A very interesting hypothesis indeed. While there are some good points made, there are a few that are a little whacky. I kind of wish I had five or six free hours to address them all. But I will just take one: welfare.
For most of my life, I would say that I've lived a lower-middle class lifestyle. I had a long term illness that prevented me from taking a higher level income. We could say that I've managed to pay my own way. But I have used unemployment insurance and currently have a child benefit grant. And remember, we Canadians do not pay--directly--much for health care.
But there was one time I was poor. There is a big difference between being poor and lower-middle class. Your thinking changes. You are less capable of good judgement. Here is my experience:
If we multiply that situation by a longer time in poverty and by many other people, it's not hard to see the trap that keeps people in poverty. It's really hard for most of them to think their way out of their predicament. Yes, a few do. But most do not.
So what should we do with them? The standard conservative response is: "Fuck them. And fuck their children. They deserve their destitution. Their children deserve their destitution."
So let's just cut out all forms of social assistance. Here is what will happen:
1. Some will find a job.
2. Some will turn to family and be a burden on that family so that family will now be poor--and the cycle continues.
3. Some will live in the street and eventually die an earlier death.
4. Some will take on addictions.
5. Some will turn to petty crime, and eventually end up in jail.
6. There will be people who used to have a support system to help them through some tough times so they could be self-reliant. When that support system is no longer there, they will fall into long-term poverty.
Over the years, I have gotten to know a few Canadians who are on long-term social assistance. For most of them, I would not hire them to watch paint dry. They are so physcically and psychologically damaged that it hurts the economy to put them into the workforce. It is much cheaper to put them in welfare than in jail.
Some of these people can't handle a 40-hour week. But maybe they could handle a 20-hour work week. But 20 hours does not pay the bills. Living in a car will not give them the attitude to take on that 20-hour work week. Fortunately Canadian social programs are getting better at moving these people into their part-time jobs. Having some work gives people confidence and might move them later into full-time. But what happens if we just say "fuck them, go live in your car"?
A well designed social program can work wonders. Canada is much more socialist/liberal than the USA. The amazing thing is that most Canadians who are able to hold on to a miminum wage job would prefer that job than to being on social assistance. We don't have a stampede to the welfare office. And we do help many people who have a short-term financial problem.
You may have heard the Darwin awards. These are "awards" given to silly people who do silly things themselves. The "Darwin" part is that hopefully these people will kill themselves off and our collective gene pool is eventually weeded of their silly thinking.
Unfortunately for evolution biology, these people have probably already bred and passed their genes down before they get killed.
And this is where your r/K hyothesis falls apart. Unless we go back to hunter-gatherer society, there is no natural selection happening. People who make silly decisions--for whatever reason--are not being weeded out of the gene pool.
So the hypthoise is that if we say "fuck them", this problem won't fix itself in two or three generations.