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Stephanie Flanders | 12:28 UK time, Friday, 3 April 2009

It's not going to fix the world economy, but at the G20 summit, world leaders got together and promised to do no harm. When I said that on the Today programme this morning, it sounded like pretty faint praise. But in today's environment, not doing anything stupid is a good place for governments to start - and to judge by the reaction of the markets yesterday, investors agree.

Some of the G20 leadersProbably, you can go a bit further: the agreement may prevent some bad things from happening that might otherwise have rebounded on all of our economies. That the IMF will have the funds to help the likes of Mexico, or Ukraine, is important.

Things in Central and Eastern Europe may still go badly wrong, and the international community may mismanage its response, but at least the IMF will have the means to act if others can muster the will.

These meetings always produce big numbers that shrink on closer inspection - promises that turn out to be a bit flakier in the footnotes than the headlines implied.

Yesterday's communique is rife with them: most disappointing is the news that "$250bn for global trade" is actually $25bn in trade finance this year which may or may not help to support $250bn of trade. That's sneaky even by communique standards.

It's also true - as I mentioned on the Ten O'Clock News last night - that more than half of the $250bn in new Special Drawing Rights at the IMF will go to rich countries that won't use them. And half of the extra $500bn for the IMF depends on reforms to the IMF's borrowing arrangements which will take time to sort out.

All of that is true. But in a $55tn world economy, $1tn wasn't going to kick start a recovery even if it were all "real".

As the IMF's managing director told me earlier this week, the most important challenge facing the world is the toxic debt still clogging the balance sheets of the world's banks. That is not resolved by the summit - it's a job for leaders to manage when they get home.

What G20 leaders could do was provide a little bit more of a safety net to the poorest as they move through this - for many of them, the international community is the only "automatic stabiliser" they have. They could oil the wheels of trade - even if in this case it's only a few drops.

And, crucially, they could commit themselves to a set of promises against which to measure their actions over the next few years. That will be especially important if things in the global economy get much worse.

It's not a miracle. It is the inevitably flawed result of an inevitably flawed negotiation. But Avinash Persaud, the economist who was one of the few to warn many years ago of the problems building up in the financial system, told me today that the G20 summit "provides the strongest reason yet to be less pessimistic about the future."

Faint praise, perhaps, but I think that's about right.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    "It's not a miracle. It is the inevitably flawed result of an inevitably flawed negotiation. But Avinish Persaud, the economist who was one of the few to warn many years ago of the problems building up in the financial system, told me today that the G20 summit "provides the strongest reason yet to be less pessimistic about the future."

    Really? Look at the changing demographics of the Liberal-Democracies. Begin with Eastern Europe/Russia. What do you notice? Why is sending half a country's population into Higher Ed a VERY bad thing to do?

    Hmmm? What are you unquestioned ceteris paribus clauses/assumption Stephanie? Warning: questioning those, and looking carefully at the substantive evidence is possibly going to be very bad for your confidence, but that might go a little way (with the help of Paul Mason, Robert Peston and the Newsnight team?) towards reducing some of the harm which has been spread about through very uninformed/ill-informed thinking/writing for years.

  • Comment number 2.

    i dont know why you keep spreading hope that it might work? you are not free to think free, that's why you write what they want you to write, if you cannot understand it, this means you are really not free.

    Anyway, if countries like Ukraine or Mexico get help with printed money out of thin air, this will cause inflation, and a further run down on thier money. Further deterioration of their economies. Why did we or they got in this mess first place? It is because of wrong corrupt people leading the countries, not because a lack of money or anything.
    Now do you truly believe that anything will succeed?

    Stephanie: "But in today's environment, not doing anything stupid is a good place for governments to start - and to judge by the reaction of the markets yesterday, investors agree."
    In fact they did something even more stupid.
    That's your misstake, you see a point where there is no point. Maybe markets agree, since it is done for them, but do people agree? And what is an investor for you?
    Is it a do-nothing person that just throughs money at certain 'investments' in hope of making more money?
    And is an 'investment' for you a Russian Roulette? Yes, it is.
    What g20 and other elites did yesterday is same exact things that 'your investors' are doing, just through money at things?

    Do these investors create jobs? Nope.
    It is 'knowledge' that creates jobs.
    And the real 'knowledge' today, is refusing to help 'ignorance' to succeed on the hard work of 'knowledge'
    Refusing to pay Taxes, is like cutting the life support to 'ignorance'
    Many people know how to solve a crisis like this, but they are refusing to partecipate, because of the likes as Sarkozy or any other elites to claim credit. They must learn to loose, and accept that they cannot help and that they are the problem or they will finish up like the communist dictator in Romania.

    If they dont believe that the system is going down, then it is going down. Maybe the elites will show unity, but the total break down will start in the society, and anarchy will restore democracy as the ultimate way out of many ways that could have happened but did not.

    Come for one moment in real light and on the side of the good people and you will see, which is the bad side. This system is a legalised mafia, which ask for a randsom or taxes to assure protection. Protection against what? Against them.

  • Comment number 3.

    Jadedjean

    This is really getting boring. Give us all a break will you.

  • Comment number 4.

    Jadedjean

    What organisation are you involved with? What is the point of all this madness? Is it a long rejected doctorate that you've not quite managed to let go of? Are you so unhappy that you need to keep banging this drum? Step out into the light Jean it'll do you some good.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    The interesting points emerging from the G20 have very little to do with economic salvation and more to do with power play politics.

    The decisions reached will not prevent things getting worse - they may even exaccerbate them.

  • Comment number 7.

    People listen to you, because of something...
    But noone listens to our elites anymore...
    There are 100 elites, in 500.000.000 people.
    They are just a drop in the ocean, so we can choose to drop them out anytime even without a vote.
    Like a certain number/amount of money can loose value, the elites position can do as well, despite the fact that they believe otherwise.
    They mean nothing, whatever they do means nothing, since they do not represent the people anymore. We can choose to listen to them and do as they say, or ignore them and do as we think.
    This is the question. They have lost the most important thing in life....'people and time'

  • Comment number 8.

    Jadedjean

    It is all to do with the aliens. (as I'm sure you're fully aware) They have planted this notion in your brain to prevent you from seeing the real truth: that the aliens are really running the show. You must wake up Jean, we need you to see the truth before it's too late. I've been watching the newsnight team and they're definitely a part of the great alien conspiracy. Robert and Stephanie are both aliens. We have to reveal this to the world Jean before it's too late. Otherwise we're all doomed or better still gloomed.

  • Comment number 9.

    doctor-gloom (#4) Why the attempted ad hominem? You're wrong anyway.

    Why not just look up the referenced research provided (see NN archive by clickng on my name with a skip=10 in the URL instead of the default of 25 if you need help). Or, for psychometrics see Murray, Lynn, Vanhanen, Jensen, Gottfredson, Rushton in Google. See also our DfES annual SATs, the USA SATS and other tests from ETS, the OECD PISA results, the Leitch Review, the criticism of the LSC for its failures, the dumbing down of the curricukum via NAA/QCA ...the rising crime despite counter-claims, the gross over-respresentation of Black Carribeans in crimes against the person, the low mean IQ of our schools, the high levels of School Action and School Action+, the failure of HeadStart, SEAL, Aiming High, this goes on and on). Then see David Coleman on demographics, Steve Jones on why Article II of the Lisbon Treaty's FCHR is a problem.

    I'm telling you how things are and why all this economic rhetoric is irrelevant, and you want to shoot the messenger and peddle the ignorant untruths which contributed towards this mess in my view. Thiose who work in inner cities see these problems first hand and that's where our populations are concentrated. In the next 30 years, 99%+ of London's growth will be in BME groups....

    Why?

  • Comment number 10.

    9 degradedGene:

    Jean there's nothing wrong with a good 'argument against the person'. This is how real arguments are done (oops should I have said 'undertaken'?) Anyway, back to the point. Now if you are right about the need to stop the dumbing-down of education (and the dark consequences you imagine springs from this), you would not have had the opportunity to go to university would you Jean? Furthermore, the whole idea of legitimating discrimination through the bogus use statistics just stinks. The concept of 'intelligence' is a real stinker for turning into 'useful' (unless of course you have a prior agenda) values for statistical testing(parametric and non parametric). It hardly matters what a select few citations supposedly show. What matters are your reasons for throwing this argument onto the blog. I suspect it has nothing whatsoever to do with getting the 'facts' (as you see them) straight for all us dunderheads out here. It is simply about your (and others like you) agenda to throw us all back into the cultural and political dark ages. An appalling thought.

  • Comment number 11.

    doctor-gloom (#8) "We have to reveal this to the world Jean before it's too late. Otherwise we're all doomed or better still gloomed."

    Maybe we are.

    I don't know where you get your information from but it certainly doesn't match any of mine. You seem to have picked up on some popular urban myths spread by those who have been playing with oitehr people's money and either you are one of them or you think you look smart by peddling this nonsense, in either case, you are demonstrably misguided.

    Watch the video

    Listen to the exchange.

    Try to do that before posting again. Liberal Democratic (not just European) populations are starting to fall because of low TFRs. Why? Immigrant populations to Europe and the USA have lower IQs and higher TFRs. But money is not being saved, it's being spent by impulsive consumers (lower IQ) and the stock market hasn't been providing capital growth except during manufactured bubbles (see endownment mortgage policies and pension funds) so capital is being withdrawn. Where is the money going to come from for future jobs and investment (PFI/PPP etc)?

    Those of us who have doing the research into this are saying one thing based on changes in human capital and genetics, you are saying something else. You don't substantiate what you say, you just resort to rhetoric and abuse. I am criticising that.

  • Comment number 12.

    Stephanie

    I'm glad to see that you weren't completely won over by this photo-op in Canning Town. As you note, many of these headline promises of large amounts of money are misleading. Much less money has been promised and even less will ever materialise.

    Many of the G20 members will simply refuse to contribute anyway. As I recall, after the 2004 tsunami a large amount was promised (over $2 billion, which seemed a lot at the time) but several countries never handed over a penny; that is apparently quite common

    The markets have made their profits out of a quick bear rally and now things will go back to where we were as the reality of the fix we're in sinks in again and unemployment continues to rise inexorably for the next 2 years or so. Another 662,000 in the US in March and April is predicted to be worse. In the face of such pressure, few politicians will be able to resist protectionist measures, whatever they say, and even if Presidents and PMs do, governors and senators won't.

    On the positive side, I am glad to see that the G20 did include threats of sanctions against tax havens. It has properly upset the Swiss and Lichtensteiners, which is good, but again we'll need to wait and see what is actually done to rein them all in.

  • Comment number 13.

    JJ give it a rest will ya

    as Prez Lula of Brazil says, we all know that the world's ills are down to white, blue-eyed men in suits

    without immigration countries like the UK and US have very bleak futures, as this population of blue-eyed whites ages into low-pension poverty

    if immigrants were such a bad thing, then Canada, which has the highest % immigration per year and a virtual open-door policy in the case of refugees, would not rank so highly in terms of educational attainment and training/skills, whilst being predicted to weather the recession better than most; and no it isn't because of natural resources, most Canucks live in big cities in resource-poor Ontario

    I could quote many more examples but won't as it isn't even relevant to this blog

  • Comment number 14.

    JadedJean

    See below - There's plenty of statistics and facts on wiki but strangely attributes such as IQ, genes or "race" dont get a mention as factors in Kerala's success. Maybe its just about history and politics?

    "Kerala, a state in India, is a bizarre anomaly among developing nations, a place that offers real hope for the future of the Third World. Though not much larger than Maryland, Kerala has a population as big as California's and a per capita annual income of less than $300. But its infant mortality rate is very low, its literacy rate among the highest on Earth, and its birthrate below America's and falling faster. Kerala's residents live nearly as long as Americans or Europeans. Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there's truly no place like it."[Bill McKibben, 2006]

  • Comment number 15.

    Same as usual.

    Sweeping heady headlines.

    Then you read the small print.

    It's like "Snakes + Ladders" !

  • Comment number 16.

    1) It's very difficult to get into Canada legally unless you have required skills (bright and have the means to support yourself). The Chinese are bright. We have only just got round to learning this, probably far too late. As we recreate a Third World country here why will the population behave any differently from Third World economies elsewhere? Will the weather change their genes via alchemy?

    2) Brazil appears not to be a good example of governance or rational analysis by Presidents. It's on my list of examples of what happens when differential fertility runs out of control. Mean IQ of Brazil = ~87! So is Mexico (X=~88).

    3) There is something wrong with deploying the ad hominem, it's why it's called a logical fallacy!

    4) Doctor-gloom (#10) Just watch the video and listen to the audio. Look at world IQ figures, TFRs, GDPs and crime/disease rates, doctor:patient ratios and infratructure. Take on board hat low IQ people can not plan or manage their lives, they behave like children. It is definitely not a good idea to discourage eugenics (i.e good family planning/breeding). Perhaps you do not understand what I am saying? Watch the ETS video, read the report, see the PPT.

    5) Discrimination is essential to perception and intelligent action. In the end we are all errrr chemicals! ;-)

    6) An example of dumbing down.

    7) Here's another. It's representative too. Mean IQs of these schools now in the 80s or low 90s, akin to our prison population.

  • Comment number 17.

    Here's a quick Austrian take on G20:

    All these billions are fantasy billions; they don't exist! The real story behind G20 is that the Americans are trying desperately to persuade their creditors (China/Japan/Saudi Arabia/Germany) to continue to loan them money so that the bloated US government can give it to US citizens in order for them to carry on spending and consuming like they did prior to 2007.

    Mr Obama and Mr Geithner think that the United States is the key to solving the economic crisis; they are wrong! The Chinese, as the largest US creditor, are beginning to have some serious doubts that the Americans can ever make good on their debts. This is why they want to move away from the US dollar as the world's reserve currency and adopt SDRs (a basket of currencies) as a new world currency.

    The US government will try to resist this move for as long as possible for they know that if China and the other creditor nations refuse to buy any more US debt then the only buyer will be the Federal Reserve.

    To the extent that a central bank monetizes its own government's debt, the result is a vastly increased pool of that currency. This will translate into extremely higher prices for basic consumer goods and then into runaway inflation as the government tries to finance its own profligate spending.

  • Comment number 18.

    Stephanie Flanders writes: "..the IMF will have the funds to help..", "..the IMF will have the means to act..", and "..the IMF's managing director told me earlier this week, the most important challenge facing the world is the toxic debt..".

    you appear to have a lot of faith in the IMF; there are however a number of studies and reports that show that public health deteriorates in countries where the IMF "invests", it has been shown that the policy changes required by the IMF correlate with increases in TB and mortality rates.

  • Comment number 19.

    Everyone should re-read this book. It explains everything. This interview with the author http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/$crisis.html ...just recognise this was written in 2003

  • Comment number 20.

    "Toxic Debt" includes loans given on the basis of a security where the price of the security is less than the loan (in some cases very much so).

    At present the banks are hanging onto these assets in the hope that they rise in price so their books don't look as bad - the downside of this is that some of these assets are being artificially overpriced and this overpricing holds up the prices of similar assets.

    What this does to the World's economy is reduce the chance of getting the economy going again as it delays the necessary re-pricing of assets and this stops or delays productive investment.

    So it isn't just the bank's balance sheets that suffer from these toxic debts it has afar wider and more damaging impact of the recovery in trade.

    Of course if the bank's had been made bankrupt (as they are) then the asset re-pricing would have taken place and a recovery might have had a chance of starting!

  • Comment number 21.

    Soomaaliyeey Toosoow!

  • Comment number 22.

    Kurt

    The implications for the USA are tremendous. Obama is now commited to major expenditures just at the time when the country can least afford them. For the first time the US cannot export its pain - not even the UK will accept catching the flu just because the US has caught a cold. More importantly the US no longer faces a military adversary but a finanial one. The prospect of rampant inflation rises both from internal problems/decisions (QE) and the return of all of those reserve $. Life in the USA is going to become very interesting and difficult.

    John

    The only way of dealing with the toxic assets is ultimately to bring them to the market where they will ultimately find a price. HMG seems unwilling to force the issue as it would probably bankrupt those banks that it has bailed-out. However, until those assets are quntified and realistically valued then I agree that there can be no real way forward.

    jr4412

    Who is really to say if the strategies imposed as part of the IMF loans are truly effective? They concentrate purely upon government spending and take no account of the social factors or implications. There needs to be a complete re-think of their remit.

  • Comment number 23.

    foredeckdave #22.

    you say "they concentrate purely upon government spending..". I thought the lowering of trade barriers was a pre-requisite to IMF monies, that's not correct then?

  • Comment number 24.

    DYSGENISIS RAP (trying it another way)

    Europe's populations are agein', not replacin', but importin'. Those we're importin' are breedin' like those in countries they're leavin'. Many we're importin' are Muslim who don't like Jewish bankin'/investin', so we've tried secularizin' but been failin'. Meanwhile they're growin' and not listenin', just oolonisin' and dissin'. Public Services need fundin' from PPP/PFi but who'll provide the profits for the resourcin'?

    No respect.

    ...init.

  • Comment number 25.

    jr 4412

    You are right but there is always a requirement for recieving governments to put their house in order. This housekeeping has always concentrted upon government spending.

    To date the IMF view of government spending has been driven by its US head. Therefore 'social spending' has always been viewed as the first area to be 'cut'.

  • Comment number 26.

    foredeckdave, thanks for clarification. perhaps, to bring this IMF thing full circle, Stephanie Flanders could explain how the Avinish Persaud remark 'that the G20 summit "provides the strongest reason yet to be less pessimistic about the future."' fits in.

  • Comment number 27.

    #26 Perhaps this is what is meant - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7981347.stm

    "Lula, viewed as something of a leader of the developing world, was pushing for greater influence for countries such as his in the international organisations that are so crucial to the world economy.

    The G20 has agreed to give Brazil, India and other developing nations a greater say in the running of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the two big organisations set up to run the world economy after World War II.

    After 2011, the US could lose its veto power at those institutions and Western countries could find their voting rights severely reduced.

    The convention that an American heads the World Bank and a European heads the IMF will also now be abandoned, the G20 leaders say."

    So that future decisions will not be so Americo- or Europo-centric as far as the recipients are concerned. They will have to deal with less draconian terms for their loans !!

    I was in both Thailand and Indonesia when they struggled to deal with the draconian terms imposed by the IMF for their loans after the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997 and the people there were definitely not their usual cheerful selves !! Both countries swore on all that they held holy that they will ensure that they never, ever *have* to borrow from the IMF again. Both countries had since amassed significant foreign reserves (just in case) !! The traumas of those years are still deeply embedded in their national psyche !!

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh dear, you just can't stop yourself can you Jean. Jean, I know what an argument 'against the person is' I'm just tugging your strings a little. But I have to say, you are mistaken in thinking that an 'argument' can be understood simply in terms of logic or reason, look at how 'arguments' are done in real life Jean, you may not like it (I certainly don't), but the reality is that the sword is for many 'leaders' mightier than the pen, and the occasional insult seems to work wonders for some politicians at election time. Anyway Jean you're constantly peppering you posts with these types of arguments. You know the sort of thing I mean the: Oooooo, you must be thick insults you throw out when someone disagrees with you. Thanks for the reminder though, your superior wit and wisdom is boundless.

    I've tried to get you to understand that 'intelligence' is a very (now read this slowly) dodgy concept to use in quantitative analysis. You know this don't you Jean? Come on now admit it: yes you do. Also, you imply that 'low IQ' somehow 'causes,' or is correlated with 'consumption', and that wild 'consumption' is somehow a sign of the degradation of society. Now Jean, what do you mean by consumption? What consumption goods are you referring to here? We're all consumers Jean, even you. The thing is Jean you probably find the consumption of 'others' distasteful and yours not. I suspect that occasional academic book you buy is not, in your world, really 'consumption' is a Jean? I suspect all those people that buy the type of things you disapprove of are those you consider a little 'thick' Jean. Am I right? As for:

    'Take on board hat low IQ people can not plan or manage their lives, they behave like children. It is definitely not a good idea to discourage eugenics (i.e good family planning/breeding). Perhaps you do not understand what I am saying?'

    Wow Jean, do you really believe this rubbish? That's all it is Jean: rubbish. It doesn't take an IQ of your obvious size to understand what you're saying Jean. (I know you're going to argue I misunderstand you here Jean, but I think I understand you perfectly well) All it requires is a look into the not too distant past when advocates of this type of rubbish decided it'd be good to put it into practice on an industrial scale. You should be ashamed of yourself Jean. It's a monstrous argument made by monsters to further their own peculiar brand of the good society. I really think you overestimate your own intelligence Jean, I suspect you're more like the people you hate than you realise.

  • Comment number 29.

    'Take on board hat low IQ people can not plan or manage their lives, they behave like children. It is definitely not a good idea to discourage eugenics (i.e good family planning/breeding). Perhaps you do not understand what I am saying?'

    Goodness, this looks like what Heinrich Himmler would have said !! Superiority of the Aryan Race and all that !!

    Me, I'm a mongrel; so I presume that I'll be the first against the wall when "The New Order" comes !! Great(x times) grand uncle, Temujin, and his merry men seemed to have spread their genes far and wide; from Korea and the Pacific in the East to Austria and Poland in the West !! At least, that's *my* excuse for hankering after Beouf Tartare !! A slab of (almost) raw, juicy steak will do nicely, in a pinch !!

  • Comment number 30.

    ishkandar (#29) No, that's just anti-statist propaganda at work. It was started with a vengeanceafter WWII in order to 'democratize' Germany which had a Command Economy and to further US interests in Europe. Since then it has been used domestically to keep the free-market deregulated (see Hayek's 'The Road To Serfdom' cartoons on teh web) which is precisley what's gone critical though financial services anarchism/deregulation has it not? Think it through. All the equality guff is really clever PR about creating aspirational consumers who serve as easy money pumps/cash-cows.

    All our Human Right stuff is not what it seems. So long we think the way that we have been led to think, we have been got to in support of the markets and nothing will change. It's actually very clever post WWI Gramsci/Lukacs politics i.e. political correctness - interestingly they thought it (Cultural Marxism) would make capitalism collapse in on itself through naked greed. There are different interests at work here, some are the work of 'useful idiots' (equalities, civil rights campaigers). Just look at the consequences rather than the spin.

    Remember, there were Muslim SS units. Who hatred the Germans most? Why?

  • Comment number 31.

    I see concerns about food price inflation. And we're printing money. It's insanity, that's what it is. Inflation will be a monster in a couple of years time.

  • Comment number 32.

    subedeithemomgol # 31

    "I see concerns about food price inflation. And we're printing money. It's insanity, that's what it is. Inflation will be a monster in a couple of years time."

    You have to understand that this is the nature of government. They will do anything to keep themselves in power; anything possible to prop up the fraudulent fiat monetary system they created, and that allows them to use force against individuals. This is not about helping people - only individuals themselves can do that - it is about power, nothing more!

    "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics [government] is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

    - Thomas Sowell


  • Comment number 33.

    There is an acknowledgement by the working groups acting for G20 that the transistion period to the era of retrenched increased regulation and closer supervision could be very dangerous for national economies. Legacy debts and newer loans now going bad are worsening credit availability. Stalled securistation markets and shrinking balance sheets are having an effect which excacerbates real economy recession. If the banks now see a future where risk is bad, only those with capital or collateral of liquid nature are going to access credit. New enterprise could be choked off and sectors under severe strain snuffed out.

    Apparently, there is to be a plan to assess the transistionary stage - a sort of impact assessment. I see this as a very crucial assessment and something that needs very full airing in public.I hope Stephanie will post us on this as it develops.

    If I were a bank thinking of lending to business last Friday when reading the G20 'riot act', I would prefer to put all but the copper-bottomed schemes on hold.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have been reading JadedJean's comments on this blog for some time, with increasing fascination. I guess that she is a psychologist of some sort (educational psych probably from the frequency with which she cites the ETS site), with only a limited understanding of genetics. However, she has claimed on several occasions to be using scientific method in support of her apparently unquestioning acceptance of the somewhat bizarre IQ findings of some of her fellow (?) psychologists (eg Lynn).

    I just wonder whether she has ever considered the possibility that there are alternative explanations for the data she finds so compelling? - most obviously, though not exclusively, that the IQ scores claimed to be representative of those of different populations may not be measuring anything remotely related to basic 'intelligence' (whatever you might think that to be). It is a fairly well accepted idea in science that exceptional claims require exceptionally robust evidence to support them - and in this case not only is there evidence that tends to question the claims of Lynn et al, but those claims are difficult to reconcile with what is 'known' from fields like genetics, human evolution, and the history of human dispersal. In my opinion, of course.

    JJ has made specific claims that lead me to doubt her general thesis - for example, that intelligence is related to brain size (which I think is nonsense, if only because it ignores the relationship with body mass), and that the reason for higher levels of intelligence being found in northern Europe and Asia is that somehow it is more difficult to make a living in those environments than in warmer climes (there is little if any actual evidence for this, and in any event even on its own terms the idea seems to ignore the difficulty of living in deserts, or in the high Andes, or of navigating across thousands of miles of almost empty Pacific ocean for example).

    JJ may turn out to be right I suppose, though I have to doubt it. What really concerns me I think is her claim to be arguing scientifically, while at the same time giving the clear impression that her mind is completely closed. The two are, in my view, mutually exclusive. It is always tempting to grab at the 'obvious' and 'simple' answer or correlation - but I think it was Mencken who said that "For every complex problem there is a simple answer - and it is wrong".

  • Comment number 35.

    I see a lot of comment about the fact that most of this trillion $ was already pledged money, and is once again Brown announcing money that has yet to be spent, but already budgeted.

    It would appear that the only new money on the table was that put in by China.

    So the question I'd like to ask is "what conditions were attached"?

    I have become used to the Crash and Burn policy, but from all the glam and the glitz what is actually in the document?

  • Comment number 36.

    probablynogodIt (#34) "is a fairly well accepted idea in science that exceptional claims require exceptionally robust evidence to support them - and in this case not only is there evidence that tends to question the claims of Lynn et al, but those claims are difficult to reconcile with what is 'known' from fields like genetics, human evolution, and the history of human dispersal. In my opinion, of course."

    There's nothing wrong with healthy scientific/personal scepticism.

    I've provided references for assertions I've made here - these can be found in the archives by clicking on my name and using a skip=10 in the URL instead of 25. Some of the links to posts go back a few years under different names. I don't think there's anything controversial in what I've posted, just unfamiliar, but what I'm drawing attention to are what I see as the dire consequences of exacerbated differential fertility as a function of a) mass low skilled immigration and b) mass education of brigher females over recent decades in particular.

    As you ask, here are a couple of up of recent (6th down) summaries from Rushton and Jensen of research on 'g' and race where race is best used epidemiologically in my view. The Lynn and Vanhanen work is corroboratd by the last three OECD PISA data sets and our own KS SATs, which are in fact, by design, IQ proxies. What matters is that these are standardised, normative measures - it doesn't really matter what 'intelligence' is as science doesn't traffic in essences anymore, just relations of values of variables.

    Lynn's work was helped along via data provided by John Raven standardising his father's Progressive Matrices internationally.

    Women have smaller brains than males, and East Asians have larger brains than Europeans, who have (on average) larger brains than Blacks (see Rushton).

    The key point to focus on, I suggest, is that we can not raise IQ through education (nor can we rehabilitate offenders incidentally, and clinical treatment generally is not efficacious generally, all for the same assumed reason, genetics). We use prior academic attainment (IQ proxies (English, Maths and Science) to predict further attainment with very good reliability (0.7) in Key Stage SATs, and we have made a mess of our fertility rates. The thing to focus upon for the economic implications is, I suggest, the dramatic change to USA and European demographics (birth-rates) and educational mean attainment by ethnic group. The sad fact is that we can not shift the ordinal relation in racial attainment even if it isn't genetic. That's just an empirical fact. HeadStart didn't work, and nothing else does either. We have all tried. The genetic evidence is currently quantitative (e.g. twin studies) not molecular, but that doesn't mean intelligence isn't genetic.

    Finally, Murray's review.

    In the end, science says one thing these days, politicians and the public something at 180 degrees.

    Sad times for all in my view.... especially as Natural Language is not truth-functional.

  • Comment number 37.

    JJ

    Of course you are right that you can't raise "intelligence" by education, but there is evidence that you CAN raise IQ score by education.

    It might be the case that there are differences between the nature of "intelligence" between men and women: after all there has been sufficient time for evolution to produce such difference. But don't you ever question the racial differences that you espouse? - just for example, the Mexican average IQ is said by your sources to be about 88. But that population is very recently (in evolutionary terms) derived from a north Asian source which according to your argument is supposed to have an average IQ score >100. In this situation, don't you think that you should question the validity of your IQ data?

    I have noted that you are very keen to suggest that others should 'think about it'. Maybe you should follow your own advice?

  • Comment number 38.

    JJ

    I have been/am fascinated by "intelligence" and the studies thereof, past, present and future but don't you think that we should "Render unto Caesar..." and take this discussion to a more appropriate blog and leave this blog to a discussion of economics ??

    Perhaps you could even suggest a more appropriate blog where we could "meet" to carry on this discussion about genetics, intelligence, etc. !!

  • Comment number 39.

    probablynogod (#37) Are you sure you've taken the main point on board? This work is all premised on questioning the evdidence, that's just how it's done, and peer reviewed. It tries to falsify. That is, the questions which the educated general public ask have been asked by the professionals, that's the scientific, peer review process!

    I therefore suggest that you, and others, give some further thought to this: IF these national IQ test means are anywhere near accurate (and note, many of these national findings are corroborted by the independent international educational attainment tests run every three years by OECD PISA), and, GDP, and measurss of social/political stability are a function of mean human capital ('intelligence'), i.e most people have got the causal direction between SES and IQ wrong, then we have been making some very serious, i.e disasterous mistakes via mass immigration and education, education, education - or, put another way, those who have implemented these polices, have done more to harm this country and the USA than any terrorists or other state enemies ever did.

    And, those who keep saying that they don't believe any of it, are either a) saying that they think they know better (they never furnish any evidence alas), b) are just expressing their ignorance and are confused about that (note, beliefs are intensional idioms of propositional attitude and are hopelessly indeterminate truth-functionally/referentially), or c) are just in denial about something which is very socially destructive, and likely to be part of the problem if this has been engineered as an act of demographic warfare (rather than just cockup).

  • Comment number 40.

    ishkandar (#38) "take this discussion to a more appropriate blog and leave this blog to a discussion of economics ??"

    One of the reasons for posting this material here is precisely because it is directly relevant to economics, but that conventional, environmentalist economics (tacitly Trotskyite, believe it or not, especially in the Chicago/Austrian Trot/neocon guise, where the founders fled Germany in the 1930s) is totally misguided as it just ignores all of this. Behavioural Economics does not - either in its Operant guise of Herrnstein, Chung and Rachlin etc, or in the IQ domain proper which is known within as The London School (Galton Institute/Eugenics Society). Both the Operant work and the London School has all been vilified for decades for Trotskyite/Gramsciite politically subversive reasons in my view, and to all our cost. When Stephanie (the footage may still be available on the Newsnight archive) covered IQ some ago for Newsnight (it had been aired on the Newsnight blog for some time before hand please note), she didn't interview the right people in my view. Instead, she interviewed Flynn and Mackintosh! She may as well have interviewed Kamin, Lewontin, Rose and Gould (see Rushton's review of Gould) ;-)

    We all have to do our little bit, as best we can, in order to set this crooked balance straight.... Look a the papers, judge for yourself on teh basis of the evidence, and don't be foxed by one of teh biggest cons of the C20th, i.e Null Hypothesis statistical testing, as the Null Hypothesis is always false (Meehl) look to 'Effect Size' instead or population descriptive statistics (UK and USA SATs).

  • Comment number 41.

    DegradedGenes:

    '(note, beliefs are intensional idioms of propositional attitude and are hopelessly indeterminate truth-functionally/referentially'

    Oh my God Jadedjean do you ever review what you write? Do you ever stand back and think about how utterly degraded this style of pretentious abstract claptrap is? I thought we'd dispensed with this type of thing when all those postmodern fraudsters were lampooned years ago. You sure do like to parade your flair for the incomprehensible don't you Jean? Keep it up though there's some good comedy material in here.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Oh my God Jadedjean do you ever review what you write? Do you ever stand back and think about how utterly degraded this style of pretentious abstract claptrap is?

    Revealing.

    Have you ever hear of him?

    You need to give some further thought to what you find incomprehensible/abstract and why, instead of just glorying in it, as it just makes you look very very silly.

  • Comment number 43.

    Erratum "Have you ever hear of him? = "Have you ever heard of him?"

    Just in case anyone has a problem with reading (which is also intenSional incidentally - note the S) which is quite an insue when it comes to reporting and spinning/deceiving please note....

    Teacher:"Sine = opposite over hypotenuse"
    Child:"I disagree miss, I think that it's opposite over adjacent!"
    Teacher: "You're wrong. First, you don't know how to use the word 'agree' properly, and secondly, one day, when you are older, and hopefully wiser, you might learn what's wrong with the intensional verbs of propositional attitude like 'think that' too.... but that is unlikely to happen unless you learn to do as you are told by your betters!

  • Comment number 44.

    "the G20 summit, world leaders got together and promised to do no harm"

    Tra-la-la-la-la.
    "It seems to me, I've heard that song before. It's from an old familiar score...."

    With the possible exception of Barack Obama (he was a United States Senator for 3 years and I don't recall him having any special accument in economic policy and issuing any dire warnings) all of the leaders who promised to do no harm are the same people who helped bring about the catastrophe in the first place. A leopard does not change his spots and these "Rubes" will not smarten up in our lifetimes. They are clueless to how to solve the disaster they in part engineered. It is far more difficult to contain the results of an explosion than to prevent one. Do no more harm? And that's if you even believe half of the nonsense they spouted.

  • Comment number 45.

    Stephanie,

    " A good place to start" is an interesting title suggesting that the world is now getting itself into gear. It was only when I read a speech by Sir Andrew Large that I realised that the G20 are very late arriving.Sir Andrew, to his great credit, was there first.

    Who is Sir Andrew Large? He was the deputy governor of the Bank of England responsible for financial stability. What speech am I referring to? " Managing Liquidity Risk in a Global System" 14th City of London Central Banking and Regulatory Conference 28 November 2005 deliverd at te National Liberal Club.It was his parting shot on retiring. I invite all your bloggers to have a quick read of it on the BoE website as well as the contemporary research on impairments to bank loan supplies in systemic financial recessions.

    Lets find out on whose policy maker's desk did this speech find itself and what he did with it !

  • Comment number 46.

    In the research about relationships between IQ and economic growth, I presume it is average IQ which has been used.

    I wonder if the average is the right attribute to use or whether the disperion around the average would be better or the number of outriders at the top end.

    After all, people like Einstein, Stalin or Bill Gates may have a disproportionate impact (plus or minus) on economies but make little or no difference to the average IQ.

  • Comment number 47.

    shireblogger (#45) But what is the point? We know from advice from The Treasury and from correspondence between Blair and the FSA (see Paul Mason's blog a while back) that there was clear instruction to let the Financial Service sector (and much else besides) effectively police itself in the interest of 'economic growth' (read another bubble) at the public's expense as it would be their assets which would be pilfered as asset prices ultimately crashed. My bet is that this was to finance PPP/PFI and make others in he loop rich on the side too. I sugest thatt's why the public is now being used to bail the banks out. The subterfuge was to make the public think that this bail-out was to get lending to them up and running again, when in fact it's lending to the corporate sharks who were to profit massively from PFI at the public's expense.

    Or, are we to believe that the banks were all happily lending to them all along?...

    I fear we are being duped.

  • Comment number 48.

    # Jaded Jean " But what is the point?.."

    " Third, moving from the trade bloc era to the era of Global Europe requires a long term commitment to regulatory reform that balances the need to lessen the burden of regulation and enhance our flexibility while still ensuring high standards. In Britain I am determined that we not only impose a competitiveness test to all new regulations but pioneer a risk based approach to regulation - no inspection without justification, no form filling without justification, and no information requirements without justification." Gordon Brown Mansion House Speech Summer 2005.

    We are all entitled to be cynical but dont let that act as a fig-leaf to hide the policy-maker's responsibility for this massive disaster. I dont agree that everything was left to the banks with a closed eye. No-one said that systemic risks should be ignored in pursuance of competition. No-one said to BoE or FSA " ignore systemic risks when regulating".No-one said to regulators " compromise high standards in favour of irresponsible risk-taking which could bring the system down". Above all, no-one elected politicians to ignore warnings to the system given by significant and well-paid financial stability grandees who were running up the red flag.

    Public inquiry, please.





  • Comment number 49.

    I just read this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7984014.stm

    "The downturn since last autumn has been far deeper than people expected in any part of the world," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

    He should get a kick in the teeth for that comment.

    Thankfully the journalist's title for the final paragraph is 'By definition an idiot' (at the time of writing this blog post). Nice one.

  • Comment number 50.

    The G20 getting the IMF to sell some of its gold is a diversionary play to temporarily hide the impact of their "printing money" strategy.

    Worth reading this article and check out the graph at the bottom

    http://mises.org/story/3390

  • Comment number 51.

    FrankSz (#49) It's galling isn't it? They go on TV all po-faced telling us that they never saw it coming, that the consequences were far worse than anyone thought ad nauseam, and we're supposed to sympathetically mutter "oh well, it can't be helped, governing the country must be very difficult - don't worry, have a go anyway", when really, it should be pretty clear that New Labour really are a bunch of market-serving Trots/anarchists and always have been.

    What hope is there when they're on both sides of the Atlantic? If they're not wrecking our countries at home, they're busy wrecking those of evil-doing statist others always in pursuit of freedom and democracy (i.e. developable markets). They've now got themselves a new front-man who this time appeals to minority groups (very democratic) and with family backgrounds in Civil Rights law this makes him all but invulnerable.

    Watch this very nasty space.

  • Comment number 52.

    Now don't be naughty JadedJean. We both know it's not me that is glorying in abstraction don't we? I bet you're a real scream in a seminar Jean. I can see you now whipping those poor undergraduates into line with an endless series of abstract twaddle. I know how it feels Jean, I did it once, until I realised that no one had the right to impose unnecessary suffering on another human being. But there we go, what is to be done about the folly of pretentious prose: the endless sleep inducing wordiness that infects much of UK academia (yuk!).

  • Comment number 53.

    JadedJean:

    My questions for you JadedJean are this: What will your role be in your new world order, and what must be done to achieve it? Give me some concrete answers as to what you think 'we' need to do to put things right(as you see it). Never mind all these citations, what do you think needs to be done? Come on, spill the beans.

  • Comment number 54.

    doctor-gloom (#53) "What will your role be in your new world order, and what must be done to achieve it? Give me some concrete answers as to what you think 'we' need to do to put things right(as you see it)."

    I've done this before elsewhere in the Newsnight blog, but, in brief we need to repeal much of the politically correct 'equalities' legislation that we've passed ove the past four decades and redraft it to reduce the extent to which it is abused. We urgently need to return Higher Education to where it was in the 60s at the latest, i.e where about 5% of the population went to university (tere are implications here for schooling generally). We need to re-learn a thing or two from Muslims and Orthodox Jews about sex-roles in order to sort out our TFRs and dysgenic/differential fertility which is going to destroy us unless we do something very soon. We need a written constitution which is closer to the Democratic-Centralist PRC's rather than that of the USA, i.e. with more emphasis on duties than rights. We need to get out of the EU Lisbon Treaty.

    To do any of this we'd need to rebuild our Civil Service which has been all but destroyed like Higher education since Thatcher's lot took power in 1979.

    How's that for a start?

    Oh, and you'll be off to the GULAG for 're-eduction' ;-)

  • Comment number 55.

    54 jadedgene

    Now why did I think that you would think you have the answers and that it would involve the err management of others.

  • Comment number 56.

    glanafon (#55) "Now why did I think that you would think you have the answers and that it would involve the err management of others."

    Perhaps you'd picked up on the theme that anarchism isn't an effective form of government/management?

  • Comment number 57.

    56 JG

    Anarchism can never work because there is no anarchistic collective, they cannot agree. QED

  • Comment number 58.

    glanafon,

    We've had this conversation before but in the light of the above postings I believe that it may be useful to others to re-state it.

    As this depression gets worse there is a grave danger of social unrest and the rise of far right groups who will offer 'solutions'. These solutions would not be anarchistic in nature they will in essence be fascist. These 'solutions' may appear benign at first, they may even produce results, but they will eventually lead to disaster.

    JJ has produced references to a large number of facts. They may be facts in themselves but they are not the full story and therefore to develop strategy based solely upon them is aslo a reciepe for disaster. I too deplore the reults of the feminisation of education - coursework against exams, non-competitive education, everybody succeeding to the level of their ability (people do fail!) Have educational standards been dunbed-down? In my opinion they have. However, the top 5% (so beloved by JJ) are still well catered for. Therefore, I would suggest that the majority have a wider and fuller education than previously.

    Since the Agarian Revolution, a large part of the male workforce have been able to take pride in their physical work performance. Such attributes are no longer prized in UK society or in the economy. This I believe is the major downfall of our society. We have a large male stock who have no means of maximising their attributes. If we truly want to build a new economy then we must find a way of employing these resources usefully.

    You accused me of being blinded by what I wanted to see happen in repect of protectionism. You may be right. However, I firmly believe that we MUST build a beter economic system and look upon the present fiasco as a major opportunity to do so. Merely re-building what has been will both bankrupt us and lead to future disasters.

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 "Anarchism can never work because there is no anarchistic collective, they cannot agree. QED"

    An "anarchistic collective" is an oxymoron !! Anarchists, by definition, cannot work within rules. Therefore, they cannot form collectives. If they do, then they are, by definition, no longer anarchists.

    The government of the PRC used to be communist. but, having discovered that that form of government is not very practical, they have moved, slowly but surely, towards a form of paternalism that was inherent in the Chinese culture for the last 2,500 years. They are trying to develop a Confucianism. In effect, they are trying to develop a gigantic Singapore !! Evidence of this had already abound when they encouraged the study of Confucianism after it had been reviled during the Cultural Revolution (just goes to show how bankrupt those concepts were)!! However, one no so surprising development recently is their decreeing that "Chingming" or the "tomb cleaning festival" be declared a public holiday !! This festival had been practiced for thousands of years but had been banned by the communists because it focused the devotion of the "people" from the State to the family. With the peasants getting revolting, the Chinese government discovered that public holidays and traditional festivals are cheaper than revolutions !!

    What relevance has this got to do with economics, you may ask ?? And the answer is that this form of paternalism also preaches *savings* !! This form of thriftiness is what has given China a huge edge in this current economic crisis. However, Confucianism is not just practiced in China but throughout much of East Asia. Hence the resilience of the East Asian economies.

    During the last Davos meeting, when the recession was starting to bite, the American delegates were pressing the Chinese delegate to make his people spend more to "save" the world economy. The Chinese delegate replied, "The Chinese people like to save *today's* spending for *tomorrow*. The American people like to spend *tomorrow's* savings *today* !! Therefore, it is culturally very difficult to make the Chinese people spend more than they need to !!" The whole meeting cracked up laughing !!

    Since Western democracy seems to have failed because it encourages short-termism, perhaps paternalist-democracy is the way forward. It hasn't done Japan or Singapore any harm so far !! And both of them have a far higher standard of living than Britain !! They enjoy a higher average lifespan and they don't have any MRSA or C-diff bugs lurking in their hospitals, too !! :-)

  • Comment number 60.



    "paternalist-democracy" does not have a very good track record in European terms.

    Both Japan and Singapore are presently experiencing severe problms of their own at the moment.

    Instead of looking elsewhere for answers, would it not be better to develop a model that fits our own history and culture?

  • Comment number 61.

    JJ

    Re: Israel. In all probability it will be Israel that comes out being the bad guy. Popular support for Israel is waning and it would take just a small media shove to make it the bad-boy of the middle east. In my opinion.

    In a roundabout way though this situation with the hardline nuts in Israel isn't going to go away until oil is decoupled from the USD.



  • Comment number 62.

    A reminder: the constitution of the PRC - the basis of Chinese law - it's worth reading critically all the way through and contrasting it wit the USA's Neo-Liberal rights based constitution.

    The PRC's neo-Stalinist constitution is the window through which one must observe what China does and does not do both domestically and internationally. To the best of my knowledge, laws can not be passed and actions taken which are unconstitutional. One might also look at this with Old Labour (and our Civil Service as it once was) in mind as Old Labour aimed for much the same system, only through parliamentary reform. That clearly had nothing to do with Trotskyite/Anarchistic/Neocon New Labour which is individualism incarnante and in order to undermine the status quo, a strategy which, in my view, continues a pathological pursuit of narcissistic self-interest and anti-statism (and 'family'), as championed both overtly and surreptitiously by Thatcherism-Josephism.

  • Comment number 63.

    #60 "Both Japan and Singapore are presently experiencing severe problms of their own at the moment."

    True but name me one country that does not have problems nowadays !! It is the depth of those problems and their possible solutions that really matter.

    In Britain, "The Best Car of the Year" and "The Best Selling Car of the Year" for many years was a Nissan made in Sunderland by a rather paternalistic company. The workers there were and still are British. It claims to be the "largest car manufacturer in the UK for the last ten years" !! So paternalism can work in Britain !!

    The per capita knife ownership in Singapore is as high, if not higher, than in Britain but people walk the streets of Singapore at night without fear of knife crimes !! And they don't have kiddies tortured to death like the Baby P case, either. The family or clan will mobilise instantly against any such attempts in case the perpetrators brought shame to the family/clan with such unseemly actions !! The "family unit" barely exist in Britain anymore !! Surely it must be classified as "in extreme danger of extinction" !!

    BTW, no amount of rhetoric, political, academic or otherwise, matters when the tummy is growling. The Lord's Prayer did not say "give us this day our daily rhetoric" !! Food on the table and mutual support is what will survive this recession. And understanding and acceptance of different views and strengths and weaknesses will make for a stronger whole !! The "us vs them" are always trotted out by those without any real answers.

    So can we agree to disagree and get on with the economics ??

  • Comment number 64.

    59 ishkandar

    ''An "anarchistic collective" is an oxymoron !! Anarchists, by definition, cannot work within rules. Therefore, they cannot form collectives. If they do, then they are, by definition, no longer anarchists.''

    It does not matter what the activist is proposing if there is no common ground then there is no point. It does not matter which extreme of the political agenda there is it is doomed. Anarchists have a history of not agreeing so they are pointless. Anarchists appear to be one of the most unsuccesful models. They appear doomed by concept. Dictatorships are far more likely to succeed. Therefore dictatorships are more dangerous than anarchists.

    The problem I would suggest is that in this country, and it is likely in other countries as well, we have in practice a bipolar political system. A two party state. They only way I can see that being broken is by PR, and why should anybody in government in a bipolar state vote for that. The only escape from short termism is the possibility of digital democracy pushing policy into the longer term. That is why I support it as a tool.

    You refer to the China model. I do not know it in detail but what I see of it is clearly abusive. I agree the centralised planning role and pushing decisions through without discussion is very effective. I do not see it as paternal. That is not to say that all of China is bad. The future environmental security of the planet lies with China and India and it does not look too brilliant a present.

    58. foredeckdave

    ''As this depression gets worse there is a grave danger of social unrest and the rise of far right groups who will offer 'solutions'. These solutions would not be anarchistic in nature they will in essence be fascist. These 'solutions' may appear benign at first, they may even produce results, but they will eventually lead to disaster.''

    dr dave - Agree. However we already have many effectively fascist policies increasingly in place eg surveilance. Not many seem to be objecting which is worrying. There are say several thousand, say 3000 possible terrorists. They are almost certainly outnumbered by the number of personnel working in an antiterror mode. Each already has a shadow. But what is the proposed solution - to monitor closely 70 odd million people. Does that not sound a bit odd to you.

    ''JJ has produced references to a large number of facts. They may be facts in themselves but they are not the full story and therefore to develop strategy based solely upon them is aslo a reciepe for disaster. I too deplore the reults of the feminisation of education - coursework against exams, non-competitive education, everybody succeeding to the level of their ability (people do fail!) Have educational standards been dunbed-down? In my opinion they have. However, the top 5% (so beloved by JJ) are still well catered for. Therefore, I would suggest that the majority have a wider and fuller education than previously.''

    Do not agree. I support women being able to do what they want. I support the widespread education model, however I do not believe it is funded properly and differential funding is needed to encourage study in subjects needed in the economy. Bursaries funded by those sectors, deducted at source. I do not agree Jadedgenes so called facts. Apart form anything else I have not looked at the reseach methods. I also do not see how the facts, even if they are correct, take anybody forward. If an ethnic group, say the English, as I am English nobody can object to that idea, are found to be less intelligent than other groups how does that help. Actually you could argue that being less intelligent may be a good idea, no nukes, no clever bankers. I cannot find any positive aspect of Jadedgenes posts. The Roman Empire has had its day.

    ''Since the Agarian Revolution, a large part of the male workforce have been able to take pride in their physical work performance. Such attributes are no longer prized in UK society or in the economy. This I believe is the major downfall of our society. We have a large male stock who have no means of maximising their attributes. If we truly want to build a new economy then we must find a way of employing these resources usefully.''

    I didnt know Agar had revolted : ) and Palladian times are not due again if they ever existed : ( . Sadly I do not agree again. Women appear to be better suited to teamwork, better at networking, better at academia as teenagers, less confrontational. They are the way they are as a result of natural selection. Man's greatest acheivement. If men have a problem then it is men who must adapt. In case you are wondering I can confirm I am a man.

    Protectionism. We seem to have a great deal of it at the moment. Low currency value acts as a trade barrier. Stimulus packages act locally. Multinationals retreat to home. The 3rd world is due very servere problems as a result. Social unrest is likely there and could be major. I oppose protectionism. Protectionism is designed to stall trade, to be introspective, and not to share the burden, which has been generated in the West.

    ''As this depression gets worse''

    This could be the natural state of a war free, bubble free economy. It should be regarded as a healthy baseline. There is no reason that activity cannot adapt to this environment. The main reason that there is a problem is because too many believed this state could not occur. Long term debt was sought on a short term cycle. What I am surprised at is that the events of the early nineties, and the eighties, and the seventies, was forgotten so quickly.

    So dr dave we do not agree again, even though I applaud your intent. Sad.

  • Comment number 65.

    Well Jadedjean, too much planning in there for me I'm afraid (never really trusted planners especially planners doing large scale planning). As for going to the gulag for re-education, well, somehow I think you'll be joining me there if your new world order ever emerges. One thing to come out of all this though, is that your blogging style is improving. Now all you have to do is apply what you're learning from doing a bit of blogging to your more 'academic' work. Do this and the world will be yours for the taking. Hey, if your 'project' fails how about setting up your own religion? What do you think? It could work you know, all it would take is a little imagination, the right clothes and some faraway place out there in the sticks. Hell, I may even join you there.

  • Comment number 66.

    #64 "Low currency value acts as a trade barrier."

    Have you thought about the fact that high currency value is a figment of someone's imagination !! If the Chinese and the Japanese dump their $ debts, the US$ will devalue to parity with the Chinese Yuan !! And watch this space as Our Glorious Leader quantitatively ease the quid to the same parity !! So it is the over-valued currencies that are the true barriers to trade !!

    That is why I am all in favour of one standard international measure of of value - perhaps the SDRs !! It used to be gold but the West abandoned that ages ago !! Many of the science fiction books I have read postulated a measure of currency as a "unit of work performed" but that is still fiction !! Perhaps it could even be the "price of one Big Mac" !! :-)

  • Comment number 67.

    glanafon (#64) "I support women being able to do what they want".

    Then you have been well conditioned. Nobody can just do what they want, so no group can just do as they want. Females have been used for decades to subvert via their greater natural narcissism. Just watch TV today and the extent of celebritism as the positive form of the ad hominem at a pandemic level. Give this some thought in conjunction with Liberal-Democracies' chronically low TFRs as a sign of biological unfitness. Letting women do what they want leads to dysgenesis, I have explined the modus operandi. You may be surprised at how many intelligent women will agree with/promulgate, this analysis....

    "I support the widespread education model, however I do not believe it is funded properly and differential funding is needed to encourage study in subjects needed in the economy."

    This appears premsied on the mistaken assumption that education is an inculcative ('bucket-filling') rather tan selective ('searchlight directing') process. I repeat, we have no evidence that we can raise IQ through education, we have no evidence that we can create skills de novo rather than shape/reinforce behaviours being expressed genetically as Operant Levels.

    "I do not agree Jadedgenes so called facts. Apart form anything else I have not looked at the reseach methods."

    This means you do not understand, i.e are not familiar with, the facts. You need to acknowledge that clealry to yourself before thinking any further down the lines you are going, as your tacit assumptions may be (I assert are) currently false. Only you can follow the links to the research. I have provided them for you. In the meantime, please do not say that you disagree with the 'so called facts', as you are really just telling us that that you are unaware of them and are unable to rationally follow the logical basis for what I say based upon them. 'Beliefs', 'thoughts', 'understanding' and other psychological verbs, are all intensional idioms of propositional attitude. These are not used in descriptive or explanatory positions in behavioural science.

    "I also do not see how the facts, even if they are correct, take anybody forward."

    That is because you would have to be familiar with those facts in order to follow the logic. You are presently just describing your current psychological state of ignorance and invalidly arguing from ignorance. I'll spare you the Latin.

    "If an ethnic group, say the English, as I am English nobody can object to that idea, are found to be less intelligent than other groups how does that help."

    It predicts something in the context of competition and with respect to providing and sustaining infratructure, i.e social support. This is an empirical matter. See Lynn and Vanhanen.

    "Actually you could argue that being less intelligent may be a good idea, no nukes, no clever bankers. I cannot find any positive aspect of Jadedgenes posts. The Roman Empire has had its day."

    The Roman Empire probably collapsed through dysgenesis. This is not a good thing to advocate. It is never a good idea to argue for stupidity.

    Darwin, Galton, Fisher, Pearson, Spearman and many others began the London School, also known as the Eugenics Society, laying the foundations of the science of individual differences or diversity. At one time this was coterminous with the applied profession of psychology and genetics. This changed through political subversion after WWII. The facts have not changed, education has just been corrupted politically. I suggest you follow some of the links and do not presume that you are in a better postion to judge the scientific metholodology than those who have already peer reviewed the published work. I am telling you that something a little sinister/dysgenic has been going on, and that 1930s Germany (see the post war Collective Guilt Campaign by allied PsyOps), like the vilification of post Trotskyite USSR (bar the 1941-45 period), Iran since 1979, N Korea since the formal end to hostilities in the region, have been formulaically negatively spun along with other allegedly evil statist regimes, in an Orwellian/Necessary Illusions manner in order to reinforce Austrian/Chicago School economic anarchism which has kept the Neo-Liberal, albeit dysgenic, free-market system running domestically in a state of permanannet revolution.

  • Comment number 68.

    As I understand it the chinese and japanese have so much money tied up in the usa that they have a problem. They cannot easily do anything adverse to those currencies or they see a massive fall in the value of their funds in those countries which cannot be extracted overnight. Any movement induced by them will likely have to be on a taper. A low currency makes exports more attractive, as the french have complained so bitterly about the GBP. Meanwhile imports become more expensive here so reduce. A high value currency damages any country. The high pound induced massive imports, helped destroy home production and led us here. The worst damage occurred in a period of only 5 Brown years, thats all. That is how quickly it acts when exacerbated by global idiots. Low currency values are nearer to protectionism without breaking any trade regs. That is why the GBP is where it is. Any country with a high currency value is welcome to it at the moment. The whole issue is about imbalance and the chinese have helped pauper their customer base. The chinese authorities seem to believe there is a them and us rather than a continum. There will be kickback about the import issue and the ethics in china with western customers. We are hearing it already, some will not buy from that source. Some will not buy from the usa due to aversion to usa policies. The chinese in particular at present do not interface with the rest of the world well. They will be at their most dangerous when the learn to. However - If they do not get to grips with the environmental problems they will be avoided progressively more and more by western consumers.

  • Comment number 69.

    Stephanie, will you marry me?

  • Comment number 70.

    67 jadedgene

    I am totally uninterested in the hypothesis that IQ can or cannot be correlated to race or whatever. Or that sex should limit what role you can undertake etc etc. You will have to accept that I am not interested in a monologue on the subject. I have however noted that it has been reported today on this website that Russia has a population problem, have you considered offering your services to them. If they are not interested then perhaps you should reconsider how attractive your propositions are. After all the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I am not going to employ your ideas.

  • Comment number 71.

    66. ishkandar

    My post 68 was in response to your post 66, just to clarify.

  • Comment number 72.

    #67 "we have no evidence that we can raise IQ through education"

    So you keep on repeating. What do you make of this report then?

    Taxi drivers' brains 'grow' on the job

    As a teacher, I was never interested in improving someone's IQ, I was and am interested in teaching them useful skills and enriching their lives. Also, in helping those with difficult lives to have better ones.


    It seems to me, that the way you use language on these blogs is more to bully and coerce rather than to communicate ideas.

    Did you enjoy your imaginary victory over an unworthy opponent in post #43? You would have alienated your imaginary child and the rest of the class for good. In my considerable experience, a little kindness and tolerance, as well as firmness where necessary, is a much more effective strategy than using cheap and cruel put-downs.

  • Comment number 73.

    glanafon (#70) "I am totally uninterested in..

    Most probablr translation:"I am unfamiliar with all of that and as I don't like the sound of it, I'm rejecting it without looking into it in case it's true and I'd have to change my core assumptions.."

    "I have however noted that it has been reported today on this website that Russia has a population problem, have you considered offering your services to them.

    It is the same (very low TFRs) throughout Easstern Europe. This is the true cost of Liberal-Democracy I suggest. It's not much better in Central and Western Europe, hence the high (20 million) level of immigration from Africa and S. Asia planned by Mr Frattini of the EU.

    "If they are not interested then perhaps you should reconsider how attractive your propositions are. After all the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I am not going to employ your ideas."

    As the smoker, being warned of what he was doing to himself, said to tbe oncologist.

    Since when has the proof of anything been subjective? Instead, there lies the core of prejudice and bigotry I suggest. Teh Russians trie doffering them fridges to have babies. The Singaporeans tried tax incentives. It doesn't work.

    Like so many, you appear not to like being told things that you do not already believe true or find appealing. Th is, I suggest, in part neo-phobia, an innate Uncoditional Response which needs to subside for behavioural plasticity ever to occur) and part a reinforcment bias we all suffer from. However, you appear to resent being advised what to do too...

    Are you a closet anarchist who does not know it I ask? ;-)

  • Comment number 74.

    "In my considerable experience, a little kindness and tolerance, as well as firmness where necessary, is a much more effective strategy than using cheap and cruel put-downs"

    I suggest you need to re-read what was written as it was factual and educational. Peole tell terrible lies and do lots of hrm whilst making out that they are very caring people you know. Most are selling snake-oil. Most teachers spend their time mainly as child-minders.

    As to the taxi-driver stuff, you appear to believe any old rubbish - what has that got to do with 'g'? Have you ever asked why NFER CATs and Key Stage 2 SATs are so good at predicting KS3 and KS4 performance?

    As to your extensive educational experience, it just doesn't tally with HeadStart, SureStart, Aiming High, SEAL or any 'enrichment' research that I, or anyone else knows of, so what exactly is this experience that you put so much store by? I suggest you need to look carefully at the evidence and your own personal judgement. I'm telling you as it is. Most in the educational (and other helping, as well as economic) professions are unwitting Lysenkoists, and what they believe is contrary to what all the evidence shows. Just because you beleive something doe snot mean it' true (see #43 for a reminder).

    I'm telling you something substantial here. I therefore suggest you try to take it in. Look into the Contextual Value Added (CVA) Model and try to learn about multicollinearity which I suggest is being used to hide a multitude of sins, including, to get us back to economics and the 'credit crunch and downturn'.... PFI and BFS profiteering.

  • Comment number 75.

    73 Jaded gene

    ''Like so many, you appear not to like being told things that you do not already believe true or find appealing. Th is, I suggest, in part neo-phobia, an innate Uncoditional Response which needs to subside for behavioural plasticity ever to occur) and part a reinforcment bias we all suffer from. However, you appear to resent being advised what to do too...''

    No, nothing to do with that. There is no point in your hypothesis because you have no apparent solution to offer other than the 'management' of people. We somebody postulates that they are superior in their understanding and that people need to be controlled for their own good I switch off.

    I am not an anarchist closet or otherwise because I recognise government is an necessary device. All I am interested in is improving the longterm feedback loop on short term government and as I have previously posted two way communication, ie digital democracy is the likeliest tool for the job.

    I have never proposed education improves IQ or otherwise. I support education because I believe it improves opportunity and capability.

    Your hypothesis is far too one dimensional for my liking.

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    glanafon (#75) "..you have no apparent solution to offer other than the 'management' of people."

    Isn't that co-extensive with governance? The pre-requisite for sound Behavior Management is sound Behaviouir Analysis (see Skinner's - 'Beyond Freedom and Dignity' or if really bold here) and Herrnstein and Murray's 'Satanic' The Bell Curve (1994).

    "W[h]e[n] somebody postulates that they are superior in their understanding and that people need to be controlled for their own good I switch off."

    Do you do that when you go to to see a doctor? What were you like when being educated? How did you ever learn from anyone else do you think?

    Natural Language words are highly indeterminate - words like 'superior' are widely misused.

    Unless you're a mythical higher-being you won't have 100% self-awareness, i.e 100% insight into your own behaviour (in fact, most humans seem to have very little). Be grateful for whatever helpful feedback other people provide in life..especially when it's for free ;-)

  • Comment number 78.

    77 jade gene

    No Thanks. Goodbye.

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    glanafon (#75) "Your hypothesis is far too one dimensional for my liking."

    OK, I know this won't go down well, but plug in heritability of socially devastating Axis II, Cluster B Personality Disorders which appear to be incorrigible too if you want another dimension. I could add a few more dimensions but that wouldn't cheer you up. This is what those at the coal-faces are having to deal with though, and the cost is an increasingly high rate of burn-out. To reverse that we have to face up to what's been driving these problems, and that's what I've been trying to highlight.

    This has been getting worse, as many of our liberal-minded teachers care more and more about kids and their 'feelings'....

    Switching off isn't the answer. In fact, it's sadly characteristic of Neo-Liberal anarchism. But don't take my jaded word for any of it, just look at the evidence. The crime rate has been going up ever since the end of WWII.

  • Comment number 81.

    63 ishkandar

    I don't think that we are disagreeing, at least my comments were not meant to amke it so.

    What I was trying to say was that whilst we should rightly look to other models which appear successful and learn from them, we should ALSO attempt to develop a model that has a closer fit to our culture and experience. There was no intent to be superior or whatever.

    It is interesting that you chose Nissan as a corporate model. The change in Japanese company culture over the last 30 years has been quite staggering. Originally companies like Sony tried to export their strict Japanese model and failed. They learnt that different cultures would not accept all of their corporate style e.g. morning exercise and corprate songs. However, they did insist on retaining their cell responsibility structures and management style - UK workers in particular looked kindly upon the demise of sperate executive and management dinning rooms! Sony encapsulated this in their corporate statement "think globally, act locally". Some of the 'foreign' influences have travelled back to Japan e.g. the demise in Japan of the job for life and comapny man.

    Whilst there are still ensential differences, some of the policies now employed in the UK remind me of the 'parental' attitude displayed by better UK employers between 1930 and 1960 e.g. Glaxo, ICI, Unilever, Cadbury, Rowntree.

    So, to encapsulate, I am with you in looking outward to whereever we can find good practice and then bringing it home to adapt to our cuture. Hope that explains.

    Now back to the economics....

    glanafon

    I'm not against females maximising their abilities or opprtunities in any way. My argument is that, education for the male portion of the school population has been badly effected by the wholesale adoption of 'female' philosophies and practices. You point to a greater propensity for teamwork in females and you may be right in general. However, when females are placed in management roles, experience to date suggests that they tend to polarise and become drivers or mothers - both styles can be very counter-productive.

    The argument that men should change is a fallicy. There is no need, unless you wish a matriarchy, for that to happen. What we need is for opportunity in education and employment wherein both sexes can develop and demonstarte their differing skills.

    However, nice to see you back again mate!

  • Comment number 82.

    #68 "The whole issue is about imbalance and the chinese have helped pauper their customer base. The chinese authorities seem to believe there is a them and us rather than a continum."

    Actually the Chinese are very willing to spend their dollars but the West keeps blocking their purchases. So it is the West that causes the imbalance and then turn it around and blame the Chinese. Fact: the Chinese attempt to buy the American oil company was blocked at Congress level even though both parties have agreed that it was a good and fair deal. Fact: The Aussies are still trying to block the Chinese purchase of a Anglo-Aussie mining company !! Fact: American IT companies are banned from selling anything of reasonable high tech to the Chinese !!

    They are raising the same racist fears as they did in the 80s when the Japanese went on a buying spree around the world. The "Yellow Peril" myth rides again !!

    It takes two or more parties to make a deal. If the Chinese are willing to buy and have put the money on the table, who is not completing the deal ??

    "However - If they do not get to grips with the environmental problems they will be avoided progressively more and more by western consumers."

    They are getting to grips with the environmental issues. Firstly, by importing less of it through not making and exporting so many polluting products to the West. Secondly, by making "involuntary ancestors" of all corrupt government and/or company officials who breach their environmental and health laws. The Sanlu milk scandal is a good case in point. Many of the people involved received heavy punishment(s) for their part in it !! Thirdly, they have takes 30 years to reach this point that have taken the West 100 years to achieve (asbestos in housing, Bhopal chemical explosion, Three Mile Island). Finally China is re-foresting at a greater rate than the rest of the world. American forests are still shrinking. Britain's forests disappeared centuries ago and there is no sign of large scale re-forestation !!

    To summarise, when the western consumers start avoiding Chinese and other East Asian goods, they are, in effect, re-importing their own environmental pollution !! They will also re-import their inflation !! A double whammy, if ever there was one !!

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 "What I was trying to say was that whilst we should rightly look to other models which appear successful and learn from them, we should ALSO attempt to develop a model that has a closer fit to our culture and experience. There was no intent to be superior or whatever."

    I agree that there is no one-size-fits-all model and that every form or system of economics can still learn from other forms or systems. No one form or system has God's truth written in words of fire on tablets of stone !! All good systems should be ever-evolving to fit ever-changing circumstances. Call it economic Darwinism in action !! Evolve or die !! This probable fits in with your next paragraphs !!

    Finally, "However, nice to see you back again mate!" does not stop this blog from classifying him as a new member !! :-)

  • Comment number 84.

    Jadedjean, You have to stop talking down to your fellow bloggers. If you want to write a thesis do so. But give us all a break. Is it possible for you to discuss things without jumping into these long painful citations? Just say it like it is. Good lord the moderators must be going nuts with all this stuff. Think about them, they have to read this stuff too you know. Just accept that many of us simply don't share your views and regard your appeal to the so called 'facts' as a 'fiction', which you use to press home your peculiar version of the 'great conspiracy'.

  • Comment number 85.

    JJ

    I am very glad that political correctness is dying a death and I commend your efforts towards that. I also think it is great that the web offers such opportunities to take advantage of someone else's popularity (or ability to mass produce messages to the public) to dissipate one's message. I think your message is profound and important and well worthy of being disseminated to the maximum possible effect. My recommendation, for what it is worth, is simply to repeat and reiterate the same basic core message as much as possible. Education should follow.

    Everyone else

    This is going to be hell for most of you. You find yourselves in an awful dillema: should you beg your leaders for stronger leadership or should you give up your lives to chaos in the name of market fundamentalism? You look at your children and they look at you in the hope you will be able to provide for them, and you begin to understand what leadership means. They look at you in the same way as you begin to look at Gordon Brown. Suddenly, you don't like the idea of being a leader, and you start to feel sympathetic towards people like Brown. Would you like his job? Could you do it? Could you handle the responsibility of a million starving unemployed?Feed them with hope because food was shortcoming? You all begin to understand slowly why the authoritarians were right all along...

  • Comment number 86.

    #84 DcGloom

    Who cares about the moderators?

    Let them simply ban the ideas they don't like!

    Let them simply announce finally that people who are TOO VOCAL should not be allowed to disseminate their ideas!

  • Comment number 87.

    82 ishkander

    Selling loads of tat and rubbish (which appears to be the majority of imports) that falls appart and go to landfill asap and then wanting to buy sound major industries in the west with the money is hardly a fair swop. I'm not surprised it is objected to. Tell me can anybody just sail into China and buy up lock stock and barrel major chinese companies. No they can't Coca-cola has run into trouble. Dont cherry pick the points of your argument

    The problem about the oak forests being felled in the UK in the 15th century etc etc is they didnt know about climate change them. That knowledge is late 20th century.

    You assume consumers in the west will remain static in the sort of goods they buy. It will not happen. There will be a strong movement towards sustainable environmentally friendly long life goods and it is well underway. To give a public figure fairtrade goods are growing at 17 percent pa despite the recession. Ethical goods are in very strong growth.

    Toxic toothpaste, milk that kills, dodgey chicken with nasties in it, sofas that de-skin you, messages of abuse of workers, need I go on. It does matter if the guilty are dealt with the damage is done. You clearly don't understand how damaging this sort of thing is to the brand of china. And it is 'made in china' on the sticker. China is the brand. The damage done to the china brand will take decades to redress.

  • Comment number 88.

    81 fdd

    Dr Dave - As soon as machinery was invented the need for physical force was negated. It was man who dimished the need for man I am afraid. The follow on is that man has to change I am afraid. You refer to women acting in certain roles. That could be because of the corporate environment you have seen them in. A woman trying to be a man can result. I have seen women working very effectively and it often has been the men who cannot cope with being told what to do by a woman. I know of one comapny that used women as a secret weapon. Sent in highly qualified intelligent women in to check on subcontractors. Oh its just a woman, everyone relaxed, and got caught with their pants down. : p

    ishkander - as long as nobody tries to classify me as a member of parliment I am not bothered : ) BTW please don't think I am not impressed by the potential of china, I am. I believe they have only just started.

  • Comment number 89.

    Jaded gene

    You really are too one dimensional. The crime rate Hmm. Try a correlation with widespread vaccination, country to country, try looking at the UK and Australia to start with. Consider vaccines frequently have a mercury carrier. Also consider the possibility that virus dna can combine with human dna. I could suggest another few correlations for you to go and look at. They could be false, they could be true. Nobody wants to fund the work. That is the problem, you have tunnel vision, for you it is only IQ and repro rates.

  • Comment number 90.

    glanafon

    I have yet to see a really successful all female corporation - or one hat had an all female management team. Females are not super-humans and have as many frailties as men I'm afraid.

    I stopped posting on Peston's blog because I got sick of reading continuous "hang the bankers" posts (also for a BUSINESS editor Peston only seems to believe that banks exist!). This blog has/had some interesting posters but is presently being strangled by IQ and spurious behavioural psychology - pity!

    BTW I don't use the Dr (even in academic circles if I can help it) I find it just too pretentious - after all I'm as ignorant as all of us on the majority of subjects :)

  • Comment number 91.

    #87 "Selling loads of tat and rubbish (which appears to be the majority of imports) that falls appart and go to landfill asap and then wanting to buy sound major industries in the west with the money is hardly a fair swop. I'm not surprised it is objected to. Tell me can anybody just sail into China and buy up lock stock and barrel major chinese companies. No they can't Coca-cola has run into trouble. Dont cherry pick the points of your argument"

    Not all "Made in China" goods are tat. That is just the propaganda generated to downplay the rest of the better goods in order to make local goods appear superior. Example, the computer that you are using to post here is mostly made in China. Is that tat, too (pun intended) ?? Will it be in a landfill within weeks ?? Fridges, microwaves, washing machines - the list is long and surprising. I doubt that there are too many people who throw out a fridge a month !!

    As for inward FDI into China, there, too, is a long list of companies that have successfully or not so successfully made that route. Only that is not reported in Western press because it would not support their "Aryan Superiority" propaganda. Tesco, Carrfour, Ikea, Danone, Bank of America, AIG just to name a few.

    The Coca-cola deal failed not because of anti-competition intervention but for other reasons. Pepsi and Danome are massively in the Chinese soft drinks market.

    "To give a public figure fairtrade goods are growing at 17 percent pa despite the recession. Ethical goods are in very strong growth."

    If the western companies are willing to pay more and insist on quality, they will get that in China, too !! WYPIWYG - What You Pay Is What You Get !! Your PC or Mac is a good example. Unfortunately, most western companies insist on price instead of quality. To illustrate, it is "common knowledge" that Chinese-made clothing are rubbish but people will pay over the odds for Hermes, Gucci, Armani which are also made in China. Much of Ikea's funiture are made in China but they don't de-skin people, do they ??

    Mattel toys had bits that fell off and could choke kiddies but they were made *EXACTLY* to specifications !! So is it the manufacturer's or the designer's fault that the toys were dangerous ??

    Propaganda is, by definition, insidious !! It is couched in such a way that people will accept their arguments without question. Further questioning will expose it for the lie it is !!

    That said, the Chinese are no better than any other people in the world. They are not saints. Their businessmen will take liberties if they think they can get away with it. It is up to the buyers to specify what is more important - price or quality and safety !! And, just like the Japanese 50 years ago, the Chinese have discovered that mass producing cheap products is not a long term economic strategy and are moving away from that and up the food chain.

    Much of the "tat" manufacturing is moving to other countries - hence the "news" that many factories in China have closed down without specifying exactly why they did so. Vast swathes of the Pearl River Delta have seen such "industries" move on to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos even as new more upmarket "industries" move in. The "unemployed" so highlighted by the BBC and other media are, in fact, unemployable in the higher tech factories because they are insufficiently educated. Those that are sufficiently educated are grabbed with both hands, paid a very reasonable salary and probably chained to the workbench in case they are enticed off to a competitor !! The demand for educated labour is greatly outstripping supply !!

    However, the "unemployables" are causing problems for the government who has to either create more low tech jobs or fund their education to a level sufficient for them to get new jobs. Predictions of civil unrest are just more "Reds under the beds" propaganda. By percentage, the Chinese have far less unemployment than Britain ( including the able bodied, permanently unemployed aka dole scroungers) and we don't see civil unrest in the British streets (yet) !!

    To see how China got to where it is now, just watch Vietnam carefully. It is trodding the same paths that the Japanese did 50 years ago and the Chinese did 30 years ago. Currently it is in the low tech phase but watch it go up the food chain in the years to come.

    " BTW please don't think I am not impressed by the potential of china, I am. I believe they have only just started."

    I, too, am impressed by China but I have seen a similar process happen in Japan and South Korea over the last 50-60 years, so it is less of a culture shock !! And just like the Japanese and the Koreans, the Chinese are developing new markets that the West have neglected or ignored. Western markets are just a convenient and easy means to an end, not the end itself. I believe the main thrust of the future economic efforts will be directed at Latin America, followed by Eastern Europe and then Africa !! China had already cultivated and are developing the Central Asian countries (mostly for their oil and gas) to the horror of the Russians who had presumed that their overlordship was permanent based on Tsarist territorial acquisitions.

    The coming few years should be interesting times in more way than one !!

  • Comment number 92.

    Glanafon (#89) "Nobody wants to fund the work. That is the problem, you have tunnel vision, for you it is only IQ and repro rates."

    It's you who asserts lack of interest.

    You say you are unfamiliar with the evidence, and yet you know there is a lack of interest - amongst whom? Do you think research fun? Easy? Do you think everyone (see foredeckedave) deserves prizes? PhD's?

    You might like to think about how you generalise from your own (limited by your own admission) experience (along with the Gaussian distributon of intelligence). And whilst you're at it, give some thought as to why so few others saw this current economnic crisis coming and why, along with why behaviour in schools and the crime rate is geting any better.

    See OECD PISA, Leitch and ETS reports.

  • Comment number 93.

    foredeckdave (#90) "BTW I don't use the Dr (even in academic circles if I can help it) I find it just too pretentious - after all I'm as ignorant as all of us on the majority of subjects :)

    Yet you have mentioned this (spuriously?) several times in a blog where posters are anonymous!

    One has to ask whether this is a genuine oversight or just comprises lack of insight? It appears to be another instantiation of a disposition to use the ad hominem, i.e. an invalid argument from authority in an effort to give spurious weight to facile and ill-informed opinion. In an anonymous blog anyone could do that. What is required here is logic and empirical (external) evidence for corroboration in order to counter nefarious rhetoric, and yet I note that your logic is appalling, you provide no evidence, you dimiss rational criticism and you ignore the evidence.

    A nod and wink to the non pretentious cognoscenti.

  • Comment number 94.

    Good news - according to today's FT the price of contemporary art has fallen by 35%

    That'll teach the "cognoscenti" a thing or two about "art chasing money"....

  • Comment number 95.

    92 jaded gene

    I have worked in research. I know how commercial and public funding of research works. I have worked under both. My training is in engineering but I have worked in multidisciplne teams both as a worker and a leader depending on the project.

    But lets talk generally, unscientifically.

    Consider the term nitwit.

    Nitwit- Folklore term associating a fall in mental capability due to infestation of headlice. In folklore this is ascribed to the lice abstracting so much blood the victim could not think straight. Probably more likely due to chemicals released in the insect bite if there is any effect. Much of folklore is probably unsound. Much may be true. eg the illiterate cowgirl telling Jenner cowpox prevented smallpox. Belladonna provided the first heart disease drug identified as an ingredient in a herbal compound made by an old woman trained in the oral tradition. Oh dear unscientific and stupid people probably. So lets assume occassionally there is something in folklore unscientific or not. So tell me when do you measure the mental capability of the individual in this case nit free or nit infested. And if you measure nit infested how does it help you.

    Lets take a look at the urban environment. A geometric growth in car use and emmisions in the urban environment. A similar geometric growth in asthma amongst children. Just a guess, I dont want to reseach or write a thesis. Are the two connected. If you have difficulty breathing does it reduce your mental capability. Probably having witnessed asthma attacks. How much funding is pouring into this problem, eg urban pollution due to cars. There is the majority of the future generation of the country living in urban environemnts. Very little funding I suspect. I know a reseach team that was showing there where problems with diesel emissions on human respiration was disbanded. Hearsay, but the 'facts' I was told at the time sounded alarming, and as you will be well aware not all data or opinion gets published, just the tip of the iceberg. So again when do you test the child in this case. On a sunny day with still air or after some considerable period of relief from asthma. Who do you expect to fund this work. The government that is proposing desiel as a clean fuel, the oil company, the town planners, the drug companies supplying inhalers etc. The NHS. Where is the outcome of this research going to be welcome I ask, if it shows there is a problem. Nowhere, not with the child, not with the parents, not with the car user, not with the various commercial and government bodies.

    The problem with measurement however goes on and on. Lets go to a different topic. Pollution in salt bathing waters. The blue flag award, a cleanliness standard, is based on bacterial count. Bacteria conveniently die wholesale after 30 minutes to an hour in a salt solution, typically, all things being statistical, gaussian and cocked hat etc. But what about a water bourne virus, say herpes, could that be water bourne. Viruses can survive for days in salt solutions. So does the blue flag award mean much. Lets look at ear nose and throat and stomach complaints amongst swimmers on this blue flag beach. Most people do not fully immerse. This dramatically improves the incident of infection. A small number fully immerse and a figure of 12 percent infection can result, lets us say. So what is swimming. Do you exclude full immersion swimmers, the are a very small percentage. There are commercial implcations on the data evaluation. Come to this sunny beach and sit on the toilet all day or have a serious nasal infection.

    You see my problem with you is you are one of these master planners at heart. You want something to be done. That means somewhere a master plan has to be gestated. The problem I have with master planners is once a master plan is put in place it is defended. Generally master planners and supporters of master plans never seriously fund research into the side effects of the master plan, before, during or after implementation. It is the human nature you disparagingly refer to. For example - Do you think funding will be forthcoming to investigate if there is a profound side effect from injecting new borns with vaccines with a mercury carrier. Its been going on widescale for 50 or 60 years now. What are the implications if such reseach shows a problem, despite the benefits of mass vaccination. I have been told rightly or wrongly that the original work on verifying some of the vaccine stas would not meet current assessment criteria. Humans are being subjected to massive experiments in the name of ggod intent. Experts are too confident in their capability. Appart from anything else they are specialists and cannot easily see outside their specialist interest.

    Is the increase in autism related to some of these environment issues or medical interventions or due to increase awareness of the issue.

    It is nothing to do with research being easy it is whether it is even possible in some instances.

    If you are somebody who has worked in reseach my main reaction is you are far too convinced of the outcome of your work and your point of view is very narrow. You may be right you may be wrong but I am not wasting my time trawling through your data sources checking whether the evaluations are applicable, and without doing that your comments are meaningless. I am not interested enough.

  • Comment number 96.

    FrankSz (#85) "I am very glad that political correctness is dying a death and I commend your efforts towards that."

    At least people aren't sending those who point out the empirical facts death threats as they did back in the 70s, 80s and 90s (cf. Herrnstein, Murray, Jensen, Lynn, Brand etc). Factor Analysis (a data reduction technique at the heart of intelligence research though ill-understoof by Gould) and science in general, reduces the dimensionality of variables in order to explain variance by design, and it's the very nature of science (i.e the extensional stance) to be both parsimonious and pursue prediction and control of of one's variables. People are, however, still losing their jobs and being persecuted in what amounts to a modern inversion of the inquisition (cf. Brand, Nyborg and others). The fact that James Watson was treated the appalling way that he was should highlight to some that this matter is still, at root, a highly political i.e. economic/self-interested, matter.

    Truth is revealed by statistics not nefarious rhetoric ;-)

  • Comment number 97.

    90 ffd

    But they only got the vote recently. I wouldnt expect a millenium of role playing to be overturned in a couple of decades. Wasnt there a famous sucessful woman pirate. Thats a female led operation even if not all female. lol. Watchout with a name like ffd you might get a visit.

  • Comment number 98.

    96. JadedJean

    ''Truth is revealed by statistics not nefarious rhetoric ;-) ''

    !!!!!!!! for heavens sake jean.

  • Comment number 99.

    ONE DIMENENSIONAL MAN

    "You see my problem with you is you are one of these master planners at heart. You want something to be done. That means somewhere a master plan has to be gestated. The problem I have with master planners is once a master plan is put in place it is defended."

    Watch the cartoon show, note how insidiously the Austrian School operates, ask why they fled the Master Planners, became Masters of The Universe and where - see #5, and went on to vilify (via The Chicago School) the 'evil' USSR, N Korea, China, Iraq and Iran all of whom allegedly deprived people of freedom and Human Rights. Meanwhile, note the simultaneous progressive erosion of Public Services and Balkanisation of Britain, the promotion of Regional Assemblies/Development Agencies and EU NUTS, promotion of People Power, choice, light-touch regulation, obesity, debt-slavery, anarchism and dysgeneic, differential fertility. Don't be persuaded by the 'red-lines' in the Lisbon Treaty either, look at Article II of the EU Human Rights Charter and try to reflect on your own thinking/conditioning/verbal behaviour and how it helps to further all of that. Here's another perspective to try.

    For another sense of perspective (dimension) I suggest you look into annual figures published by HMG on over half a million school kids in the UK at 7, 11, 14 and 15 in Maths, English and Science (IQ subscale proxies for Quantitative, Verbal and Non-Verbal IQ), especially since 2001 when SATs were broken down by ethnic group. Additonally, look at the tails of the distributions by sex. Then look at GCE results by sex, paying attention to the numbers sitting each subject. Then look at the subjects selected in Higher Education by sex. What do you notice? What does this suggest too?

    There are, as you say, many odd things going on. I don't deny any of that or the vested interests, on the contrary, I'm drawing attenton to how it works and is reinforced via your thinking/conditioning.

    When someone draws attention to what lots of data shows and which is, however, clearly at odds with what most people appear to think, I suggest it's best to pay attention rather than to argue from ignorance.

    Science reduces dimensions in order to explain variance and grasp truth (values of variables). Unless one sees what controls what, one has no hope of better managing anything.

  • Comment number 100.

    #94 "Good news - according to today's FT the price of contemporary art has fallen by 35%"

    The value of "art" is what any one is willing to pay for it. If there are enough fools willing to part with their money, then a piece of "art" can be worth a fortune. If not, then not !!

    At the end of the day, the intrinsic value of a piece of art is the sum of the value of the materials it is made out of. All else are the perceived value(s) of that piece; and perceptions can change with the weather !!

 

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