Edited, 6/6/13. See below!
I’ll have much more on this later, but I stumbled across this map, and I thought it was too poignant to ignore:
This is a map of the 2010 unemployment rates across Europe, broken down by region, originally found here. I have filled in the unemployment rates of the former Yugoslav republics, Albania, and the former Soviet states with data drawn from here. As such, I don’t have those areas broken down by region.
Compare that map to this, my updated (edit: as of 9/18/2012) map of the average IQs of Europe…
…(Edit, 9/18/12: map updated with Lynn’s and Vanhanen’s 2012 IQ data) as drawn from Richard Lynn’s and Tatu Vanhanen’s books (the data from which is currently missing from the Wikipedia articles thanks to some ridiculous edit war, but are visible in earlier versions of the article, and are preserved here at HBD Chick’s blog), Lynn’s updated national IQs, and Heiner Rindermann’s, Michael Sailer’s, and James Thompson’s analysis of the PISA data (edit: including these sources for Spain and Italy).
While there are some incongruities, the overall pattern in striking. As we see, the higher the average IQ, the lower the unemployment rate, and hence the stronger the overall economy.
Particularly, it’s hard not to notice that the areas of the European periphery, that is Ireland, Portugal, Southern Spain, and Southern Italy, are prominent problem areas. Spain particularly appears to be doing badly, but the economy is clearly the worst in the south. Much of Southeastern Europe, which includes Greece, also fares poorly.
On the other hand, the Alpine region—Northern Italy, Southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria seem to be doing pretty well. I haven’t bothered to look in detail, and hence it’s not reflected in my IQ map, but I understand that the PISA results show a distinct north-south cline in IQ in Germany, favoring the south. Apparently, this zone is one of exceptional average intelligence, which the legendary Swiss banking system probably attests to.
Also interesting is the Baltic region, which is in particularly bad shape. IQ results for this area have been somewhat contradictory. Lithuania, for example, seems to have an average IQ of 97 when one looks at the PISA results, but one IQ study done in 1999 found an average IQ of 90 there. This region also suffers the highest crime rates in Europe, having Europe’s highest homicide rate, as well as the world’s highest suicide rates.
Another thing to add to pile of stuff that demonstrates the connection between biology and societal outcomes. It also doesn’t necessarily bode well for the future of the great experiment that is the European Union. As I said, more on this later.
Edit, 6/6/13: Also see: More on Farming and Inheritance Systems – Part I: IQ
Edit, 9/9/12: See also this post by Razib Khan on Gene Expression: The Europe s | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine