How The Catholic Church Stopped Us From Having Rotherham Grooming Gangs

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A number of us have noted the series of trials going on concerning grooming gangs. The mass rape and abuse of young girls by men from a certain ethnic/religious community in the North of England. It is at times the ethnicity, or the religion, which is blamed. What it might be though is the clan nature of that society, not which Sky God it happens to worship. First cousin marriage does indeed produce very tight knit societies, ones that have a strict and heavy delineation between ingroup and outgroup.

This might be something that the Catholic Church saved us from:

Political institutions vary widely around the world, yet the origin of this variation is not well understood. This study tests the hypothesis that the Catholic Church’s medieval marriage policies dissolved extended kin networks and thereby fostered inclusive institutions. In a difference-in-difference setting, I demonstrate that exposure to the Church predicts the formation of inclusive, self-governed commune cities before the year 1500CE. Moreover, within medieval Christian Europe,stricter regional and temporal cousin marriage prohibitions are likewise positively associated with communes. Strengthening this finding, I show that longer Church exposure predicts lower cousin marriage rates; in turn, lower cousin marriage rates predict higher civicness and more inclusive institutions today. These associations hold at the regional, ethnicity and country level. Twentieth-century cousin marriage rates explain more than 50 percent of variation in democracy across countries today.

Whether that’s worth the altar boys as opposed to the grooming gang victims is a matter of opinion. But the basic finding is interesting. The full paper is here:

Political institutions, ranging from autocratic regimes to inclusive, democratic ones, are
widely acknowledged as a critical determinant of economic prosperity (e.g. Acemoglu and
Robinson 2012, North, Wallis, and Weingast 2009). They create incentives that foster or
inhibit economic growth. Yet, the emergence and global variation of growth-enhancing,
inclusive political institutions in which people broadly participate in the governing process
and the power of the elite is constrained, are not well understood. Initially, inclusive
institutions were largely confined to the West. How and why did those institutions emerge in
Europe?

It’s the same old question being asked, the root one for all economics. What the hell happened in 1750? Why did, for the first time ever, some places start to get rich? Why didn’t others? The lack of first cousin marriage is a new one on me but looks like there’s at least some contribution. Although not specifically the cousin and marriage part, rather, the wider networks rather than immediate family and clan.