|Virginia Deane Abernethy, M.B.A., Ph.D., eclectic*.|
|“Eclectic” describes better than any degree, book, or article the news commentary on this website. Its origin could well be history lessons absorbed at my first school, Northlands, the highly regarded British Girls School in Olivos, Buenos Aires. Afternoon classes taught in Spanish featured Las Malvinas, islands known in morning classes as The Falklands. Is this discrepancy not a fine introduction to self-interest, truth, and power?
Born in Cuba and raised there, Argentina, and New York City, I retired as Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry (Anthropology) at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. I remain an active Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS].
For ten years until 1999, I edited the academic journal, Population, and Environment. Publications include Population Pressure and Cultural Adjustment, which introduced the “fertility opportunity hypothesis”; Population Politics, which updates the hypothesis and adds the bulk of supporting data; and academic and popular articles. Harvard University [Ph.D.], Vanderbilt University [MBA], Wellesley College [B.A.], Riverdale Country School, P.S. 81, and Northlands deserve due credit but are not responsible for anything here to which they would object.
My business as a scientist is to notice patterns that may lead, eventually, to a hypothesis. The fertility opportunity hypothesis is the result of noticing that people welcome a larger family size when the economic opportunity appears to be expanding. On the contrary, the perception of stagnant, contracting, or very competitive economic conditions leads to limiting family size. Much cross-cultural and historical data support this explanation of causality.
For example, the average native-born American perceives a competitive economic climate within which prospects have been declining for approximately 30 years. Therefore the hypothesis predicts that Americans should prefer a small family size. In fact, white women average well below two children each and black women barely more, having approximately replacement level fertility [2.1 children per woman].
Only immigrants from third world societies see American jobs, free education, healthcare, and the social safety net as an improvement over earlier expectations. The fertility opportunity hypothesis predicts that they will have more children than native-born Americans and more, even, than compatriots who remain at home. Fertility rates of Mexican immigrants to the United States have been well studied and, if fact, the average family size is three or four children, much larger than Americans and larger than compatriots remaining in Mexico.
Interests include geopolitics, especially the domestic and world economy and immigration policy. Debates on these issues are usually enjoyable. Gentleman William Buckley made memorable an appearance on “Firing Line” where I debated the late Robert Bartley, open-borders advocate and then-editor of the Wall Street Journal.
Volunteer activities are principally Board membership for the 501(c)3 organizations, Population-Environment Balance and Carrying Capacity Network. I am on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Occidental Quarterly and The Occidental Observer. In desultory fashion, I “bird” and garden, mostly taking time to admire the beauty and marvel of Nature.
eclectic, n. one who practices eclectic methods in science, philosophy, or art.