Rags to Riches, Riches to Rags

By Marcus Koe, Yale-NUS ’17 – See bio

It seems that Capitalism has yet again taken another hit, this time by the radical ideas of the ever-growing progeny of Social Darwinism. Already scampering to dampen the effects of an imminent silver tsunami, capitalist societies don’t realize that that was just the bite, not the toxin of its Satan.

The unwanted consequence of the celebrated Capitalism that so governs the major regions of the world is that the ones who managed to climb to the upper rungs of its ladder reproduced less. I see two main reasons for this. Firstly, while climbing up this ladder, many find having children to care for a burden. They would rather achieve success and then find time to start a family. But they don’t forsee how money would consume their lives and obsess them to keep chasing… Secondly, capitalistic societies implant the idea that women have to attain unprecedented status in the job market to confirm their equality. This unnecessarily primes some women to keep an unsustainable and imbalanced prioritization to prove something already understood.

On the other hand, those cast away by higher society neglected Malthusian principles and allowed their genes to proliferate. Excluded from the rat race, they find time to create families, sometimes more than one each. And without the education to understand the effective use of birth-control techniques, we can only blame our natural urges. Sadly, with extrapolation of this combined phenomenon, things get worrisome.

Assume that the more successful people in a society have higher IQ and hence carry “better” genes. Evolutionary biologists would now call this phenomenon the “dumbing down” of the population, creating a dysgenic race. They would propose sterilizing those of lower IQ or force birth control on these groups. This would allow for a stronger gene pool to circulate within society, ensuring “eugenic” progeny.

Sound a little fascist? I agree. The means are unscrupulous but yet the outcome seems, though embarrassing, highly desirable. According to Darwin’s natural selection, the stronger genes (more fit for survival) should proliferate. Yet those with lower IQ are the ones reproducing, and surviving. I dare to press: is evolution and natural selection favouring lower IQ? Is it possible that people need lower IQ for the human race to survive? No doubt a very seductive point of view to argue for those with a challenging streak, but I must decline.

Instead, I believe there is an alternative; that capitalism is anti-evolutionary, given the circumstances we are in. There seems to be no other way about it. Capitalism, at least in its many visible forms around the world, inevitably leads to a population of a lower average IQ by selecting at least one undesirable trait to pass on to future generations. The result is a system where the evolution of the human race is hampered; in the worst case, reversed.

Extreme polarization of the “eugenic” and the “dysgenic” might be observed in the social hierarchy. Although the “eugenic” pool grows smaller and the “dysgenic” pool expands, as long as Capitalism governs, power still rests in the rich, a.k.a the “eugenic”, pool. Historically, those who wielded power never failed to attempt the next logical step, prolonging that power. Capitalism does a good enough job of it, but imagine an oligarchial 1984.

Unfortunately or fortunately, Darwin never did run the course for “devolution”. Consider these two predictions. First, the human race splits into two distinct species, and coexist with one ruling over the other. Second, genocide occurs and the whole process repeats in a circular fashion. As the saying goes, money makes the world go round.

5 comments

  1. bhanupraneeth

    But don’t you think economic development will slowly help in increasing the IQ of children and people who are not in the “rat race”? Because factors like upbringing and nutrition also play important factors in affecting the IQ of the children!

  2. Marcus Koe

    Yes I do agree that IQ probably increases for each generation born. But I think the question is, “born of whom?” To put it crudely, let’s say of 100 people, there are 80 of IQ 140, 20 of IQ 60. From the 140s, 20 children are born with IQ 160. From the 60s, 80 children are born with IQ 70. Assuming IQ is genetic and is THE important trait, then this seems to be the case of overall “devolution” or a possible divergence of species.

  3. bhanupraneeth

    Yes, considering IQ is only genetic and THE important trait , it certainly does seem to be the case of “devolution”. But don’t you think genocide (putting aside the morals and ethics) works only hypothetically and not in the real world even if it is to be implemented?

  4. Reece

    “Smart” people do not necessarily produce “smart” children (& vice versa) – they merely produce children who appear to be more capable because of the social opportunities available to them.

    Are you not aware of the worldwide democratization of education & the emphasis on social mobility over the years? Do you not agree this opens up greater opportunities for people from lower social classes to maximize their intellectual potential? Doesn’t this generate a “collective increase in Mankind’s IQ”?

    • Marcus Koe

      The biology behind the genetics of IQ/intelligence seems to be quite well proven since the early 20th century. But I concur that the imbalance of social opportunities does play an integral part in the presentation of such intelligence.

      Yes I do believe that there are people of high IQ stuck in the lower social classes and said social mobility provides opportunities for them to achieve their potential. You can’t possibly believe that democratized education will allow all people to achieve the same intellectual ability.

      Biology aside, Capitalism sadly comes hand in hand with a polarisation of incomes. Children living in poverty are forever crippled with underdeveloped brains through lack of nutrition. IQ is stymied in these populations. And without birth control nor the understanding of family planning, how many of our humankind will be raised in such circumstances?

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