How Low Can Average IQ Go Before Countries Fail?
Blogger Staffan looks at this issue from the standpoint of the correlations of IQ with multiple societal variables — (via HBDChick) — , including education, number of scientists and engineers, per capita income, crime, corruption, democracy, life expectancy, poverty & unemployment, etc. Staffan arrives at a magic average IQ number of “97,” below which a society will tend to break down.
The IQ of Nations table below should provide a visual overview for comparison. A high IQ is only a “necessary” condition for a stable and prosperous society, and not a “sufficient” condition. North Korea, for example, should have roughly the same average IQ as South Korea and thus about the same level of prosperity. But since North Korea’s government does not allow citizens to freely exchange ideas, skills, and goods, North Korea is badly hobbled as a nation.
Russia is hobbled by its alcohol dependence. The US is becoming hobbled by disastrous government policies that have grown progressively worse under President Obama — with national malaise worsening over time.
It is possible for nations in possession of rich natural resources such as oil or other mineral wealth to economically out-perform national IQ for a time, until either the wealth runs out, or the government becomes ever more corrupt to the point of Zimbabwe level dysfunction.
IQ is not everything, but it is the beginning of great possibilities, if it is developed and then set free to create and exchange. And remember that average IQs can decline over time. Intelligent people need to devise workarounds for all likely contingencies.
The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.
Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.
An interesting informal check on this idea is “the wallet test.” This test actually applies to particular cities, rather than countries. And results are likely to change as current immigration policies continue to play out. But integrity is a crucial part of the cement that holds societies together.
How do you measure integrity? How about just tallying the number of lost wallets returned in a given timeframe? That’s how Reader’s Digest says it conducted a “global, social experiment” to identify the “most (and least) honest cities in the world.”
In each, we put a name with a cellphone number, a family photo, coupons, and business cards, plus the equivalent of $50. We “dropped” 12 wallets in each of the 16 cities we selected, leaving them in parks, near shopping malls, and on sidewalks. Then we watched to see what would happen.
And here they are, ranked from most to least honest according to the number of pilfered man-purses (why RD focused on only one gender’s money-toting modus operandi is anyone’s guess).
1. Helsinki, Finland (11 of 12 wallets returned)
2. Mumbai, India (9 of 12 wallets returned)
3. Budapest, Hungary and New York City, U.S. (8 of 12 wallets returned)
4. Moscow, Russia and Amsterdam, the Netherlands (7 of 12 wallets returned)
5. Berlin, Germany and Ljubljana, Slovenia (6 of 12 wallets returned)
6. London, England and Warsaw, Poland (5 of 12 wallets returned)
7. Bucharest, Romania, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Zurich, Switzerland (4 of 12 wallets returned)
8. Prague, Czech Republic (3 of 12 wallets returned)
9. Madrid, Spain (2 of 12 wallets returned)
10. Lisbon, Portugal (1 of 12 wallets returned)
The researchers were not brave enough to try the experiment in Sub Saharan Africa, but perhaps Lisbon and Madrid might serve as suitable proxies, given modern immigration realities. Remember: the wallet test was performed in cities, and populations of large central cities do not necessarily reflect the population profile of the nation at large.
Others have looked at the idea of an IQ Breaking Point, and arrived at numbers between 90 and 95, as IQ breaking points. At the original Al Fin blog, we decided that societies could prosper with average IQs as low as 85, as long as they had a strong market dominant minority with much higher average IQs, maintained a meritocratic system of hiring (no affirmative action), and had firm control over law enforcement and the military to maintain the rule of law.
Some populations are essentially uneducable and unassimilable to modern high technology societies. The attempt to actively incorporate such very low IQ populations into advanced nations is a study in progress, likely to achieve disastrous results across the board.
The Dangerous Child movement is an effort to develop competent cores of communities able to preserve the best of modern civilisation in the face of the all-too-visible breakdown taking place in designed fashion, in central governments and large central cities.
It is the best of times and it is the worst of times. Science and technology are rushing ahead, far beyond the capability of most of the world’s populations to sustain their progress over time. Demographics is key to the future. Some countries will be overrun as ancient Rome was overrun. Other nations will break into various functional and dysfunctional fragments.
The world is changing rapidly, and with all the best of intentions.
Good intentions or not, reality will not be denied, and reality is a much harsher place than Davos, a polite Seattle salon, or animated Manhattan cocktail party, where the best intentioned folk mingle to share their visions for the future.