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Gregory Clark

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Please let me test something that just occurred to me a moment ago, after reading this story

A 21-year-old who fathered his first child at 13 is about to become a dad for the seventh time.

Keith Macdonald, from Washington, Tyne and Wear has been branded a "reckless Romeo" after it emerged that all his children are by different women.

He is reported to be living apart from the mother-to-be.

As he is unemployed he does not support his children financially, but Mr Macdonald says he has no plans to father any more children.

I'm sure we are all at least anecdotally aware of the fact that it now seems easier to procreate and have the children supported by the state than it does to follow the "traditional" petit bourgeois route of working, and even owning one's own family home.

I cannot summarise Clark's central idea any better than this wikipedia extract:

Prior to 1790, Clark asserts, man faced a Malthusian trap: new technology enabled greater productivity and more food, but was quickly gobbled up by higher populations. In Britain, however, as disease continually killed off poorer members of society, their positions in society were taken over by the sons of the wealthy, who were less violent, more literate, and more productive. This process of "downward social mobility" eventually enabled Britain to attain a rate of productivity that allowed it to break out of the Malthusian trap.

This escape from the Malthusian trap could be argued to be the product of supercharging our resource base thanks to the exploitation of fossil fuels. Now that we seem to be approaching peak oil, and that the incipient housing bust will shake out aspirant petit bourgeois families starting from the youngest, poorest and most recent entrants, can it be seen that the exact reverse of the process outlined by Clark is about to begin?

That is to say: the "quality" of the population is beginning to decline just as the old Malthusian constraints begin to re-assert themselves in the absence of the temporary boost provided by cheap and abundant fossil fuels?

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  • 297 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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