« Fixing the "Broken Pipe" Error in Movable Type NetPBM Thumbnail Generation | Main | Floating Point Benchmarks »

Saturday, November 6, 2004

IQ and The Pentagon's New Map

In Thomas Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map, one of the assumptions underlying his aggressive strategy of integrating the disconnected countries he places in the "gap" into the "functioning core" of globalisation is that with military intervention where required to topple authoritarian regimes which profit from their population's disconnectedness and patient "system administration" by benevolent nation builders with guns, any country in the gap can become a fully functional part of the core--it is only accidents of history and geography which have excluded countries from the march of globalisation.

But in IQ and the Wealth of Nations, Lynn and Vanhanen find that the strongest single factor which correlates with per capita income and the rate of economic growth is the mean IQ of a country's population. I thought it would be interesting to compare the mean IQ of the countries in Barnett's core and gap, so I took a copy of the global composite country database I prepared for the Global IQ: 1950-2050 study and marked countries as "Core" or "Gap" according to Barnett's map. A little Perl program was then used to compute population, mean and standard deviation of IQ, and number of countries in each region and the world as a whole, with the following results:

RegionCountriesPopulation × 109Mean IQIQ Std. Dev.
Core 54 3.98 93.5 7.3
Gap 131 2.31 81.2 9.3
World 185 6.29 89.0 12.2

This is very interesting, since Lynn and Vanhanen find a mean population IQ of 90 or above is a prerequisite for economic development of the kind associated with the globalised "core" nations. If this is the case, "shrinking the gap" is going to take a lot more than military intervention and nation-building (and explains why so many development assistance programs to date have produced such meagre results).

Barnett assigns India to the core, which skews the results substantially, since Lynn and Vanhanen estimate the mean IQ of the Indian population as just 81. While India is a rapidly developing part of the global economy, a large portion of the population remains in traditional villages (60% of the population is engaged in agriculture, according to the CIA World Factbook), a lifestyle associated with lower IQ (urban populations with access to education have higher IQ than rural populations with identical ethnic composition), so India's mean IQ can be expected to rise as more of its population is brought into the modern economy. If we were to deem India a "gap" country, as many would have not long ago, the results are even more striking:

RegionCountriesPopulation × 109Mean IQIQ Std. Dev.
Core 53 2.93 98.0 6.9
Gap 132 3.36 81.2 9.3
World 185 6.29 89.0 12.2

This suggests that instead of spending trillions on "Leviathan" military solutions, it might be wise to invest far more modest sums in trying to learn just what intelligence is and how to increase it.

Posted at November 6, 2004 15:30