Researchers find a country's wealth correlates with its collective knowledge

Oct 26, 2011 by Lisa Zyga report
This figure shows the relationship between economic complexity and income per capita for 128 countries after controlling for each country’s natural resource exports. Economic complexity and natural resources explain 73% of the variance in per capita income across countries. Image credit: The Atlas of Economic Complexity

(PhysOrg.com) -- What causes the large gap between rich and poor countries has been a long-debated question. Previous research has found some correlation between a nation’s economic prosperity and factors such as how the country is governed, the average amount of formal education each individual receives, and the country's overall competiveness. But now a team of researchers from Harvard and MIT has discovered that a new measure based on a country's collective knowledge can account for the enormous income differences between the nations of the world better than any other factor.

The researchers, led by Ricardo Hausmann, director of Harvard’s Center for International Development and former Minister of Planning for Venezuela, and Cesar A. Hidalgo, assistant professor at MIT’s Media Laboratory and faculty associate at Harvard’s Center for International Development, have published a book called The Atlas of Economic Complexity. Starting today, the book is free to download at http://atlas.media.mit.edu.

The authors plan to launch the book during an exclusive event at Harvard's Center for International Development on October 27th. Attendees will include chief economists of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, among other guests.

In the book, the authors show how the total amount of embedded in a country’s economy can be measured by a factor they call “economic complexity.” From this perspective, the more diverse and specialized jobs a country’s citizens have, the greater the country’s ability to produce complex products that few other countries can produce, making the country more prosperous.

“The total amount of knowledge embedded in a hunter-gatherer society is not very different from that which is embedded in each one of its members,” the researchers write in their book. “The secret of modern societies is not that each person holds much more productive knowledge than those in a more traditional society. The secret to modernity is that we collectively use large volumes of knowledge, while each one of us holds only a few bits of it. Society functions because its members form webs that allow them to specialize and share their knowledge with others.”

The researchers measured a nation’s collective knowledge in terms of the types of products it produces. Countries that produce lots of products that few other countries produce (such as medical imaging devices and jet engines) have more collective knowledge than countries that produce mainly ubiquitous products (such as cotton and soy).

This network shows the product space of the US. Image credit: The Atlas of Economic Complexity

“The amount of knowledge that is required to make a product can vary enormously from one good to the next,” the authors write. “Most modern products require more knowledge than what a single person can hold. Nobody in this world, not even the savviest geek nor the most knowledgeable entrepreneur, knows how to make a computer. He has to rely on others who know about battery technology, liquid crystals, microprocessor design, software development, metallurgy, milling, lean manufacturing and human resource management, among many other skills. That is why the average worker in a rich country works in a firm that is much larger and more connected than firms in poor countries.”

But getting poorer countries to begin producing more complex products is not as simple as offering individuals a formal education in which they learn facts and figures - what the authors refer to as “explicit” knowledge. Instead, the most productive knowledge is the “tacit” kind (for example, how to run a business), which is much harder to teach. For this reason, countries tend to expand their production capabilities by moving from the products they already produce to others that require a similar set of embedded knowledge capabilities.

After measuring the Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 128 countries by analyzing their products, the researchers found a strong relationship between ECI and income per capita, at least for countries that have limited natural resource exports. (Countries with, for example, large oil reserves tend to be wealthier than expected, since mining oil reserves depends more on geology than large amounts of knowledge.) For the 75 countries for which natural resources account for less than 10% of exports, the researchers found that economic complexity accounts for 75% of the variance in income per capita. After controlling for natural resource exports, economic complexity and natural resources explain 73% of the variance in per capita income across all countries.

Using this data, the researchers generated a ranking of the 128 countries in which Japan had the highest ECI, followed by Germany and Switzerland. The US was 13th.

The authors then predicted each country’s future economic growth by comparing each country’s ECI with its level of income (GDP per capita). If a country had a lower level of income than was expected for its level of complexity, the researchers predicted that the country would experience more growth in order to “catch up.” In other countries, the level of income was higher than expected based on their level of complexity, suggesting that these countries would not experience strong future growth.

Based on this analysis, the top three countries with the highest expected growth were China, India, and Thailand. The US was 91st. As the researchers explained, complex economies tend to have few remaining opportunities because they already produce many complex products. Meanwhile, countries with an intermediate level of complexity differ largely in their potential for expanding to make more complex products.

The researchers hope that this ability to measure a country’s prosperity and predict its future economic growth reveals some key areas that might be addressed and used to accelerate the process of development.

Explore further: Researcher figures out how sharks manage to act like math geniuses

Related Stories

Researchers Map Building Blocks of Economic Complexity

Jun 22, 2009

Since the times of Adam Smith, economists have had the intuition that prosperity emerges from the division of labor, that is, from the interaction of thousands of individual activities. This idea has been present for a long ...

Benefits by the barrel

Apr 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Countries rich in oil have long been associated with the "resource-curse paradox" - a principle which states they will suffer, rather than benefit, in the long run. Not so, new research by ...

Why do some countries' economies grow faster?

Feb 07, 2011

Where do you make your academic home if your PhD is in physics, you did a postdoc at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and you’re researching macroeconomic theories that defy the conventional wisdom in ...

Mental health of child refugees is global problem

Aug 11, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A recent two-part study, published online in the Lancet, highlights the urgent need for high-income countries and international agencies to contribute towards the funding of interventions to tac ...

Recommended for you

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight

Sep 19, 2014

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State Univer ...

Scholar tracks the changing world of gay sexuality

Sep 19, 2014

With same-sex marriage now legalized in 19 states and laws making it impossible to ban homosexuals from serving in the military, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are now enjoying more freedoms and rights than ever before.

User comments : 83

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hush1
1 / 5 (5) Oct 26, 2011
The greater the complexity, the faster a native to a land will die.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (33) Oct 26, 2011
The article say: ""Using this data, the researchers generated a ranking of the 128 countries in which Japan had the highest ECI, followed by Germany and Switzerland. The US was 13th.""

and: ""Based on this analysis, the top three countries with the highest expected growth were China, India, and Thailand. The US was 91st.""

These are outrageous statistics for the United States. Perhaps the present and past "dumbing-down" of American children by Socialist-inspired teachers and professors have worked their magic to decrease the knowledge required for expansion in ALL areas. It must be agreed that the school curriculum at all levels of primary and secondary education has been railroaded to include ridiculous topics such as: how to put a condom on a cucumber or banana; and other politically correct topics arbitrarily taught in classrooms.by educators, many of whom are steeped in radical Socialism, who have themselves been taught by radical Socialist teachers and professors.
Pirouette
1.5 / 5 (25) Oct 26, 2011
In any society that exhibits a failure to excel and progress in its productiveness, if there is an educational system available, it is wise to look at the personal motivations of each educator as to beliefs in his or her socio-economic values. In most cases, it could be found that the educator has been previously indoctrinated into believing that children must be taught Socialistic values almost from the cradle, and that most parents are remiss in their parenting with the inculcation of social values other than which is normal.
Nerdyguy
4.1 / 5 (32) Oct 26, 2011
As a free-market conservative thinker with three children in public school, I disagree with the content of your rhetoric. My kids get straight A's, I have met and volunteered alongside all of their teachers, and have yet to meet a socialist or a radical. Most of these men and women are interested in one thing: presenting math, science, chemistry, etc. and I've yet to run into a situation where a teacher's personal values were forced on one of my children.

Methinks you have perhaps been watching a bit too much of Fox News. Might want to expand your horizons.
Pirouette
1.4 / 5 (27) Oct 26, 2011
It is quite evident as to what has happened in the United States, and I believe that it has been done to dismantle and bring down our proven-successful system of Capitalism. Education is tied inexorably to the present and future success of a nation, and the failure of educators to concentrate on teaching the "essentials" in the classroom, rather than including superfluous and unessential topics in the curriculum is, and has been, a vast contributor to our country's near-demise as in the top ten of civilized nations. This is a corruption, just as much as the corruption that occurs in Wall Street or in our Legislative, Executive and Judicial systems.
For our nation to improve greatly, BAD educators MUST be removed from the school systems. They have been poisoned by their predecessors, and are continuing the poisoning of innocent minds of present and future generations. The Unions that support them should be stripped of their powers to maintain the presence of BAD teachers in the schools.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (27) Oct 26, 2011
Nerdyguy, you and your family may be some of the lucky ones who, so far, have not been affected by the corrupt educators. But others have, and it shows up in the statistics. Do not gauge your own experience with all others. It IS happening. Count yourself as lucky that YOUR children have not encountered that evil.
Pirouette
1.5 / 5 (25) Oct 26, 2011
In some cases, it is the school administrations who force such curriculum on the children. They choose the books, and many books have now been changed to reflect changing mores and political views. Yes, of course there are GOOD teachers who are dedicated to the right curriculum and sincerely care about the children. But they are fast a disappearing breed and that's a shame.
Pirouette
1.5 / 5 (23) Oct 26, 2011
@nerdyguy
the article says: ""But now a team of researchers from Harvard and MIT has discovered that a new measure based on a country's collective knowledge can account for the enormous income differences between the nations of the world better than any other factor.""

Maybe I'm wrong, but somehow I don't think that MIT and Harvard have anything to do with Fox News. Perhaps you are less of a free-market Conservative thinker than you realize.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (21) Oct 26, 2011
Is that 'collective' knowledge about how and who to bribe to get things done in a corrupt socialist state?
Maybe next time they should measure how freely that knowledge is communicated and how free individuals are to act upon that knowledge without significant govt interference: taxes, regulation and corruption.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Oct 26, 2011
My kids get straight A's

Though to be fair: Straight A students in the US would barely be average students anywhere else (I have been to US highschool 2 years when I was young and the standards are laughably low - even taking all honors/AP classes. By all accounts the demands on students haven't risen much since then (if at all).)
tadchem
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 26, 2011
We should export teachers to these intellectually disadvantaged countries. It would be best for them and for us.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2011
Harvard and MIT has discovered that a new measure based on a country's collective knowledge can account for the enormous income differences between the natives of that country better than any other factor.


Needed correction. Harvard&MIT overlooked their own typo.
Your welcome. See above corrected quote.
krundoloss
3.3 / 5 (7) Oct 26, 2011
Yup. America is only #1 in Military might! It is sad that our country is so dumbed down. They should make school harder and cover more material that is relevant to modern life. Why dont they teach you how to purchase a house, or pay your taxes, or to file a patent? Useful information, not just math, science, etc, but information that will help a person in an adult life! Also I think anyone that is on welfare should be required to take atleast two college courses a year, or they lose thier welfare!

You know why other countries are surpassing us? Because thier citizens do things for the greatness of thier WHOLE COUNTRY, not just themselves! Also, change for the better is stifled by greedy corporations!
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (19) Oct 26, 2011
hier citizens do things for the greatness of thier WHOLE COUNTRY,

What country does that and how has that worked out for them?
After all, those greedy Americans saved millions from German, Japanese and Soviet tyranny.
When there is a natural disaster, to whom does the world look to save them?
hush1
1 / 5 (5) Oct 26, 2011
Thks krundoloss
We were told socialism is illegal in the U.S. That is why they must privatized SS. A terrible mistake from the past.
DNJ
3 / 5 (2) Oct 26, 2011
@nerdyguy

As someone who attended primary and secondary schools in US and abroad, I can attest with certainty that the US education problem is not teachers, per se, but the lack of concise and integrated textbooks, low teacher pay and low regard for the young people by the establishment. You stop exploitation of public schools by the eye-candy textbook publishers, you introduce male teacher presence to focus the mind of young people, and you stop undermining the self-esteem of public school attendees and performance will take care of itself.
Doug_Huffman
1.8 / 5 (13) Oct 26, 2011
My kids get straight A's, I have met and volunteered alongside all of their teachers, and have yet to meet a socialist or a radical.
Garrison Keeler sang of Lake Woebegone, where all the kidz are above average, the women are handsome and the men beautiful. A straight A student is not being challenged to learn more, they're just approved for the norm.
Nerdyguy
3.9 / 5 (16) Oct 26, 2011
My kids get straight A's

Though to be fair: Straight A students in the US would barely be average students anywhere else (I have been to US highschool 2 years when I was young and the standards are laughably low - even taking all honors/AP classes. By all accounts the demands on students haven't risen much since then (if at all).)


I've heard this opinion stated before. To be honest, I know little about it. How it's measured, is it apples-to-apples, etc.

I've always been a bit surprised when I hear that, though. I went to grade school and college (through a master's) in the U.S. My kids are in school now. So, I've been able to compare/contrast public school curriculum within my own lifetime. I find that my children are very adequately challenged (I do include extra-curricular academic-type work as well) and that the workload is even higher than I had.
Nerdyguy
3.8 / 5 (17) Oct 26, 2011
My kids get straight A's, I have met and volunteered alongside all of their teachers, and have yet to meet a socialist or a radical.
Garrison Keeler sang of Lake Woebegone, where all the kidz are above average, the women are handsome and the men beautiful. A straight A student is not being challenged to learn more, they're just approved for the norm.


This amounts to zero fact, lots of bad opinion. You know literally nothing about my children, their iq, their schools, the curriculum, etc. So, to spout out this nonsensical claptrap above as if it were somehow scientifically valid is a bit like saying "U.S. teachers are socialists".
Nerdyguy
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 26, 2011
"America is only #1 in Military might!" - krundoloss

Factually incorrect ridiculousness.
gareth_Ph
4.6 / 5 (10) Oct 26, 2011
Despite some concerning stats (40% of Americans think the world is 10,000 years old; some apparently think Stalin's hiding in their closet) America has done and will continue to give us some of the best and brightest.

A sexual ed programme is usually delivered as part of P.E (Physical Education, maybe 'Gym' in U.S) and will comprise only a small part of curriculum i.e if students are taught to put a condom on a banana/cucumber they will probably only spend one lesson - big laugh for the kids but they'll remember the lesson (which, being contraception, is rather important).

Ignorance, prejudice and religion distort education programmes, not socialism.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (20) Oct 26, 2011
Socialism distorts the teachers.
Fortunately US schools are trending towards charters and home schools bypassing the socialist teacher unions. Even Sweden is using competition by using vouchers.
gareth_Ph
3 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2011
Surely U.S schools teach facts (a proton is a proton is a proton...), which are the same to socialists or capitalists? Home (unqualified) schooling tends to yield poor results and is more the norm in 3rd world / primitive tribes.
Nerdyguy
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 26, 2011
Did Joseph McCarthy come back from the grave? What is with this utterly baseless, irrational hate-mongering about teachers and their unions being socialists? Rush Limbaugh have a clearance sale where you guys stocked up?

Clearly, there are problems in U.S. schools. Certainly there could be improvements. True, teachers unions have made some utterly baffling decisions, tend to have a liberal bent, and play politics with many issues for their own gain (vs. the students). But, the same could be said of many large institutions.

All problems with public schools in the U.S. are not caused by unions. And not all teachers are even liberals, let alone socialists.

As gareth put it, eloquently, "Surely U.S. schools teach facts..." And I say, he's right on the money.
HealingMindN
3 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2011
Mandatory neuroleptic & anti-depressant druggings and vaccinations in the U.S. Public Schools are NOT helping us either. If a kid feels nothing, then he wants nothing, ergo he adds nothing to the collective knowledge of the nation. Of course, that kid will get an "A" for paw parroting the same sputum as his teachers and being a "good citizen." And what about the effects of mercury amalgam silver fillings in the heads of young children?
Vendicar_Decarian
3.8 / 5 (18) Oct 26, 2011
"A sexual ed programme is usually delivered as part of P.E (Physical Education, maybe 'Gym' in U.S) and will comprise only a small part of curriculum" - Gareth

According to the Drudge Report, the evil socialists who are behind Sex Education in America are now starting to teach children how to engage in acts of bestiality.

Of course Conservative DittoTards swallow every drop of the Conservative/Libertarian lie.

Vendicar_Decarian
3.9 / 5 (14) Oct 26, 2011
"Capitalism distorts the teachers." - RyggTard

There. I fixed it for you Tard Boy.

Money = (-All Evil)**.5 where (All Evil) > 0.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.3 / 5 (17) Oct 26, 2011
"I can attest with certainty that the US education problem is not teachers, per se, but the lack of concise and integrated textbooks." - DNJ

The failure of America to adequately educate it's young is directly related to the failure of America to adequately socialize it's young and the failure of America to adequately parent it's young.

The failure of America's school system is not a failure of America's school system. It is a feature of America's Capitalist - Me, Me, Me - Culture of greed.

In a nation that worships money above all else, only saps get an education when drug dealing and being a teenage hooker provides all the money you need.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (19) Oct 26, 2011
What is with this utterly baseless, irrational hate-mongering about teachers and their unions being socialists?

What is baseless? Who occupied the WI state house a few months ago? Teachers from teacher unions. They even lied about skipping classes.
What politicians are supported by the NEA dues? Socialist ones.
"Socialism is not too far to the left for the Chicago Teachers Union."
Vendicar_Decarian
4.2 / 5 (20) Oct 26, 2011
After all, those greedy Americans saved millions from German, Japanese and Soviet tyranny." - RyggTard

And the Russians saved tens of millions from German, Japanese and American Tyranny.

Without Russia Americans would be speaking German today.

Vendicar_Decarian
4.2 / 5 (19) Oct 26, 2011
"When there is a natural disaster, to whom does the world look to save them?" - RyggTard

The U.N. typically.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.9 / 5 (16) Oct 26, 2011
"Maybe next time they should measure how freely that knowledge is communicated and how free individuals are to act upon that knowledge without significant govt interference:" - RyggTard

The average American work week is longer now than it was 50 years ago and now there are generally 2 or 3 earners in the family and they still can't stop going broke by spending money they don't have to purchase items they don't need.

Loooooosers
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2011
Comments #27 & #28 from the top, is insight worth remembering.
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 26, 2011
After all, those greedy Americans saved millions from German, Japanese and Soviet tyranny." - RyggTard

And the Russians saved tens of millions from German, Japanese and American Tyranny.

Without Russia Americans would be speaking German today.



If it wasnt for the british america would be speaking dutch.

pointless arguments about alternate realities.
Beerbarian
3.9 / 5 (16) Oct 26, 2011
Wow. Leave it to pirouette and others to make this about politics.
The great challenges facing our nation and our planet cannot be solved by such petty and narrow minded arguments.
Using this study as fodder for an intellectually dishonest campaign against your political rivals only serves to lower the bar even further.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (14) Oct 26, 2011
The arguments are all pointless, since there are so many differing points of view and some views overlap into others. . . and some have no actual basis in fact. However, the First Amendment does guarantee us freedom of speech which, in a true Socialist society would be shouted down and, quite possibly remove the voicer to a jail cell as a dissident. There are also different types of Socialist systems. The type that has been esteemed by the left in the United States differs greatly from the type that is in effect in the Scandinavian countries. There, in northern Europe, practically everyone is employed who is able-bodied, and the employed are heavily taxed - perhaps 50% or more of their salaries go for taxes. Of course, the Scandinavians have free health care (so my friends there tell me), but they also have less money for food, petrol, and other necessities, and everything is very expensive over there. They holiday in cheaper countries where their money goes farther, like Portugal.
Pirouette
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 26, 2011
My Scandinavian friends tell me that much of their tax money is also forcibly wrested from their salaries and, in these modern times, the money goes toward the support and care of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East who are unemployed mostly and have applied for welfare. It is almost automatic for them to get welfare, as the gov't wishes to assume the position of extreme benevolence toward these unemployed, most of whom don't speak the language of the country to which they have emigrated from Africa or the ME. However, they do admit that they and a large majority of their countrymen have become resentful and consider it an affront to their NATIONAL PRIDE that their gov't is soft on non-Scandinavians, and yet treat their own citizens as cash cows for the taking.
Pirouette
1.5 / 5 (16) Oct 26, 2011
It's not about building roads, bridges. ports, airport terminals and all the necessary things. It's really the fact that Scandinavians are now being treated as second-class citizens in their own country. Although they have been taxes heavily for a long time under their Socialist gov't, they were able to bear the load because it benefited all of them. But now, a lot of the benefit goes to others who don't even BELONG in the country, but have been allowed in and are now using up resources that was once meant for the citizens. What can they do about it?
It's similar to our problem with illegals from Mexico and other places who come to the States and take our resources. The major difference is: that the United States is a big melting pot of all different races, ethnic groups, and religions, and many of them are looking to benefit themselves with our tax money. Too many are only looking out for themselves against the common good. Like the teachers' unions, for instance.
Pirouette
1.3 / 5 (16) Oct 26, 2011

beerbarian says:
Wow. Leave it to pirouette and others to make this about politics.
The great challenges facing our nation and our planet cannot be solved by such petty and narrow minded arguments.
Using this study as fodder for an intellectually dishonest campaign against your political rivals only serves to lower the bar even further.


intellectually dishonest campaign against my political rivals?? What the hell are you talking about? Get your story straight before you accuse me. I HAVE NO POLITICAL RIVALS, dimwit.
Pirouette
1.5 / 5 (15) Oct 27, 2011
The discussion was about the dumbing-down of American children and the results of which the nation is not even in the top 10 percent of overall knowledge of the basics such as math, English, science, and history, since MANY OR MOST of the nation's teachers and professors have been teaching their Socialist values, which are reflected in the classroom curriculum from books written also by Socialist-inspired authors who have changed the original content to suit their own ideology. If you cannot comprehend the meaning of all these events in this country, then you will fall for anything.
MarkyMark
3.9 / 5 (15) Oct 27, 2011
In european countries such as Scandinavia the far right Nazi style parties are on the rise. Sounds like your 'Scandinavian Friends' have certain sympathies in that direction. Perhaps you should talk to more than just far right nationalists before you decide how things are in Europe right now hmmm! Also just to comfort you i can assure you Stalin really is dead and not hiding under your bed, and the earth is older than 10,000 years.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Oct 27, 2011
I went to grade school and college (through a master's) in the U.S. My kids are in school now. So, I've been able to compare/contrast public school curriculum within my own lifetime. I find that my children are very adequately challenged (I do include extra-curricular academic-type work as well) and that the workload is even higher than I had.

Just to give you an idea: The amount I learned in those 2 years of high school with straight 'A's was the equivalent of one year back home (germany). I had to be reinserted one year below my age level.

When I talked to friends from asian countries then the discrepancy there is even more extreme (to them the european school systems are barely challenging)

The 'challenge' in US school systems as oposed to other systems is non-existent. If you feel your kids are being challenged adequately then maybe you should arrange for them to spend some time abroad and see what the real world is like.
krundoloss
3.5 / 5 (4) Oct 27, 2011
Maybe Im smart, but the only time any class has been challenging is when they pack too much material in a short amount of time. When this happens, I will just memorize everything and forget it later. Isnt that what everyone does anyway? Whats the point?
Nerdyguy
4 / 5 (12) Oct 27, 2011
"Also just to comfort you i can assure you Stalin really is dead and not hiding under your bed, and the earth is older than 10,000 years." - MarkyMark in response to Pirouette

lmfao. Thank you. Made my day.
Nerdyguy
3.9 / 5 (14) Oct 27, 2011
In response to Antialias, et al, re: Europeans schools vs. American schools.

There may be some truth to what you say, and I do believe there is adequate room for improvement in our school system. However, I maintain that simply by stating the case from a couple of personal experiences, you are not in reality making an apples-to-apples comparison.

For example, I have been fortunate enough to have a high enough standard of living that the schools my children attend are in safe, comfortable suburban areas. So, on the one hand, you have schools like my son's elementary where his Odyssey of the Mind team competed internationally against schools from around the world and won a second place award. This is a public school.

On the other hand, you have schools in this same city which are in very poor, inner city neighborhoods. Huge dropout rates. Guns, drugs, etc.

The problem with this kind of study is, we are simply lumping both of these types of schools together.
Nerdyguy
4 / 5 (16) Oct 27, 2011
"MANY OR MOST of the nation's teachers and professors have been teaching their Socialist values" -Pirouette

How in the world could you possibly know this? Answer: you don't, so you simply make it up.

Pirouette, I suspect that you are having trouble understanding the difference between wild, paranoid speculation and actual fact. Meds and counseling can help you my friend.
CHollman82
1.8 / 5 (12) Oct 27, 2011
We should export teachers to these intellectually disadvantaged countries. It would be best for them and for us.


We need other countries to export teachers (and decent parents) to our country... we are the impoverished nation in terms of education...

(I'm assuming you are American)
CHollman82
1 / 5 (13) Oct 27, 2011
Just to give you an idea: The amount I learned in those 2 years of high school with straight 'A's was the equivalent of one year back home (germany). I had to be reinserted one year below my age level.

When I talked to friends from asian countries then the discrepancy there is even more extreme (to them the european school systems are barely challenging)

The 'challenge' in US school systems as oposed to other systems is non-existent. If you feel your kids are being challenged adequately then maybe you should arrange for them to spend some time abroad and see what the real world is like.


Would you expect any better from a country where 40% of the population believe that humans rode dinosaurs 5000 years ago?
antialias_physorg
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 27, 2011
Would you expect any better from a country where 40% of the population believe that humans rode dinosaurs 5000 years ago?

When I was there that sort of 'belief' wasn't as wide spread (or at least it wasn't in any kind of evidence at the school I was at.)

From experience and correspondence with fellow researchers on the subject of education I'd say anything up to and including college (and also most non-internationally known universities) is a laugh.

There are some extremely good universities, though (MIT, Cal-Tech, Stanford ...) so all is not lost. Anyone who has attended any of those will attest to the fact that the level of difficulty jumps orders of magnitude from college/high school.

But if you believe that having a US highschool diploma or a college degree is worth anything outside the US then you're just kidding yourself.
Nerdyguy
3.5 / 5 (16) Oct 27, 2011
"Would you expect any better from a country where 40% of the population believe that humans rode dinosaurs 5000 years ago?" - chollman82

First, they were called "Jesus Chariots" and second, it was closer to 5500 years ago. It took 500 or so years for Adam and Eve to get the whole civilization thing going.
Pirouette
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
MarkyMark says:
In european countries such as Scandinavia the far right Nazi style parties are on the rise. Sounds like your 'Scandinavian Friends' have certain sympathies in that direction. Perhaps you should talk to more than just far right nationalists before you decide how things are in Europe right now hmmm! Also just to comfort you i can assure you Stalin really is dead and not hiding under your bed, and the earth is older than 10,000 years.

I suspect that MarkyMark most likely believes that Nazis are lurking in every corner, waiting to pounce on the Socialists and take their powers away.
LOL. . .get over your fear of Nationalists, MM. . .you have nothing to worry about whether in the U.S. or in Europe. You are ASSUMING by your dumb statement about dinosaurs that I am a Creationist. I am not, but YOU need to get over them also.
Pirouette
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2011
Socialists are real, in case you weren't aware, and they do damage to schoolchildren psychologically, socially, and scholastically, no matter how hard you try to convince others that Socialists are harmless to society. You need to read more of statistics done by those who study demographics. You might learn something. Too bad you hate Nationalists. The United States is lacking in enough of them and that is why Socialists wish to render the nation as ineffective as possible and destroyed as a bastion of freedom. You should be ashamed of your attitude. You don't seem to care much for your country and its future. I am assuming you are an American citizen.
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
I notice some here are equating education with knowledge.
That is a mistake.
My grandfather had an 8th grade education and knew FDR was a socialist and knew much more about life than the 'educated' of today.
Pirouette
2 / 5 (4) Oct 28, 2011
In Europe, the Socialists in power in countries such as GREECE have turned their respective countries into hellholes of entitlements ON DEMAND, and the citizens have expected to be taken care of from cradle to grave, with the result that Greece, Italy, Spain and others are underwater financially from a system that spends with impunity and then expects other countries who were wiser and more frugal, to bail out these Socialist systems so that they can go back to their foolish spending and start the whole stupid process over again.
It's apparent that MM and Nerdyguy don't believe that that Socialist system is also being championed here in the USA. Their heads are in the sand regarding the evils of Socialism and will most likely jump for joy when the U.S. Constitution is circumvented and ignored by Socialists already in power here.
Pirouette
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2011
Rygge says:
I notice some here are equating education with knowledge.
That is a mistake.
My grandfather had an 8th grade education and knew FDR was a socialist and knew much more about life than the 'educated' of today.


You're absolutely right. Even a college education is no guarantee that the student has actually LEARNED AND RETAINED the knowledge taught him/her. But the point is also that the CURRICULUM that is being taught to students, depending on the subject, may have been convoluted to reflect a Socialist point of view, of which many students are not aware of, and are trusting of their teachers and professors to teach them the true facts, rather than lies and innuendo that are in keeping with Socialist values. History books are much more affected by this system of wholesale lies being thrust on kids intent on learning.
Nerdyguy
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2011
Food for thought: what information, exactly, would suffice to convince the massive egos on here who are so certain of their own infallibility?

I am deeply curious to know, as it seems to me that the vast majority of you have staked out an opinion and spend most of your time ridiculing anyone who challenges it. It's obvious that neither side of this debate is learning a damn thing from the other.

I'm clearly on the fence with this and would like to see more definitive information and whole lot less name-calling. Am I the only one?

So, again, what information would suffice? Is there such a beast?
Nerdyguy
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
"It's apparent that MM and Nerdyguy don't believe that that Socialist system is also being championed here in the USA." - Pirouette

LMAO! How did I get into your crazy rants this time? You know nothing of me, my motives, my interests, or my beliefs, so hush. If you're interested, let's have a conversation, but don't quote an individual unknown to you in regards to their personal views.

If you stick to the facts, and what I actually said, you would clearly understand that what bothers me is not your opinion, when stated as such, but your use of a broad brush to paint all people in a specific group.
Pirouette
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2011
Other kids who are NOT intent on learning are not generally included in this game of destruction, but their future votes are valued nevertheless, and they will be taught that American Conservatives are racists, homophobes, sexist, and all other kinds of descriptive lies to turn people against one another. That has worked also in Communist and Nazi systems very effectively where people who are unhappy with their lot in life, actually require a "victim". And, in the USA, the Socialists who are in charge actively seek to turn the masses against the very people who are anti-Socialist, in order to turn attention FROM the evils of Socialism. The Socialist view sometimes attempts to victimize certain groups such as Creationists and Nationalists (not the same as Nazis) and even scientists and politicians who go counter to their own strong beliefs.
Nerdyguy
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2011
FYI: I mistakenly posted the comments above re: food for thought in the wrong page! My apologies. I had two windows open, and the other one was an article on climate change, where the post was meant to be directed. Too bad PhysOrg won't let you delete or edit a post after only a few minutes.

"Food for thought: what information, exactly, would suffice to convince the massive egos on here who are so certain of their own infallibility? ........."

Pirouette
3 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2011
""am deeply curious to know, as it seems to me that the vast majority of you have staked out Nerdyguy says: ""an opinion and spend most of your time ridiculing anyone who challenges it. It's obvious that neither side of this debate is learning a damn thing from the other.

I'm clearly on the fence with this and would like to see more definitive information and whole lot less name-calling. Am I the only one?""

You need to reread your own comments as well as the comments that MarkyMark made which you agreed with. You are the pot that's calling the kettle black. You have said in an earlier comment that you didn't like or approve of my comments on Socialist teachers and professors because YOUR kids get straight A's and that you have never met a Socialist or radical teacher.
You have based your comment against mine solely on YOUR experience with possibly very dedicated teachers, and I expressed that already.
Pirouette
3 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2011
But YOU are expressing your doubt(s) about a system that has crept into the American schools and that has been an ongoing concern for many in this country. Whether you like it or not, and whether you can accept it or not, it IS a fact, and a fact which so many true Americans are very uncomfortable with.
Pirouette
2 / 5 (4) Oct 28, 2011
For all I know, YOU might be very comfortable with Socialism in all its evil forms, as long YOUR children get straight A's and are challenged in their school. But look at all the OTHER kids who don't have what you have in your nice, safe suburban area. It is those kids who haven't learned a darn thing worthwhile who may become our enemies of tomorrow when they have sucked up all the hateful rhetoric of the left who actually have the nerve to JUSTIFY the incredibly bad jobs that Socialist teachers and professors have done on American children.
You need to learn more about what is truly going on in this country and in Europe and Asia.
Unless your mind is dense and full of the rhetoric that Socialism espouses, you MIGHT wake up one day and realize there is more to the story than what's in your own little world.
Nerdyguy
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
"and they will be taught that American Conservatives are racists, homophobes, sexist, and all other kinds of descriptive lies to turn people against one another" - Pirouette

Naw, you're just making things up again. Could there be individuals out there who do such things? Sure. Is what you describe here ALL that exists within American education. NO.
Nerdyguy
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2011
"You have said in an earlier comment that you didn't like or approve of my comments on Socialist teachers and professors because YOUR kids get straight A's and that you have never met a Socialist or radical teacher." - Pirouette

Nope. Wrong again. Don't like to see a science-based site perverted by radical comments based on zero evidence. Your opinion, stated as a political rant, does not equate with proof of anything. Logic, my friend, logic. Try it.
Skultch
5 / 5 (3) Oct 29, 2011
My kids get straight A's

Though to be fair: Straight A students in the US would barely be average students anywhere else (I have been to US highschool 2 years when I was young and the standards are laughably low - even taking all honors/AP classes. By all accounts the demands on students haven't risen much since then (if at all).)


Agreed. Here's my anecdote: I struggled through the boredom that is the US honors/AP system for 8 years. Everyone I've ever talked to that went through the same (100s of individuals) have identified this problem. Some of them have or are starting private schools or are on school boards. The US is figuring out the problem. I have no doubts that it will improve.

That said, the US is still near the top-right of the graph. The article is saying this is the case because we are specialized. This article tries to explain the economic advantage of NOT stressing well-rounded education. Let's find the most valuable balance, shall we?
Skultch
5 / 5 (2) Oct 29, 2011
I agree with the other comments that claim a lack of integration between subjects and too much focus on memorization, whether that be implicit or a product of testing for too many loosely related facts at once.

There are very good reasons why I remember most of my HS chemistry class. Continuation is the big one, but a close second is that my teacher stressed understanding how it all fits together rather than just memorizing facts on their own.

I don't know about other countries, but this is well understood in the US. It's a recent revelation on the national level, however, so it's going to take half a generation for the improvements to manifest themselves into greater productivity and higher aggregate knowledge in the population.
Vendicar_Decarian
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 29, 2011
"If it wasnt for the british america would be speaking dutch." -kaas

So America has the British to blame for it's lower standard of life and lack of civilized culture.

Thanx for clearing that up.

Vendicar_Decarian
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 29, 2011
"In Europe, the Socialists in power in countries such as GREECE have turned their respective countries into hellholes of entitlements ON DEMAND" - Spirochete

How is it then that the Socialist European states typically have higher living standards and a universally higher standard of Education than the bankrupt American state?

If what you claim wasn't a lie, then we would expect to see those Socialist European "hell holes", as you put it, ranked below the U.S. in quality of life and education.

Yet the opposite is true.

How sad for you.

I have never encountered a Conservative who wasn't a congenital and perpetual liar.

You are no exception to that observation Spirochete.

Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 29, 2011
"American Conservatives are racists, homophobes, sexist." - Spirochete

It is good to learn such truths.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 29, 2011
Isn't this the same "bastion of freedom" otherwise known as "America" that keeps prisoners - including children - locked up without trial or adequate legal representation and uses physical torture in an attempt to make them confess to the acts to which they are illegally charged?

Isn't this the same America that restricts it's citizens to "protest zones" when they dared try to protest the criminal acts of their previous Conservative - war criminal - President?

Ya... It is, isn't it?

"The United States is lacking in enough of them and that is why Socialists wish to render the nation as ineffective as possible and destroyed as a bastion of freedom." - Spirochete
kochevnik
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 29, 2011
@Pirouette Have you ever flushed a toilet? Utilized technology? If so, your guilty of conspiring with the socialists.
Pirouette
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 29, 2011
kochevnik. .. .both you and Vendicar don't make sense. Please elucidate.
Moebius
2 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
So if we took all the stupid people in the world and put them in one country (it would have to be a big one) it wouldn't be too wealthy? Who'd a thunk?
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
kochevnik. .. .both you and Vendicar don't make sense. Please elucidate.
Quite right. I should have typed "you're."
Vendicar_Decarian
2 / 5 (4) Oct 30, 2011
"both you and Vendicar don't make sense." - Spirochete

Translation - "My Libertarian ideology doesn't permit me to comprehend reality."

And it never will.

Pirouette
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
Who or what the hell is a Spirochete? And WHEN have I EVER said I was a Libertarian? The answer: I never have. Bright boy Vendicar only ASSSSSUMES these things to suit his own convoluted trash he considers as some form of ideology. He is a card-carrying abnormality who BELONGS in a Socialist/Communist country in which he would be most comfortable. He doesn't belong in the United States. . .maybe Red China or Venezuela might take him in.

And they STILL don't make sense.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
If it walks like a spirochete and talks like a spirochete and smells like a spirochete it is a spirochete.

Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
Hush1 says:
Harvard and MIT has discovered that a new measure based on a country's collective knowledge can account for the enormous income differences between the natives of that country better than any other factor.


Good catch, Hush1. . . .but it could also apply to "between nations", which is BASICALLY what the article is about. That's why the United States is quite low on the totem pole, compared to European and Asian countries.
Needed correction. Harvard&MIT overlooked their own typo.
Your welcome. See above corrected quote.

Harvard and MIT has discovered that a new measure based on a country's collective knowledge can account for the enormous income differences between the natives of that country better than any other factor.


Needed correction. Harvard&MIT overlooked their own typo.
Your welcome. See above corrected quote.[/q
Pirouette
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
Especially Asians. I recall reading about how Asian children even in the U.S. are encouraged by their parents to excel in academic courses both in grade and high school and the parents consider it disgraceful if their child doesn't get enrolled in the Honors classes. By the time the kid is accepted at the best University the parents can afford, or get in on a scholarship, he or she has surpassed classmates in every subject except for phys. ed.
Asian parents are not interested in a "football scholarship", which is a joke to them, anyway. Another group that surpasses most American children in scholastic achievement are the Jewish kids. Their parents push them hard also, to excel. Both Jewish and Asian parents are generally more involved with checking homework than other ethnic groups in the U.S.
In Israel and Asian countries, the competition is even harder and, in many cases, failure is not an option because it is too embarrassing for the parents and kids don't want to let them down.
Pirouette
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
Two years in the Israeli Army also give the Jewish kids a well rounded experience in realism.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
P, one common cultural experience shared by Jews and Chinese is having their wealth forcibly taken by the state.
The only wealth that could not be stolen is their education.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
"Two years in the Israeli Army also give the Jewish kids a well rounded experience in realism." - Spirochete

If you consider murdering Palestinian children "realism".
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
"P, one common cultural experience shared by Jews and Chinese is having their wealth forcibly taken by the state" - RyggTard

And yet look how things have turned out. Israel's economy is a shambles and without the influx of billions of dollars in donations from Jews all around the world would fall apart completely.

China on the other hand has an economy that is growing by 10 percent per year, and pretty much has the high tech world in it's pocket.

The future for Israel is Oblivion.
The future for China is most probably world market domination.