#88 Joe Henrich (WEIRD people and what drives a culture’s success?)

  • 00:00:34 What drove Joe to research and write his latest book – The WEIRDest People in the World and what it suggests about the timeline of human development
  • 00:08:10 What made us these WEIRD people? Why and how did the nuclear family emerge? How did marriage rules contribute to this? How did public markets evolve to support the growth of WEIRD people?
  • 00:13:46 What role did the Catholic Church contribute to the rise of the WEIRD people? How did the Orthodox Church help develop a similar approach?
  • 00:17:16 How early Christianity spread mostly through women in urban areas.
  • 00:20:10 What actually drives the dialectic between pleasure and moral behavior? How are religions modifying our behavior to cooperate more and behave ‘less sinful’?
  • 00:25:59 Is Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) right? Did we (the West) simply get lucky?
  • 00:30:31 What should we keep in mind if we set up a new society from scratch?
  • 00:34:47 What role should institutions play in a cultural development? Can they define the ‘ought’ but can they leave the ‘how’ open?
  • 00:38:35 Why did other religions not copy the successful innovations of the Catholic Church? Is religion developing in a similar way of ‘creative destruction’?
  • 00:44:10 Does more people (with diverse backgrounds) in the same space produce the most productivity?
  • 00:49:29 Is our declining birth rate a bug or feature? Doesn’t it slow down or rate of innovation greatly?
  • 00:52:45 What roles does polygamy and religion have in the birth rate?
  • 00:59:01 is freedom a central part of a success of a civilization?

You may watch this episode on Youtube – Joe Henrich (WEIRD people and what drives a culture’s success?).

Joe Henrich is a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University (and formerly a professor of psychology and economics at the University of British Columbia).

He is particularly interested in the question of how humans evolved from “being a relatively unremarkable primate a few million years ago to the most successful species on the globe”, and how culture shaped our species’ genetic evolution.

His latest book is now available on Amazon – The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.

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