Re: An observation about Yinkin

From: Chris Lemens <chrislemens_at_0oe6mDwPBKj73PA4swPJzT4tjvtka0UZFZPAzoZ6KymArNtNQlFH45Lny-Bf-3nX>
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2008 07:19:34 -0800 (PST)

Donald Oddy:

> Prior to the 20th Century populations expanded to the limit of food resources
> and then suffered famines. That was with a high mortality rate for both mothers
> and infants. This is still the case in many parts of the RW.

Things may have changed since I took way too much economic history in the late 80's, but this theory was in steep decline then.

The theory starts with Ricardo, who said pretty much what Donald said. But later observation made this untenable as anything other than a starting point. The deviation from that starting point actually began outside economics, with those anthropowankers, who proved their worth this one time. They noted that there was a European marriage pattern that resulted in population below what you would expect under a purely Ricardian model. The major features of it were three, as I recall:

First, young men tended not to marry until they had prospects. The first born son pretty much had prospects because he would be expected to inherit whatever there was, depending on local law. The younger sons either had to clear land (which is why the high middle ages cultivated land that has been covered by forest ever since), take an apprenticeship, or find some other way in the world.

Second, a signficiant part of the otherwise-breeding population became monks or nuns. Neo-Ricardians say that the incidence of taking vows varied with population. From their perspective, taking vows equals death, because it takes someone out of the breeding pool. (Neo-Ricardian theory really deserves the name for economics: the dismal science.)

Third, extramarital children were frowned upon. There were a variety of social pressures, from bastardy laws, to punishment of supposed prostitutes and witches, to the priest humiliating people in public.

When I finished my degree, the sense among economists that I studied was that the anthropowankers would successfully find similar mechanisms in many cultures, through there was a school that claimed that the European marriage pattern was either unique or one element of a unique set that led to the preconditions for the industrial revolution. A quick googling hints that equivalents of the European marriage pattern existed in other cultures, but not universally.

The introduction to this paper lays it out pretty well in one page (but I didn't read beyond that, so please don't associate me with whatever idiocy the author might later assert):

So, how's that translate into Glorantha? I have no idea about Heortlings. They are Little Brother's people, to be treated as cowards because he hid underground when Storm Bull defeated Vrak Kargl Vozn. Among us Praxians, the women own the herds and a young man must show his worth to his future bride and her parents. Young braves usually wander the Greatlands once they reach a certain age, moving from clan to clan with their few possessions. When they decide to court a woman, they start giving her gifts of raided beasts. Why do you think young men are the most warlike? Only a foolish girl would take a husband who can neither raid nor hunt. Of course, I hear that among the Sables, a wealthy woman may take a young brave as her third husband, without any gifts at all. Scandalous. But that's how those Sables are. And don't get me started on the Morocanth.

Chris Lemens            

Powered by hypermail