Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fjordman: Cities and Accomplishment

Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at the Brussels Journal. Some excerpts are below:

In several essays at the Gates of Vienna blog and elsewhere I have dealt with the subject of genetic intelligence measured in IQ, inspired by Michael H. Hart’s groundbreaking and very politically incorrect biohistory book Understanding Human History. Many people consider this topic to be “racist” and therefore taboo, but I will write about anything that I deem to be practically and scientifically relevant. On the other hand, there are quite a few things that IQ does not fully explain. We will look at a few of them here, related to geography, population density and level of urbanization. The single most important thing that IQ does not explain is why the scientific Revolution took place among Europeans, not among northeast Asians who have at least as high average IQ as whites. I will leave that issue for a separate essay.

The general level of education rose steadily in the Western world throughout the modern era. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the number of university students rose 3.5 times faster than the population from 1850-1900 and 8.6 times faster from 1900-1950. In France, the university population rose 48 times faster than the increase in population from 1900 to 1950. Urbanization has been one of the most pronounced hallmarks of industrial civilization, from the nineteenth until the early twenty-first century. There was a powerful trend of urbanization of the world’s population throughout the twentieth century which exceeded the rapid increase in the total global population. As of 2010 it has been projected that the majority of the world’s population, for the first time in the history of mankind, live in urban areas. At the same time, the number of university students has gone up sharply, both in absolute and in relative terms.
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After 1950 the percentage of Western youths taking higher education continued to rise, especially from the 1960s, 70s and 80s onward when women joined in greater numbers, to the point of numerically dominating many university campuses. In short, the global number of urban, literate people with higher education has never been higher than after 1950, yet Charles Murray claims that the rate of great human accomplishment stagnated or declined during this same period. This means either that Murray is wrong in this regard or that the most recent increase in towns and higher education hasn’t paid off as well as the previous ones did.

Perhaps we had reached a point at the mid-twentieth century where most of the people with very high IQs in the West already took higher education, whereas those who joined later slightly lowered the average IQ of those with a university degree. Critics claim that too many people spend years of their lives at higher education, even those who do not strictly speaking need it. Society needs truck drivers, yet truck drivers do not normally need a master’s degree in English literature to be competent at their job. Another problem is the proliferation of Marxist groups in campuses. Many Western university students these days will come out with a warped and twisted view of the world and of their own civilization, which is not productive.

Also, while some major cities such as Berlin, Shanghai, Seoul or Tokyo have reached a high level of technological and economic sophistication, they are all predominately populated by high-IQ groups. By contrast, Mexico City is one of the largest cities on the planet, yet this fact hasn’t made Mexico a leading force in science or innovation. Nineteenth century London had poor and dirty quarters at the same time as it was arguably the most dynamic and innovative place in the world, but it is possible to argue that the growth of megacities in poorer countries in recent years has given rise to a new type of dysfunctional urban areas with massive slums.

Read the rest at the Brussels Journal.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought I had read somewhere, perhaps in Hart's book, or was it another of your essays Fjordman, that while northeast asians have at least as high an average IQ as whites the standard deviation of their IQs is less and therefore Europeans had more people with very high IQs, the demographic which drove the scientific revolution. Interestingly this observation regarding standard deviations was confined to European males as well with female European IQs being clustered more towards their average than for males, which accords with what one observes in the school classroom whereby the very brightest tend to be boys as do the very dumbest.

The Observer said...

The fact that an increasing numbers of youths in the west aspires to go to University and get higher education isn’t necessarily just a positive thing. Yes, it has brought great technological improvements to our societies, but it has also taken away something. Nor is the fact that people in the west tend to leave the smaller towns and tight knit communities and flock to the big cities a positive thing.

I believe people in smaller towns and villages traditionally have been more grounded and in contact with reality compared to city dwellers that often tend to have a different outlook on life and different values.

The community spirit is also lost when people move to the cities. In many cases people in the cities don’t even know what their next door neighbours look like.

Another point is that I do believe that people living in big cities tend to have fewer kids than their counterparts in the smaller towns. I wrote a post about that over at Mangan’s a couple of weeks ago. I’ll re-post it here, because I think it’s got some relevance to the original post.

“I don’t know if it has any bearing on why western people are having fewer babies, but could it be that that it’s somehow connected to the fact that more and more westerners tend to live in big cities where life is more hectic and stressful, and could it also be that bigger cities in general are less suited environments to raise kids and that this is reflected in the current birth rates of western women?

I would imagine that it’s easier to raise kids in smaller towns. Real estate tends to be cheaper which makes life less of a battle and the added bonus of lower crime rates would suggest that people generally are happier with their lives and thus more likely to procreate.

In most small towns parents can actually let their kids play outdoors unsupervised, which probably wouldn’t be advisable in a big metropolis like NYC. I think you’ll also find that people who are in position to do so move out of the city centre when they become parents or when they’re kids are ready to start school.

It would be interesting if someone could find come up with some statistical data or research results which would indicate if this thesis has some truth to it or not.”

Fjordman said...

Wowsher: The hypothesis that whites have a higher standard deviation deserves serious consideration, but I haven't seen conclusive proof that it is correct. I will write an essay about IQ and Asian Accomplishment later this summer. Generally speaking, I don't think Northeast Asians have historically performed as well in the sciences as their average IQ should indicate, with the Japanese as a possible exception.

Anonymous said...

kritisk, non-European people in Europe inhabit mostly cities and have higher birth rates overall than Europeans who also inhabit the country side.

Also, a lot of people going to university is just doing degree inflation, it doesn't provide any new innovation. Most people regardless of how much schooling they get won't be inventors. Higher education is useless only as long as it provides a real need of it, not like in the West where it's done in the name of 'equality'. In the end, upper education has any use only as long as a smaller circle are in it. What was yesterday's undergraduate programs is today's PhDs.

The Observer said...

RV, I was referring to westerners not non-European immigrants when I suggested that people living in the countryside tend to have more kids than city dwellers. Yes, non-European immigrants tend to have more children than westerners, but these immigrants also hail from countries where women’s birth-rates are a lot higher than in the west, and a lot of them hail from the countryside in their native countries.

Anyway my point is that big cities are not ideal environment to raise children and this has probably had some impact on the current birth deficit crisis in Europe.

spackle said...

"Perhaps we had reached a point at the mid-twentieth century where most of the people with very high IQs in the West already took higher education, whereas those who joined later slightly lowered the average IQ of those with a university degree."

I would take this one step further. Let us take Hollywood for example. Since the movie industry boom which started in the early 20th century, thousand of beautiful men and women have moved out there for years with stars in their eyes. Many married and had children which explains why to this day there are so many good looking people out there. Not withstanding a little help from the plastic surgeon. Especially today.

One could see this played out in IQ stats at the university level. At one time these elite institutions had the finest minds in the country studying at the same place. Many married and had children. A good thing. But as standards have declined and everyone and their grandmother goes to college, that gene pool has been weakened. I know that might sound kind of creepy but think about it?

You still have an elite group of highly intelligent men and women who are now breeding with a huge student body of what are essentially dumb dumbs. Throw into the mix the now fashionable Marxist inspired practice of interracial dating and breeding along with the breakdown of the family unit and it should come as no surprise that there might be an IQ stagnation of sorts.

Unknown said...

Wowsher, females being clustered more towards average and higher deviation among males is valid not only for IQ and not only for humans - from evolutionary point of view (and evolution works through variation and successful breeding), it is more profitable to risk with males than with females. For instance, if you had a population of 100 male humans and 100 female humans, and somehow 45% percent of that population died in some hypothetic accident, the population as a whole would recover fastest if those 45% were all males (10 males and 100 females surviving) and slowest if they were all female (100 male and 10 female survivors). That is why nature experiments more with males and less with females, and at that in all things, not only those IQ related. That mechanism is behind more boys born than girls, and longer average lifespan for women than men, and many other "mysteries".

Unknown said...

"You still have an elite group of highly intelligent men and women who are now breeding with a huge student body of what are essentially dumb dumbs. Throw into the mix the now fashionable Marxist inspired practice of interracial dating and breeding along with the breakdown of the family unit and it should come as no surprise that there might be an IQ stagnation of sorts."

spackle, this reasoning is flawed, because dumbs breed with dumbs and smart ones breed with other smart ones, and that is so regardless of race or other factors. Therefore mixing of races as such will not degenerate the species, but at the other hand low necessary requirements for survival and successful breeding will.

Anonymous said...

aku, IQ tends to the mean of the group. If the group average IQ is 100 and I have a 139IQ and have a kid with a man from the same group, the IQ tends to 100. So my kids will probably have a lower IQ than me. So if I have a child with a smart Somali, the trend to the mean will go lower than 100.

kritisk, they have their children in cities though, not in the countryside, so they seem unaffected by it, don't they? If your point was legitimate, it would affect everyone. And no, quite a lot of non-Europeans have MORE children in Europe than they do in their home countries.

spackle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spackle said...

Aku said:

"spackle, this reasoning is flawed, because dumbs breed with dumbs and smart ones breed with other smart ones,"

I beg to differ. I dont know if you are a male or not but the world is full of men who knowingly marry dumb women (and vice-versa though not as much) which are now in abundance on most college campuses thanks to our now low standards. This is a watering down of our best and brightest.

"Therefore mixing of races as such will not degenerate the species,"

Once again I beg to differ. It is a complicate topic that those with a higher IQ then mine will have to figure out. : ) But If the IQ of many blacks, Arabs and others is indeed lower due to genetics then it stands to reason that interbreeding of some races over time will probably raise, lower and then level the mean IQ out until they eventually stagnate. But hey, people love who they love and marry who they marry. There is not much that could be done about it from the outside.

Anonymous said...

@rebelliousvanilla "IQ tends to the mean of the group". I recall from my stats classes when regression analysis was introduced the prof explained the origin of the term 'regression' and a wikipedia entry reminded me of it. It was first developed to analyse the biological phenomenon that the heights of descendants of tall ancestors tend to regress down towards a normal average, i.e. a regression, back towards the mean. The phenomenon is more general then.

As to the levelling off amongst the university educated population I'm not surprised. At one time such an education was only sought and required by those whose careers required the resources needed to run the tertiary education sector. Para-professionals and skilled trades learned in on-the-job structured training plus technical education institutions. The student movement against elitism from the late 60s allied with the leftist push for equality destroyed those arrangements and forced that training into the university sector, so watering down the whole tertiary education system.

Anonymous said...

spackle, it's irrelevant who people love. In the end, sexual choice is built on instincts and culture. The latter is slightly more influential since it creates the image for the former. Even if I don't get the mania of people related to interbreeding, it should be discouraged in a social way, not legal way.

Wowsher, yes, statistically it's called regression.

Baron Bodissey said...

Wowsher --

Rebellious vanilla is right. More fully, the phenomenon is known as "regression to the mean".

In genetic terms, it means that two parents who are in some sense statistical outliers are likely to produce offspring with characteristics that are closer to the mean. As far as IQ is concerned, it means that two parents with very high IQ (or low IQ) are likely to have children whose intelligence is nearer the average.

This is only true statistically. Individual results, as they say, may vary.

Profitsbeard said...

IQ is a crude measure by slanted pedagogues to reassure the insecure of their own superior "intelligence".

Common sense and an instinct for survival are more vital, at the moment, than these dubious, self-serving estimations of supposedly-quantifiable mentalities.

We're all from an ancient hominid stock that had the brains to tame fire.

The dumbest human is still a miraculous advance over the unconscious animal world, and the nattering about minutae in this field is a distraction from the real battle we face for our existence against the onslaught of retrograde, dogmatically-irrationalitic Islam.

Green Infidel said...

I agree with Kritisk's post - more and more people having a higher situation can have negatives as well as positives... just see the current situation whereby countries in Europe have to import large amounts of labour for "menial" tasks, because Europeans are too "educated" to do them. Educated with degrees which are then often not used in their further careers.

A country needs plumbers and builders as well as scientists, and if it does not have them, then it will need to import them, and be faced with the same problems with regards to a "less-educated" population segment, but this time also with an "alienated immigrant" component.

Mike Courtman said...

"kritisk, non-European people in Europe inhabit mostly cities and have higher birth rates overall than Europeans who also inhabit the country side."

Rebelliousvanilla, you're comparing apples with oranges. Comparing thirld world non-whites with rural whites in western countries isn't a far comparison. In thirld world countries, Asian countries and western countries big city dwellers generally have less kids than rural people.

The lowest birth rates are actually in East Asian countries which are also the most urbanised. Also, once third world people have been living in western countries for several generations their birth rates do start to fall, although they still track higher than whites.

No doubt religion, race and access to contraception also play an important part in birth rates but urbanisation is a big factor.

The only area where rural birth rates are particularly low are some parts of Russia and Eastern Europe, due to the effects of communism. In Russia for example many people were forced to live in extreme climatic areas, where few people would be living by choice. Compare the population distribution of Russia with that of Canada where only a small percentage of people live more than a couple of hundred miles north of the US border.

Anonymous said...

Mike, actually it is a proper comparison. It shows that the main reason for fertility isn't being an urban or rural person. I'm too lazy to actually calculate statistical indicators, but the correlation is weak as in it represents just a small part of the fertility differentials. Sure, living in a city does affect things, I didn't say it doesn't. But its effects are exaggerated.

Cicerone said...

You want to have data for city birth-rates? I've collected data of fertility-rates for subnational entities of various countries and I will post some of the results. First of that, it's correct that people in cities have fewer children than in rural areas. People in inner cities or downtown districts have the fewest number of children.

The most striking thing that should make us all worry is that East Asian cities all have fertility rates that are around one child per woman, some of them, like Busan, Taipei and Kaohsiung have 0.9. Inner districts typically have 0.7-0.9 children/woman, like in Tokyo and Seoul. If we observe entire metropolitan areas, then Tokyo and Osaka are at ca. 1.25, Seoul is 1.15 and the major cities in Chinese-speaking countries have only fertility-rates of 1 child/woman. Rural areas in Japan and South Korea have TFRs of 1.5, so there clearly is a difference in East Asia.

In Europe there are roughly the same patterns working, but they are distorted by muslim immigrants. In the UK there are no visible differences between cities and villages, but muslim dominated cities and districts usually yield fertility rates of 2.5 and higher, like Newham or Blackburn with Darwen. In France, highly educated Paris has the lowest birth rate with 1.6 children/woman, whereas muslim-dominated Seine-Saint-Denis has 2.3. Fertility is higher in northern France than in the South.
Germany and the Netherlands still maintain a modest fertility differential between cities and villages despite muslim immigration. Big cities in Germany usually are below 1.3 and the countryside is at 1.4.


The United States have a very unusual fertility-pattern. Cities have the highest fertility-rates, suburbs and the countryside are slightly below the national average. Cities like Dallas, Houston or Denver have fertility-rates more like 3 children/woman, because of high shares of black and hispanic population. Cities famous for their leftist attitude and high prices like Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco have the lowest rates, around 1.5 children/woman.