Saudi Modernization

There’s an effort to put Saudis to work, because of low oil prices and a rapidly increasing population. The goal is to have Saudi Arabia prosperous due to application of Saudi human capital, rather than just from oil
It won’t work. And the thing they try after that won’t work either.

P.S. at current rates of draw-down, Saudi financial assets will be exhausted in five years.

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410 Responses to Saudi Modernization

  1. ben says:

    What about importing human capital?

    • SonOfRekab says:

      They are already doing it today, the country’s technological infrastructure is basically maintained by European engineers.
      It is a fantasy land, much like the emirates. If you want a glimpse into the future of those countries in a post oil world, go to Jordan.

      • gcochran9 says:

        “go to Jordan” . Optimist.

        • SonOfRekab says:

          ‘“go to Jordan” . Optimist.’

          It is not that i am an optimist, it is that most people in the west have no idea as to how dysfunctional Jordan is.
          Once US/Saudi/EU funds stop flowing into it, it will become clearer.

          • AbelardLindsey says:

            I thought Jordan was one of the more functional middle=eastern countries, by the standard of the region. Perhaps its a really low standard.

            • SonOfRekab says:

              The reason Jordan did not take part in the 73 war, was not because of their inclinations to Zionism but rather their (reasonable) wish to survive financially.

              I am not sure that in the long run, the Hashemites have made the right choice.

              • j says:

                Saudi Arabia without oil will tend to resemble Yemen more than Jordan. Yemenites are hard workers and Yemen was a functioning state, at least for some of its history.

          • petrhanak says:

            I would like to learn a bit more on this topic. Can you please direct me towards more data, especially about the foreign subsidies? (I come from the Czech Republic and I simply cannot stand that EU uses our tax money to support Palestinians and so on)

  2. Tim says:

    Their technological advances will always be limited as long as they treat women as they do. Even while offering large salaries, they just can’t recruit many intelligent people from outside the region.

    Any married man with a good job offer will have a terrible time convincing his wife to move where she needs an escort in public and can’t drive a car.

    I only know a handful of single male scientists who moved there, and none of them stayed very long. China is much more attractive these days.

    • gcochran9 says:

      “as long as they treat women as they do”

      That’s not the problem.

      • nobodyexpectsthe... says:

        What if they treat women the same, but with different women?

        I know it could be prohibitively expensive right now. But what if their state policy from the late 70s, would had been to import as many chinese women with iqs 1 std over the chinese average, and marriying them as second wives to their surplus males. Full conversion to their preferred saudibarbarian sect and all ofc.

        • LibertarianinChina says:

          Two thoughts: That is a remarkably good idea, and, that is way too smart for the Saudis to actually follow through on.

        • Stary Wylk says:

          The supply of Chinese women is well under demand in China. I don’t think you’d find many volunteers.

      • maciano says:

        This made me laugh more than it should.

      • reiner Tor says:

        In fairness, Tim was probably responding to the previous commenter proposing to import human capital. He said it was quite difficult because the supply of high IQ people whose wives would accept the treatment meted out to women in Saudi Arabia is quite limited.

        • Tim says:


          They do have the little walled immigrant communities where foreign women can drive cars and walk around alone. I hear it is like living in a big cage.

          • Ilya says:

            Unreasonable expectations on the part of Western women. It would be best (for the West) if similar restrictions applied to them in their home countries also. Even a modicum of disenfranchisement will help to stop, if not revert the dysgenic trends. There is something the Saudis can teach the West, after all.

            • Frau Katze says:

              The lowest birth rates are in the Far East, not here in the West. I don’t know how one would get the TFR for Saudi Arabia. The CIA World Factbook includes all the foreigners working there, yet none of them will be staying. That really skews the stats!

              But other conservative Muslim countries, like Turkey and Iran are also noticing low birth rates. (We don’t think of Turkey as conservative but it’s current leadership is conservative and frequently harangues women to have more kids. The population is currently ignoring the advice.) I can’t see that Saudi has anything to teach us. At least, not until I see some more data.

            • et.cetera says:

              The “dysgenic trends” predate any sort of enfranchisement for women by at least 3 generations.

              • Ilya says:

                Depending on the region, but yes, I agree.

                Disenfranchisement of women is only one part of the equation. After limiting the freedom of women, the next thing is incentivization of the smarter, married men to have many children. The only way of doing this, given the post-industrial arrangement of abundant food and modern medicine is either tight-knit religious communities or a statist totalitarian control that involves material punishment and ostracism for those men able and deserving of large-family formation but who don’t perform said duties to their society.

                If you do those two things, dysgenics will stop.

                Islam has a lot of sane things embedded in it. East Asians (esp Chinese) had thousands of years of civilization. It’s just that the most able Muslims and East Asians copy the behavior of emancipated Westerners, influenced by TV and Internet — all to their ultimate demise.

                I’d say, the approach of Chinese of firewalling their Internet is a good one, for starters. They need to be doing more of it: to hell with “American culture.” Freedom of speech is overrated and should be restricted within a hierarchy and subject context. American Constitution needs to change, to accommodate the proper priorities, if Americans want to survive as a nation of spacefaring humans and not doomed baboons.

              • gcochran9 says:

                No, they don’t.

              • Ilya says:

                It was a careless hyperbole about Islam, yes. My point mostly concerns the traditional role of women, but not much else.

            • DataExplorer says:

              Restricting women to the home eliminates the opportunities for Eugenic fertility via assortative mating. Apparently the lowest fertility countries are the First World “Western” ones with the more traditional roles for women: Japan, Korea, Italy, Greece, etc. Not sure if that has anything to do with it, the Guardian thinks so. The highest fertility Western countries are France and the USA, so whatever they are doing is what others should emulate.

              • Peter Lund says:

                Import lots of Africans and Muslims and have them breed? Because that’s what France is doing…

              • Iceland had the highest fertility rate of highly developed countries (not including petrostates). 2.02, right around replacement. That isn’t too bad for one of the most feminist countries in the world. Their recent lesbian prime minister pushed a ban on strip clubs and pornography. Good for her.

              • JayMan says:

                As high IQ countries go, fertility is highest in Northwestern Europe (and derivatives) – and I mean native fertility.

              • SonOfRekab says:

                “Restricting women to the home eliminates the opportunities for Eugenic fertility via assortative mating”

                Jewish women in eastern Europe were illiterate house wives with 8 kids up until less then a century ago, their kids came out OK on smarts.

            • Thiago Ribeiro says:

              “hyperbole about Islam, yes. My point mostly concerns the traditional role of women, but not much else.”
              To sum it up, “they don’t want to sleep with me”.

        • SonOfRekab says:

          It is all about the alternatives.

          When the country of the western high IQ wife becomes more like a poor Muslim country, the more appealing the alternative of a gated western community in a rich Muslim country will become.

      • Dr Swaggins says:

        After Muslims entered Europe in large numbers, European women began covering up and taking other such measures to ensure their safety.

        If I raised a daughter in a Muslim country, God forbid, I’d cover her up and only let her out with a male escort. Because of what would happen if I didn’t.

        It’s almost as if Muslims living with other Muslims know what Muslims are like. Hm.

    • Waltem says:

      Their technological advances will always be limited as long as they treat women as they do.

      So Affirmative Action and Gender Studies then?

  3. SonOfRekab says:

    They can open an international prison system, something like a penal colony with strict sharia law.
    This could generate plenty of revenues, serve as proper deterrent and i think they will be great at it.
    But seriously, what they seem to be investing most these days is weapons and that usually means only one thing.

  4. Frau Katze says:

    Part of the problem is that working for a living has not much status. Real men don’t work.

  5. M says:

    Was just reading about intelligence testing of Saudis. There was a large study (N~=4700) done in 1977, where they scored an average of 78 when normalized to British scores, but a more recent study in 2010 found a gain of almost 12 points, i.e. to 90 vs British IQ.

    I couldn’t find the original paper for the 1977 study, but here’s the abstract of a spin-off from the same data which mentions the average:

    Here’s the short summary of the 2010 study, in the journal Intelligence:

    • SonOfRekab says:

      From what read so far, it seems that across the ME, the scores tend to converge around 87.

    • Dale says:

      That difference isn’t far from the ~3 points per decade increase called the “Flynn effect”.

      The second paper’s introduction references a few other studies showing increased IQs in other developing countries.

      • reiner Tor says:

        But the Flynn effect took place in England, too, didn’t it? So they advanced that much relative to England, which means 6 points per decade, or in other words, 3 points per decade above the Flynn effect. Could it be true?

        • johnny abacus says:

          The flynn effect appears to be strongest in low IQ populations and weakest in high IQ populations.

    • Matt says:

      On a similar note, on PISA Math 2012, UAE (434) hits around the same on PISA as Bulgaria (439), Chile (423), Thailand (427).

      If that’s all genetic, and that’s all from UAE residents, then the United Arab Emirates have about as good a chance as those nations.

      They’re about as close to Sweden (478) as Sweden is to Germany (514).

      Anyone got any thoughts on this? (I assume Greg’s, if he reads this, will simply be “Don’t believe it”, but also other people would be appreciated.)

      • gcochran9 says:

        In the PISA Math 2009 results, there’s a breakdown by immigration status: the national average, the native average, 1st generation immigrants, 2nd generation immigrants.

        Only 13% of the population are UAE nationals.

        Average national score for the UAE: 459. Average native score: 395. Not that often do you a see a country where the ruling class is significantly dumber than the average.

        And I didn’t believe it even before I checked – partly because I already knew that the UAE was full of expatriates that make up most of the population and do all the work.

        • athEIst says:

          2nd generation immigrants. A useful but impossible* term, but it so grates on the ears!

          When the Spanish first colonized South America the various nobility would send their pregnant wives back to Spain, Spanish birth had higher status than South American birth. These children then reentering SA with their mothers would then be 2nd generation immigrants? If not, then the term is impossible.

        • j says:

          I don’t think that the Gulf natives could maintain their absolute mastery over a population nine times larger if they were much dumber than the helots, as suggested by PISA and Greg. This is a people that had colonized East Africa centuries before the first Portuguese visited them, a people that established colonies in China, in Indonesia, etc. and imposed its religion and culture on hundreds of millions Asians. As maritime traders, they outcompeted even the smart Chinese. We should be less arrogant when talking about Arabs.

          • gcochran9 says:

            So, when some Saudis got into a big argument with a friend of mine at New Mexico Tech because he didn’t believe their claim that they had invented a perpetual motion machine, it must have been his narrow-mindedness that was at fault, rather than their stupidity.

          • The Chinese were so obsessed with themselves that they never took much interest in other countries or their produce.
            The most notable exception was their fascination for the giraffe which the Chinese mistook for unicorns.

      • The 1996 TIMSS Mathematics Achievement in the Middle School Years reported a fifth percentile (5th %) score (8th grade Math) score for Singapore that exceeded the fiftieth percentile (50%) score of the US. If this were IQ, then –half– of the US population would qualify as severely retarded by Singapore standards. Nobody reports an Asian/White IQ gap that large.
        Allow some role for “culture” (schools, curricula) in the Saudi score.

  6. Saudi Arabia 8-15 2,661 SPM 76 Abu-Hatab et al., 1977
    Saudi Arabia adult 4,659 SPM 78 Abdel-Khalek & Lynn , 2009
    Saudi Arabia adult 1,634 SPM 76 Baterjee et al., 2012
    Saudi Arabia: mean 76.5
    These are the means for the Standard Progressive Matrices, the last two pretty recent and all of them large sample sizes. Prospects do not seem all that good.

  7. I must add that the Baterjee et al paper 2013 gives an updated score of plus 11.7 IQ points, which would as M says bring the current estimate to 90. Usually a mean IQ of 93 or so seems to be required for a functioning economy.

    • reiner Tor says:

      If they really had a mean IQ of 90, then it wouldn’t totally be impossible to find a solution: they’d need to break down on cousin marriages, and within a generation that would probably lift their IQs by at least 5 points or more. At least it would not be totally unimaginable.

      If their IQs are in the range of 75 to 80, then, sadly, all is hopeless for them. Once oil is gone, Saudis will join the “refugees” from Mali, Congo, Iraq, Algeria, Pakistan, or any other hellhole in the world to settle Europe and North America.

    • Jim says:

      Are these IQ scores based on norming the UK population to 100?

    • MawBTS says:

      What do you make of this IQ increase? It seems unbelievable that a nation could gain 11 points in a generation, at least in the component of IQ we care about.

      Do we see a similar trend in the other “petrodollar” gulf states?

      • pyrrhus says:

        It’s unbelievable because it can’t happen, and almost certainly didn’t happen. Sample error, most likely…

      • Dale says:

        You write, “It seems unbelievable that a nation could gain 11 points in a generation, at least in the component of IQ we care about.”

        We do see increases of 3 points per decade in industrialized countries, so it’s not out of line with what is observed elsewhere. Also, the time period is nearly 40 years, so it’s closer to two generations in a nation where there is no disincentive to breeding young.

        But more likely is that there’s been a reduction in inbreeding. IIRC, some reference that Thompson mentioned on his blog suggested that IQ could be decreased by 35 points by intensive cousin marriage.

        • MawBTS says:

          We do see increases of 3 points per decade in industrialized countries, so it’s not out of line with what is observed elsewhere.

          But it’s normed against the British average of 100, so this would be 11 points in addition to the Flynn effect.

      • MawBTS says:

        Maybe I figured it out.

        The 11.7 IQ increase was in the cohort of eight year olds. In 1977 they scored 15.5 and in 2010 18.6. Other years show even greater disparity (how do I convert the SPM to an IQ score?)

        But as the kids grow older, the higher scores seem to be going away. Looking at the 15 year old cohort, the 1977 kids get 35.0 and the 2010 kids get 36.0. Table 1 in the Batterjee paper has more sophisticated analysis, adjusting for differences in standard deviation and so on. Around the age of 10, the 2010 kids start losing their edge.

        This jibes with what I know about childhood IQ: that it’s sensitive to environmental factors and is less “g-loaded”.

        Decades of environmental interventions (scholastic or otherwise) usually give us the same picture. Short term gains in IQ. As the child ages, the gains go away.

        • Yes, you are right and I should have been more explicit. Many reported gains are of the form: Children are getting to 15 faster, but are still 15 at the end of the process. That is to say that you get acceleration (and closures of “the gap”) in the early years, but the final result, the finished product that rolls off the educational production line, is still not good, and not as good as the early results presaged. So, these education mediated Flynn effects are smallest at precisely the ages which matter most, namely among 17 year olds about to enter the workplace or further education.

          • Greying Wanderer says:

            I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve read a few places that people of all ethnic groups score slightly higher in the US than in their native country.

            If true I wonder if that has been one benefit of the attempt to close the gap – squeezing the last drop out of people?

            If that was the case (more or less) then once that had been achieved and everyone was at 100% of their native ability then if there’s still a gap the only remaining option would be to lower the bar until everyone can pass.

            • Jim says:

              I believe Mexican-Americans students score significantly above Mexican students. Mexico does however have much lower school funding per pupil than the US. Mexico may be a case where increased investment in education would be worthwhile.

              Of course there is still a large “achievement gap” between Mexican-Americans vs.US whites and Asian-Americans.

              • Jim says:

                On the other hand corruption in Mexico might well consume any increases in educational spending.

              • Greying Wanderer says:

                Yes, I was just wondering if the attempt to close the gap in the past had made the US system quite good and as good as it could get and now (barring genetics) there was nothing left except treading water or going down.

              • gcochran9 says:

                I doubt if gap-closing attempts improved general education. Although there is good reason to think that moving black kids in the South into halfway decent schools (with books and roofs) made a lot of difference: the black-white education gap used to be as much as seven years in the South; after improved education it shrank to about four years. And has pretty much stayed there.

              • ursiform says:

                The teachers union in Mexico is notoriously powerful. Teachers routinely fail to show up for work. Getting no instruction in school likely hurts students’ educational achievements.

              • Maybe the Mexicans who come to the States are smarter than those who stay in Mexico.

              • Jim says:

                The illegal immigrants coming from Mexico are nearly all unskilled workers who come to the US to do manual labor. I doubt their IQ is above the Mexican average.

            • gardenofjew says:

              Isn’t this almost certainly because of self-selection?

              Aren’t legal immigrants to the U.S. (not refugees that come from all SES) generally from middle class or above in their originating country?

      • akarlin says:

        Saudi Arabia went from being a Third World country to a First World one within a generation (in terms of living standards if not social development), so I don’t see how it’s altogether improbable.

    • Carl Churchill says:

      What’re the IQ averages for Saudi elites, excluding the royal family (who’re a bunch of illiterate morons)?

  8. Spandrell says:

    They could import Russian or Ukrainian brides every generation. After 5 generations the country might work as well as Russia.

    • Tim says:

      You are quite the salesman.

    • Economic Sophisms says:

      The thought any more Slavic beauties going to that litter box of a country makes me slightly angry.

      • psunvincent says:

        Dubai, Kuwait City, Doha, Abu Dhabi and other moneyed cities are full of Slavic girls plying their trade. Saudi Arabia is a lot more stricter but I wouldn’t be surprised if the same is happening there.

    • Rosenmops says:

      I don’t think Russian and Ukrainian woman are quite that desperate.

    • Frau Katze says:

      They’d have persuade the women to convert to the extremely conservative version of Islam practised there. I can’t see many takers.

      It might also be socially unacceptable for the men too: marriages tend to be arranged and foreigners aren’t in the pool of candidates.

    • Maybe if they had started 4 generations ago. Maybe they could get a good deal on some North Korean girls.

    • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

      Didn’t they already try that a couple of hundred years ago? Not for nothing is the word ‘slave’ derived from the word ‘slav’.

      • It was mostly the Turks rather than the Arabs who bought a lot of “giaour” girls from the Slavs (or just carried them off.) I guess the Turks are a lot less Asiatic-looking than they used to be.

        • Jim says:

          I believe that the Turkish population is genetically less than 10% Central Asiatic. They aren’t greatly different genetically from the Greek population.

          • Frau Katze says:

            I did a project where I looked at a lot of photos related to news in Turkey. While Turkish is in the same language family as others like Kyrgyz and Uzbek (these people look definitely Asiatic), Turks seem to look indistinguishable from Europeans. Indeed, President Erdogan could have come from any European country (even the northern ones). I assume that Asian invaders intermarried with the people who lived there before. And that there have been people from further north moving there. A lot came from Russia (the Caucasus), they were chased out.

            • Subakaraka says:

              You’re really stretching that. Many turks do look european (and often technically are), but the average took really doesn’t look European. The middle eastern tendencies in that country are pretty widespread.

              I don’t know how you can really think Erdogan looks like he could have from any European, especially northern ones. The only thing he shares in common with northern europeans is his barely visible eyebrows.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Well, I have to admit I haven’t seen him person. Maybe photos don’t convey it properly.

                His skin looks pale, unlike Ahmet Davutoğlu (Used to be prime minister) who has olive skin and looks more Greek or Italian. Erdogan also doesn’t have dark brown eyes, they’re hazel. He can’t be homozygous for brown eyes.

                But Davutoglu doesn’t look Asiatic either. Check some photos of Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, etc. The difference is striking.

              • Frau Katze says:

                You seem very sensitive to comments suggesting anyone in the Middle East looks like he or she could have been from Europe. I don’t think you’re a neutral dispassionate observer, you’re over-reacting.

          • Too bad for the Turks.

    • Marie-Louise says:

      I do not think it is a good idea to exploit women. Much better and easier to import sperm from the west. Maybe some Nobel Prise winner will help?

  9. Frank says:

    I guess an interesting question is what happens when they have a decade or two of economic depression from low oil prices, while the royal family members still drive around in their gold-plated Bentleys. How much will the regular people put up with?

    Even if the US did need oil again, Iran could supply a lot of it.

    • SonOfRekab says:

      Many countries can supply it, but at what cost?
      When it comes to cheap oil, nobody can beat the Saudis and the Emirates.

  10. anon says:

    what about the Islamic golden age?

    • Jim says:

      The southern part of the Arabian Peninsula made very few contributions to the Islamic golden age.

    • DataExplorer says:

      I can think of three possible explanations, all of them could be contributing factors:

      1) The Golden Age was before the negative affect of the Bedouin / Islamic practice of cousin marriage had a serious impact on the gene pool.
      2) The Golden Age occurred when the pre-Islamic Levantine and Mesopotamian gene pool was still strong in the population and before it was gradually replaced by the Bedouin Arabs through differential fertility and polygamy.
      3) The Golden Age was not as Golden as modern Western academics have led us to believe. Perhaps it was really just a handful of bright minds, whose contributions have been over-emphasized to promote political correctness in the modern era.

    • Dale says:

      The Islamic Golden Age wasn’t that golden, it was just infinitely better that the Middle Ages of Europe, which by modern standards is incredibly poor competition.

      • Not so: the Euro Middle Ages were at least as advanced as any Islamic country. Architecture was outstanding. And, of course, huge technological advances formed the basis for the West. So, the Islamic Golden Age was as good as it got in the Middle East. Even the Mosques were copies of Justinian’s Hagia sophia.

    • Peter Akuleyev says:

      None of the Islamic “golden age” took place in Saudi Arabia. It was mostly located in Mesopotamia, the Levant and Spain. There is a reason why the centers of Muslim civilization quickly shifted to places like Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus, instead of Mecca or Medina.

      • Jim says:

        Yes, the Persian component seems to have been pretty significant. Very little contribution from the southern Arabian Peninsula.

        • Jim says:

          Also the intellectual sources of the Islamic golden age came mostly from the Hellenistic heritage, not much from the culture of Southern Arabia.

          • Correct. Most of the Islamic “Golden Age” was copies of stuff from other civilizations, with occasional improvements, or contributions by peoples already relatively advanced who had been forced to convert at the point of a sword.

            And as time went on, Islam strangled original thought in the conquered, and the societies froze.

            • So the Islamic Golden Age, to the extent that it was Golden, was despite that it was Islamic.

              • Jim says:

                Oh, the prominent figures in it may have been Moslems but not South Arabians and their inspiration came mainly from Hellenistic culture not from the Koran or the culture of South Arabia or something from Islam as a religion. To be sure classical Hellenistic intellectual influences probably had a lot more to do with development of science and technology in Christian Europe than anything in the Christian Bible.

              • CuriousKazakh says:

                Majority of the lumniaries were Iran-proper Persian/Central Asian Persian, or what you would call Tajik today— (Rumi, Khwarizmi, Khayyam, Ibn Sina). Some were Mesopotamian, but Iraqis are really Arabized, not Arab, per se.

      • DataExplorer says:

        It is true that the centers were places like Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo. However IQ scores there are also pretty low so that doesn’t explain it. The way to know would be to test the IQ of Christian minorities in those regions: Maronites, Assyrians, Coptics, etc. That might give you a window into what the original genotypic intelligence was in the Middle East (before the inbreeding Bedouins took over).

        • Maybe, maybe not. Most the original Christian population of the Levant converted to Islam over the centuries. It’s been suggested that the lower classes were much more likely to convert due to the jizya (head tax on non-Muslims), so the remnant Christians are mostly descended from the original upper classes, who were likely to be above average in intelligence.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Maronites were hill farmers. Assyrian Christians, also hill farmers. Give me a break. Anyhow, using singleton density scores, we can look at what was being selected over the past couple of thousand years. With ancient DNA we can see where the typical Middle Easterner stood back then. Soon we will know.

            Recent jizya-based selection? I’d bet against it. I can imagine it with Copts, but I don’t believe it.

            • Frau Katze says:

              Coptics in Egypt were represented in numbers out of proportion in business and various professions. They had a disproportionate amount of wealth. Nasser fixed that.

              (Of course, many are poor, but I’m speaking of the group).

              In another case, in Iran, Zoroastrians were forced into Islam by invaders, so some left and moved to the subcontinent. As a group, these Parsees (as they are called) do well (although they’re disappearing because they don’t accept converts).

              Granted these are just anecdotes. But it does seem that at least some of the wealthier were able to afford the tax and stuck to their old religion.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Since the model is clearly untrue for Maronites, it is unparsimonious. Look for a single mechanism that explains all the observations. As a first try, anyhow.

              • Cplusk says:

                The process may not be only related to having higher iq/wealth, Anatolian Turks are mainly Greeks who converted to Islam and they have the same avg iq with Greeks of today. It looks like in Asia Minor lower asabiya converted and higher asabiya resisted.

              • CM says:

                If Turks and Greeks have the same IQs then why have Greeks always been more successful? Why are there such vast academic and economic differences in the diaspora Greek and Turkish communities.

            • Dale says:

              It turns out that there’s a section in Gregory Clarke’s “The Son Also Rises” about the Copts. (BTW, that book is a goldmine of information about wealth, social status, genetics, and ethnicity — I highly recommend it.) “Saleh shows that in Egypt, Coptic Christians … selectively converted to Islam in the centuries following the Arab conquest… under the pressure of the jizya, the poorest Copts converted to Islam… the remaining Coptic population was more elite by the nineteenth century. In the Byzantine Empire, Copts had the lowest status in society, below the Jews and upper-class Greek Orthodox Christians; in Muslim Egypt, the remaining Copts became, like these two other minorities, an elite. In the nineteenth century, in both urban and rural areas, Copts had a higher occupational status than Muslims despite being a political minority…. Once created, minorities in Islamic societies seem to have maintained their high status over more than a millennium through high rates of marital endogamy.”

              • gcochran9 says:

                The Jews always had low status in the Byzantine Empire.

                I don’t consider selective attrition impossible, but since know that there are endogamous ethnoreligious groups in the Middle East that sure seem to be as bright as the European average (Maronites, Assyrian Christians, etc), that were hill farmers rather than some sort of commercial elite, and that differ genetically from the general population of the Middle East (more like the Middle East used to be), maybe we don’t need two explanations when one (some groups simply stayed the same) staying the same) will do.

              • CM says:

                Islam didn’t just stay within the Middle East. It did enter into southeast Europe due to the Ottomans, and it’s interesting that Muslim populations there all have lower socioeconomic positions and IQs than their Christian neighbours. Albania has an IQ of 82 and Bosnia has an IQ of 83.2. If you take out all the Serbs and Croats then the IQ of Bosnia will be even lower than 83.2. Along with low IQs, the Albanians also seem to share many personality and behavioural traits with Romani Gypsies.

                I think there’s just something in Islam that lowers a populations IQ and it can’t just be cousin marriage.

              • Jim says:

                So the Middle East has chaged a lot genetically from older times and not toward higher intelligence? Apparently that has caused it to go from the site of some of the most advanced civilizations in the world to a civilizational backwater.

            • Moe says:

              Out of curiosity, what do you think is the reason (or reasons) for the decrease of intelligence in the Middle East? The ME was doing pretty good far into the Islamic Golden Age, but then started going backwards with the arrival of the Mongols. In his book ‘The Living Races of Man’, Carleton Coon talks about how the Mongols slaughtered the populations of whole cities where elites lived, which may have lead to a decrease in the IQ of the whole Middle East.

              • Jim says:

                Western Europe was very fortunate to have been spared the devastation of a Mongol invasion. North Africa was also spared. Ain Jalut was one of history’s great turning points.

              • Cplusk says:

                Mongol Invasions can’t be the reason because Mongolians didn’t invade North Africa but North Africa declined just like rest of the area during similar time period. There is a slow and steady decline in MENA at least until 14th century in terms of human capital. Only iq decline can explain such decline of capability, especially when you look at the decline of scientific, cultural output and general stagnation in MENA. Also, ”Ashkenazi spatial iq” is a crucial hint.

  11. anon says:

    does saudi arabia have magic sand? It looks so.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      What’s underneath the sand is pretty close to magic.

      • JsP says:

        As Noam Chomsky always likes to quote (Kennan, I think) Gulf oil is “one of the greatest material prizes in world history” and “a stupendous source of strategic power.”

        the question is have we really been wagging the tail with our Saudi strategy? Maybe we’ll find out after another ten thousand wahhabist mosques and centers and charities go up in the West. To go along with the millions of migrantfugees, to be sure.

        What did Reagan say? “We win; they lose.” Someone’s playing the long Great Game here and it ain’t the bushes or clintons.

  12. jb says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find the Saudis — men and women both — to be among the most physically unattractive people on the face of the Earth?

    (I suppose you can find people outside of Eurasia, like the Australian aborigines, who are uglier. But they aren’t playing in the same league. And even the abos, at least in their natural state, have a kind of weird alien dignity that the Saudis lack).

    • maciano says:

      In Dubai I saw plenty of attractive women, those non-covered. (I was expecting real ugly women.) Gulf area is rly that different from Saudi Arabia?

    • AppSocRes says:

      You can’t have met many Saudi women. The Saudi women I’ve had occasion to see in western dress are among the most attractive I’ve ever met. It’s worth remembering that the Saudis have been importing attractive female slaves for over a thousand years. These slaves were selected precisely for their sexual attractiveness. And the Saudi hunting grounds, e.g. Somalia, Persia, the Caucasus, are areas reputed to contain some of the most attractive females on earth.

      • jb says:

        I actually haven’t met many Saudi women — mostly I’m going from pictures of Saudis I’ve seen on TV or in print (which means an overrepresentation of Saudi princes I suppose). I may also be confusing generic Arabs with Saudis. Anyway, my impression has been that an awful lot of them seem to have an unpleasant piggy sort of look to their faces.

        But I’m interested now — do you have any links to pictures of the sort of beautiful Saudi women you are talking about? I’d be curious to see if they form a type, or if they are all over the place.

        • CM says:

          I can’t differentiate between Saudis and other Gulf Arabs (Qataris, Kuwaitis, etc), but every summer droves of them come to London on holiday and you’ll see them everywhere in all the restaurants, shopping malls, shopping streets in central London. I wouldn’t say they’re a good looking people, but it’d be wrong to call them ugly as well. The women are probably more attractive than English women though.

          One Saudi fashion designer I know of that I think is pretty is Razan Alazzouni. Many Gulf Arabs you see in London during the summer have that kind of look.

    • Subakaraka says:

      It’s really probably just you. I don’t think arabs/middle easterners in general are particularly attractive (many middle eastern women have a tendency to look like transsexuals, to be blunt), but I wouldn’t go anywhere near that far, or even with the Saudis. You’re probably going off Saudi royalty, who I’ve also often found to be quite unattractive. Some of them have grotesquely oversized noses. But I don’t think they’re accurate examples of the general population. And AppSocRes exaggerates how much Saudis have imported attractive female slaves, or to the extent it would have any effect on their overall looks/genetics. This is all the more true given how unsightly Saudi royalty can be.

      With regards to slavery, importation of black slaves in southern arabia has had more of an effect, and there’s a remarkable number of black africans in Saudi Arabia.

  13. Hesse Kassel says:

    Simple solution. Just restrict the production of other oil producing countries.

    It shouldn’t be too hard to create (more) chaos in Iraq. Get Mr Trump to freeze out or attack Iran. Arrange some disasters for Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain.

    Are we up to $100 a barrel again yet?

    Then just pray to Allah that some clever Jew comes up with a way to fiddle the genes of babies and increase intelligence.

    • MawBTS says:

      Only 15% of US oil imports come from the Gulf. We’d get more drastic results by nuking Canada and Mexico.

      Unfortunately, Mr Trump’s supply of oil-based toupee adhesive would be endangered.

      • Economic Sophisms says:

        Trump doesn’t wear a toupee. This is a settled issue.

      • gcochran9 says:

        What matters is the balance in the global oil market: that sets the price.

        • j says:

          If you follow Saudi management of their oil resources, you see that two years ago they inundated the world with cheap oil and killed off most of its competitors, including American frackers. Now they are restricting production and the price of oil is rising. I think they are very intelligent and courageous. The fact is they have been fabulously wealthy for a century, and as a rule, wealth correlates with IQ.

  14. Jim says:

    Aside from the human capital aspect Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem to have much in the way of natural resources other than oil and not much potential for agricultural production .One possibility for them after the oil runs out might be piracy.

  15. ckp says:

    You don’t even need knowledge of genetics to know this. Just the fact that they’ve been trying to “diversify” for over forty years and it hasn’t worked ought to tell you something.

    • AppSocRes says:

      Forty or so tears ago I worked for a US engineering corporation that had contracted with Saudi Arabia to design and build a sophisticated network of power, desalination, and co-generation plants for the Kingdom. One of the unique features of this plan was to start by building a system dynamics model of the country’s economy and demographics so that when the dust settled there would be an optimum placement of facilities with regard to industry and population. The project was budgeted at tens of billions of today’s US dollars.

      I was a relatively minor player and arrived on scene after things were in full swing but I quickly figured out that because of the way Saudi Arabia operated this would wind up being just another expensive train wreck. First, the company was forced to hire dozens of Saudi “princes” to fill kigh level and critical positions. These “princes” invariably turned out to be stupid, lazy, and dangerously incompetent. They spent much of their time carousing and chasing after women who inhabit that strange borderland between low class slut and prostitute. None of this would have been unbearable except that one had to defer to these moronic slime or trouble would descend from the upper reaches of Saudi government.

      Furthermore, politics constantly interfered with engineering decisions. Incompetent and corrupt construction firms would up getting critical contracts. Plans and designs were altered at the whim of well-connected Saudis who saw an opportunity to profit. The royal family constantly disrupted on-going projects in destructive ways and for no discernible reason. Ultimately, after the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars the project gradually evaporated into nothingness.

      My impression is that nothing has changed within the Kingdom in any significant way. They are doomed.

      • Rosenmops says:

        Corruption and nepotism is one of their big problems with Saudi Arabia. It takes place in schools too. A school transcript from Saudi Arabia is meaningless. At the university I work at they bring in Saudi students and put them in calculus classes, presumably because according to their transcripts they have completed the equivalent of Math 12. It is almost always a disaster. Most of these students can’t do basic algebra. They don’t know that x + x = 2x. They fail calculus repeatedly and sometimes get angry about it. They figure since they are paying for the course they should get credit for it. They are incredulous when we fail them. Did I mention they rarely come to class?

        Eventually the Registrar got so tired of dealing with them they have started discouraging Saudi students from applying. Always lots of Chinese to take up the slack and make a buck for the university. Some of the Chinese students do very well in math but by no means all of them. The Chinese try to cheat A LOT. They don’t see anything wrong with it. The Saudi students are too lazy to bother trying to cheat. Mind you the Saudis can speak English a lot better than the Chinese.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Talking to a friend about grad school applications from Saudi and Emirates: typical GRE scores around 15th percentile. One applicant from Kuwait was 3rd percentile. Striver !

        • akarlin says:

          At the university I work at they bring in Saudi students and put them in calculus classes, presumably because according to their transcripts they have completed the equivalent of Math 12.

          Your observations sync very well with mine (though the Arabs in question are mostly from Oman and the UAE):

          Here’s a comment I once made about this several years back: In the one British polytechnic-upgraded-to-“university” where I have a close contact, there exists a corrupt system where oil rich Arab states send students who do no work whatsoever (i.e. should be failed) – literally don’t turn up to most classes – but get passed nonetheless. If they’re not, the Arabs would send their students (and MONEY!) to some other middling UK institution. Everybody “understands” this. Nobody fails them. Their degrees might as well be from a diploma mill for all the real knowledge and social benefit they represent.

          • Rosenmops says:

            Cripes. I wonder if that is happening because Arabs are in a lot of positions of power at the school. Or have non-Muslims turned corrupt too? What a terrible thing.

            The university I work is in a smaller town in Canada and not prestigious at all. But as far as I know nothing like that is happening, at least not in my department. But I have seen plenty of bad algebra such as a/(a+b) = a/a + a/b = 1 + a/b amongst first year calc students. But if they fail their exams, they fail the course.

            • akarlin says:

              I wonder if that is happening because Arabs are in a lot of positions of power at the school. Or have non-Muslims turned corrupt too?

              When my acquaintance was there the administrators were all native British. That said, one can sort of understand them (if not approve): Without the Arabs, almost all of them generously subsidized by their governments back home in the expectation that they would get qualified for technical work in their oil industries (good luck LOL), the total numbers of students at their department would have fallen by a third. So the Omani government pays a student £30,000 for a couple of years of study (actually: Drinking, chasing girls, etc) and you fail him at the end of it? Those contracts would have dried up fast, leading to a huge fall in financial resources for the department, likely followed by job losses and maybe even the closure of their department.

              There was thus a big incentive for everyone from the British admins to the (half British, half East European/Chinese) teaching staff to keeping this scheme going. The Arabs who failed (i.e. most of them) got a low Pass, while the Brits and Chinese (much rarer) who failed, got honestly Failed in reality. That said, there were a few cases in which the Arabs failed so egregiously, like not even bothering to attend a make-up exam that had been made so artificially simple that anyone with an IQ above 80 could pass and hinting to them that all they had to do was turn up in a conscious state. In those cases, there was no choice but to formally Fail them. Naturally, a lot of effort was put in to keep such cases at a minimum, to remain in the Arabs’ good graces.

              I suppose you can blame the admins. They were not a principled bunch, with many of them running (far more lucrative) consultancy businesses on the side. Or you could blame the UK government for creating the conditions for this through its aggressive commercialization of the higher education sector, in which lower-tier universities have strong incentives to prostitute themselves to the highest bidders to keep the numbers-tallying bureaucrats happy.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              “I wonder if that is happening because Arabs are in a lot of positions of power at the school.”

              The “university” system was massively expanded well beyond native demand and with overseas students paying the full tuition fees the lower tier institutions which would otherwise be half empty are now fake diploma factories.

              It was either a hippy accident “everyone should go to university” or a deliberate open borders scam from the Blair govt.

          • Jim says:

            When I was a graduate TA long, long ago for a honors course in undergraduate analysis there was a black student enrolled who showed up at no class, turned in no homework assignments, took none of the mid-term or final exams, in short did absolutely nothing and received a C in the course. The only time I saw him was once when he came to my office to inquire about making up an exam that had been given six weeks earlier. I had never seen him in class or in any of the problem sessions I taught every week. I never saw him again. I graded all the homework and exams and never came across his name.

        • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

          Most of these students can’t do basic algebra. They don’t know that x + x = 2x.

          This. Cannot. Be! Don’t you know that the Muslims invented Algebra!

  16. What is the next thing they try is eugenics?

  17. nankoweap says:

    Greg, you say, “And the thing they try after that won’t work either.”

    I believe you meant that as a general statement. Or do you have something specific in mind?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Thinking of the overall trends in the Middle East. Strategies thus far:

      1. Traditional rulers = lazy thieves. Doesn’t work.

      2. Irreligious modernizers: Ataturk, Baathists, Nasser, FLN, Shah. Doesn’t work.

      3. Islamic fundamentalism. Doesn’t work.

      • ghazisiz says:

        Kemal Ataturk came the closest to working. It’s falling apart now, and the reason is that the secular, educated classes had very low birth rates (at least since the 1950s), while out in the villages women were pretty much baby machines. The Kemalists were no longer able to compete for the vote in a democracy. Something similar has happened in Israel.

        • Ilya says:

          Except, of course, there is the elephant in the room: that the average Haredi IQ (Ashkenazi, especially) is higher than some Turkish or, especially, Muslim Arab villager’s. The other thing, while this is arguable, there is still selection (albeit weakened) for a certain degree of smarts, even among the Chassidic Orthodox, from, say, Kfar Chabad. To become a rabbi, there is a lot of learning that needs to be done: it’s not just based on lineage. The rabbis there tend to have huge families.

          And when so many now are vying to become rabbis, it becomes very competitive. Perfect conditions for selection. Sure, it might not be selection for mathematical talent, but given initial pool of candidates, it is certainly not selecting against it. There is hope for these people’s grandchildren — of learning other things besides Shulchan Arukh etc.

          There cannot be any other way. As they become the majority in Israel, someone’s got to bring home the non-bacon kosher food. Only a minority will keep praying. A compromise will need to be worked out, even if incrementally, but I don’t think it’s inherently impossible. Just look at the Dati Leumi phenomenon: people who keep jobs, serve in the army and are still highly religious and have sizable families.

          • SonOfRekab says:

            The attrition rates from dati-leumi to secular are more than 50%.
            It seems that the only group that is increasing child barring are the the secular, but they are still behind all the other groups (that are in decline).

            The attrition rate for charedi to secular has just gone over the 10%, so if in some way the orthodox will keep the baby generator going, but a large enough percentage will turn secular, then there might be a working system here.

            • Ilya says:


              • sonOfRekab says:

                This is a big deal in israel, there has a series of documentries about it past few months on channel 10.
                As for the orthodox attrition rates, this is also backed by the Israeli beuro of statistics.
                And demographer sergio de la pergula.

  18. RCB says:

    So what’s the culprit? inbreeding or low breeding values?

    • gcochran9 says:
      1. low breeding value

      2. very high rate of cousin marriage, one of the highest in the world

      3. bad institutions: Saudi princes.

      4. stultifying ideas in their head. if any

      5. Desert. No year-round rivers.

      6. Even worse than Iraq, that perennial wellspring of Jeffersonian democracy

      7. Used to not working (over the last two generations)

  19. Gringo says:

    For generations, Saudis have looked down upon the foreigners who do their work, which also means that they looked down upon having to work for a living. It will not be easy to change those attitudes.

  20. Economic Sophisms says:

    I interviewed with a Saudi think tank a couple years ago. It was essentially run by British people on Saudi money. The Arab who sat in on my interview (with an Englishman) fell asleep and couldn’t be bothered to ask any questions.

    • Frau Katze says:

      That should be funny. But the implications of this and other information about the Saudis are not good. What will become of them when the oil finally runs out? There are more of them than would exist if they had stayed with a Bedouin life style.

      Oh well, past my lifetime. But not past my grandchildrens’ lifetimes.

  21. “It won’t work. And the thing they try after that won’t work either.”

    Lets put aside differences between groups in intelligence and just look at differences between groups in work ethic that has occurred because of evolutionary pressures.

    Compare and contrast Mexicans and Saudis. Mexicans work hard, Saudis barely work. Do you think the ancestors of the Saudis, the Bedouins, worked hard to survive? Nope. Almost no evolutionary pressure to work hard.

    How about the Mexicans. Dirt farmers work their ass off to feed the next generation or the next generation doesn’t make it. There was huge pressure for the ancestors of present day Mexicans to work hard and it is clearly present today in every company in the United States that employs manual laborers.

    There has been a lot of interesting discussion at this website on differences between groups in intelligence effecting the prosperity of the present day society. But how long your ancestors were farmers makes a huge difference as well in your ability to succeed in the modern work place.

    But of course this is another obvious secret that good liberals are supposed to pretend does not exist.

    • JayMan says:

      “How about the Mexicans. Dirt farmers work their ass off to feed the next generation or the next generation doesn’t make it. There was huge pressure for the ancestors of present day Mexicans to work hard and it is clearly present today in every company in the United States that employs manual laborers.”

      Do Mexicans as a whole have a relative high work ethic, or is it the Mexicans that strove to come to the U.S.?

      • ghazisiz says:

        As a young man, I worked with Mexicans picking fruit in the Okanogan valley, and I also worked for a year in Guatemala on a construction project. In both places, these guys worked about twice as hard as the average gabacho. So I would say that “Mexicans as a whole have a relatively high work ethic.”

      • I think the answer is both. Mexicans have a great work ethic and the ones that come here are definitely more ambitious. I am retired from construction management but I learned a long time ago how to hire hard workers.

        1) strong accent
        2) married with a baby
        3) shit jobs before and just looking for a better opportunity.

        Also I believe all farming back grounds are not equal. With almost no domesticated animals the amerind farmers did all the work themselves. Pulling weeds and turning over dirt all day is a whole lot harder than making sure no goats escape.

        Try this test yourself. Go to a drive up window and order food. See who gets you the food the fastest, blacks, whites, or Mexicans.

        • DataExplorer says:

          Interesting guys. These peninsular Arabs did once conquer half the Ancient world, so they must have been capable of something once upon a time. I once heard a girl from Oman say that no modern Arab has ever been able to make poetry like the poets of the pre-Islamic or Classical Islamic era. Perhaps there has been a whole lot of dysgenics?

        • Tommy says:

          That great work ethic doesn’t necessarily hold with their American-born children. Even among those not prone to living on government benefits or taking up gangbanging, I find an unfortunately high percentage of blue-collar second-gen MexAms to be self-pitying drunks who cannot even be trusted to show up to work reliably. Nor have many low-wage white collar workers of that generation struck me as especially committed to being productive or diligent. Getting a serious education is out of the question: few are bright enough.

          There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but I think the stats speak for themselves: every time I’ve looked, unemplyment rates among Hispanics always seem to be higher than those for whites.

          • There are occupations is this country that don’t pay that well but require workers to work hard and efficiently. Damned if they aren’t completely dominated by MexAms. What does this mean? I really don’t know. As a long time reader of West Hunter I am thoroughly convinced that recent evolution has pushed populations in different directions. I would guess that populations that were farmers for thousands of years have the genetic inclination to be better physical laborers when compared to hunter gatherers or Bedouins.

            I threw out the Mexicans as an example of a group of people that contrast to the extremely lazy Saudis. One thing for sure is if and when the Saudis run out of their enormous oil profits they won’t be desired by anyone as landscapers, farm and construction workers, or restaurant employees.

            • tommy says:

              It means they don’t pay well, are the only option for some, and attract those most willing to live twelve to a three bedroom rambler. Look, even most migrants in agriculture eventually quit the game in search of better pay after five years or so. If they didn’t, there would be no great political push by those who employ them to keep up the flow.

              Unless there is some sort of cognitive screening that ensures only Mexico’s best and brightest are admitted, Mexicans are bound to be a perpetual net burden for any industrialized society over the long run. Entire areas of California and Texas testify to that.

      • another fred says:

        I have worked in Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. They work very hard in those places, but if you give them task A, B, and C to do sequentially, they do A, then take a break, a looong break, until you go to them and say, “OK guys, time to do B.” Wash, rinse, repeat.

        • another fred says:

          Much of their work is also imprecise to the point of sloppiness and the accident rate is high.

    • j says:

      Do you think the ancestors of the Saudis, the Bedouins, worked hard to survive? Nope.

      Bedouins survived in very arid, vast deserts, that certainly doesn’t select for laziness. It is not like a South Pacific island where you sit under a palm tree and wait for the coconut to drop. Nomad pastoralists – highly inbred for security – do not “work” like Chinese rice farmers. But they have a difficult life, for sure.

  22. Li says:

    Iran does unusually well on the international mathematical and science Olympiads. But have a look at the faces of some of these kids:

    They don’t look like your typical Middle Easterner.

    You mentioned something about stratification in Iran a while back Greg, could that be related to their over-performance?

    • RCB says:

      One more sample to add: probably the smartest guy I have yet to work with in my very short professional career was Irani. He had blue-green-ish eyes.

    • Bob says:

      Persians ≠ Arabs

    • CM says:

      What do you mean? Those Iranian kids look very Middle Eastern.. BTW Iranians don’t have the highest proportion of European-looking people in the region. I would say groups like Syrians have way more people that look European, e.g. Asma Al-Assad.

      • Frau Katze says:

        But Iran does have a very old civilization. They fought the ancient Greeks. They’re mentioned in the Old Testament. I don’t think the part of the world that is now Saudi Arabia has anything those credentials.

        Based on that alone, I’d put the Iranians as the smarter of the two. The Iranians also have beautiful mosques, that compare well to the architecture of Europe. The Saudis are best known for destroying anything in Mecca that Wahabbism deems unacceptable (shrines and tombs for example) and building very boring looking mosques. Real achievers.

        • Dale says:

          To phrase it more exactly, Iran/Persia has a very old civilization and has been an empire itself or part of someone else’s empire for millennia. (Wikipedia lists them back to 2400 BCE.) Arabia, OTOH, though it spawned the great Muslim empire, seems to have nearly always ruled from cities outside Arabia, when it was ruled at all. If we accept the hypothesis that people living under a bureaucratic state (and especially those running one) are selected for traits decidedly different from those of foraging peoples, it isn’t surprising that Iranians adapt well to modern life.

      • Li says:

        Most of the Iranians I’ve known look like Ahmadinejad. SOME (more than a third of them in recent years) of those kids look a lot more like Maryam Mirzakhani. They seem to have European admixture is all I’m saying.

        • jamienyc says:

          ‘Iran’ means ‘the land of Aryans’ – they are Indoeuropeans. Arabs are Semites, big difference.

          • Jim says:

            Language may correlate to some extent with genetics but it’s not the same thing. The population of Latin America is mostly “Indoeuropean”. Hungarians are not “Indoeuropean” but little different genetically from other Eastern Europeans.

            • Jim says:

              Also Iran has a substantial number of speakers of non-Indo-European languages. Something like 20% of the population.

        • Subakaraka says:

          I went and looked all the way up to the beginning of 2009, and one, maybe two looked potentially as european as Maryam Mirzakhani. Just about every kid had things like dark hair, eyes, thick/sharp eyebrows (some bordering on unibrows), and when they had fair skin, they always had atleast some of those features. One of them even has an afro.

          Even the ones who look like Maryam Mirzakhani would be incredibly unlikely to have european ancestry, people who look like that aren’t terribly uncommon in those parts of the middle east, and become more common the further west you go. It’s apart of the normal continuum of features/ancestry in that region, something you clearly have no clue about, and you’ve just trotted out another one of countless examples of weird, embarrassing at judging ancestry for something like this.

  23. Shenana Ghans says:

    These are jobs male Arabs are willing to do: religious leader, executioner, F-16 pilot, airline pilot, government official, terrorist, ambassador, prince’s assistant, prince.

    Plumber? Yeah right. They barely wipe their own asses. We’ll soon see what 30 million chiefs and Indians looks like.

  24. Jim says:

    Off topic – I saw a report on the Internet about a twin study of homosexuality indicating that “non-shared environment” is much more important than genetics. i assume this supports a possible pathogenic cause perhaps combined with some genetic features of the immune system.

  25. reiner Tor says:

    How much could inbreeding depress Arab IQs? I usually assumed 5 points or so. But maybe it’s worse. Are there any indications what it could be? A quick Google returned articles behind paywalls only.

    • gcochran9 says:

      At least five pts – maybe more, if level of inbreeding is higher than you would see from 1st cousins in a random-breeding pop, as it often is. Hapsburgs?

    • Some recent specifically Muslim examples put it very high, extraordinarily high.

    • Peter Akuleyev says:

      An Egyptian businessmen who works in Saudi was telling me recently that inbreeding is a visible problem. He was claiming that almost every family has at least one individual so ravaged by congenital birth defects that they will need constant support and care their whole lives. Saudis are fine with this because they assume the State will always come up with the money and facilities to provide that care.

      • j says:

        The number of cripples is amazing. And you see only the tip of the iceberg as normally they chain them to the bed or the tent post. They are fine with this because they have no choice.

  26. Ray Maddon says:

    Assuming the 90 figure for IQ is correct, and that the rate of cousin marriage is Saudi Arabia is roughly 50%, do we have any good idea of how much the complete end of cousin marriage would increase average IQ? If first generation cousin marriage packs an average hit to IQ of 5 points, is it possible that ending the practice which has gone on for many generations would increase the average IQ of the country by more than 5 points? Obviously only half the population follows the custom in the first place so whatever improvement you came up with you would have to divide in half, but if we’re talking about an 8 or 10 point change after maybe 2 generations, that would leave Saudis with an average IQ of 94 or 95, not too far away from some southern european countries

    • reiner Tor says:

      Obviously only half the population follows the custom in the first place

      I guess almost all of them follow the custom, but the number of male and female cousins doesn’t always match in every family. It’s physically impossible to have higher rates of cousin marriage.

      • Ray Maddon says:

        Alright haha my bad. Never really thought about it that way, that there is an actual ceiling on the degree to which you can practice cousin marriage. Too bizarre.

        • DataExplorer says:

          If the rate of cousin marriage is 50% then it means that for any one person, on average 50% of their ancestors were the products of cousin marriages. This means that most likely everyone is somewhat inbred.

  27. JayMan says:

    See also (discusses China and the Middle East):

    Welcome Readers from Portugal!

    average IQ is high all across China, despite the fact that the interior sections of the country are highly impoverished, with many just now developing. And indeed, the horrendous poverty across many parts of China doesn’t stop them from being incredibly inventive

    You don’t see stuff like this in say, Saudi Arabia (I’d imagine you don’t see a whole lot in Portugal, either). Indeed, contrast what we see in impoverished but inventive China with Saudi Arabia – a country with incredible wealth, thanks to its abundant oil reserves, and a high GDP “per capita” – but which performs poorly on scholastic tests. Despite its wealth, it has an average IQ of about 80

  28. Friedhelm says:

    Apart from the rather low IQ scores, the technical aptitude of Arabs is pretty low to begin with. Maybe even more important is a finding regarding their aggressivenes: in the Saudi population, about 15.6% have been found to carry the genotype MAOA-2R. This was called the “warrior gene” by the media. In Europeans, it has an occurrence of about .1% to .5% (0,1 to 0,5). Pretty much a lost cause for intellectual work. Heiner Rindermann also tested a small sample of engineers from the gulf states. Results? They had a mean IQ of 93. That’s laughable, really. (He wrote this in regard to the mass invasion of Germany with young men from the middle east [“Secondary School Level Engineers” or so it was called]).

    The study regarding MAOA-2R:

    Association study between the dopamine-related candidate gene polymorphisms and ADHD among Saudi Arabia population via PCR technique

    • SonOfRekab says:

      I still remember my first encounter with Israeli Arabs in the IDF.
      Now these are pro-Israeli Arabs that volunteer to serve.
      I never got used to the banality of violence in their units, nobody ever went to jail for almost anything, it was all settled with beatings on the spot.

    • Jim says:

      I recall reading something from Linda Gottfredson about a sample of US engineers whose IQ was determined. The lowest IQ was 114.

      • Jim says:

        I assume the Gottfredson number was based on 100 for the US average IQ. Lynn’s numbers are based on 100 for the UK population. Lynn gives average US IQ as 98.

  29. expeedee says:

    Could we just import Guns, Germs and Steel?

  30. sprfls says:

    Hot off the presses: Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5 Billion Cash Infusion

    I’m worried their fortune is so large it will be hard to burn it all within the next few generations.

    • MawBTS says:

      roughly 80 percent of Uber’s riders in Saudi Arabia are women, according to the company.

      It’s almost poetic. Cutting-edge Silicon Valley ridesharing and backwards medievalism, woven together in a braid.

    • gcochran9 says:

      NO fortune is that large. At current rates of draw-down, Saudis will be out of financial assets in five years. We’re talking dog generations.

      Am I the only person alive that keeps rough track of actual numbers in public policy issues?

      Kuwait, UAE, Qatar: more like 25 years. Small populations. They don’t ever have to worry about some western country nationalizing those assets, say after the latest jihadist atrocity they’ve subsidized, because that would be wrong.

      • Frau Katze says:

        That they’re considering selling shares in Aramco, the current government owned oil company, certainly suggests a cash flow problem. Not sure how many takers there will be. A lot of skepticism.

      • akarlin says:

        Probably not, considering there was a lot of media coverage about Saudi Arabia running out of financial reserves around Oct 2015-Feb 2016 as oil prices sank to $30. (Now they are back up above $50).

        Saudi Arabia still has almost $600 billion in foreign currency reserves, huge amounts of valuable assets it can privatize (Saudi Aramco alone is probably worth well in excess of a trillion if it goes public), and it has a lot of public spending fat it can trim (which it has started doing anyway). 5 years is probably a very pessimistic estimate for its crunch.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Obviously depends on the current price of oil.

        • cargocultist says:

          The privatization of Greece’s national assets was supposed to bring in up to €20 billion in the long run, in reality it’s hovering around €1 billion now. The future value of Aramco is pretty uncertain right now. To spread their capital risk they’re trying to sell a chunk of it.

      • Dale says:

        I check West Hunter every day for new posts. For the past few days the top article has ended with “The Saudis have five years.” It makes me shudder. To simply overhaul the institutions of a society takes a generation. To overhaul the customs of a population takes three or four generations (to judge by assimilation of immigrants). To improve the gene pool of a population may take a thousand years of selective pressure. The Saudis need to do all of those, or at least the first two, if they’re going to avoid complete poverty without oil income. But all indications are they aren’t doing any of them, and don’t have the time to, anyway. It’s going to turn into a giant Yemen.

        • JayMan says:

          “. To overhaul the customs of a population takes three or four generations (to judge by assimilation of immigrants).”

          Assimilation is a myth, my friend.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Which is why Reform Jews still keep kosher and are endogamous.

            • JayMan says:

              But is that actually assimilation, as in absorbing the customs of the surrounding culture, or just part of the broader modern trend towards secularism and liberalism we’ve seen in most societies over the past ~150 years (which I suspect was largely driven by technology)?

              Roughly, it seems:

              The more content-dependent cultural aspects can immigrants, while the less content-dependent (and typically more heritable) seem to be more resistant to change.

              Also, intermarriage with surrounding culture and selective migration (both in and out) can give the appearance of assimilation.

            • j says:

              Endogamous? Pew estimates an intermarriage rate of 71 percent. Kosher? You must be joking.

      • athEIst says:

        what one wonders will be come of the arabs when the oil runs out(or better is no longer wanted)?
        fertility is high(not sub-Saharan, but well over replacement)
        none of these countries can feed itself. Food must be imported.
        none of these countries produce anything of value. Everything must be imported.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      Bear in mind when the stock market crash comes huge amounts of value are going to disappear and the people in the inner circle will make sure they’re the last to lose so the question is are the Saudis in the inner circle or not?

      And even if they are at the moment will their sovereign wealth fund and the chance of buying some oil fields cheap be too much of a temptation?

      My personal guess is after the stock market crashes they won’t have much of a fortune at all.

    • Dale says:

      You’re forgetting the ingenuity of the investment industry! There’s a very long list of rich people bankrupted by “bad investments”.

  31. Makran says:

    I can think of a solution.

    1) take gametes from top 1 percentile by IQ.
    2) Mass produce embryos on a massive scale – tens of millions.
    3) Set up clinics all over the country to aid people with reproductive problems, which there are many of in countries that practice cousin-marriage.
    4) Insert embryos into woman.
    5) Profit.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “1) take gametes from top 1 percentile by IQ.”

      I think it would make more sense to take the top 1% of combined (IQ+health)

      Quickest way would be to use Anglosphere special forces as their average IQ is well over 100 plus they’re supremely healthy (and mostly tall and good looking as a bonus).

      • SonOfRekab says:

        “Quickest way would be to use Anglosphere special forces as their average IQ is well over 100 plus they’re supremely healthy (and mostly tall and good looking as a bonus).”

        And many in the SAS are still growing mustaches, which is a big bonus in the ME.

  32. Andrew Neather says:

    Sorry, Greg, I just don’t buy it.

    Just seems that this thread is an opportunity to settle old scores with a lot of gratuitous Arab-bashing, no doubt delayed revenge for 1973 and all that.

    Look at immigration policy, for example. Angela Merkel, the ‘highly intelligent’ leader of a ‘highly intelligent people’ pursues just about the most deranged lunatic downs syndrome immigration policy a mosquito with a nerve ganglion would be ashamed to pursue.
    The Saudis, the canny and wise folk that they are, simply refused to admit any of this faker/frauds.

    Immigrants to Saudi must work for their living. Once they’ve stopped working, they go home. Immigrants to western nations drain taxpayer money paid by hardworking natives. And kill and insult natives into the bargain. And are privileged by the western governments over the natives.

    Just who are the stupid bastards?

    I rest my case.

    • Frank says:

      “Immigrants to Saudi must work for their living. Once they’ve stopped working, they go home.”

      And they take their children with them.

      Germany’s policy may appear stupid, but it will eventually save their country, even if at the expense of their ‘german’ genetics. Germany also is importing huge numbers of scientists and engineers and tech workers who will remain there with their now German spesking children.

      • Andrew Neather says:


        This is simply not true.
        The last batch of immigrants from the third world to Germany, the so-called Gastarbeiter have proved to be an intergenerational fiscal and economic disaster.
        Just consult the works of Thilo Sarrazin.

        This new immigration wave differs little in attainment, character and aptitude – so expect the same outcome.

      • Andrew Neather says:

        And anyway, this is mainly a ‘genetics’ blog, I think.

        Surely, Germans only care about their ‘own genes’ , and couldn’t give a shit about ‘other peoples’ genes’.

        Or a least, all those distinguished genetic theorists would have it.

        • Frank says:

          Actually, I live in Germany, and you have no idea what you are talking about.

          Modern Germans care much more about their society than their genetics. It has been very well driven into their heads from when they start discussing WWII at the age of 10.

          I live in a small town. Probably 1 in 10 children has a foreign grandparent. Any foreigner with a certain level of income is immediately given a permant residence permit.

          Foreign workers in ‘high demand’ jobs (mostly scientists and engineers) are given permant residency without any income or language requirements. Along with this they get vacation time, health care, family leave, etc. The integration courses and language classes for adults and children are extensive.

          Your ‘distinguished genetic theorists’ seem to be wrong.

          • Andrew Neather says:

            You might as well say that Charles Darwin was wrong.
            Remember – this blog is about genetics.

            • gcochran9 says:

              Considering that I have gone and on and about the lack of any built-in instinct to favor your own race, and explained why no such tendency is likely to evolve, I am hurt. But there is a simple solution to that.

              • whyteablog says:

                Possible evolution for kin selection at ethnic level:

                Tribes in Africa, hunter gatherers, small effective population size, high consanguinity. Statistically significant Fst with other tribes. They are selected to use culture, phenotype, and geographic origin as proxies for genetic relatedness and dole out altruistic behavior proportionally: since an individual is related to fellow tribesmen (small population, inbred etc) the novel altruistic allele causing someone to prefer fellow tribesmen will increase its own frequency.

                The same proxies that worked for tribe now work for race, it would seem.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Doesn’t work.

              • Henk says:

                Sure, not as altruism, but the altruism part is somewhat of a red herring. Parents who invest in their offspring should be able to evolve a preference for partners of their own race, for themselves and their offspring. No altruism involved.

                With a shared interest in having same-race partners for self and offspring, excluding sizable other-race populations from your territory decreases probability of suboptimal outcomes for everybody. A public good; cooperating to maintain it is not altruism, but, well, cooperation.

                Many westerners have lost the ability to cooperate in maintaining this public good, as well as many others.

                The refugee crisis is a crisis of cooperation within affected nations. They can’t maintain a public good in the face of defection, e.g. business interest in low wages and high consumption.

              • gcochran9 says:

                There’s no way to evolve any such tendency. I mean, I could say that the Sun should be able to mix the hydrogen and helium, rather than let helium accumulate in the core – this would let the Sun burn something like ten times longer than it actually will.

                But there’s no mechanism that does this.

                Now, if a near-future government wanted to, it could genetically engineer people to feel racial solidarity, or for that matter any damn thing: but I don’t see it coming.

                Some of the support for low-skilled, low-smarts immigration is from business, but more is from crazy.

              • Henk says:

                Opportunity cost. Parents who invest in their offspring suffer an opportunity cost for suboptimal mate choice. If your daughter were to sink two-thirds of her total procreational capacity into mixed race children, a very sizable number of interesting genes would suffer a reduced probability of making it. I don’t see the insurmountable theoretical obstacle that says strategies to avoid this are impossible to evolve. It is not as if a racial (or narrower) mate preference would likely hurt her in the net; I’m explicitly not talking about altruistic racial solidarity.

                There seems to be evidence. I remember some dating website reporting very strong preference of white women for white dates. I even remember some recent brouhaha over white gays preferring white sex partners.

              • gcochran9 says:

                “white gays preferring white sex partners.” Evolution in action!

                You’re wrong. If you were right, you wouldn’t have to argue people into doing things that favored their ethnic group – it would happen automatically. That would mean that there was a strong tendency for Amerindians to cooperate against Europeans, for Indians to have cooperated against the British. Middle Easterners would have shown solidarity against the Greeks. Etc. The one experimental fact that sinks your theory is everything that has ever happened in recorded history. You know, having to constantly explain why water doesn’t run uphill can get tiresome.

              • Henk says:

                Why would this one factor of mate preference, if it exists, have to dominate all individual or sub-group decision making? It wouldn’t.

                I think that I’m right, in the sense that racial/ethnic mate preference (strength depending on “genetic interest” opportunity cost), both for own and offspring’s mates, is possible and has evidence. Your attempted reductio ad absurdum doesn’t follow because nothing forces this single factor to dominate all decisions (even just mating decisions).

                I actually lamented the fact that the Refugees Welcome nations have lost their ability to cooperate to maintain public goods that they used to enjoy for centuries. Existence of evolved preferences related to “ethnic interest” does not rule out failure of ethnic cooperation.

                Of course such failures happen, you are right that we have ample evidence for that, too, but there is no logical contradiction here that could drive a reductio ad absurdum.

                (If we knew why it happens to us, could we stop it? Regrettably, I suspect the answer is no.)

              • Economic Sophisms says:

                Greg, I’m generally afraid to disagree with you for fear of being pitilessly mocked. The ‘League of Mammals’ example makes sense as well, but then how should we understand the causes of the racial preferences we observe? Presumably some people (certainly not me…) feel a racial preference of various degrees: disgust response to certain interracial unions, racial prison gangs, seating at the lunch table, differences in reaction time when shown pictures of individuals from different populations, length of time a baby will look at faces from different populations &c. Do you know what causes this ‘racism’? Presumably it’s not genetic distance, as Europeans seem to get a long better with East Asians than the much more closely related middle easterners or South Asians.

              • gcochran9 says:

                People can learn to align with various combinations of other people, not just family. Do I see signs that people have a built-in tendency to favor others that are, for example, from the same racial group?

                Nope. In Birth of a Nation, some Klansmen are hidden by sympathetic former Union soldiers. the caption was: “The former enemies of North and South are united again in defense of their Aryan birthright.”

                But that’s just a movie.

              • JayMan says:

                “People can learn to align with various combinations of other people, not just family. Do I see signs that people have a built-in tendency to favor others that are, for example, from the same racial group?”

                Yup. In-group favoritism (and hence out-group hatred) exists. The “groups” in question are rather fungible and situationally dependent. This didn’t arise via kin selection, but more likely individual selection for forming teams.

                That said, it seems some people are likely more naturally inclined to favor/disfavor some groups over others. Bias appears to be quite heritable (like most everything):

                Heritability of Racial and Ethnic Pride, Preference, and Prejudice | Human Varieties

              • tommy says:

                I would imagine ethnic solidarity could be increased artificially, albeit slowly, but I suspect given the likes of the denizens of “Stormfront” that the result wouldn’t necessarily be pleasant without a whole lot of other factors being controlled along the way. A sort of in-group narcissism–something I actually suspect Jews may have evolved to a certain degree*–or an in-group collective paranoia may have its down sides, after all.

                My heretical suspicion–and it’s clearly just a suspicion–about the Jews is that they have indeed evolved a partial measure of in-group solidarity, though it’s obviously far from a complete defense against assimilation. I think this solidarity may be the product of being a highly fractious, competitive, verbose, and argumentative bunch, the sort of people who shouldn’t ordinarily be terribly cohesive in the first place, that’s nevertheless been forced to work together for its own survival as a minority for a long period of time. The psychological mechanism I’d propose for this solidarity is a certain sharing of traits we ordinarily associate with narcissism in individuals that’s been extended to cover an in-group that’s at least perceived as related by the individual.

              • Irving says:

                Ethiopian jews are the only jewish group I’m aware of that seem to do quite poorly (I don’t believe they have sub-75 IQ’s though),

                Well, does anyone actually have an idea of what the real average IQ is of Ethiopian Jews, or for that matter of non-Jewish Ethiopians? Lynn seems to have suggested that the average IQ in Ethiopia is in the low 60s, which seems way too low, and in any case, Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country with lots of genetically different people, so any estimate of Ethiopia’s national IQ must take this into consideration, and the studies that I have seen don’t. I guess the better question to ask is what is the average IQ of the Amhara, of the Tigray, of the Oromo, of the Ethiopian Jews, etc..

          • Roland Müller says:

            “It has been very well driven into their heads” seems that caused some damage in your head, so you do not know what you are talking about. Shut up, you can have your opinion, but you don´t speak for the majority of Germans, only the brainwashed.

            • Frank says:

              I interact with a very good sample of the German population through my job (as as scientist) and my wife’s job (as a sales and marketing manager for a large company) and my children (one goes to public school and the other private) and my network of friends and family. I also have volunteered to help the incoming refugees, as two of my own Jewish grandparents were refugees who fled from Germany.

              I think that you are the one who should shut up.

              • gcochran9 says:

                By the way, on average, no group resists the facts about human capital and heredity as much as the Ashkenazi Jews. In every case where the question arises, they (most of them) argue that a better environment (better schools, etc) will cause low-scoring group X to catch up. This happens all the time in the US. And we try it: but the outcome they predict does not come to pass. But that failure mostly doesn’t change their opinion.

                It’s not some kind of Machiavellian strategy: they really believe it. The same thing happens in Israel: the European Jews were sure that Yemeni Jews would catch up after a generation or two in the public schools system – but it didn’t happen. They were sure that the Falasha (from Ethiopia) would do fine also – but they were wrong, again. I’m sure that if significant numbers of Ashkenazi Jews lived in Malaysia, most would be saying that the Malays do worse than the Chinese (income, academics, and IQ scores) because of oppression, even though the Malays run the government, while the Chinese arrived as illiterate tin miners.

              • JayMan says:

                I’ve noticed this myself. I wonder why this is so. I also wonder if it’s certain Jewish groups more so than others.

              • Roland Müller says:

                As i wrote, you belong to the brainwashed.

              • Bob says:

                I don’t think we need to impute some sort of conscious Machiavellianism. The anti-hereditarian viewpoint has been accompanied by public policy based on it that taxes the population and transfers resources to segments of the population where it is largely wasted. A smaller subset of the population with significantly higher ability can be less negatively affected by this arrangement, especially since the taxation and transfer have to be administered by the state and bureaucracy, and thus some of the resources that are taxes get distributed to the administrators themselves.

              • SonOfRekab says:

                As an Israeli, i can say every single word Greg said is true.

              • SonOfRekab says:

                “I’ve noticed this myself. I wonder why this is so. I also wonder if it’s certain Jewish groups more so than others.”

                Well, Ironically the orthodox are most known for their racial segregation.

                I have got several relatives who are mizrahi, and even though they all have engineering degrees, that they achieved by pure merit, some of them are even convinced that racism explains the economic gaps.

                Bringing these ideas, even though the are probably true, in today’s Israel is political/professional suicide.

              • Subakaraka says:

                “It’s not some kind of Machiavellian strategy: they really believe it. The same thing happens in Israel: the European Jews were sure that Yemeni Jews would catch up after a generation or two in the public schools system – but it didn’t happen. They were sure that the Falasha (from Ethiopia) would do fine also – but they were wrong, again. ”

                What do you actually know of the gap between Yemeni/Mizrahi and Ashkenazi jews, or the achievements of middle eastern jews? I’ve never bought the idea they had IQ’s in the low 90’s, or IQ’s below 100 at all.

                On the other hand, you call them “dumb, hostile people”, and think there’s likely only a small number of smart groups in the middle east, and the IQ scores that give averages in the mid-high 80’s for arabs and such are accurate reflections of their abilities, so I’m not totally sure what to expect.

                I am aware what inbreeding can do to IQ, but for most of the middle east, it’s likely not enough to significantly decrease it, and it’s still technically something that can dissipate in a few generations.

              • gcochran9 says:

                I know that a review of the IQ data shows that Oriental Jews in Israel average about 14 points lower than Ashkenazi Jews in Israel (David, H. & Lynn, R. (2007). Intelligence Differences between European and
                Oriental Jews in Israel. Journal of Biosocial Science, 29(3), 465-473. I also know something about 2nd and third generations differences in college completion, etc. the differences are not a secret in Israel. Falasha of course do way worse.

                As far as I can tell, the majority populations of the Middle East have low IQ scores and have correspondingly low levels of accomplishment. In things like science, technology, and math, pretty much zeros.

                The Middle East has some of the highest rates of cousin marriage in the world. I count first cousins or closer – not second cousins. Fairly often we’re talking double first cousins. Sometimes you have people that are related by several different paths and are effectively as close as or closer than first-cousins in a random-breeding population- I have no numbers on that, but we will soon, with gene sequencing.

                The rate varies. In Saudi Arabia, first-cousin marriage or closer has been reported in 24.6 – 42.3 % of the population. In Egypt, 14.3-23.2%. In Qatar, 34.8% . In Syria, 28.7%. In Yemen,32-34%. In Iraq, 39-33%. In Algeria, 11%

                Which means that it affects national IQ significantly in places like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

                It can dissipate in one generation: marrying someone distant ends the high homozygosity right then and there.

                Hostile? Of course, although intensity varies.

              • Subarakara1 says:

                I’m aware that Oriental jews supposedly have IQ’s of 91, I noted that in my comment. It doesn’t really match up at all with their achievement beyond that, and ties in with Lynn’s fixations (though he’s not always consistent) that arabs have really low IQ’s, seemingly even independent of inbreeding. He also claims Sephardic jews have IQ’s of 99 and Ethiopian jews have sub-75 IQ’s.

                I’m sure there is a gap between oriental and ashkenazi jews with things like college completion, but is it even remotely as large as what their supposed IQ’s indicate? Oriental jews are high achieving and have produced a disproportionate number of noteworthy figures. I don’t know as much about Yemenite jews (who you mentioned initially as opposed to Oriental Jews, a much larger group) though.

                There is obviously no doubt that the IQ’s of many, if not most middle eastern groups are below 100 given their high rates of inbreeding, but it’s difficult to say how much it’s been lowered. It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything about that, aside from that study implying it was a close to 15 point drop, but that study seemed extreme. It is worth noting the non-inbred muslim population (in rural India) had an IQ of 96.5 though. But even assuming that one study isn’t accurate/representative, inbreeding might have a bigger impact on IQ than I thought.

                I’d say the low achievement of the muslim world goes well beyond IQ, but maybe not so much if you accept at face value some of the remarkably low IQ’s given for them. It’s worth considering Iran has a high rate of inbreeding, but there’s a lot to indicate Iran has the potential for not only doing much better than it is now, but the majority of the middle east, and that Iranians have a high IQ.

                Are the Mizrahi hostile in some way? I wouldn’t be surprised, but there’s plenty of tension among the various jewish ethnic groups in Israel (especially on the part of Hasidic/Orthodox jews, who are high IQ but hostile across the board), and it’s another matter that they have such low IQ’s.

              • gcochran9 says:

                The bit about hostile referred to Moslem immigrants to Europe. Things can get confused in a long-winded discussion.

                Different groups within Mizrahi Jews are different.

                Is the difference in college completion as large as one might guess from IQ differences? It’s factor of three.

                I doubt that the non-inbred Moslem population of India has an IQ of 96.5

              • SonOfRekab says:

                The comparisons of Ashkenazi and Mizrahi are problematic.

                Ashkenazi jews (and Ethiopian jews) are much more homogeneous groups, genetically.
                Mizrahi jews is a collection of several different Diasporas, that have lived separated for a long time, some have mixed, some have not.

                Moroccan jewry is considered mizrahi, yet it is not uncommon to find people with the last name “Ashkenazi” among them, probably a result of having a parental ancestry going all the way back to 12th century Ashkenazim who immigrated to the Berber states.

                Iraqi jewry in Israel is doing more then fine, second gen and beyond are very well represented in IT finance and science.
                Egyptian jewry was a small diaspora, but they seem to be doing fine too.
                When i was in university studying Math & Computer Science, my class had only 1 Yemen guy. He was brilliant, but still just the one.

                There are some other small groups like jews from Kurdistan, that do not seem to fall into either category.
                Same for jews from India, BTW jews from India do not seem to be over represented in any area linked to high IQ, yet they are also under represented in most areas with negative associations like violent crime.

              • CM says:

                Iraqi Jews seem pretty smart tbh, or at least they’re very successful in business. I don’t know how much of this is due to selection, but there’s quite a few Iraqi Jews in London and they tend to be far richer than the Ashkenazi community. The richest person in Britain are currently Iraqi Jewish brothers born in Bombay, India called David and Simon Reuben. The Shell Oil Company was also founded by Iraqi Jewish brothers in the 19th century.

              • Subakaraka1 says:

                It’s true that the different Mizrahi are a diverse group, but I’d say that helps to underscore how assessing their IQ is difficult, and grouping them together like this is fallacious. I kind of doubt Lynn really considered their diversity.

                References on college completion rates between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi would be helpful.

                The IQ of 96.5 for non-inbred muslims was probably not representative (since it’s India), but still noteworthy how a non-inbred muslim population could attain such a high score.

                On Indian jews, I can’t find accurate numbers on how many of them there are, but they seem to be quite small in number. And they’ve still produced a disproportionate number of significant figures:

                Ethiopian jews are the only jewish group I’m aware of that seem to do quite poorly (I don’t believe they have sub-75 IQ’s though), but I wouldn’t entirely rule out some kind of discrimination, since it’s been confirmed the Israeli government has intentionally sterilize jewish ethiopian women without their knowledge. And Ethiopia has probably the longest history of literate civilization in SS africa. Cochran seemed to speak favorably of horners at one point:

                “I’m pretty sure that people in the horn of Africa can run a good
                war, particularly the Eritreans. Anybody who can create and maintain tank
                divisions, purely from captured vehicles, doing maintenance at night in
                caves to avoid jet bombers, has what it takes.”

                But it’s not like east africa’s living standards are really any better than the average SS africa (they’re worse), that they don’t have high rates of violence etc. But I think the capabilities of Ethiopian jews are arguably a bit up in the air. It’s likely east africans are smarter than typical SS africans, and it seems strange the jews among them would be no better.

              • Subakaraka1 says:

                One last thing- if you question the score of 96.5, then why not the scores of 82-84 for the inbred muslims in that study? Those scores line up very well with the other IQ scores given by Lynn and such for most middle eastern countries, but those are often seemingly done without any proper consideration of things like inbreeding. Lynn also seems to be very inconsistent with middle eastern IQ. Look at how much he thinks arab admixture in southern Italy depressed IQ (when the amount of admixture he puts forth shouldn’t be enough to depress IQ to levels that low, even assuming arabs have IQ’s in the mid 80’s), while finding the Flynn effect bringing IQ scores in the Sudan up to scores comparable to southern Italy.

                Most of the IQ results put out for middle easterners don’t seem very trustworthy. I honestly don’t see the IQ’s of middle easterners, free of inbreeding, being any lower than the high 90’s. Many middle eastern countries exhibited potentials for modernization and liberalism not terribly long ago, and the workings of many those countries, their expats etc. don’t really indicate 80-something IQ’s.

                On the other hand, groups like North Africans in France have done pretty terribly despite being there for awhile, but I’ve kind of chalked that up to being due to France having horrid immigration standards. That isn’t to say the average Moroccan etc. is on par with the average French, but France has likely been disproportionately attracting the lowest levels of North African countries.

              • SonOfRekab says:


                If you drill down into the list of “Indian” jews, you will see it is not real.
                The Sassoon family for example are from Baghdad.
                Anish Kapoor, is the sun of a Hindu father and an Iraqi Jew.
                Gerry Judah, also Iraqi Jew.
                They go by country of birth.

                You are correct that they are a small community in Israel, probably about the same size as Ethiopians (same scale any way).

              • j says:

                While Ashkenazi Jews are a more or less homogeneous population, non-Ashkenazi = “Mizrahi” Jews are extremely heterogeneous, and as Rekhav wrote, it makes no sense to treat them as a group. Iraqi Jews, for example, consist of high achieving Bagdadi merchant families, and Kurdish mountain villagers (famously non achievers), and Jewish remnant clans from remote villages. Some arrived to Israel with their slaves and their servants, also counted as Jews. Among Turkish Jews you get the Romaniotes, descendants of ancient Hellenized Judeans, Spanish and Portuguese refugees, etc. Only about 50% of the Russian Jews in Israel are Ashkenazi or half-Ashkenazi, the rest are ethnic curiosities from many different areas (the largest are the Georgians, Bukharans from Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, the Tat mountain Jews, Central/East Asian Jews, etc.). Now the Kaifeng Jews – descendants of the Jewish community of China’s old capital – are coming. Originally Persian Jewish silk traders, now 100% Han. We are all Israelis now and ethnic and genetic root searching is discouraged.

              • j says:

                …on average, no group resists the facts about human capital and heredity as much as the Ashkenazi Jews.
                I think it is self-defense survival mechanism (but I cannot prove it). If a person with a fast brain and literate finds himself among dumb ignorant sub-subsistence farmers, he will generate first, admiration, then hate and aggression. Spontaneously, he will rationalize that his “privilege” is due to education or having born under a lucky star. It is physically impossible to acknowledge in that situation that one is a human being while others may not be. Not even Greg, who is not Jewish, dares to say so loudly and face to face. It is better to avoid unnecessary offense.

              • gcochran9 says:

                It’s to believe that attitudes generated back in the shtetl explain the importation of the Falasha. But who knows? I’m no mind reader – and if I was, I’d be a fool to admit it.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Importing large numbers of dumb, hostile people is not as good an idea as it sounds.

        • Frank says:

          I can’t really say anything about the dumb part, but many of the refugee children have at least been able to pick up speaking German very quickly, despite being mostly surrounded by other refugees. There are already several that have been able to enter the public school my daughter attends. Perhaps they are the exceptional ones, but they appear to be doing fine. My town has over 4,000 refugees and has had virtually zero serious issues in the last year. The biggest problem is that people have fears about future unemployment levels.

          I find it a little strange that there is such a high emphasis on this blog on the intelligence of a particular group of people who started off as middle eastern migrants, entered into Southern Europe, and later made their way to Germany and then Eastern Europe. The whole time they maintained pretty high levels of inbreeding and founder effects, and kept a seperate religion and language in their communities.

          Yet, at the same time it is suggested that in modern groups, all of these things should result in low IQ and low work ethic.

          What am I missing here?

          Even among the Turkish ethnic population in Germany, they work very hard filling any available niches, like running almost every business that is open late at night or on Sunday. Traditional Germans would never think of working on a Sunday, it is even against the law to mow your own lawn on Sunday.

          • ckp says:

            What am I missing here?


            • Frank says:

              I am absolutely positive that nobody knows how exactly that selection happened. You have no idea if a similar situation is occuring anywhere today.

              • gcochran9 says:

                If not forbidden, we could know a lot more about it in the near future: the SDS (singleton density score) approach can identify recent selection (~1000 or 2000 years), even on polygenic traits like IQ.

                Today it certainly looks as if there is no net selection for higher intelligence in any industrialized country, which is where we have good demographic information. We know that the frequencies of IQ-boosting alleles are decreasing in the United States (slowly, if you don’t count immigration. more rapidly if you do.) As for the poorer countries, hard to say.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Well, you’re missing understanding. First, anybody (from every ethnic group, as far as we know) can learn a new language, particularly if very young: but that that doesn’t mean that they are very good at learning algebra.

            Second, European Jews did originate (in part – about half) from people in the Middle East a couple of thousand years ago, although there is good reason to think that the Middle Easterners of that era were somewhat different from Middle Easterners today. They had a different religion , different customs – which had the effect of keeping them genetically isolated (after some initial admixture in Italy, mostly on the maternal side). Then they lived a different kind of life from other Europeans – almost all (~90%) had white collar jobs (moneylending, trade, estate management, etc) when almost all (> 90%) native Europeans were farmers. In those days, the most economically successful people had more surviving children, by quite a bit.

            This pattern went on for something like a thousand years. That’s long enough for selection to boost the traits that led to economic success in that group – given that European Jews had very low rates of intermarriage.
            So they’re some smarter than average.

            Today economic success in places like Germany does not lead to higher numbers of children, Syrian/Afghan etc migrants are not being slotted into jobs in finance, and it seems that you’ve also skipped the thousand years of selection part.

            So the case is not the same.

            Today every country in the Middle East does poorly, by most any measure. Members of a few subgroups do well if given a chance to leave – some Christian groups, like Maronites from Lebanon, certainly do – but interestingly, they are genetically different from the general population of the Middle East. Likely more similar to the population of the ancient Middle East – less South Arab, less African, less likely to be a product of cousin marriage.

            Today, the general population of the Middle East scores low on IQ tests. They do poorly in the way that low scores would predict. And, every now and then, immigrants from that population go apeshit in highly unpleasant ways. Ak-47s, C-4, that kind of thing.

            I doubt if the population of France, or Belgium, is really happy with how this particular migrant flow has turned out. And, although the occasional terrorist attack is more spectacular, they aren’t productive enough to pay their way in a welfare state – a state like Germany. Probably they don’t reach you this in school, but a lot of services and goodies are lavished upon essentially everyone in that system, and it depends upon the average person being productive enough, paying enough taxes, to keep the show on the road. Those Syrian/etc immigrants don’t do this (on average), and they never will.

            P.S. although with low birth rates among Germans, hard to see how the show will stay on the road in any event.

            • Julian says:

              Yes, the employment rates must be a bit of a concern for these welfare states. Sweden, for example, is forecast to drop from 10th place on the UN Human Development Index in 2010 to about 45th place by 2030. Tino Sanandaji reported the following figures:

              “The figures refer to the number employed as the share of the 15-65 population for each immigrant group.

              Immigrants from Iraq:
              Sverige 29%.
              Danmark 22%
              Storbrittanien 42%
              Nya Zeeland 40%
              Australien 32%
              Kanada 52%
              USA 62%

              Immigrants from Afghanistan:
              Sverige 24%.
              Danmark 18%
              Storbrittanien 23%
              Nya Zeeland 23%
              Australien 34%
              Kanada 46%
              USA 54%
              Immigrants from Somalia:
              Sverige 24%.
              Danmark 16%
              Storbrittanien 15%
              Nya Zeeland 25%
              Australien 22%
              Kanada 36%
              USA 52%


            • Frank says:

              Interesting. I think you believe you know a lot more about the selection of intelligence in the Jewish population than is possible with all the available data.

              Perhaps a lot of ancient genomes and linkage studies will show you to be correct, or… perhaps you are totally wrong and the intelligence alleles came from admixture with the most intelligent non-Jewish people. To say that you actually might know is just to sell books.

              Regarding the low birth rates among Germans, it looks like they will make up for it by recruiting highly intelligent people and getting them to actually stay. The refugee situation sounds like a lot of people, but it is still less than 1% of the population, and they actually do want to work, despite what people read in the newspapers.

              The US has done a decent job of recruiting and keeping intelligent people. It is kind of a scam, but a good one. Once you earn your highly prized citizenship, you can almost totally forget about working or living in any other country, because you will get double taxed on your income. And if you are self-employed, you will get quadruple taxed.

              No other country has come up with this strategy, but it has definitely worked to keep citizens working inside the country, so far. I don’t know how long it will last, though.

              • Henk says:

                No other country has come up with this strategy, but it has definitely worked to keep citizens working inside the country,

                Germans built a wall, that worked too.

                At the rate they’re currently destroying all reasons “traditional” Germans preferred to live (and pay taxes) there, they might have to build another one soon.

              • gcochran9 says:

                We know a fair amount about Ashkenazi Jewish genetics, enough to understand at least some of what happened. We know that their maternal ancestry is almost all European, mostly Italian. Do I think that those Italian girls were drawn from some sort of elite in Rome, and then married a bunch of POWs from the Bar-Kochba revolt? Seems unlikely.

                Hardly any non-Jewish men ever converted to Judaism, back in the day. Circumcision hurt. The history that we have records almost zero conversions to Judaism in the Middle Ages, and not many people seem to have left Judaism, either.

                Ashkenazi mtDNA and autosomal genetics confirm that the ongoing rate of admixture with the general population was very low. If it had been as high as 3% per generation, their autosomal ancestry would almost entirely European, but it’s only about half. That half was mostly acquired in the beginning, when they picked up those Italian wives. Check it out: if they started out 100% Middle Eastern, a gene inflow rate of 3% makes them 29.5% middle eastern in 40 generations: (0.97)^40. It is also possible to show that substantial selection (in a way that differs from selection in the general population) is only possible if per-generation gene flow from outsiders is well under 2%. Just math.

                If super-talented European women were being admitted, you’d see lots of different mtDNA lineages in the Ashkenazi: the mtDNA lineages are mostly European, but there are only a few of them. Founding lineages. If super-talented European men were converting to Judaism, something that history gives no sign of, you’d see lots of European Y-chromosomes in the Ashkenazim. It’s not like that: the Ashkenzi Y chromosome lineages are mostly middle eastern, similar to those of Palestinians.

              • Frank says:

                I agree with everything you say here, as this is what the available data can tell us. I also am very familiar with genetics and selection, as I have directly worked with model organisms for a long time and try to keep up on human genetic studies. Also, I am an Ashkenazi myself.

                I mostly disagree with the way that a lot of those commenting seem to not understand how selection works at all. Most of natural selection is selection from existing alleles in a population. It isn’t new mutation, which is very slow and usually very bad.

                When you want to improve a breed, you first make a wide cross. After hybridization, you start the selection process. This is how things move quickly towards a selected state.

                When the Jews entered Italy, there was an initial wide cross with the local Italian women. Then the selection process occurred for hundreds of years.

                To exclude a 1-2% influx of distinct genetics to the European gene pool because it is bad for the economy seems crazy. The selection process will only begin a few generations in. The quicker these people are fully integrated into mainstream society, the faster the selection of novel combinations can occur.

                The real issue is coming up with policies that encourage intelligent people to have more children. In most places, their bosses make this as difficult as possible for them. Also, dumber people work by the hour, and take time to have children. Smarter people work on projects, and often refuse to take time off because the project or their career will suffer.

              • j says:

                There are some European Christian groups that converted to Judaism, like the Russian Subbotniks and the Transylvanian Szombatosok, but they were peasants and did not mix with city-living Jews. On the other hand, thousands of European intellectuals (mostly churchmen) learned Hebrew and Aramaic and studied the Tanach, but none that I know of found much sense in it and converted to Judaism.

              • j says:

                I disagree with Greg in that circumcision scared away potential converts to Judaism. The opposite is true, outré rituals are a major attraction of our religion.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Well, the evidence is clear that the non-Middle Eastern ancestral component of Ashkenazi ancestry was strongly female.

          • TWS says:

            So is it a German thing to molest and rape women in large groups at your bus stations and train stations? They learned that quite quickly if it is. Was rape a Swedish problem before they imported the third world? Because my Swedish relatives have not seemed remarkably ‘rapey’.

            • Tim says:

              In these cases, the crimes are more likely to be reported by the victim, investigated by police, and hyped in the media, due to the suspected race of the perpetrator.

              Yes. These countries have plenty of molestation and rape without accounting for immigrants. Most of it goes unreported and/or unsolved.

        • “Importing large numbers of dumb hostile people is not as good an idea as it sounds.”

          You are nothing but a mean old inhumanitarian. The refugees are coming, we need to stop them somewhere and get them to do something besides make more. On the third world side of the fence we have to get the Chinese to set up huge factories and we will employ them and pay them in lousy food and flappy tents. Once our cities get too overcrowded with homeless I suppose we can’t just ignore the problem. Poverty burger stands that give away the world’s worst cheeseburgers and wearable mobile homes that might get smelly but nobody freezes.

          Because i care.

          • Such a sad situation, Africa and the Middle East, I shouldn’t make fun of it. I just wish there were more people like Cochran who could anticipate the future and prevent the suffering that is bound to increase exponentially in these areas in our lifetimes. It shouldn’t be too late already, but it is.

      • Maciano says:

        75% of Syrian refugees in the Netherlands are on “bijstand”. In the welfare state system “bijstand” is the lowest form of welfare, only intended for the bottom of the barrel. If you receive bijstand for more than 2 months or so, there’s no hope and never will be. It’s like a neck-tattoo. These people were welcomed as dentists, pharmacists and scientists for the Amsterdam Startup Deltaplan (another ridiculous attempt at Sillicon Valley).

        Germany received even worse Syrian human capital, because they advertised loudly and didn’t even have a skeptical coalition party who forced Merkel to sober up her welfare system for freeloaders. So, yes, Germany appears deeply, deeply DEEPLY stupid for inviting a million of these people.

        • Frank says:

          “Germany received even worse Syrian human capital, because they advertised loudly and didn’t even have a skeptical coalition party who forced Merkel to sober up her welfare system for freeloaders.”

          Again, you have no idea what you are talking about. Freeloaders?

          Since when is the easiest freeloading option to leave your homeland and extended family and move somewhere that they speak a different language and has a terrible climate, so you can live in a tent village (probably just outside of a small village) for the next 6-12 months while waiting in lines for hours every day just to get food? And on top of that, you are forced to go to school most of the day during that time in the hope that you might be able to get a janitorial job?

          Sure, there are some criminals among them, but criminals are everywhere anyway.

          The only ‘freeloaders’ I see are the local ‘germans’ who are mentally ill, alcoholics, or drug addicts who sit around on benches in out-of-way parks or cemeteries all day. At least the welfare system mostly keeps them from robbing people for drug money.

          • maciano says:

            you are incapable of statistical understanding.

            go check any european statistics bureau tracking social pathologies, virtues or performance on ethnic groups. Arabs/N Africans do worse on all indicators, except alcoholism. School performance, dropout rates, vandalism, drugs, unemployment, domestic abuse, welfare, crime; rates of charity giving or civic mindedness; polling on any liberal mindedness (FoS, women/gay rights, apostasy, secularism, honor killing); you name it, they do worse. I don’t need to get into radicalism, terrorism, Salafism, do I?

            they also turn any formerly euro workers neighbourhood into an unwelcome ghetto.

            these are not opinions, but facts. but you probably won’t check, so forget i bothered.

            • gcochran9 says:

              I’ll bet he is capable of statistical understanding. Probably he just doesn’t want to. I have seen, and talked to, people that came to a more realistic picture of the distribution of human potential, and for some of them it was really difficult, really painful, traumatizing even. I think of a lot of that is the wrenching feeling when you start believing things that are condemned by your friends and associates. At least, so I’ve heard.

              I remember having pretty egalitarian opinions on this subject when I was twelve: arguing about it. About group differences, particularly involving ethnic groups that I had never met: any moron could see individual differences, and see that they were heritable. Then I read more about it and found that evidence didn’t support those egalitarian views. So I changed my mind: I don’t remember the experience being particularly traumatic.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Plus some people can’t see past individual cases. In one article (in typically “liberal” Der Spiegel) I read about a German politician who was taking a hard line on immigration. The Spiegel writer thought he could discredit the man simply because his son married a Turkish woman.

                Not only is it a very small sample size, but the son didn’t marry a descendent of guest workers. She was from the Turkish elite and they met at graduate school in the US.

              • Julian says:

                As Jon Haidt points out, when evidence clashes with sacred values people distort or ignore the evidence.

              • gcochran9 says:

                I’m not sure that explanation is that much of an explanation. I should talk to Haidt about this sometime.

              • Jim says:

                I too had pretty egalitarian views when I was twelve but then it occurred to me that a complex natural process like evolution would have no chance of producing a very simple pattern such as equality.

              • Yudi says:

                It upsets them because it forecloses so many possibilities for a better future. The fallacy that if something is caused by genes, then nothing can be done to change it adds a lot to this.

                The isolation caused by believing despicable, heretical things no doubt contributes. I am burdened by such isolation myself.

              • tommy says:

                My own turn came somewhere around fifteen or sixteen. Sure, I accepted superficial differences before then, but I read “The Bell Curve” and for weeks I didn’t want to even consider the possibility that it might be all true. The world just wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. Life was really unfair. I can’t recall exactly how I came around, but by seventeen I was seeing things honestly, I realized that society was blind, and I was pretty much at peace with it all.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      Given that the EU is replacing Germans with people similar to Saudis aren’t their futures pretty much the same?

  33. Andrew Neather says:

    Furthermore, I would wager Saudi Arabia having a better future in this present century than the EU.
    Britons! – vote ‘out’ while you still have a chance.
    Saudi, like all the Gulf Arab petro-states is run by clever, canny, hard-headed realists – people of a far, far higher human quality than those dirty shit-headed fools who run the EU.

    Firstly, Saudi, along with all the other petro-states foresaw – many decades ago – the day oil revenues could not be relied upon, and built up vastly vast sovereign wealth funds – which basically own most of the NYSE, the London stock exchange, all the big cash generating multinationals you can name – and most of the west’s prime real estate.
    So basically, they are financially secure. And the ‘wogs’ who do all the dirty work have got no claim whatsoever on Saudi money and can and will be kicked out a moment’s notice.
    THIS is the sort of leadership I respect and admire.

    Contrast with the c*nts who run Norway. Their wealth fund will be exhausted by ‘immigrant’ (faker/fraud) ‘claims’ on it by mid century.

    • ckp says:

      Yes and what happens when oil profits can’t match population growth?

      • Andrew Neather says:

        As I’ve said, the Arab petro states own most of the equity of the big cash earners – your utility company which you pay a big bill to every month, your local supermarket, Apple, Microsoft etc.
        As long as their earnings per share outstrip population growth, and they compound their earnings, they should, at the very least, survive.

        • BB753 says:

          I can agree that Saudi leadership has been more loyal to their citizens/subjects than Western leaders. But you said it yourself: Saudi investments will only allow the country to survive once oil dries out ( or prices plummet as oil is superseded by other energy sources). What will happen to the thousand Cheiks, Princes and princelings, and to the middle classes? They’re not used to work; they aren’t that bright (we’ve got the facts) and are used to a high standard of living which will prove unsustainable sooner or later. I just don’t see Saudi Arabia surviving as a monarchy for long, or even as a country. Hell, it should have been invaded by NATO and ruled by western powers long ago, if only for its funding of terrorism and Sunni guerrillas worlwide. Carpe diem! Tomorrow might be different.

          • MawBTS says:

            But you said it yourself: Saudi investments will only allow the country to survive once oil dries out

            But that won’t happen for decades. Hubbert described a bell curve, not a cliff.

            KSA’s immediate problem is cash: they need to sell oil at $105 a barrel to balance their budget. It just closed at…$49.1 a barrel. Not great.

            They’re running huge deficits and hoping demand picks up, but a lot of things are working against them – cheap US shale oil, Iran entering the market, China’s downturn.

            Oil could stay cheap for a long time, which makes KSA a ticking time bomb.

    • gcochran9 says:

      A country with low human capital, run by dumb thieves, dependent on a dwindling physical asset.

      • j says:

        Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries that survived intact the 20th Century, and not only that, but it prospered mightily. If some state will survive the 21st Century, it is the Saudi kingdom. No need to lose sleep worrying over them.

  34. Calvin Hobbes says:

    Saudis buy coaching for their IMO team from the former US IMO coach (‘team leader”) Zuming Feng. He was doing that already even when he was still the US IMO coach.

    “He is currently assisting with the selection and training of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s IMO team…”

    And their results have been respectable. Ranked 41 last time, ahead of Netherlands (43), Switzerland (45), Sweden (63).

  35. Karmakakazy says:

    One of the more curious things about SA is that they burn oil to run air conditioners in the summer. The oil sells for about $5/barrel domestic so the opportunity cost per barrel is about $45. SA could very easily run a natgas pipe from a neighbor and start generating electricity from natgas but apparently it doesn’t want to import energy. SA burns about 1 mm barrels a day of oil in the summer to run the air conditioners. The annual cost is about $7B.

  36. Cplusk says:

    Hire Greg Cochran and make him use genetic engineering tech to increase the human capital levels of Saudis. If i was a Saudi Prince.

  37. melendwyr says:

    What about selling their organs on the black market?

  38. jasonbayz says:

    One industry Saudi Arabia could pursue in 2050 is tourism. Ruin tourism, to be exact, like in Detroit today.

    In the 1970s, Saudi Arabia could have helped itself by importing smart Arabs(and perhaps other Muslims) from the nations to the North. Try to get them to replace the western workers, or perhaps employ them in universities, teaching other smart Arab immigrants. Even employ them to push paper. All in the name of Arab nationalism or Islamic solidarity, of course. Eventually, they’d naturalize and give the nation the cognitive elite it needs to run real businesses when the oil runs out. They could have done what Dubai did in developing airlines and non-religious tourism(The United Arab Emirates has managed to build the world’s third largest airline). An airline or luxury hotel is the perfect kind of investment for a low-IQ country which is (temporarily) awash in oil wealth, as it is capital-intensive but doesn’t require very much human capital.

    They could try these things now, but the benefit would be much smaller. The difference in their GDP per capita and those of other Arab countries is smaller, and their population is bigger.

    • Yudi says:

      Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I could confirm that tourism would help them, if they could ditch their silly interpretation of Islam. As it is, there is miles upon miles of unused, undeveloped beach land bordering the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Once they become okay with the sight of women in swimsuits, they could build some nice resorts there. KSA must be the last developed country on earth to have that much unused tropical beach land.

      • PV van der Byl says:

        The Red Sea offers much more than just great beaches. It also has the best scuba diving environment in the world. Divers have enjoyed some of this in the Egyptian part of the Sea, the Jordanian section south of Aqaba, and the little Israeli bit around Eilat. But the Saudi Red Sea coast is longer than all those put together.

    • MawBTS says:

      In the 1970s, Saudi Arabia could have helped itself by importing smart Arabs(and perhaps other Muslims) from the nations to the North.

      Yeah, a low national IQ can be ameliorated somewhat if you have a high IQ elite running stuff. See: India (and Israel to an extent). But importing a smart managerial class means you can’t be nepotistic.

      Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I could confirm that tourism would help them, if they could ditch their silly interpretation of Islam.

      They could also open up Mecca to non-Muslims. A grievous breach of their faith, but when has anyone ever let that stop them from making money?

      • JayMan says:

        Because none of these things are going to engender rage and resentment from Islamic fundamentalists whom are seeing their lifestyles deteriorate as oil money runs out…

        • gcochran9 says:

          I’ve long thought that the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s may have had something to do with the rise of Al-Qaeda: in Saudi Arabia, the fake jobs dried up for a while.

          • A Erickson Cornish says:

            Which of the following two plausible opposing consequences of the KSA coffers drying up on account of lower oil revenues would you expect to be more impactful to global jihadism?

            1) Disaffected Saudis who suddenly cannot afford their former lifestyles due to decreased subsidies, and possibly even being asked to find real jobs, thus being drawn more towards jihadist ideologies.
            2) Less Saudi money being available with which to fund the proselytization of Salafism all around the Muslim world.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              less Saudi money – no contest

              there’s already millions of disaffected proto-jihadists, additional Saudis won’t add much

            • gcochran9 says:

              That’s a toughie. But it is possible to deal with either. If too many Saudis cause trouble, explain forcefully (to their government) that this must stop, else we will seize the oil fields along the gulf and drive them out into the desert, there to stay until they produce the Quisatz Haderach. Same answer for subsidizing Salafism: tell them to stop, on pain of flaming radioactive death.

              Even when you consider the extent of Saudi of Saudi bribery, it’s odd that we haven’t made them stop. It wouldn’t be very difficult.

              • Greying Wanderer says:

                The people being bribed were visually insulated from the consequences until recently – jihadist preachers, sharia patrols and women being pressured into niqabs etc was known about on the ground but invisible to the people making the decisions.

                Enough Paris-like attacks should change the bribery-visibility balance but that might be too late.

              • Frau Katze says:

                I doubt that any president of the US would use nukes. That’s a stretch, even though it’s pleasant to fantasize about.

                I think things have gone too far anyway, they’ve been at it for several decades and it will continue to spread in its own.

                Sure, the US could invade KSA. The US has the military power. But there’s a danger of it turning out like Iraq version 2. Maybe not quite as bad, as there aren’t that many Shiites in KSA (but there some and they’re in area where the oil is).

                Islamic State is a direct consequence of the invasion of Iraq. Remove the leader and they fall to tribal fighting.

                Iran would move to fund the Saudi Shiites, and the ones that the KSA is already fighting in Yemen (they’re very likely funding them now at some level, but now that sanctions are off they’d have more money). The Iranian regime is scarcely better than the Saudi princes, I hardly need to add.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Clone Truman.

                We could step on the Saudis like bugs, any time we wanted to.

                The Iranians are of course way better than the Saudis in every way. Not that we need them, or indeed anyone else in the area.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @gcochran9 I can’t reply to your comment as the depth of question / answer has been reached (consider installing Disqus, there is a no limit as there is with WordPress. It’s easy to install and it!s much better for long threads, and just in general.)

                Yes, the Iranians themselves and their society are much better than that of KSA but the current regime is almost as bad as KSA. True, they’re not a hereditary outfit (but nepotism will be bad) but their interpretation of Islam is only marginally better than Wahhabism.

                Not only that, but they’re utterly convinced that there’s a plan in the USA to invade Iran and drive them from power (I have read a number of memoirs of Iranian people that now live in the US who went back for a visit. they were each tossed in jail and harassed about what they knew about The Plot. It’s common knowledge, even with their testimony.)

                That’s why the regime want nukes.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Now why would anyone think that? Although I happen to know that a certain Vice President was pushing very strongly for a crushing conventional attack on Iran, one aimed at leveling every town with a stoplight, that was only blocked by the threat of mass resignations among the Air Force generals.

              • A Erickson Cornish says:

                There is no contest between the Iranians and the Saudis; give me the Iranians any day. One area where the Obama admin. has admirably tried to steer American strategy in the right direction is away from KSA and more towards Iran in the region. The question- for me anyway, since I try not to pay much attention to the ME, as it is a hopelessly backwards and more damningly boring region- is why the U.S. has abided the Saudis and their dissemination of Salafism for so long.

              • ursiform says:

                “I doubt that any president of the US would use nukes.”

                Donald Trump? But only because he was throwing a tantrum, not for any geopolitical end.

              • Jim says:

                Yes it’s weird how much the Saudi connection to terrorism is ignored by our government and the media. The 911 guys were mostly Saudi’s but I remember being amazed at the time to read of polls of the American public showing 70% of the public thought Saddam Hussein was behind it.

                There’s also the role that Pakistan plays in all this. Are we supposed to believe that the Pakistani government was not involved with Osama bin Laden?

              • tautology123 says:

                “Same answer for subsidizing Salafism: tell them to stop, on pain of flaming radioactive death.”

                So the answer to terrorism is nuclear genocide? Because we do not need “them”? Or is this really limited to the threat thereof? Yeah I am not really feeling that one. On a moral level. Aren’t you Christian?

              • j says:

                It is very wise you did not try. The Saudis are inbred suicide fighters from their mother’s kus.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Suicide isn’t that effective a strategy.

      • Yudi says:

        I said “if”; I never said it was likely!

  39. Greying Wanderer says:


    “To exclude a 1-2% influx of distinct genetics to the European gene pool because it is bad for the economy seems crazy.”

    As you know, the age distribution of this 1% a year means the intentional replacement of Europeans or put another way “inflicting conditions of life intended to destroy a racial or national group.”

    Belief in the blank slate is a necessary condition for this intentional replacement.


    If things carry on as they are Saudi Arabia will be relatively fine as pretty much everywhere from Ireland to the borders of India will be in the same boat and paying a kind of pilgrimage tithe for access to Mecca.

    Islam is very rigid which is a disadvantage in many ways but also makes it immune to cultural manipulation and that makes it very good at a kind of tidal demographic warfare – and that is what the Saudis have been investing their oil money in for 50 years – very successfully.

  40. Greying Wanderer says:

    On the Jewish IQ thing could the historical record be squared by a mixture of selection and inbreeding i.e. the selection was going on for a long time but was counter acted by inbreeding (small groups, uncle niece marriages etc) but when they adopted the western marriage model that inbreeding was unwound removing the negative component?

  41. Greying Wanderer says:

    On the kin selection thing

    1) If the numbers make sense for 2 x brothers, 8 x 1st cousins etc then they’d make sense for 500 x 4th cousins (or whatever the actual number is)


    2) if there’s no way for large-scale kin selection to directly evolve

    then doesn’t that imply anything which mimics kin selection could be selected for

    e.g. culture.

    If cultural mimicry is an option then the scale of ethno in ethno-centric could vary so for example if ancient British tribes had “evolved” a tribal scale “us” culture which mimicked kin selection but had not yet developed a national scale version then tribes siding with the Romans against their traditional local enemy would make sense.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Tell me how you save 500 4th cousins.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        chip in for an ambulance service

        • MawBTS says:

          is there a “worst argument” contest going on that I wasn’t aware of or something

        • ursiform says:

          That’s more likely to save you than 500 4th cousins.

          • Greying Wanderer says:

            maybe – i hadn’t given it a lot of thought.

            my basic point is if something mimics kin selection then it would get selected for.

            so extending that idea to culture – if a culture (in some unspecified way) could mimic kin selection what effect might that have?

            i dunno – only thought of it recently.

            • misdreavus says:

              “maybe – i hadn’t given it a lot of thought.”

              Cuz you ain’t capable of thinking at all, pumpkin head.

              • Greying Wanderer says:

                “pumpkin head” is that a regional insult from somewhere or a Freudian slip?

              • ursiform says:

                It’s certainly regional in the sense it’s limited to the English-speaking world. Not common, but not rare, either.

      • TANSTAAFL says:

        I can’t speak for GW, but I would join the rest of my extended family in tribal warfare against neighbours.

        Or I would donate blood.

        The concept of Band of Brothers seem caused by hijacking of kin support by modern structures.
        Also the Saint Crispen’s Day Speech tell of brotherhood and blood sharing.
        In fact, the second kills just those with different and weakened immunitary system and MHC respect to your, with all pathogens you may gain and carry in your life.

        Not that sharing sin-cleaning water and holy-blood glass is much safer.
        Or allowing fraternization with strangers. in the name of diversity.
        Or eating a buffet.

        For something completely correlated: Haldane, in his wit, imply a total loss of fitness, death. What would be the equation in case of partial loss of such?

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          “What would be the equation in case of partial loss of such?”

          Quite – the insistence on death is an obvious deflection.

          • gcochran9 says:

            There is no insistence on death. the problem is, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              okay, leaving that aside

              if something successfully mimiced kin selection would it get selected for?

              • et.cetera says:

                By “mimic kin selection” you both probably mean act towards “non-relatives” as if they were “relatives”. This assumes a kin recognition* mechanism, which, if it exists, the more reliable it is, the more difficult it is to “mimic” (hijack) kin selection (this should be self-evident).

                But assuming the kin recognition mechanism is sufficiently error prone (not unlikely), then yes, it can happen. However, at that point it will have nothing to do with kin selection any more (its perdurance will necessarily depend on other factors than genetic proximity).

                (*) Keep in mind that kin recognition is not necessary for kin selection, which is simply a synergistic process that depends on the genetic proximity of organisms within a population.

          • et.cetera says:

            Altruism as commonly understood (acts of “kindness”) need not be altruism as understood in biology (i.e. a behaviour that is fitness decreasing for the actor but fitness increasing for the recipient — which is why self-sacrifice is a useful simile).

            You’re talking about different things (that is to say, there is actually no discussion going on).

            • TANSTAAFL says:

              I see no references to moral altruism in my post.

              Bloodletting cause loss of fitness, albeit minimal.

              In fact it is a literal self-sacrifice, if we think of our body as ourself.
              I count in the cost of donating blood in 1.5 hours, 450 calories, lowered platelets for 50 days, reduction of oxygen-carryng for 80 days and a very small risk of infection.

              Of course, in 21th century First World the consequences are negligible.

              Neverthless, hypothesising that the donation will be used to save life of a otherwise healthy young human of average fertility, which will share the same exact blood group with the giver, would the fitness expenditure bring a gain or a loss? What if we select also Kell, Lewis, Duffy and other antigens?

              Now, if we accept to dwell a little into the deep, dark side of sociality, thinking of all detrimental microorganism freely floating in our bloodstream, to whom we are certainly adapted, how would those operate to reduce the fitness of a immunologically distant receiver of 0- blood?

              I leave the solutions of this questions to much smarter and numerate men than me.

  42. Greying Wanderer says:


    “Unreasonable expectations on the part of Western women. It would be best (for the West) if similar restrictions applied to them in their home countries also.”

    I think women effectively being forced to have kids (no contraception, high child mortality) for a long time is why they’re not particularly selected for it now so when the compulsion stopped a lot of them stop.

    Personally I’d suggest the solution is to make it easier for those women who do want kids to have them (tax breaks etc) to artificially select for that trait. Eventually as their daughter genes spread around the population the problem would be fixed and you could reduce incentives.

    • Peter Lund says:

      Those incentives will just be abused by the Muslims. Tax breaks might be okay, especially if it’s only on earned income. Might be…

      (For “will just be” read “are and have been for decades”.)

    • Ilya says:

      Except that the compulsion, effectively, is now for women to not have children. This antinatalist cultural brainwashing is not subsiding, and it seems that women, especially higher-class ones, are very much picking up on those cues.

      The other problem is that cultural brainwashing concerns not only the supposed uncoolness of large families, but also of pre-25 y.o. pregnancy, glorifying later pregnancy as “wise.”

      There is also no compulsion (in fact, there are fashionable trends against) for sound decision-making when choosing partners: the government effectively promises to take care of women’s progeny no matter how (ill-)conceived her choices are. Thus the government not only diminishes, but outright takes away the authority of father and husband.

      If you want some sanity: women should have very little rights when it comes to family formation, this being left in the hands of patriarchal networks. There is a reason why many things in biology are not symmetrical, and that includes sex differences. After all, we are not complaining about the fact that our organelles are inherited from our mothers, not fathers. Some aspects of life are the natural order of things, and this obsession with making it different has the same future that Soviet communism had: doomed.

      When I look to early 20th century, the only one I see who came close to proposing a viable statist resolution to this problem of incentives was Ronald Fisher.

      • Some Troll's Serious Discussion Alt says:

        undoing social advancements like treating the female half of the species as free citizens seems counterproductive. Sure, it’s making The West more effective at self preservation or whatevee, and it’d be less likely to get washed away by a rising arab tide (or aftican, it whoever else) bur to what gain if we’re just gonna turn The West into the repressive shithole we’re trying to stop them from building anyway?

        • Ilya says:

          “Those who possess knives go on a rampage.” Not

          Familial abuse is predicated on other things besides lack of rights to family formation.

          Anyway, what do I care: colorful, spicy, and diverse dialects of Ebonics and/or Arabic are the future of Western languages. Or maybe, at some point, just Mandarin.

          • Some troll's serious discussion alt says:

            lack of rights to family formation.

            This is the rampage, not the knife. Every man involved being a perfectly well intentioned individual felling the utmost cmittment to well being the women they are passing around like sacks of oats would be more than nothing, but not much more. It’s not an acceptable trade off.

            • Ilya says:

              The was this thing called dowry, which protected women to some extent. But sure, you might not find it acceptable. Then again, what will or will not be acceptable is not exactly known now.

      • JayMan says:

        “The other problem is that cultural brainwashing concerns not only the supposed uncoolness of large families, but also of pre-25 y.o. pregnancy, glorifying later pregnancy as “wise.”

        There is also no compulsion (in fact, there are fashionable trends against) for sound decision-making when choosing partners: the government effectively promises to take care of women’s progeny no matter how (ill-)conceived her choices are. Thus the government not only diminishes, but outright takes away the authority of father and husband.

        If you want some sanity: women should have very little rights when it comes to family formation, this being left in the hands of patriarchal networks. “

        I wish you guys would take note that fertility is highest (as high IQ countries go) in countries with the best welfare networks before spewing this garbage.

        • Ilya says:

          “Highest” — you mean TFR of no more than 1.92? What lofty aspirations you have.

          • JayMan says:

            Higher than any other IQ ~100 country, which was my point.

            Besides, fertility doesn’t need to be very high, just near replacement (or lower in the crowded East Asian countries). But that doesn’t stop the social conservatives from blathering on with your kind of nonsense.

            • Ilya says:

              Besides, fertility doesn’t need to be very high, just near replacement (or lower in the crowded East Asian countries).

              Right… Selection for IQ and technological progress happens without population pressures. Of course!

              Again, my point reiterated: what lofty aspirations you have.

              • JayMan says:

                The Clarkian, Malthusian world isn’t coming back any time soon. You can forget about that one. Nor should it.

              • Ilya says:

                “Never!” — said none other than the prophet Jayman himself.

              • Greying Wanderer says:

                “Right… Selection for IQ and technological progress happens without population pressures.”

                I’d say the opposite for technological progress per se.

                Population pressures have existed all over without progress – I’d say technological progress is more often a result of labor shortages e.g. after the Black Death.

                That’s different from “selection for” of course but if labor shortage is best for innovation wouldn’t that imply it was also the best environment for innovative brains?


              • Ilya says:


                Pretty much.

        • Greying Wanderer says:


          “I wish you guys would take note that fertility is highest (as high IQ countries go) in countries with the best welfare networks before spewing this garbage.”

          But isn’t it the case that the women providing a disproportionate amount of the TFR in those cases are stay at home mothers from sub-cultures with the least female choice?

          It seems to me if you don’t want compulsion – and you don’t want to ignore hidden compulsion that conflicts with PC – then each nation needs more women who particularly want kids.

          (Which would happen naturally over time anyway if people left things alone.)

          • JayMan says:

            “But isn’t it the case that the women providing a disproportionate amount of the TFR in those cases are stay at home mothers from sub-cultures with the least female choice?”

            NW European countries (and derivatives) have the highest native fertility rates of the IQ > 93 countries.

            They do also have high-fertility immigrants as well, yes.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              Yes – hence i think the solution (in countries who are okay with welfare states) is rebalancing welfare from poor to middle class – which is fair as currently they’re having their TFR restricted to provide higher TFR for the poor.

              (welfare has become dominated by virtue-signalling instead of welfare – balancing TFR between different segments could be used as a “fairness” argument)

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          Jayman #2

          The reason why the welfare state systems aren’t working to increase native TFR is they’re geared to the poor – hence attracting the world’s poor to have babies in those countries.

          They’d need to switch the focus of their welfare state to the middle class allowing more middle class women to stay at home (if they want) without dropping out of the middle class.

  43. Wonderful blog thread. You have something working here Cochran. Highly entertaining reading. Is your blog steadily growing? It should be , I expect it is. Do you filter out a lot of comments before they get put on your blog? I would guess you do.

  44. MawBTS says:

    This comment section is the high-achieving son of Silver Blaze. It’s not as long, but it’s attracting equally crazy people. Hopefully we’ll get some more Nazis showing up, there’s been disappointingly few this time around.

    The argument I keep hearing is that we can fix humanity’s problem du jour…by breeding our way out of it.

    Essentially, that the Arab world could get back on track by banning cousin marriage, or importing European/Chinese women. That we could make Western women have children again by axing the welfare state (or whatever the argument is. Coherency is a good thing, guys. Clarity of thought, too). I see this idea everywhere on this blog. “Breeding got us into this mess, and breeding will get us out!”

    Guys…selection is very slow.

    A eugenic solution would take decades or hundreds of years (if it works). Evolution is faster than Gould believed, but it’s absolutely NOT a solution to any short term geopolitical or demographic issue. You might as well propose a solution to the PNG/Indonesia border dispute that relies on continental drift. I don’t plan on living that long. Do you?

    Furthermore, where are the examples of planned, controlled eugenics actually working? What cultures in human history have consciously said “hey, we’re selecting ourselves for something bad, let’s turn this around and select for something good…” and succeeded?

    Yes, we’ve accidentally selected ourselves for various things. But every attempt I’ve seen to “put chlorine in the gene pool” (as a friend says) has turned into a horrifying clownfuck of a disaster. Egypt’s dynasties wed brother to sister to preserve the royal bloodline – they got King Tut. The Habsburgs let recessive alleles pile up until they looked like Halloween masks. In 1934, Germany’s schizophrenia rate was 2.0 per 1000. The Nazis came to power and sterilized and/or killed nearly every schizophrenic in the country. Forty years later, Germany’s schizophrenia rate was re-tested. 1.5. D’oh!.

    I’m able to take a lesson: we are not good at doing this.

    A third fly in the ointment: do we really have much time left? I’m not some hardcore lesswrongfag who thinks the Singularity’s five minutes away, but the 10,000 year explosion never stopped happening, and soon accelerating technology (CRSPR/Cas, etc) might make the process of breeding obsolete. There’s no reason to rely on traditional methods for creating smart people. Greg has some ideas here. Or perhaps you want to get on Stephen Hsu’s crazy train. What’s the point of shuffling around recombinant DNA in the hopes lucking into a few IQ points when we could isolate all the variants involved in higher IQ, and then stack the deck? Are we really sure this won’t happen in the next hundred years or so (a paltry 3-4 generations away?)

    We spend lots of time kicking around nurturists. Ironically, this might be an area where they have us by the balls. If you want to fix any kind of short term disaster hanging over our heads, it HAS to be through environmental measures. Selection just doesn’t work fast enough.

    What if no environmental measures are possible? What if we’re just screwed?

    Well, has anyone seen Star Trek: TNG, specifically “The Lower Decks”? Worf challenges Sito Jaxa to pass an ancient Klingon test. He blindfolds her, and they spar. She gropes in the dark, while he pummels her defenseless body. It’s hopeless. How can you fight a person you can’t see?

    Eventually, Sito gets frustrated, pulls off the blindfold, and refuses to fight any more. Worf tells her she’s passed the test.

    • ursiform says:

      As Greg pointed out above, the inbreeding problem can be solved in a generation.

      • MawBTS says:

        Suppose this happened tomorrow. You wouldn’t see a difference for at least 20 years, and even then, it wouldn’t be much of one. All the inbred old timers would still be in charge of things – the Arab world is no place for meritocratic success stories.

        Pace Sailer on gap-busting: if all newborn black babies had IQs of 100, starting now, we’d still be dealing with a race-wide intelligence “gap” for the next sixty or seventy years. The past can haunt the present for a long time.

        • Jim says:

          Not only no more first cousin marriages but no more children in existing first cousin marriages. Then wait patiently over nearly a century for the past effects of inbreeding to gradually die out. Realistically, ending the effects of inbreeding in the Arab world, if it happens at all, will take centuries. Sad.

          • gcochran9 says:

            One generation, if you stop cousin marriage.

            • Anchises says:

              I’d wager (on the basis of admittedly anecdotal evidence) that something like this has actually happened with Sicilian-Americans in just the past century or less. Possibly because of historic Arab influence, Sicily still practices cousin marriage to a far greater extent than most of Christian Europe (though not nearly as much as the Arab Muslim world), which is probably part of the reason it’s relatively backward. I’m sketchy on the details, but the Catholic Church apparently has some sort of special blanket dispensation in place exempting Sicilians from the normal canon law prohibitions against certain types of cousin marriage.

              In any case, a lot of the dysfunctional cultural habits that Sicilians brought to the US- like racketeering, assassination, bribery, and extortion rings- seemed to dramatically diminish after a couple of generations settled here. That they’re no longer inter-marrying with the same three or four families back in the old village seems one likely cause.

              I initially noticed this while researching my part-Sicilian wife’s family history. The first generation’s life in America was more-or-less what you’d expect after watching “The Godfather Part II”- consanguineous marriages, knife-fights with Black Hand extortionists, a storefront bombing, and a double robbery-murder. One or two generations of out-marriage later, though, and all the cousins are successful, solid models of bourgeois virtue.

              Unfortunately, Arab Muslims have a lot of other problems besides inbreeding, and their inbreeding problem is a bajillion times worse than Sicily’s. Because it is so pervasive, one suspects that, even if Islamic law doesn’t command cousin marriage per se, there must be some aspect of Islamic marriage law that unintentionally creates strong incentives for it, though I don’t know enough about Islam to make a decent guess as to what that might be.

              • JayMan says:

                “One or two generations of out-marriage later, though, and all the cousins are successful, solid models of bourgeois virtue.”

                Oh I don’t know about that…

                “In any case, a lot of the dysfunctional cultural habits that Sicilians brought to the US- like racketeering, assassination, bribery, and extortion rings- seemed to dramatically diminish after a couple of generations settled here. That they’re no longer inter-marrying with the same three or four families back in the old village seems one likely cause.

                I initially noticed this while researching my part-Sicilian wife’s family history. The first generation’s life in America was more-or-less what you’d expect after watching “The Godfather Part II”- consanguineous marriages, knife-fights with Black Hand extortionists, a storefront bombing, and a double robbery-murder.”

                A large fraction of Southern Italian immigrants went back to Italy. This selected for smarter and less clannish individuals in the remainder.

              • Unladen Swallow says:

                Along those same lines regarding Southern Italians, I think Thomas Sowell mentioned something about this in his book about American ethnic groups. The Southern Italian immigrants’ kids tended to be noticeably taller and healthier because they were not marrying within the same shallow gene pool like their cousins back home in the old country.Mom and Dad even though both from Southern Italy or Sicily were much more likely not to be from the same village where everyone was related, so the effects of inbreeding were stopped. Along the same lines I think Mario Puzo also mentioned that the Italian American children of his generation ( born in 1920) often towered over their parents.

              • tommy says:

                “In any case, a lot of the dysfunctional cultural habits that Sicilians brought to the US- like racketeering, assassination, bribery, and extortion rings- seemed to dramatically diminish after a couple of generations settled here.”

                I doubt this has much to do with a lack of inbreeding. It has much to do with the Americanization of organized crime: families became smaller forcing more gangsters to rely upon and trust in non-relatives, ethnically tight neighborhoods assimilated, law enforcement got a lot better, rules and customs went out the window and cash became the sole priority. Small-scale gangsterism among the Italians, like Black Hand extortion rings, could hardly survive after the American Mafia was organized. Some old-fashioned Sicilian mobsters seem to have also understood a lot better than their American (and modern Sicilian) counterparts that the accumulation of power and influence is the real currency of a clever gangster. For those who have that, coin will always follow.

            • Jim says:

              But it seems pretty unlikely that a widespread practice of cousin marriage would stop immediately. If it starts to decline it would more likely be a gradual decline.

    • Ilya says:

      Actually, re Hapsburgs and King Tut: counter-intuitively, one of the ways to spell check a genome is to do what Helen D. King did with her rats (putting Darwin to shame)… just with humans that are intelligent and not too inbred to begin with (obviously, Saudis are out of the initial pool). Need a few a lines and about 150 to 200 years + a huge load of inflation-proof of money. Basically, needs to be done by a cohesive family of extremely rich, ruthless scientists with no short-term moral compass. Thus, via dedicated purging selection, they might produce a few very intelligent lines of near-homozygotes, then re-cross them and purify again, for 3-4 more gens. But that’s just not gonna happen. Might make for an interesting movie though (copyrighted it already).

      Cloning is the strategy that I see as near-viable currently.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      ““Breeding got us into this mess, and breeding will get us out!”
      Guys…selection is very slow.”

      So what.

      The current cultural default is the blank slate lie – breaking that is the first step.

      Details later.

      • SonOfRekab says:


        Just the shift in priorities and budget allocations that will come after accepting things for what they are would make for visible short term improvement.

        Few months back there was a piece on the news about one of the Ethiopian communities in Israel that took part in a program to improve their math scores.
        The program has been running for 10 YEARS, practically trebling the teacher instructed hours they get in math.
        over the period of 10 YEARS (!!!!!) the average grade went from something like 64.3 to a whooping 64.7 (out of a hundred).
        Just think of 10 whole Fu#&ing classes that got practically nothing out of high school, where other kids that did just as well as they did in school, got some kind of professional diploma that will actually help them make a living later on.

        There is only one way to describe it, “Institutional Racism”.

    • jasonbayz says:

      That’s the problem with any eugenic selection program, you won’t see the real fruits of it for 50 or 80 years, far outside the time horizon of the typical 50 yo politician. That’s why you don’t see China, Japan, or Israel doing it. There’s also the problem of quantity being more important than quality: when the Nazis took over they sterilized the morons but wanted all the rest of the ethnic Germans to have more kids.

      Genetic load doesn’t seem very important, see Greg here:

      • gcochran9 says:

        More like 15 years. Come on, think.

        • Ilya says:

          Talking about lofty goals… That’s certainly the most direct way there!

        • jasonbayz says:

          I should have been more clear, I’m talking about the old school way of encouraging the intelligent to reproduce and discouraging the unintelligent, something that could be realistically done in a nationalist country like Japan. With that, you aren’t going to notice much change after one generation. Someone may make a breakthrough, but it would be argued that the breakthrough would have been made anyway.

          • Ilya says:

            If you take the top 0.1% of the population, a la assortative mating, and make it so that all children of the country are from the zygotes produced out of union of their germ cells (with patriotic women carrying the babies to terms and patriotic men working on sustaining the economy and feeding them while they grow), it seems possible to see fruits within 15 years, no?

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              “If you take the top 0.1% of the population”

              what if they’re really unhealthy or mad?

              • Ilya says:

                What about “top .1%” do I have to explain? Does one have to qualify every single sentence?

                Top .1%: based on IQ, filtered by absence of serious mental and other medical issues, with possible exceptions given to .01% percenters of the IQ range (approx 10K people altogether), on case-by-case basis.

    • SonOfRekab says:

      Middle Eastern warfare can yield eugenic/disgenic results in less then one generations.
      Look at Syria.
      Hell look at the whole region.

    • et.cetera says:

      “What if no environmental measures are possible?”

      A most pointless hypothetical. We know for a fact that environmental factors have a strong effect on fertility.

  45. Rokus01 says:

    And the thing they try after is: Enslave the world to Islam and collect tribute.
    Why think this would not work?

  46. Greying Wanderer says:

    et cetera

    “By “mimic kin selection” you both probably mean act towards “non-relatives” as if they were “relatives”. This assumes a kin recognition* mechanism, which, if it exists, the more reliable it is, the more difficult it is to “mimic” (hijack) kin selection (this should be self-evident).”

    No, I mean the opposite – a completely non kin selection mechanism which in the context of small groups of highly related people mimics kin selection and spreads as a result

    The obvious example is women going googoo over babies. Have you ever been in a cinema when a baby comes on screen and half the women automatically go “aaww?” Not just their or their kin’s babies but any baby also small animals, cartoons, even CGI aliens – so clearly not kin recognition.

    That automatic altruistic urge is triggered by a shape imo: small body with disproportionately large head and disproportionately large eyes – so nothing directly to do with kin selection just a random weird mutation which in the context of small highly related groups mimiced kin selection (i.e. rB > C) and therefore spread throughout the population.

    You see it everywhere – charity ads, in the news – when someone wants to elicit an altruistic response they use baby shaped faces.


    Another example is the sound of a baby crying triggers an altruistic reaction in a lot of people – and a cat’s miaow sounds a bit like a baby crying hence cats.


    Outside of small highly related groups those genetic traits no longer work as they used to (rB < C) because there isn’t a kin recognition element – but they’re still there – which is my point.


    context (imo)

    genetics based EGI argument
    anti genetics based EGI argument (which i get)
    all the interesting stuff the anti-EGI people are ignoring because they don’t want the anti-EGI argument to have any grey areas

    • SonOfRekab says:

      The only thing that a baby’s cry triggers in my wife, is an elbow to my ribs.
      Which in turn triggers my altruism, or survival instinct, not sure….

    • SonOfRekab says:

      But seriously.

      I think familiarity explains it best.
      Most people seem to find most babies cute, even ones not remotely related.
      But in general the kids you spend the most time with happen to be the ones you like the most.
      Finding babies adorable makes sense evolutionarily.

  47. another fred says:

    I have returned from vacation to find this blog post and, coincidentally, a post at Michael Pettis’s blog about different investment models in which he discusses the need for “social capital” before pouring money into a nation or region will result in growth. “Social capital” is not well defined/known, but does include such things as educated, willing workers, and institutions that promote, allow change.

    At any rate, the article is longish and focused on China, but those who find this topic interesting might also find Pettis interesting and enlightening.

    Personally I accept the social capital model and, like gcochran9 said at the first, “It won’t work. And the thing they try after that won’t work either.”

    One other thing to consider, “Idle hands are the Devil’s tools.” What are those idle hands going to do?

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