again who works in Kenya in the Luo region, not in Nairobi, a different region, she attended a lecture where a local woman, speaking the local dialect had gone to Nairobi and gotten trained--a nurse type--she wasn't trained--an official nurse--but working in that kind of establishment, went to Nairobi and got trained to be a reproductive health educator.

She comes back and is having some sort of a white coat or uniform, or a blouse or something and she gives a lecture to the women with--they have these models of pregnancy models, models of internal anatomy slides, very nice and she was good at it, and the women were absolutely rapt, they were listening to every word. But as they left the room they started sort of staring each other, what are we going to make out of this, and outside there was a woman scrubbing the floor, a washer woman there and these women just dove onto the washer woman and said, is she telling--is what she's telling is true, is this good for us, is she our kind of women that the--and really asked the washer woman all kinds of questions about this information which the washer woman had no technical expertise.

The idea being that they don't have this sense of that knowledge comes from some sort of expertise, that more knowledge comes from someone like me is a more important variable than that you've been to Nairobi and gotten some kind of training. And the washer woman they perceived was closer to them than the woman who has gotten some education even though it was a local--a person from that local community.

It's a very complicated issue and the big battle is in getting people thinking about this and trying to do some of that, is sort of how much of this difference and how much of the--people in general having more--how much of it is that there's something wrong this data that they really do want a lot of children and many of them--in many countries up there they wanted 5, 6, 7, 8 children and how much of it is--they don't have access--access doesn't mean just handing out condoms.

This is the last story and I'll shut up. There's a famous story that passes around family planning circles about someone going into an African village, and finding in front of each hut a stick and the stick was an unrolled condom. That was very strange and so they went and asked what this is? We had a family planning worker and they showed us how to prevent pregnancy and they had this stick and they showed us how to unroll it and they did that.

I have heard this kind of story any number of times and I tossed it off--it's something like--I had a little--the--more doubts, I just tossed the story off. Then I'm in Kline Tower and I came out one night, I work late, and the Forestry was having a party and some of the graduate students were out back smoking or chatting, so I chatted them up and one of them had been in a part of South Africa called Transkei, and she told me she went into this village and what did she see? It was cucumbers and all the people had cucumbers with condoms unrolled on them, so this is a student who's here at Yale right now that saw this with her own eyes, so this is another one of these amazing stories that's true and gives you sort of at least an anecdotal hint into what's going on--scratching beneath this data.

Okay see you next week.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 14
Demographic Transition in Developing Countries
Play Video
Demographic Transition in Developing Countries

By 1950, in most of the underdeveloped world, mortality had fallen to about half its pre-modern rate. The birth rate, however, had remained high and, by 1950, was about twice the death rate. For the rest of the century, both rates fell dramatically and in parallel, maintaining the gap. The enormous excess of births over deaths in this period is known as 'the population explosion.' By 1990, the world population was growing at almost 90 million a year. Comparing the Demographic Transition in Europe and in the currently developing countries, the latter started 100 years later at a much lower economic level, fell from much higher birth and death rates, occurred much faster and with a much higher population growth rate, and added vastly more people. The developing countries saw the benefits that had accrued to the West as a result of the transition and then rapidly appropriated it for themselves. But while European countries may have quadrupled their population over 200 years, third world countries grew by as much as ten times in a much shorter period and they are still growing at a rapid rate. The problems of this rapid growth (still about 80 million a year) abound. The traditional scourges of starvation (9 million deaths a year), disease (AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria -- all claim between 1 and 2 million deaths per year) and war (Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs with approximately 200,000 deaths) are all far too small to stabilize population. People in developing countries who want to limit their fertility, are often afraid of contraceptives (especially side-effects) and yet are willing to undergo horrendously dangerous illegal abortions to avert a childbirth.

Reading assignment:

Harrison, Paul. The Third World: Population, Environment, and a Sustainable World, pp. 221-235

Philips, James F., Sajeda Amin and Gholam M. Kamal. "The Determinants of Reproductive Change in Bangladesh: Success in a Challenging Environment." World Bank Publications (June 1994), pp. 1-6 and 131-151


March 3, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: You're going to get more numbers today. I know you--how many love numbers? You can't live without numbers. What did I tell you was the traditional, before modern times, death rate? A number you should keep, or birth rate, it's the same--about per 1,000? About 40 to 50 per 1,000 is the birth and death rate at a life expectancy of 20 years, that means 1/20th of the people die every year and so you need 50 out of 1,000 births 1/20th of your people to be births; so births and deaths, in what we call primitive times, which might mean up to the Napoleonic Revolution, almost is 40 to 50 births and 40 to 50 deaths a year.

Now here is modern times. We're starting in 1950 in all of these graphs and coming in the period of the popular--main--beginning births of the population explosion 1950 to 1990 in all these cases. And here are the various parts of the world and you'll notice that this is the death--I'm sorry the birth rate is 50, birth rate is 43 or something 42, 43, 45, 45. That 1950 the birth rate is at approximately its level for centuries way back. We know that not too much before this time since population was not growing until some--a little bit before this time that the death rate must have been the same, so the death rate was also 40 to 50 people.

Look what happened. By 1950 the death rate is already down to half of its traditional level, even in Sub-Saharan Africa it's almost reduced to half; in Central America, the Caribbean, less than half; South America less than half; China about half; South Asia about half; Southeast Asia about half. In most of the world by the 1950s the birthrate was still extremely high, but the death rate had come down to half of what it had always been.

What was going on is that these countries were almost all still under colonial rule with the exception of South America, which might be a reason why it's even better. And, among all their faults, the colonialists did institute basic sanitation, basic public health, basic public order and they stopped a lot of the warfare between communities. They imposed a lot of violence upon the people but that was apparently much less then the violence that local communities imposed upon each other in the pre-colonial era, so the death rate was down by the 1950s.

Sometime in 50s, around 1950, the birth rate started coming down in all those countries, and even though the birthrate starts at these very, very high levels they come down almost everywhere with of course the exception being Sub-Saharan Africa, and you've read about why that is and I keep saying that almost everything we say, SubSaharan Africa is an exception to the rate. Even though the death rate was down, the birth rate didn't change much, but in every other part of the developing regions of the world, the birth rate and the death rate came down approximately in parallel with each other.

Of course the difference between that birth and death rate is population increase - and this is the heyday of the population explosion. Remember this is per 1,000 so it's a percent kind of a number, so as the population grows the number of people represented by this percent cap grows and grows, and grows, and so this explains the graph I showed you last time, or two times ago. Starting again in 1950 to 1990, the number of people added each year just keeps growing, with one blip and you'll see later in the course, I've shown you that blip before, but we'll discuss what that blip is. The data for the individual regions of the world and this all fits together, makes sense.

Now we've been through the European population story, and again we saw that, not always but mostly, the death rate fell first and then the birth rate fell and Europe went through a population explosion. To say this story the way I've been telling you, no differences, that the third world is just going through exactly what Europe went through, but it isn't true. Let's compare two of the fertility transitions. This is Sweden and this is Mexico, and you'll notice that Sweden has birth and death kind of hanging around until maybe here, until 1860s, and that's just what the Princeton Project found out that the really serious decline happened somewhere in this 1870 region, and then the death rate declines rather continuously on through the time, and the birth rate declines. This starts around 1870.

Mexico's decrease starts around 1970. So between what we now call the developing countries or the third world countries, about 100 year difference between when Europe started its transition and when the developing countries started their transition. Now 100 years may seem a lot to you, but in the course of human history, since these numbers had been going on forever, 100 years is a very, very short time. Another difference you should note is--Hang on, I just fixed this. Usually that's all that required I hope. Nope. Anybody have a laser pointer by any miracle? All right, we're going to have a little bit of trouble today but I think you can figure things out.

Notice that the levels of everything there are lower in Sweden, that Sweden starts and the European countries generally start at a lower level of births and a lower level of deaths, so they were already, by the time that their serious transition starts, they're already quite a ways down compared to where Mexico starts. Notice that the deaths and the births are much higher in Mexico than in Europe.

Now those are important, but notice the gradualness of the decline here. That Sweden had a long time to adjust to these changes, whereas, look at the drop in the death rate in Mexico. Boom! Basically all of a sudden and then give it a generation, look at the drop in the birth rate. That's the most amazing thing, how rapidly things change in the developing world, compared to the way it changed in Europe. Because of this rapidity of this decline and a natural delay here, whereas in Sweden that might be the delay, the delay means because of the rapidity of the decline, that the difference now between births and deaths is this huge amount compared to a much smaller amount here. Europe never had to cope with the rate of increase, the number of people added every year, the percentage of the population, never had to cope with anything like what the currently developing countries had and that's a result of the rapid drop.

The other thing to note, of course, is that by this time, the births and the deaths in Sweden are essentially equal, and Sweden's population is not growing anymore and that as you heard from Dr. Teitelbaum's lecture, is characteristic of Europe as a whole, as well as Japan, and a lot of the East Asian countries.

A cartoon of this which has--a lot right about and one big thing wrong with it, is that here's the rich countries, they start--this is the pop--rate of increase of population growth, that they start earlier, he starts it quite early in France, and 100 years later--in this graph it's called 'poor countries' start. The peak, the rise is slow, the fall is slow, the rise is fast, the fall is fast, the peak is much lower here. The peak is about 1%. The maximum rate of growth that Europe ever experienced was 1%, whereas, for poor countries, the average was 2.5% and some were up at 3%. So, enormously greater stress on the countries that went through this very, very fast.

Why did this happen? Why is it so much faster in developing countries? We say that as each country, as it gets into their transition phase later, everything happens faster. It's quite a robust phenomenon. Every few years, you say, oh man China or some country, Korea, Taiwan, had the fastest decline ever and then a few years later some new countries enter in and their decline is even faster. One of the main reasons is that contraceptives were invented around here. The pill, the diaphragm, kind of all that--well some of them went way back here but the modern method, the really modern methods were all like the pill in around the 1960s.

This is a graph showing that the developing countries are using contraception, so here is contraceptive prevalence, the percent of women and childbearing ages that use contraception, and it ranges from very little, less than 10% to like 70%. The U.S. is in the 60% to 70% range. Notice that the fertility, the total fertility rate, if the country's not using contraception, very high fertility rate, as they use more and more contraception their fertility rate goes on.

The mechanism in the developing countries is use of contraception and mostly modern contraception. Whereas, when Europe went through its transition, they didn't have hardly any contraception. Some condoms were just beginning to come in but none of the modern chemical methods or the better kinds of barrier methods. The story is kind of--that, why the developing countries are faster is that the science is already there, the medical stuff is there, the death rate comes down because again Europe developed the medical know how and then it just got transferred very rapidly: vaccines, vitamins, viruses, all of those were discovered before the transition there.

Just as important as the knowledge was an attitude toward civil government and civil society that it is the responsibility of governments to take care of the health of their people. That's not a given. Most countries, through most of history, the government was rapacious and their idea was to get as much taxes from the peasants as possible. The peasants were sort of like non-humans and use those taxes to have an army and go try to get--enlarge their territories. The idea of civil government, where the government is for the people is a fairly modern idea and one of the basic things that governments try to do is public health.

Then of course--on the technology, the contraceptives I've mentioned, the means of mass communication, I'll show you a slide later that change in behavior is triggered a lot by what you see on television and what you see on [correction: hear on] the radio, what you see in newspapers. As in chimpanzees, we're a very social species, and we're always looking to see what's acceptable, what kind of behavior is acceptable. Gossip, maybe I mentioned this, that most of what humans say to each other is gossip and the function of gossip is to find what are the limits of acceptable behavior, so the mass media is extremely important in like telling people in this case that two children is the proper way of families. They see American television, American movies, or Japanese, and what do they see? Rich people with two children, whereas as they previously believed that in order to be rich in some sense you have to have eight children, so the media are very important in changing perceptions.

Also, for a very long time, maybe not now, the West had--cachet--was considered the future, the modernity, the West was very respected and loved around the world and so the use--the small family norm was a characteristic of the Western, a lot of people tried to become like the West, there was that cachet. Of course family planning programs, the west had a long experience with family planning programs. You've read some of the Margaret Sanger stuff from America, the Marie Stopes stuff from England, where people are struggling with these things and finally come out the other end and decide to gain control of their fertility. In a sense, both medically and culturally, Westerners were the guinea pigs for this fertility transition and then once it was, in some sense, perfected and finished in the West, it was sort of transferred wholesale to the newly developing countries.

Now another thing about the fertility transition is that not only is it more intense demographically with all the statistics that we can gather, but it's also more intense emotionally. As you're for sure well aware by now in this course, there's enormously strong social norms about sex and reproduction, and if those norms are about to change it attacks one of the most important foundations of a culture and there's--that does not happen without a lot of conflict within the culture.

In the West, although there's a lot of discussion about this, the idea of individualism, that people individually go out and do what's good for them, they make choices based on their own desires. There's kind of a long history of that and it was sort of formalized by Adam Smith in economics saying, that if everybody went out and tried to get as rich as possible it would be wonderful for everybody. In most of the developing countries they have a more communal kind of attitude, whereas, often if you speak to older, say Chinese, or Indians--the smallest unit of desire which they speak of is the family; very hard to get them to think of what THEY want. It's the family, or village, or some larger entity.

When you start changing norms, the norms in non-Western societies or pre-modern western societies are very much stronger in control of the people. People have less latitude to go and do their own thing; they're under social--much more social control. Of course all of these things multiply--square these things, quadruple them, if you're talking about sex.

One of the readings, I don't know if you're going to do it tonight or you did it already, about the Palestinian woman who was killed. Did you--was that--not in your reading yet. What it is, that a Palestinian woman was suspected of some infidelity, no hard evidence for it, and her little brother killed her after searching for her for many years. The idea of giving you that article is it's a tear jerker, but it gives you an idea of the emotionality of the--strength with which the older social norms are held and someone who appears on the surface, even mildly, to violate it, can get killed.

A Jordanian woman has just come out with a book 2003, Honor Lost, and she talked about her best friend and this is what triggered her, apparently, to write the book. This woman, her friend, had been seen in public walking with a man who was not a relative. Now not doing anything bad but right there in public, so you know nothing was going on on the streets and this being seen alone--being seen on the streets with a man who was not a relative was such a stain on the family's honor that the woman's father stabbed her 12 times in the chest and then stood over the body to make sure that she was dead before calling an ambulance.

Imagine the strength of the cultural norms that allows a brother to kill a sister, or a father to kill his daughter. In this last case, this woman who the father killed her, the family was not poor and was not Muslim, even though it's in Jordan but they were middle class and Roman Catholic. So that means--almost nobody in these cultures escapes the cultural norms even though Catholics in Jordan are a very small minority as is the middle class in Jordan. They obey the same rules of the culture as everyone else. The author of that book claims that this happens to thousands of women, that there's thousands of women dying in honor--so called honor killings.

Now, of course, it's not restricted to the Middle East, you will read a little bit later a reading for India where a woman is raped by her father-in-law and her own father insists on killing her. That's from India. You have to contrast this with, not all cultures are like this, so contrast this very tight strict norm about women's--not giving women any possibility for going beyond the norm, compare it with the Na of China which I think you've already read, where everything is totally free, or the Japanese, the story of the Suye Mura women; have you read that yet? Again, there's a huge amount of sexual freedom. So it isn't that all cultures have the same cultural norms, but they all do have cultural norms and violation of those cultural norms will be punished.

Another thing is that, in the different stream, the Western and Eastern fertility transition, is that the economic constraints, the level of poverty in the third world is much worse than it was in Europe at the time of its transition. Everything is more difficult when you're poor and you live in a poor country with poorly developed government, everything is more difficult. In your reading packet is a one page collection of headlines from Tanzania and you just see all the problems that Tanzania is going through in a period when their fertility is high and maybe beginning to start falling down.

We have some understanding of the many ways in which statistically, except by magnitude, the fertility of the demographic transition in the countries that have entered since 1960 looks very different from those that entered it in 1860. Quantitatively also, when you go through a period of population growth, the question is well how much did your population grow altogether between the beginning of the transition which we've had the beginning in Europe and the end in Europe, as your text says something like 1870 to 1930 and Europe grew by about a factor of four, so the population quadrupled. This was the time when the population of the developing countries was staying constant.

But developing countries--India actually, as far as we can predict, is having one of the smallest between four and five, so they're sort of at the maximum for Europe, no country in Europe was more than four and India, one of the lowest countries for the developing world, would be somewhere between four and five so we expect. Mexico will have grown by a factor of seven to ten times; Kenya by more than fifteen times, so here is again, countries that started the transition poor, they're still moderately poor, Mexico is doing better but certainly Kenya is not and India is doing somewhat better. And now they have to cope with five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times as much population.

Because of these multipliers, the fraction of people in the different parts of the world goes first one way and then the other way. Before the mortality transition, Europeans represented about 18% of the world's population. At its maximum, when Europe had the maximum, Europe and European people in America, Australia, New Zealand and so forth, but European stock people their fraction--the European fraction of the world population doubled, more than doubled actually from--about doubled from 18% to 35% so they--Europe was undergoing--Europeans were undergoing a huge population thing. Now--by 1995 because Europe's population growth is over, European people's are over, and the developing countries population growth is starting it's back to where it started and it's back to about 18%.

Now--that's 1995 and we've had already 13 years of population growth continuing in the developing countries and it's continuing and getting more and more. The relative percentage of people in, what's now called the developing world versus the European world, is going now to be so high in the developing countries that it's way beyond anything that was historically the case, except maybe when humans started moving out of Africa and into the Middle East and into Europe. This may not stabilize--so far there is no sign that European population, almost all of the European populations now have fertility rates below 2.1 and so they are going--if they continue with that of course they eventually disappear altogether, and the idea that there's going to be some stabilization at some ratio of say rich and poor countries is dependent on fertility coming up in developed countries and we don't have any reason to expect that.

This is an important factor because, if part of the developing countries coming out of poverty, is aid from the West and that's again--everything is debatable in this course, how much help aid does. It actually--there's no question about that in some cases it's tremendously helpful. That if there's nobody left in the developed countries to give the aid, then one of the props which helps developing countries come up will have disappeared.

We've gone through the quantities of the transition, but we have compared the demographic transition of developing countries with European countries, but we haven't compared it to anything else. The world population, as I say, is growing something like 70 to 80 million people a year. The question is, if we imagine some sort of a landing for this, what kinds of things are going to stop this population explosion? There's bad things and there's good things; bad possibilities and good possibilities. The bad possibilities and have been known--have been thought about for a long time is 1) famine, that people could start starving, disease, AIDS, people are always talking about Aids balancing the population explosion or war. I'm going to give you some idea of the magnitude of these factors.

Famine, one way that famine operates is, some country has a big drought and they go through a short period of terrible famine, but that's not the main thing. People all over world and especially children are malnourished and malnourished leads to disease. It's very hard to get these statistics and to gather these statistics, and it depends on who you're talking too. I was teaching in a health course and we sort of did serial lectures and Michelle Barry, a professor of international infectious diseases, gave the lecture before mine, so I went to her lecture to see the lay of the land, and she was describing millions of deaths from various diseases.

The medical students, this was to medical students, had no clue and they were just absolutely shocked at the magnitude of what's going on, especially in developing countries. She was listing, maybe you know, Aids is about--back then it was two million a year, it might be three million and coming down; Malaria, tuberculosis from the one to two million deaths a year kind of thing; diarrhea in children, etc. These are--the massive killers in the world. Next week I came on and said, you know what, there's x millions of deaths from malnutrition and they were shocked because it was an even bigger number then what Dr. Barry had given.

I said, you know what, they're the same deaths you heard about last week. The thing is something like--I don't remember the number, something like if you take a skin test for tuberculosis, something like a third to a half of us have been exposed to the TB bug so that we have antibodies against it. We basically in some sense, in a small sense, have had TB. If you go to India more people have had it but the fraction that actually come down and get sick is much, much higher.

Why? Malnutrition. That all of the diseases, if you're malnourished your immune system and your other body systems can't fight the bug, so you actually get sick and will often die. There's a big discussion of when you see a death to say TB, is that death caused by the tuberculosis bacillus or is that death caused by malnutrition? The World Health Organization and a lot of other groups are now saying that the about half the deaths from all these things are really at base caused by malnutrition, that at the level of infection that the people are exposed to, you should see so many deaths but you actually see twice that many deaths because people are hungry.

The numbers from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are--is that 25,000 people die every day, like today, 25,000 people will die from starvation or malnutrition. That's a huge number. That's nine million deaths a year and so I calculated it out, during the course of this lecture 1,300 people will die of starvation or malnutrition. It's really very serious. Most of the death--yeah?

Student: How many people are born during this lecture?

Professor Robert Wyman: What?

Student: How many people will be born during this lecture?

Professor Robert Wyman: Also a very large number, more than the deaths. We've seen that the--you can calculate it yourself that the birthrate is something like three times, two and a half times the death rate, but that's not just that--you can sort of double the total number of deaths will be something a little more than double the deaths from malnutrition, so a lot. The population is still growing I'll bet, as you've seen, because we do have a lot more births than deaths, and I showed you that data before. [The answer is: in 75 minutes about 20,000 babies are born.]

Malnutrition is the leading cause of death in children in developing countries, and the numbers you read are all over the place, and one number that I pulled out is 13 million child deaths a year and I've seen lower than that. The World Bank in the--it's millennium goals, you know the big millennium goal thing what the whole world is supposed to go to, says again, that half the deaths of children under five are due to malnutrition and--there's altogether, for all reasons, there's 13 million child deaths a year and you get numbers from different studies saying anywhere between a third and a half of these deaths are due to malnutrition.

What does malnutrition look like? You may have seen--this is kwashiorkor, how many of you have heard of that? It's a very prevalent kind of thing. Do I have a slide? You go to a village in poor places and you see these distended bellies? This is everywhere and actually we don't even--in --there's a tremendously prevalent thing, we don't actually know the cause of it. The old story was that it's a protein deficiency disease and protein makes albumin and albumin holds water into the blood and the tissues, and when you can't hold water, it sort of floods into your tissues and spreads out, but now there's a lot of other theories and we just don't know really what's the basic cause of kwashiorkor. It is malnutrition. That's--there's no question about it, but exactly what in the diet is missing is not totally clear.

Here's another kind of shocking thing, now I'm going to give you some shocking pictures and tearjerkers but it's important to see. This you've seen. This is an American missionary or aid worker, I don't know which and that's her baby and that's this baby and they're both six months old in Africa.

Another thing that happens is that population--when population grows the people who are strongest take the best land and they push out people that are less strong, or have less population or are less violent or whatever reason, or less technologically advanced, they push them into marginal land like deserts. This is the site in Mali of what used to be one of the largest lakes in Africa and then it goes through periodic climatic things; it dries out every so often. In some sense, people should not be living there because you know it's going to--it goes every so often through droughts, but they have no choice because stronger people's in the past have pushed them into these desert kind of regions, one of the results of population explosion.

I've told you, in Europe, where the extra farmers had to go up hillsides and into less profitable land, so there they are in this very arid region and in normal years they can survive, but then comes a drought and this kind of thing happens and the result, of course--this is a boy who is I think nine years old or something, he's 13 pounds and almost impossible to keep that boy alive. Here's one of the really saddening pictures that--in the political discourse about population, and fertility, and family planning in America there's a lot about motherhood, how wonderful motherhood is -- everything but you have to see--well I didn't show that. I've got--I put in the wrong picture which is maybe good for you.

Now you've seen a lot of these pictures. The organizations, they want you to give money show a lot of them and one of the discussion items about these kind of pictures is that they make people in poor countries seem sort of helpless and that's not true. The amount of stuff that people in these countries are doing to try to help themselves is enormous, they can be very strong and very smart people, but their resources are very limited what they work with.

The bottom line of this little bit is that given the number of deaths that we understand to be from malnutrition and given the number of population increase, if the solution is to be solved by famine, if the balancing of births and deaths is going to be a famine situation, the starvation rate must increase by a factor of eight, plus or minus.

The next thing is disease; disease is the second of our triplet of horrible solutions. In 2008 it killed about three million people, up from two million, and this is clearly--apparently the peak. Everyone apparently--Because of the retrovirals and various other public health measures, the number is supposed to go down. The numbers are already changing. At the end of 2007, the UN got a whole bunch of better data from certain countries and they had to--they lowered the number of people they thought to be infected with the AIDS virus by 6.3 million. So something like 33 million people infected with AIDS, and presumably they will all die at some point, although the retrovirals can keep them alive a long time.

Notice that 33 million is less than half of one year's population growth from AIDS. It's--the way it works out demographically is here is somewhat older data at the--from the peak of the AIDS epidemic, this is the impact in Sub-Saharan Africa with and without AIDS, so the gray--the purple is the way the population -was modeled to increase without AIDS, as if there was no AIDS, and then with AIDS, AIDS kills these people basically, prevents these births, you still have an enormous population increase for Sub-Saharan Africa which is the worst affected place. This is one of the worst scenarios --they did a worst case scenario run which they sort of imagined things to be about as bad as they could get.

This thing, when you do it for a whole--most of a continent hides a lot of difference; this is Uganda, which had a very intelligent response to AIDS and here, with AIDS there will be this much, and without AIDS there would have been this much, but population keeps growing. In any case, in South Africa, which is about the worst really badly hit place you do see that population growth without AIDS would be this and they're actually expecting population growth to come down as a result of AIDS. In some countries, it has an important demographic effect, but for Sub-Saharan Africa, as a whole, not an enormous effect.

In the rest of world, where, at least so far, the numbers are much smaller, a minor effect. It can easily get lost in the statistical noise that we don't know how many people are on earth, we don't know exactly how fast the population is growing and AIDS can be within that statistical noise.

From a demographic point of view, AIDS as a killer, is significant. Let me show you there's another thing that kills 1.6 million people more than half of the AIDS number. You'll never guess what that is? It's this, it's smoke from cooking fires, that in the developing countries, in the poor countries, this is the way people cook and the smoke fills the room, gets into their lungs, and they get all kinds of diseases extra and the estimates of that is 1.6 million deaths; comparable to tuberculosis and malaria and somewhat less than AIDS.

They have a solution to this and it's a stove that keeps--that you don't get these kind of smoke with. And those cost $10 each and they'll cut out a number of deaths equivalent to half of the AIDS deaths. One of the things--if you're interested in understanding the magnitude of the problems of the world, one of the things you just have to pay attention is the magnitude of the problem and the magnitude of any solution. When there's an almost sure thing of $10 available and retrovirals cost an awful lot more, which kind of person are you going to try to save? The person that can be saved by $10 or the person that needs $1,000 to be saved if you have limited kinds of money.

From a demographic point of view the problem with--almost worse than the total number of deaths because malaria's been killing people for a long time, and TB and these are all horrible situations, of course every death is a horrible sort of thing, but AIDS kills people in the prime of their life and that's--this is what we call hollowing out of the Age structure so there's children who are dependent, there's adults who work and there's old people who are dependent. If you kill off your working people that leaves the kids with no one to take care of them, no one to provide economically for them, that leaves the old people with no one to take care of them.

The direct deaths from AIDS itself is one horrible thing, but what they do to taking care of everybody else in the population multiples that effect by a lot, and as of 2001 the last statistics that I could find, there's about 12 million children that have been orphaned in Africa due to AIDS. That is--we do a lot of work in the political refugees, that's triple the number of political refugees that there are in Africa.

We've done famine, disease, and wars is the last set of numbers and you hear it at cocktail parties that some war, whatever the current war is, will balance births and deaths. The worst we've had is the atom bombs, and I don't know if you know what the numbers on the atom bombs are, but the Hiroshima bomb killed 75,000 people, the Nagasaki bomb killed 25,000 people. That's 100,000 people dead in two quick flashes. The population on earth grows by approximately 200,000 a day.

What that means is that, if we can imagine, and all these are imaginary, if we imagine that some wars are going to balance births and deaths on earth that means that every day you have to blow up two Nagasaki bombs and two Hiroshima bombs, killing that equivalent number of people just to keep even. That doesn't reduce population, that just keeps population flat. The idea of giving you all these horrible numbers is just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this issue and that it's of course absolutely unthinkable that one sort of continues to just let this situation go rampantly until one of these negative kind of disasters happens. There's got to be a solution. We have to figure it out in some way.

So far in the last lecture or so, I've obviously been what we call apocalyptic. The world is coming to an end due to population explosion, but there's a famous saying to the opposite, which is that if something can't go on forever, it won't. I think that has a large chance of happening and I've described some of this already to you in our last lecture and I'm going to talk more about it right now.

Consider these two interviews, one is an interview very much like one of the ones in your readings, it's from Mali in 1983, Sitan. This is a woman who's heard about the contraceptive pill but has not used it. Interviewer: "Sitan, how many children more would you like to have?"

"That is for God to decide."

Interviewer: "You yourself, how many more children would you like--how many children would you like to have in your whole life?"

"I don't know the number. It's when God stops my births."

Interviewer: "How many boys and how many girls would you like to have?"

"It's God that gives me children. Since it is God that gives or not, you cannot make a choice about your children." You've read some of these, this is a different country, a different time, but this is a not uncommon sort of attitude where people, women especially, just can't--it's not within their calculus of conscious choice.

Now in Bangladesh, which is again, both of these countries are Muslim, Bangladesh is more conservative religiously. The poverty getting better now, but it was about the same, so there's the socioeconomic indicators for the two countries are about the same, but the government in Bangladesh was very different and the government, from very early on, decided that they would make family planning available in the country and the international groups then came on board and said, okay, we will help you.

This is now another interview with an 18 year old girl named Shamiran and she is just learning that there is such a thing as birth control. The reason she knows about it is that, and you'll read about--you're going to read about the family planning program and the results in Bangladesh, is that as I said Bangladesh is a very conservative Muslim country. So, women generally are not allowed out of the house to get medical service for instance. Just to go out and talk to women's meetings where these things get discussed. No. They can't do that.

The family planning program in Bangladesh, the government program and the private program, hired high class women from that community, who themselves were using family planning and thought it was good and sent them into the houses of poor women who couldn't come out. This is kind of like if Muhammad--the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad will go to the mountain. The people in the village all know about this woman who, Mukti Ma, that was her name, and she's considered a health worker and she actually gave her aunt, her aunt was an acceptor and Mukti Ma was giving--came by regularly to give her aunt pills and the girls knew about it.

But they didn't really understand it and so they went and asked the aunt, the girl Shamiran, and the aunt refused to tell her anything because again the social conservatism, that these matters will be explained to her only when she is married and she's not to know anything about this now. What did the kid do? Like every kid everywhere else in the world she goes to school and talks with her friends, and they all pick little bits of information or misinformation and pull it together from the other girls.

Some of them apparently knew of Mukti Ma, some of them didn't know about her. I'm sorry I said everyone in the village knows, apparently they didn't, but since this girl's aunt was getting pills from Mukti Ma she knew about it, but every one of her schoolmates was interested. One girl said, "I would like to work as she does," she Mukti Ma. "Look at her, she wears her sari so nicely and goes to different neighborhoods. My sister told me she earns a good amount of money."

Others said, "but my father and grandmother says she's not a good lady." Shamiran said, "Grandmothers and fathers are always behind the times, they do not want to let girls go to school, I don't want to consider their opinions, I like Mukti Ma's work and I will have pills to control births."

Some girls said, "Yes, I think we should have this medicine so we will not have so many problems with so many children. With few children, we'll be able to keep our saris clean and nice," Then everybody laughed together and that apparently ended that interview.

This is an older generation versus a younger generation and there's an interest of the girls, as they self perceive it, and the interest of the older generation, as they are trying to impose it on the younger generation. It's a very clear kind of a conflict situation. The girls see having many children as just causing a lot of problems and what the girls are interested in is not having a lot of children as--which was terribly important to their--certainly their grandparents and probably their parents.

They want to have nice clean saris and look nice. They want to be able to earn money and go around to different neighborhoods. The older generation is trying to keep them out of school, keep this information away from them, and keep them in the mold previously. The girls in that society are pretty much powerless because even though the age at marriage has risen, Shamiran's already 18, which traditionally is terribly old for a girl to be unmarried. She'll eventually get married, moved in with her husband, and the husband will also be a teenager probably and will have not much say -- the husband's mother will be the arbiter of medical things, reproductive things, so that both the son and the daughter-in-law will be under the control primarily of the mother-in-law and so it's the mother-in-law's opinions that count, the mother-in-law's attitude toward reproduction that counts.

Very often we, in the west, say that--the problem is all with men, the macho men force women into having children and some of that is certainly true and sometimes in Latin America a fair amount of that can be true, but in Asia it's very often the mother-in-law. Wherever you see that the young girl--they get married young, the husband and wife are both young, they move into the husband's house which is the grandparents house, then the boy will be under control of his mother and the new wife will be perhaps almost a slave to that mother. You have many, many instances where both the boy--the husband and the young girl wife do not want to have children but they don't have any choice. In matters of reproduction it's mother-in-laws who are the dominant transmitters of culture in the thing--in the world.

I showed you in the data at the beginning of last lecture that the Shamirans of the earth, who are not so enamored of having a lot of children, have taken over from the Sitan's of the earth, who will have as many as they're going to have. The data was very strong that women in the developing countries don't want all the children that they're currently having.

You've seen new data and you've seen old data from that. I showed you Bolivia new data you could--I can--you can come up to my office and see the Demographic & Health Surveys and pick a country and it's pretty much all the same. With the exceptions of Sub-Saharan Africa is somewhat exception and some of the Arab countries, not the Muslim countries, many Muslim countries have really reduced their fertility but Arab countries are going through a non-standard situation.

This information has been--we've had this since about the 1960s. We've had it for about a half a century, knowledge that women in the developing world don't really want the children that they're having. In the 1960s they started with a survey called KAP, knowledge, attitude, practice. Knowledge: did you know about contraception? Attitude: do you want it, what do you think about it? Practice: are you actually using it? Then from 1972 to 1982 there were surveys called The World Fertility Survey which were improved from the KAP surveys and they reached 62 countries with 350,000 women interviewed, and then from 1985 they've been coming along with these Demographic & Health Surveys, which are more or less standardized across the world, and from which the data I gave you came.

If you listen to the verbal report of these women, they say they don't want these children. The question--you have to always question--scientists always question everything, okay they say that, but how much oomph! is behind it? It could be an interviewer comes in, obviously a very modern person, you know that modern people sort of think that the modern way is to have fewer children, so you may very well answer them in that way so you can never be sure of these surveys. You always have to look at what are people actually doing and there are various ways that you can find out if this a real--a desire backed by behavior.

One of the things is well how permanent--of those women that choose some sort of family planning method, how permanent is it? How good is it? It turns out that basically everywhere in the world sterilization is the dominant choice for family planning. In Brazil, for instance, by the late 1980s and their fertility has come down from then, 40% of married women using contraception in fact chose to be sterilized over all the other methods. Now you might think that this was the poorest women who chose this, that they were kind of desperate. Maybe they were influenced by family planning workers to just get it over with, and I've heard polemical arguments saying that, Oh, these sterilization things are because that was what was pushed upon them by some family planning program'.

In fact, statistics are very clear that the higher the income level of the woman, the greater likelihood that she was to choose sterilization. One of these--have any of you seen this film about testing the birth control pill in Puerto Rico called La Operacion? It's sort of a far feminist thing but very--shown very frequently. One of the places that the birth control pill, invented in America, was tested was in Puerto Rico. It shows a lot of people, they're talking in Spanish, but there's a narrator speaking in English which most everybody can understand, and the narrator is saying how terrible everything is and that these women weren't told what was going on.

What you see when the narrator is speaking is an older woman who wasn't eligible to be a subject in the test, at night climbing into the window at the basement of the hospital to get the birth control pill and the narrator says nothing about that, but they're showing this to you. Have you seen it? I saw--had sort of a hand up.

In the U.S., among affluent, educated women that nobody is presumably pushing around 13.8 million--women use tubal ligation, a female form of sterilization as their method of birth control and less than that 13.2 million were using the birth control pill. In the United States, like in almost every other country, sterilization is the chosen means. I think that's one indicator that when people say they want reduced fertility they really mean it.

Sometimes family planning--contraception is not available and then people can get into very desperate situations. An American maternity nurse went to Lusaka in Zambia and this is the University teaching hospital in Zambia. So, most of these developed countries will have a capital city and they have one high class hospital that'll usually be attached to a university and that's demanded by the upper class of that country, the political elite, the economical elite demand good modern medical services, it'll be one hospital there. You can look at the public health budget for these countries and a very disproportionate amount of it will go to this one hospital.

This University teaching hospital in Lusaka is the high level hospital in Zambia. This nurse went into the maternity ward; she was a maternity nurse, expecting to see a lot of women having children. Instead this is what--this is her report. "Ten women with botched abortions were lying on nine beds. Five others were sprawled on the concrete floors of the hallways. A few more were in the hall--on the floor outside the entrance. There were no blankets or covers. Most wait 12 hours for treatment from a physician. The 'average' woman ends up overnight on the floor; she receives no food or water. The women were aborting on the floors or on their way to the single toilet at the end of the long hall; 30% of the patients complete their abortions on the concrete floor with no medical care. All we can do is clean it up." That's what the head nurse there said, that all we can do is clean it up.

This is not isolated to this one hospital. You can go anywhere in the underdeveloped world and at least half the beds in maternity wards are taken up with botched abortions. What goes on is, in most of Africa, and a lot of the world, abortion is illegal, so doctors can't do it, so they go to what they call bush doctors, some very poorly trained midwife or someone who just says they'll do it, and they have this operation and usually something is put up, a stick or coat hanger or something up the uterus and they try to scrape out the fetus. But, in fact, they often puncture the uterus which allows infection to get into the main body cavity, and then after a few days they're getting very sick from the infection which is now systemic because it's inside the body, plus the wound doesn't heal because of the infection so there's constant bleeding and they can bleed out.

Huge death rates, we're going to talk about abortion later and I'll give you some of these numbers, but huge death rates. Important point for this course is that probably all of these women know of someone else who has died from one of these--shall we call them unprofessional abortions. Yet, when they get pregnant, their desire not to have that extra child is so strong that they will themselves choose to undergo this very, very serious operation with a very high threat of death.

That's one of the things that the Planned Parent Federation in its international efforts like what you saw is trying to cure. They had one project to go to Kenya to train local private doctors who somewhat escape the law in family planning and abortion services. The local doctors had been turning away abortion clients because they did not know where to refer them, so that means they got some unskilled practitioner. One physician told the project director that he had turned away a young girl only to find her in a hospital a few days later after she had procured an illegal abortion. The girl died. The private doctor said that he had since then lived with a great deal of guilt. He is happy now that he can provide treatment using a very safe procedure. In between that they've legalized things to some degree in Kenya.

It's not only the third world in which this takes place. In Bulgaria, sometime back under the Soviet system, 57% of pregnancies ended in abortion. You'll hear during the abortion lecture in the United States, there's one abortion for every three live births, and something like 40 to 50 million abortions worldwide and about half of these are illegal and illegal means very unsafe. A woman dies, it's about every three minutes from a botched--one of these illegal abortions. I think with these stories and the large numbers that are attached to them, I mean any woman in that situation that has an abortion, she does not want that child and when you say there's 50 million of them worldwide that means that the demand for control of fertility is very, very high.

You'll read the Brazilian solution to this which is a modern form of infanticide. I don't know if you read yet, the Death Without Weeping, it's in your reading packet where mothers who know that they can't raise a child just leave the child to die and they say that 'God can take better care of it then I can' and they just let the child die.

This is not to say that--So, what has happened in the world is that fertility has come down drastically and I've showed you that in previous graphs where the fertility is coming down, and in the peak period in Bolivia during the peak--the number doubled from about 12% to 25% of people using a modern method. Ecuador, 50% of the women are using a modern mechanism. Tunisia, 60% and Iran is one of the really interesting cases.

Iran had this very conservative government and they were against family planning and all this, and then they had the war with Iraq. Iraq invaded, with U.S. help, and huge numbers of people died, including a lot of kids, so afterwards their young people were depleted but once those kids--they recovered a little bit from that, the government realized what was happening and decided on a family planning program. This is an Iranian woman packing condoms. We have this image of places like Iran as being so backwards and conservative and everything, but they have, in fact, now one of the best family planning programs in the world, and the UN a few years ago awarded it their top--best program in the world and their fertility rate is now at replacement level.

Fertility is coming down almost everywhere, with again Sub-Saharan Africa and some of the Arab countries as a counter example. Birth rates not only--Birth rates fell; Thailand 50% in 12 years; Columbia 40% in 14 years, this is at the peak. Indonesia 48% in 20 years; Morocco 31% in 12 years; Turkey 21% in ten years; Brazil 60% in 25 years; Mexico 30% in just six years; Botswana 26%; Zimbabwe 18%; Kenya 35%, I mean everywhere that you look the actual fertility is coming down, so people are using contraception and using it efficiently and the world birth rate has come down quite significantly.

None of this is to minimize that people in developing countries are caught in a bind, that you all have heard all kinds of reasons why they might want to have a lot of children and one is extra farm labor. One is support for children in old age, a major kind of problem. One their religion might demand it. Two cultural reasons, various ancestor worship reasons. In India you have to have a son to light the funeral pyre, no son you don't go into the afterworld properly. We discussed some of this with respect to Africa. Status reasons, you have more children you have more prestige for both the man and the woman, there's macho reasons to prove your fertility and the list goes on and on.

The reasons they may not use birth control are many, one of which is family planning services can be very primitive. It's not a great slide but it's an old bus in India with a red cross on it and this is the family planning clinic in this part of India at that time. People were supposed to go on this bus and have some operation that they didn't understand done to them, sterilization or IUD insertion or something, and you know you wouldn't be exactly very anxious to get on to that bus.

Another thing that I mentioned last time with respect to Veena's lecture, that the worry about medical complications is one of the most major reasons why women either don't use contraception at all, or start it and then stop using it. What does this mean in a pre-medical country where they don't have really modern medical ideas. You take the pill, you're scared of it. Anything that happens to you, you get a tummy ache, you fall and break your leg, anything that happens to you what do you blame? You blame the pill. So here is a culture without much medicine, a low standard of living; they're getting sick a lot. People in developing countries are not generally very healthy and they get sick and they don't know what it was caused by.

You probably read already about The Evil Eye. Did you read the Egyptian--the Kul Khaal yet? The Evil Eye is the reason. If you've taken the pill you know that's changing your body in some way, and you're afraid of it, you get sick with anything, it's the pill was the reason for it and then you tell all your friends that and everybody in the community learns that such and such got some problem because of the pill so they're very much afraid to use the pill.

On an on, there's a big conflict, big contestation, the media, I think this is in Morocco, this is a cave, this is the desert around here, they're in a cave and what they're watching is a TV show. I was in Morocco in the far desert and you see these little villages of just a few mud houses and they all had solar arrays and they all had television, so media is passing on very strongly. On the other side of the equation is all kinds of reasons that they don't use it or that they do use it. It's a very much in contestation.

In the West, especially activists, liberal people, people in the Forestry School believe that we shouldn't support family planning programs because it's politically contentious. Why is it politically contentious? Because people on the right are opposed to it for religious or moral reasons, people on the more or less left, and these are characterizations right and left. We can't impose; we 'great white Westerners' can't impose our values on our 'poor little yellow and brown cousins'. It's utter nonsense and it's patronizing because the people in these developing countries have spoken very clearly when they add up all these pluses and minuses. That's their choice, and as I've showed data--I've hit you over the head with data showing you that when people in the developing countries themselves add up the data, they want to be protected by contraception.

I think that we, in the West, ought to take that very seriously, and starting with intellectuals who should know better, but since people don't give courses like this and people--even environmentalists and all kinds of others, just don't pay any attention to human population because it's politically untouchable. The major organizations, the environmental organizations won't touch it because they do fundraising and the public opinion is that--it's a horrible thing to push family planning on developing countries. I guess that is where we will end today. See you--yes one more this week before vacation.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 15
Female Disadvantage
Play Video
Female Disadvantage

In East and South Asia there are many more boys than girls. Previously, this resulted from female infanticide, now it is sex-selective abortion. In those cultures, girls generally marry out of the family as teenagers and thus provide no benefit for the family that raised them. Bangla Desh is agriculturally very rich, but its population is so dense that per capita income is one of the lowest in Asia. Despite the poverty, an excellent family planning program has greatly reduced fertility.

Reading assignment:

Repetto, Robert. "Second India Revisited: Population Poverty and Environmental Stress over Two Decades." World Resources Institute (June 1994), pp. 11-20

Weaver, May Anne. "Gandhi's Daughters." The New Yorker, 10 January 2000

Jehl, Douglas. "Arab Honor's Price: A Woman's Blood." The New York Times, 20 June 1999


March 5, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Anybody here happen to be from Korea? Are you born there?

Student: Yes

Professor Robert Wyman: Are you from Seoul?

Student: Yeah.

Professor Robert Wyman: You may know about this, okay. There's a--do you know about the oldest tree in Seoul?

Student: No.

Professor Robert Wyman: This is the oldest tree in Seoul. It's a Gingko tree, and it's supposed to be 840 years old, that's a really old tree and it's venerated by the residents. It's kind of a holy sacred tree and they bring fruit, they bring other offerings once a year and pray, among other things, for their safety. Its real advantage is that it helps pregnant women to have a boy child and so this is a very important tree. Do you know about this tree?

Student: No.

Professor Robert Wyman: No.

Student: But I've heard about Gingko trees and how they have to do with fertility and stuff.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, okay Ginkgo is one of the few kinds of trees that have male and female sex. Most trees are hermaphrodite, have both male and female sex. Anyway, it turns out they ran into a problem with this tree because two apartment buildings were interfering with the trees roots as the tree spread its roots. What happens--so the district government spent $4.3 million dollars to take down the apartment buildings. So it just goes to show you the importance and the political acceptability, the cultural acceptability of son preference. It's a very, very big factor in the world.

The sex ratio, is a very important biological factor, if we have time at the end I'll tell you a good bit about it. Just to show you that it's very well controlled biologically, this is one of several theories about how the sex ratio in humans gets to be what it is. The sperms are 50/50. There's 100 male sperms to 100 female sperms and that's because the sex is determined by the father and the father has one X and one Y, and when they split to go into separate sperms one gets an X, one gets a Y, that's even. By the second month of gestation, so this is still in the mother's womb, apparently a huge fraction of about one-third of the male fetuses have died, leaving--I'm sorry the female fetuses have died because now it's a high male ratio.

Then as time goes on the male fetuses start to die and when you end up, you get 106 at birth all over the world unless people are messing with it. There's about 106 male births to every 100 female births. This is a very, very fixed number, so for instance, in the United States in 1969 there were 105.3 males born per 100 females; 1995 30 something years later 104.9, so difference of .4. That number really does not vary except basically between 105 and 106. It's a very, very stable number.

Given that, you can look at some parts of the world and see something like this. This is again the sex ratio and you can look over time, 1972 to 1992 a 20 year span and here is Japan where they started a little bit of X--here's the numbers you should expect, somewhere in this range. They have somewhat of an excess of boys but very minor and than during this period of time Japan came down to almost exactly that 106 number. Look at what's going on in China, up to 113 or so, which means basically seven out of every 100 girls are being done away with 7%. That's not anywhere near the worst case. What do you think is the cause of this?

Student: Mitochondrial DNA.

Professor Robert Wyman: Mitochondrial DNA?

Student: [Inaudible] mitochondrial DNA can choose to eliminate male fetuses.

Professor Robert Wyman: So you think it's a very long term evolutionary--what she's saying is she thinks--there's stuff that--the Y--the sperm--the Y chromosome has very few genes, the X chromosome has many genes. There looks like there's a long evolutionary process by which genes are getting eliminated on the Y, and eventually the Y will then have nothing on it and disappear. This is much too short a time, we're talking ten years, evolution just doesn't happen in ten years but it's a good thought.

Student: Does it have something to do with the implementation of the one child policy; people wanting sons as opposed to daughters.

Professor Robert Wyman: Very good. This is the most usual answer: the one child policy in China. This is China remember and the one child policy, so people have heard of the one child policy and I'm going to give a lecture on it. Does that sound like a good hypothesis to you? But just saying it doesn't make it true, so what else did--

Student: This is at birth.

Professor Robert Wyman: This is at birth.

Student: How could you--even if you wanted sons I presume that the greatest way to manage that would through infanticide and you can't do that until after birth.

Professor Robert Wyman: Very good idea. What she says is look this is at birth.

Students: [Inaudible]

Professor Robert Wyman: Good, I'm glad all this discussion. Let's notice one other thing. One child policy, when does the one child policy start? We'll come back to these explanations; they're all good. Anybody know? Guess what, about 1979, 1980. When does this take off? That looks like now we've got at least a second piece of evidence that it's--the time sequence fits very nicely with the one child policy. How can we check that? We're still--we have to be very skeptical about everything that anyone tells you; that's the scientific attitude. Anything anybody tells you, politics, science, religion, economics, try to sell you something, immediate gut response is 'that's nonsense prove it to me.' I'm not convinced yet so what else might you do?

Student: If you can find data on abortions.

Professor Robert Wyman: You could find data on abortions, good. We'll look at that when we talk about China. We might look at other countries that don't have the one child policy. Here's another country, this is India, and you have--remember the Chinese--and this is a somewhat different data set. This is not at birth but the total population which is less extreme, but a comparable number for China would be here, so India is more extreme than China.

Student: India is a bad example because bride prices are so high that they [Inaudible]

Professor Robert Wyman: There are reasons, other reasons in India, there's clearly reasons all around and they may be different in different places but the main hypothesis that we are working on it and come back to it, it's very important. The main hypothesis that we're working on is that it's one child policy in China. Now we see that China is not particularly extreme say compared to India. It depends on what year you look and exactly what statistic you look at. It's really in the same ballpark with India. Now we have to say that well, it's probably not one child policy. What's our next hypothesis? We've heard a different one for China. India has bride price but than if you start with India and say that, China doesn't have bride price; they have dowry, they may have in fact the opposite. What about--

Student: Is it sex selective abortion?

Professor Robert Wyman: That's something, but why are the women doing it? Poverty, that's the usual thing when you speak of India and China. In these years they were still very--they're still quite poor but it was poverty. How does that strike you as a hypothesis for this? Or part of it, these things are multi-causal.

Student: China's economy has been taking off but it's the--ratios are still going up.

Professor Robert Wyman: Well the only--I'm going to show you that data but I only showed you the data up to 1990, 1992 so I haven't--I'm going to show you that. Again we can go to an international comparison if we want to see if poverty is at the root of this, and what are we looking at here? Korea, South Korea. Korea is not a poor country and yet they're just as bad, in fact a little bit more extreme than China at this time. We really have quite a conundrum that we can give particular explanations for each place but they're maybe going to be different.

Student: Is it maybe just population growth in general?

Professor Robert Wyman: It could be population growth in general, that's certainly true of all of the three countries. That there's something about the density of population; hard to prove since India and China have been very crowded for a very long time and Korea is also crowded but not as extremely as China and India. Not--the greatest sex ratio is in South Korea, which is, as you heard, is not poor and by 2010 there will be a 20% deficit in the marriage age, there will be a 20% deficit of females in Korea which is quite high and that's done away with. The poverty thing, the economic thing does not work between countries, and even if you look, I'll show you a little bit later, there's big regional variations within each country but it doesn't go with economics at all.

In China, in Guangdong, where everything you're wearing and everything you play with, including probably this is made somewhere in Guangdong Province probably. It's one of the richer places in China and the sex ratio there is 130 to 100, something I've showed you 12 to 14, in that province it goes up to 130 and parts of that province--so of course even within a province there's different places, they can go up to 144 to 100, so something like a third of the girls are done away with.

Student: Provinces with such a skewed sex ratio, do they end up paying dowry or these bride prices because females are so rare?

Professor Robert Wyman: No bride price doesn't happen in either China or India; bride price, you remember, is when the man's family gives something to the girl or the girl's family, dowry is the opposite and dowry is common in India and really it was--communists got rid of it, any vestige of that in China so that's not the case. In India the same thing, the states in New Delhi and Haryana, which are the richer places there, have more extreme sex ratios then poor places. There's--in Delhi there's 861 females per 1,000 males at birth and so as time goes on, as you see, the sex ratios are getting worse. The answer to our problem of what is causing--what caused things to change at this point in time is what someone here said. What did someone say, something that would have--it wasn't the--is the one child policy happened at this time but something else happened in both India, and China, and Korea.

Student: Did it have to do with technology in terms of--

Professor Robert Wyman: It has to do with technology.

Student: for sex selection prior to birth.

Professor Robert Wyman: For knowing the sex before birth and what--

Student: [Inaudible]

Professor Robert Wyman: What is the technology that's commonly used?

Student: Ultrasound.

Professor Robert Wyman: Ultrasound, that at that time ultrasound came in and became rather inexpensive and available. The two ways of doing it are amniocentesis, which is somewhat difficult medically and quite expensive, but ultrasound you don't need an awful lot of training, the equipment is not terribly expensive. It costs I think about $14 in India, in this period of time, to get an ultrasound test of what your fetus was.

In one of the counties in China, for instance, they started doing ultrasound, and what happened was the first child, and I'll show you some data, that was okay if it was a girl. But, if the second--if they had a first girl and the second child was also a girl, then 92% of the time the girls would be aborted. I think in your reading it talks about in India--they looked at 8,000 serial abortions in a particular hospital and 7,999 were females. One was a male and that was probably a mistake they just read--didn't read the ultrasound right, it's not always easy to do it.

What's happening is that, in India and in China it's illegal in both places, but they have even sidewalk clinics that you can just go and get a little ultrasound. How many of you have had some sort of ultrasound? Yeah it's very--they take a little probe about that long and this and just run it over you and get a picture on a TV screen and you know, whatever, your heart, or your lungs, or your baby, whatever is going on. That's what's going on, it's the cheap ultrasound. Doctors in a lot of places--doctors--it's so fast to do this, it's so cheap, it doesn't take much skill, that in a lot of places doctors are just giving up all the rest of their practice and just doing ultrasound. It's sort of like liposuction here or something. It's easy and cheap and they make a lot of women--a lot of money with this.

The head of the Women's Association in India says, "No one wants girls; if the test says a girl then the pregnant woman will have an abortion." Someone else also mentioned this I think, that the final sex ratio not at birth as we said, the hint as one of you picked out, the fact that this is at birth means it's not an infanticide issue. This is something done before birth, the only thing you can do before birth is sex selective abortion so it's clearly the mechanism of this and the timing is clearly the introduction of ultrasound.

The total sex ratio of the countries hasn't changed all that much. Then, in China we have pretty good data and traditionally where-ever one has data there has been a dearth of about 10% to 25% of girls from--they have data back to the 1700s, that's pretty decent. Back then it was infanticide so what you're really seeing is a change of method that the society is going from an infanticide control of the sex ratio to an ultrasound and sex selective abortion control of the sex ratio. Apparently the desire and the cultural desire for males hasn't changed all that much, but technology has changed what they do and to most people's mind--an abortion is a better thing than an infanticide but you can make up your own mind about that.

Let me give you some more data on the various questions that you've all asked. One is an update in time so that particular slide stopped in--in that particular data set stopped in 1992 and this picks up a little bit later. Here is again India, five states there, and in the most extreme states, which again are the richest not the poorest. This is of course--these are rich states, this is southern states, there are all these different reasons and we'll come to that in a moment. Here we saw ratios of 114 or so and now they've gone up to 129 and slowly getting better, a little bit better with time out to the last census in 2006 data.

These are two well off provinces and they are in extreme southern India is--in North India they speak Hindi--mostly Hindi related languages, in the south Dravidian related languages. The Muslim invasions didn't quite reach the south of India, a lot of differences between north and south India. In terms of demography or a culture, almost anything, it's crazy to talk about India. You cannot talk about India; it's so diverse. China, they've convinced the people that they're one culture, but in India that's not the case. So you really have to compare this as a kind of--these two states as one kind of country and they are very close to the 106 level.

This is--and also, just weirdly in most places, it's the number of boys to girls, but in India the way they define sex ratio is the opposite so I've translated into these--these are the numbers that are comparable to what you've been hearing. That's India. Here is China, and again it has gone more extreme, so we stopped here about 1992 in the 112 range. This is at birth, age zero, so we're looking at this line that's here, and that has now gone up to 118 or 119, the sex ratio at birth, and then as the child grows older, as the set of children that you're counting grows older, the sex ratio gets more and more skewed as time goes on and we'll look at that in a little bit.

It is very diverse. I mentioned this, very diverse by province, here again is India, so Kerala as I mentioned to you, they're very poor, Kerala is a very poor state in India, one of the poorest, but they had a communist government for a long time and very matriarchal, their traditional system was--not matriarchal, matrilineal so women have more power. For a lot of reasons Kerala has been doing very well on social--indicators of social progress and look at it's--this is child mortality from zero to five through the first five years here. Males 6 per 1,000 male death; 4.5 females, very low deaths; compare that to Bihar [Madhya Pradesh], a very poor state where 50 or 60, up to 70 almost deaths. It's a factor of 10 or 15 for females, the difference between different states in India and the same thing in China.

Here is--what I wanted to show you about that slide was--well forget it for a minute. This is China and you have again very different--this is sex ratio at birth, SRB, sex ratio at birth and over different periods of time 1982, 1990 and so forth--notice in between the green which is a normal ratio, even bias toward females, this is almost within the normal range. This would be bias toward females and Tibet, the far western provinces are even normal or even bias toward females and that is a cultural difference because these are Muslim provinces and the Koran forbids the killing of daughters, so Muslim countries in general do not have these very skewed sex ratios. Tibet of course is Buddhist and they also don't do this, but in the Han regions, the heartland of China, especially around 2000, 2005 a very high ratio 120 to 138 and is changing a little bit slowly, so as time goes on you see they go from the 112 that we talked about, the blue regions they are being--disappearing and you're getting a more extreme situation here in China. Again you can pick out; depending on if you look at more culturally homogenous regions, you get either very low numbers or very high numbers.

Now here's another thing which I mentioned, it depends terribly much on parity, how many children they already have. For a first birth, this is China, and going out to the year 2000 and this is the--this is parity here and this is the different censuses so the latest census 2005 I think is this census here and for first birth it's 107--it's pretty normal, a little bit elevated but by second birth it goes enormously up and you're into like 140 or a prior census 150, so a 50% difference in boys and girls, and that extreme there is the one child policy is pushing that because they're only allowed--we'll talk a lot about that.

This is not really true anymore but in principle they're allowed only one child, so you get these very high ratios here and then by three children, four or five children, the sex ratio is enormous. You may sort of have a little thing in your mind, wait a minute one child policy, and here they're having one child, they're have two children, they're having three children, they're having four children, they're having five children, what's going on and we're going to talk about that.

Here is--and again you don't want to nail this too hard to the one child policy because here is South Korea and again this is all old-time but look what it goes up to, the same thing. You look at the most recent numbers on this graph and for first birth it's quite a normal ratio, second birth it gets bigger, by third birth it's bigger than anything we see in China, and by fourth birth its way, way up, over 237. We saw about 160 or something in China on the previous slide. Again, Korea, no one child policy, no government control of fertility at all, and yet they are more extreme than China.

At birth, the genetic factor--boys have an X and a Y chromosome, and girls have two Xs. Humans, as well as every other animal, carry a lot of deleterious or even lethal mutations, but you have them on only one chromosome. The other chromosome will have--in general will have a normal copy of the gene and for almost every gene one normal chromosome makes enough of the proper protein, and you're alive, you're fine, you don't even notice that you've got this deleterious mutation there. It's only when you get a mutation from both parents that it becomes--it's homozygous, you're getting the deleterious mutation with both parents, than the person is sick.

That works for all the chromosomes except for the sex chromosome. A female has two Xs so this still holds for her. She's got to be really unlucky and get bad copies from both mother and father. A male has one X and the Y with almost nothing on it, so if he gets a bad X he's sick; so males are weaker. One of the thoughts about why 106 males are born for every 100 females is that as time goes on those males die during childhood because they are genetically weaker and eventually it evens out to 100. There's good evolutionary reasons why evolution pushes a sexually reproducing species to 100 males and 100 females and we can go into that later perhaps.

You're seeing that--this is at birth, right around birth which is still genetic reasons, and this is all of India. You see that now the male deaths are higher than the females. This is a sign of the genetic weakness of males at birth. When you break that down by state, every single state 54:40, there's more male deaths 71:68, so what do we have--one of the Punjab which had a high pro-male ratio but at birth there's more male death than female death, so that's a biological phenomenon; that continues.

If you look later to child mortality, now we're done with the birth mortality, we're done with sex selective abortion, that the sex selective abortion itself changes the sex ratio but then, even after that, the sex ratio keeps changing. Here again is in the first five years after birth and notice again in Kerala where they don't have this sex selective--this sex choice and I showed you this, more males die than females. That's again the normal biological issue, but in every other state, females are--this is two and a half times as much, this is four times as much female mortality, one and a half times as much, more than twice as much, twice as much, half again as much. Then, in all the states of India, with the exception of Kerala, there's an excess female mortality after birth.

That's counter-biological, and what that is, is basically some infanticide, but largely female neglect. They get less food, they get less good food, they get sick, they get taken to the doctor less often, if medicines are required they don't get it very well. So you see this after birth reduction in females also. The problem just keeps happening.

This issue of the loss of females in a population is a very large phenomenon. Statistics--well from this data you can make fairly decent statistics for places where this is collected, so in India alone, there's supposed to be something like 23 million women missing, so add all this up and you get 23 million. In the world the--somewhere between an estimate and a guesstimate is 100 million missing women. You could say when you look deeper, more deeply, we have the sort of the proximate cause, people are using sex selective abortion but we haven't touched much on the question of why do they want to do that.

You can just say it's traditional. And I hear a lot of discussions that say that and this is true. In India's first national census, which is 1871, there were 98 million males but only 91.5 million females, already 6% of the females were missing. Whereas, in a population which doesn't discriminate against females, males being weaker all during the ages, there get to be more and more females and with the older ages extreme excess of females, but in India already in 1871 there was quite a difference.

In China--this is a Chinese book of travels from the nineteenth century and someone--a Chinese person went to India--went to England and observed things and came back and wrote a travel book for the Chinese and this is a quote from that: "England is so short of inhabitants that the English rear every child that is born. Even prostitutes who bear children do not destroy them." England was the dominant power of the world and they were invading China with the Opium Wars, so of course everybody including the Emperor was interested in what is England like, how come they're so powerful, what's different there, and so the Emperor read this and the Emperor's response was, he didn't believe that the English were so stupid. Again, the cultural thing that to raise up all the children, and especially to raise up all the girls, is just not going.

In your reading packet, it discusses villages in India dating back to 1830 that have no girls at all. They just do away with all the girls, all of them are killed. 1921, Somerset Maugham, does that name ring any bells? He was a famous author, wrote a lot of novels, a lot of movies with very famous movie stars, a very popular author. In 1921 he was touring China and he came upon a little tower on a Chinese hillside with a single small hole in the wall, so they're walking along and there's a small tower with a little hole in the wall. Out of that hole came a nauseating odor and he asked--he was with a Chinese guide and he asked him what is that, and he thought maybe feces were dumped there or something.

No, it turns out it was a baby tower and it was just a pit dug into the ground and surrounded with this tower and people brought excess girls especially, but some occasionally boys and just dumped them into this. A little boy came up and explained this to him and said that--the little boy said that four babies were thrown in that morning. This doesn't--this particular passage didn't discuss the sex of the babies because he didn't know that, they're already in there. One of the quotes is, "The female child is regarded as a liability here. In rural areas women are not even considered people."

You'll do some reading where, rather biased reading but accurate on this, that girls often don't get names traditionally, their named 'daughter number one,' 'daughter number two,' 'daughter number three,' and all kinds of things. As I've mentioned the elimination of females is not limited to the young and in one of your readings--I guess I described it to you, a tribe in New Guinea where if a male died his widow was immediately strangled. Do you remember that? That changes the sex ratio. In India, you've all heard about this, they're used to be a variant to this practice called sati. You heard of sati or sutee, sometime where the wife throws herself on the funeral pyre of the man or in some other way does away with herself.

This is from 1813, quite some time back, and there was a British captain named Kemp who was eyewitness to one of these things and he wrote a description of it. " A male had been sick a short time. An astrologer said that he was on the point of death and so he was taken down to the side of the holy Ganges River to expire. He was immersed to his waist in the river for some time, but he didn't die. They brought him back to the bank of the river and let him broil in the sun; he didn't die. Then they put him back in the river again, and he didn't die. He was returned to the bank."

This kept going for 36 hours alternating sort of freezing and baking and finally this sick guy died. Whether he would, or would not, have died anyway, who knows. It was the astrologer's word that he was going to die. His wife, he was married, was a healthy young girl of about 16. Learning of her husband's death she decided to be buried alive with his corpse. The British officer, this Kemp, tried in vain to persuade the girl not to do it, then tried to persuade the mother, and he said that a resolution of this type to just kill yourself was a kind of madness. He had no success and he encountered not the slightest sign of either hesitation or a great regret on either the girl's part or the mother's part.

The actual scene takes place; the young widow accompanied by her friends proceeded to the beach where his body lay. He was placed in a grave about six feet deep, the wife circled the grave seven times calling out, "Hail God, Hail God." the surrounding crowd echoed her chant, 'Hail God, Hail God.' She climbed into the grave, the captain, this British guy moved up to within a foot of the grave to see if at the last minute she showed any signs of reluctance or whether her relatives showed any sign of horror, and if she showed reluctance he might have jumped in and pulled her out. She placed herself in a sitting posture, as her husband had been placed, didn't lay him flat but a sitting posture, both faced north, so she was sitting behind his back. She embraced the corpse with her left hand and reclined her head on his shoulder.

The British officer still saw no sign of regret on her part. The other plan--the other hand she placed over her head with her forefinger erect which she moved in a circular direction. The watchers then started throwing earth on them to start burying them and then other men, as the earth was put in, they stamped on the earth to pack it down but she continued circling her hand until her head was completely buried and then she kept going for some time after that and finally stopped. The earth was piled on and stamped down and was two or three feet above the heads of the entombed. No tear was shed by any of the relations. Eventually the crowd disbursed and the ritual lamentations and howling commenced but without sorrow.

This is a long time ago and it's certainly extremely rare now, if it happens at all. There was one report of one woman in a village about ten years ago who did it, and this is illegal in India, so very hard to get any decent statistics, but very rarely it happens and this woman who killed herself on her husband's pyre was considered a paragon of virtue and sort of like a saint because she was following the old religious customs and the village was happy about it because they got a lot of tourists to come and revere this saint like lady and made a lot of money off the tourists, but it's very rare.

Of course this whole sex preference business is not in any sense limited to Asia. Hispanic women in Los Angeles were surveyed, they want 2.8 sons on average and 0.1 daughters, a factor of 28 difference. In Kuwait before the Gulf War, this is the 1991 war I think, Barbara Walters who you all know, did a story on gender roles in Kuwait. Yes, during the Gulf War she was there, and she noted that women customarily walked about ten feet behind their husbands and this happens in a lot of places, and a strong sign of female deference and dependence. The husband walks without the wife and the wife follows ten feet behind, you've heard of that custom.

The war takes place, the Iraqi's get beaten, she comes back to Kuwait to do another story after the war, and she was so pleased because now the men walked behind the wives, that the women were walking in front, and so Barbara Walters said this is wonderful progress, this is the American--they're catching on over there and so she approached one of the women and said--and the camera was rolling to catch this, she's a TV personality, "this is marvelous," says Barbara Walters, "can you tell the free world just what enabled women to achieve this reversal of roles?" The Kuwaiti woman said, "Land mines." And so it wasn't a reversal at all.

I think you get the idea of all of this. We--there's deeper reasons, I mean again one way is to put it down to Asian tradition and that's not really any kind of an explanation. We like to think that people are rational around the world and that there's some more fundamental reason for it. A lot of the reasons that you all said, what are some of the extra reasons that I sort of pushed aside for the moment? One was dowry issues and some of you said some other things, but there's a whole lot of things, and the basic story is that in--certainly in India and also in traditional China the girl is brought up by the parents, gets married at quite a young age, and by young teenage they get married and get shipped off to the son--the husband's family where she works is then counted in that family and is worked--usually works very hard and basically is a servant in that family.

The family that raises her has the problem of investing in that girl, putting a lot of money to raise that girl, then, just as she's able to start working seriously and maybe return some labor, some serious labor or some money to the parents, she's gone and she works for some other family. This is economically a very bad thing and the people call raising girls like watering someone else's garden. Then on top of that when the dowry system is strong, which it is in India, and going crazy, then at marriage they have to provide a lot of money and this can go up to be like a year's income, easily, to get the girl married, and it's a great honor thing. If you have a daughter you have to get her married, so you have to pay dowry or your family's honor goes away. This idea, that the girl is just passed away just at the time she can be of value to you, is kind of the rational actor theory of why there's all this female discrimination. Anything strike you unexplained about that? Why is that--

Student: It's the girl.

Professor Robert Wyman: It's the girl that goes away all the time. Why can't the man go away? This is, by the way, characteristic of human societies. I may have mentioned this to you, the genetics shows that males in a village are related, they've stayed there for hundreds or thousands of years, and females move out, so exogamy. Where have you seen exogamy before? Among the chimpanzees where the females go out; and so as far as we can tell this is a vestige from our very original biological roots where our reproductive system requires not that the males fight each other and the males disburse but that the males stay together in a military situation and the females go out.

It's this very basic form of--you can call it chimpanzee social organization that leads to that. The females go out and therefore the females are of no value to the family that brings them up and therefore they're discriminated against. The men stay together and they have to have a protective--protect the village against violence.

In some places there's a--either a tribe or a caste as you'll call it in India, the Nayar, which are very military kind of cast. What happens is they get married very young, but then the man may, or may not, spend one night with the wife and then he goes off to the military, and meanwhile, the wife has all kinds of sexual relationships and its quite formalized, quite legal, the women live in one big house, they don't really recognize--it's like the Na that you read about, it's a female lineage society, and then upper class men are invited in to sleep with these women and produce babies for them, and then the men have 15 or 20 years of military service. Then they come home, and only really at that time, do they pick up the marriage.

Again it's a very clear--in this particular cultural manifestation, it's a very clear thing that women are the reproducers, men are the military ones, and, as in chimpanzees, sort of a communal sexuality that who's the biological father is not particularly important.

Now, I want to switch gears here in the time we have left, and this whole lecture is about South Asia, and South Asia and East Asia are the centers of female disadvantage, but that doesn't go on in all of South Asia. As I've mentioned, in Muslim countries that basically does not happen. We're going to talk next about two places; one is Iowa and the other I'll tell you in a moment. Iowa is a rich place, right? What is Iowa rich from? Agriculture, corn, it's a very, very fertile place.

Well let me go back a little bit, so I will tell you the country that I'm going to talk about if I can find it. Again we worry a lot and have induced some of the Asians to worry about the sex ratio, that all these men won't get married, but remember we're seeing sex ratio disturbances of 12% to 20%, and remember in Europe I showed you this slide that a lot of places only 30%, or 40% or 50% of people got married, so the marriage imbalance is much--was much more severe in Europe for hundreds of years than it is now in Asia. The marriage pattern and the social system in Europe made for a more extreme situation than the female disadvantage in Asia.

This not a great slide but this is Bangladesh and what's in Bangladesh is this the Himalaya mountains and here's China, and Nepal, Bangladesh over here, India over here, and this is blown up a little bit and what you see is this is the Bay of Bengal. Here is the Ganges River comes out of the Himalayas. The Himalayas stretch all across here, the Ganges comes out of the western Himalayas, the Brahmaputra comes out of the eastern Himalayas, Bangladesh has lots of water and this is all delta. You see this stuff, this is all delta from--through geological time as the river wanders around it puts down a delta out here.

This is what the delta actually looks like. There's a reading that you have which says that the place is so bad that people are trying to move out onto this land and try to farm on it, and then of course a monsoon comes so the river--the water rises and they're wiped out. You'll have a reading about that, so keep this picture in mind when you do that reading.

Now let's do the story on agriculture. The people in Bangladesh are Bengali's of course and the Bengali's are a large group that are split actually between Bangladesh and eastern--northeastern part of India, Calcutta is the capital, Dhaka is the capital in Bangladesh, and Calcutta is the capital of West Bengal which is part of India, so partition split Bengali's into two groups. Bangladesh is a very homogenous country between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh the three ones are the old British Raj. 98% of them are Bengali's so they speak the same language, have the same cultural tradition and 88% are Muslim.

Unlike India, which you cannot talk about as a whole, you can really talk about Bangladesh as a whole. Bengal is a very rich part of the world, the Moguls who ruled from the thirteenth--so the Moguls were Muslim invaders from--apparently I think from Afghanistan, conquered north India north of that part, and they ruled it from the thirteenth century onward. They called Bengal the paradise of nations. In the sixteenth century when European traders came they were ecstatic over Bengal's abundance and riches. Why was it so rich?

I want to compare it to Iowa. The size of Bangladesh is 56,000 square miles. Guess what the size of Iowa is? 56,000 square miles, so they're very close to the same size, both are very basically agricultural. Maytag makes washing machines, or used to, in Iowa, but they're very heavily agricultural, but Bangladesh has much better climate than Iowa. They grow three crops a year in Bangladesh. It's nice and warm there all the time, but poor Iowa, anybody from Iowa here? They can only grow one crop a year and they grow winter wheat some, but basically it's one crop a year. Bengal they can grow three crops a year.

Bangladesh has plenty of water, I showed you, they have nothing but water there so they never have droughts, and Iowa is not bad for that. It has the Mississippi River on one side, the Nebraska River on the other side, but inside Iowa the rivers are all very small, so if you go to the edges there's rivers but inside not a huge amount of rivers and they sometimes have droughts there.

Both are fertile; Bangladesh shows a low alluvial plain so the way land gets naturally fertilized is water rushing--glaciers on the mountaintop grind the rock and that glacier flour, as it's called, gets into the river, dissolves somewhat in the river, and during flood season it spreads all this silt over the farmland and that silt--the minerals in the rock are the fertilizer. Bangladesh has this--these floods from the Himalayas that cover basically the whole country and it gets it fertilizer for free, it gets as lot of fertilizer and it gets it all for free, so again the agriculture is looking real good. Iowa does not get this except at the margins when the Mississippi floods and sometimes the Nebraska floods, so the interior of the country they have to go and buy fertilizer there.

By all these geographical kinds of considerations and climatic kind of considerations, Bangladesh should be much richer than Iowa. You compare three crops a year to one crop and something like three times as rich. Bangladesh's per capita income--Iowa's income is 17 times larger than Bangladesh's and the difference is basically all population. Iowa's population is 2.9 million; Bangladesh is now about 140 million, so it's like 40 times difference. Bangladesh has 40 times as much population as Iowa.

Compared to every other place in the world, here are a variety of places, here's Bangladesh way, way out in front of everybody else. Netherlands is considered of--other places--the next most crowded place and it's also an agricultural place, but--both of these--they don't have big mountains or deserts or anything, so all of the Netherlands is basically fertile and all of Bangladesh is basically fertile, but look at the difference in population density and everybody else is less than either of those two places.

As you know, as I've just mentioned, the income in Bangladesh is distressingly poor, it's one of the poorest countries in the world, and the estimates are that its population may double before, if and when stabilizing. It's going to be very hard to make things better in Bangladesh. Well going back, Bangladesh had a stable population, they had a kind of traditional birth, very high birth, very high death rates so the population grew very slowly if at all, but about 1880 population started to take off, that's when again colonialism and what not--the death rate started to decline and they started adding about three million people every decade.

What do three million extra people do in a country the size of Iowa? Not tiny but not especially big either, well there's some jungle--there was some jungle in Bangladesh, they cleared that and they started farming but by the late 1930s the jungle was just totally gone, no more jungle land. In 1938, Biren Ganguli, a Bengali himself, wrote "Every inch of land that is fit for cultivation is already used. Every pathway or cattle track is pared down by farmers on either side until he barely leaves room for two people to pass each other on this narrow track."

What did people do as the population kept increasing? They started moving out onto these mud flats that I've shown you that are very temporary. The cyclones come in, not only is there the normal flooding from the rivers, but the cyclones come in and you start getting these enormous death tolls in a period of time in Bangladesh from climatic problems, but it was really, again, a population problem, just like the deserts that I told you about. People shouldn't be living on these flats where they're going to be wiped out periodically. There was, for a while, almost 100,000 deaths a year from storms, erosion and flooding from these kind of--just consider deaths from climatic water stuff.

It took about 60 years of the population increase for Bengal, becoming one of the--to go from one of the rich places of the world, not industrialized, but rich on their agricultural produce to what was standardly described as a basket case. Now all the focus is on Africa, but, not so long ago, Bangladesh was considered in just as bad shape as Africa is now. It was constantly on the news, stories of disaster in Bangladesh and you're supposed to cry at that and give money.

Bangladesh was clearly one of those places that was caught in one of these Malthusian traps. The arable land and this is a somewhat old figure in the population has increased a lot, is 0.1 hectare per person, that's a quarter of an acre a person. Just to compare you to that, any of you from farm places? How many of you are from farm places? Every year I always get some--do you know what--what's the size of the farms where you live? Where do you live?

Student: I live outside of Cleveland.

Professor Robert Wyman: Outside of Cleveland?

Student: Yeah.

Professor Robert Wyman: That's not one of the big farms, but do you know roughly the size of the farms?

Student: 30 acres.

Professor Robert Wyman: Thirty acres.

Student: A small one.

Professor Robert Wyman: Okay, so that's small farms, out West they can be thousands, like the real commercial farms, thousands of acres. Here's 0.1 hectare per person. I used to live in Bethany which was sort of a northwest suburb of New Haven and our house was--our part of Bethany was zoned for three acres and I didn't have to live off of it, there was just a house on that. If you had a house you had to have three acres so that was enough so that, in Bengal, Bangladesh 30 families would live on these three acres at 0.1 hectare per person.

All of the indicators in this time starting, say in the 1950s or 1960s, was that Bangladesh would not be a country in which you would--where you find a desire to limit fertility or the practice of fertility limitation. It's, as I've said, almost all Muslim and it's a conservative version of Islam there. Infant and child mortality was high, 25% of the children died before the age of five, but that had been coming down slowly as I showed you for roughly 20 years.

Women had very low social status there, most of them in--were subject to purdah, which they not only have to dress so they can't be seen when they're outside of the house, but they generally couldn't go outside of the house at all unless accompanied a male member of the family. Men were fairly free to abuse women, and I read you the first lecture I think some case of the battery acid being thrown at women in more recent time, so that still continues.

Last time I mentioned that one of the reasons that people want children is for old age security, who's going to take care of me in my old age. And, of course, Bangladesh was very poor, had no social security system, so the families were, of course, dependent on children for their old age, they were dependent on sons for their old age, so that means that you had to have a lot of children to make sure. You can't have a daughter, you've got to have sons to make sure that you have somebody to take care of you.

During the period of time I'm going to talk about here are some of the major disasters in Bangladesh over time, so this is one really very famous one, the Bengal famine of 1943. They were already on the edge, and then World War II hits and a variety of things happen and 2.5 million people die in the famine. Here's some of the cyclones, various cyclones. They had a war when they were trying to get independent of West Pakistan, they had a war and these things happened, another cyclone, floods, all of them, and so all kinds of problems beset the country.

Now during this period, that is the critical period for population issues, the per capita GDP, the gross domestic product, basically didn't change, a little bit up but not enormously up. It basically had a flat per capita economy, per capita GDP, so again, the total economy was growing but more and more people ate it all up, so basically the per capita GDP doesn't change in this period.

What happened was that Malthus had been in India and the Indian--the whole Indian subcontinent paid a lot of attention to Malthus, so they had been aware--India, Pakistan, Bangladesh had been aware of population issues and aware of the Malthusian ideas about it for a long time and the British of course trained their civil servants of the countries when they got independence it was the same people, so this was in their mind.

In fact the South Asia, originally India and Pakistan, were some of the very first countries to institute family planning programs. The one in Pakistan was not particularly successful, the one in India is now much better but did not start out successfully, but after the war of independence, when Bangladesh split from West Pakistan the government really was aware of these problems, had a Malthusian attitude and they really decided that they must start to get some control of their population. The government supported and instituted a family planning program for the whole country and international organizations said, 'OK, you want to do this, we will help you,' and especially there's a group called The International Diarrheal Research Organization which was one of the ones that had discovered and pushed the oral rehydration packets.

Many, many--huge numbers of infant deaths in poor countries due--they get diarrhea and diarrhea--the bug doesn't kill you but you lose enough water through the diarrhea that you die basically of dehydration and all you need to do is to have a little packet of water, salt and sugar and as long as the water is not terribly polluted the child will stay alive and will eventually kick out the virus or the bacterium. This International Diarrheal Research Group, are very well respected, and they said, 'okay we will also help you with family planning programs.' What resulted was a countrywide program.

Now at this same time, we're talking the early 1970s, most of the developed world had the idea that they--what did they say, they saw rich countries have few children, poor countries have a lot of children, what's the cause? Well money is the cause. When you get rich you want to have fewer children, we're going to have a lecture on that very interesting phenomenon.

A lot of developing countries and East European countries rejected the whole idea of family planning as a way of improving the economy and said, no development is the best contraceptive. That was the rule, development is the best contraceptive, that there's no way in, a poor place like Bangladesh, that you're going to get fertility down because of all these reasons that we've mentioned, but if you develop the country economically than it will naturally come down and the government doesn't have to mess with it, doesn't have to set up family planning programs.

Everybody predicted, strenuously, that Bangladesh could do what it wanted with family planning programs until and unless they developed economically there would be no progress. What they did was they--prior to this program they had tried a variety of things. In Pakistan one of the programs was, well people are culturally into having a lot of children and so we must work with their culture, and must work with traditional birth attendants. In Pakistan, including Bangladesh at the time, they had women called Daiys who are basically local health providers, herbal women, midwives for births and stuff like that, but they had basically no modern training whatsoever. In the first implementation of Pakistan's program they gave these Daiys various forms of birth control and they were supposed to give them out.

It didn't work. Why didn't it work? The Daiys themselves were older women in general who did not use contraception and did not think it was moral, did not think it worked, and had all kinds of bad attitudes toward it. So, if someone tries to sell you something, and they don't themselves believe in it, you generally don't accept it. Plus, economically, they made very little by distributing these kind of contraceptives from the government, but they could make quite a bit more by attending the births that they charge a good fee for births where the government set the little bit, they wanted to have the contraceptives very fairly free to the people, so they didn't pay the Daiys very much. The Daiys would get all the condoms especially and sort of bury them somewhere and claim to the government that they had distributed them and then made a lot of--not a lot of money, but their money from attending the births that hadn't been averted by this, so it didn't work. They learn, these are again the first countries in the world to have family planning programs and they didn't know how to do it. You have to--it's not given that this is the way you do it.

Eventually they started the program that I described to you somewhat last time where the women can't come out of the house so you hire a high status woman from that village, known to the women, has high status, is herself using contraception, thinks it's a wonderful thing, you train her how to deal not only with the woman but the woman has very little power there, to deal with the husband, to deal especially with the mother-in-law, and for that you need a high status woman that can go into a house and start discussing these things, because even talking about anything to do with sex or reproduction is not a socially acceptable thing.

They started this program and initially you got this kind of a thing. Veena Siddharth talked about this, that when you start a family planning program, this is an older version of the family planning program not the one I've just described. What you see is they took--there was a place called Matlab, one of the districts in Bangladesh, and they chose some villages, they wanted to know if what they were doing was successful, some villages they gave this family planning program to and other villages they didn't, as a control region. Here is during this period up until 1977 the comparison area where they didn't do anything special. The government had a small program but nothing much was happening.

Now, the International Diarrheal Research Group comes in with this somewhat updated program, not the one I showed you, and what happens immediately there's great success and they're jumping up and down, okay this is true, but then it peaks and then over time it falls down. What's happening here is a small fraction of the women--well 20% is not terrible, but a small fraction of the women, before the program comes in, want to limit their births. You give them anything, they accept it immediately. That this initial rise and that's very standard for family planning programs. That you get an initial rise and then it falls off, and over the long term if you're evaluating the program here you think it's wonderful, but if you're evaluating the program here it's kind of worthless.

Veena was talking about that, that she comes out of this economic World Bank perspective and they're very impressed with these periods of time. This is a program that, in retrospect, we would say really didn't work, although it helps a fair fraction of the women. Then you put in the good program that I described to you and now what happens, the later time, so we stop the previous--the previous graph stopped in 1977 at this level of contraceptive acceptance, so they had a program that didn't work, and then they start sending these village working women into the homes of the other women and now you get another big rise, that this is now successful immediately, but now the success continues.

Meanwhile there's modernization and there's social diffusion that these areas, the comparison areas are actually intermixed with the treatment areas, and they hear a lot about what's going on in there and so for that reason and others are not--we don't really have data to say why a rise, but even in the comparison area it starts to rise. In one of your readings about Taiwan where you have family planning, a very similar kind of thing. It makes a big point that, they did have some data, that they had villages where they had a family planning program, and then as soon as this was heard about in the surrounding regions people would come into the treatment region to get treatment so fertility goes down. One of the factors behind this is certainly diffusion of the ideas of family planning.

This thing in Bangladesh has had terrible significance for what we believe about family planning programs and people's acceptance of it, because up until this time it was really dogma that you have to have economic development and you have to have a degree of literacy, and you have to have some degree of women's status before people would want to limit their fertility. Then you go into Bangladesh with a well funded, well thought out, well run program, and it starts working.

Now Bangladesh is--its fertility has kept falling and it's in there with a lot of countries that are a lot richer than it. India is as lot richer, Egypt is a lot richer than Bangladesh, and they all now have come to more or less the same kind of fertility level. It now is no longer really believed--it's believed that women almost everywhere, in this case it must be the men, because the men and the mother-in-law's control the issue--really do want to reduce fertility and if you give them the option, they will accept it.

Along the way other places have learned other lessons, so India next door had a much stronger central government because of the Gandhi effect, Gandhi was such a national hero to all the ethnic groups in India, so the government was strong and Nehru was very strong, and Nehru's daughter Mrs. Gandhi was very strong, and they were Westernized, under the Malthusian influence, and they decided that they need a family planning program also. Actually India was even before this, but again they didn't know to do it, and they decided to use incentives.

That's when economists keep telling us, every time you take an economics course, people respond to incentives and so they decided to use incentives to get people to take on family planning. There's a lot of debate about this issue of incentives and one part of it, one article I read about people in villages in Nepal like the one that Veena was in, pretty far. They have to take a whole day off from work to go down to get a contraceptive, then they have to go back, and what kind can they get, because they can't go this every month to get something new, and they can't take time off from their work or their chores, so it's a real major economic expense. Not the contraceptive itself, but the time and effort needed if they have to take a bus, it may be very expensive in their economy.

So part of the idea of giving incentives is to just repay the woman for her time and effort. India had started out that way but the program was not very well run, it wasn't--they didn't have the big international help that Bangladesh had and the program wasn't terribly well run, and so they sort of got frustrated at the results and their population kept going and there was a time in India, way before this current boom that India is--has been going through, and may or may not still be going through, and so the government got frustrated and the population grew and they saw their hopes, there's this window of opportunity that I was talking about from modernization, if the population gets too dense that window may close.

The government got desperate and started introducing some coercion, some of it is incentive like transistor radios to the men--to get the men to get sterilized and that was wonderful but who got sterilized, the old men that weren't going to have children anyway, but I get a transistor radio or some money out of this. The whole thing crashed and it came entangled as in America, reproduction and politics, so the opposition to the--people didn't especially like it because it's changing their culture. But, the opposition took hold of it and blew up all the abuses, no question there were abuses, blew up the abuses, the newspapers blared the abuses and it became a very big political thing and the Congress Party government fell because of that.

India has since sort of--then they went through a period where they sort of did nothing in family planning because it was in such bad favor and now they've started up again and things are going a lot better. I think the story of this is that the idea which was prevalent up until the Bangladesh experiment, that only rich countries are going to reduce their fertility is just plain wrong, and now as the fertility transition goes through Asia, it's now amazing, places--very poor places what's happening there.

Ceylon was one of the first countries in Asia to get down to replacement level, very poor, Ceylon is not a rich place, Kerala one of the poorest provinces of India is down at replacement level; all kinds of countries Thailand, Indonesia, all have really reduced their fertility at amazingly low levels of per capita income. Income is clearly important, one doesn't want to throw it out, it's perfectly clear that things are easier if you have more money and there's reasons why richer people have fewer children which we'll go into but it is not a necessary prerequisite. We will see--have a good vacation, enjoy, come back refreshed and I will see you then.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 16
Population in Traditional China
Play Video
Population in Traditional China

China's early demographic history is similar to that of Europe; population grows only slowly due to war, disease and Malthusian resource limitation. Later, introduction of American foods allowed cultivated land to expand, but population expanded even more rapidly, leading to an extremely dense, but poor population. During this time, female infanticide was frequent, but almost all surviving girls got married. Within marriage, their fertility rate was much lower than that of their European counterparts. This system compares to the English with a low rate of marriage, but high fertility within marriage.

Reading assignment:

Lee, James and Wang Feng. "Malthusian Models and Chinese Realities: China's Demographic System 1700-2000." Population and Development Review, 25 (1999), pp. 33-65

Belanger, Daniele. "Son Preference in a Rural Village in North Vietnam." Studies in Family Planning, 33 (2002), pp. 324-332

Mosher, Steven. Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One-Child Policy, pp. 5-22 and 32-40

Rogers, Everett and D. Lawrence Kincaid. Communication Networks, Toward a New Paradigm for Research, pp. 1-27


March 24, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: This is one family's experience, and, as Qing said, it's quite different for different people, but what you should realize is that this is one of 300 million such stories. The stories may be different but there's 300 million of them. That's what the Chinese government is now saying, that the one child policy has averted 300 million births in China. Their population, instead of being 1.3 billion now, would be 1.6 billion. 300 million people is the total population of the United States. China has, as they perceive it, as they claim, averted putting another United States worth of population into the world.

That's the significance of spending two full lectures on China, and we could of course spend a lot more, is that China is just so big that everything that happens there has these tremendous significances, both on an individual personal level for each individual or family that experiences it, but also on the global level. One out of every five human beings lives in China, so it is very big.

We'll talk in a later lecture explicitly about the one-child policy, but there's information I have to give you today to understand what it's about. Let me just say, now, that the Chinese government is of course well aware of the human and human rights sacrifices of the individual people, but they argue that the benefits outweigh the suffering. Just to give you a little hint of the way the government thinks about it, and many other people in China, that the great economic boom that China has had--most economists now around the world attribute the kick off of that to the reduction in fertility, that they didn't have to cope with so many children and that's the cause of their economy taking off. They perceive that the one-child policy has allowed China to emerge from this grinding poverty that they were in and become a modern--at least start to become a modern nation in the world.

Another story--another data set that I just recently came across was--had to do with carbon emissions. At a world average of carbon usage, which is probably below what China is actually using, 300 extra million people would have produced 1.5 billion, that's billion with a "b," tons of CO2 each year and that's more than the total CO2 production of an industrial giant like Germany. If you're looking at this issue from an environmental point of view, the reduction of people and their environmental impact makes, again, a huge difference. The Chinese, for instance, feel that because of the one-child policy alone, they have done more than any other country to ameliorate the environmental crisis. That's just a hint of the very difficult things--how do you weigh the story of a family and 300 million families like you just heard against these sort of macro issues. It is not easy.

The question I want to set up today, which is to go backwards, is this kind of policy happens only in China. This kind of enormous population, as the Chinese perceive it, overpopulation, happens in China really and in India in terms of massive stuff. We've talked a little about India and South Asia. The question is, what's special about China? Why did this happen in China? Why did, as they perceive it, population get so out of control that the government felt that they had to introduce such a Draconian policy as this, such a stringent kind of policy. The flip side of that coin is, why is China just now digging out from the abject poverty that the people were in when Europe and America dug out 200 years ago? I mean England started it, but all of Europe and America went through this phase 200 years ago, and why not China?

Of course this is a very, very hotly contested issue among historians. The basic set up of the story is that in about 1800, when Malthus was writing, China was very powerful, very strong, a very rich country and the West was beginning to be that way. The industrial revolution was just starting in England, and you would have seen enormous differences between China and say England or Europe in 1800, but you would not have been able to predict which model was going to take over the world, which country was going to become bigger and stronger in the future. China was a very impressive place in 1800 and Europe was beginning to be a very impressive place in 1800.

Then I may go into a little bit the history a little bit more. By 1840, when the British invaded with the opium war, the British started to addict the Chinese to opium and the Chinese government said, No. The British cried free trade and invaded to force China to accept British opium, which they got out of India. That's a separate story which we may or may not have time for. Then in a very short period of time China goes from being one of the dominant countries in the world to being sort of the pawn in the world that the British start colonizing it, the Germans start colonizing it, the Americans take advantage, everybody starts taking advantage of China, the colonization of China starts the dismembering of China. Why did this happen is one of the major issues in world history.

There's many, many different points of view on this, there's ten major theories or something. In this class, I just have time to unwind one thread--one version of the story and only one thread of that story and that's the relationship between the population of China, the wealth of China, and the poverty of China. This particular thread about population was obvious to Europeans visiting China, even in the European Middle Ages. Marco Polo visited China in the 1200s, and he described China's cultivation, how every little bit of land was under very intense cultivation already, populousness, that the population was already incredibly dense as viewed through European eyes of the same time. And industry, the people worked very hard and whatever they did they were very productive at it. The stories of Kublai Khan and all that were from Marco Polo that he sort of idolized China as this incredibly rich but very, very crowded place.

Adam Smith, in the seventeenth century, the guy who started modern economics, said "China has long been one of the richest, most fertile, best cultivated, and most industrious and most populous countries in the world" so Adam Smith was aware of it. All of these great scholars of the late 1700s were looking around the world finally. There was enough seafaring; they could go around the world and compare different things, and try to figure out what was the best system for people to live under.

A few years after Adam Smith, Malthus writes and he quotes the information that Europeans were getting were mostly from Jesuit priests who had gone over to China to try to convert the population. He quotes one rather well known Jesuit priest then, China is "The richest and most flourishing empire in the world," but the priest goes on, but, because of overpopulation, the people are 'the poorest and most miserable of all.'" Right from way, way back, people are aware that China was basically a very rich country, but because of the huge population, the individual families were often in abject poverty. While if you looked at the emperor and the nobles, of course, they had enormous wealth.

These early observers were certainly correct about the population issue there. We have data from, say 1750, and China had 500 people per cultivated square kilometer. At the same time Europe had about 70 people per the square kilometer, so China had to, on the same farmland, had to support seven times as many people. Of course, the numbers are from 1750, so don't take them as any kind of exact numbers.

Up to today, China has something like 20% of the world's population. Because of the one child policy, the ratio was higher, they had more than 20% but now it's down to about 20% because India is still coming up. A lot of the world is still coming up and China, the population is still increasing but increasing at a rather slow rate. It has now 20% of the world's population but only 6% to 7% of the arable land, the farmable land in the world. The amount of farmland per person is 0.2 acres per person, ten times less than the United States has. There's a real problem with China's population and the question is why did China's population press up against their resources and riches of the land so much more so than in say Europe?

For most of history, China's population does not look terribly different--you can see this, that in the Han Dynasty, which was the first unifying dynasty of China, very much the same time as the Roman Empire. It had a population of 50 or 60 million, then according to this reconstruction of China's history, and all these reconstructions are very iffy, you notice the population stays stable for 1000 years. Then, during the Song Dynasty, which is one of the very most important dynasties in China, very successful, population rises and then it falls back down again. Yuan, which are the Mongol invasions, this decline is probably very much characterized by the Mongol invasions. The particular dates here are dates when we have censuses, when the various emperors took censuses, and in between we really don't know what's happening, and you're also not sure how complete these censuses are.

Anyway, the Mongol invasion. Then it stays constant, and then sometime in this period, probably there's no census really, they don't have any data between 1400 and 1750 so this curve in here is guesswork, but sometime in the 1700s, as in Europe, the population takes off. Something like this doesn't look wildly, in shape, in magnitude it's different, but in shape it doesn't look very different than Europe. In the Han Dynasty 60 million Chinese--1,400 years later in 1393 they counted 60.5 million people and in between the population went as low as 37 million. Then as I said the Mongol invasions decimated the population and then just--before the European Black Death but decimation the same sense as the European Black Death and then it took a long time for China's population to come back up. By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, one of the also very flourishing periods in Chinese history, China had maybe 75 million people, up from 60 million. Then it starts doubling, in the next 200 years it doubles and continues on up.

As in Europe there were major epidemics. In the 1640s there was some major epidemic that we can liken to plague, but people really don't know what kind of disease it was. A Chinese scholar wrote in 1642, "The pestilence," we don't know what, "The pestilence arose again on a large scale affecting eight or nine of every ten households. In a household of ten or 20 people all would be afflicted and often all would die. At first the bodies were buried in coffins and next in grasses, but finally they were just left in the places where they died." In one big city in 1643 there were few--there was basically no signs of human life in the streets, "only the buzzing of flies broke the silence." Those are quotes from Chinese observers.

Very interestingly, it was at this time in the 1640s that the Chinese, having experienced this massive disease, developed a new medical theory of disease and epidemics based on Chi, and you've all heard of Chi, which is supposedly sort of the life force that's involved in acupuncture and everything. Their view was that there was this sort of non-material substance, force, kind of like phlogiston in the West and it had to be in balance, and when the Chi on heaven and earth, there was Chi in heaven and Chi on earth, got disrupted then plague--then chaos broke out on earth and people started dying of various diseases.

Of course you know Americans have recently become wildly infatuated with Chinese medicine and the Chi theory of things and acupuncture, and we can talk a lot about that privately if you wish but the point is it did not help the Chinese at all. You can see the birth--the medical statistics, again as far as we have them, and up until recent times from the practice of acupuncture you don't see any form of disease lessened at all and the only thing you see in China, and Japan also, is a tremendous rise in hepatitis because of the transmission from the needles because they didn't understand anything about sterilization.

Then these plagues caused enormous political changes just as in Europe. The Ming Dynasty, for instance, fell, possibly as a result of the depopulation and chaos of the plague and that allowed the Mongol's to come in and set up their own dynasty. I'm sorry the Manchu from Manchuria, the Manchu to come in and set up the Qing Dynasty. Similarly to Europe, after one of these decimations of the population, good land became available and people moved into the good land and they had a blossoming of wealth and culture even for the peasants. It's a cycle not very different than what Malthus talked about, balancing the relationship between the number of people and the amount of land available.

Throughout this whole period, life expectancy was very poor. We have scattered statistics, so a village in the 1790s showed that one-third of male children died in their first year of life and half of them died before they were 20, and the female situation was comparable but probably worse because of infanticide, so they're probably counting only those that got through the period of infanticide. Life expectancy was 32 in this particular village and only 4% of the population lived past 65. Again, it's not terribly different than what we saw in the statistic--the graph for CisAlpine Gall, where about a third of the women are dead before they start their reproductive life.

When the Ming came to power there was still land--unoccupied land available. As Malthus said, the best land was already used for agriculture but there was less good land still available. Under the Ming the population grew, we're talking 1600s into 1700s, the Ming--I'm sorry that ends in 1650 or so. The population grew, what did the people do? They moved onto the marginal land and that meant higher into the mountains on steeper--trying to farm on steeper slopes. They cleared forested areas, they moved into dry areas, and the result of all this was enormous soil erosion, especially on the mountainsides in the dry areas.

The productivity dropped because this land is just not good and the erosion--the forest couldn't hold the water anymore. The period of China--China's always had floods, it's a big part of the Chinese history, but these really massive, massive uncontrollable floods date from this period where the people--the population increased and people started going into areas where it's ecologically very unstable, cutting down the forests and then when it rains you get these enormous floods. The floods not only--they devastated the agriculture in the lowlands so you not only had a poorer agriculture per capita in the highlands, but you also reduced the per capita farming in the lowlands.

Again, population growth can make it difficult for everybody. Again, like Europe and like Africa, American foods, when they were discovered, went into China because they, as I said, have something like twice the caloric content of anything except rice. If you can grow rice, rice is as good as potatoes or just about as good. China picked up sweet potatoes especially, peanuts especially, some white potatoes, and they doubled food production. Guess what happened? The population doubled, so again, the introduction of these foods and the tremendous improvement in agriculture didn't help the per capita eating, the per capita amount of food for individuals.

During this same period, as people increased, one farmer could grow more food, but the people that could eat needed more land for themselves, so they moved farther out and the land under cultivation increased by a factor of 4.5 times. But, again, during this sort of second round of population growth, one is--when the Ming take over and one is after American foods are introduced, the erosion becomes extreme. It's so extreme that, by 1978, about one-third of all arable land in China had to be abandoned because of erosion. So, it's an enormous problem in China.

This is really--China experienced Malthus, what I call Malthus with a vengeance, so this is the cultivated land and you can see that here 1700 or so basically American foods come in and you can plant stuff everywhere, and the amount of land under cultivation goes up like crazy. Some of this decline is very recent, is industrialization, cities growing, and some of it is erosion. The land thing looks like an enormous increase in the amount of land available for farming but here is the per capita amount of land, the cultivated land hectares per capita, where this is simple hectares and it grows, then it crashes, probably again to do with the Mongol invasions so just fewer people. I'm sorry I've got this backwards, it rises here the land per capita because you just get rid of the people and then, in the modern population growth, the land per capita just crashes down.

Now it's--this is 0.2 hectares now were 0.1 hectare per person, which is like a quarter of an acre, a very small amount of land per person. Of course the Chinese realized this, as well as anybody, and it was a matter of official concern during the Ming and the Qing dynasties. In 1790, just before Malthus wrote, a Chinese scholar and high government official, Hong Liang-ji, he started warning the Chinese about the difficulties that unchecked population would cause as it outraced Chinese productive capacity, that's the way he phrased it. It's clear that the original understanding of China, that its population was pressing really severely against its resources, was accurate but it still doesn't explain why was it in China that you got these incredibly dense populations. Why didn't that happen elsewhere say in China or England?

What jumps to your mind? Probably a very high fertility, they had no--in England we talked about the late marriage system and everything which kept fertility down. Americans generally have the image and Westerners generally have the image that the Chinese reproduce--have a lot of children all the time; it's like your grandparents or something. This makes good sense in the Chinese culture. The principal goal of life was to produce sons, as you've heard over and over again, and this origin of ancestor worship I think as you just said, goes back at least to the second and third millennia B.C., so 5000 years, what Qing said is the scholarly number.

They did all kinds of things to get a son, adoption was very, very common, you'll read about that in the reading if you haven't already, James Lee talks about very high rates of adoption, people who didn't have a son would get an adoption. The filial piety that they had, a Confucian system, which I'll talk about in a moment, where the older--the younger brothers for instance had to pay absolute obedience to the older brothers and they all had to pay absolute obedience to the father. If a younger brother had a son and the older brother didn't, the younger brother had to give that son to the older brother. By modern times that was the same situation in Qing's family, of course that Confucian, that strict Confucian thing doesn't exist anymore, but in the old days it would always be the younger son's no matter what the biological story was it would always be the younger sons that did not have male children.

In China, everyone was expected to marry, and they married very young in order to secure a bride because, as I mentioned to you, I think with respect to the sex selective abortion, traditionally China has always done away with 10% to 25% of its females, so there was always--not always but as much as we have data, and so there's always been an excess of males and a lot of--they can't get married so they did all kinds of things to secure a bride for a son and that included getting betrothed very, very young and starting reproduction as puberty allowed. It was made worse by the fact that it was quite acceptable for males to take second wives, or third wives, or fourth wives down into concubines and every time one male had more than one wife then some other male got no wife at all.

Let's look--so one of the possibilities is the obvious one, is China had very high fertility, and we'll see if that's true. Here's a bunch of data, and what this is, is the age of the woman and they don't have much reproduction beyond age 40 in this sample, although modernly we would have; the age of the woman and what her rate is per--I guess per 1000 women. You can see--women start out at age 20 with a very high rate and all these curves with a high rate of reproduction. It either goes down a little bit by age 25 or in some places increases a little bit by age 25, and then as the woman gets older fertility drops off, there's fewer and fewer children per year. Forty year olds just have fewer children then 20 or 25 year olds, that's a very obvious kind of thing.

Now these are two different sets of population and this is data from one area of the world, data from another area of the world. One area is all the data from China with one line from Japan and the other set of data is Europe, and various European countries. Guess which is which? Some hands; a big difference in fertility.

Student: Is China the one on the bottom?

Professor Robert Wyman: You think China's the one at the bottom.

Student: One of the articles they're talking about how a lot--like some of these families actually have low fertility because of marital restraint.

Professor Robert Wyman: That's right, that's the Lee article. We're one lecture behind as you've probably realized already, and so the reading that you should do tonight actually gave away the answer. Yes, this is the European population, this is the Chinese population. The Chinese, once married, within marriage, and in both places extramarital fertility is not a big deal so this is--you can take this as general reproduction but within marriage the Europeans had a much higher rate of childbearing then the Chinese did. In fact, it's almost a factor of two, from 200 to 300, from 400 to 500 that it was a lot. The Europeans, once married once having access to sex really had children uncontrollably as one says, whereas, the Chinese were doing something to control their births.

That was a shocker when this data came out, it's fairly recent data, because the presumption, from at least Malthus' time, was that the Chinese just reproduced like flies or something and that the Europeans had this wonderful restraint and it turns out that's just the opposite of what it is true. It's very surprising given the cultural emphasis on reproduction by the Chinese. One of the big issues now under discussion is whether this is a sign whether the Chinese were consciously doing some kind of birth control, they were consciously trying to limit their families, or whether it was one of these cultural things where the culture in some sense stumbles onto a practice and it makes that culture successful, even though the people have no idea what the purpose of it is. It may just be sort of an artifact of culture and they will think, the population will think this is due to their following God's rules or proper decorum, or various cultural reasons, they will give you cultural reasons why they have few children, and not understand that that's what makes the whole society survive.

James Lee, who is definitely the world's foremost demographer of China, he has no doubt, even though the data's not as solid as one would like, he has no doubt that it was infrequent sexual activity that led to the low birthrate, as a cultural thing not as a conscious way of reducing fertility. He describes a story where a young couple gets married and they're in the--what we perceive as the height of sexual desire and--but their sleeping arrangements are they have--there's a double-decker bed and they're married--the young married couple sleeps above and the grandmother is in the bed below, and the grandmother--carries her cane to bed and whenever upstairs she hears things starting to go on bang, bang, bang, cut it out and so that kind of thing that the old people didn't go along with this.

The reason for this, as the Chinese would see it, is that the Confucian ethic, they don't have--it's not a religious thing at all, there's no sense of a deity or anything supernatural going on, but personal relationships are what's important. They are a set of unequal personal relationship; a subject has to give absolute deference to the ruler, the emperor. Children have to give absolute deference to the parents and to elders. Women have to give absolute deference first to her brothers and then to her husband, women to men. Younger brothers have to give absolute deference to their older brothers.

Of these, the only relationship that's equal is friend/friend relationship, that's the fifth relationship, so you can be buddies with your friend but you must be superior to your wife, and your wife must be inferior to you, and so you cannot be friends with them. Love or passion between a married couple not only didn't happen, it was not approved of, it was like being--you're being bad if you love your wife, if you have passion for your wife, that was not a good thing. Husband and wife did not relate to each other as lovers or even as friends.

And there's a very famous Chinese story where a young man had been married some years, is walking with a friend--with another male friend with whom he can befriend and converse and he's bemoaning his fate that here, he loves his wife so extremely but he can't have a--he can't express his love for her to her, he can't have walks in the moonlight like he's having with his male friend, he can't have this kind of a chat with her because that is against the morality and ethics of the system.

These cultural things, which I think no Chinese of the time would describe as 'that's the way we keep our population down,' is what's the explanation for this, rather than some kind of conscious effort. Another factor that is not a conscious sort of thing is the Chinese married younger then Europeans. When you do an age adjusted thing, by 20 they had been married for several years, and there's what called the boredom factor going on, that no matter what age couples marry at they have sex a lot in the beginning and so--if they're not protecting themselves they have a high birthrate and then it falls down. Some fraction of this difference here may just be due to the age of marriage.

Student: So then why is that Chinese population is so much more dense?

Professor Robert Wyman: Yeah, we're going to get to that. Actually we may not get to it until next time but that's still, again we're pushing--we still haven't explained why the population is more dense--it's getting time--let me just finish saying something about this 10% to 25% getting rid of the females, which again, would reduce the population would lead you to not think there was such a density.

In the seventeenth century, again this is from Jesuit missionaries to China, reporting back to Europe, they were horrified to find that in Beijing along, Peking at the time, several thousand babies, almost exclusively females, were thrown into the streets like refuse to be collected each morning by carriers who dumped them into huge pits outside the city. It sounds very much like Europe of the similar time. What's interesting is that, right now, China is approaching pretty much the same female, with the sex selective infanticide, pretty the same female deficit that's been as far as we can tell a traditional level of it, but now there's all this moaning and groaning about all these unmarried males and how it will utterly disrupt Chinese society and it's a horrible sort of thing.

Also, I think I mentioned this before, as you've seen in Europe rather than 10% to 25% of the males not being able to get married because of the deficit of females, 40%, 50%, and 60% of the males did not get married in Europe. I showed you the graphs of that when we discussed Europe.

The Chinese system, fertility system, which keeps their population manageable, not small but manageable, is moderately early, not extremely early, moderately early and nearly universal marriage of surviving females. In 1998, for instance, only 1% of Chinese women were unmarried by age 30, whereas, in the west in that year 15% were unmarried 15 times as much, even by age 40 in the west. The European system was that only about half of everybody got married, but once married they had births at about twice the rate of Chinese and Chinese all the women got married, but within marriage they had a low rate of fertility.

You have to--you cut your fertility down by half either by the European thing of less than complete marriage or by the Chinese thing of less than complete fertility. It looks like that fertility, the total fertility rates should be more or less the same between China and Europe, but by essentially opposite kinds of fertility systems. We'll see--I'm sorry next time we'll continue and we'll see what is one of the theories for why China got into the difficulties, it was not just uncontrolled reproduction.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 17
Population in Modern China
Play Video
Population in Modern China

Families lived together in traditional China and sons remained on the land; division of family land led to tiny plots and rural poverty. Because labor was so cheap, the country did not urbanize or mechanize. The Communist government started out with a pro-natal stance, but after experiencing the famine of the Great Leap Forward, moved strongly to fertility control. Fertility declined rapidly in the 1970s, but to counter momentum, the One-Child Policy was introduced in 1979-80. Nevertheless, population has now risen to over 1.3 billion.

Reading assignment:

Berelson, Bernard and Ronald Freedman. "A Study in Fertility Control." Scientific American, 21, pp. 29-37

Nie, Yilin and Robert Wyman. "The One-Child Policy in Shanghai: Acceptance and Internalization." Population and Development Review, 31 (2005), pp. 313-336

Hertsgaard, Mark. "Our Real China Problem." The Atlantic Monthly (November 1997), pp. 1-17


March 31, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: Now in the last lecture we talked about how China has had this very dense population of very poor peasants, for a very long time, and we started discussing some of the possibilities for why that would be. We talked about the possibility that China just had a higher fertility rate and roughly that was not true. We found that that the Europeans and the Chinese both had methods of controlling their population. It doesn't mean the methods were exactly equal, but they were rather opposite. The European method, as you know was late marriage, incomplete marriage that half or so, 40% or 50% of people never got married, or were unmarried at any given time, a great deal of lack of marriage and late marriage meaning--but once they got married they did not seem to have any limitation on their fertility and so half the people going at full tilt is sort of one aliquot.

The Chinese situation, 10% to 25% of the girls were done away with basically at birth, the rest all got married, but within marriage they had a very low rate of reproduction. At the end, I don't think we'll have time, but if we do I'll show you some of the evidence that this low rate of reproduction was not a conscious effort to control fertility but was a result of the culture. I discussed--I gave you that conclusion last time but I didn't give you any data, there's plenty of data for that. We're back to what the difference is between China and Europe, why are they so different?

Student: I just have a question; I'm wondering what extent do you believe that cultural programming was designed at some early stage?

Professor Robert Wyman: When you say designed do you mean designed consciously? No, that I think the people had no idea. People obey various cultural rules, cultural rules happen randomly. You can watch-- anthropologists watch cultures and culture is a very flexible thing and it changes fairly frequently. If that change works people retain it and the whole culture works. If that doesn't work, either people change it again or the culture disappears. Most cultures over time have disappeared.

Cultural evolution seems to follow pretty much the same rules as biological evolution. Almost random change--in biology you have random changes in the genome, the cosmic ray hits you or you smoke a cigarette, or something like that, and base pair changes or a piece of chromosome jumps out and goes back in, inserts itself, a lot of different things. These are mostly bad changes but very rarely there's a good change. If it's a good change presumably that individual will have more children and so there's more copies of that genome in the next generation and so on. You know the basic story of evolution.

Culture evolution ca be the same; people change culture on the basis of fads and who knows what. We've had a lot of evidence that even the great reduction in fertility that we've seen all over the world, has a lot of aspects of a fad. That once a small group adopts it everybody looks around and likes the idea and fertility drops like a stone, way before and rather independently of economic changes, and educational changes, and urbanization changes and a lot of the lectures have shown that. That something is adopted, for maybe unclear reasons, by a small group, people like it, it's like the kind of clothes that you wear or something, there's no rationality to it, but if it works it gets embedded in the culture.

No, I don't think there's any evidence that any of these practices were put into place for the purpose that we now impute to them, but they're practices that worked for that culture within the rest of their ecological and cultural context, and so it persisted. That's a very important--it's a good question, it's a very important way of thinking about culture. That it evolves very much in the same way that biological things evolve, and it's a decent introduction to what I want to say today.

One of the strong aspects of culture is family. In Chinese cultures, as in many others, it's really the very center of Chinese culture; the family and their responsibilities to each other. We talked, and I'll go back over it a little bit, about how loosely bound the families in Europe were. I'll refer to this later. In China, families are much more tightly bound. It's a much more functional unit. This binding was ordered by Confucian doctrine for a long time in China. That is, women had to give absolute deference to men; children had to give absolute deference to parents and elders, for instance.

The relationship between parents and children are extremely important and in China children did not leave the home. In Europe, remember I described to you that at age seven, Charles Dickens goes out and works and people are sent out to do service in different places or would be apprentices. Of course everything happened in China, but the most usual thing was that the children were kept at home and worked on the family land. The parents chose a spouse for the child, again in Europe, people went out and had what they called morganatic marriages, marriages presumably for love, but the parents were not involved in the marriage. In China, after marriage, the son remained living in his parent's compound and the daughter-in-law moved in with them; very, very standard kind of situation.

There was no separate economic unit for the married children. As long as the father lived he controlled the assets of all the family, the children did not have independent stuff and money that they owned, it was all under the control of the father, and in old age it was the children and not the community who were responsible for support of the parents. That was part of the tit-for-tat; again in the culture this is very closely arranged. The parents have responsibilities toward the children; the children have responsibilities toward the parents. The parents support the children when they're young, provide land for them, when they inherit the land, but in return the children must support the parents in old age.

Living in the family of your parents is a very conservative effect because the older generation gets to dictate the customs and mores and the behavior of the younger generation, and older generations are by definition conservative because they were brought up in an older version of things, and there may be modern things going on but they don't generally accept them. With respect to fertility, with respect to son preference, a boy who may be 17 marries a girl who may be 13, 14, 15--and the boy is under the thumb of his mother and the girl moves into the house and she's only 13 and she's under the thumb of everybody, and the mother insists that she get pregnant right away and have a boy.

She describes it as: 'for my son's benefit.' The cultural thing is, she's doing it so that my son will pass on the family name. It's good for my son. But, the son probably doesn't want it as times modernize. He wants to enjoy his life and enjoy his wife and so forth, but they have little power, the son and the daughter-in-law have little power. It's the grandparents that have the cultural power in the family so it's a very conservative factor in cultures and especially in matters of reproduction.

In return, as I mentioned, for children giving up autonomy which they give up, the children are very much under control of their parents, and for living in this absolute deference. Fathers, in a lot of China, at different times in history had the right to kill a child if the child was disobedient. That was not against the law. In return for this, they had to support the children of all ages, find spouses, and ensure resources for the next generation and the essence, in a sense, is really the only resource that peasants generally have is some land, that meant giving the children land for the next generation.

In England especially, and in a lot of the rest of Europe, they practiced primogeniture, that only the oldest son got the land, and so the holdings, whatever amount of land the parents had was kept together. The Chinese did not practice primogeniture. We're talking about a lot of places over a long time so I'm sure there were some places where it happened, but in general, they did not practice primogeniture. On the death of the father, the family land would be divided up among however many sons that there were. This had the good benefit that no one was forced, and one of the cultural reasons for it, that with land you could start a family, you could have children, you could have sons, so no one would be forced into the situation which was unbearable in traditional Chinese culture of not having a son. You had to have son, in order to have a son you had to have a wife. In order to have a wife you had to have means of supporting her a little bit, so the family had to give you land.

This factor, the lack of--the division of family land in China had tremendous impact on the whole economic situation of China; of course, as population grew, that guaranteed that the plots of land would get smaller and smaller, and smaller right down to the subsistence level. And the Chinese were very well aware of this. A common Chinese saying, which summarized this phenomenon says, "fortunes seldom continue considerable in the same family beyond the third generation." If you're Chinese and say that, we have similar sayings in the western world, but they're very different meanings. In China what it means, if you have a fortune, if you're rich, you'll be able to keep more of your children alive including the sons. If you have more sons you have to divide your land into more small pieces and you go right back to the poverty level.

When we say things like that in the West, it means the first generation works very hard, is honorable in a sense, makes money. The second generation have seen their parents work, retains some of that work ethic, but the children, the grandchildren grow up rich and they're rotters and they don't work very hard. The same cultural impression works in both cultures that riches don't last very long in generations, but one is due to the scarcity of the division of land and one is due to the personality of the individual. Malthus knew about this saying, the saying is so popular in China, Malthus knew about this saying and wrote about it 200 years ago and it's still common--that I read it as a Chinese saying in The New York Times a few years ago.

Again, this is in contrast to the European situation where children left home early to work in a succession of other households. They chose their own spouses, very interestingly, as evidence of this kind of dissolution that in most of the world we have these tight families when someone gets married there's some record of it, there's some registry, a personal family record kept as a family treasure or some governmental or village, or religious record, and in all these countries with tight marriages there's a long list of relatives that have witnessed the weddings and say yes this is true. Not in England, the list--it's--the two people go to church, or a priest, or a minister marries them and that's it. The family can be involved but need to have nothing to do with it and legally doesn't have anything to do with it.

After marriage, unless they are the primogeniture son that is inheriting the father's household, they go and set up their own household somewhere else and live separately. As soon as they get married they're economically independent of their parents. In one data set, in 75% of cases in northwest Europe, children didn't even live in the same village where their parents lived, so it wasn't like they were really close but they moved away.

Now again, in cultures all these--a lot of things have to fit together so the system of independence, the European system, could only occur if some provision is made for support of the elderly. In China the young--the children have the responsibility to take care of the elderly and this has to happen, all elderly need to be taken care of, and the culture would never evolve successfully if there wasn't some way of European oldsters getting some sort of support.

Interestingly, in Europe it was not the children who were responsible for support of the elderly, but the community had that responsibility. From 1598, Parliament--and that's a long time ago 1598, Parliament required overseers of the poor to be appointed every year in every parish in the country; every parish was responsible for its own poor, which was mostly elderly. They not only had the duty to support anybody that came and asked for it who was indeed poor, they had to go out and identify the poor. They had to--the poor that were too helpless, or too ignorant, or didn't know, they had the responsibility to go out and identify the poor. We have a lot of argumentation in America, especially about our current welfare state, how much effort should the welfare agencies do to pull in clients for their services, to advertise their services.

Well, 1598 England faced of course the same issue and the Parliament then decided that no, the responsibility of the community was to go out and identify and find people who needed help. These overseers were empowered to levy taxes sufficient to pay for this. The law was very clear that the primary responsibility for providing relief lay with the parish; that was what happened.

There was no direct obligation recognized between the child and the parent. A parent could not go and sue his children for support. There was a back door, a little loophole that once the parish discharged its responsibility in supporting the poor, than the parish could go and sue the child to reimburse the parish for its expenses, so it wasn't totally that the children got off the hook. That was when the children lived in a different village and this was all very localized, it was a very hard thing to enforce, and basically it was the community that had this responsibility.

Colonial America picked up that same pattern, and there are really quite horrible stories of pregnant women, who either got pregnant out of wedlock or whose husband had died, or had gone off to a war or something, sort of being chased from village to village while they were pregnant and ready to give birth because the village knew that if that child was born in that village they would ever after have to do poor relief for the mother and the child. There's some really unpleasant stories from Colonial America.

Well so you have two different patterns, a Chinese, and of course it's not limited to China, where the children are under the thumb of the grandparents, especially the grandmother in reproductive matters and so behavior is not terribly flexible. It's whatever the older generation believed. Whereas in Europe, children go out and form their own households and they can respond more easily to changes in cultural norms.

The younger boys, it's quite interesting, while one of the results of primogeniture is that you keep the plots together so that, in the peasantry, you don't have this enormous class of terribly poor peasants, the peasants retain a reasonable amount of land. But all the rest of the sons go off to the cities and they get forced off the land. Demographically they usually don't require the resources to get married because in the cities it's very hard to accumulate the resources. They never get married, they never have children, as I mentioned before the death rates in the cities were so incredibly high that about every generation about a third of the city people died and had to be replaced by new immigrants from the countryside.

Still, there was quite a large population of unemployed or barely employed people in the cities. What did they do? They joined armies, that's one of the big employers--especially of men, big armies--require manpower. Some historians believe that the aggressiveness of Europe, all the constant wars that Europe was in during this period and the colonial expansion, were due to all these young men in the army and they had to do something with them. Or reverse, they were available; all these young men were available for the army and so they were employed to do whatever the rulers believed they should do. They also tried to make a living in the city and did a lot of apprenticeship, and they would start a small trade, or some hand manufacturing operation, and again some historians believe that this excess of males in the city trying to cope on their own--formed one of the basis for the industrial revolution.

The two systems were really--the European and Chinese were sort of diametrically opposite and the Chinese system was in a sense much kinder because no one would--in Europe children were sort of basically sacrificed, goodbye, have a good time in life, we'll see you. Whereas, in China, they were kept at home in the security of the family and its land, which is both emotionally more secure and economically more secure, but very poor. It looks like this very practice, which is the center of Chinese culture, the tightness of the family, with respect for elders, lack of adolescent rebellion, etc., all the good characteristic things that go along with that, may also be one of the reasons why China suffered the Malthusian misery situation for so long. The land parcels on which people tried to survive were just so tiny that they were up against an absolute limit.

All right, we can see in the statistics, the result of this keeping people on the land. China, basically as observed by Chinese and by everyone else, became what was called a vast sea of impoverished rural peasants. As late as 1900, 94% of Chinese lived in villages, meaning they were agricultural. In contrast, in England 100 years earlier in 1800, the agricultural population was down to 37%. So, China was way more than 100 years behind England, at least in urbanizing and industrializing and so forth. Without enough land, nonetheless, when the plots got so small that people really could not survive on them, of course even in China they had to leave the land, and you got a class of landless laborers, as there really was everywhere. But the conditions which they left in Europe--The poverty on the farms was so much worse than, say in Europe, that when they moved to the cities it was even a step further down.

This is really disastrous. In the 1930s both Americans and Mao, Mao did some of his earliest scholarly work investigating conditions of the rural poor in China, and so there's a fair amount of data that in the 1930s wages that to be paid for a laborer, what you paid a man to work for a day, was the same as it cost you to provide fodder for a donkey. The cost per day of a donkey and a human were the same, it was such absolute misery. Which did people prefer to hire? Buy a donkey or hire a human? Same cost per day--what?

Student: Depends on what you have to do.

Professor Robert Wyman: Okay, all the things that donkeys or humans can do, but donkeys especially, what can a donkey do? It carries things. It turns out that they preferred to hire the human. Why? Because if you have a donkey, you have to feed him every day, even when the donkey is not working. If you have a human, you pay him for that day, essentially subsistence wages, just enough food to keep going which is more or less the same as the donkey. And when you don't need them, when the harvest is gone, or you don't have anything to carry, bye. That's what you see in the Chinese cities of all this time that there was very little mechanized transport, everything was carried by rickshaw; rickshaw is a seat but human laborers were carrying all the goods around the cities and between cities.

On the farms also, labor was so cheap and there were so many humans per land, that there was no economic incentive to get animals to do your heavy labor. So, there was an absence of draft animals in China, an amazing difference between Europe and China is the absence of draft animals. It's very interesting, draft animals not only provide you pulling labor, but they provide manure, and Europe had plenty of manure from all the--they had a lot of animals. The Chinese then had to go to human manure. The whole industry of spreading the human manure, night soil as they call it, on the fields is due to a lack of draft animals. This continued as late as the 1970s, some parts of China were still too poor to have farm animals. You didn't get mechanized farming, you didn't get any of the--labor was so cheap they didn't get any of the mechanization of either motorized transport in cities or agricultural machinery in the countryside.

This kind of--people coming down to a very, very--because the land got so crowded, people coming down to a very, very poor state of existence was really a great weakness of China. While, at the top, the Emperor and the court were fabulously wealthy, that was based on the backs of a mass of really, really poor peasants. When Europe developed good shipping and modern arms--was starting to develop modern armaments they were able to thrust their power all the way from Europe around most of the world. It's not very easy to get by sailing ship from Europe to China, but by the early 1800s Europe could project enough military power into China to defeat the Chinese armies.

As I mentioned last time, the British were, by that time, having a terrible trade deficit with China. The British were addicted to tea, and they were losing all their money and the tea addiction would have choked--the ledgers are very clear how--England was just basically losing all its money and if they didn't restore the balance of trade, Europe would be bankrupt and that would have cut off the industrial revolution. The money that could have fueled the industrial revolution was in fact going to China to feed a caffeine addiction. It was really a massive, massive effect and so the British started importing opium into China, from India, in an attempt to reverse the balance of trade, which it did. I mentioned this, the Chinese put down their foot and said 'no you can't addict my people,' the British cried free trade, invaded China in the first and the second opium war.

By about 1840 it was clear that China was a paper tiger militarily. Though they really had a vast number of people in a very strong autocratic state, they could not respond to Western military power. Once kicked out--for a short interim there, before the opium war, the Chinese were able to kick the opium smugglers out. Where did they go? To a little rocky island off the coast of South China, and now that's called Hong Kong. It started as a smuggler's den, and basically the big Jardine Matheson, all the big British fortunes that stemmed from the China trade were really opium trade, drug trade. The British started controlling parts of China, then the Germans moved in, the French moved in, and the Americans when--in the periods when China's government had some power were very happy to intermediate in the drug trade, and help avoid certain restrictions on the Brits and so forth.

Then the Japanese got modernized in the early 1900s and they invaded China, and the end result of this, is that from the first opium war for 115 years China was basically at the mercy of the European imperial powers and the Japanese newly imperial state. The final chapter on that, of course, is World War II where the Japanese invaded and were incredibly brutal to the Chinese, and I read you sometime back, a story about the Rape of Nanking, and then after that there was the battle between the communists and the nationalists, won by the communists; a very, very vicious civil war. Basically China was devastated by this 115 years of dissolution of the government and being taken advantage of by foreign powers.

The scarcity of land, just as a sort of footnote to that history, the scarcity of land remains a major problem for China. Especially the dry and hilly land, you may remember last time I told you that as American foods came in and farming increased, that people learned that they could grow food on hilly land and dry land, and so the population expanded into this marginal land.

February, the end of February this year, just a month ago, there was a story in The Times. China's now going through the worst drought in half a century, which also means that they go through this every half century, so it's not really an incredibly unusual thing. In the wheat band, a farmer's land is 1/3 of an acre, and remember I told you the average plot farm size was only 1/10th of an acre, so this guy is rich. He's got 1/3 of an acre, three times as much. Why does he have so much? Because it's carved out of a rocky hillside in a dry region. You can't survive on a 1/10th of an acre there, you need 3/10ths of an acre.

The aquifers have been so depleted that, in some farming regions, wells have to go down a half mile before striking water; all the water that's less further down has already been used up. They're going through this drought. These people, in good times, live on a 1/3 of an acre. On a hilly, rocky, dry hillside, you're not going to make a lot. And now, with the economic collapse in the world, there's millions of migrant workers coming back onto the farms--the countryside and they're going to have to now, somehow, be supported on this very, very poor agriculture.

Finally, after the Korean War, I may have forgotten to mention the Korean War, where the--some elements of the United States said they were going to invade China. This was the time when they were threatening to bomb China back to the Stone Age. Do you know that expression? It was Senator William Knoland from California who was the main advocate of bombing China back to the Stone Age. The U.S. did not invade China and China fought them in North Korea; very, very nasty, bloody situation. They finally got this peace. The data seems to show that in 1952, which is at the end of the Korean War, Chinese had a significantly lower per capita income than they had at the end of the Sung Dynasty in the thirteenth century. That there had been 700 years with--600 or 700 years with no progress--real progress for the people. It was a real Malthusian situation where the population had grown up tremendously, production had increased tremendously, but the two equaled out and no net progress.

There's the new communist government which was very powerful and not hesitant about using its power and being very autocratic. Right away they did a number of very good things, they invested very heavily in public health, and introduced the very basic measures of hygiene, disease control and pest control. It's a big thing. Loudspeakers--this period loudspeakers everywhere in China were blaring to the people, you didn't have any time to think because there were loudspeakers everywhere at you. "Honorable elders please do not spit on the ground." Any of--you Chinese have heard this or stories of this? You have. There was a big campaign to swat flies; the flies were spreading disease from the feces which was not in--not flushed away in toilets. So flies would step into the feces and then step onto you. So the same thing, swat a fly and they killed zillions of flies. The flies eventually did get controlled in China and whether it was due to the swat--a-fly campaign or not, I don't know.

Due to these things, by 1957, which, remember, we have a devastated country where the government takes control in 1949, in eight years the death rate went to half what it had been. That's an amazing, amazing achievement. When you cut the death rate in half, what happens? Population explosion; so China had its most extreme population explosion after the communists came to power. Now these are not ignorant people. Were they worried about the population explosion? The answer is: absolutely not. Marxist theory is very pronatalist. Marx hated Malthus, there's a long literature of communist, socialist invective against Malthus, and they're really opposite poles. Now it's sort of the right wing and the extreme left thing that it opposes Malthus, and liberals and moderates are more predisposed toward him.

At any rate, the Marxist theory is--basically says this. Look, in the capitalist economy, the capitalist take workers, they employ them in factories, and they make a surplus, so the capitalist lives very well on the surplus. The socialist economy can do just as well. It can employ the workers, and they can make a surplus over them, but instead of having big fat mansions and cigars, the socialist government will reinvest the money for the good of the people, so the more people the merrier. Marx--original Marxist doctrine was very, very clear that since the capitalist can exploit labor, so can the state and that will move down to the benefit of the people. The way this was translated from Marx into China, they call Malthusian's theory something like 'ren kou lun, which means 'man mouth theory,' which means that every man is born with a mouth, i.e., he's a consumer and that splits up the pie. The Marxist translate their theory as 'man hand theory,' that a man is born not only with a mouth to consume but a hand to do work, and the question is if the--that the socialist state can employ the hands to produce more than the mouth require, so they didn't buy, they were very in favor of high population.

In 1949, Mao, becoming in charge of a very devastated country says, "Revolution plus production will enable China to feed and employ the large and growing population." No worry; until they got some facts. In 1953 the country was stable enough that they took their first national census. At that time, they thought they had something like 426 million people and that the number had not been growing in the century because of all the civil and foreign wars, and natural calamities in China. It was a disaster, so they thought, well, population can't grow under those situations. Then they took a census and they counted 600 million people, which was 50% more, a third larger than they had expected that were there.

The error, what they expected to find and what they did find, was equal to the whole U.S. population at that time, so it was a big shock. They finally responded rationally, and immediately China passed the contraceptives and induced abortion act, legalizing the importation and sale of contraceptives and legalizing sterilization and abortion. There was one small problem, they didn't have any contraceptives, they didn't have the manufacturing facilities, so they legalized the importation of them and imported--But, the Chinese had no foreign currency at that time, it was way, way before any kind of economic progress, and so they just didn't have it.

The cities got--there was always some money in the cities, so the cities got some of the foreign contraceptives and--but in the countryside where the vast, vast majority of the people lived at the time and basically had no access, and if they did have access they wouldn't have been able to afford them, so the government policy was basically meaningless.

What was the government to do? In 1956 they realized that just proclaiming something doesn't help, so they said, well let's use traditional medicine. They asked all the traditional Chinese doctors what to do. You must have traditional ways of contraception, of keeping women from having children. One of these became very well popularized--popularized in the press. On the third day following her period, a woman should ingest 14 live tadpoles, than ten the next day, and then the woman would be assured sterility for five years. If the woman did this twice, then traditional medicine said that the woman would be permanently sterile.

It's not totally clear whether this was the policy that the government was really behind. This was the procedure that the government was doing, but the press picked up and it was a very big press thing in China, and it was very much followed by the people. The very small ecological movement in China really got worried that in China--that frogs would go extinct because people are eating all the tadpoles. Finally the Chinese Academy of Science took it up, got the statistics, did some experiments, I don't know exactly what they did but they said, no this doesn't work.

Go back to drawing board, what are we going to do. So, the next round 1957/1958 was to use acupuncture as a contraceptive. Remember acupuncture in China has never been used for the kinds of things that it is used for here, and there's no evidence of any effect from this for anything except the spread of hepatitis because the needles weren't sterilized. You can see that throughout Asia. I may have mentioned this in a previous lecture, so they said OK let's try it for contraception, and of course that didn't work any better whatsoever.

Politically, the government, again it was a very new thing and the traditional Marxists were still opposed to family planning that other, more modern aspects of the government were in favor of, so the government was uncertain and divided on this. But, in 1956 the Premier, Zhou En-lai, at the time a very powerful guy, urged limitations on childbirth and he was supported by influential economists who were very much influenced by Western ideas from Malthus onward, Western ideas on population. The very next year--so in 1956 was when they started all this, really trying to push birth control, the very next year there was one of the Chinese purges.

In 1957 they had the campaign--what they called the anti-rightist campaign -- and people who were too influenced by Western ideas, and Western economic ideas, remember Malthus was considered the father of Western economics, were purged and with them went the family planning campaign. In the end, the early back and forthing on family planning came to no effect; there were no methods, no trained family planning personnel, and no facilities in rural areas, and no tradition of anything.

In 1958, the Party started organizing communes, and you probably know a fair amount about them. These were giant agricultural enterprises with something like 5,000 families in a single commune. Commune meaning all the production from all the farmland owned by 5,000 families was pooled, and they produced together and they consumed together. That particular summer, for climatic reasons, the harvest turned out to be excellent, and, as the data came in, the leaders of communist China at the time decided that the communes were the answer. "Look at how well we've done under this commune system." And the cadres, the lower down cadres who were going to be rewarded or punished depending on their production, they of course inflated figures wildly and they claimed that rural production had doubled, had increased tenfold, or even scores of times. It was really--there was indeed a good harvest, but then that got inflated enormously due to the--shall we say, the weak political process.

In 1958 after a couple of years of trying this--officially pushing family planning but without any real policy that worked, and with getting rid of the rightists who were in favor of it, in 1958 they reversed again. They went away from family planning and they said the central--the communist party's central committee said in 1958 that the communes were so successful that 'China no longer had to worry about overpopulation'.

To the contrary, the forthcoming problem would be "not so much overpopulation as the shortage of manpower." Basically what they got carried away with, Jonathan Spence, in his history of China, talks about this, and says, "the vision of utopia was altogether intoxicating". Whenever your view of the world gets out of kilter with the reality, disaster is right behind and the disaster is indeed not far behind and that was the Great Leap Forward.

The context of the Great Leap Forward is that the U.S., in particular, had threatened China and been threatening China with nuclear, basically annihilation, and Mao had answered with this: 'I have so many people if you kill a couple of hundred million who cares'; very brutal response and counter response. The answer, Mao and everybody in China knew, was to industrialize as fast as they possibly can to catch up to America in military might. He decided that China was not industrializing fast enough and had to catch up to the Western level right away. He told--he ordered--the orders went out from the central bureaucracy to put all of their efforts into industrialization.

Forget about farming, we have plenty of food, the communes are producing plenty of food, we don't have to worry about that. In fact, in your backyard, put iron smelters in, build little furnaces and smelt your iron in your backyard. People didn't have any iron ore, so what they did, they took their pots and pans, put them into a smelter, then they took their farm implements and put them into the smelter. If you're from China, do you remember your parents or somebody talking about these days? Again you do; we don't have too many native-borns here, but it was very, very big, the backyard iron and it resulted in two things. One, when you destroy agricultural implements your agriculture really does go to hell and the iron that you can smelt in the backyard is not very good iron, so it's not very--actually very useful. The side result is that agriculture production crashed, absolutely crashed.

At the same time, as part of the communes, the communal kitchens were established where everyone could eat together. The purpose of--the original purpose was twofold. One they wanted--Chinese work very hard to modernize the country, to build up the country, and each family going home for lunch and dinner is a huge amount of labor involved in preparing meals, especially with a fairly primitive food cooking and gathering, preparing technology.

If you have a staff dedicated for food and you make food for thousands of people, it can be done very efficiently in terms of time, it's economically a very efficient sort of thing. It also was a pro-feminist measure that who had to do the work at home was the women. The women were working in the fields, then the men could come home and relax, but the women had to then take care of the children and the food. It was both an economic rationalization measure and it was a pro-feminist measure. The result was that consumption soared.

Traditionally, like all poor people around the world, the Chinese were very abstemious, every grain of rice counts. In a poor family, if there's food available, you eat just exactly what you need to stay alive, and you store away the rest for the future, because the future is always very uncertain. When you have a communal kitchen, it doesn't do any good to not eat your fill because, if you don't eat your fill, someone else will. There's no individual accounting, no individual responsibility, so everyone ate a lot and consumption soared at just the time that production is going down. The concatenation of those two things was the disaster.

As the disaster unfolded, China was sufficiently authoritarian at the time that the cadres had to pass up good news to the higher levels, so news of the disaster that was unfolding before the local people's eyes was not passed up to higher levels. Apparently the higher levels really believed that the--that agriculture was keeping up with all this consumption. The higher levels only received, and especially Mao, received only glowing reports of production--agricultural production in the countryside.

What happened was the great famine of the great leap forward. Several hundred million people became undernourished during this period, and then people starved; source of undernourishment and then people starved. Massive famines from 1959 to 1961; we don't know how many people died in these famines. The estimates are 20, 30, 40, 50 million people dying of starvation, but what it was we don't know.

This is--let me show you the other one first. This is an old--this is world population and you can go back further, except for the black--there's no other--you see that blip there? That's the Great Leap Forward in China as part of world population. There is--if you carry world population back further you don't see any blip like that except the Black Death. All the other disasters are not comparable to this. This shows sort of a Western estimate going from something like loss of 30 or 40 million people.

The official Chinese statistics show the death rate going from 10 million to 25 million, and you have to look at the area because there's one, two, three years of it so they're estimating more like maybe 25 million deaths, that's the official Chinese statistics. Of course in that extreme poverty, the birthrate just crashes and then recovers when food becomes available again.

So the moral of the story is that the Chinese seem to have--in the early stages of the commune system, the Chinese seem to have eradicated famine. They had had 115 years of miserable history, the Communists come in, things get better very quickly, very fast. They decide they have the answer, they decide they don't have to pay attention to basic realities like population and so they get a very unreal view of reality. Meanwhile, the country is actually still walking on the edge of disaster, before they were under the edge and falling off to disaster before the revolution, after the revolution they were still on the edge, but that wasn't realized. So it was stupidity, a political mistake pushes them over the edge and you have this huge amount of death.

You should be aware that when people talk about environmental limits what happens with population and the world, that there are all kinds of physical limits to the number of people. The most delicate thing that humans make are their social and political arrangements. When things get very tight it's almost always not an underlying fundamental resource problem or something, it's peoples political response to it, their interpersonal response to it that goes out of whack and they start making massive mistakes like this and then the world falls apart. It's the political and social arrangements that people make with each other that are the most delicate and population stress will usually have its disaster effects through--acting through the political and social arrangements.

Then the Chinese did not have any rest after this. From the Great Leap Forward to the 1960s -- in the early 1960s got transformed into the Cultural Revolution of the mid-60s and there was more chaos. After the great famine the government learned its lesson and again tried to institute birth control flip flop, flip flop, and again the method was largely propaganda.

The kind of propaganda this time was aimed a lot at men and the kind of things that the Chinese press were touting were men before the age of 25--remember again it's a restriction on the young men from sex--were described as if you have sex "excessive dissipation of bodily fluids, sexual neurasthenia, low spirits, headaches, discomfort all over the body, emaciation, dizziness, tension, memory loss, premature old age, mental and physical pain, and impotence." Now I've heard this from students as their problems but they usually now attribute to lack of sex, but the Chinese at that time were attributing it to sex, so you take your chances.

Nevertheless, the situation in the cities was such that the conditions, the housing scarcity, the poverty were such that people, indeed in the cities, did reduce their fertility and by 19--somewhere in 1964 or 1966 window, the urban fertility dropped to a low of three births per woman. By 1974, urban non-agricultural women, their fertility was reduced to replacement level, so, rather rapidly, urban fertility came down and it's continued to come down, and in 1980 it was 1.1; very low urban fertility.

During the Cultural Revolution it had remained very high because it was chaos and nobody was watching the store. In 1970 it was 6.4 among rural women, 6.4 children which is basically the traditional number from way, way back and so there was basically no conscious fertility control among the rural women. By 1969 the population passed 800 million and in 1970, 21% of births, one out of five were first births, 17% almost the same were second births, but 62% were third or higher order births in 1970, so almost everyone was having three or more children.

When political stability was finally restored after the disruption of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the government really introduced a serious, vigorous family planning program. Starting in 1971 they introduced the Wan, Xhi Shao; later, longer, fewer. What they proposed was later marriage, longer birth intervals, leading to fewer children overall. This was propagandized very heavily but this is debatable, but there was generally considered to be not an awful lot of coercion involved. It was more or less a voluntary campaign.

I want to show you one graph if I can--okay here's a graph of the total fertility rate in China and I have taken out the years. I'll show you the years in a minute. When do you think--so you had the Wan, Xi, Shao, the voluntary policy, and then that lasted for about ten years and then you had the one-child policy which was, at least in the beginning, not very voluntary and you've heard about that? Where do you think the one-child policy starts? Where in this graph? To show you the effectiveness of political programs. No idea. Well it was--do you think the one child policy was effective?

Student: Yes.

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes, therefore you put it--

Student: I don't know where I'd put it.

Professor Robert Wyman: Make a guess. I know you don't have--right about there maybe. That's the Great Leap Forward decline. The one-child policy starts here, levels off, this decline, taking about ten years was during the Wan Xi Shao period during the more or less voluntary period. That the big drop in Chinese fertility happens here and then they introduce the one-child policy actually right about here, well I'll just show you the actual dates. Here's 1980, the one child policy is introduced here, and immediately the fertility rises and then stabilizes and I'll show you later eventually it does slow down for all kinds of reasons.

Let me go back, the important thing to know is that it was the 19--that the drop is 1970 to 1980, in this ten years, the ten years before the one-child policy, is when Chinese fertility really took this enormous drop. What happened was until the 1970s, as I've described, there were really no family planning services in the vast rural areas and only limited facilities in a few of the large cities. Starting in the 1970s, as part of this policy, contraceptives were made available; a huge amount of propaganda was made to counteract any taboos. Peasant people have a lot of taboos, and established late marriage and the small family as the desirable norm.

This drop--we've seen drops something like this fast since then, but this drop was, at the time, just incredible to foreign observers. That, in one decade, to go down from six to half your--more than half your fertility this is about 2.5 in one decade, in a place so vast and so traditional as China was at that time, just unbelievable. I mean it turned out to be true; the Chinese statistics were indeed quite good on this. It shows what a family planning program, in this case, introduced with the full effort of the government, can really accomplish. Scholars said it's the most extraordinary reduction in fertility in a large population ever recorded in human history.

In 1979 the results of the second national census were released and it was clear that the population was approaching one billion people. Now to us nowadays, we're used to hearing China as having more than a billion people, but back then, the idea of a single country having a billion people was absolutely mind boggling, and remember 1979 was way before the Chinese economic miracle, so these were a billion very poor people that were going to be on earth. As the Chinese saw it, very explicitly saw it, the population they had--they had had very good economic gains, nothing like the boom that happened later, but they really had made good progress but they perceived that population growth had eaten up all of their gains.

For instance, grain production increased an annual rate of 2.3% between 1957 and 1978, the year before the census, but per capita consumption which had started extremely low increased only 0.2% during this time, so it's a very small--huge increase in production 2.3% per year over a ten year--20 year period, 21 year period is very, very good but when your population grows at nearly the same rate you end up with a very tiny improvement in standard of living.

Housing space increased by half a billion square meters, on the home building, a poor, small home, but something, a half a billion square meters; a meter is like a square yard. Because--but the per capita because the population grew, the per capita housing was down from 4.5 square meters to 3.6 meters per capita. Three meters is like 9 x 9 and that was what the per capita housing; down in this period of an improving economy.

The arable land fell from a quarter of an acre in 1949--from half an acre in 1949 to a quarter of an acre in 1983 and it's gone down since then. Also, the government, from the census, realized how young the population was and a young population means, what's going to happen?

Student: Speed.

Professor Robert Wyman: Momentum. There's so many more young people coming into reproductive age than ones leaving it, that you're going to have a lot more child bearers and they realized this. From the 1982 census, another census they took, the population period was 45 million women in their 40s leaving reproductive age, 60 million, 1/3 bigger in their 30s, 80 million in their 20s, and 125 million women in their teens. If the teens are coming--just starting to come into reproductive ages that means basically a tripling of the number of child bearing women coming into--three times as many child bearing women were coming into reproductive age as were leaving reproductive age.

Even though they had achieved this rather incredible fertility decline, they realized that, because of the momentum, their population would keep growing for decades yet and they were really worried about it. At that time the TFR was something 2.5 when they were deciding what to do with it. If you have--at this age distribution at this time 2.5 children per women and if three times as many women are going to enter reproductive age, what do you have to do to keep this down?

You have to go--it's mathematical--you have to have 1/3.-- When you have three times as many women you have to have 1/3 the number of births they were having here. Three times as many women to keep the number of children the same, and you don't reduce the number of babies, you have to reduce fertility by 1/3. So 2.5 divided by 3 is 0.8. So, the demographics of their current fertility, a low fertility, rate--2.5, their current low fertility rate but the tripling of women coming into reproductive ages, the mathematics tells you, you have to set--you have to somehow get your fertility rate down to 0.8.

They decided that was going to be very difficult and they instituted the one-child policy at that time. At the lowest their birth rate had ever been in, probably forever, in Chinese history was exactly the time that they introduced the one-child policy. Years after implementation there were--in 1986 which was six years, seven years after implementation, there's still a million more births than there were the year earlier, the number of births kept rising.

The policy was not a success in the extreme sense that the Chinese government wanted it to be. They wanted to keep the year--in the year 2000 they wanted to keep their population under 1.2 billion. When they started this they were approaching--they were like 800 billion and they were desperately hoping to keep it under 1.2 billion and they didn't do it, it was 1.3 billion.

On paper the policy was quite Draconian. In the 1982/1983 regulations included each village would get a quota for the number of births that year and the village leaders would have to ration this out on the basis of a waiting list. Of course only couples with no prior children could get on the list. They had a mandatory IUD insertion for women who already had one child and if a woman had an unauthorized pregnancy an abortion was supposed to be mandatory, and you heard the story about that.

Although, you should note, that again, it wasn't the government--the abortion that Qing told you about had nothing to do--in one sense had nothing immediately to do with the government. She did the abortion way before anybody knew about it, her co-workers didn't know about it, her workplace didn't know about it, government officials didn't know about it, it was the suasion, it was the effect from other people, it was these village--these committees that would keep visiting you and keep bugging you that caused her to say, 'okay I'm going to avoid all this pain and just have the abortion right away,' so in a sense the government didn't have to do anything about it. With respect to abortion, the statistics are very interesting in China.

Sometime, a little after this, unmarried sexuality started happening; in traditional China that--at least officially -- just plain didn't happen. But, as the country modernizes, one of the things you get into is unmarried sexuality. Girls were getting pregnant in an unmarried state and this was an unthinkable sort of thing. What happened to those girls that were pregnant and unmarried? Their parents forced them to have an abortion. Some statistics show that the number of abortions, which parents required of their daughters, their unmarried pregnant daughters to have, exceeded the number of abortions forced under the one-child policy, because the one-child policy also pushed contraceptives, so actually--and contraceptives were decent, so the number of abortions while high, was not off the map.

The one-child policy proceeded and there were--there's absolutely no doubt about it, major human rights violations. You heard about one story, forced sterilizations, forced abortions, these absolutely happened and this was, as you heard especially true of people who had government jobs or worked in government owned factories and that was a big fraction of the economy. Remember this was a socialist state, and abortion was supposed to be mandatory, and sterilization even, for any couple that had two or more children.

Student: Did they have orphanages at the time?

Professor Robert Wyman: Did they have?

Student: Orphanages or was everything increasing the number of children dropped off at these orphanages or--

Professor Robert Wyman: To adopted out children.

Student: Right. I mean just because--I mean a lot of people weren't supposed to have more than one child, so did people who didn't go through with an abortion, and they were able to manage to have another child did they drop their kid off at an orphanage?

Professor Robert Wyman: Yes I haven't--yes I haven't seen good statistics about that and I don't know if the Chinese government lets out good statistics on that. A huge number of girls, almost all girls, were sent to orphanages and because of the poverty of the orphanages, I mean it was lot of rural orphanages that didn't have much money to begin with, they basically couldn't take care of the babies, huge death rate, huge maltreatment rate.

This is when Americans started adopting Chinese babies kind of en mass and many Americans went over to pick up the baby and the stories that came back about children just tied into the cribs, emaciated, sores over the body and really in very, very bad situations. Yes, indeed, as far as we can tell but I don't have good statistics, yes a big surge in daughters given--girl babies given up to orphanages. Okay so in this--I guess it's time to finish. We'll just have to continue this next time, cutting into our next lecture.

[end of transcript]

Lecture 18
Economic Impact of Population Growth
Play Video
Economic Impact of Population Growth

1) Population in China: Until recently, Chinese families did not much alter their fertility depending on life events such as deaths of children. However, under government prodding and eventually coercion, fertility dropped drastically in China in the 1970s, but to counteract momentum, the One-Child Policy started in 1979-80. 2) Population Growth and Economic Development: In Asia, rapid fertility drops have preceded economic booms by approximately fifteen years. In this time, children grow up and become workers. With many workers and fewer children to support, savings and investments rise causing the boom. Non-Asian countries with rapid fertility drops, like Ireland, fit this model. Sub-Saharan Africa, with still high fertility, makes little economic progress.

Reading assignment:

Bermingham, John. "Poor Countries Have Many Problems: Economic Development Is not an Easy Job." The Tanzania Times (March 1997), pp. 5-14

Weeks, John R. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, chapter 12

Bloom, David and David Canning. "How Demographic Change Can Bolster Economic Performance in Developing Countries." World Economics, Vol. 4, no. 4 (2003), pp. 1-13

Higgins, Matthew and Jeffrey Williamson. "Age Structure Dynamics in Asia and Dependence on Foreign Capital." Population and Development Review, no. 23 (June 1997), pp. 261-293

Birdsall, Nancy and Steven Sinding. Why Population Matters, pp. 6-17


April 2, 2009

Professor Robert Wyman: You remember, when I was talking about Europe, we discussed the fact that during marriage Europeans just had babies, in a sense willy-nilly, but we also said it was nowhere near the maximum that humans are capable of, but we thought it was sort of cultural constraints, late marriage, and stuff like that.

Now we come to China in which the birth rate within marriage was quite a bit lower and I introduced the question of whether this was voluntary in the sense of individually decided, an individual decides what they want and acts on it, or was this low birth rate due to cultural constraints in a crowded household with maybe the grandmother sleeping beneath you. There's no opportunity, if the cultural rules say you can't be friends with your wife, there may be a reduction in passion, and the conclusion that I gave you was that this didn't seem to be an individual decision kind of thing but a cultural kind of thing.

It's a little bit out of place but I just can't--I love this data so much, it's so very striking as an example of people that are not individually voluntarily controlling their fertility. How would you tell if someone is? --You have a big huge population, you can't interview all of them, maybe it's a dead population, old, how do you tell whether they're making individual decisions? Well you have--one of the ways of doing it is to consider individual events in their lives that you think, under any reasonable idea of what it is to be a human, would affect their fertility. One of those events is the death of a child. There's many--I mean I think you all would naturally say, if you want a certain number of children you're going to control consciously--if your children die, you're going to try harder to have more, you're going to try longer.

Here is a Chinese population from 1982, so we're talking about just at the time when the one child policy is starting. These are women who have finished their childbearing by 1982, so it's the generation exactly prior to the one-child policy. It gives you a lot of data but look over here, it says what happened to the first four children, and it gives you two cases: all the children died or all survived. There's a lot of intermediate cases which are not shown in this particular graph and it's spread out by age to seeing if there some sort of age effect.

Here is the mother's age at last birth, so if all of them survived--if all of them died you would think the mother would really want to have more. She stops giving birth at age 38.7. If they all survived, 1/10th of a year, she stops giving birth 1/10th of a year earlier, one month earlier. Same, a little bit older group you have 0.4 year, maybe four months later, and here's 0.1 months again for women who are 20--their age at first birth.

I'm sorry; the age at which they stop depends on the age at which they start to a large degree. The numbers of this way are different because they started at different ages, but there's no difference within an age group depending on whether all four children died or all four children survived. That's just--to me that's an amazing set of statistics that apparently the continuation, the attempt to have as many children as possible just does not depend on that event.

Here's another example of this, this is--as was discussed in most of Asia, a lot of the world, and especially China, they need males, sons are much preferred over daughters. Here's a very nicely displayed set of data saying how many sons have you had, how many daughters? Here's--that have had no son or no daughter, and the question is how many of them proceed? These numbers show the fraction that proceeds to have the first birth.

When they get married and they have no children, neither a son nor a daughter 0.958--I'm sorry they have a son first; they have one son or one daughter. Those that have a son 95.8% of them proceed to have a second child and that can be either a boy or a girl. If their first child is a daughter 96.8% proceed, so you don't have to look up here and the details aren't important, but look at for instance those that have seven sons in a row, and 72%, 72.5% of them proceed to get pregnant again. Here's seven daughters in a row, they want the sons, and they may not want daughters, 76%, a 3.5% difference, almost no difference in their life.

Again, how many of them, after having seven sons, you presume that's enough sons, whereas seven daughters they would be desperate to have more but there's a very small--a 3% difference between the fraction of them that proceed. You can also see the numbers are very high; those that have had seven children already, 76% proceed to have another birth. They just keep going, and whether they have all daughters in a row, or all sons in a row, makes very little difference. Finally at eight there is--it is a 10%--less than, yes, a 10% difference, but whether that's--that doesn't fit with the rest of the graph but it's still very small difference.

Here's the last graph of this nature. This is again the age at the mother's last birth, and again, it's the same kind of graph. Those that have had eight daughters in a row versus those that have eight sons in a row, and you think, in a son desiring culture, if they were controlling their fertility in any individualistic way, that the ones with a lot of sons would say, okay enough and the ones with a lot of daughters would be desperate to finally have a son. Look at the difference, the age of 41.4, if they have eight sons in a row and the age 41.7, again 3/10ths of a year. They try just a little bit longer, three months longer.

Basically I think what this data is telling you is that people are, for sure, not responding to the most important fertility events in their life, either the sex composition of their children or the death of the children; they're just having children. Not at an enormous rate because of the cultural things that everybody is behaving under, not with respect to their individual experiences and desires.

This is the context into which the one-child--first the Wan, Xi, Shao, the later, longer, fewer policy drops in and then ten years later the one-child policy, so it gives you an amazing--here's a population that's just finished childbearing when the policy starts and there's apparently no thought whatsoever of individually controlling fertility. All of a sudden the government tells you, hey you got to have fewer children, and I showed you the rate of fall, the rate of fall during the 1970s was just fantastic. Then after that fall, again as I told you last time, to control momentum, they instituted the one-child policy and the number of births levels off.

Why does the number of births level off? This is again the fertility drop, this is the longer, later, fewer policy in the 1970s and that's where you get the big drop; 1980 the one-child policy, you don't get any further drops. That was a sign of--well, an incompetent government, an incompetently carried out fertility policy. It turns out that one arm of the government was doing something to the opposite effect of another arm of the government. Here the Chinese were--for women's rights issues and to control--somewhat control the population--they were encouraging later marriage, they didn't want girls married at 13, 14, 15 and so forth.

It had been very successful, the revolution is out here, and the age of marriage is already up to 19.5 or so by 1965 and they're being very successful and the age of marriage keeps going up until it reaches a quite respectable 23, that's older than basically all of you are--most of you, not all of you. It reaches a peak there. Then what does the government do? It says well we're doing great, we're now very worried, this is the year where they introduced the one-child policy, we want this to continue on up.

They don't have good demographic statistics and they don't know this data, they don't actually know what age people are actually marrying at, so they have an official age which was actually above this and they--I'm sorry, they raised that age to prevent more marriages but since people were below that what happened was--let's see I'm getting this backwards. They--anyway the result of a policy they had an opposite result, that the result of instituting a new policy intending to raise marriage age reduced marriage age instead. Then you see when they introduce the one-child policy the mean age of marriage goes down and it goes down quite significantly. The one-child policy saying you should have fewer children is working oppositely to a new policy that actually reduces the age at marriage and increases the [childbearing time-span].

The result is, this is the number of new marriages, first marriages, and there's a rise here, then there's kind of dipsy doodles, and then, just at the time of the one-child policy, the number of new marriages goes crazy. This big rise in the number of marriages, and remember 98% of Chinese women, when the get married, get pregnant right away, so the next year they had babies, this counteracts basically all of the effect of the one-child policy. That's one branch of government making one set of laws, not having the data and not being in accord with what another set of government is doing.

In fact the one-child policy--I don't want to leave you with impression that the one-child policy had no effect but you have to do different statistics. Remember the total fertility rate takes all the women that are in an age group, whether they're married or not, and ask how many children they're having. Well when you have a big change in the fraction of women married then you have to use a different statistic. When the age of marriage changes, as it did in China at that time, you have to now look at a new statistic called the parity progression ratio which is very much like those triangle graphs that I showed you.

This says--this black line is how many proceed from having no children to having one child, so the fraction of women--and this is in the 95% range or something. Basically all the Chinese women, at this time when they get married, give birth to their first child. Now the next number is those that already have one child, what fraction of them proceed to have two children? The answer is, before this policy, even more than the one, 98% of women that already have one child proceed to have a second child and that may be that in this group are fairly--are sterile women or sterile men and so that may be the difference between here, but we don't have that data.

Again, this is very, very high and then the other numbers, those that have two children how many go to three? Those that have three children how many go to four or more and so forth and we don't have data before this. You can see that the first child is uninterrupted; the Wan, Xi, Shao, the later, longer, fewer policy and the one-child policy does not interrupt the first birth. That goes on as normal which is what is expected, but going to a second child now at the time of the introduction of the one-child policy, this crashes as does later births.

The one-child policy did have an effect if you look at those already married, but the two different policies, one lowering the age of marriage counteracts the effect and for a number of years the fertility rate stays constant. We've just had some visitors, let me show what I was talking about. This is the birthrate in China, what's called the total fertility rate, and here is 1970 when the later, longer, fewer policy was introduced and it was the decade of the 1970s where the fertility rate in China fell. In 1979/1980 the one-child policy is introduced and for about a decade or so the birthrate does not decrease under that. We have some guests apparently.

What was happening was that in the cities, as I mentioned, there was a very significant birth drop in the 1960s, even before the government was--then in the 1970s, during Wan, Xi, Shao, the city populations went down to below fertility [replacement] level. In the countryside's, even though there was a big drop in the 1970s, it wasn't anything like it was in the cities. As you heard from Qing who talked about her family's experience, in the cities there were many people that worked for the government, and so were under tight government control.

Many of them worked in government owned factories so were under tight government control, and in general, in cities there is much more ability to control the people. However, at that time, 80% of Chinese people lived in villages. It was still a very rural country and there the story is different. Among other things, in many villages, all the people are related, they're all relatives. So, the professor who's got the next lab to mine is named Zhong and in his village everybody is a Zhong, and they're all related.

If people don't believe in a policy, they don't want to obey the government and everybody is related, your uncle second removed can't really enforce a policy on you if you're a relative, especially in a culture where kinship means so much and the relationship between relatives means so much. The one-child policy was much, much less successful in the countryside. Similarly, the cities were beginning to have excess jobs and people were streaming out of the countryside, also because of the population growth there was no land left, so they were streaming out of the countryside going into the cities, they didn't have legal living permits.

They have a system where you document where you live and you have to stay there and they were not allowed officially to come into the cities, but of course they did, and so the government didn't know where they were and basically had no control over them and so they were very hard to control. Even though among--Then another thing that happens, again just at this time, is that previously everybody--the peasants had been in communes and I talked about them last time, several thousand families in one big farm, and under again, strict control of the government. Then with the Great Leap Forward they realized the commune system has failed and the land goes back to the people, they break up the communes and people get their own plot of land.

They don't own it in our sense but they have the rights to work on that plot of land. Well they started growing their own food, private markets for food grow up, and the people are not getting everything they need from the government. If they really oppose some government policy then they can tell the government 'bye-bye,' I don't need anything from you, I'm now an independent farmer and I'll do what I want. The change to a market economy, that changed to more economic freedom for the individuals, led to all kinds of personal freedom and led to the ability to say no to the government.

At the time, in the press, there were all kinds of examples of what was going on, and for instance here's one article from 1980 again--I'm sorry this is 2000. The one-child policy has been in effect for 20 years, "No one can accuse Huo Suifa of not knowing what he wanted. The 47-year-old farmer dreamed of having a son. After seven daughters he finally got a male heir in 1989. Ho named him Gaifeng, or 'change-in-the-weather,' and then he stopped having children," so seven daughters and a son, so this person--most--almost all of that time must have been under the one-child policy; eight children.

He says, "It wasn't easy to have all these children, but it wasn't hard either," the farmer said. "If things became tough in our village, if there was a campaign to enforce the rule in their village" and China has these political campaigns to get people to change their behavior quite routinely at this time, "Well my wife just went to another township to have the child." What's the other side of the coin is this Huo now has a wife and eight children to support, and how much land does he have? One-third of an acre for eight, nine, ten people; this is not a good economic system, exactly why the one-child policy was instituted.

An American misconception, fed by our press, is that China's government is very monolithic. The chairman in Peking or some bureaucrat says this is the rule, this is law, spells it out, everybody has to obey this law. Isn't the case; there's whole books now on how China is actually ruled, and the story is that the government almost gives a slogan, it's a one-child policy, or they sometimes call it the only child policy, is not a set of rules it's kind of almost a slogan. Then it goes down to the provinces, and each province has to determine in accord with local conditions as which is the official way of stating it.

Then each province gives it down to the prefectures and the same thing, it's interpreted by local--under local conditions and then it goes down to the villages where it's completely changed. There's no--absolutely no uniformity from village to village. What that resulted in was the policy was never able to be consistently put into practice. The statistics give you the answer to that. The total fertility rate during this initial period of enforcement of the one-child policy never fell below two, so the policy was one child, but it never fell below two children. In the rural areas it never fell below 2.5.

As you saw a couple of lectures ago, Qing showed you the one child certificate where the couple promises, it's just a promise, this doesn't say you've done it and this is just--even to promise that you're only going to have one child, and less than 20% of married couples ever signed onto even that promise of having one child, which was telling the government, no we're not going to comply with this policy.

Throughout the 1980s, which again was when the policy was strictly enforced, nearly half of all the births were second, third, or higher order births. Eighty percent of China's children had brothers or sisters, or both, many had both and only 1/5th of the 300 million children under age 14 were from single child families. In 1986, again after the first--Question?

Student: Would you say this is a result of inconsistent applications of the one-child policy or a reflection of the fact that the one-child policy was never (inaudible) one child and not in that urban area?

Professor Robert Wyman: Both, at this time initially it was supposed to be one child for all except minority people, so a very small part of the population. I'll tell you in a minute that--because of popular resistance they immediately loosened it up, so the main thing which you're probably referring to is that rather soon they said peasants--the city people had already had their fertility drop. Many of them were not very interested in having more than one child. It was not a huge issue for you; one of your readings discusses that.

In the countryside the peasants still wanted, certainly a son, more children, so the policy was changed rather rapidly so that if you--if your first child is a daughter you can have another one and try for a boy, but two is the limit and of course two was not--even that was not always observed. Remember I told you last time that the goal when the Chinese population crossed a billion, or looked like it was very close to crossing a billion, and the government sort of desperately wanted to keep the population below 1.2 billion in the year 2000 they didn't make it, the population was 1.3 billion. They missed by a 100 million and now it's considerably over that and the population is still growing.

Because of population momentum, again the age structure of China, China's population is expected to grow by another 150 million people by 2025, so even though they've worked so hard and suffered so much under these various policies to restrict fertility, they're still going to increase from now, from 2008 [sic] to 2025 by half the total population of the United States.

Again, comparable to a calculation I gave earlier, Hu Jintao, who was president of China recently [sic] says, the party plans to quadruple economic output per capita in that time. This was before the economic crash that has just happened. He wanted to quadruple the per capita income, which would still bring China up only to a low European level perhaps. With a 1.3 billion population, and you're quadrupling it, that's equal to 5.2 billion and the whole population of the earth is only 6.3, so you're talking about China's economic and population growth alone almost doubling the world's economic activity and therefore something like doubling the economic drain on it.

China's TFR now, after this period of stability and after the marriage thing got settled it has drifted down slowly as almost all of the world has. It's now 1.6, it's still nowhere near one child per family, its 1.6 now, but that will eventually reduce the size of the Chinese population if it is maintained. What you should keep in mind is, this was the Chinese route to lower population. I described to you the population that they started with that was not paying any attention to individual desires in fertility and they brought it down by strong government policy, good amount of coercion and so forth.

The Chinese populations around other parts of East Asia have lowered their birth rate even more, or I should say they started lower; they reached an even lower level. China is 1.6 as I told you; the Chinese population of Singapore is 1.4 children per women. The Japanese, who are not Chinese obviously, 1.3; Taiwan 1.1; South Korea, again not Chinese, 1.3; Hong Kong 1.0 and Macau 1.0. None of these places were under the one-child policy. Actually I'm not sure about Macau, but all the others are not under the one child policy, and they have a lower birth rate than the Chinese policy, and we'll have to discuss in a later lecture why this should be so.

I'm going to finish up talking specifically about China to mention a little bit about economic globalization which you're all aware of. Because of globalization the U.S. and China are joined at the hip. For both our economies to succeed, we have to buy a lot of Chinese stuff, they have to buy our bonds, they keep their people employed by shipping us stuff, and we send them green paper back. The economics of this is quite crazy altogether because they can never use--what's interesting is they basically can never use the money that we send them.

That if--they have a trillion dollars or so in U.S. bonds and if they ever try to sell them the value of the dollar goes to zero and they have to sell them for nothing. That's a separate story, it's crazy. Lot of causes--reasons for globalization. Number one is shipping costs, the whole idea of the shipping when it went to containers, the cost of shipping something from China to the West Coast of America dropped drastically. Ships carry an awful lot, the water floats them across, and they just have to--the only energy that's used is to get over the friction of the water that they go through.

Even many years ago I was in Bolivia discussing with an AID guy, Bolivia is very poor, what can they do? Well they have the mountains but then they have a jungle sloping down to the Amazon where they could grow rice, very good agricultural land, and why can't they give that to Lima or to La Paz, Lima and Peru where they're importing rice. The problem was that the Chinese can grow it in the Yangtze Valley, float it down the river to Shanghai, put it on a boat, and ship it and deliver it to Callao, Lima's port, cheaper than the Bolivians who are right next door to Peru can truck it over -- the Andes sort of go up and down and up again--and down again and they have to ship it--to get to the coast they have to ship it over two peaks of mountains on lousy roads, and trucking is just very inefficient. It's cheaper to get the thing from 15,000 miles away up in Sichuan than to get it next door from the Amazon slopes of Bolivia, so shipping costs is very important.

For white collar jobs it's telecommunication. Now--we used to say let's let the low, the cheap labor manufacturing jobs go to China but now China and India we're in--its immediate contact by telecommunications so the white collar jobs are going there. The engineering is going to India, the accounting is going to India, the call centers are going to India, and other jobs are going to China.

This--what happens to population I think, in the long term view, and long terms means 25 or 50 years, I'm not talking 1000 years, probably the one most important thing which will determine the future of the U.S. economy is what happens to population in China and India, and you can include Indonesia and the rest of Asia. As long as they have an incredible number of people willing to work for incredibly--needing to work for incredibly low wages, we can't compete with them.

There is no economic reason why an American should earn $40 a day or something like that, plus benefits, and that's a low wage for an American. Whereas, a third of China the per capita income is about $1 a day for the lowest third of China and that means the worker makes $2 or $3 a day. There's no way that we can earn, without benefits, that we can earn $40 or $80 depending on what you calculate and other people in the other world are earning $3, so jobs are going to continue to go to China; not only from the United States. They are leaving Mexico. I told you the story in Thailand, the jewelry business in Thailand that moved to China, that there's just this vast, vast sea of people who are desperate to work for basically $2 a day.

A further thing happening, there are now a few 100 million people floating around the cities, migrant laborers trying to get jobs, and now with the current economic climate, being thrown out of jobs, but Chinese agriculture is incredibly inefficient. As I told you, the average farm size there is 0.1 acre in China and that's just economically unsustainable. The average farm size in the world is--in Japan is 400 acres I think. No, I'm sorry in the world 400, in the U.S., an economic U.S. farm is like thousands of acres of big farms.

We're talking about that, eventually China is going to have to compete in the agricultural world on an even footing with the rest of the world, which means their farms are going to have to combine. That's already happening. People are voluntarily sort of pooling their land, having big things--enough of the land to be--to make it worth them to buy a tractor and so forth, so this economic rationalization of agriculture is happening. Think of the numbers there, you have 800 million peasants with 0.1 acre each. When you combine it even to 100 acre farm, which is still a small farm worldwide that means you combined 1000 farms into one.

In the modern world 100 acres is probably farmed by one or two people, so you go from 1000 families living on 0.1 acre each to maybe two families living on 100 acres of a combined farm. That means that something like 99% of the population of the countryside has to get jobs somewhere else. If you have 800 million peasants, almost 800 million new people are waiting for these economic changes to come onto the modern job market, and so there are a vast number of people waiting, that are now competing with us and every other industrial advanced country, and who will continue to compete with us.

The Chinese government is well aware, of course, of all this stuff. In October last year, previously I--they don't really own their land and they still don't, but they what they call a land reform and the plan allows farmers for the first time to lease or transfer their land use rights to someone else. Basically the Chinese are now allowed to sell their farm, which will ease--now they have to have very complicated collective arrangements where everybody is sort of still there, but once you can basically sell or alienate your land in some way, than you can totally leave the land and go into the cities. The government has started encouraging this kind of push.

What they'll do now, with the economic collapse, I don't know. It's--we have a long way to go before the population issue in China is settled and our fate and all of the developed world depends very much on what happens in China.

Just to finish, the Chinese have--the achievement of China is just mind boggling. that In a half a century they took people from an extremely poor country, devastated by over 100 years of war, and now it's becoming one of the first ranked countries in the world. Before this all started, no one would have thought this was possible. If you can read the literature of that time, China was hopeless.

With respect to fertility, which you'll see is a very important part of the whole story of economic success, their decline, the rapidity of their decline to get a country like China to drop its fertility in ten years is just an amazing achievement; just incredible.

Now, we want to get onto this next question that a student asked last time. When I was saying the Chinese--remember the Chinese started this population thing for economic reasons. They said--our economy is going along, we're increasing, like I said, agricultural production what was it 2.5% a year, which was very good -- but population is growing 2.3% a year, so we're not helping the people. It was very overtly stated that the one-child policy was to improve China's economy. They wanted to improve the standard of living of the people.

At the time, when they started this policy, the standard of living in China was very low, and I don't have to tell you that. Healthcare was very--was certainly better than it had been but still a very low level. Education was not widely available below the very early primary grades in China. Basically, as the Chinese perceived it themselves, and as they talked about it quite a bit, their children were growing up unhealthy and uneducated. When the Chinese talk about economic development, it's not only manufacturing more stuff which they basically are not too interested in, they ship it to America. They were primarily interested in what they called the quality of the people.

They thought their population was not of the quality that they wanted, and quality means health and education. They wanted--their children were growing up not healthy and not educated, and they like everyone in the world, realizes that uneducated, sick children, and sick adults don't--are not very productive. Western economists, for a long time, considered capitalist--physical capital your factories and machines that you have and the idea of human-capital is fairly recent and has now come massively into vogue in the West. That one of the most important determinants of the wealth of a country, why is one country rich and one country poor is not resources, is not your physical capital base, but your human capital base. Partly we've learned that from the Chinese. I mean we learned it ourselves but also the Chinese examples were very good example of this.

Just to give you an example of what happens when people don't have education, in this particular case biological education, is a story from again the year 2000--again not that many years back. This is from Du who was a local official in a small village. He said, "One day there were hundreds of people lined up at the entrance of our village, I thought it must be a vegetable market or a movie coming in. It turned out to be blood selling. I felt so terrified because there was no sterilization equipment at all."

This village official had some education, he understood about sterilization and he had seen these blood campaigns before, no sterilization. "Villagers just tell the traffickers their blood type, if they know it, if not they make it up. The villagers just tell the traffickers their blood type and then lie die on the ground to offer blood." What is the result of this? A vast AIDS epidemic in these rural villages that were doing this, because they use the same needle to repeatedly take blood from person after person, they line up on the ground and they stick one needle, take the blood.

Needles are so expensive, the apparatus for collecting it is expensive, and so they reuse the same needle. Of course when you use the same needle from person to person the odds are if one person gets it the next ones are going to get it, but actually the transmission rate by blood to blood contact by a needle is something like 1 in 200, it's not terribly efficient. What do they do with the blood? They collect blood from everybody, then instead of keeping it individually, which is expensive, they dump it into a big vat, they pool it, they take it to the city, they extract the components that they want which is the gamma globulin, the clotting factor, and a few other components and then they have a lot of blood left.

What do they do? They go back to the village and re-inject the blood, the remaining blood into the people. Now you don't just have a needle stick, you've got a pint of someone else--of a mixed blood of everyone in the village going into your veins, and now for sure if anyone in the village has AIDS you're going to be infected with it.

Du continued, "The villagers become crazy about selling blood because they are so poor and life is so hard. Many had built their houses by selling blood. Some will even bribe traffickers to be able to sell more than once a day." The traffickers are interested in giving them back blood because then they'll make more blood, they can sell more blood again, but the people want to sell more than a pint in each day, so they kind of lie and fake because they're so poor. The officials estimate something like 600,000 HIV cases, that's probably nowhere near correct.

The blood collections, starting in the 1990s, were protected by corrupt officials. This was of course against public policy, but it may have infected a million people, this blood selling in Henan Province, especially and virtually all of them poor peasants who sold the blood to make money. That gives you an idea again of the status of education of the population and why human capital is so very important, because you're collecting blood to sell to hospitals, which will improve the health of presumably of some people who receive the blood, but not if they get AIDS. While you're helping a few people with transfusions you're infecting millions of people with AIDS so you're making things totally worse.

Does cutting your population--so China had the idea, not alone, that if they reduce their population growth rate their economy will improve. Is this true? Most economists, at the time, would certainly have said no. That's a Malthusian idea that population--that economic development is limited by population growth and people thought that the industrial revolution had sort of gotten rid of Malthus, Malthus was irrelevant. Marx, as I mentioned last time, hated Malthus. Marx was totally opposed and so a lot of the world's opinion was that no, population growth was not detrimental to the economy.

In fact, they believed that population growth was good for an economy because it increased the market, and everybody wants to increase the market, and you can get efficiencies of scale for all kinds of reasons, a growing population was considered to be a wonderful thing. Businessmen, especially in the capitalist economies, love population growth because the population of the United States, for instance, is now growing at 1% a year, which is less than it had been, it had been 1.5% or so. The economic growth rate is about 3%, at best in a very good year, in a good year it's 3%.

Population growth at 1% or 1.5%, if your total economy is growing at 2% or 3%, population growth is half the increase in gross national product and that means it's half of company profits. When you have General Motors, it was counting every year on population growing and being able to sell more automobiles. That was basically the idea that population growth was not a bad thing.

In 1958 two American demographer economists had a different idea. They looked at the developing countries, which had enormous population and very high growth rates and they weren't doing so well. What's with this theory? They should be doing wonderfully, they should be improving tremendously, and they came up with a different understanding of the relationship between population and economics. This is based on some very simply economics. That economic development requires investment. If you want to produce something you've got to build a factory and that takes money.

Where does that money come from? That comes from someone else saving. Someone earns some money, by his labor or by whatever, earns some money; he can either spend that right away or he can put it in the bank and then the bank will invest it for him, or he can put it into stocks or something like that. Investment in a country, within some kind of economy, investment requires savings. One person has to save so another can spend it as an investment, they borrow that. That's the key idea in everything that follows.

What Coale and Hoover realized is that if you have--if a family has a lot of children, if all the workers are married and have a lot of children, all of their income goes for food, clothing, and shelter to support the children. They can't save any money. If a country has no savings, they don't have any money to invest, they don't make any economic progress. This had a big political effect, this theory. It seems so simple and so obvious but it--apparently they had good empirical support, they studied Mexico and a couple of other countries, and showed that this really seemed to be the case.

Well at that time the third world was--the population explosion was happening, they were desperately poor, and so there were two groups. One, conservatives were at that time worried about the Cold War. America was locked in the Cold War with communists and China, Russia, but especially Russia was our big enemy at the time. We saw that all these desperately poor countries, the governments were not--their current economic and political systems were not giving them what they want. They were poor and getting poorer as they perceived it, and they were trying out all kinds of different political solutions, some of which were leftist.

In America, there was a big push by conservatives, by the anti-communists, to do something about the third world to save them from communism. Meanwhile, the liberals were less involved in this us versus them kind of controversy, but they saw all these poor people in the world and wanted to help all the poor people, so they thought we should do something about all these poor people, and the answer was economic development. Economic development was universally approved in America by everyone, as either benevolent act by someone who considered themselves liberal or by a self-serving anti-communist act by someone who considered himself a conservative.

Well, once the Coale/Hoover paper came out and people started realizing the--what was considered to be the obvious at that time, it was very clear that family planning programs had to be a part of economic development. That these countries just--with these booming populations and there were televisions full of stories of India, and how it was starving people in India. China was kind of closed to us at that time, but India was open, but a desperate situation that was in India and India had quite leftist governments and was India going to go communist, etc. Both sides of the--the whole political spectrum believed in economic aid to the developing world and family planning aid.

It turns out that George Bush, the senior, the first George Bush President, when he was a congressman was one of the sponsors of the very first family planning bill, not only for domestic family planning but also the international aid for family planning. This was not a debatable issue, everybody agreed with it, and it was really due to t