February 28, 2008

Consistent China, Inconsistent India

There's a new Rand Corporation report out, "Education and the Asian Surge," comparing the educational systems in the two giga-countries, China and India. The report doesn't have much on actual outcomes (e.g., internationally normed achievement test scores) so it relies on nominal outputs (# of graduates) and inputs (spending), but it's still interesting because, well, because it's about China and India and they're important.

Many of the findings on schooling are paradoxical. For example, China's schools are almost all public, but they are heavily paid for privately (by parents paying tuition), while India's schools tend to be more private, but they're almost all paid for by the government.

As I wrote in VDARE.com in 2004 in "Interesting India, Competitive China," India's system was long more elitist, with higher illiteracy rates but more top colleges, while China's was more egalitarian, with schooling being more widespread, but not much in the way of higher education. (Of course, the Chinese didn't have much schooling at all in 1966-1976 due to Mao's Cultural Revolution, so it's amazing that they've been able to overcome that.)

Both countries are now trying to backfill their weaknesses, and it looks like China has a sturdier base to build on. China now has a higher percentage of its young adults in college than India does. Lower level schooling in India is sapped by teacher absenteeism -- on any given day, 25% of the school teachers don't show up for work. India seems to be very erratic -- excellence and slipshodness side by side.

In general, I suspect that 21st Century China's consistency and India's inconsistency are tied back to ancient marriage patterns that increased the homogeneity of the Chinese while the Indian caste system split the subcontinent up into tens of thousands of endogamous groups.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

18 comments:

professor said...

Steve, most economic prognosticators ignore the IQ difference between China and India. China has an average IQ above 100, whereas India's average IQ is in the 80s. Thus, India will never match China's accomplishments.

Bill said...

It's Buddhism vs. Hinduism where the homogeneity vs. casteism is concerned. However, China does have its own meritocratic, Confucianism based castes. Confucianism encourages ancestor worship, which was further encouraged by the state by honoring families for several generations following a notable achievement by a talented son, which encouraged elaborate, patrilineal clans with their own temples and social welfare systems. This is especially firmly-rooted in the southern provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, which are more socially and culturally stable due to restrictive geography (invasion was less common than in the northern agricultural plains, which are more closely connected to the real, savage Asia).

The difference in marriage patterns is due to the fact that China does not require marriage within clans, and it is actually taboo for people with the same surname to marry, although it does happen (when you have something like 100 million people named "Lee" it's hard to avoid).

simon newman said...

I suspect China's demographic base of a billion or so fairly smart, fairly well educated, homogenous people is a better bet than India's billion or so mostly not very smart, mostly not well educated, plus small intellectual elite. For one thing, India's young, smart & educated elite can and do easily go transnational and move to richer Western countries.

The USA has traditionally had the best of both worlds, a fairly smart and well educated general population plus a small very smart, very well educated elite. While the general population of the USA is not quite as smart as that of China (and immigration to USA is increasing the IQ gap) the USA unlike India has had no trouble retaining its elite; a few stem cell researchers notwithstanding.

Zetji said...

I've read that India is already scrapping the bottom of the barrel education wise; companies find that 25% of their engineers are unfit for work. So they may have already hit the point of diminishing return of developing their human capital via education. Not that that will stop liberal universities from wasting the peoples money. Affirmative action is real bad there as well, probably leading to a lot of people being placed in programs where they don't belong. China on the other hand has far more unrealized potential. I know where i'll invest more of my money.

Frauenhoffer said...

Don't forget 2(3?)generations of corrupt patronage from the Fabian socialism inherited and imported by the Anglo-Indian elite at Oxbridge.

It's said Nehru wrote to his father,a wealthy pro-Raj lawyer,asking permission to transfer to Cmbridge as Oxford was getting "too many Indians".
And Old Indira,I believe,was noted for her tradional English high tea's at 4 o'clock.

Old fashioned tribalism and corrupt socialist patronage is hard to overcome.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: the Indian caste system split the subcontinent up into tens of thousands of endogamous groups

I've always been under the impression that IQ correlates almost perfectly with caste in India.

By the way, does anyone have the IQ figures and the fertility figures for the castes in India?

I fear that if we could fill out the figures for the Indian castes, a la these worldwide studies

IQ and the Wealth of Nations

List of countries and territories by fertility rate

then we would discover that the high-IQ people in India have stopped making babies just like high-IQ people everywhere else in the world.

But I have never seen the figures broken down by caste, so I would be most interested if anyone has them.

PS: Did you know that when Mao Tse-Tung was a boy, China was ruled by the Manchu, who were NOT Han? The Han were something like 94% of all the people in China at the time, although with dysgenic Muslim fertility in China, combined with Han adherence [or submission] to the 1-child policy, I imagine that that figure is changing rapidly in the modern world.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that 21st Century China's consistency and India's inconsistency are tied back to ancient marriage patterns that increased the homogeneity of the Chinese while the Indian caste system split the subcontinent up into tens of thousands of endogamous groups.

It's really hard to generalize about Indian marriage patterns. You have an incredibly patriarchal in the north (purdah, female foetuscide/infanticide), a historically matrilocal culture in Kerala.

What you say about greater inequality in China sounds right, though not according to income inequality statistics.

Anonymous said...

Steve you also have to look at political systems. When I was in China in the late 1990's, it was clear that Chinese leadership was very concerned about the historic centrifugal forces (aka warlordism) that affects China since it's so huge geographically and population wise.

And I think you're looking too much at government statistics which always lie. The GE joint venture I visited (a massive coal-fired electricity plant and cement plant, co-generation) outside Beijing had workers out of the countryside who were illiterate. They prepared food in the bathrooms, went to the bathroom in stairwells, and required a lot of instruction to perform basic tasks. I was told this in person by the manager of the place (a GE hand).

GE would have preferred of course to have hired only literate, city dwellers. Country dwellers had no experience or knowledge of plumbing, they'd do their business right in the fields. Schooling was a joke too. But the Chinese government mandated that foreign partners soak up the worst of the labor force and perform all the training for them. I saw the same story when I visited the GM and the Volkswagen plants in Beijing. All the foreign investors hated that cost, but figured they'd run losses for ten years in order to access the Chinese market. It wouldn't be my bet but what do I know?

This is anecdotal, of course, but I've read other accounts in the WSJ and other media outlets that show that China's school system outside the cities is a joke -- only rich people can afford to send their kids to school, and even then most schools are pathetic with no real instruction. Corruption skims off most money and is endemic and seemingly unstoppable.

FWIW the top Chinese and Indian engineers and businessmen I've personally dealt with had no real differences in knowledge, acumen, understanding of America/Western Culture. But again that's anecdotal.

I would not necessarily bet against India, simply because it's political system is less centralized, offers more experimentation, and has the possibility (unlike China) of addressing corruption and initiating bottom-up driven reform.

One project I worked on in partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing was wind power electrical generation. The idea being that China's pathetic grid system could not supply power to the desolate and dry West, which needed power. So all these localities would have wind turbines which would not require huge (and politically impossible since it would require provincial coordination) grid investments. Provinces and cities hog electricity and won't send power to others like in the US even if it won't impact local service.

Wind turbines were of course a stop gap measure, but dictated by the Power Ministry. No one could understand WHY foreign investors would not locate factories in the West near the wind farms. The Power Ministry had declared it. That factories require regular and uninterrupted power supplies and transportation was something the project managers couldn't understand. [Another legacy of the Cultural Revolution -- all the middle aged and older managers had basically no skills or education whatsoever.]

These are just my personal observations from my time there.

Bill said...

GE would have preferred of course to have hired only literate, city dwellers. Country dwellers had no experience or knowledge of plumbing, they'd do their business right in the fields.

-anon


Hey, I saw city dwellers do their business on the sidewalk. And everyone spat on the floor in restaurants. Do you remember the footprints on sit-down toilet seats, too? Or the stacks of rotting cabbage in apartment hallways?

But the Chinese government mandated that foreign partners soak up the worst of the labor force and perform all the training for them. I saw the same story when I visited the GM and the Volkswagen plants in Beijing.

It wasn't the "government" that mandated that; it was the locals. Lots of people here have a hard time understanding that the Chinese government doesn't have nearly as much control over internal affairs as our own does here.

What happens is this:

Some local official and a businessman snag a foreign investor, and they immediately fill the management positions of the venture with their cronies. Local peasants catch wind of it, and start agitating for jobs in the venture. They do this not by protesting with signs or going through official channels, but through full-on rioting with pitchforks, homemade bombs, etc.

The businessman and official then placate the peasants by promising so many jobs to this village, so many to that one and so on. Pure patronage.

A Californian surfer friend of mine worked on an amusement park outside of Beijing proper, but still in the capital administrative district. He was a lifeguard/safety trainer. Many hilarious stories there, such as watching a trainee dog-paddle all the way across an olympic-sized swimming pool underwater (he got the job). According to my friend, there were at least weekly riots by peasants demanding jobs at the park, and they included serious threats of violence and arson.

It's a funny place out there. You can (or could ten years ago) drive just a few miles out of town on brand-new roads only to see them being used by peasants as a convenient hard surface on which to thresh grain.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Talking about education without mentioning IQ is like talking about falling apples and not referencing the law of gravity :)

Since I do business in India (and am quite a busy body), I have frequently discussed education with young Indian professionals. They ALL send their kids to private schools. They view the 'public' system with unconcealed disdain.

Given that the intellectual cream of India is just as smart as anyone else (smarter?), there must be a dramatic IQ gap across the castes. How did that arise?

Anonymous said...

I think China's going to hit upon some modernization algorithms soon and blow everybody away. You can tell they're trying to engineer it, like how they banned horror movies, after the American NIU shooting.

China is literally and figuratively Sovietized, insofar as people calling the shots can easily be as stupid as anybody. When it comes to "IQ and the wealth of nations," these cultural tendencies are of supreme importance.

Working in corporate America, you see how 9/10 people instantly snap into watered-down "this is my tribe"-think. Valuing even a resume as a marker of expertise and status is a cultural artifact. "Does this person seem nice?"

Coding extreme intelligence and certain general expertise as status is a totally cultural thing. It's the hinge more important than sheer population-IQ to "modernization." Most low-level office drones agree their job could more or less be done by anybody. It's who's calling the shots that's important. The overwhelming tendency in human beings is to give the promotion to someone you feel fuzzy and warm toward, for totally stupid reasons.

Like I don't think Gary Brecher is necessarily an office drone, but the important thing is he very easily could be, even though he should be running the company. I don't know if this is a recent downturn in American corporate culture, but it's scary. Good luck, America.

Anonymous said...

Well when I visited the GE cogeneration plant (it also provided power for Beijing) and the GM, VW factories I was told straight out that various Ministries demanded employment of locals at set levels.

Local Beijing Dept. Stores also sucked up labor -- you would point to what you wanted, and a clerk would write out a chit for you. You'd hand that to the cashier, who would hand it to her assistant, who would then hand it someone else, who would go fetch the item (even very small ones), and then bring it to the cashier. There was another clerk who merely bagged the items. This system had the dual benefit of soaking up lots of labor, and making shoplifting impossible.

Beijing itself was crowded with lots of migrants lacking permits sleeping all sorts of places. Chinese homeless making Western cities look clean and sparkling. The Freeways were odd -- bits of guardrail sticking out like spears to impale cars/trucks. And the ubiquitous taxis and cars and buses sharing space with PLA trucks carrying ... huge amounts of coal, and donkey carts also carrying coal.

Yes. Donkey carts on the freeway. Also bicycles and sometimes pedestrians. I'm not kidding. Cabs had no air conditioning and we'd get our faces black with coal dust in a cross-town trip. The subway was amazing but went really nowhere. Clean and cheap but in a tiny circle from one ministry building to the next. I'd also see people do their business on the streets, dirt (because Chinese find lawns/grass "unclean") everywhere and a run-down griminess.

I don't think China's huge labor problem is going away. They're not very efficient because they have to soak up all the labor. State Owned Enterprises were (most of them) essentially bankrupt and foreign investment had to prop them up -- because Chinese schools, pensions, everything is funded through SOEs. Which in general had a huge transparency problem. Nobody knew who owned what (or more to the point, which family in the various Ministries). Books were a joke.

There certainly was a lot of regionalism too. And in XianXing province, plenty of Muslim terrorism (small scale bus bombings mostly) to add to your fun! The walls of the city were amazing though.

Bill said...

anonymous said...

Well when I visited the GE cogeneration plant (it also provided power for Beijing) and the GM, VW factories I was told straight out that various Ministries demanded employment of locals at set levels.


Well thanks for frying my shouji (cell-phone), buddy! Hehe, just kidding. The power was totally unreliable for the first six months I was in Beijing, and my cell-phone did melt at one point when I was charging it.

I am sure that locals are supposed to be employed at certain facilities, but as you know there's an awful lot of "locals" in any given locale in China proper (east of Xian, south of Dongbei). I found it interesting how hot young women got so many fluff desk jobs in these kinds of setups. That has become so common that Chinese city-dwellers now prefer daughters to sons (seriously).

Local Beijing Dept. Stores also sucked up labor -- you would point to what you wanted, and a clerk would write out a chit for you. You'd hand that to the cashier, who would hand it to her assistant, who would then hand it someone else, who would go fetch the item (even very small ones), and then bring it to the cashier. There was another clerk who merely bagged the items.

You forgot the part where the cashier ignores you for minutes while she chats with her friends, and then gives you a nasty look when you try to hand her the cash, but yes, it is obvious you were there.

Yes. Donkey carts on the freeway. Also bicycles and sometimes pedestrians. I'm not kidding. Cabs had no air conditioning and we'd get our faces black with coal dust in a cross-town trip.

Ah, sweet memories. Nothing reminds you you're in Beijing better than the acrid stench of high-sulfur coal smoke and poor, mangy donkeys hauling a semi-truckload of goods into town on a major arterial. I suppose things may have changed, but it hasn't been that long.

Where did you stay? I am guessing not far from my neck of the woods. Holiday Inn, perhaps?

Johnson said...

The problem with guessing India's IQ is the huge variation in expat populations. In NYC, we get the Indian elite working in medicine, IT, and finance. At the time time, however, there are many Indian deli/small business owners/cab drivers with unimpressive intellectual credentials.

And finally, there are West Indian immigrants who migrated to the WI from India a hundred years ago. They should represent the "average" Indian, yet are not at all impressive in their accomplishments in New York.

So, in India we have a multimodal IQ distribution, with a ton of subgroups. You want to measure IQ of a good sample of the Indian population? Good luck. You want to do it and minimize environmental influences? Near impossible.

Nevertheless, the limits of outsourcing and frustrations of the private sector will eventually tell us what we want to know.

Invest wisely.

LocalHero said...

"Most low-level office drones agree their job could more or less be done by anybody. It's who's calling the shots that's important."

Complete humbug. Most office jobs require at least average intelligence. Ie literatcy, numeracy, and some analytical skills. Probably equivalent to an IQ of at least 90. Basically without it the organisation won't work.

An honest transparent culture comes next with who is calling the shots well down the list.

- Low level office drone

;-)

rec1man said...

IQ gradient in India are as follows
1. Brahmin = 5%
2. Upper Caste = 15%
3. Backward Caste = 40%
4. Muslim = 15%
5. Dalit and Tribal = 25%
---


There are at least 200 million upper castes who can tackle any
offshoring project

Among the Indian brahmins,
40% have a college degree
At least 20 million brahmins with college degrees and fluent in english

--
Malaysia
Blend is 90% Dalit, 10% backward caste

Singapore
Blend is 40% Dalit, 40% backward caste, 20% upper caste
Academically Indians perform midway between Chinese and Malays

Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius, Caribbean,
Blend is 50% Dalit, 50% backward caste
IQ is 84 in Fiji, 86 in south africa

---

UK
Blend is 60% upper caste,
40% backward caste
Indians perform academically midway between whites and chinese

---

USA

Brahmins = 25%
Upper Caste = 50%
Backward Caste = 25%

In SAT, Indians perform equal to Ashkenazi jews

---

rec1man said...

IQ tests in India
They were done in backward places like Madhya Pradesh, UP, Bihar and Orissa . All these places are very poor. Bihar and Orissa are the poorest states in India

No IQ tests were done in Bangalore and Mumbai
Also the caste composition is not known

In these states the literacy rates is about 45% and malnutrition is about 55%

Due to the flynn effect, as literacy and education rises, the reported IQ levels will also rise
IMHO, the final number will be about 90-92

rec1man said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_mathematics

Brahmin Math skills , 1000BC
The religious texts of the Vedic Period provide evidence for the use of large numbers. By the time of the last Veda, the Yajurvedasaṃhitā (1200-900 BCE), numbers as high as 1012 were being included in the texts.[20] For example, the mantra (sacrificial formula) at the end of the annahoma ("food-oblation rite") performed during the aśvamedha ("horse sacrifice"), and uttered just before-, during-, and just after sunrise, invokes powers of ten from a hundred to a trillion:[20]

"Hail to śata ("hundred," 102), hail to sahasra ("thousand," 103), hail to ayuta ("ten thousand," 104), hail to niyuta ("hundred thousand," 105), hail to prayuta ("million," 106), hail to arbuda ("ten million," 107), hail to nyarbuda ("hundred million," 108), hail to samudra ("billion," 109, literally "ocean"), hail to madhya ("ten billion," 1010, literally "middle"), hail to anta ("hundred billion," 1011, lit., "end"), hail to parārdha ("one trillion," 1012 lit., "beyond parts"), hail to the dawn (uśas), hail to the twilight (vyuṣṭi), hail to the one which is going to rise (udeṣyat), hail to the one which is rising (udyat), hail to the one which has just risen (udita), hail to the heaven (svarga), hail to the world (loka), hail to all."[20]

---

The Oral Mathematical Tradition

Mathematicians of ancient and early medieval India were almost all Sanskrit pandits (paṇḍita "learned man"),[13] who were trained in Sanskrit language and literature, and possessed "a common stock of knowledge in grammar (vyākaraṇa), exegesis (mīmāṃsā) and logic (nyāya)."[13] Memorization of "what is heard" (śruti in Sanskrit) through recitation played a major role in the transmission of sacred texts in ancient India. Memorization and recitation was also used to transmit philosophical and literary works, as well as treatises on ritual and grammar. Modern scholars of ancient India have noted the "truly remarkable achievements of the Indian pandits who have preserved enormously bulky texts orally for millennia."

---

Fields of Indian mathematics

Some of the areas of mathematics studied in ancient and medieval India include the following:

* Arithmetic: Decimal system, Negative numbers (see Brahmagupta), Zero (see Hindu-Arabic numeral system), the modern positional notation numeral system, Floating point numbers (see Kerala School), Number theory, Infinity (see Yajur Veda), Transfinite numbers, Irrational numbers (see Sulba Sutras)
* Geometry: Square roots (see Bakhshali approximation), Cube roots (see Mahavira), Pythagorean triples (see Sulba Sutras; Baudhayana and Apastamba state the Pythagorean theorem without proof), Transformation (see Panini), Pascal's triangle (see Pingala)
* Algebra: Quadratic equations (see Sulba Sutras, Aryabhata, and Brahmagupta), Cubic equations (see Mahavira and Bhaskara), Quartic equations (biquadratic equations; see Mahavira and Bhaskara)
* Mathematical logic: Formal grammars, formal language theory, the Panini-Backus form (see Panini), Recursion (see Panini)
* General mathematics: Fibonacci numbers (see Pingala), Earliest forms of Morse code (see Pingala), Logarithms, indices (see Jaina mathematics), Algorithms, Algorism (see Aryabhata and Brahmagupta)
* Trigonometry: Trigonometric functions (see Surya Siddhanta and Aryabhata), Trigonometric series (see Madhava and Kerala School)