The Boy takes The Economist. A few months ago, he was clearing the back-catalog of the print magazine and ripped out a big wodge of articles on science, books, engineering, politics, the Arts . . . and sent the parcel on to me. He correctly surmised that some of this material might be Blob-fodder.
One piece tinkled a bell for me because it started with a familiar diagram [above] of 200 years of incest in the royal families of Europe: there are a lot of uncles bonking their nieces to keep wealth in the family. That family tree was familiar because, in the 1970s, I'd spent a tuthree weeks of my time as an undergraduate calculating the inbreeding coefficient of these same people . . . and finding that this was inversely correlated with their fertility. I really should have devoted more time to the actual curriculum because I'd surely have gotten tenure at
Harvard Haverfordwest; rather than subjecting my pay-check to 40 years of short-term contracts.
The Economist article is an executive summary of an academic paper History’s Masters: The Effect of European Monarchs on State Performance by Sebastian Ottinger and Nico Voigtländer from UCLA. They
ignored extended my earlier analysis and considered the geopolitical effects of inbreeding and intellectual compromise. Where to get data? They have abstracted data from such sources as Frederick A. Woods (1906). Mental and Moral Heredity in Royalty: A Statistical Study in History and Psychology. Woods doesn't merit an entry in Wikipedia but in his day, he was a leader in application of science to history. His book wasn't peer reviewed but some of his conclusions were dissed by those who came after when his patriarchal certainties about the world before 1914 were put under the scrutiny of a different set of values.