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February 21, 2003

Critique of IQ & Wealth of Nations
Posted by razib at 02:22 PM

The reviewer does not consider that educational opportunity may reflect underlying differences in IQ. Black African countries lack the cognitive capital to maintain well-resourced schools and even when externally maintained by a high IQ minority like in South Africa and Rhodesia, there are intrinsically few intelligent students able to reach high educational level. Similarly, in countries where whites are a majority and there is equal educational opportunity, like the US, average wealth and other socioeconomic indicators correlate strongly with IQ in a Black, Hispanic, gentile white, East Asian, and Ashkenazi Jew continuum.

Posted by: Dan at February 21, 2003 06:45 PM

Their table 1 shows to me that IQ, economic freedom and political freedom are highly correlated and that any one of them could be used as a surrogate for the others.

But economic and political freedom are as unlikely to raise g as poverty and racism are to suppress it. It certainly looks like the causation runs the other way.

Posted by: Dick Thompson at February 22, 2003 08:28 AM

Yes - both this critique and (to a lesser extent) the original argument end up simplifying things overmuch by treating all of these variables as independent. Though I have not read 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations', I wonder whether it accounts for the possibility that greater national wealth leads to increased IQ (until the Flynn effect is explained satisfactorily, this cannot be ruled out). The critique is even lamer though: it treats fertility as a variable independent of IQ (along with educational achievement and some other things). Yeah, sure - if I want to pretend that the number of children per family and the level of education attained are somehow separate from and uninfluenced by IQ, then I can magically make its effects on national wealth seem to disappear.

Posted by: bbartlog at February 24, 2003 01:54 PM

The bigger the schween the lower the IQ and vica versa.

Posted by: Dan at April 21, 2003 05:03 PM