The US should help give Mexico first world problems

The cheapest, most effective US southern border security measure available over the long haul is for Mexico to become a high income country that honors the rule of law. Dollar for dollar, nothing beats making somebody else the front line on handling third world immigration. Mexican illegal immigration dries up in a good way while Central Americans only target the US as much as they currently target Canada (which is hardly at all).


64 thoughts on “The US should help give Mexico first world problems”

  1. over the long haul

    Sure. However, the short and medium haul may require additional measures.

    Also, we have only very limited influence on Mexico’s economic development.

  2. The average IQ of the Mexican population is about 90 so it’s not likely to become a high income country. Mexico is one of the most violent and corrupt countries in the world and nothing in its past bloody history suggests that that it is likely to change much any time soon. So I wouldn’t count on the “rule of law” being greatly honored there.

  3. Jim – Since Mexican Americans seem to be in the throes of a full blown Flynn effect, I believe the deficits are not genetic (and thus are very likely fixable). Since the US Flynn effect over time is larger than the Mexican deficit to US current test results, your argument would have to explain the ability of the dumb americans of 125 years ago to get rich. Good luck with that.

    Dearieme – No troops, no invasions, no bombing needed. Paying attention to the current deficits of the global economic system for poor people should do the trick nicely. By that I mean, figuring out how to do banking for people cheaply enough to eliminate the ranks of the unbanked and innovating in other areas so that the poor are on a more competitive basis with the rest of society. Some government action would likely be necessary but mostly in dismantling outmoded regulation that addresses problems that can be handled more efficiently by other means these days.

  4. There are actions we take that have an effect on Mexico’s economy, and that is when we raise taxes, expand regulations, and bailout high wage unions we force American companies to move south.

  5. Mexico has to adopt the rule of law and, until that happens, nothing will improve. Obama has helped to stem Mexican immigration by wrecking the US economy. Especially damaged is the low wage part of it. Some of that was inevitable as knowledge becomes more important than physical strength but the stagnation of the middle class reduces the service economy that might help the low wage workers.

    Mexico needs to stop facilitating the passage of central Americans through to the US. Mexico has draconian immigration laws. Maybe returning illegal central Americans to Mexico might help. Let them try to deal with them.

  6. To TM Lutas – The fantasy of social engineering never dies. We can’t social engineer Detroit or Baltimore. But we will social engineer Iraq or Mexico into utopias.

  7. I agree completely. But, it is a supplement to border security, employer verification, and aggressive enforcement of existing law. Not, a replacement.

    Further, we must extend that policy to the entire circle of states surrounding the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico basin. Including aggressive measures to put the Castros in a retirement home, and free Venezuela from the socialist disease that is killing it.

    We must ensure freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, over the entire area.

    To the extent that US foreign policy had made the hopeless death throes of Muslim “civilization”, into its central obsession, it is a failure. Mexico and the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico basin are far more important to the prosperity and tranquility of life in the United States. Let the Muslims do to each other what they really want to do — universal slaughter. We need to focus on our real national security issues.

  8. To Robert Schwartz – We need to rule over Venezuela like we need a hole in the head.

    “We must ensure freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, over the entire area”.

    Maybe we should practice first on East Baltimore and see if we can bring about the “rule of law” there before attempting to do so in Caribbean hell-holes like Haiti.

  9. To Mike K. – You keep talking about Mexicans adopting the “rule of law” and I’m going to die rolling around the floor laughing myself to death. Could you manage to get a grip on reality?

  10. The cheapest, most effective US southern border security measure available over the long haul is for Mexico to become a high income country that honors the rule of law. Dollar for dollar, nothing beats making somebody else the front line on handling third world immigration.

    The use of the passive voice at its finest. A true statement, but done by whom?

    Who will make Mexico a high income country? How will they do it? How will Mexican culture need to change?

    An SAT question from the old days.

    Canada:United States::United States:

    a Australia
    b Mexico
    c England
    d Saudi Arabia

  11. To Mrs. Davis – One way Mexican culture needs to change is their habit of having heavily armed men stop traffic on public roads while bodies are dumped on the road from trucks. Gives a bad impression.

  12. “Could you manage to get a grip on reality?”

    I’m disappointed. I thought you were a commenter worth reading.

  13. To Robert Schwartz – I gather from your last paragraph that you have given up on the project of “civilising” the Arabs. But if you think Arabs are hard to civilise wait till you try to “civilise” Haitians.

  14. Jim: The difference between Arabs and Non-Anglo North Americans is that the latter can walk (or boat) here, and have in large numbers. Further it is just foreign policy idiocy to leave our back door open. Allowing Russia to build bases in Cuba was a stupidity that will baffle generations to come. Allowing countries in the the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico basin to lapse into poverty and political chaos is an open invitation to foreign adventurism.

  15. “The cheapest, most effective US southern border security measure available over the long haul”

    In the long haul, we are all dead. In the short haul we need to border security, employer verification, and aggressive enforcement of existing law.

    OTOH, failure to take steps towards a long haul strategy is poor planning and unwise. It is just that we live in the shot haul.

    What I would sacrifice in balancing the long haul and the short, is the Middle East, NATO, and the UN.

  16. Robert Schwartz – “lapse into poverty and political chaos” huh? lapse? Poverty and political chaos are hardly new developments for this area of the world. Poverty and political chaos have been the norm for most of the history of Mexico and the Caribbean for the past several centuries. Ten percent of the Mexican population was butchered during the Mexican Civil War.

  17. Adam Carolla has suggested moving Israel to Baja California and letting them turn the desert into gold again. Maybe that might help.

  18. By that I mean, figuring out how to do banking for people cheaply enough to eliminate the ranks of the unbanked and innovating in other areas so that the poor are on a more competitive basis with the rest of society. Some government action would likely be necessary but mostly in dismantling outmoded regulation that addresses problems that can be handled more efficiently by other means these days.

    Tell pray, exactly how will that be done in a neighboring country where literally everyone in power is on the take, where the rule of law coincides with Mao’s dictum about political power and barrels of guns, where the government has no authority over large portions of the country [including the US border], and with a US government run by enemies of the US?

    1) we can destroy Mexico, but there is no way, politically or militarily, that we can conquer or subdue it to impose such measures on an unwilling Mexican populace/elites.

    2) we can, if we have the will, defend our side of the border from the invasion in progress. Sadly, we do not have the will to do even that.

    3) such defense, besides a series of non-trivial barriers, has to include the use of deadly force upon contact with those barriers with no exceptions or quarter.

    4) the barriers have to be backed by enforcement of domestic legal measures to make invasion counter-productive for the invaders. This includes measures such as eVerify, immediate deportation of convicted criminals and their families to the other side of those barriers, restrictions on capital flow to the south [both corporate and remittances], possible tax and tariff penalties for US corporations moving operations into Mexico, and enforcement of our own immigration law. I would also make those not in this country legally totally ineligible for any government benefits.

    There is more on our plate that would have to be done on our side of the border than we are probably going to be able to do. We do not have the ability to even think of controlling Mexico enough to impose on them a legal system against their will.

  19. Subotai: There are carrots and there are sticks.

    One stick is border control, which will close their social safety valve of emigration.

    Using force on the Castros might fall into the category of killing the chicken to scare the monkeys.

    Of course, all of this depends on having a rational and effective President.

  20. Comparing immigration law between Mexico, the US, and Canada, I noticed that a few years ago Mexico scrapped their old immigration law and introduced a points-based immigration system. Canada, too, has a points-based system. Looking at Canada’s immigrant nationalities in 2014 (at, I noticed that they got some really high intelligence immigrants. Numerically, the top five Canadian immigrants’ nationalities were: 1) American; 2) India; 3) France; 4) China; 5) Australia.

    Perhaps a bipartisan effort can be made to harmonize immigration law between the three North American countries much like we harmonized trade law with NAFTA. Of course it won’t solve the illegal immigration problem but I think a strong case can be made to voters in both parties to make immigration fair between us and our two land neighbors. I don’t know about Mexico, but from what I can tell Canada has exponentially fewer illegal immigrants that the US. They must be doing something right.

  21. Agreed that the best way to improve border security with Mexico is to help Mexico become rich. But how to do that? The easiest step would be to lighten up on the war on drugs. That will greatly lessen the opportunities for graft and reduce the incentives for violence in Mexico.

  22. “Canada has exponentially fewer illegal immigrants that the US. They must be doing something right.”

    Freezing cold helps.

    “The easiest step would be to lighten up on the war on drugs. That will greatly lessen the opportunities for graft and reduce the incentives for violence in Mexico.”

    I have been in favor of reducing the prosecution of marijuana and even heroin violations. Cocaine is too dangerous and many of the new amphetamine types are dangerous and of unknown formula. Plus much of the meth is made locally.

    The problem is that it is a political issue, not a medical one.

  23. Why not just wait? On the course we are on, it should not take too much more time before the CIC (commies in charge) reduce the USA standard of living below Mexico’s….then the migration will reverse. Is that not essentially what you are talking about? A differential in wealth does not necessarily mean Mexico’s economy goes up…..
    (only slightly sarcastic, I am getting kind of fed up these days.)

  24. Mike K Says:
    October 13th, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    It has been a while since I looked at retiring in Canada, but if I remember correctly you have to have a skill that Canada needs or an independent income and for Quebec you have to show fluency in French. They are pickier about who they let in. There is no, “I want to come in and see if I can find a job and sit on welfare with all the relatives I can get across the border if I can’t”.

    Here in Colorado we are part of the experiment in drug laws. We have decriminalized recreational marijuana below a certain level as far as state laws are concerned; but is is still illegal at the Federal level. Decriminalizing is not legalizing.

    Speaking as a retired Peace Officer, I note that the people voted this, so that is the law. But NOBODY thought the process itself through. It is a cluster of the first order.

    We are finding that the legal strictures on growing operations and sales [and there are a bunch of hoops to jump through to do it legally like with any business] are not being enforced. Those companies who are operating under the decriminalization are not paying all their taxes, and still are working hand in glove with street sales which continue. [Hint, a business that has to pay rent for a public storefront and processing facility, employees, and a certain amount of employee taxes has a higher overhead than people operating illegally.] Plus, they regularly ignore water law for grow operations [this is the mountain west Alpine Desert where whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.] and zoning laws, and the Democrat state government will not enforce those laws on the pot industry for ideological reasons. It is not as simple as it sometimes seems.

    We also have the problem of Mexican and Cuban drug cartels openly operating pot farms illegally, even under our loosened laws; and the DA’s will not do anything about it [I suspect paid off] and the Feds usually refusing to do anything just as they refuse to enforce immigration law. These crops are shipped, illegally, all over the country.

    Until we get those aspects nailed down and a few others [public consumption and driving offenses, there is no Breathalyzer for pot come to mind], further loosening may not be a good idea. The Left takes decriminalizing to mean total deregulation and legalizing of everything.

    I happen to have known our County Sheriff since before he was a Sheriff, and ran into him a few days ago. We discussed the current drug scene. There is far, far less Meth cooking in the country, because control of the precursor chemicals is finally having an effect. Biker gangs are shifting to moving heroin, to a certain extent. Meth is moving en masse across the Mexican border, with a major route going through Arizona. Why shouldn’t it, because there is no law south of the border, and the US government does not believe we have a southern border?

  25. In Venice CA, on the ocean by LA, my daughter works at a high end art gallery and around the corner are a number of “medical ” marijuana shops. It is a joke.

    The drug scene is completely out of control with homemade cocktails like ” Purple Drank,” which is what Trayvon was shopping for at the 711. It is apparently popular in the South including Florida. He only got the Arizona ice tea and the Skittles as the clerk would not sell him the cough medicine which they now keep behind the counter.

  26. Grurray – I see your point, though surely you would agree that our making things worse here to create high end economic refugees running for Mexico is not the only way that we change things there?

    Mike K – The infamous train (called “the Beast”) that takes hundreds with each run from southern Mexico stopped being a free ride for the central americans when at one point it derailed. Suddenly, 1,400 central americans found themselves in the middle of Mexico, stalled out without their ride. The locals were not amused. I believe that train inspections to enforce immigration law started within the week. Mexico’s middle class is just as bourgeois as the US’.

    Jim – I see that you’ve given up on explaining how those dumb americans got rich. Flynn effects across time vs Flynn effects across space are always good clean comparison fun. You’re quite right that there have been pretty massive social engineering failures but those are usually coming out of the utopian social engineering school. I am just as dubious about that type of effort as you seem to be. What I’m talking about is the other kind, what Karl Popper calls piecemeal social engineering, a style that isn’t trying to build anything in particular but rather going after nasty problem after nasty problem in the hopes that what will emerge will be better. That type of effort seems to work out much better. I’m sorry if I lead you astray.

    Robert Schwartz – The danger from Mexico is its size. The thing’s big enough to be serious trouble in an objective geopolitical sense, something that Haiti is unlikely to ever be. Since most of the tools that I’m talking about will be coming out of the private sector, I would expect them to have a generally beneficial effect elsewhere, including in the Caribbean. Imperialism is expensive and unnecessary on a national scale. The soft kill works better.

    David Foster – Excellent links, thank you.

    Mrs Davis – You ask “done by whom?” which is a fair question. I would suggest that the Mexicans are already doing a fair amount of the work already as shown by their GDP per capita figures ( ). Current trends seem to place the changeover event about three decades into the future. Additional effort might realistically accelerate that five or ten years without triggering “mythical man month” style problems. Sustainable Mexican wealth will always be a predominantly Mexican project. There certainly is plenty of work to be done. If the innovations are like bitcoin or microfinance and can be made profitable, I think that there will be no end of volunteers to make a good living doing this work.

    Subotai Bahadur – I think that it is pretty self evident by logic, analysis, and experience that the people of Mexico have no objection to becoming a high income country. They certainly have made some pretty big strides in that direction over the last half century. See the inflation adjusted per capita GDP link above which pretty much says it all about their desire or hostility to the concept. Talk of invasion and imposition of something they already want is thus a non-starter.

    The legalization of private drones is likely to result in a major increase in the cost of DAs looking the other way. When the cost to buy and regularly fly a drone to spot these illegal grows drops to a level available to your average baptist congregation, the strategy of paying off the DA becomes inadequate.

    JaimeRoberto – Drug policy reform is certainly necessary and there’s a very good argument that we’re not doing it correctly at the moment. Please elaborate.

    Raven – Equalization will eventually happen, one way or another. I would like it to be a happy convergence where we continue to get richer as others catch up.

  27. TM Lutas Says:
    October 13th, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    The “people” of Mexico are not the ones who would be fighting the imposition of a different system, rule of law, etc. Those in power now, those who would lose that power if any changes came about, those who routinely kill opponents and are unpunished will put paid to any scheme to change them from without. Mass murders by the government, by the Cartels, and by rogue military are common in Mexico.

    Add to that the de facto existence of racist castes in Mexico, where the bulk of the wealth and power are held by Criollos, the descendents of the Spanish conquerors while the vast majority of the people are Mestizo or Amerindian; and any change WILL be fought to the death by those who stand to lose if there is an economic, social, or political revolution.

    The very fact that it comes from the hated Gringos will be a sufficient tool to rouse nationalist resistance.

    How far are you willing to go to push more prosperity on Mexico when we ourselves are functionally in a Depression?

  28. Mexico is one of the most violent and corrupt countries in the world…

    I have only known a few Mexicans. All have been extremely decent people. I know, however, that there are Mexican gangs all over the USA that are incredibly violent and completely amoral. Odd dichotomy.

  29. Who is “we”?

    The United States government cannot perform its most basic obligations.

    The idea that it can intervene in Mexico to cause it to be wealthy is not plausible.

    Mexico has to solve its own problems, or succeed or fail on its own.

  30. Dearieme, do you see what I seem to be seeing in UK in that the traditional English seem to be moving south east and self segregating ? London is like New York City in that no one would probably live there except for work. I was just there for the first time in a few years and my friends sounded a bit like people who have moved to Texas or the South to get away. They have not moved but seem quite pleased at the English faces we would see in their small city.

    I have not visited the English speaking villages in France but might get there next time. France seems to be the retirement destination for English middle class who can’t afford the house prices in the southeast.

    As for Mexico, I used to be quite fond of it and had friends and patients from there but I have not been back in years. I used to know quite a few Americans who had retired to Mazatlan but I don’t know if there is still an American colony there as there was 30 years ago.

  31. I used to know quite a few Americans who had retired to Mazatlan but I don’t know if there is still an American colony there as there was 30 years ago.

    I used to hear a lot about Mexico as a retirement destination but not so much anymore. I do know people who vacation in Nicaragua and Panama who are making plans to settle there. I also know many people who go to Cabo every year, but stick with all inclusive and don’t venture outside the tourist enclaves.
    I personally prefer English speaking destinations, Anglosphere water systems, and reasonable insect ecosystems. I have heard Belize, a former British colony, has good drinking water.

    I see your point, though surely you would agree that our making things worse here to create high end economic refugees running for Mexico is not the only way that we change things there?

    I believe we’ve done a lot already with NAFTA. As Lex says, we need to help ourselves, and that’s always been Mexico’s ticket anyway.
    Some Mexican border towns are apparently making a comeback, but they were always in the the right place to prosper. The perpetual question is can the rest of the country prosper. There’s oil and gas in the east, tourism in the west and Yucatan, and the so called Tequilla Valley around Guadalajara

    There’s also the Cartel Wars with 60,000 dead over the past six years. Maybe Mexico should plit up like Syria. We’ll help protect the ones who want to live like human beings and wall off the rest of the vermin.

  32. “I seem to be seeing in UK in that the traditional English seem to be moving south east and self segregating?” Or down into the Southwest where there’s lots of lovely, affordable territory, or into Wales and the Welsh Marches, or to the Suffolk or Norfolk coasts. Maybe there’s some movement to the fringes of the Lake District too. There’s also a tendency for people from London to retire to Oxford or Cambridge if they attended uni there. It’s noticeable if you live thereabouts. I wonder too whether people retire to attractive cities such York or Norwich.

    If it weren’t for the bloody SNP there might be more retirement from England into Scotland, since there’s lots of beautiful territory without too much rain or too many people e.g. East Lothian, Perthshire, Angus, and Edinburgh herself – a wonderful city to live in as long as you are happy with the trade off (compared to the South) of winter being longer versus summer days being longer too. Lots of people love being able to leave work at 18:00, have a swift bite to eat, and then squeeze in a round of golf before supper time. I loathe golf myself, but my beloved and I used to engage in lengthy, fierce croquet contests after dinner, basking in the evening sun on the banks of the Forth. Happy days. And Edinburgh for the rest of the year provides excellent urban living: we used to live in a lovely Georgian flat that we could never have afforded in London. London friends would talk about the things they could have done – theatre, opera, galleries, and whatnot – whereas in Edinburgh we just did them. And if we didn’t feel indoorsy, we had beaches and hills immediately available.

    For people who like sailing there’s a case for retiring to somewhere near Glasgow: it rains, but the Firth of Clyde and the Hebrides provide wonderful, if challenging, sailing – much more varied than the Solent provides.

    Anyway, your question is approximately “is there white flight from London and the industrial cities?” Yes, it certainly looks like that. And it’s not just retirees: it’s people with school age children. Moreover while the people being fled from are mainly non-white, they are not solely non-white. People are often unhappy with the thought that their children will be in school classes where many of the children can’t speak English, or can’t speak it fluently. People get fed up with the idea that the hospitals can’t cope with the surge of immigration, and so on. I suppose many people just feel “it’s not my country any more”. Of course some of what I say is guesswork since it’s not the sort of thing people would tend to be frank about when speaking to strangers. God knows what I’d learn from people who’ve had a few drinks and feel inspired to frankness.

  33. Easier said than done. I remember in order to sell NAFTA to us it was said this will dry up illegal immigration as many new factories will be built south of the border.

    Still waiting for that to happen.

  34. Subotai Bahadur – I intentionally kept vague on the details in order to avoid getting nerdy about the whole thing but you’re raising points that really require details to intelligently discuss. How deep into the weeds do you want to go on the technical side? Most of the technology delivery on this initiative would be via cell phone networks, a technology that not even the Taliban have been able to stop. The dynamics that forced the Taliban to permit cell phone networks in Afghanistan will work more effectively in Mexico.

    In short, the bad actors will be physically able to stop this just as the US is physically able to end IS with a nuclear warhead. In both cases these authorities are very unlikely to actually do it because they are constrained by other factors. In the Taliban case, local farmers depended on cell phones sufficiently that they threatened to revolt and start working with the other side if the Taliban didn’t stop destroying cell phone towers. In Mexico’s case, they are unlikely to do it because the authorities themselves use the same technology.

    Lexington Green – You ask “who is we” which is a good question. Parts of this will be built as a freedom lover project. A good example is assurance contract work using blockchain technology which seems to be led by outright anarchists. the ability to create contracts on a worldwide basis that operate without court oversight is a very positive development if they can pull it off. Part of it might be funded by the DoD as a way to reestablish governance in an occupation zone. Functionally, the normal people a cartel dominated region would find such technology useful. The christian idea of helping your neighbor is getting a reboot via Pope Francis’ pushing of radical involvement with the poor. There will likely be some openness to information system development support to help facilitate such activities. It’s going to be a tremendously odd looking coalition but there’s no reason why they can’t collaborate so long as there’s at least one gadfly pointing out the possibilities. Know where you can find one of those around? B-)

    My perception of the breakdown of governments (and I agree that we seem to be going through the early stages of such a thing in the US) is that governments don’t just down tools and disappear overnight. Services continue, if more sporadically and life goes on even as everything gets more tattered and shabby. The fact that the US can’t fulfill its basic obligations to budget and enforce all the laws equally without favor is not the end of the world. It’s just the end of the republic.

    The software and systems that I’m talking about will work just as well in Gary, IN as Chiapas. In a global environment where international effort is the norm, it would be more expensive to isolate Mexico than to include it in a global effort to create the virtual stuff that is both effective and hard to stop.

    Grurray – I happen to think that our borders are not sufficiently under control, the Mexico one being the worst. For ourselves we should be working on ways to improve that border security. As a secondary goal, making that increased security compatible with increased prosperity in Mexico. More specifically, we need to reduce goods and people transit time across the border even as illegal transit becomes more difficult to pull off. I think partition of Mexico would be both unwise and unhelpful.

  35. TM Lutas Says:
    October 14th, 2015 at 11:26 am

    OK, I’m really NOT trying to be a PITA, but I think we have a different viewpoint as to what the reaction of violent elites who have nothing in common with those they rule over would be.

    Let us say that Jose Gonzales, farmer, uses your process described by “Most of the technology delivery on this initiative would be via cell phone networks.” Somehow, this is going to give him an economic advantage. That advantage will make him more independent, and less subservient to the powers that be in his part of Mexico; be they rogue military, the Government, the Cartels, or just local strongmen. That change is what poses a threat to said powers that be.

    To block that threat, they do not have to take down the cell phone network. Nor do they have to deny its use to themselves. All they have to do is snatch up Jose Gonzales, farmer who has gained an economic advantage and is less dependent/subservient, preferably in front of his family and neighbors, and have his gruesomely executed body found later. Which is in the realm of their normal operating procedure. What is Juan Garcia, his neighbor, going to do when offered this miracle technological advantage via cell phone?

    I have spent a career dealing with [and sometimes working for] criminal psychopaths/sociopaths. Including frequent encounters with some of those criminal Mexican powers that be. That is what they do, and have done repeatedly in Mexico and on occasion here in this country.

    Mexico is not a unitary state with a cohesive population. It is a mixture of castes, races, tribes, and mutually unintelligible languages. They do not like each other, and frequently do not regard each other as fully human. Sometimes their lack of regard for those who are “different” would make the KKK look like Barney the Dinosaur singing to a pre-school.

    Unless we were willing to either break up Mexico and forcefully remake the northern part in our image [which probably would not succeed any better than Iraq], or go full “British Viceroy in India” on the entire country [and that did not work out well for the Brits], we cannot “reform” Mexico. All we can do is defend ourselves, and by no longer being the safety valve for the Mexican powers that be, maybe watch the Mexicans sort out their own problems.

    If I may, I will offer the commentary of

    Veryretired Says:
    October 14th, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    at the CHICAGO BOYZ post “TRUST” as possibly being on point.

    And with that, I will agree to disagree on this subject.

    Subotai Bahadur

  36. “it’s not the sort of thing people would tend to be frank about when speaking to strangers.”

    My friend, who I see about once a year but have known for years, made one interesting comment. He told me “If you see a brown face in the city, it is probably a doctor from the NHS hospital.” There was also a couple of dinner parties and discussion over wine about the area and the “Goodwood Revival” which was going on that weekend. The price to attend was 200 pounds per day, very steep even by New York City standards.

    I think Americans may be more outspoken about moving to Texas or somewhere safe.

  37. Subotai Bahadur – I don’t thing you ever really answered my question about how deep you want to get into the technology details. One of the things that Are the elites going to protest that Jose Gonzalez’ cousin sends his remittances via bitcoin and ups the gain from that money xfer by 12% because Moneygram has a cost of 13% and BTC is 1%? Are they even going to notice unless they actually hold the local Western Union/MoneyGram franchise? Is anybody besides the local bank going to notice, or care, that loan demand is not following projections and is off 5% with the balance being made up by P2P lending? Are the cartels going to protest because civilians get 10% better at getting out from the crossfire of cartel battles? Really?

    Like good peasants everywhere, the poor in Mexico are not going to suddenly announce their independence and they’re not going to take on cartel heads as soon as they have a few extra pesos in their pockets. Look at S. Korea for a more realistic progression model, one that will indeed be filled with young fools protesting and parents staying quiet until the tipping point hits and suddenly everything changes. It’s the parents that are important and they’ll hold fire until they won’t. The young fools make noise in every generation and will not be viewed as worrisome.

    Remember, I’m talking about doing some focused R&D to accelerate a natural progression of upward Mexican GDP. That’s not exactly something that’s going to leave a lot of fingerprints.

    As for societal trust, I agree that’s regrettably in danger. I didn’t realize that Veryretired is Jim.

  38. TM Lutas – The South Korean population has an average IQ of 108. The average IQ of the Mexican populaiton is 90 (which is about the world average). In addition to its mediocre level of intelligence Mexico is notable for extraordinarily high levels of violence and corruption. You should probably forget your fantasies and try to deal with the reality.

    I don’t understand your reference to Veryretired.

  39. Jim – There’s really nothing worth discussing on IQ until you answer that previous question about the Flynn effect. To repeat, the difference between hispanic scores today vs US scores today is smaller than the difference between US scores today and US scores when the industrial revolution was gearing up. US born hispanics are in the midst of a Flynn effect catch up just as US residents had a Flynn effect over time. I’m still waiting to understand why those dumb Americans from over a century ago could get rich, could keep free, and the hispanics of today cannot. Until that’s answered, spitting out IQ stats proves nothing as the minimum intelligence needed to succeed is obviously less than what you imply.

  40. Get the big guys to take their thumbs off the scales and we are done.

    Advantage is all most actually care about and will pursue that to whatever extent they care to. This makes it hard to have any kind of a level playing field, where the natural equality humans share will generally produce a useful fair society.

    It’s very difficult indeed. Especially with the religions humans have developed, telling them that insane things, are right and just.

  41. TM Lutas – Perhaps in a hundred years the IQ of the Mexican population will increase 10 points. But that doesn’t matter now. At the present time the IQ of the Mexican population is about 90 (about the world average). There is a more than one standard deviation difference between Mexican IQ and South Korean IQ. That is in addition to the extraordinarily high level of violence and corruption in Mexico. Mexico is not going to resemble South Korea in the forseeable future. Mexico is in considerable danger of becoming a failed state.

    There are areas in Mexico which have very high blood lead levels (among the highest blood lead levels measured in the world). Certainly it would be a good idea for Mexico to attempt to determine the source of this lead exposure and eliminate it. Possibly in such areas of Mexico a program along these lines might significantly increase population IQ levels over a suffficently long period of time. Since whatever effect lead has on IQ levels may well be due its influence on fetal development such measures could take a long time to significantly raise average IQ levels.

  42. PenGun – Humans do not share any “natural equality”. Human beings are the result of a stochastic evolutionary process of enormous complexity. Different varieties of humans have had very different evolutionary histories and have been exposed to widely varying selective pressures. Some people like Austrailian aborigines (who have an average brain size of about 85% of Europeans and a measured IQ of 62) have been nearly and possibly completely genetically isolated from the reat of the human species for about 40,000 years. Different varieties of humans have experienced introgression from non-sapient species such as Neanderthals, Denisovans and likely others. In Melanesia genetic studies indicate that as much as 8% of their genome is of non-sapient origin.

    “Human equality” is about as likely as that the 10^30 or so molecules in the room I am sitting in have equal speeds at any given moment.

  43. I live in a multicultural society. I was raised on three continents and spent my early childhood in Africa. People are about the same everywhere. I run about 135 IQ according to the tests I did when I was about 16. I am smarter than most people. Not my fault, I was born like this. I know people smarter than me.

    Certainly intelligence makes a big difference in your ability to figure things out. For most of what humans do, a lot of IQ is used for daydreaming, thinking about stuff etc. It’s not a huge thing in day to day life.

    People are incredibly peaceful and cooperative in general. Large cities go for days without a murder.

    Now mess this up. Threaten everyone and you can create paranoia, distrust and violence. This is what has happened worldwide. You might have noticed it’s religion that powers the madness these days. Ancient patriarchal control systems designed to create compliant societies largely by threatening them

  44. Jim – “It doesn’t matter now” is really not an answer. Keep trying, I’m sure you’ll come up with something. To recap, The US Flynn effect over time is bigger than the Mexican/US gap at present. Unless you can explain why America’s dummies in the late 1800s who were at or below current Mexican values could get rich and powerful but Mexicans can’t, you’ve got nothing regarding IQ. The minimum level of IQ required to become rich given freedom and rule of law is an interesting number that nobody seems to have researched. The people who hate IQ won’t touch the question and those who want to use IQ as a proxy for unsavory philosophies don’t want to touch it either, I expect because you don’t actually have to be that smart to pile up material wealth over the course of generations.

  45. I am astonished into how frequently discussion of this sort devolve into modern society is too complex for stupid people to survive. Whatever problems Mexicans have in not becoming Spaniards, Italians, Canadians, or Americans isn’t their average IQ.

    All we know is a bunch of uncivilized and ignorant peoples who invaded the Roman Empire, who settled in China, or who settled in Japan through processes that could not be more dissimilar are capable of modern civilization. There may be more. It may be impossible for some, but given the number of social, political, legal variables and their interaction over time, concluding Mexicans are too dumb (on average) to achieve the height of civilization (Denmark, in at least one politician’s estimate), is foolish.

  46. “All we know is a bunch of uncivilized and ignorant peoples who invaded the Roman Empire, …”: quite. And it took them only 1200 years or so to get back to somewhere near the standards of the Roman civilisation they overthrew.

  47. ErisGuy – Yes, this.

    Dearieme – You have a point about the western Roman empire. I think that it’s fair to say that a violent invasion (more accurately invasions) can lead to a general collapse into barbarism. But the problem with the IQ advocates is that to carry their point, all such invasions need to generate that descent. If there are counter-examples, something else must be going on as well to generate differing results from the same disaster. IQ fetishists note a difference in IQ in one example and stop right there. IQ realists actually go through all the examples and tease out the common thread that is actually attributable to IQ.

    This doesn’t actually help the US much because in our case, multiculturalism is putting a strong brake on assimilation and that brake may be fatal. But I would say that it’s our abandonment of assimilation policies that is the fatal flaw, not the IQ of the arrivals. We can do better and we used to.

  48. TM Lutas – I doubt that the Flynn effect is really due to an actual increase in g. It is too uniform for that to be likely. The relative ranking of different ethnic varieties hasn’t changed much. The difference between black and white IQ in the US today is about one standard deviation and a hundred years ago it was also about standard deviation. If there has been a large increase in say the IQ of Mexican mestizos over the last century we chould expect to see a substantial increase in Mestizo high level achievement in fields like science and mathematics. Also America in the late nineteenth century produced quite a few individuals who made important contributions and innovations to science, mathematics and technology. Mexican mestizos today don’t show anything like that.

    Over a very long period of time the achievements of Amerindian cultures, while substantially above African levels, were way below the levels of schievement in Eurasia. The level of cultural achievements in past history between different racial/ethnic groups are roughly what would be predicted by their relative IQ levels.

    Writing is interesting in this regard. While writing developed in Meso-American a few centuries before the beginning of the Christain era it never became widely used in the nearly 2000 years before the Spainish conquest. It’s use was largly confined to monumental inscriptions and knowledge of writing was restricted to a tiny group. As a result knowledge of Meso-American writing quickly disappeared after the Conquest. Writing in Mesopotamia had a very different history. It began as a script used for commercial reasons developed by merchants and accountants. It spread rapidily to many different peoples and languages and was never restricted to any elite. It was used for many centuries before the first monumental inscriptions and the latter were never more than a very small portion of the texts produced. For writing going back thousands of years ago in the Near East we have a huge variety of texts – vouchers, contracts, wills, deeds, pharmacopoeias, records of law suits and other legal proceedings, manuals on horse-riding, manuals on medicine, legal codes, private correspondence and diaries, a huge amount of diplomatic correspondence and some literary works. The role writing played in the Near East is very different from the role writing played in Meso-Amereica. I suspect this has someting to do with the fact that Amerindians tend to have higher spatial\quantitative IQ as compared with their verbal IQ.

  49. To TM Lutas – If say the g of Western European populations has increased say 10 points ( 2/3rd’s of a standard deviation) since 1900 this would imply an increas in the proportion of individuals of very high IQ, say over 140, by a facror of almost 10 ( this would be the relative proportion aside from the effects of an icrease in population size). We could look at 19th century chess players and expect to see a huge increase in phenomenal talent. Now present day chess players have the advantage of a lot of accumulated knowledge on say particular openings (for example with the Lasker Defense introduced in the late nineteenth century it is good-bye to the Evans Gambit in serious high-level competition although that opening was very popular at one time in the nineteeth century). However we don’t seem to be producing people with the natural talent of say Morphy, Blackburne, Pillsbury at any greater population rate than in the late 19th century. There should be proportionately 10 times as many such individuals in relation to our population as in the late 19th century.

  50. The question of why we don’t seem to be producing really intelligent ground breakers like we did in the past could be because we actually aren’t as intelligent as in the past.

    This also solves the dilemma of how all those folks of supposedly pre-modern inferior intelligence built Western Civilization. Modernity didn’t bring higher intelligence, but progress brought the illusion of control which appeared to us as intelligence.

  51. Jim – Reality is what it is. “If say” talk is just posturing. My understanding is that this is the subject of scientific studies and I’m perfectly happy with relying on the science. For instance, men have fatter tails than women do in most IQ studies. This is not up for serious question scientifically though it’s explosive politically. On average both sexes run about the same but the different shape of the curves lead to more male felons and more geniuses as well.

    An increase in average intelligence can happen by a shift in a curve that retains the same shape, a change in the shape of the curve, or both. I’m not actually sure anybody’s ever actually determined what the minimum intelligence ratings are to run a first world nation.

    Grurray – That’s fascinating. How much dumber are we supposed to have gotten?

  52. “it took them only 1200 years or so to get back to somewhere near the standards of the Roman civilisation they overthrew.”

    Actually, I would say about 1800 years or at least the period between Heron of Alexandria and Jamie Watt.

    There were quite a few inventions in the Middle Ages and Joel Mokyr’s book, “The Lever of Riches,” describes quite a few of them and posits a theory of why there was no Roman Industrial Revolution.

    Briefly, Patent Law.

    Imagine where we would be if the Persians had won at Salamis.

  53. Here is another reason the US needs to be more deeply involved in Mexican affairs. We cannot let things like this happen literally on our back doorstep.

    “The Iraq of Latin America” by Michael J. Totten on 28 September 2015

    “Mexico is more like Iraq than any other country in the Western Hemisphere with the possible exception of Haiti. A bewilderingly multifaceted armed conflict has been raging since 2007 between more than a dozen militarized drug cartels, the federal government and a smorgasbord of citizen’s militias.”

  54. “Canada has exponentially fewer illegal immigrants that the US. They must be doing something right.”

    Freezing cold helps.

    Apparently not in Malmö, or Dearborn.

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