Why China Is Far Superior To India

It is not a secret to longtime readers of this blog that I rate India’s prospects far more pessimistically than I do China’s. My main reason is I do not share the delusion that democracy is a panacea and that whatever advantage in this sphere India has is more than outweighed by China’s lead in any number of other areas ranging from infrastructure and fiscal sustainability to child malnutrition and corruption. However, one of the biggest and certainly most critical gaps is in educational attainment, which is the most important component of human capital – the key factor underlying all productivity increases and longterm economic growth. China’s literacy rate is 96%, whereas Indian literacy is still far from universal at just 74%.

Many people claim that China’s educational success is superficial, arguing that although it has achieved good literacy figures, standards – especially in the poor rural areas that have been neglected by the state during the reform period – are very low. This is not a minority view. The problem is that for proof they cite figures such as the average number of years of schooling or secondary enrollment ratios - which are still substantially inferior to those of developed nations – and assume that they directly correlate to the human capital generated among Chinese youth. This is a flawed approach because it doesn’t take into account the quality of schooling. Though not without its problems, by far the most objective method of assessing that is to look at international standardized tests in literacy, numeracy, and science. The most comprehensive such study is PISA, and it tells a radically different story.

The big problem, until recently, was that there was no internationalized student testing data for either China or India. (There was data for cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, but it was not very useful because they are hardly representative of China). An alternative approach was to compare national IQ’s, in which China usually scored 100-105 and India scored in the low 80′s. But this method has methodological flaws because the IQ tests aren’t consistent across countries. (This, incidentally, also makes this approach a punching bag for PC enforcers who can’t bear to entertain the possibility of differing IQ’s across national and ethnic groups).

In contrast, the PISA tests are standardized, and – barring a few quibbles – largely free of the consistency and sampling problems that tend to plague international IQ comparisons. And they confirm what the IQ data has long hinted at: At least among schoolchildren close to graduation, the Chinese are simply far, far smarter than their Indian counterparts (necessary caveat: As measured by these tests).

I already covered China, so I will simply quote in extenso from an older post. I emphasize the most important part in bold.

“As regular blog readers know, I think that educational capital and more broadly average IQ levels are one of the key – and frequently under-appreciated due to political correctness – determinants of economic development and whether or not convergence to developed country levels is even possible. Its much higher educational capital is one of the key reasons why I think China will continue doing much better than India in development, regardless of its “democratic deficit.” However, many people argue that China’s human capital must actually be quite low, because it doesn’t spend much on education, resources are bare in the provinces, statistical fudging under unaccountable governors, etc.

The recent results from the international standardized PISA tests in math, reading and science will make this an increasingly untenable position. Shanghai got by far the best results out of all the OECD countries (never mind the developing ones). Now while you might (rightly) argue Shanghai draws much of the elite of the Yangtze river delta, the Financial Times has more: “Citing further, as-yet unpublished OECD research, Mr Schleicher said: “We have actually done Pisa in 12 of the provinces in China. Even in some of the very poor areas you get performance close to the OECD average.””

Since countries like the US and France get scores “close to the OECD average”, this means that the workforces soon to be entering China’s economy, even from its poorest regions, will be no less skilled than those of leading Western economies (note too that the numbers of Chinese university graduates are soaring). And with China’s massive population, four times bigger than America’s, its road to superpowerdom must be all but guaranteed. [AK adds: I.e., because under market economies, development - as proxied by GDP per capita - tends to converge to a level commensurate with the human capital level of the country in question].”

Also in December 2011, but unnoticed by myself until now, PISA released additional information on nine countries*. Critically, this included two Indian provinces, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh. How did they do relative to China?

On math proficiency, Tamil Nadu scored 351 and Himachal Pradesh scored 338. On science, they scored 348 and 325, respectively. In both cases, they were at ROCK BOTTOM of the league table of the 74 sampled countries together with Kyrgyzstan. Literally no other country did worse.

In comparison, even the poorest Chinese regions performed close to the OECD average of about 500, putting them in the same rank as the bottom half of the industrialized countries such as Russia, Italy, or the United States (high 400′s); but well above other prominent developing states such as Brazil, Mexico, and Malaysia (high 300′s-low 400′s). The better off Chinese regions will have presumably done better, perhaps similar to Australia or Japan, while the most developed Chinese region, Shanghai, blew every other country out of the water with a mean score of 600 in math and 575 in science.

Note that Tamil Nadu is fairly developed by Indian standards, while Himachal Pradesh is about average. One simply shudders to imagine what the results would be in a poor state such as Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. China and India are both truly exceptional in educational attainment for dynamically developing emerging markets, but only the former is exceptional in a good way.

Many Indians like to see themselves as equal competitors to China, and are encouraged in their endeavour by gushing Western editorials and Tom Friedman drones who praise their few islands of programming prowess – in reality, much of which is actually pretty low-level stuff – and widespread knowledge of the English language (which makes India a good destination for call centers but not much else), while ignoring the various aspects of Indian life – the caste system, malnutrition, stupendously bad schools – that are holding them back. The low quality of Indians human capital reveals the “demographic dividend” that India is supposed to enjoy in the coming decades as the wild fantasies of what Sailer rightly calls ”Davos Man craziness at its craziest.” A large cohort of young people is worse than useless when most of them are functionally illiterate and innumerate; instead of fostering well-compensated jobs that drive productivity forwards, they will form reservoirs of poverty and potential instability.

Instead of buying into their own rhetoric of a “India shining”, Indians would be better served by focusing on the nitty gritty of bringing childhood malnutrition DOWN to Sub-Saharan African levels, achieving the life expectancy of late Maoist China, and moving up at least to the level of a Mexico or Moldova in numeracy and science skills. Because as long as India’s human capital remains at the bottom of the global league tables so will the prosperity of its citizens.

* One other thing I noted in amusement is Georgia’s horrendous performance on the PISA: 379 in math, 373 in science. From being one of the most literate and urbane nationalities in the USSR to hanging out with Indonesia and Panama near the bottom of the international numeracy league tables, Georgians have sure come a long way under Saakashvili.

Comments

  1. To begin with, Mr. Karlin, as Steve Sailer noted, assembling an average IQ of India is incredibly difficult-due to its vast genetic diversity+its malnutrition problem. As Sailer himself noted, ‘I’d keep an open mind’ as to what India’s average IQ really is. Indians in Mauritius, South Africa, and Malaysia score from about 88 (lowest SA+Malaysia scores) to 93 in Mauritius. This may not sound great, but these are descended from destitute laborers, mostly taken from India’s untouchable castes (the bottom of India’s society). I’ve estimated that they came from the left third of India’s bell curve. India’s middle castes are certain to be higher, and its upper castes probably exceed the White IQ. For example, 3-4 million Tamil Brahmins have already won 3 nobel science prizes (I’d imagine average IQ ~120). India is an incredibly heterogenous nation, so be careful about IQ averages there. Also, be careful about trusting Richard Lynn’s information: he and Philippe Rushton are complete ignoramuses about population genetics.

    • I very carefully avoided making any argument whatsoever that India’s currently low IQ is genetic, and I am pretty sure that if child malnutrition was reduced from the current 47% to 10% it would see a significant increase. The US was at around India’s level as late as the 1930′s FWIW.

      • Thanks for responding! India needs to get its act together, no doubt about that, but this is NOT, in my opinion, something that can’t be bridged in the next, say, 30 years. (A wee bit of iodine and food goes a long way haha :) ). Despite a clear difference in human capital, India’s private sector corporations have done stunningly well, clearly beating out those of China and Russia in many fields. India is clearly behind China in some fields, but that is understandable given the 15-20 year difference in economic reform. Granted, in 15-20 years, India will probably be behind where China is today in many fields (note: the Economist had an article the other day on India’s export volumes converging with those of China already!), but this is by NO means like comparing, say, Japan and the Philippines. I would liken it crudely to comparing where Russia is today with, say, where Japan was in the 1970′s or 80′s (taking everything in aggregate).

        • Indians dont eat beef except in muslim areas or christian areas and that also only very very small amounts. On an average we can say Indians consume only 25% of food as nonvegetarian food. Nature is well conserved in India compared to any other long occupied places.

          • ObaMahdi says:

            Contrary to the loathings by the hinduwadis here,chinese,east asians and other meat eaters have much to thank the hindus:
            1)Their veggie diet means they wouldn’t import much husbandry grain like corn to push up the price.
            2)Their paperless toilet habit also means less paper pulp import. The trees saved can partly lessen their halocaust crime on the plant kingdom because of their veggie diet. Consider a cow has more nutrients than 1000s of carrots. The number of plant lifes wasted is obvious

      • Anatoly, one important thing to know about the Flynn Effect is that it hasn’t been shown to change the relative standings of racial groups. From what I understand, the 1 SD difference between US whites and US blacks hasn’t changed in 100 years. I think I’ve seen numbers from Australia that show that the white/aborigine difference has been stable too. Racially, the Flynn Effect has been a tide that’s lifted all boats. If you are aware of any evidence to the contrary, I’m all eyes. In regards to social class the story is probably different. Most people of every ethnic background weren’t doing too well just a few generations ago.

        Also, all elites ate well in all historical periods on all continents. The earliest artistic representations of any humans (those neolithic “Venus” figurines) are of fat people. Still, some elites consistently outperformed others. I’m sure that 17th century Ottoman, Ceylonese, Bantu elites ate just as well as 17th century Dutch elites. When the ancient Greeks thought of decadent luxury, they imagined the Persian court, Susa, Croesus, Midas. When the 18th and 19th century French thought of decadent luxury, they pictured harems and everything else that Edward Said got so offended about. You can’t blame everything on nutrition. The richest countries escaped the Malthusian trap relatively recently. Would there have been more malnutrition in the Aztec Empire than in 16th century Spain? Why? Both countries probably had lots of people living at the Malthusian limit and some people living in luxury.

      • The issue of whether or not the Flynn Effect tends to lift all racial boats roughly equally reminded me of an old post of Steve Sailer’s. He wrote:

        “One of Lynn’s recent books, for instance, lists 620 IQ studies of different groups going back, in a few cases, to the first quarter of the 20th Century. I’ve created a graph showing that there has been no overlap of average scores among Japanese (23 studies in red), Hispanics in America (17 studies in green), and Australian Aborigines (17 studies in blue).”

        Here’s the graph:

        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4yctHhP4f-8/RqBGnCvo3zI/AAAAAAAAAAM/FWLhAyd1sLY/s1600-h/Lynn-75-gif.gif

        Nutrition might well have improved since the 1930s in India too. It can still improve there, so the gap can probably narrow, but nutrition isn’t a panacea. The oil-rich Gulf countries score horribly on these tests, and they’ve been wealthy since when, the 1970s? I’ve been seeing articles about obesity in the Emirates for as long as I’ve been reading newspapers. No one has starved in America for generations, yet these gaps persist.

      • Hey Anatoly, let’s see what you’ll say now with Mr Narendra Modi at the helm. All you India-haters will be whipped into submission. You, and your mistress, China. Good luck begging for mercy.

    • “This may not sound great, but these are descended from destitute laborers, mostly taken from India’s untouchable castes (the bottom of India’s society).”

      I’ve been told by Indians that the people who left India to do agricultural labor in other British possessions under the Raj came from peasant castes. That’s above being an untouchable. V.S. Naipaul (who’s indeed super-smart) is very proud of his Brahmin heritage, but that’s an exception.

      “Also, be careful about trusting Richard Lynn’s information…”

      He mostly just gathered and reported other people’s research. Which is very useful. And he’s brave to do it. But he’s mostly a messenger. His books contain the results of hundreds of studies made by hundreds of teams of researchers. If you think he’s guilty of selection bias (not reporting the studies that don’t fit his thesis), then what are the studies that he’s missed?

      • Glossy: Naipual was proud of his Brahmin heritage, but only a small minority of the Indians imported into Trinidad were Brahmins. Similarly, the British imported SOME upper castes into Malaysia (Nairs, Vellalars, Chettiars), but the great majority were Adidravidas (Tamil Dalits). In fact, it has been noted by many that the British/French PREFERRED Indian Dalits, as they were seen as both diligent and obedient.

        As for your claim that we’ve never seen any RELATIVE Flynn Effect in populations: that’s simply not true. For example, to stick to Indians, Indians in South Africa averaged an IQ of 77 [relative to White norms] in 1925, yet in 4 tests taken from 1986 to 1994, Indians showed IQ’s of 86 to 91-in relation to White norms [he dumbs a score of 90 to 88, not sure why]. The only major outlier in this group was a 1994 sample where we get 83, not sure why this was such an outlier. As I stated earlier, he found an average NATIONAL IQ of Mauritius in the early 90′s (he estimated based on its demography)-and Mauritius’ PISA scores showed this average IQ, but if you WEIGHT the average scores in math and science (Mauritius is~27% Black), then it’s not inconceivable that Mauritius Indians scored at the level of some S. and E. European nations (with an average IQ well into the 90′s).

        Now, I’m sure if you took a sample of Mauritius Indians RELATIVE to Whites, say, 50 or 90 years ago, the scores would’ve been atrocious. Similar with South Africa, almost 90 years ago. Yet Indians in both countries have made tremendous gains relative to Whites. Not bad for ‘Coolie’ labour taken from the bottom 1/3rd of India’s bell curve.

        Btw, my info is taken from Lynn’s two books: ‘IQ and the Wealth of Nations’, and ‘Race Differences in Intelligence’-I found one table here:
        http://www.isteve.com/iq_table.htm

        You are free to consult these books if you like.

        • “As for your claim that we’ve never seen any RELATIVE Flynn Effect in populations…”

          That’s not what I said. I said that the Flynn Effect “hasn’t been shown to change the relative standings of racial groups.” In other words, I’m not aware of any instances where the order of the major racial groups has changed anywhere. For example, all of the scores that you cited above (from 77 to 91) would still put S. African Indians above S. African blacks and below S. African whites.

          • Apologize for misunderstanding your earlier quotation! (IF you check my updated comments:) As for your claim that the tests ‘still show Indians below Whites’, sure…but marginally: If the Indian IQ in Mauritius and Trinidad have already entered into the 90′s (and there’s every evidence that they have), then they’re already on par with many European nations (that would put them either on par or very close to: Romania, Ireland, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, Armenia, or Portugal). Indians in South Africa have some work to do-I do not doubt at all that Apartheid kept many Indians in dire poverty, with bad education: as Apartheid has been dismantled, Indians will be allowed to make further gains in education and nutrition, and possibly IQ.

            Might I repeat: not bad for Coolie labourers from the bottom 1/3rd of India’s society. Not bad at all.

          • 100 Years is simply to short to see a lot of change in status for different ethnic groups. The only place where i expect change in IQ order is in Belgium where the Flemish/Walloon did change status.

        • As for selection bias: India is enormously diverse, and, relative to its diversity and population, it has not been studied in as great a depth as in other countries. An Indian on Sailer’s blog (Rec1man) pointed to two studies that Lynn might have missed:

          1) “Pune Low Birth Weight Study – Cognitive Abilities and Educational
          Performance at Twelve Years” [2003]-researchers find a very strong correlation between malnutrition and lowered IQ: the lowest weight babies averaged IQ of 86, the ones who were medium malnourished averaged 92, and the ones who weren’t averaged 97 (to give you the gist)

          2) Study of Muslim children of the Ansari caste in Bihar (link below)[1983]: study finds that a combination of outbreeding and better living conditions dramatically raises IQ in Muslim children (rural inbred-IQ 69, rural outbred+urban inbred-IQ of 79, URBAN OUTBRED-IQ 95)

          http://www.dli.gov.in/rawdataupload/upload/insa/INSA_1/20005bbc_407.pdf

          Oh, I forgot to mention, Trinidad and Tobago, 40% Indian and 60% Black, scores like a Latin American nation. If we assume, sensibly, that the Indian average was far above the Black average, I would be interested to see where Indians score-again, probably in the range of some S. and E. European nations (IQ, again, in the 90′s-since I’ve never seen an actual Trinidadian IQ test). Trinidad’s GDP per capita is ~$16000, comparable to that South Korea (with Indians controlling most of the nation’s wealth).

          Again, not bad for plantation labourers!

          I’m sure there’s plenty more, I just haven’t looked as hard as I should.

          Correction: he found a NATIONAL average of Mauritius to be 89, but he estimated the Indian IQ was somewhere in the 90′s, given that Mauritius is almost 30% Black.

          • Ryan, to address some of your points

            1) The Pune study was not in the least bit representative of India and to claim otherwise is patently dishonest. The Pune study observed children who were born in the 80′s that were discharged from a neonatal special care unit of a referral hospital. Even today the majority of Indian children are not delivered with a trained medical practictioner to assist. In the 80′s the children being sampled were the absolute socio-economic elite of Indian society (the top 1%). Even worse is that those IQ tests were given to the children at far too young of an age. IQ’s fluctuate heavily and do not generally become representative until age 15, which is what makes the PISA assessment so valuable.

            2) I haven’t had a chance to review the second post yet, and I’m heading out for dinner but the question of the chicken and egg remains.

            3) Your demographic data for Trinidad and Tobago is wrong. It is 40% Indian, 37% black, and the rest is actually a hodge podge of Europeans, Creoles, Levantines, and Chinese. Also you are fundamentally clueless as to the source of Trinidad’s relative wealth. It is a small population resource extraction state with half of the GDP coming from natural gas.

            • “The Pune study was not in the least bit representative of India and to claim otherwise is patently dishonest”-well Jing, show me a ‘representative sample’ of India’s population. Finding one, given India’s diversity, is extremely difficult, so we have to work with what we’ve got. And I’m sure that it’s a ‘dishonest’ study because it doesn’t confirm that Indians have low genetic IQ’s, correct?

              You’re correct, I hastily wrote information about Trinidad’s demographics (I assumed the large majority of the remaining 23% were mixed-Black and something else, so I lumped them as ‘Black/Creole’), but it’s still not wrong at all to assume that the average Indian PISA scores in Trinidad were well above the national average (surprising too given that, as Razib Khan documented, self-identifying ‘Indians’ there have some black admixture, so their IQ may even be LOWER than India’s floor)

            • “The Pune study observed children who were born in the 80′s that were discharged from a neonatal special care unit of a referral hospital…In the 80′s the children being sampled were the absolute socio-economic elite of Indian society (the top 1%)” Fair point, but again, purely circumstantial evidence. You ignore the fact that children were sampled as having been severly malnourished, malnourished, and healthy. How is it that the top 1% of India’s population, or its elite, could’ve been severely malnourished?? Pune has always been much better than the Indian average in terms of wealth and living standards, so I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the study…

              • I’m not fond of debating with people who are incapable of reading carefully. It’s akin with arguing with a brick wall but even less productive.

                I will be brief and to the point.

                The study is not dishonest because the scope merely shows that low birth weight children suffer cognitively compared to those who are not. What is dishonest is extrapolating a very small dataset (about 100 children) of self-selected subjects and IQ tests administered to them at merely 6 years of age to India as a whole.

                First the children sampled were not necessarily malnourished. The study stated that the children were born with a low birth weight (being under 2 kilograms at birth). They are not the same thing.

                Secondly the Indian elite does in fact suffer from nutritional deficits. This is a cultural maladaptation of their religion. Many caste Hindus practice vegetarianism and even the lower classes seek to emulate these poor consumption practices. I will be blunt and say that vegetarianism is detrimental towards healthy human development. Those who practice it in the West are able to ameliorate it somewhat with an alphabet soup of vitamin supplements and a plethora of exotic foods with the micro-nutrients and proteins that are required. Suffice it to say that even the anglophone Indian elites do not take sufficient measures to address the problems of vegetarianism. Furthermore the food preparation of practices of Indian cuisine (overcooking everything into mushy curry) heavily reduces the nutritional value of foods consumed.

        • Amit Mittal says:

          One thing which gets thrown around a lot is that Indians who got imported to places like West Indies,Indonesia,Malaysia,South Africa were from lower castes and a very small minority from the upper castes,but is that not the way India just is? Consider this: Dalits- 17%, Tribals-8% Muslims-15% Other Backward Caste(peasants)-45% uppper castes-15%.Brahmins are a small 4.5% within the 12-15% upper castes. Infact some sources put the figure of forward castes to be 12-13%. These figures are based on 1931 census(last caste census) So in a representative sample upper castes will always be lower. Then I know there are lots of Brahmins in West Indies, perhaps more than their share of about 4.5% in the overall Indian population.

    • Marie Arouet says:

      Where were the IQ120 Brahmins on the day of PISA testing? The Brahmins are 4.5% of the population. If you concentrate on the math scores (why? Because Indians fancy themselves to be good at math and math tend to be free of language issues), the top 10 percentile of the Indians has the same score as the bottom 3 percentile of the Chinese. Think about who are the bottom 3% of any society.
      The above was not even considering the fact (as reported by BBC) that only the top 15% of the Indian society made it into high school (thus into the PISA testing pool) while China had a high school enrollment rate of 98% of the population (as reported by OECD). This means that, in reality, the top 1.5% of Indian society scored the same as the bottom 3% of the Chinese society. So much for the Brahmins’ 4.5% contribution.

      • Brahmins were never involved in that study, that’s like me saying since America has more Chinese people than Indian. Why do Indian kids consistently win Spelling Bee and World Geography Bees easily or why India has more Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry than China and all of those Nobel Prizes are from Tamil Brahmins, who are only 2 million in numbers, they also constitute a lot of the scientist that were involved in India ‘ s version of the Manhatten Project.

      • Arvind Balasubramaniam says:

        You’re focussing on the national brahmin pop. whereas the test was done in only 2 states, where brahmin populations are not the same. From personal exp i can say it’s simply impossible that a significant number of Brahmins were involved in that study. As a Tamil brahmin with a tested IQ of 145, I consider myself average (or even a bit below average) in math skills compared to my friends of the same community. Tamil Nadu brahmins are only 1% of the population (most of them have moved out to greener pastures) and that too clustered in geographical pockets. It’s very likely that the test was taken by lower caste students who don’t have much intellectual exposure other than our state syllabus which focusses too much on rote learning and far too little in critical thinking, hence the pathetic PISA scores. Also, you cannot compare a homogenous Han population and make a generalization with a diverse population like India.

  2. Secondly, other indicators appear much brighter for India’s potential: the Economist and Forbes give India pretty okay rankings on innovation. India is still behind China in this, but not by a huge margin, esp. given that China has a 15-20 year head start on economic reforms. In other words, it’s not such a vast gap that cannot be bridged. India came out well on top of Russia in both rankings. In fact, India has produced or is on the way to producing a spate of FIRST RATE private corporations that compete with the best in the world (Wipro, Infosys, Tata…India’s burgeoning pharma industry). That is far better than I can say for China and Russia, which, by and large, have failed to produce indigenous, first-rate, private corporations. [So much for India being 'a good destination for call centers but not much else']. I am quite amazed too that, with the exception of Russia, all of the former Soviet Republics performed abysmally (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Moldova), or a bit below average (Lithuania…).

    • But Ryan, a couple of caveats:

      1. You are referring to the Economist. Now while it is generally an okay magazine it does tend to have biases in its reporting and analysis. This has been documented online with countries as widespread as Russia, China and Bangladesh.

      2. India’s is on its way to producing “a spate of FIRST RATE private corporations that compete with the best in the world (Wipro, Infosys, Tata…India’s burgeoning pharma industry)” after India adopted a fully liberalized economy in 1991 before which it had a capitalist economy with a heavy socialist influence from 1947 onwards (particularly after the 1970s). Now compare this to Russia which adopted a fully liberalized economy in 1991 before which it had a fully socialist (or rather communist) economy from the 1920s with only very limited periods of capitalism or features of capitalism. And compare that to China which adopted a mostly capitalist economy in the 1980s after having a similar economic system to Russia/USSR from the 1950s-1980s. It should come as no surprise that India has first rate innovative private corporations since private corporations/companies were never illegal in India unlike Russia and China for decades. Russia and China also had some bitter civil wars and bitter experiences in the World Wars which could have had long lasting effects on both economies (by contrast India has never had a civil war on the scale of the Chinese Civil War or Russian Civil War and in World War II most of the country was untouched except for an eastern portion occupied by the Japanese). In essence the economic history of the 3 countries are very different with India having the least similarities with Russia and China. In Russia there has been only about 2 decades of officially sanctioned private enterprise following nearly 7 decades when officially allowed and encouraged private enterprise was more of an anomaly than the norm. In China today the state is still far more involved in enterprise than in Russia or China. Just the other day the Economist (read with the necessary scepticism of course) had a report on the rise of “State Capitalism” and if I remember correctly they had a nice chart showing that some of the top companies in the world are Chinese but these are all (or mostly) state-owned. I would find it difficult to imagine a private Chinese corporation on the scale of say Tata or Sinopec given China’s political system.

      Who knows what Russia and China would have looked like if private enterprise had been allowed from the 1950s onwards like in India (and even so private enterprise was never banned in India even under the British)?

  3. When the malnutrition problems and education are solved in India, it’s not inconceivable AT ALL that India could average an IQ in the mid 90′s. This could certainly happen within the next 30 years-malnutrition is bad, but it has been in steady decline. Mauritius & Trinidad scored at a Latin American level in PISA, but I conjectured that if Indians ALONE were tested (Mauritius is multiracial: ~30% Black, Trinidad ~60%), they would score at the level of some South and East European nation, indicating IQ’s in the 90′s. The TIMSS test showed that India’s top 5% were comparable to the best in the world-perhaps reflective of the 15-20% of India that is middle class (indicating that it more accurately reflects India than the PISA), and the TIMSS were taken in two of the worst Indian states. The PISA, by contrast, showed NO high scors, which is why I think it was unrepresentative. In short, using this flawed, HIGHLY unrepresentative PISA sample of two Indian states to gauge the country’s future development is about as smart as using the Weekly Standard to gauge Russia’s future development.

    • if the indians had a high IQ, they would have a lower malnutrition rate already.

      indians have a very low genetic iq. all the smart ones move to the US, and the dumb ones stay in india

  4. pravochka says:

    Exactly the article I could had written! I cannot support these western-focused-journalists who cannot cite India withou adding “the world’s biggest democracy” – pointing out that China is not a democracy. Of Course China is an authoritarian regime & so on, but what does mean calling “democracy” a country with a so high illiteracy rate? And the 74% literacy rate is an average: half of the India (north part) is well below (especially if we consider women !). I follow the predictions Emmanuel Todd made some years ago: North India will be a BIG trouble region in the next decades (when literacy rate will have sufficiently grown, people will want to express their own viewpoint and not so one of a western-like government. Something like the cultural revolution in China will probably occurs…). All in all : excellent article, again.

  5. Great post. I would add Fareed Zakaria (Muslim-origin Indian-cum-U.S. citizen) to your list of commentators for his uniquely phantasmagorical writings on India. See for instance the part on India of my vintage 2010 review of his Post-American World (http://craigcorner.blogspot.com/search?q=zakaria).

    As he put it: “If Indians understand America, Americans understand India.” There is a unique relationship between “The Ally” India and the U.S., a kinship, notwithstanding India’s Socialism, its sometime glorification of asceticism (as against the American cult of excess), its anticolonial tradition, etc. And lots of other nonsense.

  6. AK,

    The data for Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are certainly discouraging, but while Tamil Nadu is fairly developed by Indian standards it still lags behind the likes of Delhi and Haryana. I would like to see the data for states like those in India as it would give a clearer picture of the disparaties within India.

    India certainly has a challenge to extend the development that has been going on in the west of the country (Delhi, Mumbai and their states of Delhi and Maharastra in general) to the rest of the country.

    • What’s missing from this article is the trend in Indian education. Is it stagnant, declining or what? I agree with most of the points in the article but I would not try to make a forecast based on a snapshot.

      • Kirill the trends in Indian education are actually declining which is to be expected given the push in recent years to expand enrollment figures.

        http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-17/india/30634817_1_enrolment-primary-schools-private-schools

        There has been a long secular trend in declining scores across the India as evidenced by the ASER report from between 2008 and 2011. Even worse is that this decline doesn’t just show up in government schools but is uniform and also affecting private schools.

        • This is a strange pattern. Development is typically associated with increases in various indicators such as education. I don’t see any serious cultural limitations (the caste system can’t account for this pattern). So do we have a case of some sort of regression with a few getting well off while a majority become poorer? In other words, no real development.

        • India has, at last, largely solved the enrollment problem (from these figures). I.e., reaching the approximate levels of the US or Prussia in 1850, Russia in 1940, or China in 1980. The main problem now seems to be the very low quality of the education received.

  7. georgesdelatour says:

    I’ve been reading about the Black Death in England in the 14th century. It came out of nowhere, killing between 25% and 60% of the population. In spite of this, there’s strong evidence the Black Death ultimately made England a lot wealthier. It was a sudden shock, which raced across the island. But it didn’t kill a random cross-section of population. It mostly killed off the poorest, least educated members of society, raising the average human capital of the remainder, and reducing human pressure on the land. After the Black Death peasant wages went up a lot. I don’t recall Gregory Clark mentioning the Black Death much in “A Farewell To Alms”, but it fits well with his thinking regarding economic growth.

    Could Mao’s Great Leap Forward have functioned like a man-made Black Death? A sudden shock which kills off the poorest, least smart members of society, raising the level of the remainder? I’m guessing there’s a difference between this kind of sudden shock cull of the population and India’s near continuous experience of malnutrition and famine from ancient times to independence (and beyond). The Black Death either kills you or it doesn’t; and if it doesn’t, there’s almost no extra morbidity. Famines usually cause a general weakening of the population which experiences non-fatal malnutrition. But the way Mao created the Great Leap Forward famine was unusual. As he said in Shanghai in 1959: “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

    • Mao’s Great Leap Forward, however, was more like “The White Death” I would say, given most of those suffered or killed were at the right side of the Chinese bell curve.

      • Plus, given China’s large population even back then, a casualty rate of at most 50 million people (an over-exaggeration) wouldn’t have had the same impact as the Black Death had on England, not unless these deaths constituted the smartest fraction of the country’s population.

    • misdreavus says:

      Absolute horse crap.

      Average wealth rose in Europe in the aftermath of the Black Death because the _total_ population plummeted. In a malthusian society with pre-industrial technology, this ensures a higher standard of living for those who live off the land.

      By the way, the Black Death targeted all people equally, sparing neither rich nor poor. Even so, one-off selection events typically result in little lasting genetic change to a population. Even assuming a narrow sense heritability of 0.5 in medieval Europe (fat chance!), and assuming that Y. pastis had wiped out the bottom quintile of society (even less plausible), the average genotypic IQ in Europe would have increased a few points, at best. Use the breeder’s equation and do the math.

      Not to mention that the Great Leap Forward killed off less than ten percent of China’s population, according to even the wildest historical estimates.

  8. India displays extreme human diversity. It’s possible that the very top of their distribution is as bright as China’s, Japan’s, Germany’s or the UK’s top. This cannot be said of most poor countries. But their average seems to be low.

    India cannot possibly form a single bell curve. The different castes and religious communities aren’t breeding with each other, don’t look like each other, and most famously sometimes even avoid touching each other. There should be lots of bell curves there. The Parsis may have a mean above 100, maybe even above 110. The Tamil Brahmins (the current world chess champion is one) may have a mean above 100 too, and there are millions of them.

    I’ve had lots of personal experiences with Indians. They’re obsessed with hierarchy. To them the sight of someone occupying a position in life that’s either higher or lower than what they consider appropriate for him or her is obscene, scandalous and tragic. This is endless fodder for conversation. The worst imaginable insult is that someone doesn’t fit his place, for example should be doing manual work instead, or isn’t meant to supervise people. This sort of rhetoric trumps any possible accusation of laziness or dishonesty. On many occasions I’ve seen them refuse to do trivial bits of manual work on principle, because they thought they were above it. No matter what happens in the future, there will never be an Indian Daimler-Benz or Toyota or Patek Philippe & Co. It’s not that India doesn’t have any people who would be capable of producing a high-quality physical product, it’s that none of those people would ever stoop that low.

    Think about it – the best manufactured products come from very homogeneous societies. If there is no bottom to speak of, then even the people sweeping the streets would be kind of OK. And the streets would always be perfectly swept (now compare this to India’s streets). And even the elites would be able to have half-way meaningful conversations with street-sweepers, assembly-line workers, etc., so they’d be able to empathize with them, not just in the abstract, but on the subconscious level too. So the society at large wouldn’t despise manual work.

    IQ estimates for India are probably less exact than estimates for most countries because it’s harder to get a representative sample in India than in most places. There’s all that variety and diversity. What’s typical, what’s representative? I just looked up the numbers for Indians outside of India given in Richard Lynn’s “The Global Bell Curve”, but there are obvious problems with them too. Immigrants are often unrepresentative of their home counties.

    On P. 90 Lynn lists 12 studies of the IQ of Indians in Britain. The median of those studies is 92. On p. 206 he has one study of Indians in the Netherlands. It shows a mean IQ of 88. On pp. 28-29 he has 7 different studies of Indians in Africa (6 in South Africa, 1 in Tanzania). The median of the studies is 86. Anecdotally, Indians in the US tend to come from higher caste/social backgrounds than Indians in Britain, so one would expect something higher than 92 here.

    • “India displays extreme human diversity. It’s possible that the very top of their distribution is as bright as China’s, Japan’s, Germany’s or the UK’s top. This cannot be said of most poor countries. But their average seems to be low…”

      It’s possible that the very top could be similar?

      No it’s impossible.

      Not a chance in the next 1000 years, which seems to be the minimum unit of time for the mother nature to work her wonders.

      It’s because that IQ of human races have a deep genetical basis. And genetics in shaped by the nature through eons. Sharks becoming the top predators but not sardines is not due to its diveristy, but 100s millions of years of selections by nature. Dogs, no matter how diverse they are with all the breeds, can never grow wings all of a sudden. There is a reason that why Indian right side of bell curve, diverse or not, can not be as high as, let alone surpass, those of Northeast Asians and Northern Europeans. The IQ of the latter two has been selected by extremely cold winters in he northern part of Eurasia immediately after the Ice Age, -20 to -40 degrees (in case of NE Asians) winters we’re talking about. Assume Indians have a large diversity, yet none of these diversities, being Dravidians or Southern Tamil Brahmins or whoever (that is to say none of them is pure blood Chinese, Japanese or English or Germans ), has been exposed to the naure’s cold selection in the very beginning. It’s just like it is biologically impossible for tropical, sub tropical or relatively mild climate zebras or the right side bell curve of zebras, who have never been exposed to tens of thousands of years of cold winters, to be all borned suddeny with full body thick fur like those polar bears.

      Common sense, really.

      • “There is a reason that why Indian right side of bell curve, diverse or not, can not be as high as, let alone surpass, those of Northeast Asians and Northern Europeans.”

        SP: please consult my hard data (shown throughout this thread) on why I believe vast chunks of India’s population can converge to (or surpass) Europe’s average, before you pull such fantastic statements out of thin air.

        Btw, all this talk of India’s average IQ makes me realize something: how did Indians build and maintain one of the world’s most advanced, most developed, most intellectual civilizations with such a (false) low IQ? Hmmm….makes me wonder…

        • ” SP: please consult my hard data (shown throughout this thread) on why I believe vast chunks of India’s population can converge to (or surpass) Europe’s average…”

          Sorry, but your “hard” data throughout the thread seems to me as “hard” as “1/3 of doctors in the US are Indians, 38% of NASA scientists are Indians, so are Mocrofy, Intel and GE…”, so “hard” that I almost lost all the strenghth to respond after rofl…excuse me.

          As for “I believe vast chunks of India’s population can converge to (or surpass) Europe’s average”, I have to admit that your imagination is quite entertaining.

          • You still haven’t refuted a single claim of my hard data (which addresses Indians as a whole, not a few doctors in the US). It seems like you prefer to fantasize and make bombastic statements that you cannot prove, rather than present real facts and argue.

            When you’re ready to present real facts, and refute my evidence, then we’ll talk!

            @ Yalensis: you are quite correct, India has some major cultural problems to overcome!

        • My own academic field – scientific linguistics (phonology, morphology, syntax) was invented by Indian scholars (Sanskrit grammarians) in the 4th century B.C. Panini and the others figured the whole thing out, same way Greek philosophers/scientists figured out geometry. This must have required a very high native intelligence. However, the intelligence of these Indian scientists was corrupted by the caste system. Victims of their own prejudice, these upper-class geniuses devised an alphabet that was inaccessible to the common man, and deliberately denied the gift of literacy to the lower classes, because they believed that it was necessary to suppress and dominate them. (They were also bound to the stultifying influence of religion, and I suspect that religious superstitious continues to retard Indian development.) I would look to such influences as caste/class and religion as retardants of social/intellectual progress to a greater degree than genetics or even nutrition (although I am sure that nutrition and health issues do play an important role). China, on the other hand, seems to have a healthier attitude towards class differences and labor; and also less religious influence. I guess I am arguing for cultural determinants over genetic.

          • In Indonesia the ruling classes did exactly the same thing. So it is difficult to account for the current state of education in India with basically ancient history. At least they bothered to devise an alphabet and not characters. If you want a massive entry barrier to literacy, then Chinese would be the premier example.

            • Thanks for reply, kirill. I was not really intending to rehash the “alphabet-determinant” argument that we discussed on Anatoly’s previous blog (about the Chinese alphabet). I think most commenters, including myself, came to a consensus at that time that even a poorly designed alphabet is not necessarily a retardant to a society, since children growing up in that society are capable of absorbing just about anything, no matter how difficult and cumbersome the tool. (Although I have difficulty imagining Roman children mastering calculus using Roman numerals!)
              Rather, I was making a much simpler point: That some Indians of the 4th-century BC must have been very intelligent (had a high IQ) to have invented linguistics. (Discussion of IQ always makes me feel uncomfortable, because I keep expecting some Nazi to leap out of the woodwork.) But then I could not help myself from throwing in a criticism of Indian political/caste prejudices. That was many many centuries ago, but I suspect similar forces at work today, like maybe poorest Indian children not receiving a very education and hence testing poorly on IQ tests?
              ”At least they bothered to devise an alphabet and not characters.”
              True, but the Chinese cannot really be blamed for their atrocious hieroglyphic system, since they were among the first to start writing and did not know any better at the time. For example, they did not understand the concept of the “phoneme”, since it had not yet been invented by Panini in 4th century B.C. Although I suppose Chinese could be blamed for not switching it out and adopting an alphabet later, once they became that somebody had invented the concept.

              • The advantage of a hieroglyphic system is that you don’t need to speak the same language to write the same language

              • Yep. If China had dismantled its “atrocious hierogylphic system” they’d be left with 1,000 ethnic groups (no exaggeration), not one.

      • SP,

        To Ryan G’s response, I’d add the fact that most very early civilisations developed in semi-desert areas around rivers in semi-tropical zones (those zones of latitude where deserts develop on the western sides of continents due to patterns of cold ocean currents near there). The Indus Valley culture was one such civilisation whose influences extended into Afghanistan and as far north as Tadzhikistan. Not to mention the Egyptian civilisation whose influences went as far south as central Sudan and inspired the Kush / Meroitic civilisation. Even the culture that developed around the Huang He in northern China and from which the Chinese derive their historical and cultural ancestry (if not a genetic one for most of them) was partly a semi-desert culture.

        By the way the average IQ of Serbians is said to be low for Europeans and cold winters aren’t unknown in Serbia.

        If the average IQ of Indians is low, it’s due to factors like childhood malnutrition and diseases like malaria which can cause brain damage in children, the stress of living in poverty and the psychological / physiological effect that can have on brain development, and the possibility that for many poor children in India, education is dependent on whether their parents or other relatives have enough money that they can send the children to school regularly, up to 6 or 7 hours a day, 4 to 6 days a week or whatever is required, without the fear that they might have to pull the kids out to earn a living.

        One thing that hasn’t been mentioned so far in this thread is how centralised the education systems are in China and India and the extent to which governments in those countries communicate educational priorities to the relevant education bureaucrats and whether these priorities are followed closely. That in itself might have some influence on students’ motivation and families’ decisions to invest in children’s education. The educational achievements of politicians themselves might have some bearing on people’s ambitions. If most politicians in China have scientific and technical backgrounds – I remember reading somewhere that many do – as opposed to Indian politicians who might be more likely to have legal qualifications (or Bollywood-acting qualifications as the case may be), that in itself might encourage a cultural feedback loop: the more prominent scientists, technical workers and engineers are in a society or are seen to be, the more likely children and students look up to them and want to emulate them.

        • Jen

          I’m going out… a quickie here of some thoughts for you to chew on:

          1. Were the ancestors of Serbians living in today’s Serbia, immediately after the ice age?

          2. Who really were the makers of early Egiptian civilisation? and why it can’t recover to its former glory even today and in the forseeable future? what happened? why? Different people, different elite class?

          3. ditto for the Indus Valley civilisation? and so on so forth…

          4. All things have deep biological basis. What’s yours? How to expalin the root course in your hypothesis? In your line of “logic”, pigs really could be born with wings for no reason I wonder?

          5. India has been indepedent with laws guranteeing private ownership since 1947( Some say that China had 12 years head start then India hence…. BS!). India really has no excuse to not be FAR FAR ahead of China today should its average IQ were anywhere close to that of the Chinese, given a/India was almost intact after WWII while China was in complete rubbles particularly after 4 more years of civil war b/ the Brits left India with the best and most extensive railway infras of the entire Asia, unlike China whose railway was almost non-existent in its heartland c/ The Brit left India with whole set of most advanced govening infrastructure: independent insititutions, advanced common law, free media, English – the langue franca of the world commerce, extentive trade ties with Common Wealth countries…; China had none of them, and still doesn’t have some of them even today; d/ the UN and the World Bank have recognised India since Day 1, with massive food aid, massive bank loans, tech asistance, and geopolitical support amonst the Common Wealth world; China however was boycotted by both the UN and the world bank with no assistance of any kind whatsoever (apart from several years of Sino-Soviet honeymoon), but diplomatic / economical / political cold war at all fronts, not to mention the huge setbacks contributed by Chairman Mao.

          OKE, “the reason is that Chinese started the reform first, …blah blah”. Why didn’t Indian start the reform first given all above key leads over China, if Indian IQ were truly somewhere close to that of the Chinese, for that matter the Europeans?

          “Oh, we had this and that corruptions, solcialism…malnutrition,… blah blah…” Which country didn’t have ? Why couldn’t Indians overcome it just like any other high IQ population have done over the course?

          S Korea was comparable to Congo 50 years ago. Look at them now. China was on par with India’s GDP 30 years, even with larger population. How about now?

          No blah blah, “will”, “is set to”, “pose to”, “is projected”… BS, we talk with facts, facts of today!

          With all these factors in minds, how could you still possiblely use the same pathetic “nurture, not nature” excuse for the Indians, the same as every other sub-sahara African supermacist does yesterday, today and tomorrow? Don’t you feel it’s becoming a bit boring now with this same old trick? Boring at least for a certain amount of prople with high IQ, that is to say people like me, to be brutally honest.

          • Re 2 and 3: I don’t know who started all the early civilisations. Did the early civilisations need higher-than-average IQs in people to get started? Maybe they started in the areas they did because of a combination of high populations in lands of declining soil fertility and food supplies, forcing people to live more densely and work out ways of living together without numerous conflicts.

            If you’re saying that cold climates and in particular cold winters select for higher-than-average intelligence in people, then aboriginal North Americans like the Athabascan-speakers, who have some Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA in common with Mongolians, and Cree-speakers, who have some Y-chromosome DNA in common with Europeans and Central Asians, should have been able to adapt to and accept European civilisation when it came to them quickly … but many of these people haven’t and they have some of the worst living conditions and social problems like alcoholism and drug addictions among First Nations people in First World countries in the world. Likewise Siberian aborigines who might be expected to share genes in common with Koreans, Japanese and northern Chinese haven’t taken up Western culture to assert themselves and defend their interests against the USSR / Russia. The Saami (Lapps) live in Arctic conditions and have had long contacts with Scandinavians and Russians, and they must have been among the first people to live in Scandinavia and the Kola peninsula after the Ice Age, but we don’t hear much about their vaunted political / cultural progress! So much for “deep biological basis”!

            I haven’t used any “nature versus nurture” arguments. All I’ve done is point out some wider social / cultural / political factors that affect the poorer classes in India and have the effect of dragging back the AVERAGE intelligence quotient across the entire population. (If we have a society of 100 people and 50 of them have IQs of 110 and 50 have IQs of 90, it follows that average IQ will be 95.) The other thing to consider is the quality of India’s leadership in Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi (all members of the same family by the way) during the 1960s – 1990s.

            Don’t forget also that for a long time India has spent heaps of money on its military because of its rivalries with Pakistan and China over territory and border issues. If prioritising military spending hurts and retards the civilian economy in countries like the US and the UK, think of how it affects the civilian economy in poorer countries like India and Indonesia.

            In spite of being a member of the British Commonwealth and supposedly having all those historical, trade and cultural ties, India hasn’t capitalised on all those advantages and the same can be said for Australia, Canada and most other Commonwealth countries. Most Australians know who the President of the United States and the British Prime Minister are, but would be stumped as to who the Canadian Prime Minister is, what the major political parties in Canada are and what sort of economy Canada has. In fact, it could be argued that being a member of the British Commonwealth and having English as an official language has stymied business and scientific innovation in countries like Australia and Canada; we prefer to let the Americans do all the hard work rather than re-invent the wheel for ourselves.

            Plus if you’re going to compare South Korea with any country, the country to compare it with is Chile which during the same time period that South Korea industrialised also had a military government that tried to mould society in its own way and which had the opportunity to turn Chile into a major industrial player (but didn’t) through nickel and copper mines, an educated population and access to markets in other parts of Latin America and the United States. Don’t compare South Korea with the DRC (the former Zaire) because while Sth Korea was forging ahead with 5-year industrial plans under President Park Chunghee, the president of Zaire, Mobuto Sese Seko, was treating his country as a personal fiefdom.

            • Jennefer

              It’s plausible that the early civilisations didn’t require relatively high IQ to develop and maintain, particularly the ones situated in mild/warm climate such as India (by people who have never been selected by cold winters) where one drops a seed today and forget it, it’ll grow into something editable tomorrow, unless the with the presence of highly developed art forms (like those in Indus Valley) and particularlly technologies(like Ancient Egipt). Then logically one must start to question if those people are the same inhabitants, particularly the elite class, in the area today.

              Cold climate selection has become a quite accepted explanation amongst HBDers as the principal condition required of emergence of high IQ, yet not the ONLY condition. This seems to be able to explain why there’re some tribes today , such as American Indians, Eskimos, etc., even Tibetans to some extent, haven’t evolved into high IQ like NE Asians and Northern Europeans despite having ancestors who endured and survived the long cold climate. There’re many possible explanations for that. It’s like liquid water(in analogy to cold winters) is the principle condition required to have life forms as far as we know, yet it is not the only condition and the life forms are not necessarily as advanced as humans – maybe more or maybe less. Therefore to raise some exceptions you do doesn’t automatically refute cold winter hypothesis.

              Plus, the nature’s selection is on a continuous basis: the ones who have been selected by cold winters in the beginning are subject to further selections along the way as well, including nowadays, a technological society is being selected by nature to go further and much further… the gap between the strong and the weak has become larger and larger, e.g. GDP and particularly technological advance of NE Asian and northern European (including European-majority North America; and Russians- who are by and large a Nordic tribe) countries vis-à-vis India and Sub-Sahara countries…you can get detail figures from the UN.

              As for S Korea-Chili comparison preferred as you suggested, I don’t know too much about Chili, but doesn’t Chili enjoy relatively much more land/cap and natural resources/cap vis-à-vis SK? Has Chili an active participant (thus being thoroughly destroyed) like SK in WW2? What is gdp/cap of Chili today compared with SK’s? Have you ever used anything, goods or services, Made-in-Chili?…

              Whether other countries ( AUS, CA) have taken advantage of Commonwealth and other favourite conditions or not is not important, since Aus and Canada were/are not as under-developed as India then and now. What they did and do is out of the question here. The fact is India obviously hasn’t. Plus, India never have been through hardcore communism as China, Russia and Eastern Europeans did. Malnutrition doesn’t wash, as 40 years ago S Koreans and Chinese were also quite malnutricious, particularly the Mao China. So the elephant-sized question in the room is why a resource-rich ( bothe natural and human) India with all the “chips”and “goodies” on its side is not as advance as, perhaps even more than, Japan today? Or at least like Korea or China today, considering Japan has a head start of about100 years industrialisation?, if Indian average IQ and Indian elite average IQ are anywhere close?

              • Korea wasn’t destroyed during WWII but during the Korean war. Period after that war the Koreans experienced a famine(which isn’t the same as malnutrition but worse)

            • Korea was industrialized during the Japanese period. Zaire may have had a high school during the Belgium occupation.

              Chile population was to small to have many forms of industry. It also is cursed with natural resources. As is Congo. Without it it would have a much better government. Mobuto could steal for 30 years because there was something to steal because of natural resources.

              The main reason why African countries are underdeveloped is not because of IQ, i bet Korea was the lowest of the current OECD in 1947, but because of underpopulation. Their high birthrate is solving the underpopulation problem so i expect them to be much more developed in 50 years time

              • Charly,

                I agree with your points regarding Sth Korea and Chile. Japan made industrial investments in the Korean peninsula and Manchuria when it became a Japanese colony. The Belgians made no similar investments.

                Chile’s population is not only small but the country is strung out along the Andean mountains and transport and communications within the country must be very difficult. Although the Chileans could have developed a semiconductor industry, same as what Taiwan did. But the Pinochet government had different priorities which didn’t include making Chile a world industrial power. Park Chunghee and his military successors on the other hand had that vision for Sth Korea.

                It’s true, many African countries actually have a low population in relation to their physical size. Because of the low population, there is a low taxpayer base and so the government can’t raise the money to build infrastructure, social services or industry without relying on overseas help.

        • Jen

          I’m on my way out… a quickie here of some thoughts for you to chew on:

          1. Were the ancestors of Serbians living in today’s Serbia, immediately after the ice age?

          2. Who really were the makers of early Egiptian civilisation? and why it can’t recover to its former glory even today and in the forseeable future? what happened? why? Different people, different elite class?

          3. ditto for the Indus Valley civilisation? and so on so forth…

          4. All things have deep biological basis. What’s yours? How to expalin the root course in your hypothesis? In your line of “logic”, pigs really could be born with wings for no reason I wonder?

          5. India has been indepedent with laws guranteeing private ownership since 1947( Some say that China had 12 years head start then India hence…. BS!). India really has no excuse to not be FAR FAR ahead of China today should its average IQ were anywhere close to that of the Chinese, given a/India was almost intact after WWII while China was in complete rubbles particularly after 4 more years of civil war b/ the Brits left India with the best and most extensive railway infras of the entire Asia, unlike China whose railway was almost non-existent in its heartland c/ The Brit left India with whole set of most advanced govening infrastructure: independent insititutions, advanced common law, free media, English – the langue franca of the world commerce, extentive trade ties with Common Wealth countries…; China had none of them, and still doesn’t have some of them even today; d/ the UN and the World Bank have recognised India since Day 1, with massive food aid, massive bank loans, tech asistance, and geopolitical support amonst the Common Wealth world; China however was boycotted by both the UN and the world bank with no assistance of any kind whatsoever (apart from several years of Sino-Soviet honeymoon), but diplomatic / economical / political cold war at all fronts, not to mention the huge setbacks contributed by Chairman Mao.

          OKE, “the reason is that Chinese started the reform first, …blah blah”. Why didn’t Indian start the reform first given all above key leads over China, if Indian IQ were truly somewhere close to that of the Chinese, for that matter the Europeans?

          “Oh, we had this and that corruptions, solcialism…malnutrition,… blah blah…” Which country didn’t have ? Why couldn’t Indians overcome it just like any other high IQ population have done over the course?

          S Korea was comparable to Congo 50 years ago. Look at them now. China was on par with India’s GDP 30 years, even with larger population. How about now?

          No blah blah, “will”, “is set to”, “pose to”, “is projected”… BS, we talk with facts, facts of today!

          With all these factors in minds, how could you still possiblely use the same pathetic “nurture, not nature” excuse for the Indians, the same as every other sub-sahara African supermacist does yesterday, today and tomorrow? Don’t you feel it’s becoming a bit boring now with this same old trick? Boring at least for a certain amount of prople with high IQ, that is to say people like me, to be brutally honest.

          • Indians don’t have an average iq level, the Tamil Brahmins are only 2 million in numbers, but have way more Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry than all of China’s population. India’s version of the Manhattan Project was mostly Tamil Brahmins. India’s space program with half the budget of NASA is planning space explorations to Mars, which would mean that they’re speeding passed the Chinese and Japanese space programs, the Tamil Brahmins are the effect of a 10,000 year old rigid caste system that was based on occupation. Its similar to the isolated cognitive selection process that the Ashkenzai faced. India has a complex iq bell curve that needs to be investigated clearly by the test givers, because even in ancient times, knowledge went from India to China, not the other way around, for example Cataract Surgery went from India to China. In my opinion, China may have a higher iq on average, but India has more innovation.

            • ObaMahdi says:

              While I fully understand your sentiment of defending the image of Bharat because obviously accepting the comparative figure of ethnic IQ in the indian position is like admitting racial inferiority, I’ve difficulty understanding your rhetorics:
              “..Tamil Brahmins are only 2 million in numbers, but have way more Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry than all of China’s population..”
              ——–Just what’re you trying to imply? Are u telling me the number of nobel scientists of indian origin greatly exceeds those of Chinese origin? I check thoroughly it’s certainly not the case
              “space explorations to Mars, which would mean that they’re speeding passed the Chinese and Japanese space programs…”
              ——–I’m sorry, I’m well versed enough on that subject to declare you’re absolutely BSing. China launched successfully her cryogenic H2-O2 upper stage rocket 30 years ahead of Bharat. Yes, go ahead and ask your fellow rakshaks at bharat-rakshak.com
              I can tell you’re under great stress defending the image of bharat; My great sympathy. But please relax. Nothing wrong with belonging to a lower IQ country, particularly if you’re a Brahmin(quite likely),you can lord over the lower IQ dalits

      • I do think that it’s likely that the intelligence, family structure, emotional makeup, etc. of Eurasians diverged from those of Africans and Australoids during the last Ice Age. This doesn’t seem like something that can be proven or disproven, but it makes intuitive sense. It seems more plausible to me than the other theories I’ve seen.

        Originally India was most likely inhabited by Australoids, the sort of people who still live in the Nicobar Islands. But when agriculture was invented in the Fertile Crescent, Middle Easterners would have flooded to India looking for arable land. Then, roughly 4,000 years ago somebody must have introduced Indo-European languages to India and Iran from the north. This must have been done by the sort of people whose relatives would much later be called Scythians by the Greeks.

        So yes, some proportion of the ancestors of modern Indians would have been shaped by the Ice Age environment. We can assume that India has had a wide range of mental ability for thousands of years because it’s had a caste system for thousands of years. The caste system must have been a response to something real. Of course, once it was set up, a feedback loop would have been established.

        • @Glossy: I remember learning in school (World History class) that Indian subcontinent was populated by dark-skinned Dravidians/Tamils (genetically related to Australian aborigines). Then were invaded by lighter-skinned Sanskrit-speaking Indo-Aryans. Supposedly the Indian sacred works like Mahabharata and Rig Vedas reflect this period of history, when Indo-Aryans relentlessly drove the aborigines farther and farther south, killing them whenever possible, enslaving them when not. For example, the god Krishna is an embodiment of the conquering warrior caste of the Indo-Aryans. When the war was over, the Indian caste system was established as a way of setting up relationships between conquerers and conquered. That way they could co-exist without inter-marrying. Lower castes had to do all the dirty work, like cleaning sewers, etc. This is why they were called “untouchables”.
          Well, that was what I learned in school. Don’t know if it is true or not. I was very young at the time. There was an Indian student in my class, presumably upper-caste. Textbook had a page or so of translated text from Rig Veda. After reading it, I raised my hand, and announced that Rig Vedas sounded like a lot of B.S. to me. The Indian kid turned on me with a fury: “Those are our sacred texts!” For a second I thought he was going to jump on me and beat me up. After that I pretended to be more culturally sensitive, but I still think Indian religion is a lot of B.S.

      • A fraction of Indians are Aryans; they invaded India from the cold cold climate of the north (They actually split from Europeans in Russia long time back). They are the ones with very high IQs (due to climate selection of their ancestors) which tend to dominate Indian society (highest castes). So, while IQs of ordinary Indians are abysmal, this group of Aryans can no doubt rival Europeans and East Asians in terms of intelligence.

        • That is why the darkest most Southern state is the least developed and the most “Aryan” the most developed

          Oh, wait. That isn’t true.

          India is a disease ridden country without a good education system for most people and a religion and culture which don’t help. Solving those problems and you will solve India’s IQ score

  9. Re: Georgia. It lost more than a million people since independence. I was shocked when I fist read that. About 20%. I don’t know if this was entirely a brain drain, but it could have been a component. What would a smart, skilled person want to do in modern Georgia? Add a universal knowledge of Russian to that, and the recipe for a brain drain is complete.

    • Not complete as there are two other reasons. Add discriminate Armenians as they are the educated group in that part of the world. And select for boys, who are the dumber sex on average.

  10. As usual, a convincing piece, AK.

    @Ryan G

    To prove your hypothesis that Indians have far better average IQ than low 80′s(which is a largely established and time-tested HBD view), you raised many data [e.g. "Indians in Mauritius, South Africa, and Malaysia score from about 88 (lowest SA+Malaysia scores) to 93 in Mauritius," or Tamil Brahmin Iaverage Q is 120...]. Unless you can back the data up with reliable sources or well-known research rather than hersays, I’d say your hypothesis is as good as a fantasy.

    BTW, Nobel Prize, though was by and large respectable until global liberal fighters took over, speaks little of a country’s average IQ. To get a Nobel science, for instance, in general one needs to have a/ speaks fluently, if not as the first language as in most cases, one of European languages; b/ within a leading team of a well-established and networked world-class lab/institution, researching the right topic under a world-renouned tutor, at the right time ; c/able to gather a relatively enormous amount of funding for the project…few lucky smart ones could have all these hidden pre-requirements to even reach the pre-selection, let alone nobel committee judgement bias (due to various reasons) which has become obvious and quite laughble these days. With a much larger population than Tanil Brahmins, S Korea has no nobel science thus far, neither has the Chinese mainland. So in your logic aren’t they much dumber on average than the Tamil Brahmins? I think no neutral people with a shred of common sense thinks so. Now N. Koreans, one can safely say that they can forget about nobel science or any kind of medal of this weight for the forsseable future, even they are the same people as S Koreans.

    Tamil Nadu, the Indian state that participated the PISA 2009 mentioned above , is the home region of Tamil Brahmins. The PISA result percentage analysis shows that there was practically zero of them made it to the global 95 percentile. In comparsion, about 23% (just off my head, can’t recall the exact figure) of Shanghai fell into 95 percentile. This fact, although may not be extremely accurate, is however statistically significant and in line with all the major research done on India. Isn’t it very telling already?

  11. Anatoly, the PISA results for the 12 sampled Chinese provinces are available though not the details. Please see the link below.

    http://www.anhuinews.com/zhuyeguanli/system/2011/01/11/003654070.shtml

    The graph is fairly intuitive even for those who cannot read Chinese but the average PISA scores (I am unsure if they were weighted or not for population but probably not) of the 12 Chinese provinces tested are as follows:

    486 Reading (above Italty)
    524 Science (above the Netherlands)
    550 Mathematics (above South Korea)

    The scores highlighted in the diagrams are for Zhejiang province which are respectively:

    525
    567
    598

    The two lowest scoring provinces surveyed in the PISA 2009 results I would wager are Ningxia and Yunnan which are on the Han frontier with both containing significant numbers of ethnic minority populations (both provinces are only little more than 60% Han Chinese)

    Regarding the ability of the Indian elite to compete with that of the West or China, I am afraid people are misinterpreting the earlier TIMSS test when comparing it the PISA results. The earlier TIMSS test showed that India had a very high standard deviation, the second highest of all states tested behind only South Africa, but that its 95% was only the equivalent of the 75% percentile for Western Europe (but only the 50th% compared to East Asia). More relevant to the point is that the benchmark for advanced ability for the TIMSS is significantly lower than it is for the PISA which is why no one (or rather the numbers were statistically insignificant) in the Indian states surveyed in the PISA showed up on on right side of the curve this time around why an Indian elite was evident for the TIMSS. For example the latest TIMSS results showed 7% of American students exceeding the advanced benchmark on that test, but only around 1.9% could achieve the lvl 6 on the math section of the PISA test. Likewise Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan managed to have 44, 38, 35, 31, and 24% score at the advanced benchmark on the TIMSS but the lvl 6 PISA math results were 16.5, 11.3, 7.8, 10.8, and 6.2 respectively. The Indian states surveyed were only able to eek out a 1% advanced benchmark rating on the TIMSS and the sample who could score at lvl 6 on the PISA was not large enough to even warrant mentioning.

    • Thanks a bunch for that info.

      I noted that the article compared Zhejiang’s with other nations Singapore, Korea, Finland, Japan, Germany, France, England, the US – i.e., the rich and well-performing ones, but even there it came out ahead of all of them on math and science, and ahead of many of them on reading (though the result there, I suspect, has much more to do with the innate complexities of operating with Hanzi as opposed to any deficiency on the part of the Chinese education system).

      And didn’t even bother emphasizing their lead over countries like Brazil or India.

      Us laowai are doomed. :)

      You are correct that the PISA test does not really support the thesis that India has a highly differentiated population in terms of educational aptitude, which will make up for low averages. According to the data, there are precisely 0% of Indians in both states that are at Level 6 or even Level 5 on either math or science. In contrast, this figure (math) is 50% (!) for Shanghai, 20%-30% for the developed East Asian countries, and 10% for the US and most of the developed European nations.

  12. (Readers: consult my response to Glossy above if you want to know where I got more data on India’s average IQ):

    Glossy says, ‘No matter what happens in the future, there will never be an Indian Daimler-Benz or Toyota or Patek Philippe & Co. It’s not that India doesn’t have any people who would be capable of producing a high-quality physical product, it’s that none of those people would ever stoop that low.’ What evidence do you have of such an incredible statement? India has already produced PRIVATE, world-class corporations like Wipro, Infosys, Tata, etc. (to name but a few). It is already branching into semiconductors/computer chips, and its pharmaceutical industry is already becoming first class. It already has a space program. As for India never producing a ‘Daimler’: India’s auto-industry is seeing double digit growth. I guess India is already producing a ‘Daimler’, if you want one!

    Granted, in manufacturing, India still trails CHina in many fields, but these are NOT due to some genetic low-IQ (a myth that I busted earlier), these are due to 1) India’s reforms came 15-20 years after those of China, so India is playing catch-up, 2) India has the strictest labour laws in the World (plus among the worst red tape in Asia), and this is undoubtedly constricting its growth. Remove these, and India will make rapid progress.

    Please, name for me some first rate PRIVATE Chinese, Brazilian, much less Russian corporations that have managed, in 20 years, to become world class (or almost so).

    Btw, there’s quite a bit more I have to say on this topic, so expect responses in the next few hours or days (there are just too many posts to reply to!)…

    • “As for India never producing a ‘Daimler’: India’s auto-industry is seeing double digit growth.”

      I wasn’t talking about growth, I was talking about quality.

      • Glossy, Daimler had to start somewhere. As did Hyundai and KIA (two cars I still would never buy). India’s car corporations are already innovating (let me dig up some Econ articles for you). C’mon, they only entered the world stage 20 years ago, and the quality is already not bad. Have some patience!

    • Just off top my head.

      How about Huawei, the world’s second largest telecom equipment company; Lenovo, the world’s second largest PC manufacturer; Haier, the world’s largest appliance maker; Sany, one of the world’s largest construction equipment company.

      All these companies are private/publicly-listed companies with substantial
      global operations. Huawei alone is probably of similar size in revenue to India’s
      big five outsourcing companies.

      • I predict that Indian automakers are going to need some serious government assistance once foreign automakers start taking the country’s auto industry seriously (some already are). Even Suzuki is starting to feel the pinch.

        Indian cars today look as clumsy and unreliable as the Chinese cars ten years ago. Of course, like everything else, the Chinese automakers have left their Indian counterparts in the dust. Some have already started selling cars outside of China.

    • ABout the Q branded cars…India has Tata and Ashok Leyland trucks, Maruti and Indica cars and of course, India is leading maker of bikes and scooters…who can forget Nano…

    • Marie Arouet says:

      Just for China and just in tech, all in the last 20 years, the companies you ask for: ZTE (number one in patents of any company in the world), Hwawei (number 3 in patents), Lenovo (the largest computer company in the world), Tencents (the largest on-line community in the world), Baidu (the second largest and soon the largest search engine in the world, ranking number 5 in the world’s internet companies). I can list many more but you get the picture.
      I advice you to go to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and download their latest report (2011) on the world’s patents. Just off the top of my head, China has overtaken the U.S. in the number of 20-year patent applications per year. China accounts for about 70% of the entire world’s 10-year patent applications, and about 70% of the entire world’s design patents (like the one that won Apple $1 billion over Samsung).
      So don’t hold your breath too long in saying that there are no world class Chinese, Brazilian or Russian companies.

  13. Ryan, glossy’s observation about the indian elite aversion towards as physical labor is not unique. Many indian critics will say the same. Pallavi ayer made note of it when she compared and contrasted india and china. You haven’t named but a few world class indian companies, you’ve named practically all of them. Neither are they truly world class because none of them are market leader, nore really important to anyone outside of indians. Tata is a giant family conglomerate that has its hand in everything but excels at nothing. Wipro and infosys are just the two biggest bodyshops in the it offshoring industry and are low on the value added chain. India is a non entity in the semiconductor industry besides a few labs owned by intel and the like. None of the processors and hardware in your average consumer electronics are fabricated in india. India’s comparitive advantage only extends to generics manufacture and little else. As for indias space program. It like most everywhere lse is more of a prestige project and second rate at that compared to th leaders like europe and the us.

    • Jing, India only started its economic reforms 20 years ago. The fact that it already has a spate of 1st rate companies that can compete, or will soon able to compete with corporations in West is nothing to scoff at. India’s innovation rankings on the Economist and Forbes could improve, but they’re not that bad given how recent India’s economic boom started. These companies may still have ‘low value added’ products (the Economist would partially disagree with you on this one, if I’m reading your statements correctly): that may be true, but Samsung and the like had to start somewhere. I mean, I don’t see super-innovative products yet come out of China and S. Korea, they merely duplicate stuff produced in the West or Japan. Korea and China, from what I see, simply copy what’s made in the West, and manufacture it in their home countries. Even if these Indian corporations still duplicate technology made in the West, at least they can compete on a global stage doing it, which is far better than I can say for most any Chinese firm. I mean, if such a vast difference in human capital really does exist, and it is genetic (a notion that I’ve punctured, and will continue to puncture in new posts), China should already be creaming India in innovation and the production of first rate corporations (notwithstanding the 15-20 year gap in reform). I don’t see any evidence that this is happening. Korea has yet to produce a single Earth-shattering innovation (much less produce a single notable scientist or mathematician!)

      • Korean entertainment industry (Music, Movies and TV) is world leading and the first multitouch smart phone of which the iphones are an example was Korean

      • Name ten notable scientist or mathematician which are famous for what they discovered in the last 30 years. To help you i will name one, Shuji “blue laser” Nakamura. It is the only one i could come up with

      • OH, HOW Pathatic of you!!!

        “india only start reform 20 years ago.” !!! LOL, why?? Let me tell you why!! Because the average is so much dummer than the average Chinese that they indians dont know how to reform.

        After the indians saw the huge success of the Chinese reform, they indians COPIED it and called it their own reform!!

        This is what the world’s largest demonCrazy is capable of!!! Get IT!!!

  14. (More on IQ, PISA, TIMSS, etc. later), but to sum up my hitherto arguments: I have no doubt that India’s average IQ (however you choose to measure it) is probably heavily depressed due to the large amount of malnutrition, iodine deficiency, diseases, etc.-coupled with illiteracy. Does this represent a gap that cannot be bridged? As I’ve amply demonstrated, probably not…a wee bit of iodine and a wee bit of education go a long way.

  15. Alexander Mercouris says:

    I am afraid that I agree completely with this article though it actually pains me a little to do so. As a young man like many people I went through a period of interest in Indian philosophy and music, which completely blew me away. There is nothing intrinsically inferior about a nation that can invent (or discover?) zero, create possibly the world’s finest writing system, its most perfect grammar (that of Panini) and produce a literature colossal both in scale and quality. However India is not a rival to China at the moment nor is it likely to be any time soon and it is a shabby trick on the people of India to pretend that it is or will be any time soon. I would add that last time I looked India’s trade balance unlike China’s was in deficit, its budget was also in deficit and the level of debt in India was very high. I have also heard that because of high inflation living standards amongst Indians in the countryside where the majority of Indian people live have actually been declining. Possibly things are better now. I hope so.

    One further point I would make. I suspect that much of the western flattery of India one reads in the west is based on the imbecile hope that the west can play India off against China in the same way that in the 1970s and 1980s the west sought to play China off against Russia. What actually happened was that instead of the west manipulating China it was China that in the end successfully manipulated the west with the result that China gained a host of economic and trade concessions from the west that helped it achieve its present economic eminence. The sequel of course is that China and Russia today are friends. One would have thought that this experience might make the western powers a little more wary of trying to play great nations off against each other but that looks like a forlorn hope.

    • It seems that there is actually the opposite of development as far as the majority of Indians is concerned. The trickle down economics is taking a very long time to work its “magic”. Another issue may be related to what is occurring in the west. Pandering of school officials, school boards and politicians to parents produces a serious dilution of educational standards. I suspect that the democratic Indian system mirrors this. But unfortunately this rot has set in before the flower could bloom. So in the not so distant future there may be draconian measures imposed to fix this. I don’t see much evidence for any genetic or cultural pathology.

    • The place where India now is in her economic life cycle would normally lead to an export deficit. State should under normal situation run a deficit but not grow public debt as share of GDP.

    • Hi, @alex. I have to disagree with you on one point. Indians did not create world’s “finest writing system”. Far from it! I mean, it’s not the worst either, but it’s definitely not one of the best. One of these days I am going to emulate Anatoly by coming up with my own Top 10 list, in this case, writing systems. (Also bottom 10, of which Chinese is probably the very worst of all, and English probably also in Bottom 10.) For now, without any backing research or footnotes, and without having studied all the possible writing systems, and just off the top of my head, here is my Top 10 writing systems, judged by one single objective measure: how closely do the written symbols correspond to that language’s catalog of phonemes, in a one to one relationship:
      (1) Esperanto
      (2) Serbo-Croatian (doesn’t matter whether written in Roman or Cyrillic letters, both equally good)
      (3) Spanish
      (4) Czech and Slovakian tied
      (5) Polish (Polish would be perfect, but I deduct a couple of points for using double-letter combos instead of diacritics)
      (6) Bulgarian
      (7) Russian – not bad, but has a few quirks and exceptions
      (8) Italian
      (9) French
      (10) Arabic (not great – uses tiny dots and squiggles to denote vowels, but still denotes them and doesn’t make you infer them unlike, say, Hebrew)

      • Only 3 alphabets systems, and i think you could combine Cyrillic and Roman into one. What about the Korean or Thai or any of the Indian writing systems.

        • Thanks for your comment, @charly. Unfortunately, I am not at all familiar with Korean or Thai. To do a proper job, I suppose I really should familiarize myself with those other alphabets.
          For the purposes of my comparison I am not looking any any historical factors – so, for example, I don’t care that English spelling reflects an earlier pronunciation, I only see that modern English spelling does not correspond to the actual pronunciation of the contemporary language. I am also, for this purpose, ignoring aesthetic critera, I don’t care if the alphabet is ugly or beautiful, written in a gorgeous flowing calligraphy, or scratched into a rock by an ape with a stick. I am also ignoring whether an alphabet is Roman, Cyrillic, Semitic, or anything else in its origin. I don’t care if a language is written in cuneiform or chicken scratches, I am only looking to see if the language has a one-to-one correspondence between phoneme and symbol. In a perfect world, IMHO, a language (or dialect) that has 20 consonants and 10 vowels should ideally have 30 separate alphabetic symbols, and again, I don’t care if those 30 symbols are Cyrillic letters or Runes, musical notes, or Wingdings. (I tried to type some Wingding characters here as illustration, but they are Unicode, so WordPress blog cannot render them.)

      • below_freezing says:

        i think Chinese is not that bad; the grammar is pretty easy and the simplified characters, written in cursive, are easy to write, and require less characters to convey meaning. the simplification process also added phonetic elements so you can guess the pronounciation 90% of the characters if you know the most common few hundred or so.

        MUCH HARDER languages than Chinese are Turkish, Farsi, Burmese, Korean or Japanese which have a very nonintuitive grammar and logic: subject object verb. Chinese has simple tenses (just add suffixes) and intuitive subject verb object grammar.

        • Wake up you people! This is NOT a pure language issue.

          China is no power whatsoever in the New World Order of the Chosen One but a state of slave labours, IF they succeed making Chinese start to question that there is no such a people as Han Chinese, that Chinese traditional values are nonsense, that the unified Chinese language (characters) are non-existent or backward , and the China’s history is a shameful story of conquest and oppression.

          After the Chinese have lost the self-belief, they will feel guilty, shame and demoralised. Trust and unity among the century-old tightly- held communities will be the next thing to go. The country then is ripe to be taken over.

          This technique is not new though. The Europeans have been subjected to the same treatment ever since the 70′s. The Russians are also under fierce attack – just look at how the “western” mass media portrait evil Putin and the stereotypical Russian masses: bottles of Vodka, prostitution and of course Russian mafia…

          An extremely popular cover story run in the Economist months ago started to question “What is Chinese Language” from point of view of a Western “linguistist” that left hunfreds of clueless comments by the Chinese struggling to argue why there is no unified language called Chinese…

          Remember this, you Chinese in China, remember this well, because THIS, IS HOW THEY DO IT.

          • below_freezing says:

            true. I think there is actually no such thing as the English language. It is a combination of German, Anglo-Saxon and Latin.

  16. WOW, AK. I really really love your blog. I am a Chinese myself and very proud of being one.

    Right now I am getting a PhD from Caltech in Aerospace Engineering major in Control theory. ;)

    You are right about the fact that China is far far superior than India but guess what, indians think the otherwise. lol

    All the smart indians left india and seek a better life else where, while most of the Briliant Chinese are in China, and when I get my PhD, I can NOT wait to go back and server my country. You are a Russian patriot, and you should be proud of your country too.

    Oh, BTW. It is so sick to talk to the indians, especially on line, they are always so EVNY of China and have no logical speech whate so ever, and if they lose an argument, which they always lose to a Chinese. They will use some really really nasty stuffs to hurt the Chinese!! SICKINING!!

    Keep up the good work AK, your blog is wonderful and you back up your argument with FACTS!! I really respect that!

  17. Speaking of caste systems, I recently saw a very good American movie called “The Help” which is about life in the state of Mississippi in the late 1950’s. The Jim Crow laws in effect in those southern states are a good example of a caste-based system which seeks to regulate relationships between higher and lower caste, to ensure continued exploitation of the latter and also prevent inter-marriage between the two castes.
    The movie is about the lives of several African-American women who work as maids in the homes of middle-class white families. The maids are responsible not only for cleaning the houses, but also for preparing the meals (which is different from Indian caste system, I believe, because Untouchables are not allowed to touch upper-caste food) and also nannies for the white children: feeding the kids, changing their diapers, etc.
    The movie reveals how ridiculous is such a system, in which the African-American maid handles the food AND the babies, and yet is NOT allowed to use the indoor bathroom. If they were so concerned about her hygiene, then why do they force her to handle the food and hug their babies? The maid is also responsible for cleaning the bathroom, yet is not allowed to use it herself. One of the key plot points is that one of the maids (Minny) has to urgently use the bathroom, so she uses the indoor bathroom that she herself cleans, and then gets fired when she is caught using it. (Seems like the white folks could let her use it and then ask her to clean it afterwards, if they were so concerned about her hygiene. Similarly, if they are so concerned about her personal hygiene, then why do they make her cook the food and hug the babies? Seems to me like a professional maid should be responsible only for cleaning the house, and not have to cook or be a nanny as well….)

  18. If the Chinese are so damned smart, why do they just copy the West’s best technologies (I’m including the Kalashnikov here since from the Chinese perspective Russians are also Europeans)? Where are the Chinese patents? Granted they don’t have the intellectual property laws, and in the short run AK makes a convincing case this is an advantage (as copying was for Germany when it was playing catch up to 19th century England or the U.S.). But given how well Israel has done in the IP arena while having such a tiny chunk of the world population (albiet a very Russian one, no surprise that a slight majority of the Israeli patent holders are Ashkenazim with roots in the Russian empire) compared to India and China’s much vaster pool of 100+ IQs to choose from, they still seem to be under performing.

    Perhaps guys like Jiang can balance that.

    Perhaps even an economic crash and a return to sound money in the West led by the U.S. would also slowly turn things around (or if you believe guys like ‘Whiskey’ whose worldview seems skewed by too much pop culture exposure, a return of feminine attention to ‘unsexy’ ‘nerdy’ ‘Beta’ males).

    After all, if global energy costs continue to rise, China can’t just rely on undercutting everyone with dirt cheap exports indefinitely. Massive fracking of oil could buy the Chinese shippers some time by bringing several million new barrels on the global market, but then more Chinese would be expected to simply buy cars to eat up the surplus produced.

    If micro or just in time custom manufacturing can really take off in the U.S. location would actually matter again, to the extent that people want things fast and don’t want to wait for it to be flown in or more affordably shipped in from Shanghai when they could get a higher quality product from one state over instead.

    So yes Jiang, I know you’re very proud to be Chinese and your nation has achieved an incredible amount in just a generation, no question. But your country still isn’t known for competing with Germans, Koreans on Japanese ON QUALITY.

    • You are pathatic!!!! China can not compete against Germany, Korea, and Japan? You need to look at the history!!!!

      China is build on pile of ashes and now it is on its way to glory!!! Germany, Japan, Korea received massive amount of aid from the USA, remember the Marshal Plan? Is there a Marshal Plan for China? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      In fact, the west try SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Hard to blockade China!! China is not going to sit as a “cheap product” export, soon some thing amazing will happen!!! You just watch!!

      Nuclear fusion, super battery techonlogy, and other cutting edge tech will all be done by the Chinese, while you the WEST will have NOTHING!!!!

      • I agree, the stuff China is doing on nuclear fusion is very interesting.

        It would be good to see it develop space more actively, as the US, Russia, and EU are now either too incompetent or too broke to seriously pursue ambitious projects in this domain.

        • AK, China is going to be the first nation to develop and deploy fusion technology. I promise you this.

          Just go check the joint fusion project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). It is going NO WHERE. They will not have the first plasma until 2019. China already have the first plasma in 2008. lol. ITER will fail just like the joint European Galileo (satellite navigation) project. Going no where, after 10 years only one satellite was lunched. The Chinese COMPASS has over 12 satellites already and will be fully operational in 2016.

          China needs fusion very bad as it is now too dependent on energy import. With China’s 3.5 trillion dollar resever and 1.3 million Engineers/Scientist R&D staff, I would expect China to develop the first operational fusion power plant by 2020.

          Also, China will be the second nation to put a man on moon no later than 2020, and first nation ever to put a man on Mars. I can ganreentee you this.

          You keep up the good work.

      • You are not working on fusion yourself, how can you guranttee? Your mentality seems to not qualify for Ph.D student. 洗了睡,不要在网上跟老印争论。50 步笑 100步而已。

    • If the west is so damn GOOD then why is the WEST collapsing CRAZY?? Entire European Union now is on their knees begging CHINA FOR MONEY!!!!!

      • I’m Chinese, but I really really shame with your comments. I almost disbelieve you will get your PhD. You are too childish.

    • Viktor, Jiang,

      I suspect the Chinese government hasn’t done / won’t do what Japan and South Korea did: sell off or give away state industries or businesses to wealthy oligarch-like figures or families. How did famous companies like Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Samsung and Hyundai start up? They were founded by individuals who had insider status with the government in their respective countries and acquired businesses which they then grew, usually by a process known in economics as vertical integration. This refers to going up or down a chain of obtaining raw materials, then initially turning the raw materials into parts, putting the parts together to make the final product, putting the product into distribution centres and then selling it to customers. A company can start at any stage of the chain and then add to its business by taking over the making of raw materials into parts, then eventually taking over the source and transport of the raw materials themselves; or buying up the distribution centres and training the sales staff to sell the product. The company could also take over the manufacture of machines and tools needed to make its product.

      The Japanese made a point of buying up product patents and devoted great attention to dismantling foreign products and then putting them back together to see how they worked. I think Sony was the stand-out company in this respect: the early transistor radio and the Walkman were invented by Americans but these ended up being identified with Sony.

      There could be obstacles preventing the formation of zaibatisu / chaebol-style companies in China: Western companies setting up plants in China may be jealously guarding their patents so even if the Chinese want to buy them, they can’t; there may be regulations or rather red tape that have the effect of encouraging corrupt practices and bribery; the relationship between management and workers may be so poor that the kind of paternalistic benevolence Japanese firms used to be famous for can’t exist in factories; and the Chinese government may be averse to letting go of some control over important areas of the economy such as car manufacturing, ship-building (if there’s any) and building infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure such as railway tracks and trains.

      I’ve heard that Israel does well because its business culture is flexible, informal and open (everyone or nearly everyone is an immigrant), improvisation is valued and there are not too many bureaucratic government restrictions on business activity.

      • A system of local state owned government business is a better system than a chaebol one but Korea is to small to have such big local government run business. For example more than a third of the Korean population lives in greater Seoul so it has veto power unlike Beijing or Shanghai.

      • below_freezing says:

        China is the 2nd largest shipbuilder in the world and was briefly 1st for 2 years.

        Why is government owning important areas of the economy bad? The government can direct resources where they can be put to the best use in areas of heavy industry, rather than have the money be flushed down the toilet in useless competition? You can’t experiment in heavy industry. The price for failure is too high.

    • 1. It’s unfair, at this stage, to expect China to compete on inventions and innovation with the developed world. Until the 1980′s, it was a total economic backwater, with significantly worse incentives structures than in the USSR (i.e., they were virtually non-existent). Its GDP per capita was something like America’s in 1860 and Russia’s in 1930. It was 70% rural. Basic education was adequate, if far from awesome, but tertiary education was almost entirely absent. One cannot realistically expect any innovation from within a system so effective at suppressing it.

      2. Lack of IP laws is an advantage to technologically undeveloped nations. Why? Because for them it is much, much more efficient to copy best practice from elsewhere than try to innovate anything new. That is because copying is cheap and typically results in huge returns, whereas innovation is expensive and typically results in incremental returns. This is the reason that large scale innovation only tends to set off in those few countries that (A) are at or near the technological and productivity frontier and (B) have a decent pool of high-IQ and highly educated individuals to drive said innovation. As the PISA scores show, China has already managed to fulfill the second condition – at least among the last decade’s generation of schoolchildren – but it is still far from fulfilling the first condition at the national level. But give it one or two more decades and I’m pretty sure we’ll see the beginning of an epic flood of innovation from China.

      3. Some Chinese regions will get there faster than others. For instance, cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen are probably already on the cusp of an innovation boom. I would note that Huawei is already one of the technological leaders in the telecoms industry, now coming up with its own innovative products. Similar story with solar power and wind turbines. There are any number of things in which China is still far behind the frontier, from jet engines to pharma, but overall the trend is clearly for the gap to narrow or close.

  19. No question though that the caste system is numero uno thing that holds India back, whereas China’s ruling elite now likes to brag about their times doing manual labor in Laogai camps during the Cultural Revolution before they were set free and started building up enterprises during the Deng years.

  20. Keep in mind that literacy in China is defined very differently than it is in much of the rest of the world. Chinese urban dwellers need to know around 2,000 characters to be considered literate. People in the countryside need to know 1,600 or so. And minorities are counted as well, but their scripts are not. The vast, vast majority of Chinese citizens are functionally literate in Chinese script. Some Chinese person who can read every road sign, instruction booklet, TV subtitle or most books but cannot recall 1,600 unique characters on a test (if given) is considered illiterate. Any Tibetan or Mongol who is capable of writing in their own language is likewise counted if he can’t read Chinese.

    Also, GDP in China and India are “relatively” close, but masks differences in living standards. Prices in both countries are roughly the same. After subtracting say, $1,500 per capita in living costs the average Chinese is suddenly 5x richer than the average Indian, not 2.5x, and that’s before correcting China’s PPP GDP by a factor of 1.2 vis-a-vis India’s. Levels of accumulated wealth in India vs. of China demonstrate clearly: https://infocus.credit-suisse.com/data/_product_documents/_shop/323525/2011_global_wealth_report.pdf

    Per capita net worth in China is USD 20,000 as of 2011, it’s a little over 5,000 in India. China saw growth of $15,000 over a ten year period, while India saw growth of $3,000. Wealth in China is much more evenly distributed however, leaving elite Indians with far more resources for start-ups and venture capital. To sum things up, China is simply more humane in every way – shame about the much touted democracy panacea.

    As for the IQ debate, I would strongly caution against any comments that disparage India. It’s not climate alone that is the determinant of IQ, and India has done very well in the past. India has enough smart people to manage their country, and the high castes have been excelling in the rest of the Anglosphere. India suffers from neoliberalism, poorly addressed multiculturalism, and democracy, but they don’t have much of a choice otherwise.

  21. After reading various comments on why India and China don’t boast famous home-grown companies and brand names, I suddenly thought: what if Indians and Chinese are setting up future big-name companies in countries AWAY from India and China?

    I found an old working paper (it’s dated January 1999) by AnnaLee Saxenian of the University of California (Berkeley) on immigrant entrepreneurs in California’s Silicon Valley. It’s 55 pages long and the tables and other figures given look rough but if people have the time to read it through, they will find it very detailed and interesting: http://sloanweb.mit.edu/iwer/pdf/tfsaxenian.pdf

    At least at the time the report was written, Indians and Chinese were competing in the same industry and facing similar challenges (and unfortunately similar forms of discrimination) though even on a more or less level “playing ground” the ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs were concentrating on computer and electronic hardware manufacture and the Indians on software and business services, and the report states clearly that this difference was due to the Indians’ greater English language skills.

    Most current online articles on Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs in the United States are now concentrating on their LEAVING the US and going back to their respective countries to teach a new generation of engineers the skills they gained on how to start up companies, how to run them and how to get financial backing. Above all, the returnees pass on knowledge on how to be innovative and how to encourage creative thinking to universities in India and China.

    Australia already has cause to regret that the Howard government (1996 – 2007) would not assist in funding Dr Zhengrong Shi’s Suntech Power company when he first set it up while studying for his doctorate at the University of New South Wales back in 2000 – 2001. He took his venture back to China where it got Chinese government backing and it’s now the world’s leading manufacturer of solar panels with offices in several countries and manufacturing plants in China, Germany, Japan and the US (Arizona). Now Dr Shi donates money to UNSW to fund solar energy research there as the university still doesn’t get government assistance for this work. In spite of obvious climate advantages, Australia doesn’t rate a radar blip on the solar energy industry landscape.

    • below_freezing says:

      Suntech isn’t the best solar company in China though it is the largest in revenue but not profit or technology; they just assemble the modules from parts given by others. Every other Chinese solar company is vertically integrated and Anwell Technologies (a major manufacturer of optical memory as well as solar) even designs its own process machinery. Trina Solar, Yingli Solar and most others are also vertically integrated.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwell_Technologies

      Why do you say that China doesn’t have famous home grown companies? The net profit of Huawei is the same as Toyota (5 billion USD and counting) and 3x higher as a percentage of revenue (15% vs. 5%), and Huawei is top 5 in patents along with ZTE, another Chinese company. You just don’t hear about Huawei because it is a capital machinery supplier and doesn’t sell to consumers, but that’s changing with their new Huawei Devices subsidiary that makes consumer devices, including the thinnest phone in the world.

      Other very large Chinese companies that are household names in China include Wahaha , a beverage company, Tsingtao Beer, Guizhou Moutai, Wuliangye Group and CR Snow. I’m pretty sure that at least Tsingtao, Moutai and Wuliangye make more profit than Toyota does.

      Most of the Silicon Valley startups are Taiwanese, and many Taiwanese companies like TSMC and MediaTek are from returnees… in fact, most Taiwanese companies are founded by US returnees. That is not the case in mainland China. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, was a radar engineer in the military, while ZTE was founded by the Ministry of Aerospace. In fact off the top of my head the only large companies founded by returnees in mainland China are Suntech and SMIC.

      • Dear Below_Freezing,

        The companies you mentioned may be well known in China but not yet well known outside China and other countries in its region. If they are concentrating on selling to their home markets, then they are concentrating on advertising to their home markets as well so until they start making inroads into other countries’ markets for their products, we won’t know them.

        Likewise, the Chinese government owning industries rather than selling them or giving them away to individuals or wealthy families isn’t in itself a bad thing; the management of such industries and organisations is what is important, not ownership. As you say, in some industries it’s more efficient if the government is the major operator especially if the initial investment in assets like plant and machinery is very high and the possibility of failure is also high.

        It’s just that if the government owns the organisations, they’re probably less likely to spend money advertising their name so they end up being less well known than they would be if they were privately owned. In the West, brand-name advertising is at least as important and probably far more so than the actual product or its quality. The fame of a brand-name or company doesn’t necessarily correlate with the quality of its products or the volume of manufacturing it achieves.

        • Ownership isn’t important. Competition is.

        • Charly and Below_Freezing,

          Not just competition but also the government-owned corporation’s response or the private corporation’s response to competition which comes back to management and organisational culture.

          By organisational culture I mean management’s responses to changes in the market and to competition from other firms, as well as how the management organises workers into work teams and how it organises work processes: do managers welcome competition and see it as a challenge or opportunity to improve their production or do they ignore the competition and hope it goes away?

          The classic example of organisations failing to respond to competition is General Motors and Ford Motors not responding to the entry of Japanese car makers into the American market in the 1960s – 70s. The American firms insisted on continuing to make big cars using lots of gas even though people were starting to buy smaller cars that used gas more efficiently. Too late the big US car companies realised they needed to change their attitudes and manufacturing processes.

          I’m sure ideology and nationalism came into GM and Ford’s thinking as well: they thought the Japanese manufacturers would eventually fade away because at the time Japanese products were seen as cheap and inferior. American manufacturing processes were seen as superior because, well, they were AMERICAN! Little did people realise at the time that Japanese firms had adopted a management philosophy known as Total Quality Management (invented by an American by the way) as a basis for determining work procedures on the factory floor.

          As of 2010, the top car-maker by volume in the world (not counting commercial vehicles and buses) was Toyota followed by Volkswagen, GM, Hyundai, Honda, PSA, Nissan and Ford (source: Oica survey, http://oica.net/wp-content/uploads/ranking-2010.pdf). China by far made more cars than any other country, making almost twice as many as Japan, which ranked 2nd in the world for production volume (source: http://oica.net/category/production-statistics/).

          My impression is most cars made in China were made for the big companies mentioned; I did noticed in the surveys there are Chinese companies mentioned like Chana Automobile, Dongfeng Motor, Beijing Automobile and Great Wall. Do you know if these companies are likely to grow and export overseas or do they mainly cater for the home market?

          • GM and Ford weren’t run badly in the 1960′s-70′s. Oil was just cheap and that forces capitalistic companies to build/develop cars for that market.

            The Chinese car companies do try to export but their cars aren’t yet up to first world standards. Add the market protection measures the first world has implemented and this leads to the smart decision to first start to export to the lesser developed world.

        • below_freezing says:

          You may not know Huawei or ZTE, but I assure you, the telecom operators do. They make machinery used by the top 45/50 telecom companies (the remaining 5 are in the US, which sanctioned them).

          The reason Chinese companies do not have brands that are well known is because of 2 things. The companies that make consumer goods are usually small and do not have their own brands, so they are contract manufacturers, and are very low tech. The companies that are very large and have their own technology like Goldwind, Sinovel, Anwell, Huawei, ZTE or the various government monopolies do not sell to consumers (though Huawei and ZTE are changing). They only sell to other governments or large corporations. Consumers don’t get to buy mainframes or cell towers. They buy the cell phones, so they think Apple is “high tech”.

          It’s just like how people know about Intel, but not Applied Materials, yet without Applied Materials, Intel can’t even tie their shoes.

  22. “Entire European Union now is on their knees begging CHINA FOR MONEY!!!!!” True that Jiang, true….no doubt the West has declined, according to any objective standard including its own standards of freedom. For example they ban commercials like this in America:

    And no doubt if it were a Russian asking why America declined, they’d ban that ad too.

    The question remains if America and the EU finally admit they’re bankrupt, will China sell all that cheap low quality stuff to other Chinese or developing nations? China’s leaders certainly seem to be more bullish on Africa and Latin America than the U.S. or EU, and the demographics are more favorable there too.

    • Most of China’s GDP growth is produced by internal demand. Exports are important but, unlike commonly believed, they are not the basis of Chinese growth. China is capitalizing on world development and its markets are not limited to the west. If the west implodes I doubt China will follow. They may have a few years of slow growth, but you will not see -10% year on year shrinkage of the GDP.

      • I don’t even think they’ll slow a whole lot if the West implodes.

        In that scenario, prices on energy (esp. oil) will collapse. Bad for Russia, but very good for China. Their car boom accelerates.

        The central government also has huge fiscal and monetary firepower in reserve that it can unleash (as it did in 2008-09).

        The locus of development will substantially shift from the export heavy South-East to the central regions, but otherwise things will carry on as before…

  23. Indian hunger situation is better than most sub-saharan african countries . Check out the global hunger index 2011 .

    Check out this link ,

    http://www.ifpri.org/publication/global-hunger-index-2011-severity

    Also malnutrition is already down to 42 % . Not 47 % anymore . Just get your facts right first then make discussion .Link below .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/india-children-malnourished_n_1196152.html

    • From 47% in 2005-6 to 42% now. What a great achievement. THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING. Not.

      In an all-fronts effort, China cut child malnutrition by two-thirds between 1990 and 2002. Today only 7 percent of Chinese children under age 5 are underweight, whereas the figure for India is 43 percent. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, which most people assume to have the direst poverty statistics, the average child-malnutrition rate is 28 percent.NYT

      Malnutrition is more common in India than in Sub-Saharan Africa. One in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India.UNICEF

      Even if we go by the Global Hunger Index, being “better than most sub-saharan african countries” is hardly a high bar to clear. Besides, you beat 9 sub-Saharan African countries, but lag about 30 of them, including the most populous one, Nigeria. So you got even that wrong.

      • AK, I would like to ask you a question.

        The current Chinese GDP both, PPP and Nonminal are much bigger than Japan’s already. Yet, the golbal currency trading power, USA is #1 at 80%, EU is #2 at 33 %, Japan is #3 at 18%. I dont even see China on the list.

        What is the reason? Do you think it is a good idea for China to push its currency RMB aka Chinese Yuan as the world’s reserved currency? I certainly see no problem for that. Look Euro is DEAD, and RMB could certainly become the second largest reserved currency at 35% !!

        Please tell me what do you think about this?

        One more question, China’s only has 5% of voting power in IMF when it is clearly almost a super power, even Frace has more voting power at 6%. Why do you think the reason is?? Do you think it is a good time for China to push that as well?

        Thank you.

        • The reason is currency control. If you can’t get yuan it is difficult to pay in yuan.

          The Euro isn’t dead. They just have an internal conflict to solve which one the long run will be won by the Greece side(and other overspenders like Germany).

          The position of China is a historic legacy. But small western economies as in the European countries are overweight anyway

          • That sounds reasonable, right now China has too much dollars in reseve.

            But I would still like to see RMB as second largest reseved currency, that will make oil and other resource imports much cheaper for China.

            Which would help fuel the auto industry and lower manufacturing costs.

      • AK, good one.

        You see the main differnce between indians and we Chinese is that w Chinese people live in the reality and we know exactly what to do to improve and make China greater and better.

        The indians living in a dream world, even though their country is an utter sh!t hole, they still believe that they are “better”. By watching some low class Bollywood movies. lol, even the name Bollywood is almost copied from Hollywood. LMFAO!!!

      • Hi, AK. I found out something amazing yet very very amusing.

        India is known as the world’s “largest” english speaking country right? LOL, yet recent studies show that India is ranked lower than China in English proficiency. LOL, can you belive this. Here check out these two sources, it back it up:

        1.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EF_English_Proficiency_Index#EF_English_Proficiency_Index_Rankings

        2.
        http://trak.in/tags/business/2011/04/09/india-china-english-speaking-population/

        Amazing.

  24. Hi AK, you are right. India supposed programming prowess is actually pretty low-level stuff. When India is pitted against the world in programming competition, India is nowhere to be seen.

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9134122/China_dominates_NSA_backed_coding_contest_

  25. The result of the PISA test is actually not surprising. It merely confirms the result of another test (TIMSS) conducted in 2003.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/12/pisa-timss-confirm-low-quality-of.html

  26. By the way India is no longer the call center of the world. Philippines is.

  27. It’s always fascinating how while we can so casually agree to superficial, politically safe, UNDENIABLE, and/or harmless statistical findings on differences between races – e.g African athleticism, skin colour, hair type, earwax type etc. – when the thinnest veil of complexity appears entwined with another area of study in equal relation to racial differences, our arseholes shrink up and we scream “heresy”. The modern science community has truly transformed from one seeking definitive knowledge to one that has to balance the sensitive equilibrium between truth and public opinion.

    In light of this, it is also fascinating to see that many of the people who argue against the idea of racial differences in IQ are also, unsurprisingly, from the races statistically shown to possess lower average IQ’s. In fact, frequent users of the internet (every one of us, sadly – point of contention for a further discussion by AK, surely) can observe that a final line of argument by this group of people boils down to “I am from race XYZ, and my IQ is 135. Thus my race is etc etc”. As we all know, scientifically, this isn’t exactly a valid line of argument. Because if it is, then we have CERTAINLY failed to give justice to the Ethiopian who ISN’T a fast runner, or to the Japanese with slightly curly hair, or to the Caucasoid Belgian who just happens to produce as much melanin as a person from Athens. Clearly this line of argument now seems spectacularly stupid. A thing with statistics we have to remember is that a Normal Distribution does not sit singularly on any numerical value. It SPANS OVER A RANGE. Yes, the IQ of India is in the low 80′s but that certainly does not prevent the existence of a HUGE population of cognitive elites that, over the past decades, have achieved admirable things from conductive economic policies to atomic weapons. No respectable scientist (or person) is racially SLANDERING every Indian because some Normal Distribution graph tells a statistical story.

    The reason for the animosity, however, lies in the exceptional human capacity to categorise and create patterns. It ultimately boils down to an “us vs them” mentality. I guarantee that if the Brahmin caste of India, from today, formed a separate country in South Asia called ABC (for instance) and a year later the same IQ tests yield a national IQ average of 98, NOT A SINGLE PERSON from country ABC would lift a finger to argue the cognitive findings of their neighbours from “India”.

  28. intelligent bengal,dumb india says:

    On average India is no match with China.But at eastern part of this country there is a region named Bengal which is now divided into two regions(western part is in India) and these regions capital city Kolkata is the home of 4 Nobel laureates in 4 different category in Asia.Bangladesh has also produced micro credit pioneer Nobel laureate Md.yunus and the greatest structural engineer of 20th century Fazlur Khan.

    Beside Asia’s best Physicist in modern era Satyendranath Bose(whose work has directly brought several Nobel laureates in 4 different years after his death),Inventor of wireless communication Sir JC Bose and one of the greatest polymath in history of science,and the current IVF(test tube baby) method creator physician Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhya who missed out Nobel due to his death in 1981 and many more.

    Kolkata has also produced legendary Bengali film maker Satyajit Ray whose 5/6 movies come in top 100 list of various magazines including the most famous Apu trilogy,sitarist Ravishankar(who had great impact on beatles) and certainly kolkata,the capital of Bengal has more Nobel ,oscar,grammy than any other city in entire Asia.Literacy of Hindu Bengali is about 88% but Muslim have low literacy about 65%.

    Even in IMO contest out of 6 participants from India,3 of them were Bengali in last few years and they have won Gold medals in every year too.In USA Indian Bengali with 50000-60000 population only have won 2 pulitzer prize within last 10 years including one of the youngest ever Jhumpa Lahiri.Even the inaugural Yuri Milner prize in 2012 was won by Indian Bengali Physicist Ashok Sen working in India.But If you see rest of India only 3 other working in United States have won Nobel prize in last 112 years-But Bengali people in India are only 70 million and Kolkata’s population is only about 5 million but still this city has achieved more success than cities like Shanghai,Tokyo etc.

    • It hardly explains why the per capita GDP of Bangladesh is only $700 and that Bangladesh has an equally dire situation of abject poverty as India itself, proportion wise. The outstanding individuals of Bengal, however, do speak some volume about the contrast between Bengal and the rest of India. I suspect that genetically, a larger proportion of Brahmin lineage can be found in the people of Kolkata. More realistically, however, is that multinationals have, by the sheerest of accident, chosen Kolkata to invest much of the IT prowess seen in India. And no, Kolkata in per capita terms do not match Shanghai or Tokyo, but I know what you mean. If Bengal is truly more successful on average than the rest of India, then, like many other islands of superior intelligence in India, it’s being burdened by the task of dragging a huge, lumbering nation with it. Aside from obvious political reasons, this inherent difference in individual human capital is probably, in my opinion, the reason for the large number of separatist movements in India (including West Bengal, Assam etc by the way).

      • Has nothing to do with “Brahmin” blood. It is a big international citywhich means it is easy to find talent. Just like it is easy to find skiing talent in Austria

        • intelligent bengal,dumb india says:

          @Charly

          New Delhi is the capital of India,Mumbai is the financial capital of India and Bangalore is the IT capital of India-Then why Kolkata produce all those intellectuals?
          Also,Anglo Indian population in Kolkata is only 2%,not more than Mumbai or Bangalore.And we speak in our mother language,not in English which is also true about rest of India.

          • Government work doesn’t require high intelligence, Bangalore is only recently and Finance competes with Science and Arts and earns much more money

      • intelligent bengal,dumb india says:

        Bangladesh has literacy about 65% with huge amount of poverty and that’s why they required something like micro credit(after all necessity is the mother of all inventions).But Bangladesh is an Islamic country still lacking from basic values of social life.

        It’s the Hindu populated West Bengal(71% Hindu and 27% Muslim) which is the pinnacle of all modern excellence.

        Kolkata:Well there are two types of Brahmins living in the city-Bengali and Non Bengali-but Bengali Brahmins with less than half million population in Kolkata have already produced 3 Nobel winning work(2 of them won-Tagore and A.sen and Subhas Mukhopadhya missed out due to his death in 1981) but non Bengali Brahmins of the city has not achieved anything yet close to them(except Lakshmi Mittal,world’s 6th richest person).

        Brahmins are living all over India-then why only Bengali Brahmins are so sucessful?

        And it’s not the Brahmins,but other elite upper caste who(which includes scientist like Sir Jc Bose,SN Bose) are about 10-15% have also done pretty well.So it’s Brahmins(5%) and those other upper elite caste who are extremely intelligent and Iq above 100(well, Bengali Brahmins have Iq somewhere around 110-120,highest in India).

        But rest of the Hindu community and Muslims are lacking and that probably explains low GDP and per capital income although things are quite cheap here in Bengal(I mean with $5000 per capital income one can enjoy the same lifestyle which you in USA can do with $50,000 per capital income).

    • Bengal is probably the place in India where most of the English speakers life. Probably more than in Shanghai & Tokyo

      • All the South Asia was occupied by the British for 200 years. It’s no surprise there is a large pool of English speakers. As to Bengali Brahmins possessing IQ’s of 110-120, that is highly unlikely. Ashkenazi Jews, having been scientifically proven to have had a culture that promoted eugenics in the form of increasing average verbal IQ’s, have an average IQ of about 115, with visual spatial IQ (environmentally affected) the same as those of Arabs (90). This basically means that while symbolic and linguistic skills are at the prowess of the Ashkenazi, geometric, mental imaging and hand-eye coordination are somewhat lacking compared to Europeans and further, to East Asians. The colder environment of Europe and the Steppes promoted the survival of those with extraordinarily visual spatial IQ’s. Culture, on the other hand, promotes verbal IQ.

        Now, on the topic of Bengali Brahmins possessing IQ’s of 110-120, one must analyse – dare say in a Phillip Rushton manner – the geographical and evolutionary facets behind so called “Brahmins”. South Asians in general have relatively high percentage of Australoid DNA. Brahmins may well have as much as 30-40% Caucasian DNA, or haplogroup R Y-chromosomes. The averaging of features (proven by Rushton by the way) dictates that the mix should result in cognitive capacities between that of the two groups. Of course, the reality is a little more complex, as various other subgroups also contribute to Bengali Brahmins – Mongoloids, for instance. But ultimately, the average IQ of Brahmins, per se, is generally agreed to be somewhere between 90-97, as tested on those that migrated to foreign first world nations where the Flynn effect can take place.

        Anatoly, back me up on this mate. Cheers. :)

        • intelligent bengal,dumb india says:

          IQ depends on verbal ability-Brahmins living in Kolkata has better proficiency in English and most of them score above 120 mark but Brahmins living in small towns or rural areas will not score on average more than 105-110.

          Even if i keep standard deviation in my mind the average IQ for male Brahmmin community is over 130(it’s a fact for various students who gave the test at school level in the city),while the female counterpart will do somewhere around late 90′s or slightly above 100.

          Chinese also have disadvantage of English but due to their high mathematical aptitude skill they have got such high IQ although the S.D for East Asian will vary.For example both Japan and South Korea have very high per capital income but it’s the Japanese who are sucessful in every field while Korea’s achievement is only in field of technology.

          I think Some Brahmin community in Southern India are also pretty smart as they are leading in the IT sector both in India and in Silicon valley.

  29. Higgs boson says:

    @Ak
    I posted couple of days ago in Rec1 men on Indian IQ and here is another comparison.The Chinese have achieved lot in inventions and currently they are best in manufacturing work(but not so good in high-tech).So The East Asian like Japanese may have IQ somewhere around 105 with few points of S.D but Chinese will have slightly lesser IQ than whites with median around 95-97.But China so far has produced 1 Nobel in literature from their country and another peace winner is in jail.The Indian city of Kolkata which is the capital of Bengal province has produced 5 resident Nobel laureates and one of all time great inventor JC Bose who has been felicitated recently by IEEE.There are few Bengali greats who missed out due to lack of communication with western Physicist but this single city has produced more talents than entire China over last 130-140 years.But yeah rest of India has contributed little compared to this particular region.

    • high iq ea, low iq sa says:

      oh wow, single city bullshit. No, beijing has produced more talents than entire india including kolkata combined, almost all chinese nobel laureate had studied there at one time or other. of course, for every 1 claimed indian talent that didn’t get recognized because of lack of communication, there are 20 chinese talents didn’t get recognized because of draconian government control and also lack of communication with the west. so keep on dreaming. 95-97 iq? did you pull that out of you ass, numerous scientific studies have already indicated chinese and rest of the same race east asian are above 100, and south asian are at 82 and lower, is that so hard for you to swallow?

      • Higgs boson says:

        SO you are the same Chinese moron who were posting in Indian/Chinese IQ puzzle.Buddy JC Bose has contributed more than all Chinese inventors added together so far and recently IEEE has felicitated him with plaque(only 2 Asian has so far won previously but no Chinese) for his works on wireless communication,microwave optics,polarizer,de-polarizer which has changed the world communication.The computer which you are using today is also based on his inventions such as diode,detector etc.Similarly Satyendra Bose’s work so far has produced 10 Nobel prize winners and China has not produced any Satyendra Bose yet.Even the God particle is ls also one type of boson particle-and don’t come to fight with me regarding these things because I am already a Physicist but as you said only 4 persons from republic of China has won Nobel and only 2 of them in last 3 years working in China so far have won Nobel prize but Kolkata with 3 million Bengali Hindu/Christian and 2% Anglo Indian have produced 5 Nobel prize winners and there were 2 other Bengali whose work have Nobel after their death.

        I have not said anything about India but my post was based on Bengali Hindu and Christian who are very intellectual and this particular city has produced better talents than many first world’s city.

        India have not produced any Nobel prize working in India and they will never produce any but I said about Bengali people of India and their Iq will be somewhere around mid 90′s.And just compare your China with 1.5 billion population has so far produced only 2 Nobel laureates working in their home and one of them is in jail.

        Also the first person who connected east and west was Bengali Hindu mystic Swami Vivekananda who mesmerized every American at Parliament of world religion in 1893 and People like Nikola Tesla,Leo Tolstoy and later George Harrison of Beatles.

        I am no Indian or south Asian but I am an Anglo who had lived in Kolkata during my School days and I know the intellectual heritage of Bengal but this region is now spoiled by low IQ Indian and huge Muslim population.During British raj there was a renaissance in Bengal and that was the period when they produced many great personalities.Also Bengalis of Kolkata have won 17 Grammy award and one of the top 10 greatest film director Satyajit Ray.

        So my perception India-Dumb and backward.
        China-economically better but intellectual capability very low.
        Bengali Hindu/Anglo Indian-Intellectually high but lacking because it’s still part of shit hole India.

  30. I was doing some research on the state of development and education in India and the overall prospects of India vis a vis China. Being descended from Brahmin Indians myself, a thought struck me- a lot of Indians are really stupid and irrational compared to Chinese! Not to sound casteist, but apparently I was on to something. Anyhow, I began looking up information on the IQs of Indians and found some of your posts. Thanks a lot, they certainly explain a lot!

    There’s one thing I’d like to point out regarding education though. I think one of the main problems in bringing the people of India up to a basic education level is India has a serious lack of tradition in casual literacy. By casual literacy, I mean people writing for fun- in diaries, letters to each other, and so on. Even in pre-industrial Europe (and Japan, possibly China), this sort of thing was fairly common. India seems to have very little tradition of using writing for anything other than Brahmanical texts and official inscriptions. Since likewise the tradition of bureaucracy in historical India was fairly weak, it is doubtful that many people needed to write. That’s issue number 1 which is related to issue number 2. Indian languages as poorly developed for modern times. As it is, people in India (and even poorer people in Western countries) have enormous difficulty fully comprehending complex concepts (scientific, religious, philosophical, whatever) and need to be educated up to that level. But almost all the important knowledge in India is in English. Except for textbooks and newspapers, if you want to read anything and develop your knowledge you have to switch to reading in English. This puts people in India at a major disadvantage. There is no way that a billion people are going to ever be able to comprehend a language that’s not native to them. Thus, they will be stuck with limited knowledge unless they learn English but for many of them, it’ll be learning concepts half way in a shoddy fashion. It would be better if more knowledge was translated and made available to them in their native languages and if India developed a casual literary culture in its own languages. Otherwise only the 10-20% of the population that masters English will have access to knowledge.

    So essentially, there’s not much knowledge in India that’s not in English. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the English educated leaders of India were too lazy to get off what they knew best- education in English. Before English, Persian and Sanskrit were the languages of knowledge. The vernacular literary tradition, in the way you have a tradition in languages like French and German is totally lacking in India. Countries that developed excellent modern education systems are able to provide high quality education to students in their NATIVE languages (Korean, Japanese, German, Finnish) which provides individuals with a strong foundation to then pick up more information on their own. This produces a demand for the creation of a wide variety of novels, literature, newspapers, magazines, journals, etc. in this native language which in a cyclical sort of way enables more people to pick up knowledge by themselves. I don’t know if anyone in India realizes this at all.

    • Marie Arouet says:

      I am happy to see this issue being brought up. I have written about the Chinese invention of paper 2 thousand years ago how this spread like wild fire to the West but never took hold in India. Paper was not in wide spread use in India until the nineteenth century. The blame should be place on the Brahmins who benefited from the exclusivity of able to read and write.
      In contrast, China not only benefited from the wide spread use of paper, but also from the Chinese invention of printing that made books plentiful and widely appreciated. This together with 2 thousand year history of civil service examinations that is responsible for the Meritocratic Rule that helped to select out a high IQ literary population.
      Because of this long history of literary tradition in China, I have argued that the often brought up differences between the Chinese high mathematical abilities (even higher than the Ashkenazi Jews) and their alleged relatively lesser verbal abilities (as tested by western methods) is an aberrancy of the testing method. We know that the Chinese have the highest spacial IQ of any group (around 115) partly because of their language requires spacial visualization of the words. If the verbal IQ were tested in a pictorial language fashion and grammar then the Chinese verbal IQ should be around 115 (if the white Europeans are set at 100 using the same language). This would put their overall IQ in the 110 -115 range about that of the Ashkenazi Jews.

  31. A good measure is the number of neurones and brain volume. Studies should be done all across India to account for the significant differences between say the Brahmins and the Dalits. I would not be surprised if the Brahmin average nears the Oriental average of 1364 cubic centimetres (1.364 litres of juicy brains). A problem with people arguing on this forum is they let their emotions take over, and use personal anecdotes to argue for one side or the other. There is factual data and there is reality. Let’s stick to those two. I’m not going to base my judgement of Chinese IQ on my 28 minute trip from Beijing to Tianjin on the high speed rail, as I will not judge the 1.26 billion Indians on a less than satisfactory experience on Air India. I stick to facts and data.

    Further, while China’s IQ is averaged out at 105, China is not as homogenous as one would expect. The Han are dominant, at 90 odd percent, but the country is made up of 56 different ethnicities. I would not surprised if the Muslim population of China pulls that average ‘down’ to 105, while the Manchurians, Mongols and Northern Han push it ‘up’. The difference isn’t likely to be as drastic as that between the Brahmins and various lower castes, but it is nonetheless present, and a future study into it would do the scientific community good, in my opinion.

    Anyway, Anatoly, Tyler – your most articulate commenter – out.

    • “to account for the significant differences between say the Brahmins and the Dalits. I would not be surprised if the Brahmin average nears the Oriental average of 1364 cubic centimetres (1.364 litres of juicy brains). ”

      Dalits (untouchables) are most numerous in North and Northwest where brains are bigger. I think they may have actually bigger brains. Infact south indians wilh smaller brains are more intelligent so that bigger brain = high IQ theory is somewhat not applicable in India. Since racial differences in India are not as sharp as say black/white/hispanic, so brain sizes are likely to be similar.

      Further the Dalit tribes are the decendents of Aryan invaders who entered India at various times (Assyrians, Scythians, Ionians (Greek), Scythians and few of Amorites). Alexander cunningham located some of the decendents of Assyrian Aryans (he called them pre aryans) they are an untouchable caste. So the dalits too are decendents of some of the most proud and mightiest races of ancient times and have lost their status gradually over a very long period of time.

  32. Simple, Whichever nation that has less outside control and more people who are willing to work for their people will succeed.

  33. Higgs boson says:

    Haha even in 2012 Bengali Hindu of West Bengal achieved more than India and China.It started with a 16 year old Bengali boy who solved 2 critical puzzles of Issac Newton set 350 years ago.Then Ashok Sen won inaugural Milner prize,J.C Bose became one of 3 Asian to win IEEE plaque for his revolutionary work which has changed the world of communication/telecommunication and wireless communication during 1890′s.
    using 60GHZ experiment.2 famous invention were also done by Bengali and Nasa’s Mars mission had two noted Bengali…Anita Sengupta and Amitava Ghose.
    The latest was Bengali Economist Kaushik Basu who became the latest Bengali to dominate world of Economics with his appointment as chief of world bank.

  34. Mr Karlin ,having read this blog-post as an open-minded Indian , I do agree with many of the things that you have written such as how our burgeoning population could prove to be a bane , not a boon , in the coming years as well as how we , as common Indian citizens shouldn’t hide behind the entire “India Shining” facade that the West and many of our leaders have so skillfully contrived . However , there is one aspect of your article that I think you may want to review in further detail :

    “Note that Tamil Nadu is fairly developed by Indian standards, while Himachal Pradesh is about average. One simply shudders to imagine what the results would be in a poor state such as Bihar or Uttar Pradesh” .

    I do not think that for India,the picture may be as simple as that. Please remember that there are several different boards of education in India , and each board differs significantly in the subject matter covered as well as the depth of coverage of the subject matter . Having myself studied in Tamil Nadu (though I originally hail from West Bengal) I have , over the course of several years observed that , barring the Indian School Certificate (ISC) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) , the local Tamil Nadu board is JUST NOT COMPETENT enough . The same may be said of the Himachal Pradesh Board . The best boards of education are the CBSE and the West Bengal boards. The PISA test for India, while not invalid, is perhaps difficult to interpret in the light of such differences.

    Also, in India’s case at least, development and educational performance are perhaps not related. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would if anything OUTPERFORM Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh on the test , if only maths and science skills were taken into account. Bihar produces some of the country’s most qualified engineers and civil servants (obtaining a high rank in an Indian Civil Service Examination or an Indian Institute of Technology is no easy task). The same may be said for West Bengal, which has some of the country’s best Engineering and Management institutes (IIT-Kharagpur , IIM-Calcutta , Jadavpur University) and whose researchers have distinguished themselves not just in India but abroad as well . In fact UP , Bihar and West Bengal are among the most-represented states in any of the top institutes in the country (and abroad) . The same cannot be said for Karnataka , whose capital is the famous Bangalore .

    I am not trying to claim that one state is superior to another . All I am trying to state is that the PISA test should be administered to at least 15-20 states of India to get a better picture of India as a whole . Also , it may not be correct to argue that just because TN and HP are among the more developed states , one should neccessarily expect a better score from them . Higher development does not neccessarily equal higher educational standards (at least in India’s case) .

    I firmly believe that before we try to launch a Mars mission and boast of our cosmetic achievements , we should become a respectable country with good standards of education and healthcare all around . Till then , there will never be an “India shining” ; and if a PISA test score consitently ranks us lower than others (with a larger sampling as suggested by me) then it’s time we revitalized our education system.

    • Yup, in India’s case, there needs to be widespread testing in at least half the states to get a true picture. But the Indian government will never allow this for the next 10 to 20 years atleast.

  35. Even the often quoted 74% India literacy rate is yet another usual overreported statistic by the worthless Indian Govt by counting anybody who can read a mere sentence as literate. While I’m pretty sure China only counts somebody who at least completed basic primary education as literate. The qualifying standards is like heaven and earth.

  36. The top 10% of Indians in my opinion is probably higher or equal to central European iq, for example, the Tamil Brahmins are only 2 million in numbers and yet they have more Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry than all of China’s population. There’s the natural selection process from the environment from what your talking about and then there’s another way to achieve high iq levels too. Its called the isolation cognitive demanding selection in which Ashkenzai and Tamil Brahmins have faced because of so many years of doing the same occupation.

  37. Sudipto Bhakta says:

    Reading about India, and the Indian IQ, I understood you people’s understanding about India, and the concept of IQ. Anyways, without going down the road of debate which has become pretty boring by its use, let me tell you that India has a few advantage that has allowed it to stand the test of time for 6000 years. China’s borders has grown and shrunk like a yo-yo. US will have lesser time than the Mayans and Aztecs, on whose ruins it is built. Russia is different, and so you will find that Russia is another significant country that had maintained its prominence. Now again, since you people know just so much about India and IQ, I trust your IQ to find out for yourself the secrets of India. The question you need to ask is- Why the hell India is so significant despite 300 years of marauding, 200 years of colonization, an entire 500 years of looting and robbery by the “great” nations, and finally left sandwiched by all enemies. How the hell doe she still stand tall? I assure you, your discussion will achieve some different level.

    • ObaMahdi says:

      Please don’t bother with IQ; as a low IQ person, I find ignorance is bliss. A higher IQ person would say an IQ test is little more than an aptitude test and national IQ is just a score card on the nation’s educational system. It’s no racial big deal.
      There’s a significant difference between the sino and hindu civilization. Confucism is a political philosophy or a secular ‘religion’ and it demands state or imperial administration and governance.The hindu system is decentralized or may I say ‘atomised’ that as long as the localities observe the caste hierarchy, it’s fine.
      Two consequence:

      1) Chinese have been quite obssessed with writing and studying history while the hindus couldn’t care less about chronology/history and were obssessed with mythology and the hindus often take epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana as real
      http://www.mihirbose.com/index.php/indias-missing-historians/

      2) Hindus had little organized resistence to invasion as long as the invaders left the hindu caste system alone, ie, the upper castes’ privilege were recognized and preserved. So the invaders took the easy route not to upset the hindu culture. That explains the ‘longevity’ of the hindu culture.

  38. Partha Das says:

    Stupid writer. Doesn’t know anything about China or India.

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