PI Newsletter #46

  1. The Idiocy of the Average – and Why It Matters

You might have a good general appreciation of the different average IQs of the world’s major regions (Global North: ~100; Latin America and Middle East: ~85; Sub-Saharan Africa: ~70). And many do appreciate that national wealth depends largely on a population’s intelligence. However, putting the two together – at least in an intuitive, non-autistic way – is quite tricky.

Fortunately, the PISA website has sample math questions from the 2012 assessment, corresponding to each of the six different levels of difficulty, as well as statistics on the percentage of 15-16 year old students from each of the participating countries that is capable of correctly answering it:

Distribution of countries by competence level in Math (PISA 2012)

Country Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6
Albania 68% 39% 16% 4% 1% 0%
Argentina 65% 34% 11% 2% 0% 0%
Australia 94% 80% 58% 34% 15% 4%
Austria 94% 81% 59% 35% 14% 3%
Belgium 93% 81% 63% 40% 19% 6%
Brazil 65% 33% 13% 4% 1% 0%
Bulgaria 80% 56% 32% 14% 4% 1%
Canada 96% 86% 65% 39% 16% 4%
Chile 78% 49% 23% 8% 2% 0%
Colombia 58% 26% 8% 2% 0% 0%
Costa Rica 76% 40% 13% 3% 1% 0%
Croatia 91% 70% 43% 21% 7% 2%
Czechia 93% 79% 57% 33% 13% 3%
Denmark 96% 83% 59% 30% 10% 2%
Estonia 98% 90% 68% 38% 15% 4%
Finland 97% 88% 67% 38% 15% 4%
France 91% 78% 56% 32% 13% 3%
Germany 95% 82% 63% 40% 18% 5%
Greece 86% 64% 37% 15% 4% 1%
Hong Kong 97% 92% 80% 60% 34% 12%
Hungary 90% 72% 47% 24% 9% 2%
Iceland 93% 79% 55% 29% 11% 2%
Indonesia 58% 24% 8% 2% 0% 0%
Ireland 95% 83% 59% 31% 11% 2%
Israel 84% 67% 45% 24% 9% 2%
Italy 92% 75% 51% 27% 10% 2%
Japan 97% 89% 72% 48% 24% 8%
Jordan 64% 31% 11% 2% 1% 0%
Kazakhstan 86% 55% 23% 6% 1% 0%
Korea 97% 91% 76% 55% 31% 12%
Latvia 95% 80% 53% 26% 8% 2%
Liechtenstein 97% 86% 71% 48% 25% 7%
Lithuania 91% 74% 48% 23% 8% 1%
Luxembourg 91% 76% 53% 30% 11% 3%
Macao 97% 89% 73% 49% 24% 8%
Malaysia 77% 48% 22% 7% 1% 0%
Mexico 78% 45% 18% 4% 1% 0%
Montenegro 73% 43% 19% 6% 1% 0%
Netherlands 96% 85% 67% 43% 19% 4%
New Zealand 93% 77% 56% 33% 15% 5%
Norway 93% 78% 53% 28% 9% 2%
Peru 53% 25% 9% 3% 1% 0%
Poland 97% 86% 64% 38% 17% 5%
Portugal 91% 75% 52% 28% 11% 2%
Qatar 53% 30% 15% 7% 2% 0%
Romania 86% 59% 31% 12% 3% 1%
Russia 93% 76% 50% 24% 8% 2%
Serbia 85% 61% 35% 15% 5% 1%
Shanghai 99% 96% 89% 76% 55% 31%
Singapore 98% 92% 80% 62% 40% 19%
Slovakia 90% 73% 49% 27% 11% 3%
Slovenia 95% 80% 56% 32% 14% 3%
Spain 92% 76% 52% 26% 8% 1%
Sweden 91% 73% 48% 24% 8% 2%
Switzerland 96% 88% 70% 45% 21% 7%
Taiwan 96% 87% 74% 57% 37% 18%
Thailand 81% 50% 23% 8% 3% 1%
Tunisia 64% 32% 11% 3% 1% 0%
Turkey 85% 58% 33% 16% 6% 1%
UAE 80% 54% 29% 12% 4% 1%
UK 92% 78% 55% 30% 12% 3%
USA 92% 74% 48% 25% 9% 2%
Uruguay 71% 44% 21% 7% 1% 0%
Vietnam 96% 86% 63% 35% 13% 4%
OECD average 92% 77% 55% 31% 13% 3%

I am going to go through them, essentially repeating Robin Hanson’s exercise for the United States for the world at large. Hopefully, this will give us a better perspective on what abstract things like “average national IQ” actually mean in practice. And why seemingly minor differences between them are important and and explain the vast bulk of international differences in GDP per capita and general socio-economic success.

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/stupid-people/

     2.  The Political Affiliations of Elite Liberal Arts College Faculty

D:R Ratios by Field

Figure illustrates the sharp differences across the departments or fields in the liberal arts colleges. The D:R ratios range from 1.6:1 for engineering to 56:0 and 108:0 for communications and interdisciplinary studies.

Figure 1
Number of Democratic Faculty Members for Every Republican in 25 Academic Fields

The STEM subjects, such as chemistry, economics, mathematics, and physics, have lower D:R ratios than the social sciences and humanities. The highest D:R ratio of all is for the most ideological field: interdisciplinary studies. I could not find a single Republican with an exclusive appointment to fields like gender studies, Africana studies, and peace studies.

Some STEM fields come close to the baseline national average of 1.6:1; potentially ideologically linked fields, especially the interdisciplinary studies fields, do not. Thus, the D:R ratio for engineering is 1.6:1 while for the interdisciplinary studies fields it is 108:0.

https://www.nas.org/articles/homogenous_political_affiliations_of_elite_liberal

     3. Nuclear nonproliferation efforts are ending. A new arms race has begun.

Since the United States and the Soviet Union backed away from the precipice of nuclear war in the 1980s, the world’s stocks of nuclear weapons have declined from an estimated 60,000 to an estimated 10,000.

According to a 2014 study by science journal Earth’s Future, however, it would take just 100 nuclear detonations to create a worldwide climate catastrophe causing massive famine and death.

Though the number of nukes is not (yet) rising, experts are saying that the world is in fact entering a new nuclear arms race. The race is moving ahead in ways other than sheer number of weapons. Around the world, new powers are considering launching nuclear weapons programs. For many of them, nukes have been taboo for decades—but that taboo is eroding.

https://www.thetrumpet.com/17670-stocking-up-for-world-war-iii

 



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