Once everyone is smarter/more educated...

Hi all.

One common theme in future/sci fi fiction is that everybody is significantly smarter and or more educated than todays typical bear and that fact is part of what makes the future so much better.

So, if we took todays people in todays environment and made them more educated and or smarter, whats your two cents on how things would be different or better?

Obviously the details of the question are open to wide range of possibilities. Choose them as you see fit, as I have no exact scenario in mind.

Just thought this might lead to an interesting discussion.

Are you open to being a bit of a racialist?

According to books by Lynn and Vanhanen, there is a correlation between IQ and issues like literacy, per capita income, GDP, malnutrition and the Human development index among other things.

Its a controversial idea for a variety of reasons. Least of which is the fact that according to them African nations have lower IQs in general than other geographic areas. Which some people fear will be used to revive the concept of ‘saving the savages from themselves’ type of attitudes.

The Bell Curve also touches on this idea of IQ and its connection to social dysfunction (chronic poverty, imprisonment, etc)

As far as education, higher levels of education are correlated to issues like voter turnout, following medical advice, lower unemployment, etc. However I do not know what the connection is. ie, do people who are self disciplined and concerned with social status and long range planning enough to get more education more likely to just follow doctors orders, or does something about going to college or high school change a person’s personality to encourage these behaviors?

Most attempts to google this issue lead you to a website called vdare.org, which is named after Virginia Dare, the first white person born in America in 1587. So that alone should tell you something about the site.

But according to this guy:

there is a correlation between the % who have an IQ above a certain point and GDP.

The Ashkenazi jews, which are a subsect of jews, have IQs which average around 1 standard deviation above normal (roughly 115).


They feel it could be due to historical persecution requiring Ashkenazi jews to develop better cognitive abilities to survive.

Anyway, Ashkenazi jews make up 2% of the US population, and 27% of all US nobel prize winners in science. Supposedly (I can’t find the cite for this) Ashkenazi jews make up 0.25% of all human beings, but around 28% of nobel prize winners globally.


Stipulating that we’re currently smarter than typical bears, if we got smarter then we’d only have to worry about the truly ingenious bears.

Other than some sort of massive global catastrophe, it’s not that we are going to get smarter. We develop more efficient means to convey information. We develop better means to educate.

But if you take a child out of a stone age culture when he is first born, drop him into middle america, you won’t see him failing at some prodigiously huge rate compared to his peers.

We aren’t getting smarter. We are getting better technology, which we think of as “smarter”.

Lovely, but who’s going to take out the trash?

Sometimes . . . In Huxley’s Brave New World, there are five castes gene-engineered for IQ level, Alpha geniuses for upper management through Epsilon morons for menial labor. At one point the Savage asks World Controller Mustapha Mond why they don’t just make everybody an Alpha. Mond explains that the World State once tried that as an experiment, on an island, but it was a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians – everybody wanted the upper-management jobs, society broke down completely, there was civil war, and the Alphas finally begged the government to come in and restore order.

As far as education goes, compare the number of people who have graduated from college, been to college, and graduated from high school with the situation before WW II. And yet Fox is the most popular cable news channel. Better? I think not.

I’m going with Kornbluth’s Marching Morons scenario myself. It seems to fit the present far better than the race of geniuses one.

We are getting smarter. The Flynn effect found a roughly 3 point per decade gain in fluid intelligence from 1920-1990.

I believe the effect is so big that a person who in 1920 was in the top 10% of IQ would now be in the bottom third of IQ.

The reason everyone doesn’t walk around with a 130 IQ is because the tests are recalibrated all the time. So an IQ of 130 in the beginning of the 20th century is roughly an IQ of 100 now.

Also keep in mind that nutrition was far better in 1920 than it was in the stone age. So better childhood nutrition is also going to give a higher IQ.

A stone age kid probably would be a dismal failure in today’s society.

And the robots we invent will take out the garbage.

While the Flynn Effect does exist, all it basically means is that scores on intelligence tests are increasing. That does not necessarily mean that intelligence itself is increasing, since we’re still not sure what, exactly, those tests are measuring.

First, Fox News may have been even more popular to the pre- WW2 population.
Second, what is the proportion of Fox News viewers who are college graduates?
Third, I seem to remember a study finding that Fox News is much more unbiased than most people think it is.

The guys who systematically lie and distort for the Right? Who do things like “accidentally” mislabel Republican politicians caught in scandal as being Democrats?

I rather suspect that any such study is biased as well, to put it mildly.

Weren’t the best and brightest on Wall Street. The MBAs and financial super stars. looted the markets of the world. They made the world better for themselves.

The best and the brightest were plotting the Vietnam war in the 1960s.

I believe that, on average, more intelligent people have views more amenable to human flourishing, but that they’re not really that much better in practice. My college professors are really smart and a lot of them mean well, but their lifestyles are no more sustainable than the average American’s. Tons of people in the flyover states live more sustainable lives than most city-dwelling liberal intellectual hipsters.

I think the greatest benefit would be a reduction in social conservatism. In my experience, intelligence is anti-correlated with bigotry.

Economist Joseph Schumpeter predicts that it will eventually result in a shift from capitalism to more of a welfare state socialism.

"Schumpeter’s theory is that the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism; it will be replaced by socialism in some form. There will not be a revolution, but merely a trend in parliaments to elect social democratic parties of one stripe or another. He argued that capitalism’s collapse from within will come about as democratic majorities vote for the creation of a welfare state and place restrictions upon entrepreneurship that will burden and destroy the capitalist structure. Schumpeter emphasizes throughout this book that he is analyzing trends, not engaging in political advocacy. In his vision, the intellectual class will play an important role in capitalism’s demise. The term “intellectuals” denotes a class of persons in a position to develop critiques of societal matters for which they are not directly responsible and able to stand up for the interests of strata to which they themselves do not belong. One of the great advantages of capitalism, he argues, is that as compared with pre-capitalist periods, when education was a privilege of the few, more and more people acquire (higher) education. The availability of fulfilling work is however limited and this, coupled with the experience of unemployment, produces discontent. The intellectual class is then able to organise protest and develop critical ideas.

In Schumpeter’s view, socialism will ensure that the production of goods and services is directed towards meeting the authentic needs of people and will overcome some innate tendencies of capitalism such as conjecture fluctuation, unemployment and waning acceptance of the system."
Or to translate, as the number of highly educated people rise, there will not be enough high level jobs for them to do. They will become increasingly frustrated and start getting involved in causes they may only have a tangential understanding of. Ultimately it will lead to greater insistance on government intervention. Sound familiar?

I don’t know if I agree with this though. Greater education creates more opportunity for entrepreneurship and inventiveness. That leads to more high level job creation.

Although most progressive reform is likely going to be bad for entrepreneurs (unions, minimum wages, unemployment benefits, worker rights, overtime laws, etc) some will make it easier. A single payer universal health care system will be cheaper for businesses than our current system where employers eat most of the costs. And progressive reforms that shift wealth downward would increase demand for goods and services produced by small businesses.

I believe having tons of highly educated people who can’t find jobs is a contributing factor to Islamic terrorism in the middle east.

On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that intelligence isn’t increasing. I can think of many potential reasons for an average increase in intelligence in the last century, all environmental. These would include:

  • the removal of lead from both the air and food-chain (and indeed a general improvment of air-quality in most cities, though this may not apply so much in the U.S)
  • A considerable improvement in nutrition, particularly in children, for most of the population
  • Better and earlier education. This would certainly push up IQ scores but I would expect it also to improve general intelligance however you measured it.

So I think it’s entirely possible that average intelligence has improved in the last hundred years, but I personally would think that education accounts for much of the IQ score increase.

A recent study showed that of the top 146 colleges only 3 percent of the students come from the bottom 25 percentile of wealth. Higher education will exacerbate the difference between the have and the have nots. The future looks troubled to me. Everyone will not get more education. The upper class will have better educations though.

Nothing changes if this happens across the board. The smartest of the smart still have good paying jobs. The dumbest of the dumb (even being smarter than they were) are still at the bottom.