IQ and the Wealth of Nations

IQ and the Wealth of Nations

IQ and the Wealth of Nations

IQ and the Wealth of Nations

Synopsis

Lynn and Vanhanen argue that a significant part of the gap between rich and poor countries is due to differences in national intelligence (national IQs). Based on an extensive survey of national IQ tests, the results of their study challenge the previous theories of economic development and provide a new basis to evaluate the prospects of economic development throughout the world.

Excerpt

In 1817, the English economist Thomas Malthus wrote in a letter to David Ricardo that "the causes of the wealth and poverty of nations is the grandest of all inquiries in Political Economy" (Keynes, 1964, p. 97). This problem had already been discussed in the eighteenth century by Montesquieu and Adam Smith. In 1748, Montesquieu addressed this question in his De L'Esprit des Lois, in which he noted that rich nations tend to lie in temperate latitudes and poor nations tend to lie in the tropics and semi-tropics, from which he concluded that climate must be in some way associated with economic development. Adam Smith addressed the same question in 1776 in The Wealth of Nations, in which he proposed that the principal factors responsible for economic development were human skills, specialization and division of labor, and the existence of markets. The problem of why some nations are rich and others poor has continued to occupy scholars up to the present day. It has been discussed by economists, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, and historians. Numerous theories have been advanced proposing the importance of climatic, geographical, psychological, social, cultural, political, and institutional factors, but no general consensus has emerged.

In this book, we advance the hypothesis that the intelligence of the populations has been a major factor responsible for the national differences in economic growth and for the gap in per capita income between rich and poor nations. As far as we are aware, this theory has never been previously proposed (see, for example, the World Development Report, 2000-2001). Hitherto, theories attempting to explain the economic gap between rich and poor countries have assumed that the people of all nations have the same mental abilities. Generally, this assumption has been implicit and the possibility that there might be differences in intelligence between the peoples of different nations has been ignored. However, some of those who have considered this issue have explicitly rejected the possibility that the peoples of different nations might differ in intelligence. For instance, Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, asserted in April 2000 that intelligence

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.