February 2, 2002

Richard Lynn's and Tatu Vanhanen's IQ and the Wealth of Nations

Irresistible upcoming book: Richard Lynn's IQ and the Wealth of Nations lists average IQ scores for dozens of countries.

C'mon, you know you want to to read its tables! For instance, those snotty French who think they are so smart? How do they really score? Or, if you've been wondering why so many people in so many Arab countries believe in so much dumb stuff, Lynn's book offers the most direct explanation: generally speaking, they ain't rocket scientists. Not surprisingly, the Northeast Asian tigers lead the world in average national IQ. (Lynn's mediocre score for Israel seems open to question.)

For the correlation between national IQ and per capita GDP, Lynn reports the kind of high number that social scientists normally only dream about finding. If all you know about a country is its average IQ and whether it has a free market economy, you can predict its income level with a surprising degree of accuracy. Of course, this doesn't solve the chicken or egg question. Are they rich because they are smart or smart because they are rich? From what I've seen so far out of the book, it looks to me like both are true.

Culture also plays a role. Lynn lists underachievers with high IQs and low incomes (e.g., perennial screw-up Argentina) and overachievers (e.g., Barbados, with its veddy, veddy English cricket-centric culture that makes it the best-run black country in the world.).


Anonymous said...

Lynn's mediocre grading of Israel's IQ is for the obvious reason that he is an avowed anti semite!!!!

Anonymous said...

Since the IQs are based on standardized OECD tests in mathematics and science there is not much room for error.

Why should Jews score higher than the other Semitic peoples? Because they think that they should? Or because their "spectacular success" becomes so much harder to "explain" if they are not allowed to add their shoe size to their IQ?

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at recent national figures for US utility patents. The UK, with a population of around 60m is awarded about 3,600 patents annually. Israel, with a population of 6m, is awarded about 1,000. Work it out - 3 times as many per head of population.

And that in a country which is constantly under threat. That says to me that Jews are pretty smart. Get used to it.