Fred Reed on IQ, Culture, and Economic Progress
July 13, 2012
Fred Reed has written his most important article in about five years. It's on IQ and economics. It shows why Mexico has low IQ and a lot of progress.http://www.fredoneverything.net/MexicanIQ.shtml
Mexico is no longer a third world nation. It is second world. It is making great progress, despite the drug wars. Why? Not because of low IQs.
He cites IQ and the Wealth of Nations. The book is overpriced. It also has one glaring anomaly. It ranks Israel's IQ as substandard: 94. Sorry, guys, but I'm not buying it. Check your methodology. If the response is "Sephardic Jews are low-IQ people who pulled down the average IQ," I suggest re-thinking the methodology. If the explanation is "too many Arabs," I'm still not buying it. There is nothing stupid about Arabs.
Ashkenazi Jews have high IQs. They are very successful economically. They weren't 250 years ago. They were peddlers or small businessmen. These are important skills, but peddlers were not billionaires. A lot of Jews are today. What's different? Not IQ. Opportunities.
This is Reed's point.
IQists tend to dismiss the invocation of culture as an evasion--real men believe in IQ--or to argue that defects of culture are the results of low intelligence. This is highly debatable. Consider the following list of founders of major companies in the information technologies (largely from memory, so I hope right):
Google (Sergei Bryn, Larry Page), Intel (Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce), Apple (Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak), Microsoft (Bill Gates), Dell Computer (Michael Dell), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), YouTube (Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim), Netscape (Mark Andreesen), Yahoo (Jerry Yang, David Filo), AMD (long list of guys from Fairchild Semiconductor), Twitter (Jack Dorsey), Wikipedia (Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger), Unz.org (Ron Unz), PayPal (Peter Thiel), Ebay (Pierre Omidyar).
Note that they are overwhelmingly either American or working in America. Why America? Gringos are no smarter than Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, or Koreans. The countries of all of the foregoing countries run huge high-tech companies, but their college kids don't think, "Geez, I'm bored. I guess I'll start Dell Computer, or Facebook, or maybe Microsoft. Beats doing a doob." Certain thoughts seem embedded in American culture: "Why not?" "Who says I can't?" "Bet me." "Let's wing it and see what happens." It is not Mexico. Or much of anywhere else.
Don't tell me how smart you are. Show me what you have accomplished . . . and where.
Charles Murray thinks IQ is important. He wrote so in The Bell Curve. He writes it again in Coming Apart. But the plight of the lower-middle-class whites is not low IQs. It is a culture of failure. It is a culture in which men in their twenties are no longer expected to hold jobs. It is a culture based on unwed mothers: 40% of births. This has happened in 50 years. The cause is not falling IQ scores. The cause is the libertine worldview espoused by upper-middle-class college graduates, but not actually practiced by them. Hence, his great advice to the successful: "Preach what you practice."
What is Mexico's problem? Worldview, especially ethics.
So, the IQists ask reasonably, if Mexicans are not stupid, why is the country backward? Where are the Nobelists in physics, the Intels, the Apollo programs? Why no Bill Gates?
There are several becauses. Because the society is profoundly corrupt, with (it sometimes seems) everything and everybody being for sale. Because of a lack of entrepreneurial spirit, a tendency to be content with enough. Because Mexicans tend to live entirely in the present, instead of having one foot in the future as Americans do. Because of a resentful envy of the smart and ambitious (cf. "acting white") instead of following their example; this is serious. Because envy and distrust of one another make it hard for them to work together. Because of a lack of interest in study. Because so very many of the young marry at sixteen, have a baby, and do nothing thereafter.
Confessions have consequences. Covenants have consequences. Faith has consequences.
A smart man can steal me blind. Give me an honest man every time. Even if he has a lower IQ.
Same with nations.