December 19, 2011

Somebody else finally picks up the Indian PISA score story

Last week, the Australian Council for Education Research put out a glossy, voluminous report updating the 2009 PISA school achievement test conducted by the deep-pocketed OECD. ACER reported on ten more "economies," including two middling Indian states, which came in next to last out of 74 countries or regions.

Since I've been interested in China v. India for years, that struck me as pretty big news (so I blogged about it at length here), but it didn't impress the rest of the Internet, apparently. Finally today, according to Google News, somebody else mentioned it. Here's an editorial from an Indian publication called LiveMint that draws an appropriate lesson: India needs to get its act together.
There are few urban legends about India quite as destructive as the one that leads us to believe that the education system is doing a good job of educating our children. Coming on the heels of a comprehensive study, which exposed how poorly our kids were doing in some of the country’s best schools, is an international study that evaluates 15-year-olds’ skills in reading and mathematical and scientific literacy on a comparative basis—and India didn’t do any better here. 
... In India, only two states, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, were part of the survey. Now, these are both states that are thought to offer the best educational infrastructure to schoolchildren in the country. But the results on a global scale are abysmal, with Himachal Pradesh recording the lowest reading score in PISA 2009 and 2009+, on a par with Kyrgyzstan. Tamil Nadu did slightly better with its overall score, which was nonetheless lower than any other country’s, besides Kyrgyzstan. One shudders to think of the results in states with worse general indicators than these two, such as Rajasthan or Bihar. 
... A lot of success stories we hear are despite the system, not because of it, and the sooner we recognize that, the better the chances that we’ll do something to fix the status quo. 
The current state of affairs will lead to a future where we will have let down millions of young Indians, who will be shut out of the job market because they were failed by the state. The demographic dividend we keep talking about— the one that’s going to give us an edge over China in the decades to come—is going to be more of a demographic disaster if we cannot equip our young people with the skills required in this new global economy. The government must make school education a priority if it is to arrest the decline of this most valuable of institutions.

My vague impression is that Indians tend to make more sophisticated marketers than Chinese do. One American consultant said that the typical Chinese factory owner's idea of marketing is: "Real cheap! You buy now!" But it's important for Indians not to fall for their own marketing. India needs less spin and more China-like grim determination if it's going to improve its fundamental institutions.

By the way, all the talk in the press about Indian benefiting from a "demographic dividend" of a rapidly growing population is respectable Davos Man craziness at its craziest.

More generally, India conforms to the Davos model of elite advancement while not talking about the masses because we, uh, don't want to hurt their feelings. In contrast, Dengist China conforms more to old-fashioned nationalism -- the kind of thing that worked in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, and, perhaps most of all, in pre-1846 England and in pre-1960s USA.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Indians better at marketing than Chinese?

It depends on what you're selling.
"Real cheap! You buy now!"seems to work for Walmart. Just look at Black Friday mobs.

Anonymous said...

You can report the news, but most Indian will refuse to read it or believe it. For a lot of them, the Bollywood world is the real world. How many reports/articles/studies had been done about the poor public hygiene of Indian? Do anything change over the years?

Anonymous said...

A few takeaways:

1.Every other nation on the PISA has had >90% literacy rate for atleast a generation.First generation literates obviously do less well than others.

2.As is expected top 10% of India does better than the OECD average and outperforms the top 10-15% of all developing countries outside China.This is indirectly confirmed by the country's sky high GRE/GMAT scores etc.

3.It will take a multi pronged painful amd long term sttrategy holistically addressing challenges like malnutrition,sanitation, decent housing etc etc for the bottom 70-80% to come anywhere close to an OECD average.Nothing short of 30-40 years!
It is much more than a bad schooling problem.

Steve Sailer said...

Some amount of time was edited out of what was broadcast between when they first stepped into the back room and the Dance of Joy. Their body language during the missing interim might explain more.

Anonymous said...

(Cliff Arroyo)

Random thoughts on India vs China.

India has managed to create some international market for its popular culture. It's a niche market among non-Indians but it exists. In comparison; how many non-Chinese watch Chinese movies?

Indians have mostly deeply internalized the British nonsense that mastery of English is the key to all improvement. Too often, it seems, displaying mastery of English is primary, learning anything else secondary. Also the need to be able to learn complex subjects in a second language cuts the talent pool down (while buoying some with good English and lesser other skills).

Indians have always been more concerned with ritual purity than with western ideas of hygene. They're concerned about cleanliness but define it very differently. The Chinese don't seem to have a concept of ritual purity they just don't mind bodily excreta being everywhere.

The Chinese have a concept of national unity that Indians mostly don't have. Indians may claim some degree of patriotism but most Indians don't seem to have any concern for other language/caste/ethnic/religious groups. Gujarati speakers have no more interest in the Telugu speaking area than a Belgian does with a Bulgaria.

I'm not sure that either has superpower potential (and even less sure whether becoming a superpower is all that desirable).

I do think that China has a lot more potential for becoming a nicer place to live for a larger number of its citizens (a very worthwhile goal!) while India will probably remain a place for a small number of talented people to emigrate from.

Steve Sailer said...

"Every other nation on the PISA has had >90% literacy rate for atleast a generation."

Right, literacy is a huge factor.

Anonymous said...

"India has managed to create some international market for its popular culture. It's a niche market among non-Indians but it exists. In comparison; how many non-Chinese watch Chinese movies?"

This is not an apt example. In fact it always surprise me that India, with it great intellectual pretension, has not been able to produce what I would call international art cinema. Movies that play in international film festival, attended by film professional. An example of such filmmaker is Zhang Yimou, even tho' I don't consider esp. high brow. In the low brow, India has the Bollywood musical, which if I'm not mistaken is what you were referring to---but China has kung-fu movies, which is as recognizable and influential---e.g. rap--movie genre in the last 40yrs...

But of course nothing compare to the USA in terms of popular culture, not Europe, not Japan, or both combined...

Anonymous said...

"In comparison; how many non-Chinese watch Chinese movies?"

You must be living under a rock for th e last few decades, Chinese movies is waaaay more popular and influential than Indian movies by a huge margin.

Anonymous said...

The last line of the article shows the marketing machine is regrouping:

“If you look at the entire people entering the workforce, you may find lack of quality. But if you take the top 10% then they are perhaps the best in the world. This 10% is quite a large number which is giving India a competitive upper hand.”

A week before these results, Livemint covered another study of the best private schools in large Indian metros compared to the TIMSS global average.

"Our “best” schools continue to be sharply behind global averages as measured by learning levels of students. Let me emphasize: We are talking about our best schools compared with global averages."

The study really means best schools.

"we conducted a study across the schools generally recognized (in a poll of upper middle-class parents) to be the best in the six metros"

http://www.livemint.com/2011/12/12004717/Our-8216best8217-schools.html?h=B

I'm shocked by these results. I used to think a good percentage of Indians had >120 IQs but now I think it might be just 1% of the population.

robert61 said...

Steve - can you flesh out the argument for England pre- and post-Corn Law repeal as a parallel for the difference between China and India? Is there specific legislation in 1960 that makes the US less mercantalist and more free-trader?

Wes said...

So India is more Davos friendly? That actually scares me because that means the extreme stratification we see in Indian society resonates well with our current elites. From the Uber-Rich all the way down to the Uber-poor, complete with human corpses floating in the Ganges river as children play nearby, while billionaires are serviced by maids and butlers in magnificent penthouses off in the distance. Not the global village I was looking for.

Simon in London said...

"More generally, India conforms to the Davos model of elite advancement while not talking about the masses because we don't want to hurt their feelings. In contrast, Dengist China conforms more to old-fashioned nationalism -- the kind of thing that worked in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, and, perhaps most of all, in pre-1846 England and in pre-1960s USA."

Good point. It's no surprise that Davos Man likes India better.

I think it's inevitable that India is going to believe their own hype, then be disappointed. I think the way for India to be happy is not to think about China at all. Instead, think about countries that India is better than, like the rest of south Asia. Beating Pakistan is a lot more fun than losing to China.

avery said...

language/caste/ethnic/religious groups. Gujarati speakers have no more interest in the Telugu speaking area than a Belgian does with a Bulgaria.

Maybe not in India, but when they come here those divisions probably are not so significant once they are all a "minority" (a "minority" of one potentially one billion in a country of a few hundred million?)) Anyway, once Europeans come here, the divisions between Croats and Serbs, Poles and Italians, kind of dissipates, especially after they ruined the great ethnic neighborhoods with blockbusting. Even the distance between Jews and Non-Jews is not what it was in old Europe.

Anonymous said...

The study of top schools is very telling.

Indian education system is very rote based and it shows through.

However some of the questions on the test didn't exactly seem like good academic questions...

avery said...

In comparison; how many non-Chinese watch Chinese movies?"

"You must be living under a rock for th e last few decades, Chinese movies is waaaay more popular and influential than Indian movies by a huge margin."

I think that's true. Even back in the early 90s, Raise the Red Latern and a couple other films by the same director, starring the same actress, were extremely popular in the west.I saw RTRL in Israel. I've seen about the same number of Indian films, the Fire, Earth and Water trilogy between 1996 and 2005 by Deepa Mehta. However, what has surprised me is how well a Chinese director--which I would never have expected--name Tun Fei Mou, got down the horror genre and took it to new lows while keeping it real, meaning they were "based on true stories." I don't think India has produced any good horror directors yet. oops--I forgot Shyalaman; but he works in the U.S. and his films aren't really too horrifying.

Anonymous said...

A genuine question from a foreigner:

I once read in a blog that many Americans are sending their children to school a year later.

(This guy - I'll try to find it - was firmly on the "nurture" side of the "nature/nurture" debate. For what it's worth.)

The writer then claimed that that brought down American scores in international tests. This is apparently because an American 15 y/o would be a year behind the, say, French 15 y/o, but would eventually catch up.

Now, I'm not sure if the numbers being sent to school later are large enough to make a statistical difference, but I wonder what Americans think of that hypothesis.

Anonymous said...

"You must be living under a rock for th e last few decades, Chinese movies is waaaay more popular and influential than Indian movies by a huge margin."

I doubt it. Indian movies do blockbuster business domestically, as well as throughout the Middle East and Africa. They're also making big inroads in Latin America nowadays. Just because Americans don't watch them doesn't mean that no one else does.

Anonymous said...

One poster here puts India's poor showing on PISA down to the poor literacy of the parents.
Perhaps.But, pray, what were the schools doing witj the pupils for 8 - 10 years?

PublicSphere said...

Literacy: So what about the Indian state of Kerala?

Kerala is 95 percent literate, and apparently "sustained educational expansion began in the late 19th century" there.


http://books.google.com/books?id=PpUPMGHWsx0C&lpg=PA177&pg=PA177

Anonymous said...

I am very familiar with India. India has only progressed from the majority being illiterate just 40 years ago to a majority barely literate now. Similarly, India has only progressed from substantial-periodic-starvation to fairly-widespread-malnutrition-short-of-starvation now.

In that environment, tests of achievement on a large scale mean very little. If you actually visit the public (i.e government) schools in India, as I have done extensively, you will know what I am talking about. Any education that happens in these places is purely incidental.It would be highly doubtful if most *teachers* in those schools can demonstrate proficiency in any of these tests.

A more accurate measurement would be to take a randomly selected assortment of kids, put them on a nutritional *and* educational special program for a year, and then test them.

My hypothesis is that you would find the average IQ to be about 90-95 in a state like Tamil Nadu. Nothing that 3 decades of Flynn Effect couldn't fix. Of course it is only a hypothesis (an informed one, not just random) and unless the experiment is performed, I couldn't be sure.

rec1man said...

Public sphere, it is hard to define literacy in the Indian context, it usually means 5th grade literacy , or basic literacy

PISA tests 9th grade literacy

If PISA tested for 5th grade literacy, Indians would perform relatively much better in global ranking

I doubt many public school kids have beyond 5th grade literacy, sort of like blacks in inner city schools

Public schools are union controlled and most teachers never show up and only slum dwellers send their kids there for the free mid day meal

Anonymous said...

Satyajit Ray's productions are a good example of the high brow art films created in India.

edgy gurl said...

Hey, maybe it's just me but I think quality of manufacturing matters more than PISA scores in the long run. From my observations, Brazil has the best chance of training 80 - 100 IQ workers to crank out good products that don't stink and aren't paper thin. Brazilian management isn't high IQ enough to worry about ever increasing profits either; this leaves you with contented workers and supervisors happy enough with profit enough. We get decent clothes, shoes and radios again. They get jobs. It's a win-win situation.

Nigel said...

The simple fact of the matter is that China will always excel over India.

As I noted in the other thread:

"First of all, the average IQ of India is only 81.

Second, on studies of Indians in Africa, Indians don't score much higher than blacks:

http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/RavensIVb.pdf

Third, in just one decade, India has already burned through the very shallow right side of its bell curve:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703515504576142092863219826.html


I know that white people like to Romanticize Indians because they've met a few smart ones (i.e. a non-representative sample from the far right of the Indian bell curve) but for those of us who've been to India it's pretty easy to see that Indians aren't much brighter than blacks and are similar to blacks in many of their behaviors."

Anonymous said...

HaHa. Indians are hysterical with their refusal to face reality. Take away the high IQ myth about Indians and immediately they try to find some other way that their culture is superior.

Like the fact that some fig eater or some bushman likes the bollywood crap matters to first worlders.

Anonymous said...

Indians are going to come back with the fact that they invented everything. They invented math. They invented literature. They invented karate. All music can be traced to some Indian tribesman banging a rock on the ground. All cuisine can be linked to some pot of curry in kerala. etc.

Anonymous said...

"Old fashioned" nationalism worked for Germany and Japan? Maybe after they had their heads bashed in a few times.

Anonymous said...

What about Sikhs in Canada and Britain? They come from rural India and they do pretty well.

I can even cite you a study done on the children of rural Sikh immigrants (mainly of agrarian origin) in California. Compared to their white American counterparts, they did only slightly worse academically. Their underperformance varied from 0.2-0.45 standard deviations. However, they vastly outperformed the Latino students. Remeber, these kids represent regression to the mean.

I can cite you another study of Indo-Canadians in the lower mainland of British Columbia (who are mainly of Sikh and Indo-Fijian origin). They seem to do slightly worse academically than English-speaking Canadians. Of course the Chinese do vastly better than everybody, according to the same study.

In Britain, Sikhs underperform white British slightly in income and other measures.

Sikhs are considered fairly industrious within India, but not intellectuals by any means. More equipped to be policemen, soldiers, farmers, and small businessmen than doctors or tech entreprenuers.

Some people cite the role of caste, but you might be interested to know that the descendants of Sikh untouchables have economically succeeded in places like the UK, Austria, and Canada. Which has created tensions between them and Sikh immigrants from landowning castes.

India seems to be vastly underutilizing its human capital. I don't see it pulling even with the West or East Asia, but a mean somewhere in the 92-94 range seems plausible. Right now, the mean seems easily low 80s.

Coastal China is likely a bit higher in IQ than the interior, but I'd the mean overall for the country is about 100. China seems to be working with a huge amount of human capital at its disposal.

agnostic said...

The way forward for India is to get the pastoralists in the northwest to breed with the agriculturalists from the south.

Pastoralism selects for prudent risk-taking, people skills, honor, and hospitality. Their resource multiplies exponentially, like compound interest (where each one of their animals has more than one offspring).

They're proto-capitalists, and all major mercantile peoples have been either pastoralists (in the Middle East) or agro-pastoralists (in Europe).

Agriculture selects for an even longer timer horizon, dampens down the selection for boldness and risk-taking that might get you into too much trouble, lower levels of interpersonal violence, and apparently higher IQ.

Those traits tend to mellow out a purer pastoralist people like the Persians or Bedouin into a group more like the Scottish or Italians.

And then the pastoralist traits tend to lessen the severity of autism and hive-mindedness (whose height was reached under Communism) that you find in purer agricultural people, like the Han.

I guess the Chinese could try intermixing with their Mongolian or Turkic groups to breed a more agro-pastoralist population, but their sense of superiority seems to be insurmountable.

They're not on friendly terms, but it would be easier to to bring together the risk-taking, socially skilled cowboys from northwest India and the brainy, stick-to-the-task farmers from the south.

It will probably turn out like the Peter Turchin story, where it will take generations, even centuries, of Indians being a fragmented group who become increasingly overshadowed and threatened by their unified Chinese neighbor state. That will make them put aside their differences and band together, at least culturally and maybe even genetically.

Anonymous said...

"Indian movies do blockbuster business domestically, as well as throughout the Middle East and Africa."

I can comment on Africa. I've lived there and traveled around. Bollywood movies are popular among the Indian diaspora but only in a few countries are they popular among the indigenous. In East Africa it seemed Indian movies only had diaspora fans.

Also Africa gets a lot of imports from everywhere. Mexican and Filipino soap operas are highly popular on TV. I even watched a Thai movie while travelling on a ferry.

RKU said...

More generally, India conforms to the Davos model of elite advancement while not talking about the masses because we don't want to hurt their feelings. In contrast, Dengist China conforms more to old-fashioned nationalism -- the kind of thing that worked in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, and, perhaps most of all, in pre-1846 England and in pre-1960s USA.

Yes, I think that's a key factor. I think one of India's bigger problems is that it's mostly burdened with an incompetent, corrupt parasitic elite, but that resonates in a positive way with our own elites, for obvious and unfortunate reasons. On the other hand, China seems to benefit from a competent, meritocratic patriotic elite, which produces highly negative reactions in our own elites, for fear of the invidious comparisons which people might draw.

As I mentioned in a previous comment, this sort of comparison certainly isn't exact. For example, China's local elites often seem pretty corrupt, in contrast to the relative non-corruption of most local American elites. But at the top of the ladder---where national policy is made---that situation completely reverses.

Anonymous said...

China's economic strategy is to export as many goods as possible.
India's economic strategy is to export as many Indians as possible.

Wahrheit said...

Like Robert(61), I am interested in your saying 1846 (repeal of the Corn Laws, I assume) marks the end English "old-fashioned nationalism." That regime "worked" for some English land owners and farmers, but did not "work" for the majority of British citizens' interests, in my view.

Also the Corn Law was only in effect for about 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Keralan expansion took place from an era when the literacy rate was 10-20 percent at best, so 90% literacy for a LONG time has not come to pass.

Anonymous said...

I think India can hope to hit Thailand levels of development before growth stagnates. It still has a lot of growth left. Thailand is $4k per capita and India is $1k per capita.

Anonymous said...

I still can't understand how the best schools in the largest cities are scoring so poorly. Is there an explanation for taht?

Anonymous said...

"I think India can hope to hit Thailand levels of development before growth stagnates. It still has a lot of growth left. Thailand is $4k per capita and India is $1k per capita."

Almost impossible. A small group of powerful ethnic Han Chinese (have been forced by law to change their surname to Thais, so that you can't tell the difference with the locals) plays the key part of Thai economy. Plus, Thai's aeverage IQ is notablely higher than India's, as Thailand has been quite prosperious for a long time in SE Asia. Flying to Bangkok or other big Thai cities from anywhere in India will make you fell that you've just landed in the "first world".

For those who argue that the Chinese lack risk-taking "gene", obviously you haven't been to a Casino, whereever you live in the world. lol.

Anonymous said...

Indians no brighter than blacks? Keep telling yourself that, bro. I'm sure you'll, eventually, believe it.

Anonymous said...

Indians do fine in the UK. They vastly exceed whites on the GCSEs, despite the vast bulk of them being the descendants of rural Sikh migrants or Gujaratis from east Africa (similar to Fujianese-Chinese in Malaysia). Bangladeshis equal whites and Pakistanis do slightly worse.

There's got to be some reason why even the best Indians are bombing in India, but even non-elites do fine overseas.

Duke of Qin said...

I'm surprised that no one has bothered pointing out the obvious explanation regarding the disparity between Indian elite emigre performance in the English speaking West and in their Urheimat.

It's the same reason why African American performance in the US is so much better than anywhere in Africa and much of the rest of the non-black third world for that matter. They are the beneficiaries of an enormous amount of social and economic capital built by European whites that has gradually accumulated via centuries of development. Fertile ground that is not present in their homelands and which they cannot develop for themselves nor sustain on their own.

Anonymous said...

Indians doing relatively fine in the UK compared to the Whites on last year's GCSE is mainly because the Whites have been, on average, dumped down by 13 years' Nulabour rule through a profound "cultural revolution", in which to study and work hard are not the priority any more but becoming a footballer or celebrity is. So it's not because Indians are better but more about the Whites going wild and becoming worse.

Anonymous said...

The Indian elite live in a world apart from the rest of society. The schools of these elites should be doing better than international averages.

I'm really curious to know why its not.

agnostic said...

"For those who argue that the Chinese lack risk-taking "gene", obviously you haven't been to a Casino, whereever you live in the world. lol."

Compulsive gambling is a joyless addiction, not a risky thrill. That's why risk-takers go into venture capital, chat up lots of girls, etc., rather than vegetate in front of a slot machine or video game console.

It's just picture of the Chinese's autistic fascination with systems and numbers, and arrogantly believing they can use magic to influence the odds to go more in their favor.

Plus the risks in a casino setting can be calculated and are known. No "unknown unknowns". It is a fake, insulated world, not real risk-taking.

They lack a trailblazing, entrepreneurial spirit. Instead they prioritize not rocking the boat.

Anonymous said...

Indians in UK and Canada are not the "elite" of the country. They tend to be just a notch above commoner and often not even that.

The "fertile ground" created by whites argument could be applied to the Chinese too. If not for European/American inventions and ideas, China would still be an underdeveloped backwater.

Anonymous said...

Indians are going to come back with the fact that they invented everything. They invented math. They invented literature. They invented karate. All music can be traced to some Indian tribesman banging a rock on the ground. All cuisine can be linked to some pot of curry in kerala. etc.


Of course we all know that the Arabic numerals were invented by whites and Chinese. We should call them EuroChino numerals instead.

Anonymous said...

Indians in Singapore came mainly as indentured untouchable laborers from Tamil Nadu. Today they perform slightly behind the Chinese (IQ = 103), but quite a bit ahead of the Malays (IQ = 87). That'd suggest an IQ in the mid/high 90s.

The children of the Tamil refugees do pretty decent in Canada and Switzerland too. For those of you high-IQ genius posters who don't know the meaning of the word "refugee", let me reassure you that refugees are not elites.

Of course Singapore, Canada, and Switzerland are obscure countries nobody ever heard about. Nobody has heard of California or the UK either. So let's focus on the low test scores of impoverished and emaciated slum dwellers in TN and Himachal Pradesh.

Anonymous said...

Indians doing relatively fine in the UK compared to the Whites on last year's GCSE is mainly because the Whites have been, on average, dumped down by 13 years' Nulabour rule through a profound "cultural revolution", in which to study and work hard are not the priority any more but becoming a footballer or celebrity is. So it's not because Indians are better but more about the Whites going wild and becoming worse.>

Assuming we buy your argument about "culture" causing poor academic performance among whites, wouldn't Indians be impacted by it too? Indian kids live amongst white British and attend the British schools, but somewhow mysteriously do fine in school. You could argue that Indian culture protects them, but then you've just made the argument that Indians can perform well in spite of lower IQ........ There's also the question of where cultures even come from and how low IQ people can create a pro-education, pro-family culture.

The more important point is that maybe Indian kids would be doing no better than white British if they embraced British culture, but then doesn't that just prove that there's no significant IQ disparity to begin with? There's no possibility of the mean IQ for India being anything really low if they do well in so many countries. Maybe the mean isn't super high either, but it's got to something moderate enough. Estimates in the low 80s are complete fantasy if some of the dumber posters here, but I'd buy something around 92-94.

Anonymous said...

Indians in South Africa are intermediate in socioeconomic status, between whites and coloreds (mixed race). The order seems to be whites>Indians>coloreds>Africans.

So that points to a mid 90s IQ.

Anonymous said...

In Indian-dominated Marutius, the per capita GDP (PPP) is $14,000. Which compares well to the Eastern European and Baltic nations. Especially when you consider where Marutius is located. There's about 5 percent of the population which is French and Chinese, but then about 27 percent of the population is black.

So I'd say that the future of India doesn't look first world, but doesn't look especially bad. Something like Turkey, but with a little bit more intellectual and technological dynamism.

Anonymous said...

To say that Chinese people don't have the risk taking and entrepreneurship instinct in them is nonsense.

Look at the Chinese in Africa. In the 2000s the population grew from 100k to 1 million. That population includes many peasant entrepreneurs.

An article about Chinese chicken farmers in Zambia:

It sounds extraordinary but these Chinese businessmen and women spotted an opportunity to make a bit of money raising chickens on small farms in Zambia. They upped sticks and travelled 11,000km (7,000miles) from their homes to do just that.
I got talking to one of the farmers, Pan Wei Zhi, a small, friendly man in his early 60s.
Article

Chinese peasants (some in their 60s like the interviewed farmer) are taking loans from the family and going off to Africa in large numbers to start businesses. They are showing a lot of bravado.

The lack of imagination of educated Chinese is a separate issue from the willingness of the people to take risk.

as said...

I'm Indian, my family is from Tamil Nadu, and I have relatives and friends who are teachers and social workers.

1. (We) Indians are definitely a zero when it comes to "civic sense." That is, Indians won't do all sorts of things which they should and which they are simple to accomplish.

E.g. On the street where my aunt lives, it's your personal responsibility to hire a garbage collector. The garbage man won't come just for one or two houses on the street either, the entire street has to be in on it. Several of my aunt's neighbors refuse to pay for garbage collection, instead they dump their garbage on an empty lot on the street.

Garbage collection is cheap. People who live on the street have have middle class amounts of money. And they keep their own houses and gardens (every house is surrounded by a wall) very clean. They don't care about the rest of the neighborhood though.

I've heard many stories like this.

2. That said, I don't think the widespread massive illiteracy in India is the fault of Indian "elites."

There are a small number of Indians who can provide for themselves. And then there are a HUGE number of people who need help. It's not a one time, one or two generational thing either. They'd have to be provided for forever. Even if middle and upper class Indians were community-minded which of course they aren't, I don't see how it's possible. I don't even know how you handle a problem of that scale, as in the majority of your society, which could comprise upwards of 60 million, has to be provided for by a minority. Poor Indians have lots of serious social problems like alcoholism.

This doesn't even begin to get into problems like the reservation system. Tamil Nadu hit 100% quotas and then was ordered by the central government to reduce their quota levels to something like 70%.

You get a lot of "people must be taught by the members of their community" and such people always seem to be very bad. As the concept of 100% affirmative action might indicate, Tamil Nadu is too diverse.

Tamil Nadu state isn't even considered that bad in India. It's definitely one of the better states.

as said...

India isn't meant to be a technological society anyway. It should just be a very simple agrarian society. If the population levels could be brought, it might even be a pleasant agrarian society.

rec1man said...

Karate was invented by a Tamil Buddhist Monk named Bodhi-dharma who migrated to China and started the Shaolin temple

And yes, arabic numerals and zero came from India

rec1man said...

Indians in South Africa tested at 88 IQ, vs Whites at 94 IQ, and 80% of the diaspora is coolie labor

Anonymous said...

6-7 points below the white mean is what I'd call reasonable for Indians, as a whole, under better conditions.

as said...

More generally, India conforms to the Davos model of elite advancement while not talking about the masses because we don't want to hurt their feelings.

The tragedy of India is that there are a large number of different peoples all living on top of each other.

I am all for criticizing Indians for our numerous serious flaws, but the criticism should be aimed at what we're directly responsible for, no? Or what we can do something about?

Anonymous said...

Here is a very useful research paper on this subject, with one of the authors being Indian. It forthrightly acknowledges that the academic performance in India is poor and discusses the causes.

http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2010-14text.pdf

Please look at table 1, UNICEF Nutrition Statistics for 2000-2006. India has 30% low birth-weight babies, while China has 2% and US has 8%.

43% of Indian kids in the under-5 age group suffer from being moderate-to-severe underweight.

These numbers are even worse in India than Pakistan and Bangladesh, and in China it is in the same range as the industrialized world.

I believe the PISA tests are the consequence of such severe levels of mal-nutrition.

Food is still a major problem for a near majority of Indians.

If there is any good news in these, it is that 30-40 years ago, these numbers would have been much worse - I don't have the data, but I would suspect 70-80% of kids malnourished.

The real scandal is the very slow progress India has made on this crucial metric.

Michael said...

I've been to China and India and there are vast differences between the two in terms of social trust.

Some areas of China are very poor, but there's still order and trust. Things are maintained. In the poor areas of India (which are probably about 95% of the country) it is more similar to Sub-Saharah Africa than North Asia. There's trash everywhere, bodies sometimes floating in rivers, and small gangs running things. Crime is rampant.

This difference has carried over to projects I've witnessed in computer programming and engineering.

North Asians, like whites, are intellectually curious. Many of the Chinese I've worked with sincerely are interested in their projects.

For Indians, however, it's all about the $$$. They could care less about intellectual curiosity. I even had one Indian imitate some black actor and say "Show me the money!" The Indians turn in the shoddiest projects and then demand (often rudely) to be paid ASAP.

And the Indian work quality is poor. For instance, Indian code is often so bad that at the end of a project we'll have to bring in a senior white or North Asian programmer to smooth it out.

As others here have noted, Indians are probably a little smarter than blacks, but they are certainly closer to blacks in intelligence and behavior than they are to North Asians or Whites.

Anonymous said...

(Cliff Arroyo)

Random thoughts on India vs China.

"They're concerned about cleanliness but define it very differently. The Chinese don't seem to have a concept of ritual purity they just don't mind bodily excreta being everywhere."

You have absolutely no idea what your expounding about. Russell Peters' routine about getting off the plane in India and being hit in the face with a "sh*t smell" says it all. I've seen documentaries about the Ganges bathers and those neat little soft-cone piles of excrement row upon row near the water. Indians are infamous for doing number two in the streets in front of tourists.
Are you sh*tting us?

Truth said...

"I even had one Indian imitate some black actor and say "Show me the money!"

LMAO!, did you relay this anecdote to Charles Murray? That is cast-iron undeniable PROOF of all he's ever written!

Anonymous said...

Crime is not "rampant" in India. The capital New Delhi, which is the most crime ridden city, has about half the murder rate of New York City. Despite no effective policing.

Anonymous said...

Crime is not "rampant" in India. The capital New Delhi, which is the most crime ridden city, has about half the murder rate of New York City. Despite no effective policing.

Anonymous said...

Right. Chinese are intellectually curious. No doubt about that.

Indians also do a poor job at programming. Which is why nobody ever outsources to Indian firms, ever. After all, what's the use of paying for someone who's incompetent?

China's obvious success in beating India at IT is an indication of their superior IQ.

RKU said...

Food is still a major problem for a near majority of Indians. If there is any good news in these, it is that 30-40 years ago, these numbers would have been much worse - I don't have the data, but I would suspect 70-80% of kids malnourished.

Actually, I don't think that's correct. A few months back, a fascinating factual detail appeared in a long WSJ discussion of India's problems which I'd never seen in all the endless Happy News MSM stories over the last decade about enormous Indian economic progress. Apparently, the last 30 years of Indian "economic success" have also seen a relentless and steady decline in the caloric intake of the bottom half of the Indian population, now considerably hungrier and less well-nourished than they were back in the early 1980s. There's apparently also been quite a large rise in poverty debt-suicides...

Anonymous said...

Lot of Indians seem more interested in attacking Chinese than explaining why they suck at so many things. It is not about China or anybody else for that matter, PISA is a report about how prepared a 15 year old at a given country at learning and being a productive citizen.

Anonymous said...

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/10-indians-in-forbes-30-under-30-list/213944-2.html

10 Indians in Forbes 30 under 30. Remember, these kids represent regression to the mean.

Anonymous said...

"Indians are infamous for doing number two in the streets in front of tourists."

A joke that used to do the rounds during Clinton's visit to India:

Bill Clinton lands in India in the wee hours of morning and is on his way to a ceremony when he, unsurprisingly, notices the rows of people taking care of their nature business in the open.
He expresses his extreme displeasure to his Indian counterpart, who is incensed by the american's righteousness and makes a mental note.

So when the Indian president tours US, he carefully scans the streets for any errant person. Three days pass without any success.
On the last day, when he has given up all hope and tries to focus on what Clinton is telling him on the way to the airport, a vagrant is sighted.
With much glee, he immediately points it out to Clinton and ribs him. Clinton loses his cool, asks the car to be stopped and decides to take the matter in his own hands.

Next day's headline: President Clinton found assaulting an Indian man with his pants down.

Anonymous said...

" 10 Indians in Forbes 30 under 30. Remember, these kids represent regression to the mean. "


Eaxctly, what else could logically explain that an unusually high porpotion (in relation to the home population) of kids in their 20's without having invented a thing like Steve Jobs could easily accumulate enormous wealth in the global standard other than 1) inherence, and 2) within a society with very low mean IQ which makes it possible for them to con the wealth of the masses in one way or another, particularly under legitimate political-social protection such as "caste"?

This phenominon couldn't be readily happen in a high IQ society (i.e. NE Asian or European ones). Your news link that unusal porpotion of kid billionaires coming out of a largely improverish country like India just provides further evidences to low mean IQ of Indian mass. Thank you.

As for regression to mean or not, it (10 samples out of a billion) means nothing.

Anonymous said...

“If you look at the entire people entering the workforce, you may find lack of quality. But if you take the top 10% then they are perhaps the best in the world. This 10% is quite a large number which is giving India a competitive upper hand.” (livemint)

I see India’s Curriculum Vitae Industry certainly is booming…

Immigration officers, are you listening?

Give it a month, or even less, we’ll be bombarded by the global media with “the knowledge superpower Indians are ready to sacrifice themselves through mass immigration to the West to help out ridiculously stupid Westerners” allover again.

James N.S.W said...

"The capital New Delhi, which is the most crime ridden city, has about half the murder rate of New York City. Despite no effective policing."

So you think a city with allegedly "no effective policing" will have accurate crime statistics?

Anonymous said...

The Forbes list is 30 under 30 in 12 different categories...

But it does look like Indian kids are doing well in finance (where the majority of the 10 are).

Anonymous said...

In general, I'd expect the crime statistics to not be accurate. Except when a dead body shows up, since that's the type of crime which is easy to notice and record. Which is why I compared just murder rates.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, what else could logically explain that an unusually high porpotion (in relation to the home population) of kids in their 20's without having invented a thing like Steve Jobs could easily accumulate enormous wealth in the global standard other than 1) inherence, and 2) within a society with very low mean IQ which makes it possible for them to con the wealth of the masses in one way or another, particularly under legitimate political-social protection such as "caste"?


So you are saying that America is already a low-mean-IQ country (since all those in that list are in the US, working for mostly US companies and institutions)? I thought this was scheduled to happen in a few years. When did it happen? Did this blog report on it? I must have missed it...


This phenominon couldn't be readily happen in a high IQ society (i.e. NE Asian or European ones). Your news link that unusal porpotion of kid billionaires coming out of a largely improverish country like India just provides further evidences to low mean IQ of Indian mass. Thank you.

A couple on that list work for Eurpoean comanies, specifically British. But I guess that even Britain has become a low-mean-IQ country. Which Euro one is left that is not, other than Finland?

Anonymous said...

Who's surprised? I have dealt with a bunch of Indian software engineers. Not impressed. Their resumes are all very polished, though.

Arun said...

Can anyone tell me in which language the PISA tests were administered in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, India?

Thanks in advance!

Arun said...

In any case, anything that prods the Indian systems to improve themselves is for the good.

Anonymous said...

I deal with Chinese software developers on a daily basis and in my experience the average Chinese is technologically underwhelming. They do have the discipline to spend *many* hours on a task but on the whole the #elapsed hours per task is an indication of very low productivity. Even the ones from the 'hi IQ' schools and areas of China demonstrate this low skill

Arun said...

This might be of interest:
http://www.nbr.org/research/activity.aspx?id=195

India's Demographic Outlook: Implications and Trends
An Interview with Nicholas Eberstadt

Two excerpts:

1. Perhaps most importantly, China has a dramatic edge over India on mass educational attainment. As of today, almost everyone in China’s working-age population is at least literate. By contrast, roughly a third of India’s working-age manpower has never been to school. India is about half a century behind China in eliminating illiteracy. Even posting steady educational progress, India will still lag far behind China in attainment levels twenty years from now.


2. Measuring scientific-technological capabilities is a complex proposition. One useful aperture on “knowledge production” is the number of international patents a country earns in relation to its manpower with higher education and its income level. In general, every doubling of per capita income tracks with a quadrupling of patents per person with a higher education. At this juncture, India is punching way above its weight in patent generation. Over the past decade and a half, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (PTO) awarded India over three times as many patents as would have been predicted on the basis of its income level and educational profile. China, on the other hand, does not seem to be punching above its weight, but rather performing more or less as a country with its income and education profile would be predicted to perform. Whether China can emerge as an indigenous center of knowledge production is a huge question for the future of Asia, and the world. India, on the other hand, looks to be already on course to accomplish this.

Anonymous said...

"Whether China can emerge as an indigenous center of knowledge production is a huge question for the future of Asia, and the world. India, on the other hand, looks to be already on course to accomplish this."

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Number of China's Patent Filings was More Than 10 Times of India's

THE number of applications for international patents fell by 4.5% in 2009 compared with the year before to 159,000 as companies in Western countries cut back on R&D spending during the recession. Yet applications from east Asian economies, including Japan and South Korea, increased slightly, while those from China soared by 30%. Since 2005 applications from China have grown by 210% as the country has developed a home-grown high-tech sector.

http://newschecker.blogspot.com/2010/02/number-of-chinas-patent-fillings-was.html

Unknown said...

Steve, Since you are interested in India-China comparisons, you might find of interest the following article that looks at urbanization patterns and policies in the two countries. Any comments would be very welcome.

http://thesouthasianidea.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/urbanization-in-india-some-questions/

Anonymous said...

Interesting subject. After going through all the comments and excuses, I began to wonder where the high IQ Indians are? Some said the high IQ Indians did not go to the West and that's why they did not score above the white. Then they must be still remaining in India. How come the IQ and PISA tests have not be able to pick out theos high IQ Indians?

live football scores said...

I can not comment on Africa. I have lived and traveled all over. The Bollywood movies are popular among the Indian diaspora, but only a few countries are very popular among Indians. East Africa, it seemed to the fans of Indian cinema are just immigrants.