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Demographic control

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Synonyms: Demographic regulation

Demographic control is a fauceir that evolved with the advent of societies. It is a byproduct of social evolution. One of many social fauciers that are essential for society's persistence. Democraphic control may be interpreted as an instrument of society specific enslavement of its element fauceirs, humans. The aim of demographic control is to adjust the number of people in a society to a society's wealth.

Demographic regulation is synonymous with control on this page but it actually describes a different fauceir. Regulation is is a more complex or advanced control according to fauceir definitions. All social measures to limit human population that evolved over human history are still controls only. Regulation would require fine tuning and even positive and negative feedback, but all the fauceirs that currently effectively curb human population growth are unspecific only.

Demographic regulation becomes an issue when humans entered social evolution and social fauceirs became masters of biological ones. Humans as biological beings are interested to reproduce in an unrestricted manner according to the generally accepted evolutionary rule of the survival of the fittest: Evolutionary fitness is better the more offspring is generated, and the more offspring the better a genetic trait is fixed in a population. With the advent of a social life, this rule becomes increasingly overruled by social pressure. While in populations of individually acting biological individuals population size is controlled by environmental factors, such as food, parasites, climate and so on, in population of animals living in social compounds, population size is increasingly controlled by those animals themselves, that is by those animals society. Not surprising though that, some population control, the ancestor of demographic regulation, are already found in social animals. For instance the number of worker bees in a hive is controlled by the queen, and infanticide is observed in mammals such as lions and dolphins. Maybe infanticide happened in hunter-gatherer societies too as they showed a similar rather simple social structure. To my knowledge in currently living hunter-gatherer societies infanticide is not reported.

Demographic regulation becomes an issue because human societies began to produce more food than actually necessary. If there were no demographic regulation, the population would explode, and the growth beyond the limits of subsistence would cause the whole society to perish. Thus demographic regulation evolved as a result of selection among societies. Those societies that managed a better regulation were better off and outsmarted the others.

Demographic regulation had different feature depending on the level of social evolution and cultural inheritance.

historical periodsocial demographic control
hunter-gatherer societyinfanticide, cannibalism, fighting rival groups, male expulsion, female abduction
slaveryhuman breeding
feudalismmonogyneous marriage (Christianity), polygyneous marriage(Islam), Circumcision (Judaism,Islam), child sex preference (India, China), governmental pressure
capitalismsocial pressure

When I describe the fauceirs that predominantly controlled population growth in a hunter-gatherer society, we have to keep in mind that except cannibalism all of these controls are still in action either legally or illegally or even adapted to the present culture.

Infanticide is observed in Social animals. Infants that are not direct decedents of the alpha male are often killed by the dominant male. It is often discussed that this is a mere measure to increase an alpha male's fitness by focusing a females attention to his own decedents, but it is population control too. Infanticide became part of a religious culture in American Indians that inhabited todays Mexico. Throughout human history infanticide has been practiced, legal or illegal, some cultures adopted measures such as abortion and birth control that are declared acceptable.
Cannibalism effectively controls the human population. If it is executed in same tribe the distinction between infanticide gets blurred[1].
Fighting rival groups
This type of population control survived through centuries as wars.
Male expulsion
Intimidation of males and even their expulsion from a society is common throughout history. While expulsion of surplus males by an alpha male is common among many mammalians the modern form of expulsion was making them soldiers, sailers, duel victims, or criminals imprisoned. At this point is worth mentioning that most of the inmates in prison were males.
Female abduction
Although most scientists believe that female abduction's sole purpose was to increase the fitness of a alpha male, I'm convinced that this entails decreased fertility as will be discussed with polygyny.

The methods of population control during slavery were most effective as breeding humans like cattle was the rule. This is one reason why slavery was so stable and slave states survived several centuries without any crisis.

Human breeding
One thing why our present culture hates slavery is because slaveholders had the right to kill any slave that he considered useless or couldn't afford to feed.

Feeing slaves required new methods of population control to evolve. Those predominantly aimed on reducing promiscuity.

By marriage a female and a male were bound to reproduce with one another only. That had the obvious consequence that some fertile men and women were married to unfertile partners and so had no or less offspring.
To allow one male to impregnate many females looks like enhancing his fitnesses enormously, which is true for rich men only as most of the men were poor some were left without any chance to reproduce at all.
I'm not an expert on that subject but I can assume that circumcision reduced lust and therefore helped tho reduce sexual intercourses which in times of no birth control translated into fewer children.
The preference of male children
In some cultures male children preferences lead to infanticide and further reduced the society's number of offspring by creating lack of matching females.
Governmental Pressure
Governmental pressure as the one-child policy is not restricted to China. The Ottoman empire, for instance, allowed a male child of the Sultan to stay alive.

Currently the the capitalistic way to reduce population growth is to exert economic pressure. A recently published study found that parents with a smaller number of children are rewarded by higher social status[2].

Tags: Anthropology Behavior Control Evolution Imprecision Theory

Categories: Sociology


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