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After the death of high wages and high debt - what drives the US economy?

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Paul Mason | 14:56 UK time, Monday, 20 October 2008

"I've cleaned toilets before and I guess I can clean 'em again - but no, we'll never get back to the kind of wages and benefits we had..."

These were the words of a former Ford production line worker at Dearborn, Detroit, who I met while making the film that goes out on Newsnight tonight (and BBC Word News America this week, in short-form - but you can watch it right now below). She had volunteered for redundancy a year ago but was still out of work, her home in repossession and in debt.

Ford, for economists and social scientists, represents not just the inventor of the Model-T but the invention of a high-consumption economy based on mass production and high wages. For two decades we've known that, in the western world, that way of life is in decline: it's no longer the mainspring of economic activity.

What it was replaced by, as you'll see in my report, was a high-debt, low wage economy. The most common jobs in Michigan are in fast-food restaurants, hospitality or waiting tables. None of them pays on average above $10 an hour.

Walk into a small town Starbucks and you will find highly educated people, often with a degree, working as baristas: people saddled with student debt and, if they are among the one in ten who can't afford to meet their mortgage payments, looking at a bleak future. Most of those I met love working there - though they would rather be in a graduate profession. But now the Starbucks economy too is in retreat: the company has announced 600 store closures this year - mostly in small towns and poorer neighbourhoods.

GraphAccording to the report The State of Working America, real average wages for those on middle incomes are lower now than they were in 1979 (see graph). It wasn't a secular decline: coinciding with the dotcom boom most Americans experienced a real uptick in wages. But in the mid-decade this fell back again, as this graph shows. So now the man in the 50th percentile is earning less than he was in 1979 (taking into account inflation), and those in the 20th and 10th percentile are way lower. Guess what though: every cloud has a silver lining: the top 20% of Americans are earning way more than they used to: the higher your pay, the more it's grown during the last 30 years - though even here at the top inflation has eaten into real wages lately.

Right now we are all focused on the recession effects of the 2008 financial crash, and its impact on the business model of banking. My report tonight refocuses the debate on the bigger changes the credit crunch may presage.

If we've left behind the high wage economy for the high-debt economy; and the motor of high debt - subprime lending and the securitisation bubble - has been switched off - how will high consumption be sustained?

The film is a journey: guided by a map of the closed and closing Starbucks branches of Indiana and Michigan (with a brief detour to Lehman Brothers' neighbourhood Starbucks café on Seventh Avenue, New York). I meet laid off coffee baristas and laid off Ford workers and ask them what they want out of the coming general election.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Doesn`t the switch from high wage jobs to low wage jobs & high levels of debt signal a shift into recession?
    So, wouldn`t losing the low waged jobs be moving the economy into a depression?

    Is it the same picture for the UK economy?

  • Comment number 2.

    Interesting take on the changing wage/debt pattern, but there's a few stereotypes there I'd like to challenge.

    University/College Graduates are not stuck in a "Starbucks Economy". The vast majority who work in hospitality make a concious choice to avoid mainstream professional life twice over, once when choosing study subjects and again on entering the workplace. The work is out there in offices, but the unglamorous office life doesn't suit the egocentric younger mindset. Those who do work in offices or study law, IT, business etc. can still do well for themselves.

    The expanding debt culture is an international disgrace driven by bad banking practice and Governments worldwide not learning to say "Stop". The instability inherent in this system is finally becoming exposed!

  • Comment number 3.

    GOING TO EXTREMES

    As animals, we grow to about the right size;
    any larger and systems fail. As animals we form groups of a stable size.
    As 'cerebrals', whose cleverness has outgrown wisdom, we just don't know when to stop. Size and complexity run rampant.
    Complex societies have the same brakes and steering as simple (enduring) ones . . .
    Here we go X 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    AD NAUSEAM

    Look at the radical change in the demographics (table 6) and stop talking as if it's a homogeneous population. There are big changes afoot, and the same is happening in Europe. Think cognitive skills, and how they can not be improved through education, just equipped. Sending half the population to university is really just another way to mass sell credit (loans).

  • Comment number 5.

    Paul,

    I freely admit to having no formal education in economics - so once again, there's something about this that I don't understand.

    You describe Ford as the originator of "a high-consumption economy based on mass production and high wages". OK. I can see how that works. Lots of highly productive jobs generating genuinely new wealth. There might be a longer term issue with non-renewable resources but nothing that couldn't be fixed by intelligent recycling.

    Then apparently, we moved on to "a high-debt, low wage economy". Did any thinking person ever imagine that such a situation could be other than transient? I'm not criticising you. I realise you are reporting the way it is (or was). I'm just incredulous that anyone could believe that a low-wage, high debt economy had any future other than a crash. Are there any speeches or think tank reports or whatever where someone positively argues for that as a desirable state?

    I can't help thinking that we ended up with low wages and high debt more-or-less by accident and ignorance because (perhaps) no one would vote for politicians who told the truth about where it was all headed. This speaks volumes about our political classes. Did they not even realise what was happening? Did they know and fantasise that low-wage, high debt would work? Or did they fully understand and keep silent?

  • Comment number 6.

    ...how will high consumption be sustained?...

    through things like a feed in tariff that could create 100,000's of jobs in the uk and generate billions in income. But HMG won't do that because it means nuclear [which is a parasite upon society] will die.

    so only the determined govt interference through the sir humphrey system will prevent the economy following its true recovery pattern through innovation and new energy.

  • Comment number 7.

    Paul,: Walk into a small town Starbucks and you will find highly educated people, often with a degree, working as baristas: people saddled with student debt ....

    That sounds rather like the UK. Loads of young people encouraged to borrow to go to university to get non existent high paid jobs.

    Of course borrowing is not the problem provided the loan is outweighed by the gain. The problem is that too many have been promised too much gain.

    It is going to take a long time to unravel.

  • Comment number 8.

    High debt & low wages ?

    The U.S traded at a deficit with suppliers such as China and the Arab oil producers.

    These trading partners did not use their dollars to purchase US widgets. Instead they put them back into the US economy in form of loan capital.

    The result is inflated asset prices, and a low paid service sector, both fed by loaned money.

    It is suggested that the UK may benefit from a dose of Keynesian intervention. There may be a danger here that wasn't present in 1930's

    UK is now part of an enlarged Europe, and this allows free movement of labour.

    Unless great care is taken in allotting capital to projects the result may be to suck in migrant labour at a time of stress, creating another unwanted bubble.

    If government chooses to spend on popular projects such as hospitals, social housing and public facilities this could ultimately cause more harm than good.

    The UK may be better advised to spend money on industry, engineering and aim toproducie quality exportable products.

    For example there is likely to be plenty of demand for low emission transport and energy solutions or yield enhancing farm technology.

    The jobs created may be of higher worth than low paid Mcjobs

  • Comment number 9.

    At least US workers are a bit more savvy about cheap labour entry and, via their representatives, who they seem to be able to influence a bit more than we can ours, are NOT allowing their Govt to make 'movement of natural persons' commitments under WTO, or other, trade agreements.

    'Movement of natural persons' in trade speak means cheap temporary migrant labour. The US is not offering this. The EU is, to 153 countries.

    Until people here are told how Mandelson has stiched them up with such trade agreement offers, there is no chance they can put any brakes on the offers he made on their behalf, without asking or informing.

    AS Pascal Lamy, the head of the WTO, has today indicated his intention to try to push full steam ahead for a trade agreement within Bush's 'new Bretton Woods' meeting, all this is likely to be in place real soon, for us - and irreversibly so.

    But lets keep looking at the US, while the sky falls down....

  • Comment number 10.

    Here's a radical solution to our banking crisis that would noo only protect the safety of peoples' deposits but would benefit small business rather than the boys playing funny money games in the City.

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2008/10/20/network-banking-a-radical-solution-for-the-uks-banking-crisis/

    For years the High Street banks have been ripping off depositors and small business. Whenever anybody with a new idea enters their local branch for a loan what they tend to meet is a banking bureaucrat who, even if they do have entrepreneurial instincts, have their hands tied by rules from Head Office.

    Instead of investing in local entrepreneurs depositors' money is remitted to London at the close of business and placed on the global money markets for the spivs to play with. Germany does it differently which is one reason why they still have a world beating manufacturing industry.

    It should be apparent to us all by now that the City is not beneficial to the British economy in the way the "masters of the Universe" pretend and incentives need to be changed.

  • Comment number 11.

    I see nothing wrong with low wages …. Why not think about low consumption with low wages that North American should learn , perhaps not all some are learning it now….. Rather than falsely created debt culture and high consumption based on wastage of resources, they should at least at this point should try to live simply with what they earn minimizing wastage of resources ….
    At least this recession, naturally may provide grounds for them to think differently rather than traditional way of looking at small things which are beautiful

    that is what wolrd wants from US

  • Comment number 12.

    The high consumption, high debt society was heading towards the buffers before this crisis, just in terms of affordability, but also dues to its damage to the environment. Now the current crisis has begun to bite, this will force people to re-adjust to life with less; this means earning less, borrowing less, spending less, consuming less. The question now for western societies will be how do we rebuild the economy to create sustainable growth and prosperity, while creating a sustainable, resource & carbon neutral future?

  • Comment number 13.

    "Real average wages for those on middle incomes are lower now than they were in 1979 ". And yet if I look at figures for the same period, it appears that real GDP in the US has actually more or less doubled.

    The very rich have got a much, much bigger slice of the enlarged economic pie. Those on average wages or below have gained no benefit at all. Indeed they are working longer and more unsocial hours just to stand still.

    Back in 1979. there was much debate as to how society would respond to the technological changes that were starting to happen. There was much talk of a "leisure society", where we would work shorter hours, have longer holidays, take part in further education just for our own betterment and so on. Instead the rich have stolen it all. Then they loaned more and more money to the rest of us (at interest of course) in order to keep the economy going. But that was a bubble that would inevitably burst.

    The only way out from the current mess is to restribute wealth and income back towards the relative figures from 1979. Tax the rich heavily, reduce taxes dramatically for those on low to middle incomes. How about a one off wealth tax to pay for the bailout of the banks? Put a stop to the antics of the City and Wall Street, which create minimal real wealth, but act like the mafia imposing a 20% protection racket tax on the real economy.

    Technological advances really have meant that there is a much bigger economic pie these days. Share it fairly and those on average wages can be much better off that their parents, and perhaps we would need to start thinking about the leisure economy again.

  • Comment number 14.

    SOOTH SAYER (#5)

    "This speaks volumes about our political classes. Did they not even realise what was happening? Did they know and fantasise that low-wage, high debt would work? Or did they fully understand and keep silent?"

    Combative (party) politics are wasteful, nihilistic and incompetent - that is without the excruciating Westminster component.
    Universal suffrage is a Machiavellian wet dream. Unless voters have above average social awareness skills, political parties will set out to dupe them - and they do. The average ninny is not permitted to fly a plane, mend a gas appliance or drive a vehicle WITHOUT PASSING A TEST. Whence comes the bizarre notion that ALL SHALL VOTE? Add the lot together, and you have a Britain that defies reason. QED

  • Comment number 15.

    POLITICS, FEAR AND 'STATISTICS'

    Here's a rhetorical question: Whilst mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures have certainly risen since 2007, even where that's doubled, it means still just means a leap from 0.5% (1/200) to 1% (1/100) or at most 2%. Ther point here is that one has to look at sub-prime vs prime motgages and areas. One also has to look by state.

    If even 10% of sub-prime Adjustable Rate Mortages (ARMs) become delinquent (i.e. are paid late or go to foreclosure) one has to then also look at fixed rate mortgages, and then to prime APRs and Fixed Rates. To say that 10% of Americans are losing their homes is misleading IFF one is only talking about 10% of sub-primes mortgage holders, as even if 20% of mortgages are sub-prime these days (due to aggressive sales), if only 10% of those are in trouble, one is only talking about 2% of morgages in trouble. Now that may be more than last year, but if there has been aggressive sales within this sector, of course there will be more problems here too.

    The absolute figures here are not the issue. The important issue surely is how these figures are presented by the media given that we are now only a couple of weeks away from the Presidential election, and that 'affordable housing' and Wall Street's alleged subterfuges are now critical given Obama's lead.

    How much have we (and ex-pat Americans) in the UK/EU been sucked into USA politics by PR/economic panic?

  • Comment number 16.

    You say people are asking "Why was so much money lent to people who could never pay it back?" and didn't even bother to mention the Community Reinvestment Act as amended by the Clinton Administration.

    What is the point of any analysis on the matter that ignore this most important factor pressuring banks to make risky loans?

    Is the markets bad, government good BBC mantra really that sacred that the obvious must be ignored?

  • Comment number 17.

    #14 interesting but flawed, reminds me of an economist article making the case that the poor don't vote thatcherite, therefore have no sense and should be denied a vote. Stalinist nonsense playing straight into the hands of extremes of both left and right who follow academic economic models (free market capitalism, aspects of socialism etc) which look good on paper but are ruinous on the ground.Don't get me wrong, the house of lords has done proud this week, but as Winston Churchill said of Democracy...

    #16 I fail to see why that's relevant in the UK, I certainly didn't notice the banks nervously declining those asking for 125% mortgages at 6 times their salary including bonuses.

    The high debt society is possible, sustainable and competitive but only with stricter limits on borrowing and the understanding that if you can't pay it back, you have to change your lifestyle. The current problem affects the buy-to-let set who are afraid to move to a normal house because the trophy wife might cry. The beauty of capitalism is that people are responsible for themselves, the beauty of the welfare state is that they won't starve if they make bad judgements. Let's not interfere with that from either side.

  • Comment number 18.

    #8 - excellent points.

    I agree that it would be far better for the government to invest in developing new industries such as renewable energy and green industries, so that we are well placed when the economy improves. However, I'm pretty sure that they'll go for the political option of spending money on boondoggles in marginal constituencies to improve their electoral chances.

  • Comment number 19.

    THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

    "After the death of high wages and high debt - what drives the US economy?"

    Not just the USA, all of the Liberal-Democratic economies of the world are in the frame here.

    In a nutshell, here's the problem: Over several decades we have been educating more and more females and encouraging them to enter the workforce as 'equals'. As a consequence, much that is done by the workforce has changed, to such an extent that we are now 80% Service Sector.

    But here is the hidden, problem: the sexes are not equal, as men can not have children. By encouraging women to stay longer in education and to enter the workforce as independent they naturally defer motherhood relative to those who are less able to do so (i.e are less 'skilled'). As a consequence, not only does the birth rate drop overall, but it becomes tilted towards producing more lower skilled people.

    This is a formula for a) progressive collapse of culture, infrastructure (less and less skilled people will be produced to sustain it) and declining economy b) being over-run by those from other cultures who do not send their females into education and the workforce.

    Refutations welcome.

  • Comment number 20.

    It is one of the structural defects of capitalism that both production and consumption have to be financed through debt because a) the cost of investment goods is too high to be paid though income and b) wages on their own cannot be sufficient to create enough demand as they, by definition, have to be low enough to generate profit. That is why there are long waves in capitalist development and why this shake-out is no accident or mere conjunctural problem but is a built in to the system. we will carry on going down until the excess capital is liquidated and supply and demand in the labour market is brought back into equilibrium through deflation and unemployment. It's just a question of how we manage the slump without slipping into social instability.

  • Comment number 21.

    Jaded Jean, that is almost entirely upside down. The economy didn't change because more women entered it, but a changing economy, in which finance and the tertiary sector took precedence as industry was shifted abroad, required more women workers. Women are always the silent reserve army of the market economy and they will now lose their jobs first, along with foreigners, but to blame them (or foreign labour for that matter) for what is essentially a structural change in the economy is really off the point.

  • Comment number 22.

    #21 citizenthompson

    The poster is a hard core Holocaust Denier. I can't say that Jews were blamed this time but it is sickening to read.

  • Comment number 23.

    Paul it was an interesting price on the symptoms of the crisis but not the cause.To me the big question is about what REALLY went wrong.

    At the moment Brown is still treating us to Narnia land "global problem" issues that don't really answer any questions.

    We need a public inquiry to really identify all of the issues. Nobody seems to be asking for one , probably because they don't think Labour will have one.

    Newsnight could do another special that goes beyond the rather cosmetic "Trial". It may encourage the politicians to think again.

  • Comment number 24.

    RE: 17. t_mike

    "The high debt society is possible, sustainable and competitive but only with stricter limits on borrowing"

    That's verging on a self-contradiction isn't it? I also suspect that your use of "sustainable" refers to a situation where many people spend much of their disposable income paying interest on debt - generally a rather miserable existence.

    The original article links high-debt and low-wages and I still don't see how that combination can endure unless, perhaps, the people on the "low wages" are content with a subsistence life style where all their earnings beyond basic needs goes to pay the interest on their debts. Even if that happened, the point of Mr Mason's original piece would remain. A high-wage economy can sustain high levels of economic activity. A low-wage economy can't (by definition) but it can boost spending (briefly) through borrowing. Unfortunately, the low wages will quickly hit the upper limit of responsible borrowing (through your "stricter limits on borrowing") and then the economy is worse off than before since a large part of people's once disposable income is now swallowed up by interest payments.

  • Comment number 25.

    citizenthompson (#21) I'm describing what's actually happening based on well documented USA/EU demographics and population level cognitive ability trends.

    What are you basing what you say upon?

  • Comment number 26.

    thegangofone (#22) I could be puppy-killer and blame what's happening on the decline in the red squirrel population. Would that have anything to do with the truth or falsehood of what I said in #19?

    You need to learn that science is about truth and evidence, not argument and rhetoric. Some scientific truths are unpalatable, that doesn't make them false. Have a look at the demographics of NYC.

    Along with the Petitio Principii, look up Ad Hominem. In fact, why not go the whole hog and look up the logical fallacies and the evidence base for what I've been saying: Fisher, Herrnstein, Murray, Cattell, Lynn...

    On the other hand, perhaps they don't wear the right colour socks or have some other idiocyncracies which you don't personally like?

    Dysgenics eh?

  • Comment number 27.

    #23 The gang of one
    The present situation was known about in 1991 and would occur if nothing was done to prevent it.

    The Government were given the solution in 2001. A £50 billion per year project centred at the Millennium Dome to make the UK world leader in global environmental management.

    That is an extra £350 billion into the UK economy to the present.

    The interface we use to manage the environmental systems is the economic and financial systems.

    Therefore outputs from the project would have 'regulated' these and the crash would never have happened.

    None of these postings, none of the news, none of it would ever have happened.

    The causes may be complex and varied, but one method of prevention was simple.

    Oh if only my shortlisting interview had been recorded and some enterprising journalist obtained it under FoI.

  • Comment number 28.

    What has gone has gone, what has happened has happened.

    Whether from Galbraith or Forrester, you cannot fix a problem that has happened.

    The economic system has just crashed. In four years time if the same trajectory is carried on, ecological systems will collapse.

    There is no recovery from that. No society left to discuss what went wrong.

    We must resolve the next problem, before it manifests. In doing that we will find the causes of the one just gone.

  • Comment number 29.

    #18 - all this green stuff is another bubble in the wings, not like housing but almost identical to dotcom. The technology is emerging, and exciting, but not profitable yet. Throwing money at it as is currently being done is irresponsible, there is no stable market for it, and it is not driven by any clear goals - see the RSPB shooting down the wind farms on Lewis.

    #19 - wow - where do all the anti-feminists come from, and what draws them to the bbc blogs? so we started with blaming the credit crunch on women and then spice it up with a little eugenics in the end.

    a) why does women in the workforce equate with an expanding service sector?

    b) why neglect the working capacities of half the adult population just because they may take a few years out to have children? you can't seriously suggest that five years of education and ten to raise children is a big chunk out of the modern 45 year working life? and the alternative - they all stay at home?

    c) how does deferring childbirth lower the birth rate?

    d) ok so you say that less educated women have children younger, and that this leads to less educated children. Do you mean genetically? Because that's just not true. Do you mean because of society's prejudice and a lack of opportunity? well, maybe. But given that you suggest that our overskilled service sector is crippling the economy, surely you've just solved your own problem? Or do you think there's an emerging underclass about to link up with the poles and muslims to take over the world?

    e)Speaking of which, as far as I can see the only invasion we are undergoing is one of massively qualified hard working eastern european/asian graduates, men and women, most of whom are phenominally skilled and could teach the brits a lesson or two in discipline and cultural values.

    f) "Population Level Cognative Ability Trends"? Come on then, link please.

    # - 24 (phew, I'll take a walk for a second!) OK good point, what I meant was that if you have a high income and a good deposit it should be possible to borrow money. If don't have these things it shouldn't be possible. This should be obvious to banks and society, it clearly isn't, so there should be strict laws in place to limit how much people can borrow. Borrowing money should be a thought through and reasoned process, for something like getting further vocational education or starting a business. Anyone borrowing money for a holiday should be laughed of the bank. The problem wasn't high borrowing as such, it was borrowing for luxuries rather than sound investment.

    I don't accept that we live in a low wage society, there are lots of high demand jobs out there.

  • Comment number 30.

    t_mike (#29) Your points have been addressed one way or another in other NN blogs, please look at the archives by clicking in the username and watch the skip feature as it jumps in 25s. What I've stated above is just a brief summary. There are decades of research on this, it's just that the general public is hopelessly ill-informed if not deliberately misinformed. Yes IQ is largely genetic, yes we have below replacement level TFRs, yes other continents like Africa and S. Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) have lower mean IQs and higher TFRs. Female brains are wired up differently to men's on average, they are verbal over spatial and males the reverse. This shows up in all the international data (e.g OECD PISA). Females are shorter and have less muscle mass too. This has a function. There are dramatic differences not only in the frequencies of the two sexes in the upper tails for verbal vs spatial (see English vs Maths at SAT and GCSE) but also note that a mean 'g' difference of 5 points along with the shorter range of the female distribution means that there are twice as many males with IQs of 120 as there are females and beyond 120 the ratio gets even larger. If you look at subject selection at GCSE and beyond, the sexes divide. Females do not build, their skills are are largely verbal (hence the explosion of spinb in recent times, note how Press Officers are females). This is not a dichotomy, sexual dimorphism is complex and tere is overlap because of genetic and hormonal anomalies (see Classic and Non Classic Adrenal Hyperplasia and the androgens). Females also buy more. Giving them independent incomes is good for those who want to make money out of them.

    Look closely at the data provide by the links to population trends in the USA over the next 4 decades, and look at the trends in the EU. The White populations in the USA and the EU are in negative growth (so are East Asian countries, who also had Liberal-democracy foisted upon them after WWII).

    Engineering and manufacturing, i.e. industry requires good spatial skills - so does logical reasoning and Pursuit of Truth (science).

    Teaching is NOT what most people think it is. If the raw genetic material is not there to start with one is wasting one's time. Education is a process of selection of classes of behaviours, not the creation of them. Decades of Lysenkoist dogma which is regarded as common sense by many, is not supported by evidence - just wishful thinking.

    Basically, we have had a disaster socially engineered. I choose my words carefully.

    http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.1488512ecfd5b8849a77b13bc3921509/?vgnextoid=b87b145891480110VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD&vgnextchannel=9599460b52e70110VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD

  • Comment number 31.

    One further thing to ponder. Over recent decades the curriculum has been progressively feminised. The consequence is that out of the male population, it's now feminised males who are most advantaged, i.e those with high verbal skills (they tend to be solipsistic). The consequence, along with large numbers of verbally agile females....Just look what people have been complaining about most in recent times. I'll leave the curious to spot which group comprises the least feminised males in our culture (and that of the USA) and what they get up to highly disproportionately...

    Hazard a guess at which group has the most brain gender-feminised males?

  • Comment number 32.

    Jaded Jean, the whole IQ debate is highly skewed. It is a well-known fact that it is designed by and for a largely white, male European sector of the population and therefore cannot be applied universally. Those who choose to do so tend to be racist, sexist and homophobic. I make no further comment.

  • Comment number 33.

    # 29 - re: "All this green stuff..."

    Actually plenty of it is very profitable. And in time more of it will be.

  • Comment number 34.

    having said I make no further comment, I had a good look at the ETS pages you refer us to Jaded Jean and it is obvious that they make the same fundamental mistake of confusing cause and effect as you constantly do. The data is apparently correct and coincieds with other studies I have seen but the analysis made is very poor. Of course the poor and the disadvantaged have lower educational attainment levels. The poor and the disadvantaged also tend to come predominantly from black, hispanic and immigrant communities. This does not mean, however, that they are poor and disadvantaged BECAUSE they are black, hispanic and immigrant but rather that these groups tend to be those who are required as a cheap labour source (or originally slaves - as cheap as it gets) and therefore are not required to have a high level of education. What the surveys show is, wow! Shock Horror, hold the front page! that the white middle-class has better education and achieves more. Only those who wish to ascribe to blacks, hispanics, immigrants (and women) a lower mental status apparently deduced from their lower levels of attainment could fail to see the social determinants in this relationship. The conclusions you then come to are designed simply to cement apparently "natural" differences in place, whereas what we know quite conclusively is that over time what appears to be natural is shown to be socially determined and therefore mutable.

  • Comment number 35.

    citizenthompson (#32) "Jaded Jean, the whole IQ debate is highly skewed. It is a well-known fact that it is designed by and for a largely white, male European sector of the population and therefore cannot be applied universally. Those who choose to do so tend to be racist, sexist and homophobic."

    It isn't a 'debate' to start with, it's empirical research. The conclusions come from those who have spent their entire professional careers trying to get evidence for the opposite but finding that it's not environmental, it's genetic.

    You need to be told that what you assert is false, unless what you are saying is that lots of false beliefs are widely held, which is true. Those who know this work have all but given up trying to educate the general public, as so much of the general public these days thinks that these matters are a matter of argument/debate rather than empirical evidence, most of which they remain completly ignorant about, yet they still assert the riht to an opinion. The bottom line is that indigenous European populations are in decline (both numercially and cognitively). This is a (see the UK's PISA position) and the numerical decline is why Frattini last year was talking about having to bring in 20 million from Africa (mean IQ between -1 and -2SDs below EU mean, and S.Asia -1SD). 99% of London's population growth in the next 30 years will be in BME groups. Just look at the social-political and economic stability of Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh and extrapolate. See table 6 for the USA. The 'sexist' groups (Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox Jews) are growing and 'anti-sexist' groups are in negative growth.

    Have a look at the OECD PISA work and see the USA's SATs and our own SATs. SATs are proxies for verbal, spatial and non-verbal IQ.

    PS. Wrong group. It's Political Correctness which prevents people from seeing what's being done to them. But that's it's hegemonic function. If you want to se a worse disaster, look what's happened to Russia since it was given the 'benefits' of Neocon 'Shock Therapy' in the 1990s and look at how it's desperately trying to deal with this via 'sexism'.

    As I said. A disaster.... but don't let it upset you.

  • Comment number 36.

    citizenthompson (#34) ETS is the largest, most respected, Education Testing and Research organisation in the world. They know the research.

    But I'm sure that you know better, along with hundreds and thousands of others who think they have been educated these days.

  • Comment number 37.

    I can see at times what JadedJean says about skills and gender.

    I note other posters have commented on eastern European influx.

    Up here in Scotland we get lots of Polish, Slovak etc workers in the berry fields in summer.

    Last year I worked as a supervisor for a while with about 250ish. Most were students.

    I would ask them what they did at college. The replies were medicine, biology, engineering, business management, teaching, construction etc.

    These were all 'doers'. Not one said fashion design or media studies or advertising or whatever.

    Any of those jobs Barrie Singleton might consider to be on Douglas Adams's 3rd Ark.

    I did no statistical assessment, and there may have been other selection criteria etc.

    But it did seem college study did not conform to gender, but rather some cultural or related to demographic transition of the country.

    It was very noticeable many of the girls were studying science in one form or another.

  • Comment number 38.

    being the largest and best respected anything in the world means very little if it wrong. After all, the Catholic church was pretty big and highly respected for a thousand years. I was still wrong about just about everything. You speak about IQ tests and SATS as though they were absolutely neutral and objective measures. The point is that they are not, they are themselves products of a certain type of thinking and therefore questionable. There is no such thing as pure empirical truth about any socially observable factor, merely approaches to social observation. You have chosen your path and seek to bolster it by talking about "empirical fact", I merely point out that what you see as fact can also itself be seen as interpretation

  • Comment number 39.

    Celtic Lion, you are at it as well! Of course our people are in media, design etc. and the eastern europeans have more "hard-core" backgrounds. That simply reflects the fact that we were the first (with the US) to become a society dominated by tertiary sector service economy and they are coming out of a background in which heavy industry was promoted at the expense of all other sectors. It says NOTHING about race or gender and relative intelligence. Give it another 20 years and their backgrounds will have changed as well.

  • Comment number 40.

    celtic, sorry, I may have misread your comments

  • Comment number 41.

    Cognitive ability is now widely understood (mainly through twin studies) to be largely genetic and to determine SES. Only misguided politicians make out otherwisde (see the current UK CVA model which plays games with regression weights and multicolinearity). The environmental contribution to cognitive ability appears to be largely of the sort which come down to the avoidance of being physically or chemically assaulted in one way or another by parents and others. If one follows the link provided elsewhere to the Standards Site and if one looks into HeadStart (in the USA), SureStart, Aiming High, SEAL, 'BrainGym'!! here, and all the other efforts to close the Achievement Gap one should see a dismal record of long term failure. That's why I'm saying what I'm saying here. There is no reliable evidence. Some of us have spent decades looking.

    We may improve the Black IQ a bit through genetic admixture, better nutrition, and community supervision (depriving thm of drugs, guns, etc etc), but the bottom line is that one does not find great contributions from this group, although it is disproportionately responsible for crime Encouraging sub-primes to become home-owners may go some way to keeping them in work, but it's unlikely, as an IQ of around 85 is akin to an IQ of an 11 year old - impulsive, want it all now, and for nothing.

    Don't shoot the messenger.

  • Comment number 42.

    RE: 29. t_mike

    "OK good point, what I meant was that if you have a high income and a good deposit it should be possible to borrow money. If don't have these things it shouldn't be possible."

    I think you and I may be agreeing in an argumentative way.

    I fully agree with what you say about borrowing money. However, you have described what I would view as a low-debt, high-wage society - the exact opposite of the case that Paul Mason raised.

    The recent conduct of UK banks suggests that they have returned, rather abruptly, to something close to the model you describe - and this is viewed by the government as an unbearably low level of lending. So much so that the recent bailout includes a "target" to return to 2007 lending levels.

    "This should be obvious to banks and society, it clearly isn't, so there should be strict laws in place to limit how much people can borrow. Borrowing money should be a thought through and reasoned process, for something like getting further vocational education or starting a business. Anyone borrowing money for a holiday should be laughed of the bank."

    I absolutely agree. And once again you are describing a society in which debt is rather limited simply because it is tied to a person or company that can demonstrate the means and the will to pay it back.

    "I don't accept that we live in a low wage society, there are lots of high demand jobs out there."

    As it happens, I don't agree with this assertion, but it really doesn't matter, and I'll be happy if I'm wrong. If the proposals you make - responsible lending to people with a secure source of income and a real deposit - were adopted, then we would soon find out which of us was right and in a way that prevented reckless lenders creating a financial crisis for us all.

    Interestingly, Paul Mason's original question stands. What does follow a low-wage, high debt economy? I realise that you don't accept the low-wage premise, so you might not see the question as having any value. However, we have certainly just seen the end of high-debt, so unless you are right and we still have a high wage economy, then the answer to his question will unfold around us soon.

  • Comment number 43.

    citizenthompson (#38) "..I merely point out that what you see as fact can also itself be seen as interpretation"

    Nonsense. Look at the population figures. With a TFR of 1.1 a population halves in 30 years. Look at what is happening in the USA and UK today. Government departments are aware of these data. They are alarming. Look at the levels of violent crime in London. Look at behaviour in our schools. Ask teachers. Ask the police. Look at the statistics. What you are saying is not evidence driven, it's ideology driven, and that's what a lot of education has been doing in recent decades, it's just been politically indoctrinating people with verbal falsehoods. Look up the Leitch Report for the same message from ETS for the UK.

    Sex differences are biological, and they are genetic. This does not mean that SOME females have male like skills and high IQs. But the numbers are small for reasons I have given. Estrogen accounts for women being shorter just as testosterone builds muscle. Why have these sex differences been selected? I am well aware of what you believe, I'm just telling you that most of it is false.

    Look up Non Classic Adrenal Hyperplasia and ethnic differences in prevalence.

    We have created a feminised society and we are going to pay for it, if we are not already. The first casualty has been truth.

  • Comment number 44.

    #40

    It's OK Citizen Thompson

    This is what I was saying,

    "That simply reflects the fact that we were the first (with the US) to become a society dominated by tertiary sector service economy and they are coming out of a background in which heavy industry was promoted at the expense of all other sectors. It says NOTHING about race or gender and relative intelligence. Give it another 20 years and their backgrounds will have changed as well."

    .....but these are your words.

    One thing I disagree with Jaded Jean is the "science is truth".

    No No No. It is important to understand the philosophy behind science.

    Science is a paradigm, a belief system. A series of evolving models to understand reality or some ultimate truth.

    The models are not the reality or truth. Science is not truth, it is the pursuit of truth. constantly refining itself in that pursuit.

    Many sociologists, economists etc were so influenced by Newton, they wanted this mechanisation to apply to their subjects.

    The problem comes when the number of variables are increased in the system being assessed, quantified or whatever.

    Once you get into post Newtonian, post Einstein etc. Into quantum and non linear systems the old paradigms and models break down.

    Science is a model, it is not the truth. Only by understanding that can science evolve to gain a greater understanding of the Truth.

    Einstein was asked something like how did he know his equations were right. His reply was something like because they were beautiful.

    I like Socio-Biology A New Synthesis Edward O'Wilson, a bit old now but I enjoyed it as an intro to the subject similar to what you are discussing many years ago.

    Science is not the TRUTH, it is an evolving model in pursuit of the TRUTH.


  • Comment number 45.

    jaded jean. I don't think anything is to be gained by pursuing this. You condemn yourself out of your own mouth. A whole sector of society has, for centuries been excluded from all of the levers of power and wealth and education in capitalist societies and you have the arrogance to attribute it solely to their colour. I am not sure if you are in the US but don't you have a black presidential candidate at the moment who seem quite remarkably bright. And the list of remarkable contributions from black people is endless.... The way to "improve black IQ" (if you wish to use that measure) is to eradicate poverty, exploitation and cultural immiseration. IN the UK, the things you attribute to "blacks" is largely attributed to the "underclass" or chavs. i.e. it has nothing to do with race and all to do with social class. That in the US the underclass is largely black is a historical accident due to the founding process of US capitalism in slavery. How can someone so apparently intelligent as you be so blind?

  • Comment number 46.

    so your solution is to what? Exclude blacks because of their lower IQ and keep them where? Ghettos? Camps? And also you wish to see a proper "male" community with women in their homes where they belong? This is the sort of pseudo-scientific claptrap dreamed up by Houston Chamberlain in the 1930s and sold to a certain AH as "truth".

  • Comment number 47.

    #43 JadedJean

    Yes we have problems in society, with the environment.

    Yes I agree with you it is about the truth.

    Truth is no longer valued. What is valued is being able to twist or change the 'truth'.

    Leadership is about this. When can you get a truthful, proper straight answer from a politician.

    Courts are suppose to be about the truth. But they are about what someone can convince someone to believe to be the 'truth'.

    Real truth no longer has any value. Honour, integrity, that Samurai code.

    Hawkeye Pierce in another post wrote about the American Indians being beaten. That in part is because they believed what they were told. The warrior integrity to the truth has gone.

    In my opinion one of the best speeches or acts about truth is in the Clint Eastwood film The Outlaw Josie Whales.

    There is a scene by the river with the Indians. It is all about truth, I can watch it over and over again.

    It matches anything by Shakespeare.

  • Comment number 48.

    Morning everyone,

    #42 hants_gw - we're reaching consensus - someone better tell the moderators, i think that's against the rules on a discussion page! i take your point about the definition of high-debt and i'll agree to disagree about wages. I think the difference in what's been said before comes from the picture of high debt - is it for individuals or across society? I think high debt at an individual level (one well funded person with a good idea seeking more money) is fine, at a societal level (people getting into debt to make massive investments because it's the done thing, as with housing) is unacceptable. Which, as far as I can tell, is what you think too.

    #33 I can't think of much that is. As a previous environmental consultant I can tell you that an awful lot of new renewables aren't built to last, the plan is to build them, get the grant money from europe, and when they fall to bits after ten years, too bad. there's just not the demand for more expensive, greener electricity, especially when prices are sky high anyway, other financial concerns are tightening and every so often an eagle flies into a wind turbine and gets cut in half. We are seeing a great fault line appear in the green movement - conservationist vs environmental - which is as bitter and fanatical as any religious schism. The same may happen to organic food etc - if people don't have the extra money to spend it could very easily fall apart. In the short term the best environmental solution is to minimise use - the number of greenies i know who still use tumble driers or have the heating on in october and flounce around in a t-shirt! What ever happened to jumpers and hot water bottles? And good old fashioned snuggling? :D

    I'm off to read some JJ links, this should be a laugh.

    "This is not a dichotomy, sexual dimorphism is complex and tere is overlap because of genetic and hormonal anomalies ... Females also buy more."

    Who is writing this stuff? Alan Statham?

  • Comment number 49.

    “There are dramatic differences not only in the frequencies of the two sexes in the upper tails for verbal vs spatial (see English vs Maths at SAT and GCSE) but also note that a mean 'g' difference of 5 points along with the shorter range of the female distribution means that there are twice as many males with IQs of 120 as there are females and beyond 120 the ratio gets even larger.”

    You don’t mention mean figures, or point to the longer male tail at the lower end of the range. Male and female average IQs are very close in a modern progressive education system. Males have the highest but also the lowest peak IQs. In any case the ranges overlap significantly. There is no basis for excluding a vast slice of the workforce from education and employment. The most competitive profession in the UK – medicine – is more than fifty percent female. There is no way that this is entirely due to the conspiracy bias nonsense you talk about.

    “Look at the population figures. With a TFR of 1.1 a population halves in 30 years. Look at what is happening in the USA and UK today. Government departments are aware of these data. They are alarming. Look at the levels of violent crime in London. Look at behaviour in our schools. Ask teachers. Ask the police. Look at the statistics. What you are saying is not evidence driven, it's ideology driven, and that's what a lot of education has been doing in recent decades, it's just been politically indoctrinating people with verbal falsehoods. Look up the Leitch Report for the same message from ETS for the UK.”

    No summary I found of the Leitch Review made any mention of gender or race. Please include page numbers if you want to give a serious reference to a sizeable government report without mentioning any of the official conclusions it draws. In this can I presume what you are getting at is “There are not enough whites due to the low TFR. Immigrants have come in and are violent and stupid.”?

    Immigration is not a new thing. It is especially not new to the UK, where French, Norse, Germanic and Irish have all arrived in repeated waves over the last two thousand years. Immigrants always face prejudice and harder economic conditions due to language difficulties and lack of familial ties. This means that often they do poorly paid manual work requiring less education, are less well paid and are more likely to live in the areas and economic groups in which all races are more likely to commit crime.

    “If you look at subject selection at GCSE and beyond, the sexes divide. Females do not build, their skills are largely verbal (hence the explosion of spin in recent times, note how Press Officers are females). This is not a dichotomy, sexual dimorphism is complex and tere is overlap because of genetic and hormonal anomalies (see Classic and Non Classic Adrenal Hyperplasia and the androgens)”

    GCSE choice is cultural. Again your point is nonsense because of the colossal overlap between male and female skill sets and abilities. I work as a civil engineer and I can tell you that about 30% of our graduate intake is female and they are at least comparable with the boys in terms of the “male” skills such as maths, computing, design etc. From what I can find of Adrenal Hyperplasia it is not nearly prevalent enough to describe what you talk about. I would be interested to find out which field you work in and to learn about the gender balance/contribution of females. In terms of spin, do Max Clifford or Alistair Campbell mean anything to you?

    “We may improve the Black IQ a bit through genetic admixture, better nutrition, and community supervision (depriving thm of drugs, guns, etc etc), but the bottom line is that one does not find great contributions from this group, although it is disproportionately responsible for crime Encouraging sub-primes to become home-owners may go some way to keeping them in work, but it's unlikely, as an IQ of around 85 is akin to an IQ of an 11 year old - impulsive, want it all now, and for nothing.”

    Oh wow, so forget all the assumptions I made earlier, it’s just unapologetic racism now. I suggest you visit the USA, where the well integrated black middle class contribute alongside the white population and nobody raises an eyebrow. The majority of people fitting the profile you describe in the UK are white males, your supposed Super Men. Certainly the attitudes you describe are more white middle class than working class. Can I suggest you look up “African American Scientists” or “African American Members of Congress” before you decide that black people have nothing to contribute to society?

    You wilfully misinterpret the science. Your arguments are interesting but let down by lazy armchair philosophy (“Females also buy more. Giving them independent incomes is good for those who want to make money out of them.”). I agree that there is a discussion that society is not willing to have on equality but I am not afraid of it because I believe it is straightforward. If you give black women the same opportunity as white males they will perform equally in most tasks. In the few where they differ their skills are complementary. One might be shorter than the other though.

    Anyway, you’re big on the problems. What are your solutions?

  • Comment number 50.

    #48 t mike

    Green v Green

    Up here in Scotland many objections against wind turbines use the argument that the concrete bases affect ground water.

    There are also plans to put a new grid distribution power line about more than 100 miles long from the Inverness to the central belt.

    This is being objected to, alternatives by the conservation or environmental side (not sure which), want it underground encased in concrete.

    Doh!

  • Comment number 51.

    t_mike (#49) You're missing the point and getting lost in trivial counterargument. Spend some more time reading the links off posts archived here (and watch the skip 25, change it to less than the posts on a page). First, look at this and then this. Hopefully it will make you a little less naive about not finding things stated more openly.

    There's a full standard deviation difference betwen whites and blacks in the USA (two SD's between sub-Sahara Africans and the European mean). What does that mean for frequencies +1SD above the mean, at +2SD etc? The Ashkenazim have half a SD advantage over White Americans (as do the East Asian Americans). Look at te NYC demographics. They are even stronger on verbal ability though. Which other group is like that? Note after CAH I said Non Classic AH. See chromosome 6p21 polymorphisms of CYP21 and subtle changes to the sex-steroids for both sexes. The point here being subtle cognitive brain-gender verbal-spatial tilt differences between groups. The 'sexes' behave differently.

    But the key thing to focus upon is European TFRs and how education just make sthe problem worse by accelerating differential and dysgenic fertility.

    What to do? Learn a little from the Muslim Fundamentalistsarticles 17,18, 22 and 28). Or even the Orthodox Jews?

    What's happening here and in the USA is not quite as bad as what was done to the Russians in the 1990s, but we might be headed there, and the driver is, I suggest, Liberal-Democratic 'economic' values.

    Note what Wattenberg leaves out....and note what's been happening economically. Why is Wattenberg apparently blind to this do you think? Why Does Jeffrey 'Shock Therapy' Sachs say we are bursting at the seams?

  • Comment number 52.

    #49 thanks t_mike, very well put.

  • Comment number 53.

    MODERN EDUCATION

    citizenthompson (#52) Incorrigible.

    This is precisely how ignorance is reinforced, the cost of which is the dysgenic status quo. The reason why most people counterargue is because they simply don't like what the evidence implies. People just don't like finding out that what they want to believe is false.

    Can arguing against it make any positive differerence?

    Look at the data, dump your preconceptions and learn that it's pure folly to argue from ignorance against fact.

  • Comment number 54.

    JJ once again you're misrepresenting evidence. African Americans as a whole have not yet received equality of education. They lived in a legally racist state until the 1964, less than a generation ago. They universally attended second class schools. How many SDs out are women from men?

    I'm not going to tackle your arguments at a moral level because I know we won't find common ground. I will say that, economically, I think that there is no problem allowing immigrants with good skills/ "high IQ" into the UK or in disregarding gender when it comes to selections based on ability. What do you think?

    I'll read the articles you posted and get back to you. I would still appreciate it if you would tell me what your solutions are to the problems you perceive.

  • Comment number 55.

    Paul,

    Please awaken from your slumber and bestow upon us a fresh post, as this is rapidly descending into a somewhat bizarre discussion on the presence / absence / relevance of dysgenics (a term I have only just discovered today).

    Maybe I find this topic uncomfortable. Maybe it deserves some debate. Maybe it belongs on another blog - Pesto's been going a bit wayward lately, maybe he can follow this up.........

  • Comment number 56.

    t_mike and citizenthompson: I've brought these dimensions up because ETS and many others before them who have been studying these demographic and psychometric trends have been expressing concern and making predictions (see Lynn in 'Eugenics Revisited') for some time. Paul Mason's title to this thread was a good one, as was your challenge for solutions. However, whatever the solutions (if indeed there can be any solutions in a Liberal-Democracy), arguing against the evidence and for the status quo certainly isn't one them.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hawkeye_Pierce (#55) Note your choice of terms, and avoidance (it's very common i.e. 'normal'). Dysgenics is what happens if you don't have eugenics (which is basically family planning and population management). The Chinese have legislated for it (1995), but in the EU we have legislated to proscribe it (Lisbon Treaty and Human Rights). The worry is that through our not facing up to the realities here we will suffer the dysgenic consequences. Look at where most of the predatory lending and sub-prime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are taking place. Look at where the birth rate is highest (Table 6).

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.

    #55 Hawkeye

    Sort of agree.

    I don't find it uncomfortable, just environmental collapse will occur before any dysgenic problems.

    And I don't want to get into phenotypic expression, socialisation, culture etc here.

    Dam I am getting into the debate.

    Paul said he had an idea for a blog topic when we were covering Kondratieff waves?

  • Comment number 60.

    #59 Thee are far too many excitable people like Dori about. If there's anything to anthropogenic 'environmental collapse' (and it isn't just the new 'Bird Flu') it's very probably a consequence of global dysgenesis. If one fills the planet with impulsive, narcissistic, insensitive, lowish IQ windbags, they'll trash everything, including each other. The solution isn't just depopulation, more 'save the planet rhetoric' or ringtone businesses, but reversal of our currently skewed DIFFERENTIAL fertility (flagged by high national TFRs and low national IQs). Liberal-Democratic free-market 'equalities'/'rights' PC tripe has got to go before it kills us all off.

  • Comment number 61.

    Go to Cuba to see how all people can be well educated in a system that prioritises the social, be fed and housed, be fit - without junk food, have informed opinions and dignity - and be able to dance.

    Hurricane deaths are extremely rare in Cuba, because they can organise for emergencies in such a way that everyone, and particularly children, count.

    They have a real knowledge economy - with knowledge! - including of their own history with the achievements of overcoming slavery and getting rid of US domination.

    Their national hero, Jose Marti was a poet, as well as a leader. Their other national hero, Che, was a revolutionary, 'motivated by the deepest love'.

    They had the big disaster, when the support from the Soviet Union was no longer there, and worked that out too. Food shortages were shared, instead of lots for some and none for others.

    Cubans understand their economy, including the US blockade that has stymied it for years.

    For many years, they had a brilliant leader, with extraordinary intelligence, humanity and humour.

    Tick what applies here. It will be less work than crossing what doesn't.

  • Comment number 62.

    Further:

    Cuba is the most internationalist country in the world, providing medical training for Africans for free for many years and now for trainee doctors from the Caribbean, Latin America - and for poor people from the US.

    Cuba is first in, when there is a natural disaster, in the region and further afield, like the Pakistani earthquake.

    However, Cuba does not have open borders. Other people do not walk into the Cuban system, with the rights and responsibilities that Cubans have.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    t_mike "JJ once again you're misrepresenting evidence. African Americans as a whole have not yet received equality of education. They lived in a legally racist state until the 1964, less than a generation ago. They universally attended second class schools."

    Not at all. I am accurately summarising a lot of work. Look up UK SATs data by ethnic group See 'Ethnicity and Education: The Evidence on Minority Ethnic Pupils aged 5 - 16'. For a revealing internal report, see 'Priority Review: Exclusion of Black Pupils "Getting it right"' and look who they honorifically reference. Newsnight featured it in 2007.

    What all this reveals, I suggest, is a clash of demands. One indigenous group's demands based on empirical chacteristics of its own group shapes what's demanded of the group's progeny. Importing other groups (to compensate for the low TFR) which have genetically evolved (through gene barriers) quite different talents, along with naive asssumptions that they are just the same or are mutable, is highly irresponsible and divisive once one grasps that behaviour is largely the expression of what genes physically express shaped by environmental contingencies, and that gene barriers account for the existence of racial groups. DNA profiling is very reliable here. Folk psychology dramatically lags the science of brain and behaviour.

  • Comment number 65.

    When it comes to change in Washington, it's seems hard for people to figure out but soon and very soon, Americans will vote for the change that will come to Washington be it positive change or a worse change by virtue of the person they vote in as President; either Barack Obama or John MacCain.

    At such a crucial time, America most realise that Barack is the best for them. It is a matter of using the power of example and not the example of power that will change Washington and the only person that can make the United States regain its stand in the world is Barack Obama. This was even endorsed by former US Secretary General - Colin Powell.

    It's time for us to be realistic about issues and bring about change and bridge the economic, political and social divide in the United States.

    Sheriff Samsideen Phatey

  • Comment number 66.

    JJ you do misrepresent the evidence, you show figures suggesting that black/ethnic minorities do not perform as well in school and cite this as proof that they are less intelligent. You take no account of background, which is obviously a huge factor in education. Not one piece of evidence you have cited shows an objective educational comparison between black and white in identical conditions. Except maybe -

    "Under the old Baseline Entry tests black pupils significantly outperformed their white peers. When the teacher-assessed Foundations Stage Profile replaced these tests the pattern was reversed."

    From your link.

    Also, there was nothing "Folk Psychology" about Stephen Jay Gould.

    # Hawkeye, sorry, not letting this one go!

    # CitizenThompson, I forgot to say thanks for the shout out!

  • Comment number 67.

    t_mike (#66). You are not following the evidence (nobody disputes the difference anymore), or the criticism of the politics. As to Gould, read Rushton, Jensen and others here. Then look up Gottfredson on Suppressing intelligence research: Hurting those we intend to help.

    I'm not prepared to argue with you about any of his, I've just been trying to educate you and that it's proving to be more difficult than I expected. It doesn't make much difference to me if you persist in holding on to false beliefs.

    This is issue is political.

  • Comment number 68.

    JJ three points -

    The academic debate is not dead. Even though Gould is, Lewontin isn't.

    You still haven't said whether black and EM people with high IQ should be allowed equal status to whites in society.

    You still haven't given me any solutions to your perceived problem.

  • Comment number 69.

    t_mike (#66) Gottfredson on Suppressing intelligence research: Hurting those we intend to help.

    Then read the Rushton and Jensen (2005) articles and Gottfredson's contribution. Forget the others. The difference is real and the evidence strongly suggests it's genetic. This is not disputed within science, only by the ill-informed public (and maybe Jim Flynn - see the AEI exchange not lng ago with Murray). The other ethnic group which is problematic in the USA is the Hispanic which is actually growing much faster than the Black population. Their differential fertility slope is greater too, i.e more dysgenesis. What will they do in the economy? What will our growing low-skilled ethnic minorities in the UK do? Another perspective on 'carrying capacity'?

  • Comment number 70.

    t_mike (#68) You do not appear to have read (or understood?) the references (especially the very long article 'The Inequality Taboo' by Murray). If you had, you would not still be saying the things that you're saying. Look up earlier links on the Lewontin Fallacy (or Google it, Murray covers this too. Rose, Lewontin and Kamin were wrong - (incidentally, do you note a grouping in these Neo-Lysenkoists?)). There is a lot of good neuroscience research on this now, although the molecular genetics is proving a bit intractable.

    Skin colour melanin per se is clearly not the independent variable, it's just a marker, although this does tell us something important about migration and sunlight/Vitamin D. This is about sub-populations, economics, social-stability and governance. The law proscribes discrimination on the basis of race and sex. Equalities legislation requires that those working in public bodies promote equalities and good race relations. We have a problem. To some extent it's like legislating that those of different height must have equal opportunity to compete at the high jump, and that preferential selection of tall people is proscribed and turning a blind eye to important individual differences hoping they don't matter. There are recruitment quotas (targets) in public services which only take ethnic population base-rates into account. Do you see the problem?

  • Comment number 71.


    Seeing IQ referred to as a form of reification (link in #67: that is, "our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities") got me thinking.

    The same could be said of money, freedom, happiness, or poverty. The last 300 years or so have seen an obsessive pursuit of various forms of reification. I suspect that a large majority of the UK population are soley engaged in this during their working lives (in fact, now I think of it, that's all I do all day myself!).

    If we persist to try and measure anything and everything for the purpose of understanding and control, we will merely end up kidding ourselves that we are far more knowledgeable of the world than we really are.

    Not so much "if you want to manage it, measure it", but more "if it gets measured, it gets manipulated" (adaptation of Goodhart's Law).

    Time for me to grab a sandwich then read Paul's next post.......

  • Comment number 72.

    Hawkeye_Pierce (#71) "The last 300 years or so have seen an obsessive pursuit of various forms of reification."

    That's science, technology, and some would say, rationality you're decrying - which, regrettably, is pretty much what one might expect as we feminize/verbalise our culture.

  • Comment number 73.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1893020

    Your statement that no serious academic disputes your ideas is nonsense.

    You didn't mention whether black or EMs with high IQ should be allowed equal status. If a short guy could high jump (Michael Jordan and Basketball spring to mind) would you keep him off the team?

    Positive discrimination is a necessary evil. I'd prefer not to discuss it here though.

    The reason I keep pressing for your solutions is that I guarantee they will involve the empowering of a few undemocratically selected individuals to preside over reproduction in the UK. One of the reasons that it is not possible democratically is that most people sensibly realise that the lesson of the twentieth century is that industrial social engineering does not work. This could be why the high IQ, high reproduction Ashkenazim you mention have not taken over the world. This was perpetrated by the administration which did most to further the views you advocate.

    As to the mass sterilisation schemes, a far greater danger to humanity than integration comes from emerging diseases. The unfortunate sickle cell anaemia, which doubtless you would have eradicated, also happens to be the closest we have to a natural immunity to malaria. With new pathogens facing humanity all the time we cannot try to iron out "impurities" without potentially removing the mutations which could save us all.

  • Comment number 74.

    PERISH THE THOUGHTS

    Here's a sobering thought for those who have not yet grasped it. It *is* possble to reduce these group differences, and I fear we may well be doing that through 'education, education, education' (delaying parenthood) and equalities policies. That is, it's being done through genetic depopulation and differential/dysgenic fertilty winnowing the higher abilty groups. Not, I submit, the smartest way to operate unless you belong to one of the elite groups which practices endogamy and other non-PC practices.

    Another term for this is 'dumbing down' (and group competition).

  • Comment number 75.


    #72: Yup. Maybe it's all that Oestrogen in the water:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1495908.stm

  • Comment number 76.

    CANUTISM

    mike_t (#73) "One of the reasons that it is not possible democratically is that most people sensibly realise that the lesson of the twentieth century is that industrial social engineering does not work."

    Just because you don't see anyone pulling strings don't believe that matters aren't 'engineered' (or that some of the most ardent critics of eugenics don't practice it themselves and are just wrong footing their competitors). It's a cruel world.

    I have clearly stated that I think Liberal-Democractic principles are driving an insidious problem.

    Here is another perspective. If China (mean IQ ~108) continues doing this and the EU and USA do not, and the demographic and other trends continue as many have said they are, what must inevitably happen? What must be happening now? If Cognitive ability is largely genetic, drives SES and GDP, what must happen? I am trying to address Paul Mason's basic question. One can argue as much as one likes, but in the end, given these forces, I submit that's just idle chatter, modern graduates are prone to Canutism.

    You don't appear to be doing as advised. What one thinks should be guided by empirical evidence and deductive inference not by what one likes or not like.

    Another reference (although much of it's in 'The Bell Curve' and Lynn's work).
    Richard J. Herrnstein - 1989 'IQ and Falling Birth Rates'. Atlantic Monthly 263

  • Comment number 77.

    Regarding the interviews in this piece: The contrast between Detroit, MI and Bluffton, IN was striking. I hope your viewers didn't miss an important statement made by Mike Row (Director of Economic Growth for Wells Co., IN). Mike made a strong point about honesty and strong work ethics. These are certainly the backbone of a good community and I'm happy to see it's alive and well in mid-American towns, such as Bluffton, IN.

 

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