Re: "Rage to Master" from Dr. Winner

From: Dave Long (
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 13:24:51 PST

> one generation makes money and subsequent generations generally spend it
> until it's all gone. I can't remember how strong the evidence is.

That's a slightly different scenario; in the
original one, the even generations spend it,
causing the odd generations to be "driven".
This one has the initial generation "driven",
with (several?) subsequent generations "not".
(as was said, it's a limited domain. Those
subsequent generations may be just as driven,
just not driven to accumulate money, or, all
generations may be driven to wealth, but if
major financial success is rare, then to find
it in a given pair of generations is to look
for the rare squared...)

> Instead you could take samples of individual families throughout the past
> century, and see who got richer or poorer. With marriages and
> inheritances, it probably becomes a complicated model :-)

It could become complex, but what if we just
take the size of a fortune, and neglect the
individuals who hold it? Both marriages and
inheritances would then be no different from
other rare events which could significantly
impact values.

I'm pretty sure this model isn't accurate to
begin with, as the wealth data I posted to
FoRK earlier don't tail off as I'd expect.
However, if there were strong alternation
between generations, then that would clearly
show that fortunes don't behave in such a
memoryless fashion.


> [marriage for life]
> definitely made sense when the average lifespan was 25 or 35 years; it's
> less supportable now.

An "average" lifespan of 25 or 35 years meant
that people were dying younger in the past, but
many more of them died in childhood. Perhaps
in preagricultural times people who lived to a
marriageable age could only expect another
decade or two, but since then it hasn't been
the Logan's Run sort of world this statement

I believe what has really been going on is the
changing ability to "make a living". When most
income is dependent upon land, and ownership of
that land is concentrated, extended families are
the way to go. Enter urbanization, and it is
possible for nuclear families to form distinct
households. Given enough jobs, sub-nuclear
families and individuals emerge (especially if
said jobs don't pay enough to support more than
a dependent or two).

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:18:25 PDT