For decades scientists, doctors and educators of all disciplines have struggled with how to separate the innate intelligence of humans from the effects of education and formal training – the familiar IQ test being recognized as increasingly insufficient.

I am reminded of a study [i]Anthropologist Jarod Diamond makes similar references in “Guns, Germs and Steel”. from some years ago that asked of individuals of a primitive South American jungle tribe, forever isolated from Western learning, to complete the following sequence;  “one (1), two (2), xxxxx (?)”.   Of course, any 6-year-old in the Western world would have answered “three (3)”, but nearly everyone in the study said, four (4). Did that reflect their lack of intelligence or was it that these people thought of “sequence” as being algebraic rather than linear? The answer was revealed with the next question, to which they all responded eight (8) rather than four (4).

The bigger question of course is how a country develops the innate potential of its people to attain the highest standard of living. The USA, having once enjoyed the highest ranking in education in the world, has deteriorated in recent decades. The following reflects on some of the reasons and offers some policy ideas to reverse this dangerous trend.

By: Jim
Written: circa 2005
Published:  June 2023
i Anthropologist Jarod Diamond makes similar references in “Guns, Germs and Steel”.