Outside the property development and population growth lobby, very few people who are worried about population growth and high immigration appreciate the effect of endogamy (marrying within your people) and exogamy (marrying outside your people) on population size and fertility. They also don’t recognize its effect on the private amassing of wealthy estates and political power. Anyone who wants to understand modern day problems with overpopulation, poverty, and loss of democracy would do well to study this article. This article is intended to stimulate debate about democracy, wealth distribution, and overpopulation. The author invites critical comments and argument.
Article based on S.M. Newman Demography, Territory and Law: Land-tenure and the origins of capitalism in Britain, Countershock Press, 2014. and S.M. Newman Demography, Territory and Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013.
How to read the diagrams: White squares in the diagrams below indicate permitted marriages and black squares indicate forbidden marriages. White squares become black squares when someone is already married, although polygamy varies this factor. The symetrical rules for marriage to "in-laws" are indicated by mirror images, creating an overall pyramid form in the diagram of an extended family or clan.
"Endogamy" refers to marrying within one’s clan, tribe or similar social unit. "Exogamy" refers to marrying outside those units. The most extreme kinds of endogamy tend to be practiced by ancient royal clans, such as the Egyptians and the Incas, where there were sibling, father-daughter and grandfather-granddaughter marriages. Less extreme, but more common, are first and other cousin marriages, frequently practiced by nobility and other established clans and tribes. The wealthy, whether they are noble or not, tend to marry other wealthy people for similar reasons.
High Endogamy, Low Exogamy, Low Fertility
If you look at the white squares, you will see that the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt could marry their children and their grandchildren and other close relatives. The rigidity of this practice varied from pharaoh to pharaoh, and lesser relatives might also be married, however marriage within close blood relatives was encouraged.
The purpose of highly endogamous marriages is to preserve land and power within a small group of people (known as a caste). To this day, dynasties can only preserve themselves by intermarrying. Although sibling marriage and parent or grandparent marriage is widely prohibited, first cousin marriage practiced over several generations can bring about similarly close genetic inheritance.
Although this system promotes fertility, it only does so within a very limited pool of candidates. This means that dynasties are powerful but small populations, able to concentrate, conserve and control their material assets through numerous social, legal and genetic bonds.
Outside the easily recognized institutions of tribe and nobility, people in countries where tradition holds them close to the land and preserves their extended families, still tend to live near and to marry within their own class, region and culture. This is the case with most continental European countries. It has a moderating effect on fertility opportunities and a strengthening effect on local self-government and democratic organization.
Low Endogamy, High Exogamy, Low Fertility
There are very few white squares, so very few permitted marriages. With incest avoidance to the 8th degree fertility opportunities within a clan are very low. This is the opposite system to the Ancient Egyptian one.
In cultures, such as those of desert indigenous populations and South Korea, fertility is kept low by restricting marriage opportunities within the family and clan and relying on external opportunity where external opportunity is limited – for instance by distance. If you are a very small clan, with only your feet for transport and your activities take place many kilometers from the next clan’s location, your opportunities to meet suitable partners will be limited. Infertile environments - typically with low rainfall - make for low density populations and big spaces between clans. The difficulty of finding a mate in such circumstances is well shown in the film Ten Canoes. (Although admittedly there were canoes, their use in the film was local rather than inter-clan.)
High Endogamy, High Exogamy, High Fertility
High exogamy is well represented by the biblical laws of Leviticus 18, very influential on Western societies. See the diagram below.
Lots of white squares here mean that you can marry a lot of people in your clan. Brothers are encouraged to marry their deceased brother's wife and niece marriage is legal. The rules differ according to whether you are male or female. This was the system that accompanied the exhortation to "Go forth and multiply."
Western societies tend to follow the Leviticus pattern, although you do get legal restrictions on cousin marriage in some places (such as Illinois, in the United States) where first cousins are not allowed to marry until they are over 55 years old) and there are age restrictions and social restrictions on marriage between uncles/aunts and nieces and nephews.
Multiculturalism as high fertility exogamy and its effect on self-government and citizen capacity to organize
Extreme exogamy applies in the English speaking ‘settler states’ of the United States, Australia and Canada. The populations in these ‘settler states’ are in continual motion due to constant reorganization of suburbs and infrastructure to accommodate high rates of immigration. This people movement occurs at international, national, regional and inter-suburban and intercity level, rather reminiscent of the increased movement of molecules in a heated substance.
Because families and clans tend to be split and disorganized in these societies, the level of endogamy is reduced, despite lack of legal restrictions. Exogamy is strongly encouraged by policies of ‘multiculturalism’. People move far away from their parents and divorce, remarriage and serial families are frequent impoverishing factors. In continental Europe there just isn’t the same amount of structural turmoil. Although the first and second world wars in those areas did cause significant disturbance, the arrangement of clans and their geographic position in villages and towns persisted.
The most important thing to understand about endogamy and exogamy, however, is their role in promoting or limiting population growth. The diagrams in this article should help the reader to see what is meant by this.
Transport factors in creating the Post War Baby Boom
Another important factor already alluded to that affects these patterns in most cases is the introduction of new transport because it permits individuals to travel greater distances. Horses, camels and elephants will take people a lot further and afford them significantly more fertility opportunities than travel on foot will. Trains, cars, boats and planes multiply opportunity exponentially. Trains are associated with massive population growth, but they impose a geometrically restricted pattern. Those restrictions disappeared with the advent of cheap oil and the automobile. Without these there would not have been a post war baby boom without precedent in size.
In general high endogamy plus high incest prohibition means low fertility. It is difficult to find people who are not married already and who are not forbidden to you in marriage but who are also members of your tribe. A person in this situation might have to go quite a long way in search of a partner and it is likely that a fairly high proportion of the clans-people would die without marrying or having children.
High endogamy but low incest prohibition, where cousin marriage is frequent means high fertility. In these kinds of situations it is considered important to lock all the land up in the tribe but to have a large tribe with many workers and potential soldiers. Nonetheless there are strict boundaries. Marriage outside the tribe is rare, although usually some immigrants will be accepted into the tribe. Living examples of such tribes are the Karen, the Hutterites and some orthodox Jewish peoples.
High exogamy and high incest prohibition will tend to disperse a people so that they ultimately become unidentifiable as clan or tribe, so you won’t find many intact tribes like this. It is a major factor in the dispersal and disintegration of many previously discrete peoples after they become affected by colonization and lose their contact with their land. Examples include Australian aborigines and possibly the Dutch of the 16th and 17th century during the minor industrial revolution that occurred in the Netherlands and which entailed major population drift from country to city. The capturing of African slaves and their transport to the Americas and Pacific Islands like Haiti is another example where the transported survivors of peoples who probably had low fertility in their original tribes encountered significantly increased fertility opportunities.
Low incest prohibition and low endogamy mean that where a clan is not isolated, it has more fertility opportunities than one with stricter rules. Such patterns characterize the settler states of Canada, Australia, the United States and Britain. Usually even first cousin marriage is permitted, but families and clans are so dispersed and fragmented that marriage to members of unidentified and equally dispersed descendants of clans are common. With the very high immigration in these countries, this potentially results in huge population growth. These are synthetically structured societies. Such countries lack the capacity to organize from the bottom up that is possible in countries where several generations are embodied in clans and historically settled and networked in a particular locality within a larger polity. An example of this strong capacity to organize based on relatively natural distribution would be France or Japan. Some examples of this capacity to organize are the French Revolution, which was able to persist over several generations until a lasting republic was formed, and the German and Japanese manufacturing sectors.
There is good reason to think that variations in endogamy and exogamy are instinctive social responses to environmental fertility signals because these rules also occur in most other animals and plants, as The Rules of Animal and Human Populations explains in chapters 3 and 4 which are also published by themselves as The Urge to Disperse. In a globalized society these signals are diffuse, remote and confusing. Media and government interpretation of signals can influence false perceptions of real environments.
Polygamy helps to make such populations larger. An exceptional case was King Abdul Aziz, who began the current Saudi kingdom in 1932 and had 44 legitimate sons by 17 wives. The Saudi royal family had more than 4000 princes and 30,000 noble relatives in 2002 and is considered the largest royal dynasty. Without the commercial industrialization of petroleum the kingdom and dynasty could never have been so powerful. Without this kind of intermarriage the Saudi clans would not have been able to maintain control over Saudi assets. Corporations and international interference would have eroded their power, as they do among ‘common people’ by keeping them disorganised.
“Ibn Saud fathered dozens of sons and daughters by his many wives. He had at most only four wives at one time. He divorced and married many times. He made sure to marry into many of the noble clans and tribes within his territory, including the chiefs of the Bani Khalid, Ajman, and Shammar tribes, as well as the Al ash-Sheikh (descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab). He also arranged for his sons and relatives to enter into similar marriages. He appointed his eldest surviving son, Saud as heir apparent, to be succeeded by the next eldest son, Faisal. The Saudi family became known as the "royal family," and each member, male and female, was accorded the title amir or amira ("prince" or "princess"), respectively.
Ibn Saud died in 1953, after having cemented an alliance with the United States in 1945. He is still celebrated officially as the "Founder," and only his direct descendents may take on the title of "his or her Royal Highness." The date of his recapture of Riyadh in 1902 was chosen to mark Saudi Arabia's centennial in 1999 (according to the Islamic lunar calendar).” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Saud (Accessed 26 February 2013.)
 "Fertility Opportunity" is a phrase borrowed from anthropologist Virginia Abernethy's theory of that name.
 Without intergenerational organization in the form of locally organized clans, the French Revolution probably would not have occurred. It had to persist over several generations.
Tue, 2013-02-26 20:08
Adjusting population by changing the incest prohibition rules
Tue, 2013-02-26 21:32
The Karen: endogamy and fertility opportunities
Wed, 2013-02-27 00:13
We seem to be disrupted
Wed, 2013-02-27 00:36
Humans will default to family, clan, neighbours as fuels deplete
Alan (not verified)
Wed, 2013-02-27 05:01
Wed, 2013-02-27 15:25
Alan (not verified)
Sun, 2013-03-10 04:14
Newman important to anthropology, but anthopology NOT important
Mon, 2013-03-11 03:35
Reply to Alan re anthropologists
You have misunderstood just about everything you say is in the book and you have missed a great deal. I will insert my responses to your statements:
Alan: Newman important to anthropology, but anthopology NOT important
Newman is important to anthropology, but anthopology is NOT important to policy. If I were in the business of hiring anthopoligists, I might well hire Newman. But I have no intention of hiring any anthopologists, even if I win election and become governor, because I will be too busy hiring contraceptive nurses.
Sheila Newman: Although my book is about population, it is also about land-tenure and inheritance, which are the basis of economies and political systems. Political systems are very important for the promotion of stability or of overpopulation. Contraceptives seem ineffectual against big population systems. For instance, in Australia, where contraceptives are available and affordable, we nonetheless have massive and unsustainable population growth.
What does your theory of contraception as the only way to reduce population growth have to say about overpopulation in Australia?
My first volume analyses why this is so and identifies political qualities that help stabilise populations. These political qualities are primarily variations in inheritance of land and other assets.
This first volume of my proposed 4 volumes of Demography, Territory, Law, looks at how human and other animal populations work. It says nothing against hiring contraceptive nurses. It says nothing against contraceptives.
The populations I discuss are not all 'in the past' and not all 'in the Pacific'. However, of Pacific Islanders, plenty extant populations are stable and small. I point out that certain systems - notably the English originating ones - cause overpopulation in Pacific Islands and elsewhere. For instance, Japanese and French Pacific islands do not have the overpopulation problems of the English colonised ones
Alan: I also not how Newman only seems to be counting "legitimate" children, leaving the rest of the children to die slow, horrible deaths and I am totally unwilling to consider that kind of scenario part of my post-petroleum goal.
Sheila Newman: This is a really silly criticism that shows that the writer has not read the book carefully.
Where do I advocate for children to die slow horrible deaths as a post petroleum goal? I don't.
I am also critical of the bulk of writers in the field for placing too much emphasis on the role of infanticide. I point out on page 70 and on other pages that they fail to take into account the effect of biofeedback on genetic algorithms in reducing sexual activity and fertility via incest avoidance and the Westermarck effect.
I did not invent the term or the condition of legitimacy. Legitimacy is a legal and anthropological term similar to 'citizenship' or membership of a group or tribe, conferring rights. Only with huge fossil fuel-based societies did it recently become economically possible to remove the stigma of illegitimacy. Whether or not Alan likes the idea, illegitimate children suffered from fewer rights of inheritance and thus fewer chances of survival prior to these heady days of lots of fossil fuel. In a post petroleum era, I am reasonably certain that automatic regulation of fertility will occur as travel between communities winds down and that infanticide will not be a frequent occurrence. Inevitably marriage [i.e. legitimacy] rules will reflect those natural patterns and citizenship/immigration rules will reflect local democratic perception of resources.
AlanI do believe strongly that the fossil fuels will run out at least as fuels, though enough MUST remain to produce synthetic contraception or we get hell on earth. Thus I am unwilling to consider old, population stable Pacific island societies as role models for the future partly because I don't believe they were that low fertility but rather that they allowed "illegitimate" children to suffer and die, which is NOT part of my future plans.
Sheila NewmanIn my book I argue carefully that, not only Pacific Island populations were stable, but most populations (human and non-human) were small and stable in usual circumstances. You, Alan, to the contrary, offer no evidence for your 'belief' that Pacific Islander populations relied mostly on infanticide. You also fail to criticise my arguments. I would suggest that you are exercising contempt prior to investigation in that you have not read my book but you are engaging in arguments based on fantasy against a book you have not actually read. In other words you are making things up for some reason of your own.
Since I am a scientist advancing several new theories, I welcome critical appraisal of those theories, since they are bound to evolve. But you need to have read them before you can help improve them.
Alan: Even reading her book would take 20 bucks, which is 20 bucks less for contraception beyond free as exemplified here: http://www.projectprevention.org/ and the same would be true if I were a mayor with a library budget.
Also, she seems to oppose migration where I support political migration of contraception supporters for the purpose of concentrating ourselves into political majorities as is taking place here http://www.thebigsort.com/maps.php where restrictive land use planning is a major hindrance to concentration of forces (see military concept).
Sheila Newman Immigration has a huge role to play in increasing population growth and democratic societies with self -government regulate immigration in line with the wishes of their membership and perception of resource limits.
I WAS one of those depressed young men in the basement (or worse) for 7 years, from 18-25 and I have no intention of foisting that experience on others through regulated housing shortages.
Sheila NewmanSo, let's see. You think that by providing contraceptives you won't have to provide houses because people will have fewer children? How are you going to get people to want to use those contraceptives if they see no reason to have small families? In Australia the property developers continually build new suburbs and then import immigrants to live in them, driving up the price of housing, so there are still plenty of depressed young men in basements etc, despite oversupply of housing.
In France, where housing supply and immigration are well-regulated and where fertility has naturally been low for centuries, the housing situation is no worse but the population situation is better.
As for "Demography, Territory & Law" I can believe that some ancient societies achieved steady states. But I will not believe for a second that these steady population states were anything but horrific by modern standards, involving almost always high and lingering child mortality or in rare cased draconian sexual repression.
Sheila Newman That belief again. Just prejudice for your own culture and experience. Not based on knowledge, not citing or dismantling documented evidence.
This is the kind of attitude one finds time and again on both sides of the population debate. People who advocate big populations and people who advocate small populations live with the delusion that for thousands of years humans lived short brutish lives. Yet there is so much evidence that this is nonsense that we are coached to believe in order to remain in harness in our own miserable economies with their repressive social structures. Again, Alan, you are talking through your hat about my book. You obviously are completely unaware of the evidence I cite.
Maybe, however, your anger will ultimately lead you to investigate what actually happens rather than what you kind of assume must happen.
Alan: These societies were light years from utopic and cannot be considered goals.
Sheila Newman Not 'goals'; factual information about how human societies usually are. Our current societies are aberrant. Where do you get 'goals' from what I have written (if you had read it?)
AlanThe ONLY possible goals relating to overpopulation involve MODERN contraception, where we have little to learn from ancient civilizations.
Sheila NewmanYou seem to be completely unaware that 'modern' contraception is impractical in many societies, for reasons I cited in an earlier reply. It is fine to disseminate modern or any contraception, but it is really silly to ignore what already works. We continue to dispossess people of their land and remove them from steady state villages etc in order to 'develop' them, and then their populations explode. That's really dumb.
Alan: Though we might have a little to learn from modern continental Europe, it does not involve land use planning.
Sheila Newman How would you know? You obviously have no idea of my arguments in this because you don't cite them and you don't counter them. You just put forward an opinion that exposes your total ignorance of the subject. The system is different in Europe and the outcome is much less population growth. That should interest you if you are worried about overpopulation. Why doesn't it? Are you wearing ideological blinkers that tell you that population numbers are only affected by contraception, when a lot of other factors actully affect them hugely.
Alan: Newman's theryy basically says that if you can't mate with your cousin and you can't mate with a strange[r], then you can't mate at all and this enforces celebacy and limits population growth. Well SO WHAT?
Sheila Newman Um, well, it makes for small populations unless you have modern transport. And knowing this makes you aware of what is generating such huge population growth in modern societies in the non-continental European first world. That's a big piece of information. I also have a lot to say about social organisation and self-government emanating from intact clan systems, which can persist in modern societies and do, of course, among those with inherited wealth and influence. Also, I do advocate relocalisation, because this strengthens self-government, empowers communities, democracy, improves biofeedback to populations and enhances chances of population stability (with or without modern contraceptives).
Alan: Does she imply that we should return to such draconian sexual repression as a goal? As long a we can remember how to produce modern contraception, I'm not about to go there and neither is hardly anyone else.
Sheila NewmanNo, I don't imply that we should 'return' to such 'draconian' sexual 'repression'. This just sounds like macho-old man talk. Consumer societies of the late 20th and 21st century are characterised by a huge emphasis on and status invested concept of sexuality. It is (once again) very clear that you have not read my book because you have completely missed the theory of automatic hormonal regulation that winds sexuality and fertility down or up depending on biofeedback to a [human and non-human] population and individuals within it from the environment. In those circumstances there is nothing 'draconian'. It is automatic. People and other animals' energies simply turn to other activities. Romance as a basis for marriage is largely a modern fashion. In a lot of societies, romance occurs outside marriage and marriage is mostly for allocating land to children in most other societies.
I must say that a few old men have reacted similarly, as if I had somehow insulted their manhood. And as if I were pushing some line of white knuckle abstinence, like the pope, but I am not. So, Alan, you are feinting at shadows and you are being dishonest about my book, which you are quite unfamiliar with.
Wed, 2013-02-27 13:32
The Karen and Japan
Nastena (not verified)
Tue, 2019-09-03 23:03
Thanks for your