Ireland’s GDP Cheating

Ireland’s recent economic success story is one of the easiest things in the world to explain. Ireland’s GDP has gone up dramatically, mostly by virtue of pass through tax deals with European wings of US corporations. Ireland grew it’s economy 26% in 2015, which was almost entirely the result of Apple’s tax evasion strategies. As I understand it, they have also developed a lot of productive back office relationships with multinationals, besides that.

Believe it or not but we are very much on the same page here. It has actually bothered me how libertarians like to cite Ireland as an example of the wonders of free wheeling capitalism, when in fact they are cheating. And as you have listed so are many of the other supposed beacons of capitalism.

In many ways almost everybody on that list is in some ways cheating, including the US. In fact the US is today also a form of tax heaven. The US of course as a unique trick up its sleeve that nobody else has: It has the worlds reserve currency, allowing the US to print money willy nilly and borrow money cheaply from abroad. Not to mention the benefits of an American empire and ability to strong arm nations all over the world to serve its interests.

Iceland may in fact be the closest thing on that list to a real success story. Although they do have hydro power, geothermal power and fish. But then again the low population is a huge downside.

Anyway to get back to Ireland. Even if they are kind of cheating, their GDP is simply so high and got so high quickly that you cannot discount that there is something real going on there. Keep in mind almost anybody could be a tax paradise if they wanted to, but it does not guarantee success. They must have done some things right. As far as I know they have a fairly well educated population, and that began prior to their economic growth and coincided with it.

Also, oh no, I just put multiple countries on a graph! So I again need your permission as to which countries I’m allowed to compare, otherwise I’m guilty of pseudoscience!

This is really tiring. I expended quite a lot of effort into explaining how I believed you could compare. But as usual you seem to turn everything into ab black-and-white issue and conveniently “forget” anything that points to a more nuanced view.

For instance I said you could always start with doing a linear regression. If it works it simply means that factor is really strong and overshadows other factors. You are luck then.

But, and here is the big but, if you don’t find a correlation, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. That is where you went wrong. It simply means other factors may be stronger or work in opposite direction. You would then need further analysis and thinking, before drawing conclusions.

E.g. if you had done this correlation with a bunch of oil countries and a few non-oil countries and claimed that human capital isn’t correlated with GDP, then I would have pointed out just as in the guns and homicide case that you are not making an apples to apples comparison. I would have insisted that you would have had to take oil into account.

So I am being consistent here: When you don’t see a correlation, you need further analysis before concluding. And even if you find a correlation you ought to reflect upon whether the conclusion make sense.

I believe the hereditarian position is that there are genetic differences between northern and southern Europe, but it’s a smooth gradation between countries as there’s been a large degree of population mixing through history.

Doesn’t explain why e.g. Spain had really low IQ score in 1916 but has normal score today. And where is this smooth gradation? When I look at this list it seems to be a bit all over the place. Italy e.g. shows a score of 102, higher than Finland at 99. Sure Greece is at 92, but then again Lithuania in the north is at 91.

To me it seem like historical factors have played a much larger role. Greece e.g. was poorly developed in large part due to being part of the Ottoman empire for a long time.

Or that Spain had such low IQ score in 1916 compared to Northern Europeans isn’t all that strange if you look at history. Literacy rates in Nordic countries have e.g. long been very high for cultural reasons. Medieval Iceland was the most literate nation in Europe. Later Nordic countries became completely protestant where reading and writing was emphasized. Hence Nordic countries when they where still significantly poorer than Spain had much higher levels of literacy than Spain. The Catholic/Protestant divide explains a lot.

But of course the hereditarians like to paint a different tale of “inferior” North African races mixing in with Souther Europeans and dragging them down.

A lot of these guys could really do well by studying more history.

It’s quite likely that there was bad research in the past that is no longer valid, with regards to Irish and European differences.

Eh… I am not suggesting the research was bad. I think it is highly plausible that Irish IQ was low in the past. Why not it was a poor country which had suffered colonization, discrimination and it was catholic another factor dragging a country down, due to attitudes towards reading and writing. My point is that Lynn and his buddies believed Irish had to be inherently inferior and that their IQ could never change. That they where doomed to economic backwardness unless they engaged in some good old eugenics which he always seemed keen on.

So my issue was not the data collection, but the interpretation of the results.

My point is that he was making the same mistake as you are today. You assume result you measure for one population today cannot significantly change in the future when the living conditions for that population improves. Keep in mind I mean living conditions in a broad sense. Not just calorie intake and shelter, but educational attainment, quality of schools etc.

But I never brought up either, you brought them up for the sake of misdirection,

No, because it was relevant to the point I was making, which was that IQ is malleable and change with living conditions and economic prosperity. Although various cultural traits play a role. A poorer country with great emphasis on education will e.g. score better. We see two cases of this historically. E.g. How poorer Nordic countries outperformed Spain historically, but not today. However back then there was a significant difference in literacy due to difference in religion.

Likewise today we know several Asian nations have a strong emphasis on work ethic and education, which means they also tend to perform above their development level.

because you can’t answer my question.

I have basically answered you questions repeatedly. The problem is that you have made these neat little boxes which you want to stuff may answers in. Unfortunately for you my answers don’t fit your neat little boxes, and in response you simply reject my answers.

But we should both probably let go of this discussion. I kind of regret writing this reply, as we are just going in circles. But since I just wrote it, I might as well post it.

But no offense if you don’t reply.

Before we part ways I just want to make it clear that I have never viewed you has a bad person. And in general I have appreciated your responses. Your research and quality of argument is far above the average exchange I engage in. But that doesn’t mean some of your responses cannot get on my nerves. I am only human.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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