By JR on Friday, April 14, 2017
Will N.E. Asia eclipse Caucasians by the end of this century?
It seems obvious that they will. Japan and S. Korea are already rich and influential countries and China is just getting into its stride -- while economic growth rates in Europe and America are very sluggish.
And something I notice because I read a lot of academic journal articles across several disciplines is that there always seems to be an East Asian among the list of authors. There are very few single-author papers these days. So East Asians are already there at the heart of Western science. How soon will it be before the corresponding (main) author usually has an Asian name?
Prophecy is a mug's game unless it is based on clear extrapolations from the past and present and even then "Black Swan" events can upset the applecart. But we are all interested in the future so at least we can attempt informed opinions. My opinion is that China will once again be the centre of the world by the end of this century. So I want to look at why I might be wrong. No Leftist ever seems to do that but it is certainly in line with conservative caution.
An obvious factor is the law of diminishing returns and the ogive curve that seems to describe most variations in biological phenomena. Apologies for that bit of academic-speak but it will become VERY clear if we look at Japan. For about 4 decades after WWII, Japan astonished the world by it huge economic growth rates. It leapt to some sort of parity with European countries very rapidly and European countries were growing richer at that time too.
But it did not continue. It just about hit a brick wall. Japan has had negligible growth for around a couple of decades now. A statistician might say that Japanese economic growth has approached an asymptote. And lots of things do approach an asymptote. It is normal for natural processes to have limits on how far they can change. So Japan will almost certainly never again see high rates of economic growth. It will probably stay on some sort of parity with Western countries but may never get further than that. Could that happen to China too? It is clearly possible.
It is also possible that the USA could get steam up again. Under Obama, huge numbers of Americans left the workforce, middle incomes stagnated and business was ever more tightly strangled by regulations. But that already seems to be going into reverse under Trump. And it's early days yet. The more Uncle Sam gets his fingers out of business, the more the economy is likely to grow. And in my reading we are in fact due for a boom under Trump.
It would be too much of a diversion to tackle the arguments of economists against Trumpenomics but let me just note that Trump does have an economics degree and America thrived mightily behind high tariff walls in the 19th century.
So if America booms again, it might be very difficult for N.E. Asia to keep up, let alone excel.
A standard criticism of E. Asians is that they are not creative. They just use well what others have invented. That might seem like stupid old racism but some recent work in genetics gives it some substance. And it is in part the work of that intrepid outspeaker, Edward Dutton -- a Briton who has been "exiled" to Northern Finland. Maybe he just likes cold climates. His latest paper that I know of (2015) is below:
Why do Northeast Asians win so few Nobel Prizes?
Kenya Kura, Jan te Nijenhuis & Edward Dutton
Most scientific discoveries have originated from Europe, and Europeans have won 20 times more Nobel Prizes than have Northeast Asians. We argue that this is explained not by IQ, but by interracial personality differences, underpinned by differences in gene distribution. In particular, the variance in scientific achievement is explained by differences in inquisitiveness (DRD4 7-repeat), psychological stability (5HTTLPR long form), and individualism (mu-opioid receptor gene; OPRM1 G allele ). Northeast Asians tend to be lower in these psychological traits, which we argue are necessary for exceptional scientific accomplishments. Since these traits comprise a positive matrix, we constructed a q index (measuring curiosity) from these gene frequencies among world populations. It is found that both IQ scores and q index contribute significantly to the number of per capita Nobel Prizes.
Linking Nobel prizes to genetics is undoubtedly clever and impressive so my objections to their conclusions are rather weak. My objections may however be right. The key statistic in their results is the variance explained by their q factor and IQ combined. It is only 19%. Many other factors could be at work.
And an obvious factor is history. Nobel prizes are normally awarded late in the Nobelist's life. And for something like 98% of the time over which Nobels have been awarded, China had not even got its boots on academically. Among those Asian co-authors of academic papers today may be a majority of the Nobelists of tomorrow. In other words, the criterion for achievement -- a Nobel -- may be too narrow. I believe it is.
So where does that leave us? All things considered, I suppose the future will be a lot like the present, with the new ideas coming mainly from people of N.W. European ancestry (including Russians, Britons and Americans) and Asia implementing those ideas even more effectively than we do.
I am still vastly impressed by China, however. My only visit to China was many years ago but my son has been to China a couple of times on problem-solving missions and I have Sinophilic friends. All tell me that China already dazzles in many ways. My son is a software engineer and his verdict from contact with them is that the Chinese are unbeatable. I am inclined to agree. I am inclined to think that China will eventually pull ahead of the USA in most ways. But I am also of the view that the USA will remain an indispensable second place-getter in many ways.