- Series: Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Praeger (February 28, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 027597510X
- ISBN-13: 978-0275975104
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,482,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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IQ and the Wealth of Nations
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"Lynn and Vanhanen have made a major contribution to highlighting the importance of intellegence as one factor in accounting for disparities between rich and poor countries."-Development Policy Review
"Lynn and Vanhanen have launched a powerful challenge to economic historians and development economists ..."-Heredity
?Lynn and Vanhanen have launched a powerful challenge to economic historians and development economists ...?-Heredity
?Lynn and Vanhanen have made a major contribution to highlighting the importance of intellegence as one factor in accounting for disparities between rich and poor countries.?-Development Policy Review
"[A] brilliant integration of economics and psychology that illuminates the nexus between mental ability on the one hand, and national wealth, industrial productivity, and well being, on the other. This is a book that social scientists, policy experts, and global investment analysts cannot afford to ignore....Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen's thesis is stunningly engineered to allow for no error of inference and no possible outcome than the correct one, strangely overlooked until now...IQ and the Wealth of Nations does for the study of human diversity and achievement among nations what The Bell Curve did for IQ and achievement in the USA."-J. Phillippe Rushton Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Professor of Psychology, University of Western Ontario
About the Author
RICHARD LYNN is Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Now with the Whitfield Institute, among Professor Lynn's earlier publications are Dysgenics (Praeger, 1996) and Eugenics (Praeger, 2001).
TATU VANHANEN is Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Tampere and Docent Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Helsinki, Finland. The author of four earlier books, he concentrates on the comparative study of democratization, evolutionary roots of politics, and ethnic nepotism and conflicts.
Top customer reviews
However this book is a good example of "garbage in, garbage out" where poor input data leads to poor output conclusion irrespective of the intermediary analysis.
The data is based on *** HIGHLY *** inadequate samples.
Example: to establish the average Iq of 25,000,000 Canadians the authors base their values on ** ONE ** sample of ** 313 ** canadians aged ... 7 to 12 years (!) and taken in ... 1979 !!!.
There is not even a mention if the sample is a random sample or if it was taken in a poor or rich suburb, or in a rural or city area, etc, which means in all likelyhood it was unlikely to even ba random sample, or worse the authors didn't seem to realise that this inadequacy would invalidate the whole study.
Many other countries IQ are similarly based on 1 or 2 old non-representative studies.
In the end, the claim that the authors make that they have "found" a relationship between iq of the countries and the wealth of nations is totally unfounded given the inadequacy of the data. I am stunned that the reasonably intelligent authors would not have realise their glaring mistake.
On a more positive note, chapter 1, a review of all the theories explaining the wealth of nation is exceptionally concise and well done and very worth reading, and similarly chapter 2, explaining the current state of knowledge on intelligence research is a good read.
The IQ statistics for Northeast Asian countries (100-107), are accurate, as are the statistics for homogeneous European (95-100) and sub-Saharan African (66-73) nations and relatively homogeneous Latin American nations (84-91) are largely accurate, not only with the listed studies, but with additional studies not mentioned and also common sense, if that can be used. Yet a weak point of the authors is in studying non-homogeneous societies and in analyzing their possibilities. The US racial IQ breakdown is as follows (Jewish 117, East Asian 105, white 102, black 85, Latin American 91), these are approximate figures. Yet the authors do not analyze how these different IQ groups interact and how this affects national wealth. This in one weakness.
Another related weakness is that data on Southwest Asia, and the lack of national breakdowns. The authors' desire for a globally relevant thesis leads them to take serious methodological shortcuts, such as, for example, estimating the average IQ of Afghanistan by taking Iranian and Indian averages. Moreover, in that part of the world, dictatorship or at least minority rule is the norm, so this must be considered when estimating national wealth. And I think in particular that the IQ estimate for Israel is laughably low - perhaps more accurate is 87-94 IQ for Palestinians, who are genetically very close to Jews, and perhaps 107-118 for Jews, who include Sephardic Jews, but also pre-select Jews who have the income and political connections to immigrate. This brings Israeli IQ to about 105 overall, which I think is the bare minimum.
The errors for the Islamic world and Southwest Asia are likewise just as egregious. Indian IQ according to them is 81, but poverty, political isolation, societal oppression, malnutrition, historical illiteracy, and a lack of a first world culture undoubtedly play a role in this. A better technique when given insufficient data would be to approximate national IQ with Latin American averages - as India's economy develops, and as the government fully eradicates illiteracy and develops its national potential, Indian IQ will be measured at closer to 90 than to 81, in my lifetime I am sure. And this has important political and economic repercussions - an average IQ of 90 means many, many more millions of people with IQs about 130 who are able to perform professional jobs, perhaps from 1/5 of the US level to approximately equal numbers.
And, connected with this, it does not make sense that countries such as Iraq and Iran can be so successful against political and economic pressures instituted by the US if their national average IQs are lower than that of Mexico. A more likely average national IQ for each of these countries is 96 to 105, i.e., between Russia and North Korea, the principal allies and models for those countries.
Moreover, given that each of the above societies are not only very non-homogeneous, but organized into mutually impermeable and competing interest groups, the average IQs of each of these should be measured for the thesis to be relevant for the country at all.
Another point that should be made in connection with this is that theoretical considerations, though important, should not be used by sleight of hand to invalidate both the data and conclusions. Sub-Saharan African IQ will remain around 70 and European IQ around 100, regardless of methodological considerations and technical arguments about heredity between and within population groups. And this does have massive importance in constructing and implementing the infrastructure needed for a modern economy. For instance, in a Nigeria with a population of 150 million, a national IQ of 67 yields roughly 9000 people with an IQ of 130 or above. (my calculation might be imprecise, but you get the idea) Clearly if this is true then Nigeria will remain mired in poverty under any circumstances. And this is extremely relevant for a thesis on developmental economics.
On another note, I think that data analysis is one thing, and the book does it quite well for homogeneous populations, but very poorly for non-homogeneous populations, especially in South and Southwest Asia, where data is scarce. Connected with this, historical conditions, religion, social structure, inter-communal harmony or lack thereof, and presence or absence of current or past foreign exploitation (e.g., colonialism in India, oil extraction in the Islamic world) contribute vastly more to national wealth than IQ, and this is all the more true when IQ data is limited, underestimated, and not broken down by sub-group. To a certain extent, then, the thesis of the book rationalizes current inequalities, rather than looks for causes, and this is the work of a polemicist or political apologist rather than a scientist.
Finally, as far as low African IQ is considered, while the data on low IQ may be true, African economies can develop a great deal by simply more efficient methods of farming. Roughly 1/2 of sub-Saharan Africans earn their living on small family farms; even mechanizing agriculture would do wonders for African GDP. Similarly, even with an average IQ of 70, at least 1/4 of the population can operate enough of the advanced equipment to make enormous strides in current living conditions (e.g., mechanized agriculture versus small farms; basic literacy and computerization and accounting; production and export of light industry or finished commodity products with better machinery). To say that African nations will remain mired in (relative) poverty is not to say that they cannot improve current living standards. In fact, African nations have the most to gain from this, for their GDPs will grow the fastest, because the base is the smallest, if only relatively simple and easy steps are taken to assist them in the production process.
Even I myself, active in this field for 40 years, till then did believe that the low mean IQ scores of some populations were mainly the result of inadequate sampling and environment. Since I read Lynn and Vanhanen, I am convinced that population differences are not mere artefacts.
In 2002, after the publication of "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" by Lynn and Vanhanen and the preliminary reports of PISA 2000, I became aware that PISA tests can be understood as IQ tests and that the transformation of PISA scores into IQ results yields very similar numbers. PISA scores, mean 500, standard deviation 100, can easily be transformed into IQ values, mean 100, standard deviation 15, by adding or subtracting the deviation from the mean in the relationship 100 : 15 = 6.67, that a mean of PISA 433 corresponds to IQ 90, PISA 567 to IQ 110, if PISA 500 is set to be IQ 100. Heiner Rindermann in his publications has confirmed that PISA transformed scores of nations are nearly identical with IQ means, published by Lynn and Vanhanen in this book.
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule), the law of the vital few, states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The power of a nation does not depend of its mere number, but of the percentage of its cognitive elite, optimized by social evolution. Highly intelligent people are networking, and the economic effect of networking is the square of the nodes of the network, i.e. in our case the square of the number of people involved.
Lynn and Vanhanen show that non-market economies, in their increase in GDP, are not in step with market economies. While some former non-market countries with a high average IQ such as Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and especially China are narrowing the gap, those with a low average IQ seem to have no chance to catch up. On the one hand we have the impressive success story of Singapore, on the other hand are countries such as Haiti and Zimbabwe which are not only backward, but suffer from mismanagement and brain drain. In 1968, the Pacific island of Nauru possessed the highest GDP per capita in the world due to its rich phosphate deposits. Today, after the exhaustion of these deposits, Nauru -- faced with chaos amid political strife and the collapse of the economy caused by mismanagement and corruption -- has a GDP more in accordance with the mean IQ of its population.
One of the criteria which differentiate science from speculation is the power of prediction. In 2007, oil-producing Equatorial Guinea, a country with an average IQ of 59 (according to Lynn and Vanhanen), one of the lowest in the world, had a GDP per capita of 44,100$, one of the highest in the world. We can easily predict that, after the exhaustion of the oil, the GDP of this country will fall back into a range typical for a country with such a low average IQ. As long as the oil is flowing, a number of specialists and dealers of Lebanese, Chinese, Indian and other origins make money, but they will abandon such a country after the boom.
Even within developed nations the difference between prosperous and more backward regions amounts to 10 and more IQ points. For example, in Germany the IQ average of Bavaria is about 10 points higher than that of Bremen; in Italy the difference between Venice and Sicily is 13 points; in Spain the difference between Aragon and Andalusia 8 points; and in the United States the difference between New Hampshire and Mississipi is 10 points. Such differences, aggravated by internal migration between the economic core and the backward regions -- but not always of such magnitude -- will be found in any country. Within Brazil, the federal states of the south have an average IQ and GDP per capita similar to South Europe and four times higher than the states in the north-east of Brazil.
As we know, political turmoil and ethnic cleansing can eliminate or drive away the gifted of a country, and within a very short time harm the economy for decades to come . Highly-skilled citizens from stagnating economies are unlikely to merely watch their standard of living decline, and they will vote with their feet. Their migration amplifies economic divergence.
There are three types of men: Men (with IQ above 123), who invent machines, men (with IQ above 104), who repair machines, and men, who use machines. In a country where there are not enough men to construct and to repair a bridge, sooner or later traffic by railway will break down. This is the message of this extraordinary book.
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