Which Nations Think over the Long Term?

Razib Khan, Discover, December 16, 2010

One of the major parameters which shape individual success, and macroeconomic growth in the aggregate, is time preference. Time preference basically measures an individual’s future-time orientation. Would you for example take \$1,000 in the present, or wait 30 days and accept \$1,500 dollars? It doesn’t need to be money, children can exhibit time preference as well. Would you like one candy bar now, or two candy bars in an hour? I also think time preference permeates our lives more concretely. Would you like to eat some greasy food now, or would you forgo epicurean pleasures in the present for a sleeker frame in the future?

Here’s an illustration of the correlates of time preference:

In one of the most amazing developmental studies ever conducted, Walter Michel of Stanford created a simple test of the ability of four year old children to control impulses and delay gratification. Children were taken one at a time into a room with a one-way mirror. They were shown a marshmallow. The experimenter told them he had to leave and that they could have the marshmallow right then, but if they waited for the experimenter to return from an errand, they could have two marshmallows. One marshmallow was left on a table in front of them. Some children grabbed the available marshmallow within seconds of the experimenter leaving. Others waited up to twenty minutes for the experimenter to return. In a follow-up study (Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990), children were tested at 18 years of age and comparisons were made between the third of the children who grabbed the marshmallow (the “impulsive”) and the third who delayed gratification in order to receive the enhanced reward (“impulse controlled”).

The third of the children who were most impulsive at four years of age scored an average of 524 verbal and 528 math. The impulse controlled students who scored 610 verbal and 652 math! This astounding 210 point total score difference on the SAT was predicted on the basis of a single observation at four years of age! The 210 point difference is as large as the average differences between that of economically advantaged versus disadvantaged children and is larger than the difference between children from families with graduate degrees versus children whose parents did not finish high school! At four years of age gobbling a marshmallow now v. waiting for two later is twice as good a predictor of later SAT scores than is IQ.

The issue of causality is probably one which you will immediately bring up. There is a correlation between higher IQ and low time preference (consuming less in the present to have a potential for more consumption in the future), but who knows how the feedback loops here work? For example, unlike many males my age I gave up playing video games around the age of 16. I calculated that I was substituting video games for reading, and that that would have long term consequences which I was not pleased with. {snip}

A new working paper on the SSRN website has some interesting data on time preference cross-culturally. How Time Preferences Differ: Evidence from 45 Countries:

We present results from the first large-scale international survey on time discounting, conducted in 45 countries. Cross-country variation cannot simply be explained by economic variables such as interest or inflation rates. In particular, we find strong evidence for cultural differences, as measured by the Hofstede cultural dimensions. For example, large levels of Uncertainty Avoidance are associated with strong hyperbolic discounting. We also find relations between time preferences and risk preferences, like loss aversion. For instance, subjects with high loss aversion tend to show larger time discounting. Moreover, our analysis shows an impact of time preferences on the capability of technological innovations in a country and on environmental protection.

To get published in orthodox economics you need to do a lot of mathematical modeling, but I’m not too interested in that. Rather, let’s look at some of the descriptive results. The first two figures shows the percentage of participants who chose the \$3800 option when they were asked to choose between \$3400 this month or \$3800 next month. The last figure has on the x-axis “time pace.” This is an overall-pace measure is calculated out of three measures: walking speed, postal speed, and clock accuracy.

Some of the text is very illuminating as to cross-cultural differences:

Even for the students from Princeton University, the percentage choosing the patient option is lower than the percentage of German students (80% vs. 89%). Actually some students from our Norway survey even complained that the question was ridiculous because everybody would choose to wait for one month given the high implicit interest rate.

Other results were not surprising:

This result suggests that although the wealth level (and hence a general level of a country’s economy) is crucial to stimulate innovation, the attitude towards future also plays an important role. For example, while 69% of Taiwanese participants prefer to wait in the one-month question, only 44% of our Italian students prefer to wait. The two countries have the same GDP per capita in 2007, but Taiwan scored much higher in the innovation factor than Italy (5.26 vs. 4.19). It is worthwhile to investigate further to what extent and under what mechanism a general attitude towards future is related to the innovation activity.

And yet some were (at least to me):

After controlling the macro-economic variables (GDP per capita, growth rate, inflation rate), participants from countries with higher degree of Individualism and Long Term Orientation are more likely to wait. In contrast, for the present bias and long-term discount factor, the country with higher Uncertainty Avoidance score tend to discount the next year more.

{snip}

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• Anan7

I scored relatively well on the SATs (top 10th percentile, or
thereabouts). I worked very hard for what I’ve done. Earned my M.S. in
chemistry 2 years ago.

My potential fiance, however, is at the
left end of that bell curve we hear so much about here on AmRen. But
she is loyal, White, and good hearted, something that is very rare nowadays.

The point being that studies like this scare the *[email protected]@t of out me.

• Defiant White

Well . . . I think the whole point of AMREN is to improve bad genetics by pointing out that non-whites tend to cluster at the left side of the bell curve. If you mix a bell curve right-sider with a left-sider, you don’t get an “average” of right and left any more than a glass filled half with milk and half with runny cow excrement gives you chocolate milk.

• Fr. John+

Good chromatic analogy as well.

• DaveMed

It’s not all about the genetics. I object to this kind of thinking as well. Those who are with us in spirit are (or should be) just as welcome as the scientists.

• Fr. John+

Umm, no Dave. “Jacob have I loved, but Esau (Edom) have I hated.”- Bible If predestination is good enough for the Almighty, then any race or nation that is not ‘US,’ is not to be countenaced in our midst, for any reason. “Edom is in Modern Jewry.” Jewish Encyclopedia, 1905. Some folks never learn…..

• dd121

How do you improve “bad genetics”? Seems we’ve been try to do that for blacks the past 50 years with all sorts of set-asides that were going to improve their situation and ultimately “close the gap” with whites. That attempt has been a total, complete, unequivocal failure. The blacks haven’t “improved” even one point and socially they’re more dependant that ever on the handout. Sort of underlines the point that genetics are determinant and can’t be changed by well-intentioned social meddling.

• I can easily explain the cure for bad genetics in one word: genocide. The international approbation would eventually wear off. I’m out there with Mr. Spartacus in this respect.

I solved the equation: survival is always moral. We can’t negotiate about our lives.

Why is it “cool” when a groid says “by any means necessary” but heinous when I say it? Could this be because someone like me will really do it?

By any means necessary.

• GeneticsareDestiny

Your children will probably turn out just fine. If your wife is on the left side of the bell curve, but is still white, any children she has should regress towards the white mean, making them more intelligent than her (on average). Combine that effect with you being a high-IQ future father and they should have no problems, though they probably will not be as smart as you, since any children you have would also regress towards the mean.

• David Ashton

Here is an idea, if a bit off message on this thread.
Mongolids reportedly show more “patience” or “endurance” from infancy to very old age than western Europids or Negrids.
Tangential to Rushton’s theories about the three primary subspecies, could we say as a crude generalisaton that the lack of innovation among high-IQ Chinese may be because they culturally look to the past, whereas whites look to the future and blacks look to the present?

• Whitetrashgang

Well they look inward instead of outward like whites. I forget what century but the Chinese built huge ships football fields in length and sailed to the coast of north and south America and decided they was nothing to see went home burned the ships and that was the end of the Chinese doing anything for atleast 500 years.

• NorthernWind

They are indeed very insular.

• Kenner

There was no hard proof ever shown that Chinese ships made it that far. It was seized upon briefly by PBS and others to add to the anti-western narrative, but no additional supportive facts were provided by the author.

• Whitetrashgang

Although it would explain why the Incas had a civilization if the Chinese landed there, and why the rest of the natives just killed and raped each other

• Franklin_Ryckaert

There are no Chinese elements in Inca civilization whatsoever which would indicate a Chinese origin. The Indian civilizations of Meso America and the Andes where genuine local developments.

• DonReynolds

Yeah! They got their own monkeys in South America.

• The Final Solution

LOL hilarious. Not surprising at all, having lived in Asia. When I taught in Korea, we had to interview potential students to place them in the proper class level. I asked each of the adult students who had lived or traveled abroad what they learned about the countries they spent time in. Never once did I get anything more than the most basic, superficial responses that showed they had no interest whatsoever in any culture but their own. These people are racist to the core and are absolutely not to be given any concessions because they are industrious or high IQ.

• ShermanTMcCoy

True. But therefore, they are worthy of emulation.

• JohnEngelman

Chinese explorers got as far as Africa. They did not get to Europe. They did not get to the New World.

• Oil Can Harry

IIRC Rushton claims whites are more creative because their brains evolved slightly differently than those of Orientals.

And in defense of blacks their lack of saving and planning for the future are not just due to their low IQs but also due to their traditionally brief life spans which led them to adapt a “live fast- die young” outlook.

• willbest

A 40 year old black man will live to 73ish. By contrast a 40 year old white woman can expect to live to 82. That 15.3% payroll tax looks pretty ridiculous when you start breaking who consumes it.

• Oil Can Harry

I was referring to life in Sub-Saharan Africa before the 20th century.

• Actually it doesn’t when you factor in the Medicaid/Medicare cost of the black male. They, as well as black females, are healthcare consumers.

• ShermanTMcCoy

You are assuming that the black actually PAID anything into the system. Or if he did, it was likely from his AA or government job, that the white woman partly financed.

• David Ashton

It seems more reasonable to me to regard Mongolids and Europids as different separate adaptations to cold climates etc in different regions, a bifurcation in the combined range of mental activity rather than a simply layered hierarchy which puts Mongolids above Europids on a single evolutionary branch.

• Oil Can Harry

Correct. I mean I don’t dislike Asians but it would be unjustified for anyone to consider them to be more evolved than us.

• Mike Lau

Hey……we are certainly less hairy!

How can a race that produces hairy backs be considered ‘evolved’?

• Each race evolved somewhat to suit their environment. Whites have Neadnerthal DNA, so we have fur on our arms, legs and chests. We’re also a bit on the strong side; I picked up my end of an upright piano with my left hand, while steadying it with my right last year so we would not bang up the widow’s walls. The nice widow offered us alcohol as payment, but Alex and had already been drinking all day.

The races are just different. While I consider Africans to be inferior, they aren’t less evolved. I’m 3/16 injun, so I only have to shave my face twice a week, but blacks and Asians don’t have hair everywhere.

I am much more interested in where we are going.

• JohnEngelman

You also tend to be more intelligent, more law abiding, and more sexually responsible than white Gentiles. That is what I mean by “more evolved.”

• Mike Lau

Hmmmm…..got some links to that Rushton ‘claim’?

• Daniel Schmuhl

In terms of economic time preferences Asians outscore whites, they don’t innovate as much though due to an innate lack of creativity and a culture of conformity.

• NorthernWind

Oh look, the Germanic’s are at the top again. It has nothing to do with genes of course.

• rowingfool

This is why Germany, even though it didn’t start WW1, had to be demonized, and crushed under the weight of impossible reparations which led to the depression and thence to the rise of nationalism and radical solutions.

It had been England’s policy to oppose any State which threatened to achieve continental hegemony, whether that would have been France under Napoleon or the Germans.

From looking at the propaganda waged against them today, it would not be unreasonable to believe that there are agents acting in the world to ensure that the talented Germans must be hamstrung by any means fair or foul.

I’ve been to the Deutsche Museum of technology in Munich a number of times. It beats the Smithsonian and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry for the clarity and educational value of its displays. School bus loads of children tour it daily.

• ShermanTMcCoy

And I love the old vehicles and mechanical musical instrument sections.

• Erasmus

I’d like to see what the US’s numbers were broken down by race. I’m going to guess that the large number of bantus and latinos among us brought our score down.

Also, look at Sweden. Did large numbers of “culturally rich” foreigners bring her score down as well?

• Spartacus

“Actually some students from our Norway survey even complained that
the question was ridiculous because everybody would choose to wait for
one month given the high implicit interest rate.”

———————————————————————————————————————

I’d choose to get it this month. Not because I can’t control myself, but because we have to pay the rent next week .

• Franklin_Ryckaert

Yes, that is the flaw in this experiment : the not taking into account of need. Suppose you are poor and hungry, wouldn’t you choose the money (or the food) immediately now? With this factor controlled however, there is little surprise that impulse control and delayed gratification correlate with intelligence. Neither is it a surprise that there is a correlation of planning with creativity. After all to create is to plan.

• Boris_baiter

You make some valid points… if you’ll starve before next month, that great interest rate isn’t real useful.

• DonReynolds

I would choose to get it this month too, because I do not trust you to remember the deal a month from now or you might die or get arrested or get robbed of the money. In any event, promises are not worth much right now.
A bird in hand is worth a zillion of them in the bush.

• ShermanTMcCoy

Certainly the case in Russia, where you might wait 6 months to see your next salary, and when you receive it, the currency is worth less.

• Defiant White

Ridiculously bad study. Anytime someone tries comparing the USA with other nations, we’re going to end up somewhere between Germania and Africa because the USA is now a muddy, excrement-filled hole. Sort the USA out RACIALLY and compare Like-US racial populations with Like-(Mostly Homogenous)European nations and I suspect the differences are negligible.

• Jefferson

The vast majority of “White” Mexicans are Mediterranean and not Nordic/Anglo, so “White” Mexicans would still score lower than Swedes and Germans on the delayed gratification chart.

Look at how low Latin Mediterranean Europe scored on that delayed gratification chart. And Latin Mediterranean Europe includes countries like Spain, the ancestral homeland of the vast majority of “White” Mexicans.

• DonReynolds

Sorry Jefferson, to many Germans and Irish in Mexico to sell that idea.
.
Where do you think Mexicans get lager beer? Same place we do…..from German immigrants. Yeah, Corona.
The last president of Mexico was……Fox…..yes, he has an Irish name.
Some Catholic Irish and Germans were more comfortable in Mexico than the USA because of the religious rub here.
During the Mexican War, a battalion of the Mexican Army was composed of American Army deserters……Irish Catholics mostly, called the San Patricio (St. Patrick) battalion.

• Jefferson

What I said is 100 percent fact. The vast majority of “White” Mexicans are not of Northern European descent (German, Irish).

Your average “White” Mexican looks more like like Antonio Banderas than Dolph Lundgren.

Most “White” Mexicans have Spanish sounding last names. Most “White” Mexicans do not have last names like Zimmerman and Heidenreich for example.

• pcmustgo

I have met a few blond haired blue eyed Mexicans, but come to think of it, they were half non-hispanic white I’m pretty sure.

• The Final Solution

It’s not a bad study at all – it wasn’t meant to be American-centric and it’s not about race. It’s meant to explore the differences between nations, not the differences between different racial groups within nations.

• sbuffalonative

I agree that the study is flawed in that it compares multiracial nations with more homogeneous nations. We compare US math scores (with high rates of blacks and Hispanics) with nations like Sweden and blame our ‘schools’ for the problem but not the non-whites. But overall, I believe it does show the racial differences. Whiter and Asian nations are are clustered near the top. Darker nations are near the bottom.

• Bardon Kaldian

This is not so simple. Personally, being the “delayed gratification” type, I can perfectly understand “give me now” fellas. They are mostly from poor countries & many of them need some cash, NOW. Don’t forget that Norway was ca. 100-150 years ago a very poor country, and only mass emigration to the US spared them from starvation.

These are historical ups & downs. Apart from England, most Germanic countries have been poor & backward until 1700s & 1800s, while Romance countries like Italy, France & Spain had built modern European civilization & simultaneously averted the threat to the West from Arabs & Ottomans.

Just, now we must forget old grievances. As Ben Franklin had said: “We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

• David Ashton

Last sentence: definitely so with the “white nations”. We can worry about other humans AFTER we have saved our own section, not before. Charity begins at home.

• Franklin_Ryckaert

But there is an element of “delayed gratification” here. If we help underdeveloped countries now, then their populations will grow slower in the future (because a lower birthrate always correlates with wealth and education) and the less chance they will try to immigrate into the West.

• DonReynolds

By help, do you mean….with food? (See Malthus.)
.
Better still, the West (and the US in particular) should stop sheep stealing all the brains and tallent of the world. They are needed much more in their own country. Stop legal immigration and illegal immigration will stop too.

• David Ashton

The correlation between education (especially of women) and the lowering of the birthrate varies from culture to culture. The priority is to reduce the birthrate in Africa before or in conjunction with advice on agricultural self-sufficiency. The “extreme right” are correct about black racial backwardness and the “extreme left” are correct about the financial exploitation of black countries, but there is a dialogue of the deaf. Meanwhile, immigration control must be firmed up across the hitherto white world, with the deportation of criminal elements at one end and the encouragement of a return of creative talent to the source-areas at the other.

We need a conjunction of nationalists of different cultures.

Here the neo-marxists are wrong in seeking to use the alien communities for revolution, and the neo-capitalists are wrong in seeking to use them as a labor reserve army. The Times newspaper in London, for instance, characteristically welcomed the change of “complexion” in the US electorate, and holds that there is an “aggregate economic gain to immigration” in the UK which is “not especially densely populated” (Nov. 7). We need a conjunction of nationalists in oppositon to those who present the “challenge” in purely “economic” terms (which themselves are questionable for everyone other than the anti-national minority interests in de facto evil alliance).

• Sick of it

And yet poor Germanic folks several centuries ago still evinced a certain disposition toward thrift and saving for the future. I came from people exactly like that.

• DonReynolds

You do recall that Norway gained their independence from Sweden in 1905, by refernenda.
Poverty is not a good excuse for stupidity. Many nations are poor and many of those will remain poor. But to really screw things up, you need to be wealthy. Only wealthy nations can afford to be stupid. When a poor people act foolish, they die out or disperse.

• Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

…”most Germanic countries have been poor & backward until 1700s & 1800s,…”

That can largely be attributed to the particular affects of Christianity. Witch trials were especially harsh in these countries as well as the 14th century Bubonic Plauge Epidemic (and the hysterical response), but moreso the event of The Thirty Years War that ravaged Central Europe, especially Germany (as well as other Northern European (non-British Isles) nations. (However, England had a Civil War during the same century and massacres by Cromwell in many places (Ireland, etc.). The Protestant religions that came after were particularly oppressive to anything but a dark, dogmatic trudging along from one day to the next, with little to look forward to but death.

Ref; The Thirty Years War, Herbert Langer – The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology, Rossell Hope Robbins (A catalog of the history of Witch Trials and persecutions).

Yes, we must forget the grievances, but we must also learn from them if we are to have any chance at a different future. The impulse of many whites to “return” to what has become a largely mythologized past is nothing but harmful to whites. It is only with acute self-awareness that we can succeed.

• The Final Solution

The graph looks exactly as I predicted it would. I’m sure IQ correlates highly with delayed gratification, as impulsive and stupid are pretty much synonymous. I would love to compare this data with Richard Lynn’s IQ scores and the other indexes of prosperity. This makes sense with what Jared Diamond and Daniel Quinn who wrote Ishmael said about how humanity developed from hunting and gathering into agriculture and industry because of the evolving ability to delay gratification and save for the future, except Diamond wrongly attributes this to the accident of geography rather than the obvious superior intelligence of Europeans.

• Franklin_Ryckaert

Agriculture was first developed not in Europe but in the Middle East. It reached Europe from the Middle East (via the Balkans). Middle Easterners have a lower IQ and ability to delay gratification than Europeans. How to explain the “contradiction”? Well, you don’t need a very high intelligence to develop agriculture and if circumstances are favorable it will happen. That is why agriculture has been invented in many places of the earth independently, one of which for example is New Guinea, not exactly a region excelling in intelligence. Once agriculture has been invented (or adopted) however, it depends on the average intelligence whether a higher civilization is developed or not. The Papuans of New Guinea remained on a primitive stage of development, while others went ahead.

• Sick of it

The ancient Near East was populated with pure Caucasoids. Mystery solved. Not sure I’d agree re: agricultural development not requiring intelligence (see Africa).

• Franklin_Ryckaert

Wikipedia History of Agriculture :

“The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia, Egypt and India were sites of the earliest planned sowing and harvesting of plants that had previously been gathered in the wild. Independent development of agriculture occured in northern and southern China, Africa’s Sahel, New Guinea, parts of India and several regions of the Americas.”

There are indications that even some Australian Aboriginal tribes practised a form of agriculture. See above mentioned Wikipedia article under “Australia”. Thus such low IQ peoples as African negroes, Papuans and Australian Aboriginals invented agriculture, but Europeans did not. They had to borrow the idea from Middle Easterners. The Middle East at present is populated by mixed Caucasoids. Whether they were “pure” Caucasoids at the time of the invention of agriculture (ca. 8000 BC) is very doubtful, since racial admixture there happened in the earliest of times. (see for example the remains of mixed Caucasoid-Neanderthaloids in Israel). Things are not as simple as you seem to think.

• Sick of it

I would tell you the full truth of race, but it would be moderated in less than an hour. If you want to claim your ancestors were nonhuman (see Y DNA analyses of Europe buddy) you go right ahead.

There’s no contradiction. The races of the peoples who constituted ancient Sumeria, Babylon and Egypt are not known. They could have been Caucasian. The description of “Aryans” in Hindu scriptures seems to be out of a Wagnerian opera.

• The Final Solution

This study seems to resonate with a study a few years ago that found that the single greatest predictor of college attendance was having a savings account. Saving and planning for the future even for children was the most important factor in long-term success. We all know blacks never save for the future, that they have the least amount of assets of any racial group, and they usually waste every dime they have as soon as they get it. Those payday loan places are making a killing from stupid minorities that can’t even make it week to week.

• The Final Solution

The best part is that Germany is number one, and Africa is dead last.

• Franklin_Ryckaert

One cannot escape the importance of race. As Disraeli said : “race is everything”. Yes, race is indeed everything, it determines everything in life.

• WR_the_realist

I notice that the percentage of Americans who have the low time preference is almost exactly the percentage of Americans who are white. I see that we’re beat by Lebanon and Slovenia, but they don’t have nearly as many blacks as we do.

• Franklin_Ryckaert

For naughty boys like you, there will be the possibility to choose your own favored candy.

• DonReynolds

Edward Banfield already explained this decades ago. It is a function of class: the poor only think about NOW, the middle class plan for the future, and the wealthy are fixated on the past. Do away with the middle class and what is left? If the place is wealthy, they will focus on preserving the past. If the place is poor, they will loot and pillage.

• JohnEngelman

Planning for the future and deferring gratification are patterns of behavior that evolved when agriculture developed. Farmers need to plan at least a year into the future, to plan planting, weeding, harvesting, and so on. Paleolithic hunters only needed to plan the next hunt.

Also, farmers could not eat the seed corn or butcher all of their farm animals. What paleolithic hunters did not eat spoiled.

Even when blacks and whites earn the same incomes, whites are more prone to save money.

Whites began agriculture ten thousand years ago. The Bantu only began about three thousand years ago.

Different behavior between blacks and whites can be explained by the distance each race has from a paleolithic existence.

• LolKatzen

Why do think Australia and New Zealand scored so low?

• JohnEngelman

I do not know. I do not know why Greece and Italy scored low either, or why Germany and Scandinavia scored high. Agriculture and urban civilization entered Europe through what is now Greece. The Germanic countries were the last to develop both.

Theories about why races and nations are the way they are can explain why tendencies exist. The tendencies are rarely exact correlations.

The imperial exam system in China can explain why Chinese have higher average IQ’s that whites. It cannot explain why Koreans and Japanese have higher averages than Chinese.

Different cultures are important. These can change in a few generations. I still think genetic factors are more important.

• Mike Lau

Closely genetically related populations, under selective breeding pressures can evince huge differences across a wide range of characteristics.

Vast genetic distances are not required for vast differences in behaviour and intelligence.

If you get a pool of dumb white people, tell them to breed among themselves, they will start to ‘breed true’ after 3 or 4 generations. And you will have created a ‘race’ of dumb people.

Just like those foxes in that Russian fox experiment —genetically indistinguishable from wild foxes, but behaviourally very different.

Same with dogs, but to a slightly lesser extent.

• Mike Lau

By the way, I’m not sure that Koreans and Japanese do have higher averages than Chinese —you got a link there?

• LolKatzen

It would be interesting to know the sample sizes. But the original paper is not available without payment.

• Bardon Kaldian

Not much of an indicator. For instance, “Anglo” countries are not much different from “Middle East”; also, “Africa” is, re delayed gratification, close to 50% of “East Asia” (Figure 2.). Not realistic, IMO.

• Jefferson

Here is how I rank Caucasoid I.Q from smartest to dumbest among different Caucasoid groups.

1.Jews

2.Northern Europeans

3.Southern Europeans

4.Eastern Europeans

5.Arabs

• William Krapek

I bet if you only talk about White people in the U.S.A. we’d shoot straight to the top of those graphs. Or damn close.

• Mike Lau

I don’t see that at all. Lots of Chinese have very poor impulse control —thats why they jump queues and act all ‘mang’ (Cantonese) when they can’t get their own way.
Anyone who has visited mainland China will tell you that. Japan is a totally different story.

• WhiteGuyInJapan

Generalizing here, but when it comes to studying and practicing (piano, etc), the Chinese often display a remarkable dedication and focus. In public, a lot of the mainlanders have a certain reptilian brain that causes them to push and shove all helter-skelter. Really cheap, Darwinian behavior.
Boarding planes with them is a headache as they push and shove their way through the aisle (assigned seating-WTH?) and flight attendants are constantly yelling at Chinese passengers as they generally the first to stand up when “fasten seat belts” light is still on.

• Boris_baiter

I have been to China many times. While the Chinese are famous for jumping (probably more accurately, ignoring) queues, they are much more long term oriented in their thinking. This experience is based on mostly contact with people working in Chinese industry, but it seems to be very consistent from the janitor to the CEO.

• Mike Lau

Are you not the half Afghan dude?

• Bardon Kaldian

I would be more skeptical re IQ generalizations. Just look at h-index of various countries with regard to different scientific fields- the true indicator of scientific influence in numerous countries. This is something tangible, while IQ measurement across the entire country is frequently unreliable. www(dot)scimagojr(dot)com/countryrank (dot) php You can check different sciences, years …

For instance, mathematics, year 2012. The queen of sciences. H-index (google for the term)- the higher, the better. US- 355, China- 135, Germany- 182, France- 166, UK- 186, Italy- 148,… A few interesting countries: Japan- 133, Spain- 133, Canada- 143, Russia- 124, Australia- 116, South Korea- 102, Switzerland- 136, Israel- 125, Norway- 75, Sweden-101, Denmark- 99, Hong Kong-101, Netherlands- 121 …..

• Mike Lau

Beethoven was part black….the evidence is pretty much incontrovertible.

• Arbeideren

I studied with Chinese, they were properly raised lacking behavior traits common in China such as farting and pilling your nose in public. Some very few retained their disgusting long nail on their little finger. I agree with all you say, although some came across as less creative, collusion and plagiarism were rampant. All in all however, they are a civilized people and I think you are right. European nations all across the globe certainly have a few lessons to learn from them.

• Arbeideren

That is an archetypal Norwegian trait you observed there. Many people here do not understand that other nations don’t think like us. That kind of thinking comes from a world view which fuses naivety and arrogance. This is common. Google translate chose to call this phenomenon “self effacing charity”. This strange national trait is very dangerous. For us.

My theory is that altruistic acts releases certain chemical substances related to reward and the feeling of wellness into the brain. An altruistic act is for example to believe that all humans are like us and since our first female prime minister told the people that “It is typical Norwegian to be successful”, we feel very good inside when we can include the entire human race in that statement.

• Arbeideren

This African failed asylum seeker planned the massacre in order to achieve 20 year stay in one of our luxury prisons. Life in prison in Norway is apparently better than living as a free man in Africa. These three people suffered a political assassination in my opinion. Our system has become morally corrupt, my only hope is that the newly elected Progress party can do something to halt the madness.

• Arbeideren

I think you are right. The differences in wealth probably derive from differences in nurture and culture.

• Arbeideren

You can’t really grow any crops in Eskimo land. Viking settlements on Greenland were abandoned after about 400 years.
Eskimos managed to carve out a living for themselves in the most inhospitable place on earth. Just the fact that they managed to survive is a great achievement in it self.

• Transpower

Excellent, so true. I’ve known this for years, but it’s good to see it posted here!

• Nancy

Except some of the most creative, intelligent people I know are “Friends of Bill W.” The difference is (and it even states the difference in AA’s Big Book): Not everyone will recover, because the program requires “rigorous honesty”…and some people “are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”

I believe as people slide down the left side of the Bell Curve intellectually, their capability for honest introspection also declines. A lot.