Finland & Japan
Following my previous post about national corruption, two countries brightly stand out: those are the #1 least corrupt country, Finland, and non-White Japan, a bastion of orderliness in Asia. The nations of the world generally align with HBD Chick’s hypothesis, which posits that Northwestern European countries, with their long history of outbreeding (that is, marrying outside the family), have evolved a greater sense of respect for the common good and the well-being of all countrymen (well, all people in many cases). Meanwhile, most everyone else in the world has had a long history of cousin marriage, and hence they are more concerned about the family, clan and tribe (and less concerned about everyone else). Hence, the rampant corruption in most parts of the world.
In Europe, the outbreeders were primarily found inside the Hajnal line:
This area, where marriage was traditionally late, is found to correlate with so many other things, including manorialism:
Though, in accordance with the eastern extent of manorialism, some have argued that the Hajnal line in fact extended farther east, as we see on the right map above.
These, especially the last, will be discussed more in-depth when I talk about ideology.
However, note that Finland is situated outside the Hajnal line, and, at least by the early modern period, primarily had the Slavic-type commune-style of living and inheritance. They appear to have switched over to the stem family system coupled with Western-style late marriage by the late 18th century, however. Finnish values are closer to those of their Scandinavian neighbors than to their Slavic, ex-communist ones:
All these are despite the Finns coming into fold of the West fairly late (paradoxically, by the time Finland had passed from Swedish to Russian control). The Slavs, apparently, especially the Eastern and Southern Slavs, seem to have continued marrying their cousins for quite awhile longer—and hence remain clannish. The obvious unknown is—despite the age of marriage conforming to late Western or early Eastern patterns—did the Finns often marry their cousins? HBD Chick’s hypothesis would predict that they in fact did not—or at least, have been outbreeding for some time now.
Rapid societal change in response to a change in mating patterns appears to be quite possible, as the Scandinavians indicate. There—a few centuries after the adoption of Christianity, the society underwent a transformation from the violent, clannish world of the Vikings to the peaceable one much like we know today—in essentially an evolutionary eye blink. Perhaps a similar process occurred in Finland as well:
However, the Finns may have been outbreeding all along—or at least for a somewhat longer time than some of their neighbors to the east. Here’s some of what Wikipedia has to say about the Finnish peasantry during this time:
While the king of Sweden [sent] in his governor to rule Finland, in day to day reality the villagers ran their own affairs using traditional local assemblies (called the ting) which selected a local a “lagman”, or lawman, to enforce the norms. The Swedes used the parish system to collect taxes. The socken (local parish) was at once a community religious organization and a judicial district that administered the king’s law. The ting participated in the taxation process; taxes were collected by the bailiff, a royal appointee.
In contrast to serfdom in Germany and Russia, the Finnish peasant was typically a freeholder who owned and controlled his small plot of land. There was no serfdom in which peasants were permanently attached to specific lands, and were ruled by the owners of that land. In Finland (and Sweden) the peasants formed one of the four estates and were represented in the parliament. Outside the political sphere, however, the peasants were considered at the bottom of the social order—just above vagabonds. The upper classes looked down on them as excessively prone to drunkenness and laziness, as clannish and untrustworthy, and especially as lacking honor and a sense of national spirit. This disdain dramatically changed in the 19th century when everyone idealized the peasant as the true carrier of Finnishness and the national ethos, as opposed to the Swedish-speaking elites.
The peasants were not passive; they were proud of their traditions and would band together and fight to uphold their traditional rights in the face of burdensome taxes from the king or new demands by the landowning nobility. The great “Club War” in the south in 1596-97 attacked the nobles and their new system of state feudalism; this bloody revolt was similar to other contemporary peasant wars in Europe. In the north, there was less tension between nobles and peasants and more equality among peasants, due to the practice of subdividing farms among heirs, to non farm economic activities, and to the small numbers of nobility and gentry. Often the nobles and landowners were paternalistic and helpful. The Crown usually sided with the nobles, but after the “restitution” of the 1680s it ended the practice of the nobility extracting labor from the peasants and instead began a new tax system whereby royal bureaucrats collected taxes directly from the peasants, who dislike the efficient new system. After 1800 growing population pressure resulted in larger numbers of poor crofters and landless laborers and the impoverishment of small farmers
The above sounds like the details of a process of transition from a clannish, untamed society to a more democratic, civic-minded one. Some of this is no doubt due to internal population replacement ala Gregory Clark—upper class individuals were likely far more reproductively successful than the poor peons, and the latter were probably largely replaced by the former, as they seem to have been across the entire high-latitude civilized world.
As well, as per the above maps, the northern interior parts of Finland seem to have held on to their communal farming/equal inheritance systems for a lot longer than the Swedish influenced coast.
Scandinavians—including the Finns—seem to have evolved a more socialistic/collectivist—as opposed to individualistic attitude towards the common good, at least when compared to the English and Europeans farther west. This may have to do with the farming and inheritance systems they embraced and/or have something to do with their comparatively late adoption of Christianity (and hence outbreeding) and rapid pacification (perhaps a hijacking of the genes for within-clan altruism and cohesion to instead be applied towards everyone—a “quick fix” type of evolutionary change).
The communal aspect of Finnish society is quite evident is a variety of features of their society, including their dislike of competition (in stark contrast to Anglos).
The result of these processes society that frequently tops many international ratings of desirability and performance, which may ultimately be to their detriment.
Japan is a nation that is similarly contradictory, at least compared to its neighbors. The Chinese are known for their merciless exploitation of one another, which is consistent with their very long history of cousin marriage. Overall, Chinese and East Asian society in general is far more dysfunctional than in the West, with interclan conflict still an ongoing problem there.
By contrast, Japan is famed for its orderliness and within-group civility, even when tested with mighty disasters. Indeed, this national cohesiveness is so strong, it is in many ways impervious to outsiders. Japanese are averse to emigrating from Japan. More importantly, perhaps more than any other nation, Japan is poorly keen on immigration. Granted, tightly packed Japan has plenty of good basic logistical reasons to not invite foreigners, but their resistance to integrating outsiders is such that ethnic Koreans in Japan today, most of whom have been in Japan for generations and often speak only Japanese, are not regarded as Japanese citizens and treated as foreigners. Indeed, the Japanese sense of ethnic purity is such that Brazilians of Japanese descent, who were recently returning to Japan to take advantage of opportunities there, are now being paid to leave Japan and go back to where they came.
Japanese nationalism and ethnocentrism is consistent with behavior of inbred societies in the sense that the more blind form of reciprocal altruism that is common in the West, which is open to not just to non-related countrymen but all people of the world is not prevalent there. However, they do have a strong within-nation sense of cohesion that other East Asians seem to be more lacking in, a type of national cohesion that can, like that of the NW Europeans, be used to deadly effect.
According to HBD Chick’s investigations, cousin-marriage rates in Japan at the dawn of the 20th century were comparatively high (22%). These rates plunged during the course of the century, and are fairly low (4%) today. However, HBD Chick has also discovered that, at least in Europe, cousin marriage rates seem to have increased during the 19th century, so the higher values may not be indicative of earlier levels. Japanese history might offer some clues, however.
Japan was unified under the Tokugawa shogunate in 1600. This followed an earlier period internecine conflict within the country. It is possible that during this time and earlier, the levels of inbreeding were in fact lower than across the rest of East Asia. This possible limited outbreeding, coupled with Japan’s isolation, may have led to a form of parallel evolution to that of NW European one. Just as NW Europeans developed genes for reciprocal altruism over kin-based altruism, the Japanese may have developed similar genes for reciprocal altruism—with the twist being that they were still quite discriminative of Japanese vs non-Japanese. Convergent evolution often produces not exactly equivalent, albeit similar traits. Part of this may have something to do with the genes that went into the mix to begin with: selection can only work to alter gene frequency of existing alleles and de novo mutations that happen to appear during the time frame which it operates. Since East Asians were different from Europeans to begin with, similar selective pressures (such as those that occur with frequent outbreeding) can serve to produce different results.
Of course, the above is just a guess. It’s not clear what the historical degree of inbreeding/outbreeding was in Japan. The evidence only suggests that the rates of inbreeding must have been lower than in, say, China, and perhaps Korea.
As we see above on the World Values Survey graph, Japan, like Finland, is quite away from its East Asian neighbors in terms of societal values, with some affinity towards Europeans. This is even true of its fellow capitalistic, (now) democratic neighbors, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (the latter two being populated by ethnic Chinese)—ruling out the notion that its communism and dictatorship vs Western influences/capitalism/democracy that makes the difference; the Japanese themselves are different.
While the general pattern general pattern of HBD Chick’s hypothesis appears to hold strongly across the world, there are interesting apparent exceptions. Often, much is learned about the world by examining the exceptions to the rule. Finland and Japan are two such apparent exceptions. Both are similar in many ways, and different in quite a few important ways. Also interestingly, Finland is a popular tourist destination for the Japanese. The draw of similarity remains a strong force for humanity.