Monday, October 03, 2005

IQ stands for Income Quotient

Didn't know I cared so much, but I saw this article on this blog and the subsequent comments, and then blasted away with my own comment, posted below (in lieu of writing a real post).


Dunno much about what's written above. From practical experience and my own observations of the world (anecdotes, eh?), it seems that, genetically, we are predisposed to certain conditions. I can't see any reason why intelligence wouldn't be one of those conditions. And it's the environment we grew up in that either triggers a given condition or depresses it. Money helps trigger intelligence when it buys the right education AND you have a predisposition for intelligence. But I've seen a lot of dumb people pass law school with the help of their parents' money. Alternatively, I've seen a lot of smart people never wake up to their potential because mom was too busy working two jobs to offer anything that would trigger her child's intelligence, had he been born with any. If I am right about intelligence being a predisposition that may or may not be triggered by the right environment, then don't we have a duty - just as human beings, not neocons or liberals or any of those other false, manmade labels - to implement programs that give everyone the opportunity to wake up to his/her intelligence potential regardless of his/her social/economic background? I'm not saying we don't have a right to the spoils of our own hard work, but tax dollars spent on education benefit all of us, not because we become safer when poor children grow up to be middle class adults, but because the more intelligent people we have out there: 1) the richer the marketplace of ideas, 2) the safer we are because more people are making more intelligent choices (ie, robbery is a bad choice to poverty, finding a way to cut expenses in addition to seeking financial help is a good choice to poverty), and 3) the more people who are exercising their intelligence, the more people are passing on the ability to exercise good choices to their children.

Nobody has questioned the nexus between intelligence and earning capacity - the data above seems to ignore any other measure of intelligence. Perhaps an intelligent person doesn't want to be the next Bill Gates? Perhaps these criticized educational programs are working better than we give them credit for, but we're not asking the right questions of them?

If I am right, then isn't how well adjusted poor children become as adults just as real a measure of the success of these programs as whether or not poor children are growing up to command six-figure salaries? I'm not certain that this debate can be neatly quantified into a blackline rule. I think the real mistake we're making is not in spending money for educational programs for the poor, but in attempting to equate money with intelligence and then using that to quantify the success of any of these programs. What results is the quantifying of human characteristics when we are all so individual and unique. I'm poor and I'm intelligent. Does that mean that the education I've received has been a failure or a waste of money?

While you're at it, ask yourself if an intelligent person would trust any kneejerk reaction he might have to what I suggest?

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