How about this? If survival means avoiding premature death, then living is perpetual problem solving, and the better the solutions to problems, the better the standard of living among the survivors. Given that we intend to describe the whole world, a useful unit of account is the Country. Within each country there are common laws and customs, and statistics (of variable quality) regarding living standards and income. Yes, there are regional differences within countries, and yes some countries are alike and could be grouped into regional blocs, but let us make a start with countries. World politics involves relations between 195 countries. Some will have peaceful and prosperous trading relationships and others less so.
Most of the country data you can look up on international databases. These will give you many economic and social variables, and the PISA dataset, together with TIMSS and PIRLS, edge towards telling you how well people in those countries solve the problems of living. They measure scholastic attainment, which on the more difficult subjects like Maths and Science are good proxies for intelligence, but still subject to the effects of tuition.
There is another dataset, collected by one researcher in his book lined study, which aims to go further. It gathers together all intelligence test results and groups them by country. Some countries are missing; some have only a few relevant studies; some have studies based on proper, representative samples; and a few wealthy and diligent countries have many population based studies. As in real life, things vary. In one sense this database is a projective test. Population based statisticians (frequentists) always ask for more and better samples, and are quite right to do so. Bayesians know that if you are hunting a submarine then one radio location from a submarine broadcast is far, far better than nothing. For them, one study based at a school somewhere in the countryside stands as the first indicator of the intelligence of that country, until later and better indicators can be found. As a general rule the notion of calculating a country IQ is no sillier than the rest of behavioural science, in which universal rules of human behaviour are sought from studies conducted almost exclusively on university students of psychology, patients at local hospitals and such passers-by as can be bothered to stop and answer silly questions.
The Richard Lynn database on intelligence by countries is now being updated by David Becker and colleagues. It is in its Second Edition, and with your help many more editions will follow as we try to trace particular references, and add as yet uncatalogued studies. Here is a background post on the project:
I think the table is now in its final form, where it is much easier to add new material. Studies with more than one value are now differentiated, and absolutely all information necessary for traceability are now included.
Blue lines are already absolutely complete, others still have some “???” which must to be replaced from time to time. A special tab “CALCULATIONS” will make any additional necessary calculations transparent.
Look at the spreadsheet, find a country in Column B and the mean IQ in Column P and median IQ in Column Q. The nature of any adjustments for the Flynn effect are also shown, as is the full reference. Our aim is that everything should be traceable, and if there are any errors they can be corrected immediately for all to see. The more people who know about it, get involved in adding to it, and use it in their predictions about world affairs, the better.
In order to manage your expectations about world politics, I asked David Becker to estimate World IQ. He cautioned that we only had data from 148 nations with a total of 6,953,727,177 people, around 94.88% of world population. This will leave out poorer countries with less organised education systems.
Allowing for the fact that some poorer countries have not been included, I think that World IQ is about 88. It is better not to use decimal points when our coverage of many countries is sparse. In contrast with The Man on the Clapham Omnibus, the gold standard for the average English person beloved of the judiciary, the man on the World Omnibusis at the 21st percentile compared to Greenwich Mean Intelligence. That means that if prestigious jobs requiring IQ 130 are allocated solely on the basis of intelligence, then in a fair contest between equal numbers of “Westerners” and “Rest of World people” the former will be 9 times more likely to get the best jobs. If no-one is really worth hiring in the world economy unless they are IQ 93 or above, then that cuts out 32% of Westerners and 63% of Rest of World-ers. This is likely to cause big problems.
The world is most like Brazil 87, Colombia 86, Costa Rica 88, Cuba 86, Dominican Republic 88, Kazakhstan 87, Kuwait 87, Lebanon 86, Moldova 89, Suriname 89, Tajikistan 89, Thailand 86, Tibet 86, Tonga 86, Trinidad 87, Tunisia 87, Venezuela 88. Leaving aside the income flows from Westerners wanting oil or tourism, prospects are not particularly good, though better than many sub-Saharan countries.
Looking at how those world average countries conduct themselves will give you a good guide as to what to expect in 2017, and and probably far beyond. You can also predict the direction of travel for those looking for a better life.