Sunday, July 22, 2007
Who will fight the African Wars?
The following three statements are true:
- People prefer to have a job done by locals incompetently than by outsiders competently
- Economic growth and foreign-direct investment depend on competent basic services, such as security
- Intelligence, along with economic system, are the pest predictors for the social competence of a country
These three facts mean we only need to look at a table of comparative national intelligence. The results are unsurprising to those who know about the Afro-Islamic Gap: intelligence scores in Africa are two standard deviations below those in the west.
Even assuming that nutritional and educational levels in sub-Saharan Africa could be brought up to Western standards immediately, there still would be a long lag until sub-Saharan intelligence reaches western levels and a difference may survive even then. It is reasonable to expect that social services, such as security, would be provided incompetently by the resulting local governments.
The obvious solution is to use military-industrial-complex-enabled uniformed service to help provide security, but the drawbacks of these are obvious. Adrian Martin of Politics and Soccer outlined just a few, in including "dependency, blowback, corruption, weaponization, and non-scalability."
To summarize: the low national intelligence of sub-Saharan African nations implies that outside provides of social services will be needed, but history teaches us that outside providers of social services causes problems.
The way forward: Connecting sub-Saharan Africa to the global economy, providing a minimum level of civilization in order to end Africa's export of disease and misery to the rest of the world, is not an easy task. Leaving the job to the locals is genocidally wrong-headed. The most likely future is a form of Asian resource imperialism supported by American force. The question then becomes how heavy the world's footprint should be. Too light, and the 2nd half of the twentieth century just repeats,l over and over and over. Too heavy, and sub-Saharan Africa returns to colonialism.
In other words, "too light" and nothing changes, "too heavy" is better than now, and "just right" might actually shrink the gap!
I still get queasy when you write about "national intelligence" as reflected by western IQ tests. My anecdotal knowledge of West African friends who have gone to MIT, Brown, Harvard Business School, etc., strongly conflicts, and I don't have enough faith in IQ tests (or any 'measure' of intelligence) to reject my anecdotal knowledge.
I think we went over this before but I can't remember on what post.
Anyway, thanks for the link. And as for an answer as to "who will fight the African Wars?", my answer is... Africans.
Posted by: Adrian | Sunday, July 22, 2007
"I still get queasy when you write about "national intelligence" as reflected by western IQ tests."
Would you get queasy if I wrote about "national life expectancy" measured in western 'years'?
"My anecdotal knowledge of West African friends who have gone to MIT, Brown, Harvard Business School, etc., strongly conflicts, and I don't have enough faith in IQ tests (or any 'measure' of intelligence) to reject my anecdotal knowledge."
Your anecdotal evidence is supported by a lot of empircal evidence. There's nothing conflicting about it. Several reasons:
1) The African population of the Ivy League is not a random sample of the African population. Rather, it is overwhelmingly a sample of the best, the brightest, and the richest. It is not surprising that the best, the brightest, and the richest of a continent tend to do quite well. When we talk about national intelligence, we're focusing on the mean. When we talk about elite population, we're talking about the far right tail of the distribution.
2) Africa is home to more genetic variation than any other continent on earth. This is not surprising: man is an African species, and species tend to vary the most in their ancestral homeland. The shortest and tallest humans are Africans. The fastest, and I would imagine the slowest, are as well. That African IQ would vary more than that any other continent is not surprising.
"Anyway, thanks for the link. And as for an answer as to "who will fight the African Wars?", my answer is... Africans."
They have been doing that. The results have been catastrophic [1,2,3,4,5].
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, July 23, 2007
Put it another way, Adrian. Take two twins, separate them at birth. Raise one in the US, where childhood health and nutrition are often monitored (or at least comparatively easy to take care of), access to primary and secondary education is a given, and tertiary education is plentiful. Raise the other in Africa, where all the above are too often hard to come by. Assuming both twins make it to adulthood, who's liable to score higher on an IQ test?
That said, a lot of the success of Africans fighting the African wars will depend on how much help they're getting from the West, how cooperate their elites are with their allies, and on the character and education of their elites.
Another thing to remember, Dan: the lasting success or failure of the African wars will hinge on the African's (elite or not) ability to learn better ways of doing things. In a very real sense, they WILL decide the outcome, whether we like it or not.
Posted by: Michael | Monday, July 23, 2007
I agree with the concept, it's just the word "intelligence" to describe the concept you're talking about that I am uncomfortable with.
Posted by: Adrian | Monday, July 23, 2007
"it's just the word "intelligence" to describe the concept"
Why? Would you prefer 'g' (the scientific abbreviation for 'general intelligence,' the concept being discussed)?
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, July 23, 2007