Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cross-national correlates of corruption

Which kinds of countries are the most corrupt? Here are a few cross-national correlations:

Correlations

IQ -.56
Percent black .28
Percent Muslim .30
Weekly religious attendance .37

So corrupt countries are less intelligent, more black, more Muslim, and more religious. Nordic and English-origin countries--smart, wealthy, post-Protestant/secular--are the least corrupt of all countries. Wealthy Asian nations are also good. (By the way, according to the data, the United States has gotten more corrupt over the past decade.)

13 comments:

Dan said...

Inductivist --

I don't see how church attendance is actually a *causal* variable -- surely it is just caught up in correlations.

In fact you found just the opposite relationship previously: religiosity inversely correlates with tax fraud:
http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2012/01/religiosity-and-tax-fraud.html


You yourself railed against false correlations between religiosity and bad behavior repeatedly, such as here:

http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2011/01/religiosity-and-crime.html

You are doing the same thing you faulted Derbyshire for previously...

Ron Guhname said...

I didn't make any claims here about causality (although I can see how you might think that when I say, more X, more Y. I'm just saying they're correlated. I'll do multivariate soon to help disentangle factors.

pat said...

I'm sure you realize that IQ tests, blackness, religiosity, and Islam are all heavily 'g' loaded. Once you state that corruption is related to IQ you should expect a relationship also with being Black (the race with low IQs), or being a Muslim (the religion with low IQs) or religiosity itself (a state with low IQs).

The important connection is the causal one. It is pretty clear, to me at least, that being Black causes stupidity. I think being stupid also causes extreme religiosity. The Muslim case is tougher.

We all know that there is a consistent correlation around the world between stupidity and Islam. But which way does the causality flow? Does being Muslim make you stupid or does being stupid make you more likely to be a Muslim?

Muslim countries are also poor and underdeveloped without oil. Does Islam make you poor? Or does being poor (and stupid) makes you particularly receptive to the Prophet's message?

There is a clue in Marxism. All things being equal a people who adopt Marxism will be poorer. Maybe adopting Islam with its fatalism and mysticism promotes economic failure the same way Marxist ideas do. Then Muslim nations being poorer would be more vulnerable to corruption. Or maybe it goes the other way?

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"The Muslim case is tougher"

The Arabs were desert pastoralists
- cousin marriage
-- Islamic conquests
--- elite emulation
---- adopted cousin marriage
----- inbreeding depression
------ lower IQ

(h/t hbdchick, sailer, razib etc)

Harold said...

Pat wrote,
“But which way does the causality flow?”

It needn’t flow in either direction. It could be mere coincidence.

RJacks said...

May I suggest that it is not causal at all, but simply a marker. I think religion is essentially a "computer virus" written in the cultural code of societies. Wherever cultures embrace patriarchal, inbred, anti-intellectual values, Islam is inevitably going to set up shop there. It's like finding trojan horses and keyloggers on the computer of someone who regularly surfs porn sites. There is no causal relationship, just a high correlation because one is symptomatic of the other.

Dan said...

RJacks wrote:

"I think religion is essentially a "computer virus" written in the cultural code of societies."

RJacks adopts childlike and simplistic view of 'religion' as if there is no difference between them, when in fact there is an enormous amount of difference.

High civilization has been tightly intertwined with certain religions. For instance, I would say some of the highest civilization ever seen in history, in terms of sophistication, culture, a steep upward technological curve and global leadership and high science, all from a relatively small country, was Victorian England.

Victorian England was far more religious than the England of today, and the England of today is extraordinarily diminished as a leader in power, technology, high culture and science as compared to what it was then.

Consider the extent of the colonies of that one tiny island. Countries that were vastly larger such as India recognized what was then an incredibly high level of sophistication and culture and therefore cooperated with Britain to a great degree.

Dan said...

Those who might think religion is a mere marker rather than a cause would do well to learn the story of Admiral Nelson, who with fierce religiosity, led the HMS Victory and the rest of the British Navy to many victories including the overwhelming victory over the French Fleet and the Spanish Armada (who outnumbered them) at Trafalgar that led to many years of domination of the seas.

Here is Nelson's prayer incribed on timber of HMS Victory to this day:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/52/Nelson%27s_prayer_on_Victory_timber.jpg

In the approach at Trafalgar, with the HMS Victory in the lead, Admiral Nelson his men sailed in a slow wind straight at the middle of the line of the combined French and Spanish fleets.

This "allow[s] the crossing line [Spain and France] to bring all their guns to bear while receiving fire from only the forward guns of the enemy."

"For 40 minutes, Victory was under fire from Héros, Santísima Trinidad, Redoutable and Neptune"

Nelson died that day and Britain experiences the greatest and most complete naval victory in the history of the world.

pat said...

RJack said:
Consider the extent of the colonies of that one tiny island. Countries that were vastly larger such as India recognized what was then an incredibly high level of sophistication and culture and therefore cooperated with Britain to a great degree.

Also consider Wellington at Assaye in the Third Mysore War. The Brits conquered them fair and square with cannon, muskets and bayonets. They won most of the engagements against steep odds. I don't think the Hindus and Muslims were impressed much by the piety of the Victorian British.

Yes Trafalgar was a great victory but I don't see what that has to do with religiosity. Don John at Lepanto was not particularly devout and I don't think Nimitz or Spuance at Midway were particularly religious either.

Nelson seems to be an outlier. Some military people are very religious - others not so much.

RJacks said...

Pat,

I think your analogy to Marxism is apt. These various "isms" are simply ideas, software to use my previous analogy, that societies run on. Poor societies are likely to embrace Marxism or Islam (or other things) because those ideas have been intentionally tailored (created) to appeal to poorer people. Often, there is a high correlation between stupidity and poverty for the obvious reason that smart people are (on the whole) better at figuring out how not to be poor. Dumb and/or poor people are then more likely to succumb to religious belief, not only because they are relatively defenseless against it, lacking both resources and ideas of their own, but because it was DESIGNED to appeal to them. It is how the elites have always kept the rabble in line. One unfortunate side effect is that the anti-intellectual nature of all religious beliefs often leads to "true-believers" reaching positions of power and control and wreaking havoc on progress.

In any case, I don't think you will find your causal connection. People can be dumb and poor without being religious. But being dumb and poor makes them more likely to accept religion, and then religion just KEEPS them dumb and poor, as it was designed to do.

Dan,

On the contrary, I don't think the various religions are the same at all. You seem to feel a need to defend Christianity, although my comment only mentioned Islam by name. Let me help you. I think Christianity is demonstrably superior to Islam. In fact, there are only 3 religions I can name that seem to have any real productive characteristics: Christianity, Judaism, and to a lesser extent, Buddhism. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

Judaism has clearly produced the greatest return for its practitioners (in a per capita sense, nothing else is even close), but it has the shortcoming of not being evangelical, so it lacks a meaningful way to spread itself - a critical weakness that leaves it open to eradication (which has been tried in more than one place and time).

Christianity is probably the most effective idea that humans have produced in moving societies from a primitive state to a scientific one, and its best feature is that it contains its own cure - an emphasis on individuality which allows societies to shed its influence once they reach a high level of productivity (this is most historically apparent post-Luther). This seems to have an IQ threshold attached, however. Whites and Asians have been able to use Christian-based programming to elevate themselves, and then have largely shed its influence. Other "races" (an illusory term I hate, but will use here for brevity) have been less successful in this process, in pretty strong correlation with the relative IQ figures. Note: although Christianity seems to be the most effective early social development tool humans HAVE created, that in no way suggests it is the most effective that COULD be created.

Buddhism I include only because it provides some of that individuality that is necessary to develop a society, but the denial of material existence prevents meaningful social progress from occurring.

Last, I would like to say that I can't figure out what your reference to Lord Nelson was intended to demonstrate (perhaps I am too "childish"). That a single individual who had devout religious beliefs could be successful? No one would argue against that in the first place - there are too many examples of it. For the record though, Nelson was widely known as a devout Victorian man, but his lifestyle didn't follow the "good book" very closely. He was a lifelong philanderer who lived in an open three-way relationship with his mistress and her husband, and his dying wish was to kiss another man. He may not be the best example of what you're trying to say...

Dan said...

Rjacks --

"its best feature is that it contains its own cure - an emphasis on individuality which allows societies to shed its influence once they reach a high level of productivity "

You may think that shedding Christianity or other religion is a good, modern thing, but I strongly disagree.

I think the modern foray into broad-based atheism has been an utter disaster for high civilization.

(1) It is highly dysgenic. Atheists have the lowest fertility of any group, far below replacement and atheism draws in smarties while leaving the dummies alone. By contrast, those who are smart and religious tend to be very fertile. The difference in fertility between very religious and very secular Jews for example is maybe 400%.

(2) Broadly atheist societies have operated far below their potential. They overwhelmingly indulge in bad economics of the left to varying degrees, from soft socialism in Europe, to the catastrophic, poverty-inducing Communism.

(3) Atheistic societies have low future orientation, which is no surprise at all. If people believe their final end is around the corner, what's the point to long termism?

In fact I think modern atheism is tightly tied to the worldwide intelligence decline as it infects smart societies and injures them demographically while leaving the duller societies untouched.

Anonymous said...

Dan,
One could argue that atheism and a mechanistic as opposed to spiritual view of human life is necessary for the eventual great biotechnological leaps of genetic engineering and hybrid man-machines. I don't endorse the full suite of expectations of the Singularity enthusiasts, but I do suspect that with time, the remnant smart fraction will solve the challenges inherent in those two areas. I'm not sure that a Christian religious society would permit them to do it.

SFG said...

"One could argue that atheism and a mechanistic as opposed to spiritual view of human life is necessary for the eventual great biotechnological leaps of genetic engineering and hybrid man-machines. I don't endorse the full suite of expectations of the Singularity enthusiasts, but I do suspect that with time, the remnant smart fraction will solve the challenges inherent in those two areas. I'm not sure that a Christian religious society would permit them to do it."

Who knows what the effects of that will be? You probably need some level of religiosity--more than Japan but less than Saudia Arabia. At least in a diverse society like ours. The Swedes can get away without it.