Will we become two species?

For years I’ve also been writing that a serious social divide is taking place in the US and the UK — having very similar economies — but also in Germany, Holland, Belgium, and France. In today’s Sunday Times, concerning the US, Irwin Stelzer writes: “For every man between the ages of 25 and 55 that is counted among the unemployed, there are three who are neither working or looking for work.”

In short, in the most advanced countries there are gradual accumulations of so-called ‘jobs’ — as defined by economists — which have neither the financial incentive, skill-attractiveness nor social satisfactions that even the meanest jobs had recently as, say, 30 or 40 years ago. A cultural phase change is going on in which — at the top end — the number of specializations is growing, incomes are rising, and education requirements need to be higher than ever.

There is already something like a 10-points IQ divide between those in the social elite — about 15% of the population? — and the average of the remainder. This would not be so serious if there were a fair degree of intermixing of marriage — and subsequently of talented children — between the two halves. But this is not what happens.

Those who have interesting, well-paid jobs tend to meet similar partners at the elite universities. As for those who don’t make the grade in the superior part they will, of course, tend to drop out before they produce their children. Also rare, but running counterwise, are exceptionally talented young adults in the majority population becoming accepted by the elite and joining them for marriage and jobs — with bright children as a consequence.

In the advanced countries we might therefore be at the beginning of a widening division between two parts of the population. There is nothing unusual in this. It is called sympatry in biology and has already happened many times in man’s past. Is it happening again? Will we become two separate species living side by side or will the high profile part of the population ‘defeat’ the other in some way — in survival efficiency perhaps — it’s an intriguing question.

2 thoughts on “Will we become two species?

  1. I agree in general with your speculation but would contend that degree of speciation would probably be greater across nations rather than within nations. That is, the IQ difference between the elite and the rest within a rich country like the US would be lower than the IQ difference between the US and say Somalia. The latter difference can be reasonably expected to be greater due to higher geographical isolation.

    A very brief note on geographical isolation and speciation is at http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_43

  2. Some years ago I read Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. The book dates back to the 1950’s but he forecast the creation of two classes: the elite engineers who design and run the machines, and the underclass who have very little to do. It is a novel but made sense then and still is interesting.

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