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IQ AND NATIONAL PROSPERITY: A PROBLEM SOLVED |
A review of:
Richard LYNN and Tatu VANHANEN (2002). IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Westport, CN : Praeger (Human Evolution, Behavior and Intelligence series, ed. Seymour W. Itzkoff). Pp. xviii + 298.
Chris BRAND, Fellow of the Galton Institute, London
This book must be a good candidate for being the most important book of the 21st century. British psychologist Richard Lynn and Finnish political scientist Tatu Vanhanen find that recent IQ data from scores of countries world-wide show really strong correlations, of around r = .65, with national prosperity -- whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated for 1820 or for the 1990s. Quite contrary to the theorizing of most Western economists of the past fifty years, the underdeveloped (later, 'developing') countries of fifty years ago have not generally closed the gap with the help of ongoing Western handouts and advice.
Clearly, several East Asian countries have in that time made enormous strides -- as may also happen soon in the ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe; but in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa (i.e. largely Black Africa), mean IQ estimates hover around 70 and progress has been slight. Of the world's 21 countries which steadily tripled their GDP from 1983 through 1990 and 1993 to 1996, none was on or near the African mainland; whereas of the 27 countries whose GDP decreased by 50%, ten were African (Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Madagascar, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Sao Tome & Principe).
The kind of sorry problem posed by Negroids is seen in stark relief in the affluent and humanitarian USA which can only cope with its Black people by keeping a million of them in gaol - giving America a per caput rate of imprisoning its own people that is seven times higher than in typical countries of Western Europe, and twelve times higher than in Denmark (Times, 10 xii 2002).
The phenomenon of African backwardness is of course well known and increasingly attracts the enraged attention of Western 'anti-globalization' protesters. Yet Lynn & Vanhanen (L&V) consider that investment and the amortization of African debts are largely irrelevant. Rather, though market economies and democratization would be helpful, only policies that boost IQ -- using better early nutrition, health care or eugenics -- are likely to have a big impact.
Unfortunately, the first two of these IQ-boosting stratagems have already been tried for decades, so that leaves eugenics as Africa's chief hope - presumably in conjunction with polygyny (especially marrying young girls to successful AIDS-free men before the girls contract HIV-AIDS themselves). At once, Africa looks set to overturn Catholic Christianity (by accepting birth control), post-Carpocratian Christianity in general (by accepting polygyny) and Western feminism (by lowering the age of consent to, say, 14 - easy since the age of first admitted intercourse in rural sub-Saharan Africa already averages 15, with pregnancy beginning within six months).
Nor is it likely that such developments would remain un-imitated in the West. If Africa moved towards harems of adolescent brides maintained by alpha males, the West would be sorely tempted to follow suit and escape from the pattern whereby 40% of Britain's children grow up (as currently) without any serious family (i.e. with a 'single parent mother' who is quite often a 'zero parent' given her immaturity, neuroticism, low IQ or drug addiction). Even if only 50% of this African revolution actually happens, many will trace the resulting world-wide upheaval to the data carefully assembled by L&V.
Yet will L&V provide an impetus in such a direction? Doubters will note four particular problems.
First, IQ and the Wealth of Nations is published by an American mail order house which charges œ70 for the book. Furthermore, Western journals and periodicals have largely declined even to review the work - the only important known exception is Heredity (a member of the Nature stable), though the book was favourably reviewed in the top Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet (2 ix 02). Terrorized by the politically correct, mainstream Western 'publishers' have for ten years been entirely unwilling to bring out books that touch on race - whether by Arthur Jensen, Phil Rushton or myself.
Recently, it turned out that top psychologist Steven Pinker (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who had converted to hereditarianism when friends told him how a second child was psychologically different from the first, felt he had to remove a chapter about race from the final draft of his new pro-heredity book, The Blank Slate (Pinker, 2002). Even as the present review was being prepared, the 'Evolution' series of US mail-order publisher Praeger was being closed down by new owners Elsevier in Holland.
L&V are not alone in finding themselves up against the Zeitgeist, and the reception of their book has not so far been auspicious. L&V's reply will have to be that such repression indicates that the liberal-left consensus (which in 1950 persuaded the United Nations to declare all races to be of equal intelligence) is a hysteria that must one day lift.
Secondly, some will doubtless try to quibble with the IQ estimates that are the central novelty of IQ and the Wealth of Nations. L&V typically present some three 'normative' IQ studies for each of the countries they discuss; they do not provide details of social sampling; and they estimate IQ's for some nations by taking the average of the IQs in neighbouring countries - e.g. crediting Afghanistan with IQ 83 as an average of India's 81 and Iran's 84.
Surprisingly, L&V maintain that the mean IQ in Israel is only 94 - ignoring the possibility that Sephardic Jews, like other Africans, may have special deficits in the visuo-spatial abilities that are needed to do well on 'culture-fair' intelligence tests like the famous Raven's Matrices.
None of this is ideal. However, L&V have a very strong reply from both the general consistency of their IQ estimates and the sheer strength of IQ's correlations with national productivity. If workers had seriously confounded their assessments of national IQ, L&V would simply have had to present the usual miserably low correlations of around .25 that obtain throughout psychology and the social sciences. As it is, L&V have plainly struck gold.
Thirdly, there is the question of cause and effect. Can L&V convince us that IQ actually causes national wealth, rather than vice versa? It might be thought obvious that for present-day IQs to correlate with national prosperity both in 1820 and 1996 requires explanation in terms of a variable more deep-seated than prosperity itself; and L&V summarize data from individuals showing that children's IQs predict socio-economic status forty years later. However, the literature on the causal importance of IQ is only partially covered and L&V settle rather easily for the view that IQ and wealth will both tend to cause each other.
This concession will weaken their case in the eyes of those who already deplore the idea that IQ is causal. L&V would have done better to point to the exceedingly slight IQ advantages accruing to Black children in the USA even when their fathers are seriously rich, and to the failure of the American Black-White gap in intelligence to decrease despite many billions of American dollars being thrown at the problem for the past forty years. Even college-educated Black mothers who are drug-free and married (a rarity among US Black mothers) do little for the IQs of their offspring (Montie & Fagan, 1988), so slight is the impact of the 'good environments' fondly thought by social-environmentalists to be purchasable by the wealthy for their children.
Nor does a century of national impoverishment lower IQ -- as shown by the cases of mainland China, Poland and Russia in L&V's own data. By contrast, IQ correlates .50 with individual upward social mobility, relative to the position of the testee's father (Touhey, 1972). The simple truth is that a normal national IQ is necessary though not sufficient for prosperity; and that a low IQ holds whole countries back even if individuals can compensate for dullness by good looks or hard work.
Neglecting such points, as also the full range of arguments that race differences are of substantially genetic origin (See here), L&V will have partly themselves to blame if their book is set aside.
Lastly, L&V show remarkable modesty about the implications of their findings. This may have been intended as placatory; but it, too, will win them few friends. Rather than stress the need for eugenics in Africa, L&V conclude their book with two bizarrely half-hearted recommendations. The first is that the West should recognize continuing IQ differences and thus continue pumping subsidies into Africa as a matter of "ethical obligation." The second is that some fraction of this conscience money should be spent not on eugenics but on "improvements in nutrition and the like."
No change there, then, for this is what the West has been doing ever since it abandoned the responsible idea of empire! It is remarkable that L&V should have troubled to write a 'controversial' book which cannot be published by a mainstream publisher only to come to such feeble conclusions. L&V have provided a way of forgetting their book which social-environmentalist ideologues will be desperately eager to take.
There is a pattern here which readers of Richard Lynn's other works will detect. In 2000, Lynn wrote a book on Eugenics, also available only at œ70, which announced his dispiriting conclusion that the world of the future would belong to Chinese Communists - though some high-IQ Western genes might be kept running for the sake of scientific and musical advance. (For my own review, see Occidental Quarterly 2, Winter 2002/3.) Previously, Lynn had written Dysgenics, also œ70, detecting a slight underlying dysgenic trend in the West (despite rising IQ scores). (For my own review, see here.)
Unfailingly, one has to say, Lynn lives down to the stereotype of hereditarians (held by environmentalists) as being pessimists who hold out little hope of human improvement. All this is bizarre. At present, a vast job creation programme for ignorant and propagandized teachers, social workers, counsellors and feminists wastes huge sums annually in the West, failing to deliver improvements for children.
Turning today's 'welfare' budget in eugenic directions would produce visible results within five years; and, if polygyny were allowed - a cost-free operation which men would welcome and many women would tolerate so long as traditional harem niceties were observed and the fathers of big families were given free old age care for themselves and their wives - there would be the improvements in both quality and quantity of White populations that are plainly necessary.
Already, Japan plans to pay mothers œ2000 per responsible childbirth and Hungary waives all income tax for couples having three or more children. Extending such schemes would prove widely popular with female university students who have begun to realize that they face a serious likelihood of infertility if they follow today's conventional path of 'career first, baby later.'
Probably out of scholarly caution, L&V have not wanted to play up the positive implications of their results. But what is the point of scholarly caution when the left and its hitch-hiking feminists today suppress anything that threatens their own entrenched fraud on the public? L&V have done an enormous service to the enfeebled subject of psychology, for their data point to the strong likelihood that IQ is a key causal variable in human affairs. It is sad that, in the end, they weirdly co-operate with the West's 'publishers' and ideologues to hide their own light under a bushel.
MONTIE, Jeanne E. & FAGAN, J.F., III (1988). 'Racial differences in IQ: item analysis of the Stanford-Binet at 3 years.' Intelligence 12, 315-332.
PINKER, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: the Modern Denial of Human Nature. London : Allen Lane.
TOUHEY, J.C. (1972). 'Intelligence, Machiavellianism and social mobility.' British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 12, 1, 34-37.