IQ Shredders

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Singapore is an IQ shredder, Spandrell has pointed out. How does an IQ Shredder work?

The basic machinery is not difficult to describe, once its profound socio-historical irony is appreciated. The model IQ Shredder is a high-performance capitalistic polity, with a strong neoreactionary bias.

  1. Its level of civilization and social order is such that it is attractive to talented and competent people.
  2. Its immigration policy is unapologetically selective (i.e. first-order eugenic).
  3. It sustains an economic structure that is remarkably effective at extracting productive activity from all available adults.
  4. It is efficiently specialized within a wider commercial network, to which it provides valuable goods and services, and from which it draws economic and demographic resources.

In sum, it skims the human genetic stock, regionally and even globally, in large part due to the exceptional opportunity it provides for the conversion of bio-privileged human capital into economic value. From a strictly capitalistic perspective, genetic quality is comparatively wasted anywhere else. Consequently, spontaneous currents of economic incentive suck in talent, to optimize its exploitation.

If you think this sounds simply horrific, this argument is not for you. You don’t need it. If, on the other hand, it conjures up a vision of terrestrial paradise — as it does for the magnetized migrants it draws in — then you need to follow it carefully. The most advanced models of neoreactionary social order on earth work like this (Hong Kong and Singapore), combining resilient ethnic traditions with super-dynamic techonomic performance, to produce an open yet self-protective, civilized, socially-tranquil, high-growth enclave of outstanding broad-spectrum functionality. The outcome, as Spandrell explains, is genetic incineration:

Mr Lee said: “[China] will make progress but if you look at the per capita they have got, the differences are so wide. We have the advantage of quality control of the people who come in so we have bright Indians, bright Chinese, bright Caucasians so the increase in population means an increase in talent.”

How many bright Indians and bright Chinese are there, Harry? Surely they are not infinite. And what will they do in Singapore? Well, engage in the finance and marketing rat-race and depress their fertility to 0.78, wasting valuable genes just so your property prices don’t go down. Singapore is an IQ shredder.

The most hard-core capitalist response to this is to double-down on the antihumanist accelerationism. This genetic burn-rate is obviously unsustainable, so we need to convert the human species into auto-intelligenic robotized capital is fast as possible, before the whole process goes down in flames. (I don’t expect this suggestion to be well-received in reactionary circles.)


  1. Dan Kurt says:

    re: “and depress their fertility to 0.78, wasting valuable genes.” Spandrell

    This is a fallacy. Let me explain.

    Spandrell assumes that Bright begets Bright but Middling Bright begets more Bright because there are more middlings.

    The Law of Parsimony suggests there are two genes involved for Smarts and are alleles*: say, s and S. If one has ss one is Smart. If one has sS one is middling Smart. If one has SS one is dull. If the smart % in a population is 7% with IQs over 120 that means 7% of the population is ss. Using the Hardy-Weinberg law the % of sS in the population is circa 26%. The sS population is more than 25% of the population and that population will generate ss individuals in one out of 4 births if two sS mate. That same population will generate two out of four sS. (If IQ is polygenetic a similar but more complicated analysis shows a similar generation of the really smart as mainly coming from the middling bright.)

    What I am trying to briefly point out is that the largest source of the really smart is the large reservoir of smart alleles in the middling smart.

    Dan Kurt


  2. Barnabas says:

    So what places qualify as IQ farms?

  3. Spandrell says:

    I’d say most of Singapore is middling brights. Singapore isn’t known for it’s geniuses — it’s a thoroughly middle class place — but the sort of people who would have three kids in a middle-sized American town.

  4. James James says:

    “The Law of Parsimony suggests there are two genes involved for Smarts”

    No. Just no. I don’t think I’m quoting you out of context.

    “What I am trying to briefly point out is that the largest source of the really smart is the large reservoir of smart alleles in the middling smart.”

    That’s a bit more reasonable. Regression to the mean works both ways. Just as the children of smart people tend to be closer to the mean, also the parents of smart people tend to be closer to the mean.

  5. Gwern says:

    This is a fallacy. Let me explain.

    No, it’s not. If you cream off the top 10% and they reproduce much less, then there’s selection pressure against the alleles responsible. It doesn’t matter if IQ is highly polygenic or fits your toy model, or if most ultra-smart people are from less-smart parents. The selection pressure is still there.

    That said, I’m not too concerned because I expect various forms of embryo selection and genetic engineering to be viable within a generation or two, well before the IQ shredders could do terribly much damage, and if there’s one thing Singapore could afford, it’s paying for that. (I think they already subsidize kids at least as much as IVF would cost.)

  6. A.B. Prosper says:

    Policy has consequences, and maybe overcrowding, diversity, and a police state are bad for the fertility of people.

  7. The Fourth Doorman of the Apocalypse says:

    No, it’s not. If you cream off the top 10% and they reproduce much less, then there’s selection pressure against the alleles responsible.

    Correct. It is a form of truncation selection.

  8. NZNLIMRW says:

    “Correct. It is a form of truncation selection.”

    A good counterexample would be the allele for sickle cell anemia. It’s fairly lethal to be homozygous, but advantageous to be heterozygous in regions with endemic malaria. If “sS” has sufficient advantage over “SS”, it can persist, even if “ss” reduces fitness. This is even more generally true if there are thousands of alleles that affect the trait, rendering it effectively continuous.

    Try this: simulate a Fokker-Planck-like equation with an absorbing state (say, density below 0 is removed from the system). Add a homeostatic constraint on the population density (assume we can treat normalized population in the region outside the “shredder” as constant, or at least equal or above replacement). Then, make the “not in shredder” dynamics follow e.g. an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process with some mean drift toward zero (intelligence is good), and some diffusion rate (phenotypes diffuse). You’ll find that there is a wide range of parameters for which intelligence remains competitive.

  9. Ya Nie Choshiou Rabotaet Ve Singapore says:

    You can’t measure the fertility accurately if you don’t correctly assess where their babies are born… :)

    There is a lot to be gained for some better-remain-invisible people that this remains obscured.

  10. Jim says:

    It’s engineered.

    And for all the hand-wringing about “IQ shredding” it almost certainly isn’t going quickly enough to account for the rapid advance of special AI, robotics, and plain old hardware-software productivity improvement i.e. labor-saving techne i.e. labor elimination.

    The old control mechanism (artificially imposed scarcity) is a candle burned down to the very last. They’re in a race against the clock to establish and lock in a better control mechanism before a certain critical mass is reached.

    The tipping point is the point at which a sufficient quantity and quality of young men have nothing to lose and a world to gain.

    Many believe that the time is imminent.

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