The Z-man had a post about human capital and if people are better of today than in the past. He theorizes both yes and no and about genetics playing a part, besides the Pinkerton analysis that the decline of interpersonal violence means we are better off. (I do think Pinkerton makes a good point on that subject.)
My thoughts however diverged in a different direction from his initial post. There’s a key element to human capital that we tend to overlook; predictability. I’ll try to hastily summarize it here and perhaps better think through it for the future.
So why does predictability matter?
The more predictable your local environment, situation, workplace, neighbors, laws, and daily life are in general, the better off you will be. Knowing that your farmland is NOT going to be burned by invaders,makes it far easier and logical to make plans for the future such as planting crops, crop/field rotation, etc.
You know there is less risk. That’s a big deal in terms if you have limited time and resources. Back in the day, alot of people didnt live past 45 and had limited resources. They had to plan their families future with that in mind. You try that all of that without the convenient crutches our modern society offers us today.
For instance, if you know that an invading army isn’t going to burn down your home, you can invest in it and the village/city you live in. That’s definitely a big deal. You might even build furniture, create a sculpture, build roads, walls, etc. The Mongols aren’t coming through to devastate the countryside, so you know you can go for a walk and even trade in the next town. Commerce can commence. Capital can flow.
Our intelligence may be declining, but our capital continues to grow in certain aspects with technology making many daily tasks easier as well as making many aspects of production quicker and easier. (Imagine constructing a building 500 years ago vs now and the difference in the availability of tools.)
This all assumes predictability though. With the decline of social trust – and all the various factors that contribute toward that loss of trust – the world becomes less predictable. Those factors can be everything from “diversity” to the globalist push for open borders to the internet revealing human nature’s apparent weakness for fake news and social media lynch mobs fueled by appealing and exploiting our base emotions such as anger.
Some aspects of predictability aren’t as predictable – pun intended – or at least as flushed out.
Modernity has also reversed predictability in aspects of culture and society. That matters. No one is fiddling on the roof anymore. Divorce, family separation, and children growing up in various different homes is becoming the norm – which it certainly wasn’t just 100 years ago.
Assuming your parents are actually married, which is about 50% likely now, you really dont know if they will stay together – something that was almost assured barely 100 years ago. Apparently that’s now more true of the elites and upper classes instead of the working class and poor who arguably need that marital stability the most.
Men, women, and families knew for the most part what to expect when it came to family stability. That’s no longer the case with part of the blame lying in no fault divorce laws regardless of intention. Some of the unforeseen consequences now result in families where often there is no father to guarantee stability. He can after all be undermined by the numerous other partners the mother may have. (The reverse may happen, but 90% of custody lies with the mothers.)
I’m a bit exhausted by hearing MRA talking points and the rage of MGTOW/Incel types, but unpredictability in cultural and societal assurances that you as the father wont be divorce raped, reduced to seeing your kids every other week, possible child support, etc doesn’t exactly provide incentives for the peter pan video game-playing-man childs we hear about to lay down roots and get busy working full time jobs to help fuel the tax base.
Bottom line is that it’s just another form of unpredictability with consequences for our society we are just starting to understand. To make that unpredictability even worse, a “culture war” adds fuel to it’s wildly spread fires as people start to lose a firm grasp of the social implicit scripts for daily interaction with each other.
What may have been comedic harmless fun in the past may be dug up in your 1980 year book by a twitter lynch mob, cost you your current job, and possibly endanger your ability to pay your mortgage and put food on the table for your family. Even video footage and pictures are now easily manipulated to drive whatever narrative one may wish about a person or an event which manifested in horrid fashion via the #CovingtonGate incident.
That’s just yet another aspect of the current unpredictability which keeps getting more volatile and scary. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great time to be alive and I’d choose today’s unpredictability over that of just a few centuries ago. But today’s challenges are a series of unfortunate events with stacking and cascading unpredictability with consequences for society we should start grappling with – or at the very least and quite ironically attempting to plan and accommodate for. When life gives you lemons, adapt.