Johan Mayer writes:
Have you tried correlating the IQ scores with local lead poisoning? The main gains from the Flynn effect ended by the late 1970s (birth years), suggesting that fuel lead didn’t play a role (as both whites and blacks would experience higher intelligence, thus raising the intelligence that 100 represents—rather, it was probably the elimination of malnutrition), and that some of the remaining gap should arise from differential lead paint.
The calculation might look as follows:
Deficit = sum(over n) Distribution of lead level(n) x IQ_deficit_from_lead(n)for each neighborhood.
Add the deficit to the mean IQ calculated from the composition of the neighborhood, then re-estimate the (before lead) IQ of each group, fitting to composition and reevaluated IQ; re-normalize the black IQ to the white (raised) IQ.
Elevated black blood lead (much more common than elevated white blood lead) suggests that at least another 3 IQ points can be gained for blacks on that count, using Detroit data.
I did a similar calculation for national IQ and malnutrition (using 1991 data), on the basis that malnutrition knocks off about a standard deviation of IQ (15 points, although I also found a source that claimed 11), multiplying by the malnourished proportion of the population. This pushes sub-Saharan African National IQ to the range upper 60’s to upper 70’s.
Black African skin bleaching tends to be between 30 and 70% among women historically, although men are also using such products; the products are notorious for mercury content, suggesting that childhood exposure via the mother should cost another 11 points on average (mercury ppm in mother’s hair on the order of 150, with 0.15 IQ loss per ppm—products sold to Africa typically have much higher mercury content). I couldn’t find much by way of statistics for US black women. For Asians, there has been much growth of the use of these products since the early National IQ estimates were made.
African leaded fuel use will also greatly harm urban populations (who will dominate National IQ estimates), although they were phased out by 2006; the time to affect primary schools is about nine years, although the IQ estimates are based on the the 90’s. South Africa should suffer 7 points, and Nigeria probably the same.
Thus the pre-environmental expected IQ of blacks is well within a standard deviation of whites.
East Asian cities are often near coasts, and historically held much smaller portions of their respective countries’ populations, as elsewhere. Thus their early (for the third world) industrialization would tend to have a lower impact on IQ.
Lead has been studied, and childhood lead is substantially lower than adult lead, which may account for much of the national IQ achievement of Chinese versus other societies; child rearing practices that avoid putting unknown objects in the mouth might play a role, but then again, given the relatively small family sizes and involvement of grandparents, more supervision might also play a role.
As to the topic of your post, another possible cause for the lack of black achievement considering IQ is racism.
The author makes a strong case that US Black IQ’s can increase 3 points and African Black IQ’s can increase 10 points due to environmental interventions. This is certainly plausible.
I have no problems with any of these environmental efforts. All the power to them. A gain of even 3 IQ points for Detroit Blacks would be a fantastic thing indeed. A 10-point IQ gain for African Blacks would be a great thing for them and for Africa as a whole. Many of Africa’s most serious problems would surely ameliorate with a 10-point IQ gain. An IQ in the upper 70’s would put Africa on a par with the IQ’s of some Gulf states such as Qatar that have created highly evolved civilizations. However, even US Blacks with IQ’s a full 9 points higher than the Qataris fail miserably at creating the highly evolved society that the Qataris created.
One argument is that Qatar only exists in its current form due to oil wealth. Give Black people oil wealth, and they will create a Qatar.
However, this has not happened in Africa. Nigeria has tremendous oil wealth, and it is one of the evil and diabolically failed states on Earth. Nearly all of the wealth has been stolen by a tiny elite and the rest of the population flounders in monstrous poverty. Gabon is a much better case, and oil wealth has allowed them to have a $20,000 per capita income. Gabon is basically a middle income country. However, almost all of the wealth has been stolen by a tiny elite, ~50% of the population is starving, and and the vast majority of the population live in horrifying poverty.
Give a Black society money, and the most cruel and sociopathic Blacks will steal almost all of it for a small elite group, leaving the vast majority of the population to suffer in terrible poverty (the African model).
Alternatively, give another Black society money, and income will be much better distributed, but the most cruel and sociopathic Blacks will create in monstrous violent crime rate, destabilizing a prosperous society.
The African wealth distribution style is also seen in Haiti and was seen until the 1960’s in the Dominican Republic. The rest of the Caribbean has a much more equitable distribution system. Trinidad and Tobago has a PCI or $20,000/yr due to oil wealth, but they have one of the highest violent crime and homicide rates on Earth. A Trinidadian woman I spoke to said it was because local young men had imported gang culture from the US, and it was now spread all through the country. Still, a country with a $20,000 PCI and that high of a homicide rate nearly qualifies as something like a failed state right there, at least on that one variable.
Although we have shown that Blacks can create wealthy societies (at least in the case of oil), those societies show significant problems either in democratization or extremely high violent crime.
In the African model, a tiny elite will steal all the oil wealth and leave most of the people scrounging for scraps.
In the Caribbean model, wealth will be distributed much better, but society will still be saddled with a horrific violent crime rate.
As the comparison with Qatar and the US shows, there is a lot more holding Black people back than just a low IQ. With an IQ of ~83, the Arabs can create Dubai, along with a highly civilized state with a shockingly low crime rate. With an IQ of 87, US Blacks still cannot create anything like Dubai even with an IQ advantage.
So obviously the problems of Black people extend beyond IQ, and a rising Black IQ is not a cure-all.
What these problems are is unknown, but there appear to be genetic factors predisposing Blacks to greater crime and antisociality. What these factors are is unknown, but I am convinced that they exist. Antisociality will create thieving elites in Africa and Caribbean societies with better income distribution but extremely high violent crime rates.
Getting a handle around Black problems involves not only raising Black IQ but dealing conclusively with whatever it is that is crimogenic or psychopathogenic in Black biology or Black genes.
Once IQ is high enough though, whatever Black criminogenic issues are involved tend to wash out. I have read that setting Black IQ at ~113, the Black and White crime rates are equal. High intelligence often washes out criminal tendencies due to greater forward thinking, possibly greater empathy, guilt and worry and lessened impulsiveness. As IQ rises in any race of humans, empathy, guilt and worry tend to rise and impulsiveness tends to decline.
I do not agree that racism affects Black IQ scores very much. Instead, moving from a non-racist country (Jamaica) to a racist country (the UK) results in a gain of up to 14 IQ points in the second generation. Blacks living in “highly racist” White societies typically have IQ’s ~13-18 points higher than Blacks living in non-racist societies such as the Caribbean and Africa.
Skin bleaching products sold in the US probably do not have much mercury in them.