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.
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):
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?
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.