How we are different

Assume for a moment that America fully embraces free trade, and it works exactly as planned: we offshore all our low-margin production to developing countries, and this indeed frees-up our population to work in lucrative industries like product design, finance, management etc. While this may make America richer (in the short term), it will not necessarily make Americans richer. Why? Not everyone can be an engineer, investment banker, or lawyer—most people just aren’t smart enough, and many more don’t have the personality for it. It’s harsh, but true.

Charles Murray explains in his seminal book The Bell Curve that human intelligence, as measured by IQ, conforms to a normal distribution . That is, most people are of roughly average intelligence (68.2 percent fall within one standard deviation of the mean), while a minority are significantly more or less intelligent than average (15.9 percent are one or more standard deviations above or below the mean respectively). Importantly, half of all Americans are smarter than average—and half are, well, below the average. This has big economic consequences which Kessler ignores.

For example, America’s average IQ is 100, while the average IQ of engineers is about one standard deviation higher. This means that the average engineer is more intelligent than some 85 percent of the general population. Further, the data implies that an “IQ threshold” exists near 105 IQ points, below which the odds of someone becoming an engineer are infinitesimally small. This suggests that 62 percent of Americans are simply not bright enough to be engineers—no matter how hard they try. Biology limits us, whether we accept it or not.

People not only differ in cognitive ability, they also differ in personality. According to the five factor model , people’s personalities are rooted in five basic psychological predilections: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These personality foundations impact everything about us, and have important economic consequences.

Consider the trait “conscientiousness.” Conscientious people tend to be organized and dependable, disciplined: they show up for work on time, stay focused on their task, and rarely call in sick. In short, they’re model employees. For this reason, a conscientious personality is the best single predictor of an individual’s economic success in life (after their IQ score, that is). For our purposes, another important trait is openness: people who are open to new experiences and ideas are more creative on average.

But being open isn’t enough. Productive creativity is driven by people who are predisposed towards openness and conscientiousness—they not only have new ideas, but they are willing to put in the work. This combination is rare, and it partly explains why there are relatively few creative engineers (like Steve Jobs) and disciplined artists (like Michelangelo). In any case, my point here is that different people have different personalities, and that being an engineer or designer isn’t for everyone.

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You speak many truths, Lou. I would like to point out that many people associate high openness with modern liberalism, and low openness with conservatism (similar for agreeableness) but in reality, this can mean sympathy for lawbreakers, and some other negative qualities. The entire premise of this might be inaccurate, though, because liberals frequently show intolerance for any opinion other than their own. They don’t tolerate things that they think are intolerant.

Too high in either of the OCEAN traits can be negative. Extroversion can turn into attention-seeking and inability to cope with being alone (though being an introvert, I don’t think that being an introvert is unhealthy). Agreeableness can turn into codependency. Conscientiousness can turn into obsession and perfectionism. Etc.

Regardless, the ability to create new ideas AND be able to implement them is ideal for today’s society. Factor in level-headedness and integrity in regards to one’s ideas as well, and it becomes the ideal personality, if there is one. In regards to MBTI, this is why INFJs are so sought after- their creativity due to dominant introverted intuition, and if healthy, their ability to implement that creativity due to inferior extroverted sensing, can be valuable to the world.

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Personality also has a nurture component, and kids who might be otherwise reasonable, could be raised in a radical or dysfunctional household, and thus, turn into radical, dysfunctional people themselves. It all depends on their resilience, intelligence, and ability to adapt. I think that societal values are perpetuating some of the problems we see today, and it all points back to the very people who are complaining about the problem in the first place.

(This is not to say that everyone who is raised in that situation becomes that way, as many overcome it and learn the greater value of empathy, and they have my admiration).

Interesting enough if you have managed people the bell curve is on full display in the work place. We have the average with some below and a few above. All the while the left demands everyone gets a trophy. Unions try to level the playing field not only economically but making the above and below average the same as the average employee.

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What is completely missing from current notions of free trade under the thumb of globalism is that it should be for the benefit of the wealth on the nation, not for just the top. That free trade should be us producing the goods the world wants of all sorts and it lifting our boats. The wealth of nations is all fine and good but it should be the wealth of just one nation and its people that we should be conserved with.

You do NOT build up generational wealth with a debt based system. Rather you transfer all real wealth to those at the tippy top who can live off of the churn with a debt based system.

You cannot sustain a debt based system without steady inflation to insure the government, as the ultimate vehicle to keep it all going, never has to face debt that becomes harder to pay.

All of this was intentional.

Globalism isn’t really free trade, it’s just finding the next suckers to bleed dry once the current host is reduced to a husk.

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Or the bell curve is simply more elitist bullshit given the number of college dropouts who not only succesfully ran their own businesses but became millionaires doing so. Maybe the difference isn’t so much based on intelligence but rather whether we are willing to be put into a nice neat little box by others who would dictate our place in life or we insist on swimming against the stream despite what others tell us we should be doing. And who the fuck said everyone wants to be an engineer anyway?

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Something not measured there is Will.

I decided to be an optimist and extrovert, despite being naturally the opposite.

My wife continually marvels at the fact that I can eat only half of a cookie and leave the other half until tomorrow.

I decided to add to my natural IQ.

Three comments.

  1. Excellent post. Those who are proud and dogmatic global free traders should review the link and the video in the link.

  2. Louman, your use of forum quotes in the OP would have made clear that you were just quoting the article that you linked. As it is, I read the whole thing thinking that you wrote it and I wondered about its context. Only after I started to read your link, did I realize that I already had. Not a big deal usually but here - in this thread - context is important. And context is partly revealed by reading the author’s short bio. And the rest of the context is revealed by viewing the video in the link. The text you quoted is just the transcript of the middle of the video. But what comes before and after the middle is both relevant for context and interesting to boot since it summarizes the point that the author is actually refuting. That point, apparently from some guy named Kessler, is that a global economy can create an America where “we think” but the rest of the world simply “sweats” over their labor to build the product of our thinking. And I think the refutation is spot on.

  3. Uh oh. Someone mentioned Murray"s Bell Curve book. Libs hate that book.

The author says the same in the video in the link.

I think classic liberalism is more open. That is one of the reasons “progressives” hijacked the word “liberal” and call themselves partly by that word. But it’s a lie; they are as open as a thief in one’s home … ransacking our values, standards, and accomplishments. They are open to any enemy of America even if those enemies are themselves enemies with each other… feminism and Islam being a classic case.

“Open”… yes… termites will open your house up, eating it from within.

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Everyone doesn’t need to be an engineer or product designer if we expected corporations to pay a living wage to the clerks and fry cooks.

IOW - another way that free trade works better for the USA is…

  • Corps like Walmart take advantage of low cost production over seas. They buy low cost products and create retail empires here at home.
  • The new jobs created by these growing retail empires are staffed by people being paid a living wage. These new jobs in our economy take the place of the fair pairing manufacturing days of old.
  • As our consumer economy grows, the workers fueling the expansion are not a drain on our entitlements. Instead, as a thriving middle class, they are part of the fuel that keeps the engine burning.
  • Yes, higher labor costs mean slightly higher prices at the register, but a balance is found and growth occurs steadily. And since the middle class workers participate in the growth, it is a longer lasting upswing.
  • Since these workers are being paid a living wage, our entitlement spending decreases with every year of growth.

The bell curve represents people. Not everyone is the same no matter what measurement is used. Not every person has the same potential, it’s called genetics.

The engineer is an example, how many people could actually compete the necessary education to become a doctor? How many people could compete the requirements to be a physicist?

People are different in temperament, attitude, intelligence, motivation etc. This is the point of the article.

The bell curve is a way to describe people. Average, above and below average. Most people fit average. Nothing wrong with average as there is nothing wrong with above and below average.

Every parent wants to believe their child is brilliant as the grow and learn only to find out they are much like themselves. Most average or above average. Some below average.

Companies use a version of the bell curve when handing out pay raises.
Average employees generally get an average raise while above average get a bit more and and under performers get a bit less. The difference is underperforms generally underperform for a reason, bored, lazy or lack of motivation.
As a manager I found motivation a major factor in the success of one person over another.

I found the “we think” , they work statement interesting. Isn’t it what our government has embraced with the transfer of manufacturing to 3rd world countries? At least one president tried to use it as an explanation. We don’t want that dirty manufacturing, we want the service jobs that repair and service the things we have other countries make for us. Only problem with that little excuse was it’s cheaper to buy a new one than repair the old one. TV’s Printers, vacuum cleaners, etc. Guess they also forgot that the manufacturing jobs employ many of the average people in the US.

Very well acquainted with the Normal distribution. It is reference to Murray’s book that will cause libs to immediately shut down if they read it. The effect upon the distribution that race plays is what made Murray a target.

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Working at Walmart provides a living wage. Yes for the managers of Walmart it does however for entry level workers it teaches people show up on time, work the scheduled hours, responsibility and then they move upward. Entry level jobs are exactly that entry level and are minimum wage at best.

Some people think HS students should be paid a living wage which isn’t the purpose of entry level jobs.

Imagine the cost of everything you consume of entry-level jobs paid 40K a year. Difficult concept to see the echo effect as every thing is more expensive and that 40K is no longer a living wage but minimum wage.

Libs don’t understand this. They think that a derelict adult who performs at a mediocre adolescent level DESERVES to be paid the minimum wage… for humanity’s sake.

They simply want to feel good about themselves. That is why they will sacrifice our entire economy… just to ease their own guilt.

What adult derelicts really need requires more than libs are willing to give.

Throw in the lazy and unmotivated and there you have it.

The living wage crowd where you produce at the lowest possible level and make a living wage.

Many would be happy with that. They would have no motivation to work. Libs say “oh no… people want to work”. Some do. Many from shithole countries will be happy with just the free stuff.

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The reality is, walmart minimum wage workers are mostly adults, not kids, or people just entering the work force.

Our economy is completely different in this respect than it was decades ago. These are now the bulk of the jobs available to adults.

Liberals actually believe IQ isn’t a matter of genetics but mostly nurture. They blame low IQ on things like not enough early education, lack of prenatal care etc. They simply can’t admit that some people are naturally smarter or dumber and they sure as hell can’t admit that it applies to racial groups as well.