Friday 30 November 2012

Who is NOT over-promoted, in the over-promoted society


Continuing from


In a world of declining general intelligence, not everybody is over-promoted with respect to intelligence.

Some people have the level of intelligence which would have been commensurate with their position in society about a hundred years ago.

Who are these people?


They are those of very high intelligence (by modern standards) but low conscientiousness and agreeableness (low empathizing).

In other words, they are intelligent people with awkward personalities that mean on the one hand they do not get promoted (because they have awkward personalities); while on the other hand they do not want promotion (because they know enough to recognize that that they are not capable of functioning properly at a higher level than they already are at. Not that others could do better - they cannot - but that they themselves could not do the job properly.).

Such not-over-promoted people actually understand what they are doing at the level at which they are doing it; and can provide a critique of what has happened and what has gone wrong.


I don't want to be too specific - but the handful of people I know who are potential geniuses (or unrecognized geniuses) are all functioning at lower levels than would have been commensurate with their abilities 100 years ago. (This is, I think, due to the trend for requring ever higher levels of docility, obedience and friendliness/ non-abrasiveness from employees of bureaucracies).

And I know of many more people of very high intelligence who are at the level where they would have been 100 years ago - but (becuase of the general delcine in g) are consequently of one-standard-deviation-plus higher in intelligence than their modern co-workers at the same level.

Also, I know of quite a few people of very high intelligence who are pretty much unemployable in modern conditions - however, perhaps that was always the case, perhaps there always were such people.



Roger U said...

I have been reading your over -promoted society pieces with interest. I was thinking, however, that its not that there are less people to make the breakthroughs, but that these people are busy maintaining the existing complexity. That our society is so complex, especially our dependence on technology to communicate and do business, that the bright, creative people are busy putting out fires and expanding the existing tech to more areas. That maintenance takes a higher level of ability than it did 100 years ago.

I agree that the average level of IQ has dropped, but I think it is because of dilution as the lower IQ population is able to breed freely without having to support themselves. Infant mortality is down and life expectancy is up.

I have not thought as much about this is you have, though, maybe I'm missing something or I'm diluting this blog!

Bruce Charlton said...

@RU - There is dilution; but I think the evidence suggests that the most intelligent women have had low (sub-replacement) fertility for several generations - many having zero children, and an average of less than one child per woman. Therefore, fewer very intelligent people. Assortative mating for intelligence (smart people marrying each other) would have increased this effect.

Roger U said...

I guess what I'm not sure of is the necessity of absolute numbers. It seems that if there were too few people to maintain, then the visionary breakthrough would be a way to maintain with fewer people. Maybe that's just incremental improvement?

Samson J. said...

I think the evidence suggests that the most intelligent women have had low (sub-replacement) fertility for several generations - many having zero children, and an average of less than one child per woman.

Here's a question for you, Bruce: what's been your experience with female physicians? Because my experience has been that they absolutely buck this trend of intelligent women having fewer children. I have brought this up on other blogs and come to the sort of tentative conclusion that women doctors are "different" for some reason, but I'm not sure why.

George Goerlich said...

What are the chances of this phenomenon leading to a slow decline vs some sort tipping point leading to large systematic collapses?

Michael R said...

It's physical/biological. Like Dr Francis Pottenger showed with cat diet experiments in the 1930's, vitality declines rapidly in successive generations on a cooked/unnatural diet. And it takes a few generations on raw/natural diet to recover vitality. Humans are now 3-4 generations on denatured foods, and it's going to take time and a conscious effort to turn it around. That's why immigrants are regularly described as full of energy.

bankers said...

Also, I think a lot of them have become psychopathic. The smartest person I know got rich inventing the financial derivatives that caused the crash. In fairness before that he had no real options and was constantly being beaten down by society.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SJ - Female physicians of my generation who marry, are apparently more fertile than similarly intelligent women - but still average below replacement not least because of the number (unmarried etc) with zero fertility.

@GG - tipping point. Graceful decline could theoretically be managed easily enough - but not by democracy, and not by a secular society.

@bankers - Thanks for this interesting snippet. But I should clarify that financial derivatives did not cause the crash - the crash was caused (and is being sustained and worsened - while being denied) by mainstream secular Leftism.