It is an unexamined article of faith among intellectuals that more "intelligence" (i.e., being smarter) is always better. That is balderdash. There are situations where the ability to follow directions, a high tolerance for pain and peasant cunning are infinitely preferable to "intelligence".
It seems like a simple proposition: How can it not be better to be bigger, faster, stronger and smarter than everybody else?
I want to point out some circumstances where that is not true.
Consider professional sports. When is it not advantageous to be 6'-8" tall, run a 9 second 100 yard dash, have a 31 inch vertical jump and weigh 320 pounds? How about being a jockey, limbo dancing, marathon running or being a Masters swimmer?
Another time it is not to your advantage to be "big" is during famines. An 87 pound girl will survive on 1300 Calories a day far longer than Mighty Mammoth.
What does that have to do with "intelligence"?
One marker of "intelligence" is a sense of playfulness. An eagerness to try new things and do things in different ways.
That playfulness becomes a problem in a resource starved environment where there is no margin for mistakes.
Consider a family of artisans in Kerala building dhows. Your family has building these boats in the same general pattern, +/- 5% for the last two thousand years. Boats that don't sink are valued like Warren Buffett's advice. Boats that sink or handle poorly, leak or cannot carry much cargo, UNLUCKY ships, are shunned like Eaglevale Partners Fund.
Families that experiment too much will lose their livelihood. Families that stick closely to the known, proven pattern will prosper.
Must be something in the water
Our society sets such a great store on intelligence and innovation that it is hard to get people (and businesses) to learn the basics before they start burning through resources "innovating".
Folks who are considering raising livestock should start with chickens. Or if they are a grazing enterprise, they should cut their teeth raising crossbred, "Angus-like" beef. They should probably start with medium sized Angus-like mama cows and a large muscled, terminal beef sire (I like Simmental but there are a dozen good choices). Raise them to 1300 pounds on-the-hoof and then sell them.
If you cannot break even raising Angus-cross beef then you will lose your butt trying to raise anything more exotic. Emus, Texas Longhorns, or 90% of the breeds on this list:
- Africander Akaushi alberes alentejana
- allmogekor american americanwhitepark amerifax
- amritmahal anatolianblack andalusianblack andalusiangrey
- angeln angus ankole ankolewatusi
- Argentine Criollo Cattle asturianmountain asturianvalley aubrac
- aulieata australianbraford australianfriesiansahiwal Australian Lowline
- australianmilkingzebu ayrshire azaouak bachaur
- baladi baltataromaneasca barka barzona
- bazadais bearnais beefalo beefmaker
- beefmaster belarusred belgianblue belgianred
- belmontadaptaur belmontred Belted Galloway bengali
- berrendas bhagnari blancacacerena blancoorejinegro
- blondedaquitaine bonsmara Boran bordelais
- braford brahman brahmousin brangus
- braunvieh britishwhite brownswiss busa
- cachena canadienne canaryisland canchim
- carinthianblond caucasian channi charbray
- charolais chianina chinampo chineseblackandwhite
- cholistani corriente Costeño Con Cuernos dajal
- damascus damietta dangi danishjersey
- danishred deoni devon dexter
- dhanni Djali dolafe droughtmaster
- dulong Dutch Belted dutchfriesian...
Almost the same as Example one. Somebody wants to start an orchard. They skip over the various planning tools (spreadsheets) that are freely available through the agriculture universities. They buy five or ten acres and then think they are going to be able to extract a middle class income from it.
|This is the entire market for Heirloom apples. And they all live in a large, university town ninety miles from your orchard. They can rhapsodize about the virtues of Tydeman's Late Orange, Ashmead's Kernel and Count Althan's Gage for hours. All based on old catalogs they unearthed in the University Library basement. Between the three of them they will eat 25 pounds of apples in a year.|
The eager fruit grower has a boat load of "problems" he has to puzzle his way through: Finding good nursery stock. Finding varieties that will do well in his climate. Fertilizing. Irrigation. Weed control. Supporting the trees. Pest control. And here is the 400 pound gorilla: MARKETING his fruit. Not only must he solve these problems but he must solve them simultaneously.
Until he has solid markets for his products he is pouring money into a firehose and has absolutely no return to support his ever-growing debt. While juggling all of his sub-enterprises, he needs to continuously walk up-and-down the length of that hose looking for leaks. The more exotic the enterprise, the more innovative and exotic the money leaks he will have to diagnose and fix. At least with apples the parameters are well known and the fruit sells itself; if not as table fruit then as processed fruit (apple pies or apple sauce) or cider.
My advice to the novice fruit grower is to buy enough property to amortize the equipment you will need. Look for ancillary businesses that can absorb less-than-perfect fruit. If you must scratch your "exotic" itch, then be fully aware that you are subsidizing a vice and not pioneering a business. Allocate a small percentage of your acreage to the exotics. Exotics are trips to the casino, not dollar-cost-average investments in your 401-k.
Know your market and plant accordingly. Fore example, one local orchard hosts elementary school field trips. The kids show up in September and October while the weather is pleasant. They have an area set aside where they grow "kid" apples.
What is a "kid" apple?
- A "kid" apple is brightly colored.
- A "kid" apple is not too hard.
- A "kid" apple is more toward the sweet end of the taste spectrum
- A "kid" apple has tender skin
- A "kid" apple tends to be smaller than 200 grams (88 apples per 40 pound box)
The schools pay the orchard a fee based on the number of students. One of the things the students get to do is go out into the orchard and pick some fruit to take back to their family.
Somehow, I cannot see 52 kids quietly riding the bus back home carrying small bags of pawpaws or durian to give to their mom and grandma.
In the end, it comes down to resources. Resource starved environments cannot support as much "playful innovation".
Maybe folks buckle down due to their innate, stoic nature (good luck with that). Perhaps folks blunt their give-a-damn by smoking fine botanicals or ingesting home-brew. Or maybe nature selects for less "intelligence" when resources get skinny.
Regardless, it must be recognized that assuming "intelligence" is always desirable is a form of cultural imperialism and is IQ-centric. There are environments where the ability to follow directions, a high tolerance for pain and peasant cunning will whip "innovation and intelligence" every day of the week.