[Marxism] Stretch Genes by H. Allen Orr | The New York Review of Books

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 17 07:25:45 MDT 2014

(This review of Wade's book suggests that he has married sociobiology to 
the kind of Eurocentrism that Jim Blaut critiqued. In other words, 
England prevailed not just because of Protestantism, etc. but because 
they had a genetic predisposition to Protestantism. So if the Incas had 
the same genetic predisposition, they would have invaded and colonized 
Europe? In terms of Jewish intellectual superiority resting on genes, 
Wade clearly has never seen an Adam Sandler movie.)

Wade also thinks that “evolutionary differences between societies on the 
various continents may underlie major and otherwise imperfectly 
explained turning points in history such as the rise of the West and the 
decline of the Islamic world and China.” Here, and especially in his 
treatment of why the industrial revolution flourished in England, his 
book leans heavily on Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms (2007). Across 
these historical turning points, the details differ but the story 
remains the same: certain peoples were predisposed genetically to 
behaviors and thus institutions that paved the way for their success, 
whether, say, economic (the West) or intellectual (the Jews). Other 
peoples, alas, had other genes.


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