July 17, 2012

Absolute Nuclear Families

In the New York Times, Frank Jacobs offers a map of Europe based on traditional family structures that fans of HBD Chick will find familiar from the work of French anthropologist Emmanuel Todd.

The "absolute nuclear family" around the North Sea, where parents look forward to being empty-nesters, appears to map pretty closely to the lands of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. 

On the other hand, the development of this family structure appears to be post-Beowulf, but pre-Chaucer. British cabinet minister David Willetts wrote in his fine book The Pinch (as I summarized in my review in VDARE):
"Instead, think of England as being like this for at least 750 years. We live in small families. We buy and sell houses. … Our parents expect us to leave home for paid work …You try to save up some money from your wages so that you can afford to get married. … You can choose your spouse … It takes a long time to build up some savings from your work and find the right person with whom to settle down, so marriage comes quite lately, possibly in your late twenties. ... A small, simple family structure not driven by the need to pass on an inheritance or to sustain ties with brothers and cousins in a clan can be more personal, intense, and emotional—a clue to England's Romantic tradition."

This Anglo-Saxon absolute nuclear family structure is conducive to the highest levels of personal freedom and individualism. But, it requires a lot of land and wealth to expect your sons to be able to afford houses of their own when they find their brides. The Anglo-Saxon nuclear family model where young adults are not under the thumbs of their parents or grandparents or aunt's husband thrives, as Benjamin Franklin pointed out, in underpopulated places with cheap land and high wages, but, as Franklin also noted in the 1750s, it gets undermined by high rates of immigration, which drive up land costs and lower wages. Those who follow the liberty-loving Anglo-Saxon model tend to get outcompeted by groups willing to pile an extended family into one house, as is happening across many of the metropolises of America today.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Emmanuel Todd.

Anonymous said...

The extended famililies piling into houses is exactly what I saw in Silicon Valley. In the 90s, Asians migrated in large numbers. They were willing to fit 3 families in a single family home and they were able to get a low interest rate loans from HUD for being a minority. This drove many out of Silicon Valley or into the exurbs.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I'm an hbd fan, but connecting the economic dots and political ones too this succinctly is brilliant. This is the best, most succinct post I've ever read on this site. Or maybe any site. Out of the park!

Anonymous said...

Why leave out eastern Europe?

Jason said...

Funny, about liberty loving people - Google apparently just removed from it's search index any reference to a White Genocide petition over at Change.org. This isn't the first time Google has selectively removed things from even being searched for. I remember they did something similar during a Glen Beck event.

Who watches the watchers?

hailtoyou said...

Which 'family type' tends to produce highest fertility? I wonder.

It seems there is no strong correlation internationally in today's Europe, but, intrnationally, Absolute Nuclear may have an edge, all else equal.

I guess this fits with Franklin's observations. He also commented on the sky-high Colonial-American birthrate due to similar causes.

Chief Seattle said...

How did social scientists manage to transform a 2x2 matrix of choices into 5 categories?

Not knowing any better, the map seems fairly arbitrary. Everyone knows that north and south italy are different, but coastal vs inland Wales? Never heard of that. Whatever differences family structure makes are overwhelmed by catholic vs protestant and northern vs southern europe.

Back in college I remember primogeniture being used to explain the relative prosperity of Japan vs China, since it kept farms from getting too small, and forced younger children to leave and learn a trade. Hard to see much evidence for that on this map - sure England has been prosperous for a long time, but southern Norway wasn't anything close to prosperous until recently.

Anonymous said...

Traditional southerners have Stem families (perhaps our ancestry is more from the west side of the British Isles?). Even if they get married, one child is expected to be a caretaker of the parents generally. They'll move out but not more than a few miles. It might be a contributor of our backwardness.

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2174300/Record-levels-immigration-lead-jam-packed-England-population-rockets-56m.html

From nuclear to unclear.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmtp8XosVBE&feature=related

I remember this.

Anonymous said...

Chinese, with their Euro planning and discipline levels and third world neediness levels, take this to new heights. Watch for all-male worker dormitories in suburban houses near you. Often the whole scam is based on 'medical' student visas - shopping mall masseurs; or 'culinary school' students - restaurant workers.

A messy extended family of illegal Hispanics is easily outcompeted by an East Asian barrack set-up complete with paper work.
Gilbert P.

Annon said...

Isn't zoning more important in determining how cheap land is than immigration size or population? Just about every country's got more than enough land.

Anonymous said...

The "absolute nuclear family" around the North Sea, where parents look forward to being empty-nesters, appears to map pretty closely to the lands of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.

You can also see the Normans there in Normandie and the Celts in Bretagne [Brittany].

The MacFrankfurt School said...

Who watches the watchers?

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

As if you even needed to ask...

Anonymous said...

When I was a graduate student I recall two married chinese couples (one had a child already) living downstairs together in the same sized apartment my wife and I lived in with our own child.

I didn't really see the HBD implications for this at the time.

candid_observer said...

I guess I'm not much impressed so far with the explanatory power of these categories.

I'd like to see a few correlations of interest that pass some statistical muster, and which can't otherwise be explained, before I'd say we're seeing something important here.

Anonymous said...

The “absolute nuclear” family type is both liberal and unequal. Children are totally emancipated, forming independent families of their own. The inheritance usually goes to one child, often a son.



This does not sound like any "Anglo-Saxon" family I have ever heard of.

Steiner said...

'The "absolute nuclear family" around the North Sea...appears to map pretty closely to the lands of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes."'

No, not really. The traditional county of Angeln, the physical homeland and namesake of the original Angles, is today in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein (the lower half of the Jutland peninsula), and not a part of the "Anglo-Saxon" territory indicated. Also, the original Saxon homeland is today basically north central Germany, and is also missing from the supposed territory of "absolute nuclear families".

Jesse said...

"Traditional southerners have Stem families (perhaps our ancestry is more from the west side of the British Isles?). Even if they get married, one child is expected to be a caretaker of the parents generally. They'll move out but not more than a few miles. It might be a contributor of our backwardness."

Southerns are primarily Scot lowlanders some whose familes had a few generations in Ulster, so they are in the stem family area.

východ je západ said...

I’m not very impressed by this map. There are no clear patterns between the family structure and economic or cultural development. The least developed region in Italy has the same family type as the most developed. Most of England is like Brittany (a poor region for most of its history). Catalonia (rich) is like most of Bavaria (rich) but also like Galicia (poor) and Central France (poor). The most advance region in Europe since the Middle Ages, the region starting from London and ending, trough Belgium, in North West Italy has all the family structures on the map. Yes family patterns matter, but not this kind of trivial differences. Age of first marriage, the ideal marriage pattern (close family members like cousins or distant strangers) the degree of independence in choosing the marriage partner, all this does lead to big differences.

Anonymous said...

http://americangoy.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-history-of-jews.html

Dirk said...

US was never abolute nuclear, as it is defined here to include primogeniture, which was considered unjust and illiberal by all intellectuals of the founding generation. An addition reason it was hated is that our founding stock included many younger sons disinherited under that system.

Another commenter asked which system produced the largest birthrate. I don't think family systems had much effect relative to population density and other economic factors.

A concrete example is that the fastest white population growth in recorded history was in French Canada, where a tiny founding stock of a few thousand produced a population of millions thanks to high fertility and low death rates that lasted for generations. During the same period, roughly 1700 to 1900, France itself had the lowest birthrate in Europe. Now, however, France has the highest white birthrate in Europe, around 40% higher than Germany or Italy.

Anonymous said...

Brittany was settled by British refugees from England; you could speculate that there was a Celtic family model in what was now England that is the basis for absolute-nuclear, or that the combination of that Celtic background with incoming Anglo-Saxon-Jutes, is what matters.

No reason to think all Celts are alike; the Celts of England don't have to be the same in their family structure as the Celts of Ireland, etc.

Anonymous said...

I hate the world 'family'. It sounds so fammy wammy.

Rusty Mason said...

"Jason said...Funny, about liberty loving people - Google apparently just removed from it's search index any reference to a White Genocide petition over at Change.org. This isn't the first time Google has selectively removed things from even being searched for. I remember they did something similar during a Glen Beck event. Who watches the watchers?"

Today Drudge linked to a U.S. News online story about Canadians being richer than Americans. The Facebook comments were running heavily against Obanana. I posted something below the article on the USnooz site and came back to check it 30 minutes later. Guess what. All the posts were completely wiped clean.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Dennis Mangan's blog?

Anonymous said...

"Chinese, with their Euro planning and discipline levels and third world neediness levels, take this to new heights. Watch for all-male worker dormitories in suburban houses near you."

I was reading UK landlord sites a year or two back, and found the tale of the wealthy middle-class lady who rented out a nice two-bedroomed flat in Victoria, Central London. A surprise visit revealed it had become a 12-bunk-bed dormitory for middle-class Chinese students doing the UK on the cheap.

irishman said...

"Anonymous said...
Brittany was settled by British refugees from England; you could speculate that there was a Celtic family model in what was now England that is the basis for absolute-nuclear, or that the combination of that Celtic background with incoming Anglo-Saxon-Jutes, is what matters.

No reason to think all Celts are alike; the Celts of England don't have to be the same in their family structure as the Celts of Ireland, etc.

7/18/12 1:51 PM"
There is no such thing as a Celt the same way there are Slavs for example. As best as we can tell the Celts were the ruling caste who imparted their culture onto the mass of existing inhabitants in Iberia, Gaul, Britain, and Ireland while the Celts themselves came from north of the Alps. But this is all very hazy.

hbd chick said...

i pulled together some ethnographic data (from murdock's ethnographic atlas) which seem to show that nuclear families go along with exogamous mating patterns.

endogamous mating patterns and extended families go together; but if you want nuclear families, exogamy is the way to go. (iow, just the sort of mating patterns that the english and other nw europeans have been practicing since the medieval period.)

TGGP said...

A writer at AmConMag linked primogeniture to the differences between Continental (de Maistre, Bonald) and English (Burke) conservatism. Timur Kuran says it allowed Europe to maintain concentrations of wealth for large firms & civil society, while the more egalitarian Muslim world fell behind.

Anonymous said...

Well, northern Italy has both Germanic and Italian influence so I don't understand the commitarian. In fact I visit Northern Italy and its richer than Southern Italy. Southern Italy in ancient times was Manga Grecia and when the Byzantines reconquered Italy they managed to stay there, so it has heavily Greek influence. The wealthiest families are actually not in the absolute nuclear Swedes and so forth have much higher income than your average brit.

Andrew said...

Funny that on an HBD site, people are not familiar with actual genetic studies of England.

The "Saxons" were already in England in Roman times and are undoubtedly the native stock of non-Celtic Britain. The south of England was called the Saxon Coast, and the military leader of the area was the Count of the Saxon Shore. This area was said by Caesar to have been inhabited by Belgae who were the same people as lived the low countries. This is the most reasonable explanation for the distribution of Celtic languages only in the west - they speak Celtic there because that is where the Celts always were, as opposed to some of the fantasies held by Celtic nationalists. The Frisians (who speak the only language directly related to English) and German Saxons lived in what is now the low countries immediately across the Channel and are now called Dutch and Flemings and along the North Sea in the area behind the Frisians. The Dutch and Flemings were Germans until after the rebellion against Spain and the 30 Years War whenthey gained a new nationality. The low countries were the source of many German settlers in the East due to their constant overpopulation - Mecklenburg, Pommerania, Transylvania Saxons, Baltic Germans, etc. The north fringe of Germany along those areas and the North Sea was also Saxon and Frisan even as it is today, but not the deep interior, and certainly not the land now called Saxony in East Germany.

The Angles, Jutes, and Norse were mainly from Denmark/Schleswig, with some from southern Norway - especially those who went to Scotland, Orkneys, Isle of Man, and Ireland, as well as to Normandy and Brittainy. The Germans who came to Britain after Roman times were most certainly a minority of the population at all times and places as is decisively shown by modern genetics. There was not then and never has been a decisive total replacement of any population in any place until modern times with modern weaponry of mass slaughter, and Stalinistic logisitics of total evacuation and exile of populations which would be impossible without modern technology. That the English are who they are today is not from replacement popultion of fantasy invaders, but because England was settled in sub-Ice Age times by the same people who settled Norway and Denmark in the northeast, Belgae/Saxons in the south, and Celts from Iberia in the western littoral, just as observed by Roman and Greek era historians of the populations already existing in Britain in their day.

Anonymous said...

Child Labor I found that in the Roman Empire they also had 4 year olds working in the mines so its long before then nuclear family was absolute. In fact if the Romans had learn to use the steam engine according to professors at Oxford they would have beaten England by centuries. About the 3rd and 4th centuries they started to use water mills as an assembly in process to grind bread.

Anonymous said...

Timur Kuran says it allowed Europe to maintain concentrations of wealth for large firms & civil society, while the more egalitarian Muslim world fell behind.

Interesting theory, and very counter-intuitive, considering that the modern Muslim world is far from egalitarian, and has huge extremes of wealth and poverty.

TGGP said...

Egalitarian in its inheritance laws.

Eivind said...

This is a misunderstanding. Denmark, Norway and Netherlands do marry late, often at age ~30, but the reason is certainly not that it takes such a long time to be able to afford a home for the new family. Infact most of those who marry have already cohabitated for years prior to the marriage.