Are the wealthiest countries the smartest countries?

Mar 17, 2011

It's not just how free the market is. Some economists are looking at another factor that determines how much a country's economy flourishes: how smart its people are. For a study published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, researchers analyzed test scores from 90 countries and found that the intelligence of the people, particularly the smartest 5 percent, made a big contribution to the strength of their economies.

In the last 50 years or so, economists have started taking an interest in the value of human capital. That means all of the qualities of the people who make up the . Heiner Rindermann, of the Chemnitz University of Technology, wanted to look more closely at human capital, and particularly the factor that psychologists call cognitive ability. "In other words, it's the ability of a person to solve a problem in the most efficient way—not with violence, but by thinking," Rindermann says. He wrote the new study with James Thompson of University College London.

The researchers collected information on 90 , including far-off lands from the U.S. to New Zealand and Colombia to Kazakhstan. They also collected data on the country's excellence in science and technology—the number of patents granted per person and how many Nobel Prizes the country's people had won in science, for example.

They found that intelligence made a difference in gross domestic product. For each one-point increase in a country's average IQ, the per capita GDP was $229 higher. It made an even bigger difference if the smartest 5 percent of the population got smarter; for every additional IQ point in that group, a country's per capita GDP was $468 higher.

"Within a society, the level of the most intelligent people is important for economic productivity," Rindermann says. He thinks that's because "they are relevant for technological progress, for innovation, for leading a nation, for leading organizations, as entrepreneurs, and so on." Since Adam Smith, many economists have assumed that the main thing you need for a strong is a government that stays out of the way. "I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom," Rindermann says.

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Aranea_hirsuta
3.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2011
"I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom,"

A huge logical fallacy is committed. What if those who are more intelligent are limited in their actions (by the less intelligent, i.e. politicians) to the extent that they cannot contribute meaningfully?
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2011
On the level of countries, intelligence is a factor of education. The higher-quality, cheaper, and more broadly-available education is, the more intelligent the average citizen. Conversely, if high-quality education is generally unavailable to all but the wealthiest families, the whole society suffers the ill-effects.

It stands to reason that a highly-educated population would be more productive and innovative, all other things being equal. In other words, economic freedom alone is -- while necessary -- not in itself sufficient. To get optimal results, you need to combine economic freedom with high-quality human capital.
that_guy
5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2011
I agree with both of you and disagree with both of you. First the government. Somalia has virtually no government and north korea has a brutal dictatorship. Both extremes cause poverty.

However, within a range, from america, which is very economically free to singapore, which is socialist, intelligence makes a bigger impact than the exact type of government.

Now, how well the government handles things like education, and geniunely cares about its people, affects how much education and to a degree, intelligence that the population has.

However, iq is also affected by nutrition, environmental pollution (On an average exposure basis, the US is fairly clean for individuals) and other factors (drug abuse for example) can affect things. Location, culture, and events all play their own role.
that_guy
3.6 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2011
It would also be valid to note that the US is the sole super power primarily because WWII. Europe had been trashed by the war, along with all the money we made off them during the war (This is a fact. See how much britain paid us for war supplies). Yes, we had the drive and intelligence to do it, but you would underestimate the power of resources available to us, along with serendipidous circumstances, as horrible as they were.
mongander
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
"It's not just how free the market is."

The Koreans have about the highest average IQ of any nationality.

South Korea is free and prosperous.
North Korea is not free and is impoverished.
ziprar
4.3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2011
It is the ability to adapt, to change. This applies to individual people and coutries, economies. If coutries can change, change its policies its laws etc, if people can change their views, their opinions, accept others opinions and so on then there can be progress and most probably success (wealth included) . If a coutry/person is stagnating eg North Korea then there is no change and no progress, which will eventually lead to total failure.

Example: Americans, not the brightest bunch :D, so what they do, they invite really intelligent people from other coutries to work for them, that way improving their economy, and worsening the other(s).
Shootist
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
The Koreans have about the highest average IQ of any nationality.


Not so. See Hernstein and Murray.

It is a fact that Ashkanazi Jews have an average intelligence quotient of 115 (1 sigma above the mean), Mandarin Chinese avg 109 and Americans, Europeans, Ozlanders et. al., average 100.

Does that answer the questions.
Shootist
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
When did physorg disable the edit function? I can edit but the submit button is greyed out.
Objectivist
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
"I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom,"

A huge logical fallacy is committed. What if those who are more intelligent are limited in their actions (by the less intelligent, i.e. politicians) to the extent that they cannot contribute meaningfully?

Then this tends to happen: http://en.wikiped...in_drain

I'm fairly certain migration is a huge part of this. Just think of the scholarships given throughout the world for studying in the EU or the US. These intelligent people gather skills which render them useful in the western countries. This in term allows them to migrate permanently, even after their studies.
Eikka
3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
The problem is that the average IQ of a country is always 100.

There is no reliable way to judge the intelligence of two different people, because the test becomes more of how they understand the test instead of how intelligent they are.
sherriffwoody
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
STUPID ARTICLE

of course yes
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
"I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom,"
A huge logical fallacy is committed. What if those who are more intelligent are limited in their actions (by the less intelligent, i.e. politicians) to the extent that they cannot contribute meaningfully?
How does economic freedom correspond to contribution?

Innovation isn't the only measure of economic capability generation.
The problem is that the average IQ of a country is always 100.
No it isn't.
The Koreans have about the highest average IQ of any nationality.

South Korea is free and prosperous.
North Korea is not free and is impoverished.
Eh, no, that's not accurate in the least. Cambodia and Slovenia have the highest IQs. Neither of which is an economic powerhouse.

IQ and brain size have been found to be linked to the severity of the environment in which you live. The more severe, the smarter you tend to be. Natural selectio
a_e_p_b
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
Was Einstein ever the wealthiest man on earth? Or even rich? Or maybe he wasn't smart?
We should, then, begin with definitions: of smart and rich for a start!
jjoensuu
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
We should, then, begin with definitions: of smart and rich for a start!

yea that surely is a big part of the problem. We could create IQ tests to test "intelligence" but then again sufficiently motivated people could train themselves to pass those (and would the trained people thus automatically also be more intelligent than before, or just able to pass the tests?)

By the way, "that_guy", Singapore is not "socialist", unless the definition of socialist changed since last week.
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
This is not true at all.
Wealth depends on manforce and available resources. In fact the opposite may be true. If you have anything you could ever need, than you dont have the drive to be "smart".
buxcador
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
Check the video "The secret of oz", freely available on youtube, and you will gain a large grasp on what separates rich nations from poor nations today.

And remember that correlation is not causation.
Sean_W
3 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
If we can get to artificial general intelligence the top 5% of I.Q.'s will be functionally immortal and become better all the time. We'll all be rich. Rich as Nazis!!!
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
Was Einstein ever the wealthiest man on earth? Or even rich? Or maybe he wasn't smart?
We should, then, begin with definitions: of smart and rich for a start!


IQ point in case. This article has perfectly valid definitions of rich and smart. Obviously you lacked the IQ to make the connection that smart people help the country overall, and not that all smart people are rich. If I work for a business owner, and I'm smart enough to improve the process 50%, I'm not the one who becomes 50% richer.

@jjoensuu
Yes, singapore is socialist...It is not a 100% politically socialist state, but a hybrid of socialism and free market. A significant part of the economy (Shipping for example) are government controlled enterprises. It has been this way for a while.

While by no means a pure socialist government, it is a very socialist county, just not an evil one like we are all used to hearing about.
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
from america, which is very economically free to singapore, which is socialist
"Socialist" in what sense? The ryggesogn2 (non-) sense? Or in the sense "not very economically free"? Or like "having the best quality of life in Asia", "fastest-growing economy in the world", "one of the least corrupt countries in the world", or because of "most companies in Singapore are registered as private limited-liability companies"? (All quotes from Wikipedia.)
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
There is no reliable way to judge the intelligence of two different people, because the test becomes more of how they understand the test instead of how intelligent they are.
Worse: There is no reliable way to define "intelligence" in a culture-independent way.

We have to understand that "intelligence" is not a scientific term but a sociological term coined by the European bourgeoisie of the 19th century.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2011

Singapore is number 2 on the index of economic freedom: "With an educated and highly motivated workforce in place, the economys competitive tax regime, strong respect for property rights, and efficient regulations sustain an innovative and vibrant economy." http://www.herita...ingapore
How Singapore respects private property:
"Singapore has relatively low tax rates."
"Government spending is relatively low."
"The court system is efficient and protects private property."
"Corruption is perceived as almost nonexistent."
"Singapores labor market is highly flexible. "
Singapore has opportunities for improvement in other areas bit its govt is less socialists than most.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2011
If I work for a business owner, and I'm smart enough to improve the process 50%, I'm not the one who becomes 50% richer.

But you are not 'smart enough' to start your own business.

Henry Ford, high school drop out: "I hire smart young people from your schools who have memorized the answers you expect me to have memorized. My job is to not to memorize information that you think is intelligence. My job is to keep my head clear of such clutter and trivial facts so that I can think." At that point, he asked he smart people from the world of academics to leave. "
"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.
Henry Ford

Read more: http://www.brainy...H37fyHSa
"
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2011
If you look at the list of successful entrepreneurs on this site, http://thinkbigpa...ry.html) everyone, not just the entrepreneurs, but the economy as a whole, benefited from an economic and political system that rewarded their efforts.
Millions of 'smart' people have been and are employed by the businesses these 'dumb' entrepreneurs created.

"I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom," Rindermann says."

His evidence is weak and his bias is strong.
GDM
not rated yet Mar 19, 2011
Future bumper sticker for 2012:
Fire all the teachers and make the GOP richer!
or a tee shirt:
I see stupid people....everywhere
LOL (if only it didn't hurt so much)
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2011

The problem is that the average IQ of a country is always 100.
No it isn't.


I'm sorry. I should have said the median.

Anyways, the point is that since the IQ of people correlates roughly to the normal distribution, then when you choose a population and run the test, wherever the peak of the curve happens to land on the absolute score scale is defined as IQ 100.

So, if you have an entire country of smart people, and an entire country of dumb people, or simply people who don't understand the questions, two individuals from these countries may score differently and still get the same IQ number.

If you run the same test on the entire world and simply compare the answers against the absolute scores, you aren't testing intelligence anymore but how well the different people in different cultures understand the test and how well they are prepared for it. For example, if you ask a math question from an aboriginal who understands 1,2,3,many, he will appear dumb.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
Or, if you pitch a self-educated man from Ghana who hasn't had a formal exam in his life, againt a college student from Germany, the German kid will run loops around him simply due to experience in doing exams. He may get better scores because he knows to skip questions he can't answer quickly etc.

The guy from Ghana may be smarter, and a better businessman than him, but his IQ will be lower because of the test.

And if you tailor a test for the man in Ghana and the kid in Germany separately, then they're no longer comparable. It's simply bad science no matter how you do it.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 19, 2011
The mean and median and mode of a normal distribution are equal in value.
michalthebeast
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
And what about intelligent people moving to wealthier countries to obtain higher salaries? What about the fact that wealthier countries offer better education in the first place? Establishing a causal relationship between population's wealth and intelligence is a very difficult task. This article does not convince me at all.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
And what about intelligent people moving to wealthier countries to obtain higher salaries?

How many are allowed to legally move?
The author does not want to address how a country's individual liberty and respect for property rights enable his thesis.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
And what about intelligent people moving to wealthier countries to obtain higher salaries?

How many are allowed to legally move?
The author does not want to address how a country's individual liberty and respect for property rights enable his thesis.

Because neither has anything to do with his thesis. Your views of the world, as backwards and ignorant as they are, typically do not make their way into any form of mainstream intellectual discourse.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
And what about intelligent people moving to wealthier countries to obtain higher salaries?

How many are allowed to legally move?
The author does not want to address how a country's individual liberty and respect for property rights enable his thesis.

Because neither has anything to do with his thesis. Your views of the world, as backwards and ignorant as they are, typically do not make their way into any form of mainstream intellectual discourse.

That's why the economies of the world are collapsing. The preservation of the state is more important than individual liberty and prosperity.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
That's why the economies of the world are collapsing. The preservation of the state is more important than individual liberty and prosperity.
You are proof that economic ability is not an indicator of intellectual capability.

If you had a brain in your head you'd recognize the causes of the global decline Mr. Swenson.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2011
That's why the economies of the world are collapsing. The preservation of the state is more important than individual liberty and prosperity.
You are proof that economic ability is not an indicator of intellectual capability.

If you had a brain in your head you'd recognize the causes of the global decline Mr. Swenson.

I do. Governments take too much wealth from those who created it, socialism.

Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Mar 20, 2011
One thing we do know, is that Americans are growing dumber by the day and their economy and nation is collapsing around them.

For most Americans simple addition and subtraction is difficult and multiplication hard. Division is rocket science.

Just look at the T-baggers. They regularly demand a 40 to 70 percent cut in government spending. But don't touch the military or Social Security, and don't increase unemployment.

The fact that the discressionary portion of their federal budget is less than 30% of their economy - meaning that cuts in the Military or Social Security would be required - is unfathomable to them.

Similarly the simple act of dividing those cuts by an average wage to estimate the massive unemployment that would result is quantum physics to even the Rocket Scientist T-baggers.

America is a fine example of how Freedom is a failure as it demands freedom from being responsible for your actions, and as the world now sees, Borrow and Spend Republicans are irresponsible
Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Mar 20, 2011

If you had a brain in your head you'd recognize the causes of the global decline Mr. Swenson.
I do. Governments take too much wealth from those who created it, socialism.


There is no global economic decline. There is only American Economic collapse.

It is American ignorance of Geography that leaves them to believe that their puny worthless nation represents the entire world.

Best to be rid of them.

Americans have the freedom to be as stupid as possible, and they have availed themselves of that freedom at every opportunity.

Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (35) Mar 20, 2011
The author does not want to address how a country's individual liberty and respect for property rights enable his thesis.


I am no longer interested in the quack tard rantings of American Conservatives who have imprisoned over 2 million of their citizens in prisons run for profit.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
Borrow and Spend Republicans are irresponsible

Yes, there are socialists in all parties.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
America is a fine example of how Freedom is a failure as it demands freedom from being responsible for your actions

This is a result of the 'progressive' socialist disregard of the spirit, intent and words of US Constitution for the past 100 years.
Unfortunately the authors of the US Constitution presumed their citizens would be responsible and moral.
The liberty defined was the liberty of limited government.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
Both IQ and an economic freedom is needed for a successful country. Look at this GDP predictor, it achieved correlation of 0,97 with these two parameters:

http://rpongett.p...gdp.html

Also shows the top 5 % smartest effect nicely!

PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
Millions of 'smart' people have been and are employed by the businesses these 'dumb' entrepreneurs created.
Sure, let's ignore the countless CEO's, CTO's, CFO's and others with Masters and PhD degrees, running the majority of the companies the world over. Let's instead focus on 169 dropouts. Let's all encourage school dropouts, and campaign against education and intelligence in general. Anti-intellectualism to the rescue!
Unfortunately the authors of the US Constitution presumed their citizens would be responsible and moral.
Not really. They presumed their citizens would be wealthy, male plantation owners. I can see how you view the broadening of voting rights to include women, colored people, and the poor as "'progressive' socialist disregard".
Unfortunately the authors of the US Constitution presumed their citizens would be responsible and moral.
Ah, so they were wrong? Seems like a fundamental assumption regarding human nature didn't pan out, then?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
Not really.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
John Adams.
Let's all encourage school dropouts,

The govt/union school systems already does an excellent job of this.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
John Adams.
A male, wealthy plantation owner.
The govt/union school systems already does an excellent job of this.
Oddly enough, in USA much more so than in most any other developed nation with a govt/union school system. In fact, of all the nations that are at the top of world-wide student performance rankings, there isn't a single one that doesn't have a govt/union school system. Odd, isn't it? Downright befuddling...
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
"Research indicates that up to 20 percent of high school dropouts test in the gifted range."
"For many of our nations brightest students school is, at best, a waste of time. At worst, its a purgatory of
boredom. These students, who represent our nations greatest
potential, face depression, frustration and often give up on school."
http://presskit.d...nied.pdf
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
A male, wealthy plantation owner.

Adams was a lawyer from the Boston area.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
A male, wealthy plantation owner.

Adams was a lawyer from the Boston area.
Touche. I confused him with the majority of the other Founders.
"Research indicates that up to 20 percent of high school dropouts test in the gifted range."
Ha! I'd love to see the data for that research. Back when I went to school, the dropouts were mostly those who couldn't read at five grade levels below their age, and were far more interested in gang life than academics.
For many of our nations brightest students school is, at best, a waste of time.
At high-quality schools, there are "advanced" and "honors" classes for the gifted, and opportunities to skip grades. Of course, in America those tend to be restricted to schools that are well-funded -- i.e. wealthy schools, in wealthy neighborhoods.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
"Pointing out the need for curriculums that are not age defined-the need to get away from an educational philosophy demanding that children of the same age do the same thing at the same time-the authors ask the following: What new ideas are we squelching by not allowing these children to stretch their minds? Through their work with gifted students, the Davidsons have discovered teaching methods that nurture the intellect. They present these methods eloquently and suggest forceful ways to restructure schools to embrace rather than deny genius."
http://www.genius...icleid=5

wealthy schools, in wealthy neighborhoods.

"KIPP schools are free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools where underserved students develop the knowledge, skills, and character traits needed to succeed in top quality high schools, colleges, and the competitive world beyond."
http://www.kipp.org/schools
The govt-ed complex opposes skipped grades, $10k/student/yr.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
Through their work with gifted students, the Davidsons have discovered teaching methods that nurture the intellect.
Discovered?? LMAO As if this is something new. America's biggest problem with respect to pedagogy in the last several decades, has been the "not invented here" syndrome. Instead of trying to "discover" the right way to teach, America would do well to simply copy what is already proven to work all over the developed world.
KIPP schools are free
How are they funded?
The govt-ed complex opposes skipped grades, $10k/student/yr.
How does it work in more successful countries?
droid001
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
Do not forget location, history, neighbours, wheather, infostructure, access to capital and many more factors. IQ just consequence in many cases.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
"Would Lincoln have been a better instrument for the country's good if he had been put through the processes of one of our modern colleges?" Woodrow Wilson
"Wilson's theme was that American colleges were too marinated in exclusiveness and not sufficiently concerned with "moral advance.""
""Today we often confuse certification with education. In fact our society seems to value the former more than the latter. That was not true in Lincoln's time ... But he did need to be educated. And he clearly accomplished that largely on his own."
"But somehow Lincoln acquired experience, wisdom and perspective without sitting in a seminar room,..."
"He did it by revering knowledge, respecting history, worshipping the written word, studying tradition -- and daring to imagine a world where the ennobling traditions were enhanced and the rancid ones eliminated."
http://www.realcl...283.html