Book review by J.P.Rushton
The Global Bell Curve: Race, IQ and Inequality Worldwide, R. Lynn.
Washington Summit Publishers, Augusta, GA (2008). 378 pp., US $19.95 (PB), ISBN: 1-59368-028-7.
As the title implies, Richard Lynn's new book builds on Herrnstein and Murray's (1994) The Bell Curve. The theme of the book is an examination of whether the same type of racial hierarchy in IQ and socio-economic status that Herrnstein and Murray documented in the US is present in other parts of the world. Herrnstein and Murray found that the average IQ for African Americans (85) is lower than for Hispanic (89), White (103), East Asian (106), and Jewish Americans (113). Lynn shows in detail that similar racial IQ/socio-economic hierarchies are present within Africa, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Throughout the world, Europeans and East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans) average the highest IQs and socio-economic positions, while the lowest averages are found among the Aborigines in Australia and in Africans and their descendants. Intermediate positions are occupied by the Amerindians, the South Asians from the Indian subcontinent, the Maori in New Zealand, and the mixed race peoples in South Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The same pattern is found on multifarious social and life history indicators such as educational levels, earnings, health, accidents, crime, marriage, fertility, and mortality.
Lynn's new book provides fascinating historical vignettes to describe all the migrations and mixing of peoples. It also provides clear tables of data, which allow the reader to check the facts for themselves. For example, in Brazil, it is the Japanese who are the highest achieving population. They were brought in as indentured labourers to work the plantations after slavery was abolished in 1888. Yet, today, the Japanese outscore Whites on IQ tests, earn more, and are over-represented in university places. Although they are less than 1% of the total population they comprise 17% of the students at the elite University of Sao Paulo.
In Caribbean countries such as Cuba, Trinidad, and Guyana, it was the Chinese and South Asians who were brought in after the end of slavery. Subsequently, they too began to do well, with the Chinese excelling and the South Asians placing intermediate to Whites and Blacks. In Britain large numbers of Blacks from Africa and the Caribbean, and South Asians from Africa, India, and Pakistan began to enter the country in the 1950s and 1960s. Twenty-two studies find Afro-Caribbeans have a median IQ of 86, which is similar to the African American mean of 85. Twelve studies find the South Asians have a median IQ of 92. In Africa and Australia too, South Asians average intermediate to Whites and Blacks in IQ scores, educational achievement, and economic success.
At the other end of the IQ distribution, seven studies of Jews in Britain yield a median IQ of 110. In educational achievement, East Asians in Britain also outperform the indigenous Whites. Similarly in Australia, East Asians (mostly Chinese and Vietnamese) average higher than Whites in IQ, educational achievement, and earnings. Lynn describes pockets of ethnic Chinese elsewhere in the world such as in Mexico, Argentina, and especially Hawaii, where they also do well. In Canada too, there is an IQ hierarchy: Jews (109), East Asians (101), Whites (100), Amerinidians (89), and Blacks (84).
The results are remarkably consistent over time, place, and situation, irrespective of the original status of the people, or the language, history, and political organization of the country concerned. --Personality and Individual Differences (48) 2008
About the Author
Currently he is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland. His main work has been on intelligence and personality.
His books include Personality and National Character (1972), Dimensions of Personality (1980), Educational Achievement in Japan (1988), Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (1996), Eugenics: A Reassessment (2001), (co-author) IQ and the Wealth of Nations (2002), Race Differences in Intelligence (2006), and (co-author) IQ and Global Inequality (2006).
He has received awards including the Passingham Prize at Cambridge University for the best Psychology student of the year and the US Mensa Awards for Excellence in 1985, 1993, and 2007 for work on intelligence.