Is poverty genetic?

Quamrul Ashraf has pointed me to an episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman titled “Is Poverty Genetic?”

The official version of the video is below (payment required?), although it is blocked in Australia (Australians lead the world in digital piracy, despite being willing to pay for content. This sort of thing is why). Below that is another version I managed to find on YouTube – so go for it.

The good: The coverage of Ashraf’s work with Oded Galor on genetic diversity and economic development (my posts on their work are here), experiments on capuchin monkeys’ sense of fairness, and our sense of shame.

The so-so: The opening piece on Eric Turkheimer’s research on the heritability of IQ was OK, but when tied into the next section on differences in brain development, it goes a bit awry. A few concepts that would have helped – IQ heritability increases with age, differences that emerge after birth can be genetic, and genes shape their environment.

The not so good: Kin selection being spun as sacrifice for the benefit of the species. The overall conclusion.

Not sure: The econophysics of poverty.

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