Saturday, July 27, 2013

Welby's Wonga, economic growth and Big Idea #174 is Intelligence

Wonga investor Welby
Poor old Archbishop Welby there he was making a moral(ish) point about excessive interest rates by the payday loan companies saying he wanted to put Wonga out of business only to find the Church of England (via a fund) is an investor with - you guessed it you're ahead of me Wonga...You couldn't make it up etc.
Although it's only around £75,000 from an investment pot of several billions it is a PR disaster-  you see the point of course it could be labelled as hypocrisy by someone being un-Christian  - or do I mean Christian - talk about the moneychangers in the temple - oh dear me.
Let's see if the initiative has any effect.

Which brings me onto a bigger but related subject

Economic Growth

So George (the Chancellor formally known as Gideon) Osborne has been looking slightly pleased with himself as the news on the economy is that growth is appearing to be, once again embedded - in the last quarter to the tune of 0.6% not quite BRICS territory but positive.
So what does Economic Growth mean, well it means that we're spending and consuming more - so we're getting our haircut more buying more mobile phones building more houses etcetera  etcetera.
And what does that mean, well for much economic growth it'll mean burning more oil, chopping more trees, mining more copper and so on.
Now with growth there comes a cost as resources are not infinite (I don't think much is) - we can in reality only read a certain number of books or listen to a certain amount of music, have a certain number of haircuts  etc.
I'm fairly sure I'm not alone in having thrown out clothes that I've never worn and the amount of food that goes wasted is enormous so the idea of growth that goes on forever means that (in excess) lots of things are produced to go directly to landfill - this (I reckon) does not make sense.

1) It is wasteful
2) It does not make people happy/fulfilled

One of the ways that economic growth is continued is by commoditising - more on that later.

Big Idea number 174 is all about the Intelligence

Crofton has got another good one here as the previous entry (memory) could be considered  analogous to storage in a PC this can be thought of as being about the work the processor can do.

Alfred Binet a French Psychologist who thought up the IQ ratio  and Jean Piaget a Swiss Psychologist specialising in Child development were both influential figures in the concept of IQ models and testing. The early work these pioneers has to an extent been superseded as scholars have come to believe that culture has an influence on how intelligence can be appreciated. Emotional Intelligence is now also something that is considered it looks at controlling emotions and understanding others.
The questions which occur to me are
1) Is there actually any credit to being intelligent if it is merely an accident of genes and ones heritage?
2) Does the measured IQ give any indication of success and happiness, many very intelligent people find life to be a struggle and the converse apples too!
Here's some things to think about with respect to the testing of IQ.

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