Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own
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As Garett Jones argues in Hive Mind, modest differences in national IQ can explain most cross-country inequalities. Whereas IQ scores do a moderately good job of predicting individual wages, information processing power, and brain size, a country's average score is a much stronger bellwether of its overall prosperity.
Drawing on an expansive array of research from psychology, economics, management, and political science, Jones argues that intelligence and cognitive skill are significantly more important on a national level than on an individual one because they have "positive spillovers." On average, people who do better on standardized tests are more patient, more cooperative, and have better memories. As a result, these qualities—and others necessary to take on the complexity of a modern economy—become more prevalent in a society as national test scores rise. What's more, when we are surrounded by slightly more patient, informed, and cooperative neighbors we take on these qualities a bit more ourselves. In other words, the worker bees in every nation create a "hive mind" with a power all its own. Once the hive is established, each individual has only a tiny impact on his or her own life.
Jones makes the case that, through better nutrition and schooling, we can raise IQ, thereby fostering higher savings rates, more productive teams, and more effective bureaucracies. After demonstrating how test scores that matter little for individuals can mean a world of difference for nations, the book leaves readers with policy-oriented conclusions and hopeful speculation: Whether we lift up the bottom through changing the nature of work, institutional improvements, or freer immigration, it is possible that this period of massive global inequality will be a short season by the standards of human history if we raise our global IQ.
recruits who do poorly on the tests. If IQ tests were useless in the workplace, the military would be foolish to turn down able-bodied, low-scoring men and women who were willing to serve. The U.S. military acts like it believes in the power of the da Vinci Effect. And the military has sound evidence for taking IQ tests seriously. Research using the U.S. Army’s vast datasets on soldier IQ and subsequent performance found that an enlistee’s IQ score has a strong positive relationship with that
three IQ points, apparently exasperated Lynn and Vanhanen. Since British IQ is defined with an average of 100—Lynn treats British IQ as the Greenwich Mean Time of global IQ comparisons—and since the IQ range of 85 to 115 points spans roughly two-thirds of the British population, a two- or three-point difference is minor. In their next book they chided readers who obsessed over differences that were more likely a result of measurement error than of real differences in average cognitive skill. IQ
sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein used to say. Not always, not perfectly, but as we saw in the coda to Chapter 1, on average individuals with high IQ are better at grokking the rules of the social game, they’re more socially intelligent. And as we saw in the last chapter, IQ also tends to predict patient behavior. Those who see the patterns in the Raven’s Progressive Matrices also see the future. That means that in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma, they’ll tend to focus on the rewards of long-term
that “chemicals are pretty safe overall” they might be talking themselves out of a job—but it turns out that the differences in opinion between different kinds of toxicologists were pretty small compared to the differences between toxicologists and the general public. In the survey, only 12 percent of the general public strongly agreed with the claim that the danger is in the dosage, while 62 percent of toxicologists strongly agreed with the same claim. Notice the massive gap: a difference of 50
politicians, 130–31; and Coase Theorem, 108–9, 110, 111–13, 118, 166; corruption in, 1, 2, 84, 110–11, 117, 130, 162; epistocracy, 136–37, 162; government policies regarding IQ scores, 5, 50, 56, 58–59, 60, 62–64, 167; government promises, 114–16; government quality and IQ scores, 116–18, 129–31, 162; inflation temptation, 114–15; informed voters, 122–31, 136–37, 162, 165, 167; IQ scores of politicians, 118–19, 125; and long time horizons, 104–5; patience in, 105, 111–16; political attitudes and