11 June 2010

There Is No Cure for What Ails the Undeveloped World

This is a world map highlighting the "developing world nations." Often referred to as the "third world" or the "undeveloped world", but more accurately seen as the "unraveling world." But why is the poor world unraveling? Why does the undeveloped world not improve with the trillions of dollars worth of aid that has been showered on its nations and people?
This map looks like a mirror image of the undeveloped world. It highlights penetration by the internet. It is the connected world.
This map looks at average population IQ by country. There is a clear correlation between chronic poverty and low population mean IQ. There is also a good correlation between internet "connectedness" and mean IQ.
This map combines the mean population IQ with a measure of national GDP. The correlation between national production and population IQ is made more obvious using such a combination graph.
This map shows the parts of the world that receive remittances from migrants who work outside the country and region. It is a reflection of the "brain drain" of the impoverished world, and the compensatory flow of wealth back to the home countries.
This map is a graphic portrayal of HIV rates. HIV rates have stabilised in the western world, but continue to rise in the third world.
World tuberculosis rates tend to be high in areas of limited or low quality medical care. As the demographic makeup of European countries changes to reflect the rapid growth of third world populations, Europe will not be able to fend off many diseases which were previously quite rare.

There is no cure for low population IQ, once basic nutritional and early childhood needs have been met. There is no cure for chronic bad government, violent and self-defeating behaviours, and bad infrastructure -- which directly derive from low population IQs. There is no cure for the diseases of inbreeding common to Arab lands -- including Gaza, the picture boy of suicidal government and culture.

Marvelous schemes have been devised to pull the third world up by its bootstraps, but unless these schemes address the deeper innate problems of the undeveloped world, they will come to nothing. Far from being a cure for chronic third world backwardness, rapid urbanisation will only focus the blights of the third world into a concentrated area.

Europe cannot afford to support the third world any longer -- it is becoming the third world. China is moving into the third world, but the people may not be as happy about that development as the elites who take the bribes.

The maps are all in play, all will change over time. As parts of the first world come to more closely resemble the third world in demographic makeup, they will increasingly take on more other characteristics of the third world.

China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan -- all had times of poverty. But when given the opportunity to pull themselves up, the people of East Asia rose to the challenge. Of course, some of these countries are caught in the same demographic implosion as large parts of Europe and Russia. There is a point of no return for a shrinking population -- particularly if it is being replaced by a less capable substitute population.

The trend will not go in the other direction without the same type of evolutionary forces which caused some groups to grow out of the chronic third world condition in the first place.

Artificial intelligence and nano-fab cornucopias will only shift the trend to dysgenics more quickly -- as the human brain becomes more of a vestigial organ. The singularity as envisioned by many of its devotees, is simply a high tech trap.

Humans of the advanced world must have challenges in order to stretch their abilities to the limit. Challenges AND opportunities. The welfare state is the opposite of the sort of environment that encourages growth.

It is an existential problem, in a world of shrinking mental capacities.


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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Interesting maps.

I'm not convinced about IQ metrics except for Detroit, perhaps.

A significant part of the disparities could be attributed to geographic isolation. Sub-Sahara is isolated from the main east-west band of trade, hence, exchange of ideas. Within the sub-Saharan area are significant natural boundaries to internal interaction.

True, this isolation could lead to inbreeding and negative genetic traits [or positive ones]. But it was more likely to lock in ethnic barriers to larger democratic possibilities. The British and Dutch did little to foster that.

The United States represents a unique set of circumstances ... a greenfield that was opened to a nation that had benefited from the Roman legacy and its own maritime heritage. Having a democratic foundation imported and fed by citizens from that heritage did more than anything to create a dynamic philosophical and commercial basis for success.

Don't get too caught up in present economic/political realities. It wasn't that long ago when the Ottoman Empire was transcendent. It wasn't long before then that the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Indians, and Chinese all had superior cultures and economies.

There is nothing inherently stable or superior in the U.S. system. Our present government has already shown how quickly three centuries can be reversed.

It happened in Cuba; it happened in Venezuela; it can happen here. The basis of a society is fragile and any number of internal or external factors can send it on a death spiral.

Friday, 11 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting comment Bruce, thanks.

Any society can crash and burn, of course. But can any society rise and soar and advance modern science and technology? Probably not.

I suggest that that is the more interesting question.

If you had to choose 10 nations that are unlikely to ever reach the GDP per capita of the US circa 2000, which 10 would you choose? Which 20, 50, 100? What if it were a bet, where you stood to lose a lot of money if you were wrong?

It can tend to be rather easy to be magnanimous and patronising toward underperforming groups and cultures when there is nothing on the line -- to make excuses for them, as it were.

Unfortunately for us, there is a lot on the line -- and not just the hundreds of billions of aid money we flush. It is possible that the future of the Greco Roman legacy of western civ is at stake, if we grow careless and sloppy with our heritage.

Friday, 11 June, 2010  
Blogger Bruce Hall said...


Don't misunderstand; my comments were simply observations, not excuses or support for poorly performing societies.

I think the key ingredients are hunger and opportunity. What you may be observing is that Western society is no longer hungry... it is sated and cautious. There are still plenty of opportunities, but the declining birth rate and the increasing indebtedness are good indicators of a society that has lost that driving hunger to be top dog.

While our republican form of government gives us comfort, it is not the only form in which a national or societal hunger can propel it upward. A visionary dictator can do that, too.

The danger of socialism is that it gets us used to having things handed to us... even if the process is destructive.

Still, with the exception of Africa and most of South America, any area could become invigorated given the right combination. Potential in the 21st century? Hard to say. The anchor of 7th century Islam is holding down the Arab/Middle Eastern area. India has a huge educated class, but the anchor of a class-based society is holding it down. South Korea is dynamic, but has too many external concerns and is too small.

Then, again, there is nothing to say that there has to be anything improvement in the global social/economic condition this century. There are times of just plain disintegration.

Friday, 11 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

"Loss of hunger" may be too vague to be a falsifiable concept. Go deeper to what is causing the west to "lose its hunger."

A visionary dictator will almost certainly mis-allocate resources, which leads to a society's destruction in the long run.

The question one should be asking is: "Can the society advance science, technology, and human culture?" How many centuries can a more advanced world make excuses for Haiti?

The third world is a dead end -- yet it is the fetish of modern leftism. "Affirmative Action" based upon post-modern multiculturalist vagaries has become international policy, to the point that more advanced nations are committing suicide on the altar of an irrational anti-western bigotry.

Some things are worth trying to save, even if only as a spark that can help to fire a post-disintegration era.

Saturday, 12 June, 2010  
Blogger gtg723y said...

Well in the words of Jesus "Blessed are the poor," although he did have some unkind words for those he called slovenly, as they jaded the hearts of men against charity while simultaneousness sapping charitable resources. The problem is distinguishing between the briers and the barley. The real issue is the totalitarian government and war technology they have no business using because they would never be able to develop it on their own. If something as simple as the enforcement of property rights were to be established things in the third world could improve significantly, and that will only happen when the population educates its self and forces the issue.

Sunday, 13 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Property rights would help. Enforcement of contracts might help. Education can help to a limited extent.

Westerners are the ones who need to "wise up" however. People of the primitive world are not just "first worlders who have been a little slow to catch up." Most of them, anyway.

The few third worlders who get an education and achieve a certain level of competence typically migrate to parts of the advanced world where their talents can earn a higher reward -- and where they are not likely to be cut down by the headman's goons or child soldiers.

That is another reason why indiscriminate immigration of third worlders has to be stopped. Otherwise there will be no escape for the smart ones who flee to the west. They will just find the third world dysfunctionality, corruption, violence, etc. waiting for them when they arrive.

Sunday, 13 June, 2010  
Blogger Max said...

Artificial intelligence and nano-fab cornucopias will only shift the trend to dysgenics more quickly -- as the human brain becomes more of a vestigial organ. The singularity as envisioned by many of its devotees, is simply a high tech trap.

I think you dismissing this angle way too quickly. Advanced AI will shift the balance of power and the whole world scenario dramatically. Human brains are vestigal organs for 99.9% of population already anyways, what AI and singularity has potential to change is the control of resources .

There are many views on singularity and most vocal one the "cornucopean" scenario, but skynet scenario looks more plausible to me .

At some point the question about most efficient use of resources will arise and humans do not look favorable in that light

Another scenario is early AI could be used for totalitarian state, which frankly is one of the most dreadful scenarios as the purpose of such state would be only the proliferation of then obsolete (in face of AI) human kind

Monday, 14 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

True, if superhuman AI ever comes about, it will shift the balance of power in favour of the persons who can control it.

To prevent the AI from going "skynet" or "colossus" etc. you need to make it autistic and inwardly focused.

Of course if it's too smart, it can make you think you are controlling it, while it is actually digging a pit under your feet, to bury you alive.

So far, we really don't have to worry too much, considering the current sorry state of AI research.

Monday, 14 June, 2010  
Blogger Max said...

To prevent the AI from going "skynet" or "colossus" etc. you need to make it autistic and inwardly focused.

Well you make a constrained one and it will lose to one not bound by such limitations.

So far, we really don't have to worry too much, considering the current sorry state of AI research.

It depends on the perspective. People worry a lot about demographics shift which is happening and this is 50-100 years ahead.

AI research has been making a lot of progress in past 20 years from a multitude of directions, some problems which deemed unsolvable are already solved and some major milestones are on track to be reached by 2020-2030

Computer vision will likely be completely solved by 2020 and unsupervised learning likely to reach acceptable level of progress by 2030 ish . There are already first steps in creating a workable framework for foundation of AI ( as a Bayesian pattern classifier with complex utility functions )

So all in all timeframe of 50-100 years does not look unrealistic to me at all

Considering growth of computing resources is outpacing AI research it is likely that by the time workable AI models are realized there are more than enough of computing resources available for an explosive growth ( the singularity event)

Tuesday, 15 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

A "constrained AI plus humans" package is likely to beat unconstrained AIs for at least the next century.

That gives us about 100 years to learn how to shape "unconstrained" AIs to be our lifelong partners and bosom buddies. ;-)

The idea that AIs will have an ego, and act to ensure their own continuing existence even if it endangers the existence of humans, is an anthropomorphic projection which has been very popular in books, movies, and speculative futurism.

We can get a lot of functionality from hyper-powerful AIs which do not have egos. Humans have enough ego for both types of intelligences combined.

Humans create the infrastructure that AIs will need. If AIs get to the point where they can create their own infrastructure sustainably, we may have a problem.

If one approaches the problem from the standpoint of a technologist, one is almost certain to be over-optimistic in projecting the timeline to machine intelligence (plus ego).

Persons looking at the problem from the combined philosophic, neuroscientific, and technological perspectives, are more likely to understand the greater part of the larger picture -- all the necessary interlocking, mutually inhibiting and constraining dynamic functions that are going on simultaneously to create intelligent behaviour.

I'll be impressed when AI researchers can build a life sized fully functional horsefly brain.

Tuesday, 15 June, 2010  
Blogger Amy said...

I know this is an old post, can I ask the source of your maps? I've been trying to find them elsewhere but can't.

Tuesday, 16 November, 2010  

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