National IQ’s offer a solution to the Congo versus Korea mystery (See: Garner, 2008. CONGO AND KOREA: A STUDY IN DIVERGENCE). Congolese aren’t as smart.
We are still left with the question of ultimate cause. Notice, Rindermann found that historic cognitive ability, as indexed by the number of eminent scientists from 800 BC to 1950 AD (based on Murray’s Human Accomplishments), had an effect on current Stem Achievement and, by way of this, GDP. This is consistent with the findings of Comin et al. (2008), who showed that technological adoption circa 1000 BC correlates with current GDP. Whatever the ultimate cause, the current global disparities in cognitive ability have deep roots. As there are cultural (sociobiological or otherwise) and genetic boundaries to the diffusion of technology and capital, give the causal relations, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that there are cultural and genetic boundaries to the diffusion of cognitive ability. Of course, we are still left with our various puzzles — but, while so, the pieces are beginning to fall into place.
Dependency theories try to explain wealth differences, especially between First and Third World countries, as a result of asymmetric political and power structures. Such theories posit that colonialism and the postcolonial rule of European countries have resulted in terms of trade between rich and poor countries that are unfavorable for the poor countries. In contrast, human-capital theory claims that attributes of persons are relevant for economic success. But “human capital” is a fuzzy term. Imagine using the term “kangaroo capital” to refer to the ability to make large leaps. What is needed is a psychological theory describing in more detail the essential attributes of persons who can work productively. On closer inspection of human capital theories and research (Barro, 1991; Becker, 1964/1993; Heckman, 2000), two main psychological traits emerge. The first trait is cognitive ability (or cognitive competence), which comprises the ability to think (intelligence), the individual’s store of true and relevant knowledge, and the intelligent use of this knowledge (cf. Nelson & Phelps, 1966, in which cognitive ability is defined as the “ability to receive, decode, and understand information,” p. 69). The second trait is industrious discipline, which involves personality traits such as diligence, commitment, conscientiousness, discipline, and self-discipline (e.g., Heckman, 2000; Rindermann & Ceci, 2009).