Core v. Periphery VS. IQ and the Wealth of Nations

Core v. Periphery

The world can be perceived as a core / periphery dichotomy where core countries are characterized by high levels of development, a capacity at innovation and a convergence of trade flows. The core has a level of dominance over the periphery which is reflected in trade and transportation. Accessibility is higher within the elements of the core than within the periphery. Most of high level economic activities and innovations are located at the core, with the periphery subjugated to those processes at various levels.

__ Core/Periphery

The core v. periphery perspective of the world looks at development, innovation, and confluence of global trade currents. The map of core v. periphery resembles maps of “developed world” v. “emerging world” v. “developing world” fairly closely. Eastern Europe, Chile, and parts of Russia might well have been shortchanged by the above map.

IQ and the Wealth of Nations

Economic Success Correlates With National Average IQ More at VDare

Economic Success Correlates With National Average IQ
More at VDare

The IQ and the Wealth of Nations perspective presents IQ as a “causative” factor in determining the fates of different nations. This approach is refined by La Griffe du Lion, where he introduces “the smart fraction” concept as a “tweak factor,” and asserts that the relationship between IQ and national GDP is an exponential upward curve, rather than a straight line incline.

La Griffe du Lion Correlates average IQ Scores and GDP

La Griffe du Lion Correlates average IQ Scores and GDP

Why the Discrepancy Between Maps?

The core v. periphery concept does not actually explain why certain nations are more developed, innovate more, produce more, and occupy more central global positions of trade and economy, other than discussing vague concepts of “accessibility.”

The “IQ and the Wealth of Nations” concept posits IQ as an important explanatory principle, and a direct cause of differences in wealth between nations. But IQ does not act alone. If governmental policies affecting economics, capital, education, and trade are not up to par, a high average IQ population may be handicapped — for example in North Korea or Russia.

More on National Innovation

Scientific Paper Trail Source

Scientific Paper Trail

The number of well cited scientific papers being published is a reflection of high quality research being carried out.

Genetic Technology Revolution Spiegel

Genetic Technology Revolution

Specific areas of innovation such as genetic technologies (above), or medical research and innovation, can also provide a glimpse into relative “wealth” or “centrality” of nations.

The above graphic compares the leading nations in some aspects of science and innovation, and discovers that Russia may truly be slipping into the periphery, despite the relatively high average IQ of its ethnic Russian population. The graphic illustrates how crippling governmental policies can hamstring an otherwise fairly capable population — its smart fraction in particular.

Nobel Prize Winners by Nation

Nobel Prize Winners by Nation


Another way of comparing scientific discovery and innovation is by looking at the number of scientific, mathematical, and engineering prize-winners. The Nobel Prize is often used as an example.

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can be used as a rough estimate for future economic development and possible innovation/production. When FDI drops off steeply — as it has done recently for Russia and China — it suggests significant problems in the relationship between the governments in question and foreign investors.

China’s rapid development since the 1980s owes more to foreign investment and foreign technology transfer than any other single variable. Likewise, Russia’s quasi-renaissance of the first decade in the 21st century owes as much to foreign investment and technology transfer as to the price of oil & gas. The turning to violent militancy by Russia and the threat of such a turn by China, have reversed their formerly lucky streaks.

Peter Zeihan‘s map of global stability above is a global combination of most of the concepts above, except for IQ (at least not overtly). Zeihan’s geopolitical theory utilises the “core v. periphery” concept, and emphasises the geographical accessibility aspect of wealth and trade quite thoroughly. He only hints at any importance of average population IQ when discussing the demographic wealth of nations.

Gregory Cochran has a nice discussion of IQ and national innovation/success in the blog posting, Our Dumb World. In his inimitable way, Cochran points out how well national average IQs correlate with national achievement — in the real world.

National IQs Calculated and Validated for 108 Nations (PDF)

So, Why the Discrepancy Between the Two Maps?

IQ is important, but it is not the only important determinant of national GDP. Large oil & gas or mineral deposits, for example, can raise national GDP at least temporarily. So can the discovery of gold & silver — as for the Spaniards soon after the discovery of the new world. Good seaports can contribute to trade, assuming the nation has anything to trade and has favourable trade policies.

Why Are Some Nations Rich and Some Poor?

The question is controversial, and remains open to debate because so many different factors contribute to national wealth, poverty, achievement, stability, and quality of life. The book authors linked below attempted to answer the question in different ways:

… and many others.

The European Miracle is a 1981 book by economic historian Eric Jones, written to help explain Europe’s amazing rise to global preeminence during the late middle ages. __ North America to Remain Innovation Centre

There are many reasons why some nations occupy the “core” of global wealth and power, and why others forever languish at the periphery. An evolutionary legacy of very low IQ is almost a certain sentence to poverty, unless a capable “smart fraction” or “market dominant minority” can be attracted somehow. Unfortunately, for nations such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Russia, South Africa, and too many other poorly run nations, smart fractions and market dominant minorities are more likely to be killed, exiled, or driven to extinction.

But for some high to medium IQ nations, bad government overrides all efforts by the population to rise above poverty and deprivation. For many decades, the governments of North Korea, Russia, the Islamic Republics, Cuba, Venezuela — and any other hellholes where despotism, socialism, or Islamism has taken root — have destroyed most opportunities for their people to rise and prosper.

This entry was posted in Africa, Economics, innovation, IQ, Peter Zeihan, Wealth of Nations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Core v. Periphery VS. IQ and the Wealth of Nations

  1. yoananda says:

    I think Peter Zeihan explain why some high IQ nation people efforts are “sabotaged” by their government : resources, natural frontiers and transport explains a lot (how much can you trade at low cost, how much do you have to spend on defense).

    Speaking of IQ: mean IQ is important, but Standard Deviation is also very important (but neglected).
    For the same mean, you can have different repartitions of IQ, and if you have a high standard deviation, it means you will more high IQ (and more very low IQ also !) than another country the same mean IQ.
    So it can explain why some country have many high IQ profiles, but authoritarian gov to handle low IQ.
    This kind of situation exist now in France for example : native French have a much higher IQ than Africans immigrants (without them, I think our mean would be 102 at least) and so we have a government that is more and more a police state despite very high tech industry and standard of living.

    Standard deviation can explains some anomalies (not all of them).

    • alfin2101 says:

      Right. Zeihan alluded to many of these ideas, but he focused on the things you point out: resources, frontiers, river transport, seaports, ease of trade, etc. He is definitely a “core v. periphery” type of thinker. As a libertarian, he is probably naturally averse to discussing differences in IQ between population groups.

      But I hope that it is clear to most open-minded people that highly heritable IQ and genetically determined executive functions (PDF) form central foundational components of a nation’s long-term success via R&D, innovation, efficient production, trust, efficient trade, sound laws, sound treaties, etc.

Comments are closed.