In his book ‘The WEIRDest People in the World (WEIRD Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic societies), Joseph Henrich argues that cultural evolution gave the west some critical advantages.


In his 1997 classic ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel,’ Jarad Diamond argues that: geography is the essential factor in determining development and that ideas, such as farming, could flow on an east-west axis. However, Henrich notes that cultures evolve like organisms, and the best-adapted cultures replace the less well adapted. Note the following characteristics of WEIRD Culture:

  • Literacy: Reading and education for everybody men and women.
  • Nuclear family. No extended network of relations. New couples set up home alone.
  • Guilt, not shame.  For example, self-imposed guilt makes us feel guilty if we do not complete a task.
  • Forming large non-related groups.  Can form large groups of non-related people who share a common set of ideas, such as religion, language, and culture.
  • Monogamy. One partner at a time.
  • Wealth. Individuals control their wealth.
  • Marriage. People choose who they are going to marry.

Consider the importance of WEIRD culture in determining how the ADF operates.