Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nothing to Fear but Stupidity Itself

Oscar Wilde said "there is no sin except stupidity." Voltaire said “The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity." Einstein said, “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” Source.

Looking at the map above, one can see that poverty and stupidity go together like hand and glove. Some countries have experienced severe poverty for periods of time--postwar Germany, Japan, and South Korea come to mind--then rebound out of poverty with time and outside assistance. Other countries such as Haiti are always impoverished, regardless of external assistance, opportunities, and internal resources. Then there are countries such as Zimbabwe which were once much better off, but now are among the most impoverished nations on earth.

International investors would be happy to take advantage of low worker wages in these perennially impoverished nations, as in Subsaharan Africa or muslim Central Asia, if they could expect a reasonable return on investment. The problems with employing workers in these nations are corruption and graft in dealing with government officials, and political instability--with the ever-present threat of nationalisation of the industry (as occurred recently in Bolivia to the natural gas fields). This type of government behaviour virtually guarantees that investors will stay away.

In addition, there is a shortage of trainable workers. If there are not enough people in the potential workforce intelligent enough to learn the skills and technologies involved in the industry--the situation is hopeless. A technological society requires an average population IQ of at least 90 (with 100 being the internationally standardised mean) to maintain itself. If the population average (mean) IQ is less than 90, all attempts to bring the nation as a whole into the modern technological world, are doomed.

The book IQ and the Wealth of Nations discusses this issue, and makes comparisons of average IQ between different nations. The authors admit that political and economic factors can artificially hold down a nation's wealth, even in the presence of high average IQ. Conversely, in a nation of relatively low average population IQ, an enlightened market economy can raise the nation's wealth above what it would be if the economy were more centrally commanded. Likewise, oppressive and/or unstable political regimes will depress a nation's wealth, even where the population average IQ is average or above.

It is important to optimise nutrition for mothers and children in these countries. But what if after optimising nutrition for mothers and children, significant population IQ average differences remain between nations? If it is clear that the nations are suffering because of lower population IQs, other underlying reasons for the differences should be determined and methods for removing the IQ deficits should be found.

The penalty for doing nothing may be severe.

When one contemplates how easily muslims are led into a frenzy by their clerics, one is forced to contemplate the relationship of stupidity with fanaticism.



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