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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"IQ and the wealth of nations"

Back in 2002 Professor Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster (in Northern Ireland) and Professor Tatu Vanhanen of the University of Tampere (in Finland) wrote a book with the above title to show how closely correlated most nations' per capita GDP  correlated with their average national IQ.

The overall correlation is quite strong, with a few notable exceptions. For  example, China had a low average GDP, but that was because they are a communist nation which had only recently loosened restrictions on a market economy. (That number has probably risen significantly since 2003.) Qatar had outperformed its national average IQ simply because of its tremendous oil resources. However, by and large, the correlation held.

Lynn and Vanhanen admitted that their IQ data was not as comprehensive and rigorously derived as they would have liked, and that some of the numbers are partly estimates.

But to me, the most fascinating part of the list below is simply the average IQ's:

Data of Lynn and Vanhanen

real GDP
per cap
Hong Kong10720,76319,817
South Korea10613,47819,298
New Zealand10017,28816,183
U Kingdom10020,33616,183
United States9829,60515,145
Czech Republic9712,36214,626
Western Samoa873,8329,436
Marshall Islands843,0007,879
Puerto Rico848,0007,879
South Africa728,4881,651
Sierra Leone64458-2,501
Equatorial Guinea591,817-5,096

It's surprising how low India averages in IQ: 81. They are the country which built the Taj Mahal (from 1632 to 1653, as impressive as anything built in Europe during that era). They come up with great mathematicians from time to time. And students of Indian descent in this country have dominated the Westinghouse Science Fair competition in recent years. Is it that the smart ones come over here? That the testing is somehow skewed in India? Or that the general poverty over there means that the environmental component has a strong effect on their results? In any case, it's surprising.

Nepal is also surprising, checking in at only 78. Kathmandu has fairly sophisticated architecture. And several places in Nepal have claimed to the inspiration for Shangri-la. Perhaps the reason everyone was so happy in Shangri-la was because they were too stupid not to be.

South Koreans actually outscore the Japanese. So why are the Japanese so prejudiced against them? You'd think they'd be happy to intermix, instead of hiring detectives before a marriage to make sure that a prospective spouse has no trace of Korean ancestry. Particularly since, at least from what I've seen firsthand, Koreans are a physically hardier people.

No figures are available for North Korea, but it seems a fairly safe assumption that their average IQ doesn't diverge all that much from their brethren to the south. Given that they're basically starving, that doesn't say a lot for communism.

How can Israel only have an average IQ of 94? Jews in this country are known to have an average IQ significantly higher than other whites (somewhere between 105 and 110). Is there a lower Ashkenazi to Sephardic ratio there? Or is it the resident Palestinians who bring the average down?

The thing that really left me wondering was, how does a country even function with an average IQ of 59 (Equatorial Guinea) or 63 (Ethiopia)? In the US, the number below which you are considered retarded is 70. But to have an entire country with an average well below that line? How do the trains run? How do cars get repaired? How do crops get grown?


Pete said...

Rankings like this need to be taken with a grain of salt. It's all too pat, too reductionist for my taste. Sure, some of it conforms to our own personal observations but other parts of it just make no sense. It's worth noting and then filing away in one's mind as a springboard for further exploration of the subject but shouldn't be elevated to some paint-by-the-numbers hard and fast scheme. The world is a complicated place.

John Craig said...

Pete --
Everything you say is true. I agree, some of those IQ statistics are hard to believe (they seem on the low side). But I think the authors' larger point was that a nation's average IQ is closely correlated with its per capita GDP, which is hard to deny -- as complicated at the world is.

Dave Moriarty said...

maybe we should change the quote on the Statue of Liberty to read:
"Give me your smart, high IQ, your brilliant masses yearning to breathe make our economic engine purr." -

John Craig said...

Dave --
If only we could.....

Anonymous said...

The thing about india is the 5 castes that for thousands of years didnt cross breed, go from light skined to black and high IQ to low. The higher IQ caste is more likelly to come.

John Craig said...

Anon --
More likely to come here? That makes sense, I guess, they can afford it and they are less likely to be Hindu, and have that accept-your-lot attitude.

Anonymous said...

My guess about the Indian IQ is that it's only the bright ones who have emigrated, the average ones staying behind. Indians are stereotyped to be very bright in the UK too, our hospitals being full of Indian doctors.

As for the Koreans vs. Japanese thing: the Japanese conquered Korea a long time ago. It's similar to how the English and French are still suspicious of each other, all because the Normans conquered England in 1066. We still get the "I don't like Germans" sentiment from uneducated people in the UK because of the Second World War. And I don't think any non-communist in the West fully trusts the Russians after the Cold War. Old habits die hard.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
That makes sense about India.

The thing that confuses me about the Japanese vs. Koreans is that the Koreans would seem to have much more reason to hate the Japanese than vice versa. Yet most of the prejudice seems to flow the other way.

Steven said...

A possible explanation for the Indian average IQ vs academic and cultural achievements is that those are the achievements of the elite castes, of the Brahmins who were the scholars. The castes were relatively endogamous so could have developed disparate IQs. Apparently a preference for lighter skinned women meant that Brahmins evolved lighter skin than other Indians. Also, a strong cultural emphasis on scholarship could have also meant high intelligence was selected for.

However, I think that the average IQ of all British Indians is about the same as white British and they are from various castes, including lower ones. That could be immigrant selection but I suspect that the Indian IQ will turn out to be significantly higher than that quoted in your post. The child malnutrition in India is even worse than sub saharan Africa.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Everything you say makes sense. The child malnutrition factor is big, and the fact that children have to start working to help support their families is also significant.

Immigration selection works both ways. Often it's the brightest and most ambitious who have the means to get out, but they also have the least incentive, since they usually occupy the highest economic (and social) rungs in any country. For instance, when the Brits came to this country in the 18th century, it wasn't the upper class which came over.

Steven said...

I think the Japanese looking down on Koreans is something to do with the fact that Japan developed first and poor Korean immigrants moved to Japan. Poor immigrant groups are usually looked down upon and often have higher rates of crime etc. A Japanese chef working in England told me with complete conviction that Koreans are untrustworthy.

Also, I would imagine the fact that Japan dominated Korea would lead to Korean resentment and bitterness but not disrespect. The looking down type of disrespect would be more likely to go the other way in that kind of relationship. I think there actually has been some significant anti-Japanese feeling in Korea itself because of the occupation.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Yes, all true. The last time I lived in Japan I was 14, too young to be aware of such things, but I've read all about the prejudice since then. When I lived there for a year when I was 8 my best friend was a boy named Harada (a Japanese name); my mother told me years later that his family was in fact Korean. I'd had no idea until then.

And yes, the Koreans greatly resent the Japanese for the occupation, and particularly for their use of the Korean women as "comfort women," something that festers to this day.

Steven said...

John, in reply to your point about immigrant selection, yeah I tend to think that factor is exaggerated. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some selection going on though.

One interesting thing to note is that there might be an IQ floor invovled, so people below a certain IQ can't migrate successfully. This would eliminate the average lowering affect of their IQs.

Among the middle, *maybe* the brighter would tend to be better at getting the economic resources or make the arrangements to travel or realsie its an intelligent course of action.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I"m not sure what you mean by "IQ floor." Do you mean that people below a certain level wouldn't be intelligent enough to have the ambition and organization to make a big move? Not sure I agree with that, and in any case, that floor has probably moved lower in the past fifty or so years. These days it's much simpler to board a plane and declare yourself a refugee, or cross the Rio Grande, or pay a smuggler to get you across a border. Not all that much intelligence required.

Steven said...

John, you got the idea. I got that from Chuck at occidentalist. I actually tend to agree with you to be honest.

Do you read that blog though? 'The facts that need to be explained' is brilliant. That guy is very knowledgeable on this topic and he seems to handle complex logic with ease. Its not easy for me to keep up with him! He seems to me extremely intelligent and I consider him one of the best authorities on race and IQ.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I just tried Googling it, but there seem to be several varieties of it that came up, not sure which is the "real" one.

I vaguely remember having read it in the past, and vaguely remember agreeing with it. But too many blogs, too little time. I keep up with Steve Sailer and a few others, though; Sailer seems to pretty much be command central for HBD types.

Steven said...

Actually that was too generous to myself. I find it hard to keep up with him most of the time, a brain strain. Not just because its technical- the guy has thought everything through superbly. As far as I can tell anyway. The best I can do most of the time is engage with snippets. I'm sure you know his blog. I think you referenced human varieties once.

Steven said...

yeah Sailor is always entertaining and easy to read. His articles are a good read.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I can't remember having quoted Occidental, but I'm sure we talk about some of the same stuff.

I doubt he discusses fashion as often though. ;)

neil robinson said...

The original post said....
"The thing that really left me wondering was, how does a country even function with an average IQ of 59 (Equatorial Guinea) or 63 (Ethiopia)? In the US, the number below which you are considered retarded is 70. But to have an entire country with an average well below that line? How do the trains run? How do cars get repaired? How do crops get grown?"
Simple. They don't. Transport infrastructure has dwindled since independence to an almost non-existant level, cars simply run into the ground and good growing soil stays idle. In the case of Equatorial Guinea, just read its post independence history - it makes shocking reading!

John Craig said...

Neil --
You're right. Zimbabwe is another example.