Population Biology of California
Caucasians Versus the Asians
the Chinese more altruistic towards close kin?
decline of communism in China, and throughout the world, is now being
felt at the American gas pump. The United States had been the biggest
beneficiary of Chinese communism, as it reigned in Chinese economic
development, and helped reduce per capita energy consumption to one-eighth
that of the average American.
the current picture of declining world oil reserves, a fully capitalistic
and economically developed China is a much greater threat to American
lifestyles than a communist China. After World War II, the emergence
of the communist and capitalist spheres of influence had the beneficial
impact of lowering the world resource competition.
is hard to think of an international symbiosis of communism and capitalism
as lowering world resource competition, but one doesn't need to go back
far to see how the rapid industrial development of Japan and Germany
became the primary factor in causing World War II. Interestingly, the
most desirable resource for both nations was oil.
the world has changed much since the war, and resource-wars have become
less destructive, at least until now. This is primarily due to the integrated
world economy, where economic production and consumption are organized
around a wider spectrum of genetics than ever before. Today, the average
product touches the hands of more ethnicities than ever in history,
and this trend is accelerating. International capitalism is steadily
eroding the "ethnic homogeneity" of industrial production
nowhere in the world is this more true than in California, the North
American anchor of the loosely organized and dynamic "Pacific Rim"
sub-economy, consisting of those territories surrounding the perimeter
of the Pacific ocean. The natural resources of western Canada, western
United States, Australia, and western Mexico are economically integrated
with the low-wage labor of China and Indonesia, along with the technological
juggernauts of Japan, South Korea, and California.
it comes to economic output, California has no peer among the other
American states, and is more appropriately compared with other nations.
It is so big that it is currently ranked tenth in the world in gross
national product. The breadth of California's economy extends from America's
richest agricultural region to the technological backbone of the microprocessor
economic diversity has a corresponding diversity of biogeography, as
California has the largest number of indigenous species of any comparably-sized
region in North America. This wide range of habitats, economic diversity,
and strategic position in the Pacific Rim, by no accident, just happens
to be one of earth's more unique experiments in human population biology.
Big Ecological Footprints of the Caucasians
the time of the first substantial incursions of the Caucasians in the
1700s, California supported a population of about 300,000 Native Americans.
But supporting 300,000 Caucasians is another matter. The Caucasians
have some pretty unique physical properties when compared to the other
races. They are taller, require more energy, dissipate heat less effectively,
are biochemically more impacted by sunlight, and require more space,
both within their homes and within their communities.
impact on an environment and on other non-Caucasian populations reflects
these basic adaptations, inherited from the legacy of harsh European
winters and lower average levels of heat and solar radiation. A given
area of land will support less Caucasians than other races. However,
this interesting phenomenon varies by political affiliation (one of
the key differences between Caucasian Conservatives and Liberals).
enhanced propensity for Caucasians to disperse into new territories
is founded upon their greater need for space to support reproduction.
though Caucasians are very capable of supporting high population densities,
it disturbs reproductive rates more than the other races, a phenomenon
that will become very important in the evolving population biology of
White Founder Populations in California
California "Gold Rush", in 1848, was not only the greatest
spectacle of human immigration at the time, it was a window into the
not-too-distant future for the Caucasians. Right before the discovery
of gold, there were only seven Chinese in all of California.
first immigrants into new territories consist of four types of founder
populations: fortune-seekers; populations that are displaced from their
home territories by war or famine; armies; and the very religious. Among
the Caucasians, all four types contributed to early Californian immigration,
but it was the fortune-seekers that dominated the late 1840s and early
1850s. Within six years after the discovery of gold, California's non-native
population increased from 14,000 to 300,000.
are predominately male populations, and the objects of fortune-seeking
involve products that are very profitable in their native populations,
like gold, oil, and sugar. Alaska is a good contemporary example of
a population skewed with male fortune-seekers.
fortune-seekers have high rates of attrition unless the new territory
has an acceptable number of reproductive females, even though it might
have an adequate number of prostitutes. Prostitution has historically
been an important factor in the temporary stability of founder populations
of male fortune-seekers and the military.
a population is not stable over time unless it maintains a minimal ratio
of reproductive females, and that minimal ratio varies with age demographics,
monogamy rates, average age at both first intercourse and childbirth,
educational levels, population density, and a number of other factors.
the Gold Rush, the most valuable thing in California was not gold. While
the discovery of a new claim would hardly raise an eyebrow, females
were so scarce that parades were frequently organized when one arrived.
In 1850, only 8% of the California population was female, and this plummeted
to just 2% in the mining camps, most of those being prostitutes.
Flexibility of Founder Populations
low technology of surface gold-mining attracted a particularly interesting
mixture of skills, and highlights a common characteristic of new immigrants--they
are occupationally "flexible", that is, they tend to be "generalists".
the opposite end is specialization, which is a common characteristic
of high-density animal populations. Specialization increases the energy-yield
of a habitat, and reduces intragroup competition. Generalists in urban
populations tend to be at an economic disadvantage.
the surface gold dried up, these generalists were driven into either
working for highly-capitalized mining ventures, or into agriculture,
ranching, and construction--all industries that directly support large
increases in human reproduction. California did not become suitable
for the immigration of large numbers of females until the surface gold
The Small Ecological Footprints of the Chinese
history of founder populations occupying the territories of genetically
distant humans is replete with conflict. This tendency is also exacerbated
by low ratios of females. The Chinese immigration into California, starting
with the 1848 Gold Rush, was a prime example, and strikingly similar
to the current Hispanic immigration.
early Chinese immigrants, like the Hispanics, were economic "scavengers".
Fleeing the poverty of the port cities of Southeastern China, they filled
the empty niches of the Caucasian economy, avoiding direct competition
with the Caucasians, and even being careful not to prospect ahead of
the white miners, and instead, working vacated gold claims.
Chinese were remarkably resilient in the face of the hostile and often
violent male-dominated Caucasian population. The Chinese immigrants
had several advantages over the Caucasians, the most prominent being
their lower impact on the environment relative to the amount of labor
The Chinese consumed less, lived in higher-density households, worked
for less wages, saved more, and performed tasks that were socially demeaning
to the Caucasians: farmworkers, laundry, gardening, and housework, which
are many of the same occupations that provide jobs for the current Hispanic
immigrants. They excelled in highly labor-intensive businesses.
Are the Chinese More Altruistic Towards Kin?
are named with the family name first, which is a clue into how their
altruistic behaviors tend to be focused. Adult Chinese, within their
own families, are referred to by their relationship, rather than their
given name. Older brother, older sister, second brother, second sister,
etc, provide some insight into the wider inclusive fitness bandwidth
of the Chinese. It is also common that cousins are referred to by
their first name appended with "brother" or "sister".
what is inclusive fitness? Inclusive fitness is the individual's
relative genetic presence in the gene pool of the next generation. Thus,
brothers, sisters, cousins, second-cousins all have a coefficient
of relatedness, which is simply the proportion of genes that are
shared in common. One doesn't need to reproduce to improve the fitness
of one's own genes,
as this can also be accomplished by altruistic behaviors towards close
kin. The evolution of altruism is a by-product of inclusive fitness.
proposal that Chinese exhibit altruism over a larger number of relatives
than do Caucasians is certainly controversial. The Chinese extended
family, with three generations living under one roof, is certainly evidence
of this. Chinese economic behavior has historically been organized around
kin-groups and genetic closeness, and as Janet Landa has pointed
out, has had a substantial economic advantage when confronting competing
non-kin based business organizations.
this kin-focused Chinese inclusive fitness model also
makes sense due to population density. The greater number of people
living under one roof requires a larger number of kin that one performs
altruistic behaviors for. But all is not milk and honey, as altruistic
behavior towards close kin is commonly associated with either indifference
or spite towards genetic distance.
Loner Race: The Caucasians
the last 500 years, the space-hungry Caucasians have occupied every
continent, mixing up the genetics and economics of the human species
like no other race. The expansive and space-hungry model of Caucasian
reproduction seems to have evolved with a slightly more limited approach
to altruism and inclusive fitness towards close kin.
is controversial, but there are several indicators that Caucasians,
on average, are less likely to organize their altruistic behavior around
close kin. First is the elevated Caucasian tendency towards the nuclear
family structure. Based on the evidence we've been able to collect,
the Caucasians maintain the smallest household family sizes of any race,
even when controlling for income. However, we must note that our statistics
are highly skewed towards the United States.
also have the greatest propensity to accept other races into the lower
levels of their socioeconomic hierarchy. This is not altruistic towards
non-whites, rather, it simply implies that Caucasians are more likely
to sacrifice their own genetics in favor of cheaper non-white
economic indifference towards other Caucasians is admittedly weak evidence,
but there are other racially ambivalent tendencies, as seen in adoption
statistics, whereby Caucasians are much more likely to adopt children
from other ethnicities. Again, the low reproductive tendencies of Caucasians
may account for this phenomenon, but childless white couples are more
likely to adopt non-whites than childless non-white couples are to adopt
happens when two populations, living in the same general proximity,
maintain different altruistic approaches to close kin? While there are
no fixed rules, there are several notable tendencies.
two populations will maintain different density levels, with the "close"
population maintaining the higher level, and utilizing less resources
in reproduction. This neutralizes the reproductive advantages of lower-density
populations. The Chinese immigrants managed to reproductively compete
quite effectively with the space-hungry model of Caucasian reproduction.
organization in the "close" population is more family-centric,
that is, dependent on family labor. This has the by-product of replicating
the same family business model--for example, families that start restaurants
are more likely to start additional restaurants as their extended family
grows. This increases competition within the same population, resulting
in business formation into the neighboring lower-density population.
Chinese businesses locate into Caucasian areas at a much higher rate
than Caucasian businesses locate into Chinese areas.
of the higher-density population will emigrate into the lower-density
population. The highly reproductive members of the lower-density population
will tend to emigrate into new territories sooner than the low-reproductive
members. Over time, the low-density population is predominately displaced
by the higher-density population.
Success of the Chinese Model of Immigration
1850, tens of thousands of Mexicans and Chileans, having engaged the
wrath of both the Caucasian miners and the depletion of surface gold,
returned to their homelands. But the Chinese model of immigration, based
on a wider spectrum of altruistic behaviors towards close kin, lower
reproductive space requirements, and a smaller ecological footprint,
was too much for the Californian Caucasians, which would maintain anti-Chinese
"coolie" laws on the books until 1952.
the California Chinese have shifted towards the K side
of the r-K reproductive spectrum, just like the Caucasians
(see the Population
Biology of Conservatives and Liberals). Interestingly, this decline
in both Chinese and Caucasian reproductive rates has also spawned greater
gene flow between the populations.
population density results in a greater variety of reproductive strategies.
Interracial couplings between Asians and Caucasians are at an all time
high, but interestingly, not as reproductively proficient as racially-homogenous
Asian or Caucasian couplings.
this convergence of Californian Asian and Caucasian genes is occurring
amid a swelling Hispanic population that will overtake the Caucasians
in a few decades. As we will discuss next month, this population shares
several characteristics with the Asian immigrants, and a variety of
liberalism that is running towards a head-on collision with the Caucasian
we have proposed in The
Sunlight Theory of Political Preference, Caucasians in the lower
latitudes run politically "hot", that is, tend towards conservatism
due to the enhanced impact of sunlight on the production of the sex
hormones. These lower-latitude, sun-baked conservative Caucasians, after
vanquishing the Caucasian liberals with their higher birth rates, are
now faced with a liberalism far more dangerous to them than they ever
dreamed Caucasian liberalism could be.
Brack and Xi Zhang, August 2007