Are You Type A or Type B?

Robin Hanson sets out descrip­tions of two dif­fer­ent types of peo­ple in a post this morning:

TYPE *A* folks . . . love nature, travel, and explo­ration, and they move more often to new com­mu­ni­ties. . . . They talk openly about sex, are more sex­u­ally promis­cu­ous, and more accept­ing of divorce, abor­tion, homo­sex­u­al­ity, and pre-​​marital and extra-​​marital sex. They have fewer kids, who they are more reluc­tant to dis­ci­pline or constrain.

. . . .

TYPE *B* folks travel less, and move less often from where they grew up. They are more polite and care more for clean­li­ness and order. They have more self-​​sacrifice and self-​​control, which makes them more stressed and sui­ci­dal. They work harder and longer at more tedious and less healthy jobs, and are more faith­ful to their spouses and their communities.

These types correspond–roughly but well–to the cul­tural divide in the West. They also cor­re­spond to the divide between farm­ers and foragers.

Type As, the for­agers, do well in times of plenty when pro­vid­ing for min­i­mum needs is easy. Type Bs, the farm­ers, do bet­ter in lean times, when strong com­mu­ni­ties and being able to pro­vide for one­self and one’s fam­ily is dif­fi­cult and thus para­mount.  Has the West’s pros­per­ity for the last half-​​century or so has made Type As dom­i­nant? If any­thing, at least in the United States, Type Bs were polit­i­cally dom­i­nant. If the forager-​​against-​​farmer dichotomy is cor­rect, why? Was it the fear of immi­nent destruc­tion by the Soviets or the mem­o­ries of the Great Depression and the World Wars that made the farm­ers ascen­dant? If so, will fear of ter­ror­ism or envi­ron­men­tal apoc­a­lypse keep them ascendant?

Hanson will be blog­ging about the types this week. I’m look­ing for­ward to it.