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Alesina, Alberto F., Marlon Seror, David Y. Yang, Yang You, and Weihong Zeng. 2020. “Persistence through Revolutions.” Working Paper Series. National Bureau of Economic Research.

Can efforts to eradicate inequality in wealth and education eliminate intergenerational persistence of socioeconomic status? The Chinese Communist Revolution in the 1950s and Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 aimed to do exactly that. Using newly digitized archival records and contemporary census and household survey data, we show that the revolutions were effective in homogenizing the population economically in the short run. However, the pattern of inequality that characterized the pre-revolution generation re-emerges today. Almost half a century after the revolutions, individuals whose grandparents belonged to the pre-revolution elite earn 16 percent more and have completed more than 11 percent additional years of schooling than those from non-elite households. In addition, individuals with pre-revolution elite grandparents hold different values: they are less averse to inequality, more individualistic, more pro-market, and more likely to see hard work as critical to success. Through intergenerational transmission of values, socioeconomic conditions thus survived one of the most aggressive attempts to eliminate differences in the population and to foster mobility.

The descendants of former Chinese landlords and rich peasants earn 16% more than average – despite them being barred from inheriting land or other assets, and their parents having been barred from university and secondary school during the Cultural Revolution.

But as whyvert points out, they did inherit something. As in the USSR/Russia.

 
• Category: Economics, Science • Tags: China, Communism, Iq and Wealth, Paper Review 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Bill says:

    Through intergenerational transmission of values,

    Unreal. If values are tough enough to survive the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, then I guess it must be pretty pointless to try to change them, eh?

    • Agree: Tusk
    • LOL: Kent Nationalist
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  3. Which is a warning about marriage. Chose a partner who will transmit the same values. I am sure the parents were cast out into the same pool and stood out easily.

    • LOL: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  4. Kouroi says:

    The only thing left to disentangle is to identify if the hard work so valued is their own hard work, or having people working for them.

    But even if it is their hard work of making others working for them, studies in rats have shown that the dominant rats suffer of high levels of stress…

  5. David Y. Yang, Yang You, and Weihong Zeng

    Having some surnames Chinese order and some Western order is triggering a form of autism I didn’t even know I had before

    • Replies: @Daemon
  6. A123 says:

    HBD plays a role in many things not captured by IQ.

    Success requires balancing risk versus reward & understanding the outside edges of tail risk. Those with superior ability to manage risk are statistically more likely to prosper when circumstances allow that capability to be used.

    Why are violent, property criminals almost always poor? They take stupid risks with massive downside potential.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @yakushimaru
  7. @Philip Owen

    Your sheer obtuseness is both charming and amazing, Mr. Owen.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    , @songbird
  8. Beckow says:

    16% more? Really? That could be caused by a simple overrepresentation of educated people among the communist nomenklatura – an undeniable fact in all revolutions. Or by the ‘revolution‘ simply missing a certain percentage of people as it rolled over the society. Incidentally, Mao was from a wealthy background.

    In comparison, societies that have avoided the revolutionary flattening have levels of inequality an order of magnitude more than 16% – check the Gini index for sample data:
    https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/gini-coefficient-by-country

    I am not a big fan of equality. I find the weird enlightenment idea of ‘we are all equal‘ not well thought through. We are not ‘equal’ in any meaningful sense. But denying that revolutions mix it up is also not helping. We should spend more time thinking about why Mao was more popular than his opponents, how do societies reach a point where nihilistic anger and violence seem a better idea for so many people? How bad do you have to be to lose an election to Hitler?

    Those are uncomfortable realities so many ideologues wistfully idealise the loser pre-revolution societies. They talk violence, inefficiency, or ‘revolution was not really a revolution’. Nonsense, try to focus. When a society screws up as royally as the pre-Mao China, acknowledge it.

    Try to do better next time. In our increasingly feudal rent-seeking capitalism we are repeating the errors of the past. Capitalism requires competence and feudalism requires nobility. We increasingly don’t have either one.

    • Agree: Cortes
    • Replies: @Lars Porsena
    , @Hyperborean
  9. Anecdote of the day, N of 1.

    Ren Zhengfei was excluded from joining the CCP due to his parents social background(Class Enemy) and their ties to the Kuomintang. Yet he still managed to start his own company.

    [MORE]

    • LOL: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  10. The former Chinese land owning class only earning 16% more than average sounds very modest to me, and probably reflects a higher IQ than average if anything.

    The Norman land owning class of the UK certainly earn a lot more over the average than 16%.

    • Replies: @BS
    , @Gerard-Mandela
  11. @Beckow

    We should spend more time thinking about why Mao was more popular than his opponents

    Because he won the war and booted the foreigners raping China.

    People were not supporting Hitler or Mao on account of being in favor of nihilistic violence. In both cases they came to power as strong men capable of ending the violence and chaos.

    It was not until later on that they would both start more of it. Hitler was on the cover of Time magazine as person of the year.

    When a society screws up as royally as the pre-Mao China, acknowledge it.

    Well, Qing China had many many problems, but their biggest screw up was probably living on the same planet as the British.

    Which, come to think of it was also probably the biggest single problem with Wilhelmine Germany.

    You are probably right that pre-revolution societies generally were generally breaking down anyway which is why they fell to revolutions. Like Bourbon France or Czarist Russia. The Bourbons actually got the throne back after Napoleon and just lost it again anyway. But Germany and China are probably some of the worst examples I can think of and similar to Napoleon. Neither Hitler nor Mao rose to power as revolutionaries against the ancient regime.

    • Replies: @Kent Nationalist
    , @Beckow
  12. @Beckow

    Those are uncomfortable realities so many ideologues wistfully idealise the loser pre-revolution societies. They talk violence, inefficiency, or ‘revolution was not really a revolution’. Nonsense, try to focus. When a society screws up as royally as the pre-Mao China, acknowledge it.

    Try to do better next time. In our increasingly feudal rent-seeking capitalism we are repeating the errors of the past. Capitalism requires competence and feudalism requires nobility. We increasingly don’t have either one.

    To apply your own criteria, “how bad was communist Europe that they lost to the liberals so quickly and with so few shots?”.

    • LOL: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Donald A Thomson
  13. @Lars Porsena

    Which, come to think of it was also probably the biggest single problem with Wilhelmine Germany.

    Britain offered Germany an alliance three times in the decades preceding the First World War, all rejected by Germany.

    Well, Qing China had many many problems, but their biggest screw up was probably living on the same planet as the British.

    I doubt the impact of a few ports to bring down a country of several hundred million.

  14. BS says:
    @Europe Europa

    Families classified as landlords under Mao often found it difficult to marry off their children. Some small economic gradations did exist in those times and former landlords found themselves on the lowest rung alongside genuine village dullards and sometimes intermarried by necessity so I’d imagine the good genes of the landlord class, wherever they weren’t destroyed wholesale by murder were also diluted with the bad genes of the lowest-IQ families.

  15. @Bill

    If values are tough enough to survive the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, then I guess it must be pretty pointless to try to change them, eh?

    Well, the one thing they didn’t try was adding a large number of foreigners to debase the whole society.

    • Agree: nokangaroos
  16. @Kent Nationalist

    It’s hard to run an empire when limeys are running around burning down your imperial palace and turning your country into a narcostate.

    In fact, the ports matter a lot because who can have confidence in a ruler who keeps loosing his ports to foreigners?

    The US Perry Expedition brought down Tokugawa Japan with far less.

    And it was hardly limited to ports. Are you familiar with the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion? If you think that had nothing to do with the fall of Qing you’re delusional.

    Britain only took the ports because it wasn’t done yet. China is too big an elephant to be swallowed all at once.

  17. @Daniel Chieh

    Am I wrong? Did the children of rich peasants, successful artisans, qualified professionals and landlords find each other because they were banished into the same places? Although for women I suppose a way forward would be to marry a pary member.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  18. @Kent Nationalist

    There was Japan, but not the old Japan, a new Japan.

  19. @Lars Porsena

    Actually, it’s not the ports. The openning of ports happened before and around 1850. There was a disastrous internal war around that decade. But the empire generally speaking recovered until a fast rising Japan ended the slower development in China in 1895.

  20. @Lars Porsena

    The Opium wars in 1840 and 1850 did not bring down the Qing. The boxer rebellion was a reaction to the defeat of Qing by Japan in 1895. That spelled the end of Qing.

    • Replies: @Lars Porsena
  21. Beckow says:
    @Hyperborean

    …how bad was communist Europe that they lost to the liberals so quickly and with so few shots?

    Quite bad: a nepotistic band of badly educated opportunists who yearned to send their kids to Florida tennis camps and do Christmas shopping in Harrods. I am always surprised that they lasted as long as they did.

    The whole point of communist Eastern Europe was done by the 60’s, definitely by the 70’s. By then they did what people wanted them to do: social and medical protection, some housing, jobs for everyone, and revenge for WWII. They run on inertia for another generation, as do most has-been elites – just look around today, what’s the average age of US leaders? Are they over 75 yet? How well is that going?

    • Agree: Ano4
  22. Beckow says:
    @Lars Porsena

    People were not supporting Hitler or Mao on account of being in favor of nihilistic violence. In both cases they came to power as strong men capable of ending the violence and chaos.

    That would be a classical chicken-and-egg situation. They certainly were at least a part of the ongoing violence and chaos.

    Hitler was on the cover of Time magazine as person of the year.

    So was Obama.

    their biggest screw up was probably living on the same planet as the British.

    No.Their biggest screwup was running a dysfunctional society where large majorities had no stake in preserving the status quo. A typical sociopathic myopia that latter-day elites always succumb to. Britain, Japan, war, all that was just a bonus, a normally functioning society would not care – look at China today.

    Neither Hitler nor Mao rose to power as revolutionaries against the ancient regime.

    I will not quibble about the ‘ancient‘ qualifier, you might technically be correct. But Mao, Hitler, Stalin, etc… were revolutionaries – they came to power to dramatically change the status quo. And they did.

    • Replies: @Lars Porsena
  23. @Lars Porsena

    The hatred of the English on this site does take me aback sometimes, I mean China has been treated badly by many countries, not least the Japanese, yet this poster like many here just wants to portray the English as sub-humans or something. Everyone else gets a pass, only the English are bad.

    If you spoke like that about any other nationality you’d be called racist.

  24. @Europe Europa

    Who knew? Even Etruscans dislike the English 😂😂😂😂

    • LOL: Cortes
  25. Families classified as landlords under Mao often found it difficult to marry off their children. Some small economic gradations did exist in those times and former landlords found themselves on the lowest rung alongside genuine village dullards and sometimes intermarried by necessity.

    Did the children of rich peasants, successful artisans, qualified professionals and landlords find each other

    Although for women I suppose a way forward would be to marry a pary member.

    All these were common outcomes.

  26. @Europe Europa

    Anglos can be uniquely annoying. Case in point: you.

    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  27. @Daniel Chieh

    To be fair Daniel, I’ve always had my doubts that he/she is an actual full blooded Anglo.

  28. @Blinky Bill

    Anglos are objectively the most oppressed group on the planet.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
    • Thanks: Ghan-buri-Ghan
    • LOL: Kent Nationalist
    • Troll: Tor597
    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  29. songbird says:

    England supposedly entered into a long term dysgenic trend beginning in about 1850. What year was it for China?

  30. songbird says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    When a liberal makes a statement like, “Blacks moved into my old neighborhood in Brooklyn. Then they ghettoized it.” , I’m such a hereditarian that I honestly have a great deal of difficulty understanding its true meaning, even when I understand that they are a liberal.

    The word “pool” makes me think of “gene pool.” And how can I disagree with the statement “Choose a parter who will transmit the same values”, when it seems to be an obvious reference to assortative mating?

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
  31. Daemon says:
    @Kent Nationalist

    To be fair, “Yang Y. David” would trigger me even more.

    Am I dealing with a hapa or a white guy who decided to take a chinese first name?

  32. Dan Hayes says:

    Paging Gregory Clark!

  33. @Europe Europa

    The point was suppose to be about Hitler and Mao. The Kaiser and the Qing dynasty were both torn apart losing wars. Hitler and Mao both campaigned against pre-existing chaos they didn’t start. They both rose, like Napoleon, out of anarchy. More literally in the case of Mao, China was a fragmented and failed state like we turned Libya into.

    Qing collapse began with the Opium Wars. It didn’t end there but that’s where I’d place the start of the end.

    Was it too mean of me to suggest the British empire started the Opium Wars and became hegemonic over China, resulting in a series of events that ended with Qing collapse and the fragmentation of China?

    I should have said the British Empire ‘leased a couple ports’ instead. I know they only leased those ports because the British Empire was deeply worried about unemployment among Chinese peasants in those ports and wanted to better their life by enriching them with vibrant cultural diversity.

    I am an HBD espousing race realist. In my culture that is called being ‘worse than Hitler’. I don’t really care if anyone calls me racist. On this website people say way more racist stuff than that.

    And anyway, English are a mix of Celtic and Germanic DNA. So it cannot be genetic if they are perfidious, it has to be the culture.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Kent Nationalist
  34. @yakushimaru

    The opium wars lead to the Boxer Rebellion, at least in part.

    Also I don’t think it is just about the opening of the ports but the actual taking of the ports. Various countries actually took the port cities as an outcome of the Opium Wars.

    I credited the people who started the end, rather than the people who ended the end. You could make an argument either way. But one might also ask the question why the isolationist Japanese weren’t writing haikus on their island fortress. It’s all related.

    • Replies: @yakushimaru
  35. @Beckow

    They certainly were at least a part of the ongoing violence and chaos.

    Were they? They were a part of the chaos they rose out of sure (they would have had to be) but Hitler didn’t have anything to do with the fall of the Kaiser and probably supported him while he was still around. I don’t know as much about Mao but was he active before Qing fell?

    Their biggest screwup was running a dysfunctional society where large majorities had no stake in preserving the status quo. A typical sociopathic myopia that latter-day elites always succumb to.

    Yeah there is some truth to this for Qing China. France or Russia would be a better historical example. As late as the Boxer rebellion, lots of Chinese still supported the Qing enough to fight for it. They simply couldn’t win.

    That they couldn’t win had some things to do with their own dysfunction. Qing had a lot of problems and was pretty sclerotic and corrupt. The Brits were probably able to find a lot of Chinese support from the beginning.

    In Germany’s case that’s much less the case. They simply lost the war. The Kaiser had plenty of internal support. Regime change was just about entirely external. The only internal group even alleged to have betrayed the Kaiser was, the um, international bankers.

    they came to power to dramatically change the status quo.

    Yeah but in their case the status quo was a failed state. I don’t think you can be a revolutionary against anarchy. That’s almost evolutionary or something. Similar with Napoleon.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  36. @Philip Owen

    Well, I can only most directly offer personal experience on this and the answer seems to be, well, no? There was no reason for the CCP to allow their purported enemies to gather in any fashion, though with some degree of mobility, some form of assorted mating still happened.

    My family mostly was just wiped out by the CCP as were not just KMT but KMT military elite; the surviving branch consisted of my grandfather, an air force general and I don’t think he particularly had an awful amount of time passing on values given that he was pretty much entirely occupied with his work. At any rate, his son emigrated to the United States and married my mother, who was the daughter of an ROC diplomat to an South American state so arguably both were elite.

    I don’t connect that they met due to being in the same location, though as they obviously drifted pretty far from China before meeting. Most of the KMT elite I know were roughly similar, marrying women from fairly elite backgrounds but not vastly due to positional placement. Notably even one of Lord Chiang’s wives(he practiced polygamy) was a “singsong girl” that he met more or less at random.

    • Replies: @yakushimaru
    , @Blinky Bill
  37. Patriot says:

    Haha. As anyone who has ever traveled knows, the Chinese are the Worlds 2nd-most competitive-businessman. It’s in their genes and 50 yrs (2 generations) of communism could not erradicate that trait from China.

  38. Beckow says:
    @Lars Porsena

    Failed state and anarchy are not the same thing. By late 1780’s France was approaching a failed state status and yet there was absolutely no anarchy. Even in Russia, in the middle of a brutal war in 1917, when revolution started there was a surprising functioning coherent state. Anarchy is a lot more extreme than that – in all three cases, France, Russia, China, the most anarchic period was the time when different groups plus the ‘ancien regime’ were fighting for power after the initial revolutionary spark.

    I dislike revolutions, ‘the earth shook and all the sh..t floated to the top‘. I don’t like the randomness, the brutality, the waste of time when life is put on hold. But I try to understand why revolutions happen. They are not necessary and they are not hard to understand once you look at the societies where they happen. They all have in common a failure by the elites – a failed state is basically a failure of the elites that run it. It is always more complex, and there are nuances and personal choices that don’t fit the big picture. But after all is said and done, when a ruling elite creates a failed state they should be held accountable – their privileged status exists exactly because they are responsible for what happens.

    My favourite ancient story is about an Irish kingdom that selected a person to be a king each year. With full powers and all the goodies that come with being a king. After a year, if the harvest was good, no famine, peace and happiness, he was renewed for another year. If not, they killed him and chose a new king. With elite status comes responsibility.

  39. @Hyperborean

    How badly that the leaders of the Communist Party supported the re-introduction of capitalism? The general population mightn’t have been aware that countries like Japan had caught up and passed them economically but the leaders certainly knew. It wasn’t the slow growing Western countries that impressed the leaders. The Communists had always portrayed Communism as a method for an economy to grow quickly so the rapid growth of the Japanese economy had to be quite a shock.

    Then came South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. [email protected]

  40. @Kent Nationalist

    Britain offered Germany an alliance three times in the decades preceding the First World War, all rejected by Germany.

    Hindsight is 20/20. At the time it looked like Britain needed Germany for the same role as Prussia was during the Seven Year War: to be Britain’s fall guy on the continent.

    It must be noted that the main reason for the British alliance with France and Russia was that Britain wanted to avoid getting into a war with either, and having an alliance seemed like the easiest way to ensure peace with them. Later on it seemed like Germany would be happy to ally herself with Britain, but Britain found the thought of a war with Russia or France much worse than a war with Germany (Germany was easy to bottle up in the North Sea, whereas both France and Russia could cause endless headache to the overstretched British Empire), so they wanted to keep the alliance as it was. That said, a realignment was certainly in the cards.

  41. @A123

    The whole CCP started off as a “violent property criminal” movement. Look where that got them.

    There’s this tendency to look upon the complexity of evolution with a simplistic interpretation that suits a specific worldview…

  42. @Lars Porsena

    One thing leads to many things. The Opium War was certainly a gigantic milestone in Chinese history. It started the “downfall” but it also brought about a reaction from the traditional China to deal with it. The effort between 1850 and 1890 was almost a success if not for the fact that Japan was faster.

    The Opium War to China was not completely unlike the Black Ships to Japan. The effects before 1890 were actually comparable if not similar. The old ways were let down and the tradtional elites struggled to face the challenges and more or less got around without completely throwing away their heritages.

    In China there for a very long time is this habit of thought established that is to attribute everything disastrous in the last 200 years to Confucius and the First Emperor of China. They were from more than 2000 years ago. Serious scholars overlook the irony without trouble. The “end” was not started by the Opium Wars, it started by the Manchu, by Genghis Khan, by Qin Shi Huang Di, by Confucius.

    The effort between 1850 and 1890 should not have been overlooked.

  43. @Lars Porsena

    I should have said the British Empire ‘leased a couple ports’ instead. I know they only leased those ports because the British Empire was deeply worried about unemployment among Chinese peasants in those ports and wanted to better their life by enriching them with vibrant cultural diversity.

    You joke, but rather than ‘raping’ China during the bourgeois Republic and late Qing, Americans were very altruistic (more so than the Qing had ever been) in providing education and healthcare to rural areas.

  44. @Daniel Chieh

    “The son also rises” seems to be in vogue in China recently as well. When reporters interviewed local champions in College Entrace Exams, more than once the young boys and girls said to reporters such things. It was clearly not by studying statistics as done in the paper cited in the post, but by general observation (of vaguely defined and carelessly understood concepts) I suppose, heard from their parents.

    A new sci-fi author from China also wrote a story along this line of thought and got an American award for it. I personally just hate such works. They took away the boyish fun from sci-fi.

    One day when I was browsing the history of Taiping Rebellion, I realised it cannot be much more than 50% true. The brilliant leaders (not that they were good) of the rebellion were not sons of successful people.

    My own parents came from substantially different backgrounds. My paternal grandpa was very rich and living near big city. My maternal parents were living in much poorer parts of China and were only mildly rich by local standards. It is hard to imagine that they would have married if not for Mao, and, for that matter, the Japanese invasion and all that.

    Such “mess up” of marriages must have happened many times, say, during the collapses of dynasties in Chinese history. The gene pool of China, as observed on this website not infrequently, is not as stratified as in India. Also, as mentioned by Charles Murray in discussing the old America, men tend to marry the good looking, and women tend to marry the powerful, and the good looking usually were not the most clever, and the powerful not very beautiful, therefore it stops or at least slows down the stratification. There are many tricks evolution can play us. If evolution cares about “son also rises”, it would not have made sex.

    To be argumentative, “values” clearly are important. We are here, for example, not completely because of our genes (whatever that means) but because we read, even though it might not be our parents’ words, but our great great great uncles’ works.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  45. It’s laughable how so many big countries have been dominated by the British. I find it difficult to imagine a nationality more mild mannered and meek than the British, yet you read the whining here about the British and you’d think this was a nation of real “bad asses” and “crazy men”.

    A gigantic country like China being dominated by the British is hilarious, you should be cringing with embarrassment that China was so ridiculously weak and inept that it was ever able to happen.

  46. @Europe Europa

    China was dominated by the Manchu already… it becomes meaningless to speak of every dynasty as “China” in some form regardless of any irredentism it entails.

  47. @yakushimaru

    Its funny that if you think about it, it is the very opposite of Owen’ conclusion: China’s shakeup caused more assortative, less location-based marriages since so much of the population was moved around.

  48. @Europe Europa

    Let’s just say that its not an accident that the British got their reputation. Like all stereotypes, its ultimately true.

  49. @Europe Europa

    It should be, but then it’s also pretty embarrassing that the whole country was conquered by a tiny number of Manchu (and that the North had previously been ruled by the Manchu for hundreds of years).

  50. @Daniel Chieh

    Well, I can only most directly offer personal experience on this and the answer seems to be, well, no?

    I’ve always been surprised by how much of your family history you are willing to share with us. I’ve always kept mine close to my chest, in part due to fear of doxing. But in the spirit of reciprocity someone very close to me and mine: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/盛世才.

    I don’t know whether you would consider him to be KMT elite or even real KMT at all. Maybe one day we could play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon using KMT generals instead.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  51. @Blinky Bill

    Anyone who wants to rabbit hole down KMT airforce generals and diplomats is welcome to go down that craziness(and probably get the wrong guy). But I intentionally withdrew several vital pieces of clarifying information.

    Impressive relation, btw.

  52. @Europe Europa

    The former Chinese land owning class only earning 16% more than average sounds very modest to me, and probably reflects a higher IQ than average if anything.

    Yep, exactly.

    I read somewhere ( one of the anglo countries – US,UK,Australia,NZ,Canada) that students at the top 2 universities in the country are nearly 55% students from private schools and 45% from the state schools “despite” 93% of pupils studying in state schools.

    To me that sounds like a great success story for state schools . The article was written by some idiot thinking it should be 93% state school pupils going to the top 2 Universities, but 45% to me is a very high number that proves a lack of discrimination. You can’t have that high a % of enrolled students from state education if there is large discrimination against them. 55% to 45% appears to be a perfect balance – if you are to have private education then you should get what you are paying for to have a better chance…..just not a total chance.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  53. AaronB says:

    When we discussed Gregory Clarke’s similar thesis about Norman surnames, we saw that talented and ambitious people would marry into established families that had wealth and prestige.

    So a couple of generations later the same surname would represent very different genetic stock.

    The Chinese revolution apparently did not succeed in eliminating the tendency of established elites filling elite positions due to inherited advantages in education, training, and upbringing, but the fact that the effect is a modest 16% shows it did reduce it by a lot.

    I think the Chinese have a saying that a great fortune does not last more than 3 generations, and in England the downwardly mobile small gentleman was well known. The upper classes were continually sinking into the lower.

    I just finished reading David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs (apparently the Automation Revolution has already happened and we are living through mass unemployment. We just created bullshit jobs to disguise this fact. 60% of jobs in any modern economy are bullshit jobs, especially concentrated in things like IT and corporate law, and we can reduce the work week to 10 hours without loss of productivity) and in it he describes how in America castes get created by members of a class capturing all the best jobs in a particular area and excluding outsiders through mountains of beauracracy and unwritten rules that only being born into the right environments and having the right upbringing can train you to successfully navigate.

    This is an obvious tendency of all elite castes – so the effects of being an established elite, with the advantages of training and upbringing, are long reaching – probably enough to not be completely eradicated by most revolutions within a generation.

    I would be interested in studies on Cambodia, which I understand was a more thorough revolution, but I may be wrong about this.

    • LOL: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  54. @AaronB

    excluding outsiders through mountains of beauracracy and unwritten rules that only being born into the right environments and having the right upbringing can train you to successfully navigate

    And because of that, all major American companies have elites of Anglo stock. Let’s check the last names of Google and Microsoft’s CEOs.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  55. AaronB says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    The IT industry is somewhat of an exception because they are emerging industries that have not yet had the chance to congeal into castes. America is also a young country that is only beginning the process of caste formation.

    In my original comment I also mentioned mechanisms exist for the exceptionally talented and driven to join the top even if the existence of castes confers serious initial advantages on those born into them and creates formidable obstacles for those not.

    It almost seems that both processes must exist side by side – a caste must confer enough advantages to be worth extraordinary efforts to join, but only extraordinary people can do so. This way the children of the extraordinary person “has it made” from birth, although he himself had to pass extraordinary hurdles. But that’s his motivation to do so – so his children won’t. They are born into caste.

    The American elite’s recruitment of global talent may simply be an example of traditional elite attempts to maintain its caste vitality by keeping the channels open for extraordinary talent.

    Occasionally, castes also decay or get replaced. One wonders what happened to the surnames of the Anglo Saxon elites who lost to the Normans.

    More broadly, entire nations enter in and out of elite status, based on processes we do not understand.

    These are all interesting facets of the same issue. Why nations suddenly exhibits extraordinary drive and talent and just as suddenly falls into mediocrity is a facet of the question of how elite castes maintain vitality over time.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    , @Philip Owen
  56. @AaronB

    More broadly, nothing can be understood by you because facts have no meaning to you.

  57. @Europe Europa

    It’s laughable how the biggest empire on earth dropped its colonial posessions because of nothing but leftist delusions.
    Don’t worry though. All the “bad asses” and “crazy men” moved to America, the rest of you are stuck in overpolluted urban dystopias.

    What you’re left with is the mild mannered meek pussies that let horrors like rotherham happen to themselves because of nothing but some belief in karmic retribution for everything that you’ve done. Yes, including conquering an entire continent’s worth.

    As a WN you could bring it back to the Jews somehow, but a normal country like England being dominated by Israel (size: football field) is hilarious, you should be cringing with embarrassment that England is so ridiculously weak and inept that it’s still happening.

  58. EldnahYm says:
    @Europe Europa

    The British were not just mild mannered in the past. They were a confident and aggressive group. It took a long time for places like the borderlands between England and Scotland, the Scottish Highlands, much of Ireland, and even the Welsh border to become relatively controlled places. Before they were quite lawless. I would say from around the time of the English Civil War through much of the Victorian Era, the British were potentially dangerous to any group they encountered. On top of this, during the Industrial Revolution period, England was the most dynamic place in the world.

    Britain’s geography also made it a natural for naval power. It was with its navy that the British conquered so much of the world. The British technological capacities were far ahead of places like China, which is why they rolled over them so easily. A comparison with Japan might be in order. They also conquered China, which to this day is still a national embarrassment to the Chinese. They were similarly a not very powerful island nation but quickly built up a naval force. Today’s Japanese are known as rule-abiding and polite to the extreme, but not so long ago they were violent fanatics. More embarrassing than being beat by the British, is being beaten by the Japanese, since there was no reason the Qing could not have accomplished the same technological and military strengthening that the Japanese did.

    Of course Japan’s leaders in the post-WW2 world haven’t driven their country into the ground like the Brits have(even though Japan’s relations to the U.S. are far more subservient on paper and the country has a much worse resource base). I don’t know if it’s because Japan is a de facto one party state, or maybe it’s the history of liberalism in general in the U.K. which is the problem. But the modern British, aside from soccer hooligans, seem to lack spirit.

    • Replies: @songbird
  59. @Gerard-Mandela

    A large fraction come from just 4 state schools. One, Hills Road, the sixth form college in Cambridge which sends a lot of pupils to Oxford. The sixth form college in Oxford returns the complement. Then two schools in London one of which is still a girls school I think. Most of the rest come from a few former Grammar schools in big northern cities.

  60. @AaronB

    The Anglo-Saxon elites went to Byzantium. 300 ships according to legend. They fought for the Emperor, some as Varangrians and were given land in Crimea as a reward.

  61. songbird says:
    @EldnahYm

    IMO, China was too large to follow the same path as Japan. In 1900, it had around 10x the population, spread over an enormous area, with very little integration between regions and almost no rail. And to top it off, it was ruled by an alien dynasty – headed by an old woman who didn’t cut her fingernails.

    • Replies: @yakushimaru
    , @Beckow
    , @EldnahYm
  62. @songbird

    Historians often make no effort to deal with the size difference between Japan and China in analyzing the measures and outcomes of the period from 1850 to 1890.

  63. Beckow says:
    @songbird

    …it was ruled by an alien dynasty – headed by an old woman who didn’t cut her fingernails.

    Hillary?…it doesn’t surprise me.

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
  64. EldnahYm says:
    @songbird

    China didn’t need to have massive development in the interior. The lack of development is a feature in this case. All China needed was the ability to defend its coast from the Japanese, and having a larger population is hardly a bad thing here. The Chinese tried, but failed to do this.

    The lack of rail in China was a choice.

    Also 1900 isn’t the relevant starting point, we are talking decades before when China should have become more developed. What effort they carried out were insufficient compared to the Japanese.

    Being ruled by an alien dynasty is a problem here if it means the rulers of that dynasty lack the incentives to build up the country. Many Chinese dynasties became weak and corrupt towards the end of their rule. It’s an open question to what extent being ruled by an alien dynasty explains the ineptitude of the late Qing rulers. There are specific Qing institutions one could point to which were useless, the bannermen for example, but that’s hardly sufficient evidence to make the case that ethnic Han rulers would have done better than the Manchus.

    • Replies: @yakushimaru
    , @yakushimaru
  65. EldnahYm says:
    @Beckow

    Not a good comparison, Hillary is an incompetent coat-tail rider. Cixi, whatever else one would say about her, was politically astute.

  66. @EldnahYm

    Size and weight do not matter unless you are trying to turn direction.

    For example, the Tokugawa court in the earlier days since the arrival of the Black Ships wanted to adapt the western ways and the Choushu clan was against. The Choushu guys quickly changed their minds after they experienced the shock and awe delievered by British warships.

    Such changes of minds by hard evidences (because everything was beyond the processing power offered by traditional thinkings) took place much slower in China than in Japan because China is so much bigger. It was easier for the hardliners to get support from where the people were not convinced of Western superiority because they were “protected” by the vast hinterland.

    Right up to the Mao era, overwhelmingly the reason China lost the Opium Wars was still thought to be mainly about corruption and cowardice, i.e., the most lazy traditional thinking regarding failed battles on the border area.

  67. @EldnahYm

    Being ruled by an alien dynasty

    This is too much of a modern American angle. History of a different people in a different, faraway country did not come to be to serve contemporary USA political discussions, you know.

  68. @yakushimaru

    Was it too much of a ‘modern American angle’ when Sun-Yat Sen went to the tomb of the Ming Dynasty’s founder to tell him that he had finally completed his work of expelling the barbarians?

  69. @yakushimaru

    Qing firearms were inferior to Ming firearms about three hundred years earlier; I think a good case could be made that Qing efforts to impede Han development(and incorrect ideas of what constituted military strength) significantly put Chinese forces back. One could compare Zheng ChengGong’s disciplined and comparable strength versus European forces when he defeated the Dutch at Formosa versus the total weird chaos that characterized Qing forces against European armies(didn’t even seem to really have a doctrine).

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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