Are Differences in IQ to Blame for Income Inequality?

The upper crust knows little about this

Could it be that this prick is making a justification for a slough of elitists? Via The Week

Last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson made a very controversial assertion that differences in IQ levels help explain income inequality. Here are his remarks:

Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 percent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 percent have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.

And for one reason or another — boardroom greed or, as I am assured, the natural and god-given talent of boardroom inhabitants — the income gap between the top cornflakes and the bottom cornflakes is getting wider than ever. I stress: I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity. [via The Telegraph]

This started a massive public argument not only in England, but in economic circles generally. While some claimed that Johnson was “telling it like it is,” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg condemned the mayor’s remarks as “careless elitism.” Others questioned the concept of IQ altogether.

On Tuesday, radio talk show host Nick Ferrari asked Johnson some impromptu questions from an IQ test. Johnson did not fare so well.

[Continue Reading]

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  • Reasor

    Jeezus, schmeezus. The Sacred Myth of the modern western world is that capitalism is a meritocracy.

    • Adam’s Shadow

      Which is the exact point when I realized how much hustle and bullshit is involved in keeping the status quo going, and that the vast majority of the rich and powerful really don’t give a fuck about the vast majority of the rest of us. I heard that statement when I was… nine? ten? and the glaring contrast between “if you’re smart and hardworking you will succeed” and reality woke me right up.

      • Anarchy Pony

        I’ve known lots of smart and hard working people, and most of them barely meet the criteria of “success” (in that they aren’t homeless and have a few creature comforts). As George Carlin said “It’s all bullshit, folks. It’s all bullshit, and it’s bad for ya.”

        • Adam’s Shadow

          “…most of them barely meet the criteria of”success” (in that they aren’t homeless and have a few creature comforts).”

          Which is one of the most transparent problems with our relentlessly materialistic mainstream society, its inconsistency of message: on the one hand, we are told that “stuff” (material goods, both quality and quantity) equals success, happiness, and is directly tied to your intrinsic value as a human being; on the other hand, we are also constantly reminded that “stuff” is not the end-all and be-all in authority, because there is some sort of nebulous “higher power” watching and judging your thoughts and actions, and that focusing too much on acquiring and keeping “stuff” can take away from recognizing this “higher power” and respecting its authority over you. It’s a constant assault of cognitive dissonance, and so it’s not wonder that most people (in the United States, at any rate) are bewildered about what is truly important, and are emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted.

          • Damien Quinn

            I suspectyou’ve mistaken lethargy for exhaustion.

  • c2409175

    Next step: admitting that non-white races are biologically inferior like we’ve known all along.

    If not for niggers, we’d have no guns problem.

    If not for niggers, our schools would not be failing.

    If not for niggers, we wouldn’t have a race problem.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Poe’s Law? Or just an asshole?

      • Reasor

        It’s a troll. The account has one comment in its history, and that’s the skidmark you can see up above. If I had to guess, whoever it is probably creates burner accounts with serial numbers just to keep ahead of the bannings from Disqus.

  • Damien Quinn

    99% of the population are being enslaved by a bunch of inbred, monosyllabic racist twits. Doesn’t scream smarts, does it?

    • Yūgen

      What it screams is species wide brain damage

    • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

      Especially since the final outcome of their program is their own death.

  • Guest

    How many geniuses were bad with many or even died penniless again? Twain, Wilde, Poe, Tesla, Van Gogh… Yeah they mush have all just been stupid I guess.

  • JohnFrancisBittrich

    How many geniuses died poor again? Twain, Wilde, Poe, Tesla, Van Gogh, Einstein, William Blake.. Yeah what a bunch of idiots that lot were.

    • Jin The Ninja

      dissidents and radicals don’t count, remember?

    • Lookinfor Buford

      All these names belong to great scientists and great artists. They died poor as their obsessions were so consuming that they didn’t care to be rich, as they couldn’t use money to accomplish their dreams. Money was only for subsistence to them, but I’d say they all died rich in accomplishment. Twain and Telsa maybe exceptions. They did have failed business ventures. But you make a parallel point to the article.. high IQ also produces elites in disciplines other than business. There will never be equality there (either).

      • http://skadhiblog.wordpress.com/ skadhithjassisdottir

        Yea, IQ denial is a form of human race denial. But people who overestimate the value of IQ are also in denial of human nature.

  • echar

    I feel that it takes more of a moral shift than a high IQ to stack the deck, and let us not forget the birth lottery.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    There’s no such a thing as “pure” knowledge or intelligence. It all depends on the context to have any sort of coherence; some things are “important” to know and others aren’t. They’re classified as “intelligent” by the incredibly arbitrary definition of what the testers call important.

    But they sure do b*tch and moan when you want to clarify a rule or call them on rules violations.

    Their reasoning is a little circular.

    • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

      The amount of effort and propaganda they devote to reassuring and justifying themselves reveals the fragility in their own belief in meritocracy.

  • alizardx

    Boris was asked questions from an actual IQ test on a call-in show. Screwed first 2 up and refused to answer the third. IMO, the “brilliance” of the people at the top in general, exists only in the imagination of their PR hacks. We know IRL how many mediocrities get elevated. Doesn’t take brilliance to make it to the top when one was born there. Or to game a system that the wealthy spent a lot of money buying politicians over generations to stack in the favor of their wealthy kids.

    Remember Dan Quayle? Which of the Big 3 US automakers did he wind up helping to run?

  • BuzzCoastin

    No more but that I know the
    more one sickens the
    worse at ease he is; and that he
    that wants money,
    means and content is without
    three good friends;
    that the property of rain is to
    wet and fire to
    burn; that good pasture makes
    fat sheep, and that a
    great cause of the night is lack
    of the sun; that
    he that hath learned no wit by
    nature nor art may
    complain of good breeding or
    comes of a very dull kindred.

  • jasonpaulhayes

    I tried to find the most reputable online IQ test I could and when I took the test (7 yrs ago) I scored 126, I retested a short time later and scored 148.

    I’m not sure it’s culturally biased but I don’t recall any specifics about the test either. In the U.S. statistically Latinos score the lowest of around 85, Black Americans just above that with around 90, Whites test between 100-110 (setting the base number of 100), Asians between 110-120 Aschkanazi Jews score 120 and above… from my test score I guess Western Bohemian Hermits set the bar even higher.

  • Hadrian999

    some people are willing to play the game some people aren’t. in the “american dream” anybody can get ahead but everybody can’t. you need the right mix of talent, ruthlessness and luck.

    • echar

      I say it’s mostlty ruthlessness. Then connections. Finally guts. When guts isn’t enough, firepower.

      • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

        You left out luck.

        • echar

          I left out God too.

    • Lookinfor Buford

      Skill (as opposed to talent). There are some careers where you need no ruthlessness, nor luck, and no pre-existing talent. Just skill.

      • Hadrian999

        you will still be in competition with others in the field for jobs, promotions, clients if you depend only on skill at the job you will most likely lose to those with skill and who play the game

  • Rhoid Rager

    The Peter Principle states that, in hierarchies, a competent worker is rewarded with promotion into ever higher ranks until said worker can no longer continue to work competently.

    • kowalityjesus

      I would love to believe that, and would have a month ago, but that I was fired from my clerk’s position without relation to my competence, and quite contrary thereto. Not that I miss it. who can say what is God’s will and what is not? Is it a cop-out to say that *everything* is God’s will, when clearly I can “decide” certain things “for” “myself?”

      • jnana

        Perhaps no-thing is God’s Will but Eternal Bliss, which cant be classified as a thing.

        • kowalityjesus

          Fortunately it is revealed to me that living life competently and conscientiously is the will of God. I am not wise in my own eyes, and resign myself to God’s will, which is present every day, even in the mundane.

          • jnana

            Well, does God’s Will have an end in sight? Is there a permanent place/time of rest, peace and joy prepared for us? Then, if that is our end and already determined by God, what is the purpose of what we endure here?
            Oh, I know, god cant have robots to serve them. But everything is God’s will, even the hardening of the Pharaoh’s heart. Y’know Orthodox theology and theodicy is entirely irrational, right? But you can just chock it up to Mystery I’m sure. I know yer a thinking person, so why not use the gift of Reason God gave you and examine what IS objectively without the fear that if you disagree w/ a certain Dogma you’ll go to hell?
            I, too embrace Mystery and the Unknown, I just feel that Orthodox doctrine is serving to stifle our liberation by claiming certain church fathers and leaders got it all figured out and we should just rely on them to determine our Truth and Faith for us.
            I should add that I respect yer decision to serve God in the Catholic Church and have no intention on “converting” you to “my beliefs”. I just believe it’s God’s Will to challenge certain individuals beliefs sometimes ;)

          • kowalityjesus

            I don’t think you understand the nature of the imposition of the realization of the Will of God for me. It predates and yet pervades my life of salvation through Christ. It is madness to most, heresy to others, esoteric to a few, unbeknownst outside myself besides cursory references in text. I thank God for it, insofar as I am capable, and have known His wrath in moments of my insolence/ignorance.

            I precociously have asked what God’s Will is, and now resign myself, citing my own naive mortality, to simply serving It and only trying to understand as much as is necessary. Such is the weirdness of being human, having deified irrational but truth-resonant phenomena, and only best submitting through an “irrational” but well-established method, Orthodoxy. God bless you and Jesus be with you, sir.

  • DeepCough

    Considering that the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) rating has always been a
    eugenicist idea, this does not really surprise me.

    • kowalityjesus

      IQ pertains to something….peripheral and nebulous though it might be!

    • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

      Intelligence (of all kinds) is a tool that may be used for good or ill.

      • DeepCough

        And IQ tests are only good for ill-conceived ends.

  • luther_blissett5

    Whether or not the IQ test is culturally biased, it makes more sense to theorize widening income inequality causes an increase in poor IQ test performance than the other way around. For example, economically struggling families may have less time to teach children at home and provide a home environment conducive to learning. Children from families that struggle to put food on the table, live in impoverished “food desserts” and lack time, money, and or transportation to buy healthy fresh foods regularly. Diet could also affect a child’s cognitive development and test performance.

  • Simon Valentine

    what was the web address for that assassination market again?

  • HCE

    I can’t help but wonder if this article wasn’t written for these elitist types, in order to quell in nagging doubts that might bubble up in their quiet moments.

  • Yūgen

    Well finally someone says it. I mean it should be obvious that those with the most money and power are also the most intelligent. You didn’t really think they got to the top through greed, selfishness, family ties, and a fear-driven need to control the world around them, did you? I guess the only reason it isn’t obvious to us is because the 99% have the lower IQ scores, and wouldn’t know their ass from their elbow. Spear heading the destruction of the planet just to fill their pockets the most? Hippy nonsense. These men are the true masterminds behind our beautiful world, and the same can’t be said of these other poor fools (pun intended).

  • Chrono643

    To measure one’s intelligence is flawed on the fact that it can be measured,

    We measure how many things people can memorize and congratulate them and make a mold of human’s as machines and tell them this is happiness!

    When one wakes up and see’s the flaws of this box they will realize how unique being alive is and tune out how we’re all told you are only worth as much as you memorize which seems to control systems wet dream

    • Lookinfor Buford

      Heisenburg uncertainty quotient?

  • Chrono643

    And to blame income inequality on the fact that there is an IQ difference is disinfo from the real problem that the game is rigged

  • Matt Staggs

    I firmly believe that intelligence is contextual, and that there are different kinds of genius, to boot. I graduated high school with a D-. I’m not claiming that I’m any kind of genius, but I don’t think I’m stupid, either. I did well enough in college and haven’t had any real problems keeping a roof over my head out here in the “real world.” That my failure to thrive might have more to do with the inadequacies of their system rather than my own native abilities was anathema to the high school counselor who advised my parents that I was “probably retarded.” I’ve seen this same kind of institutional blindness played out over and over again in our culture, especially in the workplace. Someone who can’t face a lifetime of pulling a lever over and over again for a proverbial food pill until the day they collapse isn’t crazy or stupid… or at least, that doesn’t make them crazy or stupid.

    • http://skadhiblog.wordpress.com/ skadhithjassisdottir

      When I was in school I had behavioral issues, and I also have a consistently high IQ score. School did me no good, either.

    • tibby trillz

      when i was in high school, i did very poorly and one day my guidance counselor showed me iq tests from when i was a kid, the first one was well above average, then the one i took the next year was worse, and the one the year after that even worse. maybe im too stupid to figure it out at this point, but i think school made me progressively dumber. high school and late middle school i can blame on drugs but the drop in grade school was all public education’s fault.

    • Juan

      Wow, “probably retarded” is way harsh. Glad you got over it;)
      I had similar experiences, but I suspect mine were also influenced by racism. This was suburban Orange County in the 70s. I was tracked with the dummies in high school. No college-prep for me. No sir, it was all shop and art classes for electives. What I learned in high school was a fucking joke.
      I think context is key. I hated fucking high school and could not wait for it to be over. I didn’t put in any effort at anything. I just got stoned and did the minimum I had to to graduate, which was next to nothing. As you suggest, the system has failed and continues to fail a lot of people.
      No genius here either, but I did manage to do pretty well in grad school.

    • Yūgen

      Yea there is many different kinds of intelligence.

  • http://skadhiblog.wordpress.com/ skadhithjassisdottir

    Well we all no Johnson is an idiot, but IQ is influenced by heredity. The problems, are, really, that IQ is not the best measure of a persons worth for society and, worse still, that a high IQ does not predispose people to create the best solutions. Most of the daft ideologies we can all think of were probably created by the abstract thinking of ‘clever sillies’. When real problems are pointed out to them, smart people use their IQ rationalising the problem away rather than accommodating new data.

  • Paricia Cocha

    No. I work in a high income job, and am surrounded by enough low IQ high earners to testify that this theory is utter BS

  • langer

    well just another measure of an invented property called “intelligence” – as if intelligence would exist inside a human being, instead of being a description of one in his or her context as well as a description of the context. if you see it like this, all the discomfort with these kind of relations disappears, and instead of judging men we are making a statement regarding the CONCEPT intelligence. … being wealthy as the outcome of funktioning which is the necessary condition for any positve judging of one´s intelligence in a context – or is it the testers? …