Your Lying Eyes

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31 January 2006

You Need a PhD to Be This Stupid

Will Europe's welfare-state mentality doom its economies to perpetual under-performance? Or is that just a lot of free-market hooey? A Boston Globe article "Vive la Welfare State" (via A&L Daily) describes a new book by Princeton political economist Jonas Pontusson where he presents a more complicated portrait of Europe:
Pontusson places European economies into two categories: "continental social-market economies" (Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland) and "Nordic social-market economies" (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway). Among other differences, the continental countries tend to have fewer workers in unions than their Nordic peers and less state-run day care to make it easier for women to join the workforce. (For complicated reasons, France, Italy, and Spain don't fit comfortably into either of these models, he says-but he discusses these countries individually).

Uh, among other differences the Nordic countries are Scandinavian, the "continental" countries are generally Germanic, and France, Italy and Spain are more Mediterranean. Wouldn't the simplest explanation be that Scandinavians are more community/civic minded and thus function better under a welfare system? That Germanic peoples are more strict and rules-oriented, and thus less likely to be as accommodating to slackers than Scandinavians but still be able to have a structured welfare system? Or that France, Italy and Spain would be likely to have a welfare system but that this would be more dysfunctional, with more deadbeats taking advantage of the system?

He then compares these not to the United States but another type of economy: "liberal-market economies: America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia." Gee, anything else tying these countries together besides their economic policies? I can't think of any, can you? I'm surprised he didn't discover a fourth type of economy, a "mobilized industrial technocracy" that might just happen to include, say, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan?

How is it that these guys manage to knock on the door of reality and then walk away when the door is opened for them? Isn't it obvious that these groups of countries have different economies because they're different people? Wouldn't that be a far more interesting - and useful - perspective to have taken? Has the academic world become such a stifling place that truth must be so fearfully avoided?

Note: Dennis Dale had some (differently oriented) thoughts on this article yesterday.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Peter said...

That's pretty remarkable... and there is nothing like a pretty chart to drive the point home.
http://www.danshort.com/ie/iecentum_c.shtml

February 06, 2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

That is a nice chart! I wasn't really sure how Belgium fit in with Germany and Holland but I see right there that Flemish is indeed a Germanic language.

February 07, 2006 7:43 AM  
Anonymous SciFiGeek said...

Hmmm...how about the Romans? Italian in blood, but they were very disciplined and all.

Of course there's no reason the genes controlling national behavior have to remain constant across the centuries. The Danes used to be savage Vikings but are now peaceful lefties.

February 24, 2006 11:34 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Yeah, the contrast between Italy today and the highly organized, engineering society of Rome couldn't be greater. Or even the less organized but over-achieving Italy of the 13th - 16th centuries. But even in Lynn's new opus, Italy maintains a high average IQ, unlike the other dysfunctional outposts of European civilization (Spain, Ireland, the Balkans, etc).

February 25, 2006 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quote=ziel
"Yeah, the contrast between Italy today and the highly organized, engineering society of Rome couldn't be greater. Or even the less organized but over-achieving Italy of the 13th - 16th centuries. But even in Lynn's new opus, Italy maintains a high average IQ, unlike the other dysfunctional outposts of European civilization (Spain, Ireland, the Balkans, etc)."


Ireland has a boom economy. btw Not everyone agrees with Lynn's score about there. Buj's was much higher.
Lynn is an Englishman based in The University of Ulster in Northern (British-run,but Irish Nationalist disputed)Ireland.
some wonder if his low score for the(Southern) Irish may well have political motivation. FTR Ireland has very much an 'Anglo-Saxon'economic model.

March 27, 2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Anonymous - I agree with most of what you say - the thought that Lynn's low ranking of the Irish might be the result of some old-fashioned Ulster anti-Irish animus has occurred to me.
But as a frequent visitor to the Emerald Isle, I am convinced that Ireland's booming economy is primarily due to off-shore investment rather than to a sudden flowering of native industriousness. I've wondered whether Ireland's suppressed IQ scores could be due to its high rates of alcoholism and specifically to pre-natal drinking. When my wife visited Ireland once when she was 5 months pregnant she was assured by every person, including registered nurses, in all seriosness, that Guinness was actually good for a pregnant woman to drink.

In America today I doubt there's any sign of lower achievement among Irish Americans. But back in the 60's, Moynihan in "The Melting Pot" bemoaned the failure of Irish Americans to keep up with other immigrant groups. Without a shred of evidence of course, I postulate that the Irish needed to more fully assimilate (i.e,, reduce their rates of alcoholism) before they could reach mainstream levels of achievement. It's also likely that Irish ancestry is overstated as a lot of people of mixed ancestry claim to be primarily Irish since it seems a lot more fun to be Irish than German-American or English-American.

March 27, 2006 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You’re sounding a bit like an Ulster supremacist yourself if you don’t mind me saying so. The use of milk stout as an iron supplement is recognised but perhaps just alien to you. But do you expect the whole world the same?
It would be prescribed at never more than a half-pint bottle a day - never so you’d be swinging right hooks at the mid-wife in the pre-natal room!

Like I said, Buj’s score was dramatically higher and as you’d expect more similar to that of the rest of the ‘Islands’. Lynn’s score is simply unnaturally low considering the generally similar genetic heritage of the native Peoples of the British Isles.

I can understand a racialist's reluctance to doubt Lynn but his Irish results should perhaps raise a warning to anybody who would base their case on his work might well be shooting themselves in the foot. When compiling a case one owes it to oneself to call a credible, unbiased witness.

Best Regards :)

March 29, 2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

But wait! I now understand that in his latest book, Race Differences in Intelligence, he puts the Irish IQ at a very respectable 97 - so all's good, then.

March 29, 2006 7:19 PM  

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