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Has humanity reached ‘peak intelligence’?

Has humanity reached ‘peak intelligence’? thumbnail

You may not have noticed, but we are living in an intellectual golden age.

Since the intelligence test was invented more than 100 years ago, our IQ scores have been steadily increasing. Even the average person today would have been considered a genius compared to someone born in 1919 – a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect.

We may have to enjoy it while we can. The most recent evidence suggests that this trend may now be slowing. It may even be reversing, meaning that we have already passed the summit of human intellectual potential.

Can we have really reached peak intelligence? And if that is the case, what can the subsequent decline mean for the future of humanity?

Let’s begin by exploring the ancient origins of human intelligence, from the moment our ancestors began to walk upright more than three million years ago. Scans of fossil skulls suggest that the brains of the first bipedal apes, Australopithecus, were about 400 cubic centimetres – just a third the size of modern humans’.

That comes at a serious cost. The brains of modern humans consume around 20% of the body’s energy, so our bigger brains must have offered some serious benefits to make up for those excess calories.

Cave art of ancient humans suggests a surprising intelligence (Credit: Getty Images)

Cave art of ancient humans suggests a surprising intelligence (Credit: Getty Images)

There are many potential reasons for this brain boost, but according to one leading theory, it was a response to the increasing cognitive demands of group living.

From Australopithecus onwards, human ancestors began to congregate in bigger and bigger groups – perhaps, initially, as a protection against predators, which would have been a serious risk once they began sleeping on the ground rather than the trees. It would also allow individuals to pool resources – helping to spread out some of the risks of living in a changeable environment – and provide shared childcare.

For humans today, a lack of social understanding causes embarrassment; for our ancestors, it was a matter of life or death

But as many of us know from our own social circles, living with other people can be hard work: you need to keep track of each person’s personalities, their likes and dislikes, and whether or not they can be trusted with gossip. And if you are working on a group activity, like hunting, you need to be able to follow what each member is doing as you coordinate your activities. For humans today, a lack of social understanding causes embarrassment; for our ancestors, it was a matter of life or death.

Besides presenting those immediate challenges, the larger social groups would have allowed members to share ideas and build on each other’s inventions, resulting in new technological and cultural innovations, such as tools that could improve the efficiency of hunting. And for that to work, you need to have the intelligence to observe and learn from others – providing another push for greater brainpower.

By around 400,000 years ago, the brain of Homo heidelbergensis had reached around 1,200 cubic centimetres – just a shade smaller than the brains of modern humans, which are around 1,300 cubic centimetres. When our ancestors left Africa around 70,000 years ago, they were smart enough to adapt to life in almost every corner of the planet. The astonishing cave art suggests they were fully capable of thinking about huge cosmological questions – including, perhaps, their own origins.

The IQ scores of people in the 1920s were lower than today (Credit: Getty Images)

The IQ scores of people in the 1920s were lower than today (Credit: Getty Images)

Few experts would argue that the more recent changes to IQ are the product of this kind of genetic evolution – the timescales are simply too short.

It was only 100 years ago, after all, that scientists first invented the “intelligence quotient” to measure someone’s intellectual potential. Their success relies on the fact that many cognitive abilities are correlated. So your ability to perform spatial reasoning or pattern recognition is linked to your maths ability and your verbal prowess, and so on. For this reason, IQ is thought to reflect a “general intelligence” – a kind of underlying brainpower.

IQ is thought to reflect a “general intelligence” – a kind of underlying brainpower

Although IQ tests are often criticised, a vast body of research shows that their scores can be useful indicators of your performance on many tasks. They are especially good at predicting academic success (which is not surprising, considering that they were initially designed to be used in schools) but also predict how quickly you pick up new skills in the workplace. They are not a perfect measure, by any means – and many other factors will also shape your success – but in general they do show a meaningful difference in people’s capacity to learn and process complex information.

The rise in IQs seems to have started in the early 20th Century, but it’s only relatively recently that psychologists have started taking much notice of the phenomenon. That’s because IQ scores are “standardised” – meaning that after people take the test, their raw scores are transformed to ensure that the median of the population always remains 100. This allows you to compare people who took different forms of the IQ test, but unless you look at sources of the data, it means you would not notice differences between generations.

When the researcher James Flynn looked at scores over the past century, he discovered a steady increase – the equivalent of around three points a decade. Today, that has amounted to 30 points in some countries.

Although the cause of the Flynn effect is still a matter of debate, it must be due to multiple environmental factors rather than a genetic shift.

Girls measuring height (Credit: Getty Images)

We have got taller over the last century or so, but that’s not due to genetic changes (Credit: Getty Images)

Perhaps the best comparison is our change in height: we are 11cm (around 5 inches) taller today than in the 19th Century, for instance – but that doesn’t mean our genes have changed; it just means our overall health has changed.

Indeed, some of the same factors may underlie both shifts. Improved medicine, reducing the prevalence of childhood infections, and more nutritious diets, should have helped our bodies to grow taller and our brains to grow smarter, for instance. Some have posited that the increase in IQ might also be due to a reduction of the lead in petrol, which may have stunted cognitive development in the past. The cleaner our fuels, the smarter we became.

Whatever the cause of the Flynn effect, we may have already reached the end of this era – with the rise in IQs stalling

This is unlikely to be the complete picture, however, since our societies have also seen enormous shifts in our intellectual environment, which may now train abstract thinking and reasoning from a young age. In education, for instance, most children are taught to think in terms of abstract categories (whether animals are mammals or reptiles, for instance). We also lean on increasingly abstract thinking to cope with modern technology. Just think about a computer and all the symbols you have to recognise and manipulate to do even the simplest task. Growing up immersed in this kind of thinking should allow everyone to cultivate the skills needed to perform well in an IQ test.

Whatever the cause of the Flynn effect, there is evidence that we may have already reached the end of this era – with the rise in IQs stalling and even reversing. If you look at Finland, Norway and Denmark, for instance, the turning point appears to have occurred in the mid-90s, after which average IQs dropped by around 0.2 points a year. That would amount to a seven-point difference between generations.

Man sawing branch he is sitting on (Credit: Getty Images)

Are we about to see an overall decline in IQ? (Credit: Getty Images)

 

Partly because they have emerged so recently, these trends are even harder to explain than the original Flynn effect. One possibility is that education has become slightly less stimulating than it once was – or at least, has not targeted the same skills. Some of the IQ tests used have assessed people’s mental arithmetic, for instance – but as Ole Rogeberg at the University of Oslo points out to me, students are probably more used to using calculators.

For now, it seems clear that our culture can shape our minds in mysterious ways.

DEEP CIVILISATION

This article is part of a BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time.

Modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”, the sociologist Elise Boulding once said. “If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote.

That’s why the Deep Civilisation season is exploring what really matters in the broader arc of human history and what it means for us and our descendants.

While scientists continue to untangle the causes of those trends, it’s worth questioning what these changes in IQ actually mean for society at large. Has the IQ boost of the Flynn effect brought us the dividends we might have hoped? And if not, why not?

A special issue of the Journal of Intelligence recently raised that specific question, and in the accompanying editorial, Robert Sternberg, a psychologist at Cornell University, wrote:

People are probably better at figuring out complex cell phones and other technological innovations than they would have been at the turn of the 20th Century. But in terms of our behaviour as a society, are you impressed with what 30 points has brought us? The 2016 US presidential election was probably about as puerile as any in our history… Moreover, higher IQs have not brought with them solutions to any of the world’s or the country’s major problems – rising income disparities, widespread poverty, climate change, pollution, violence, deaths by opioid poisoning, among others.

Sternberg may be a little too pessimistic here. Medicine has made huge strides in reducing problems like infant mortality, for example, and while extreme poverty is by no means solved, it has declined globally. That’s not to mention the enormous benefits of scientific technological advances that have, of course, relied on an intelligent workforce.

He is not alone in questioning whether the Flynn effect really represented a profound improvement in our intellectual capacity, however. James Flynn himself has argued that it is probably confined to some specific reasoning skills. In the same way that different physical exercises may build different muscles – without increasing overall “fitness” – we have been exercising certain kinds of abstract thinking, but that hasn’t necessarily improved all cognitive skills equally. And some of those other, less well-cultivated, abilities could be essential for improving the world in the future.

Two women in art gallery (Credit: Getty Images)

Creativity can mean more than artistic expression (Credit: Getty Images)

Take creativity. When researchers such as Sternberg discuss creativity, they are not just talking about artistic expression, but more grounded skills. How easily can you generate novel solutions to a problem? And how good is your “counterfactual thinking” – the ability to consider hypothetical scenarios that haven’t yet come to pass.

Intelligence should certainly help us to be more creative, but we do not see a rise in some measures of individual creative thinking over time, as our IQs increased. Whatever caused the Flynn effect, it hasn’t also encouraged us each to think in new and original ways.

You might assume that the more intelligent you are, the more rational you are, but it’s not quite this simple

Then there’s the question of rationality – how well you can make optimal decisions, by weighing up evidence and discounting irrelevant information.

You might assume that the more intelligent you are, the more rational you are, but it’s not quite this simple. While a higher IQ correlates with skills such as numeracy, which is essential to understanding probabilities and weighing up risks, there are still many elements of rational decision making that cannot be accounted for by a lack of intelligence.

Consider the abundant literature on our cognitive biases. Something that is presented as “95% fat-free” sounds healthier than “5% fat”, for instance – a phenomenon known as the framing bias. It is now clear that a high IQ does little to help you avoid this kind of flaw, meaning that even the smartest people can be swayed by misleading messages.

People with high IQs are also just as susceptible to the confirmation bias – our tendency to only consider the information that supports our pre-existing opinions, while ignoring facts that might contradict our views. That’s a serious issue when we start talking about things like politics.

Nor can a high IQ protect you from the sunk cost bias – the tendency to throw more resources into a failing project, even if it would be better to cut your losses – a serious issue in any business. (This was, famously, the bias that led the British and French governments to continue funding Concorde planes, despite increasing evidence that it would be a commercial disaster.)

Highly intelligent people are also not much better at tests of “temporal discounting”, which require you to forgo short-term gains for greater long-term benefits. That’s essential, if you want to ensure your comfort for the future.

Besides a resistance to these kinds of biases, there are also more general critical thinking skills – such as the capacity to challenge your assumptions, identify missing information, and look for alternative explanations for events before drawing conclusions. These are crucial to good thinking, but they do not correlate very strongly with IQ, and do not necessarily come with higher education. One study in the USA found almost no improvement in critical thinking throughout many people’s degrees.

Given these looser correlations, it would make sense that the rise in IQs has not been accompanied by a similarly miraculous improvement in all kinds of decision making.

As I explain in my book on the subject, a lack of rationality and critical thinking can explain why financial fraud is still commonplace, and the reason that millions of people dish out money on quack medicines or take unnecessary health risks.

For our society, it can lead to medical errors and miscarriages of justice. It may have even contributed to disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and global financial crises. It is also contributing to the spread of fake news, and the huge political polarisation on issues like climate change – preventing us from finding an agreed solution before it is too late.

Deepwater Horizon (Credit: Getty Images)

How do we avoid future disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill if we don’t embrace critical thinking? (Credit: Getty Images)

Considering the sweep of human history to date, then, we can see how our brains grew to live in increasingly complex societies. And modern life, while allowing us to think more abstractly, does not appear to have corrected our irrational tendencies. We have assumed that smart people naturally absorb good decision making as they go through life – but it is now clear that is not the case.

Looking to the future, the “reverse Flynn effect” and the potential drop in IQs should certainly cause us to take stock of the ways we are using our brains, and preventing any further decline should undoubtedly be a priority for the future. But we might also make a more concerted and deliberate effort to improve those other essential skills too that do not necessarily come with a higher IQ.

We now know that this kind of thinking can be taught – but it needs deliberate and careful instruction. Promising studies of doctors’ decision making, for instance, suggest that common cognitive errors can be avoided if they are taught to be more reflective about their thinking. That could save countless lives.

But why not teach these skills in early education? Wandi Bruine de Bruin, now based at Leeds University Business School, and colleagues have shown that discussions of decision making errors can be incorporated in the history curriculum of high school students, for instance. Not only did it improve their performance of a subsequent test of rationality; it also boosted their learning of the historical facts too.

Others have attempted to revitalise the teaching of critical thinking in schools and universities – for instance, a discussion of common conspiracy theories teaches students the principles of good reasoning, such as how to identify common logical fallacies and how to weigh up evidence. Having taken those lessons, the students appear to be more sceptical of misinformation in general – including fake news.

These successes are just a small indication of what can be done, if rationality and critical thinking are given the same kind of respect we have traditionally afforded our other cognitive abilities.

Ideally, we might then start to see a steep rise in rationality – and even wisdom – in tandem with the Flynn effect. If so, the temporary blip in our IQ scores need not represent the end of an intellectual golden age – but its beginning.

BBC



39 Comments on "Has humanity reached ‘peak intelligence’?"

  1. roccman on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 4:23 pm 

    Tolstoy in Anna Karenina says man was provided rationale to distract him from the titanic amount of evil in the world.

  2. makati1 on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 5:57 pm 

    “…it is argued by a group of researchers from the University of Adelaide that humans aren’t the brightest crayons in the box.”

    https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/human-intelligence-versus-whales-and-dolphins/

    “Well, while humans, as a species, are pretty smart, it’s impossible for us to claim the title of “most intelligent” species.”

    Food for thought…if you can think.

  3. Sissyfuss on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 7:29 pm 

    We’ve become much more brain aware with all the latest research done on the different sections and each ones area of expertise. Right now it’s the lizard thinking area, where our ancient and darker emotions lie that is favored in many of our citizens. Another section favored is the reactionary one, also favored by many. But what is needed is the section that gives us art and science and intricate thought. It seems that so few humans ever reach the enlightened basis that gives us our uniqueness and if having it too easy causes one to deemphasis the better angels of our mercies then a great transformation is about to take place that will force so many to fight through the maze of their mind and see the world and their place in it with such clarity that it will break their hearts.

  4. Davy on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 7:39 pm 

    makatoo, I am smarter than you by a Missouri mile. You and all the other dumbass anti-American extremists as well. Your comments are getting dumb and dumber, while my essays and dissertations continue to climb in both quality, and quantity. My documents easily show this to be true. I am getting smarter and more intelligent over time, while you and your gang-bangers are devolving into depressed mental cases.

  5. makati1 on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 7:43 pm 

    Sissy, you have it right. Many are hiding under the constant avalanche of fluff sold as “news”. Making online “friends” rather than real ones. When reality hits them between the eyes, the pain will drive them to their knees. Many will not survive. The suicide rates will go exponential.

  6. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 7:50 pm 

    2001 — US: Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Florida Governor Jeb Bush signs a bill banning execution of mentally retarded.

    (Obvious ploy to save the life of his brother George & stave off a precipitous reduction of the Florida electorate.)

  7. nostradamus on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 9:11 pm 

    Intelligence may be peaking but there is no sign of peak stupidity.

  8. JuanP on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 9:58 pm 

    OOps, I am JuanP not Davy

    juanpee id theft
    Davy on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 7:39 pm
    makatoo, I am smarter than you by a Missouri mile. You and all the other dumbass anti-American extremists as well. Your comments are getting dumb and dumber, while my essays and dissertations continue to climb in both quality, and quantity. My documents easily show this to be true. I am getting smarter and more intelligent over time, while you and your gang-bangers are devolving into depressed mental cases.

  9. More Dumbass Davy Identity Theft on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 10:53 pm 

    JuanP on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 9:58 pm

    Will the forum’s most mentally challenged person ever stop?

    Not likely. You can’t fix stupid.

  10. Professor J. Averill Snoopington, IV on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 12:53 am 

    JuanP on Fri, 12th Jul 2019 9:58 pm
    OOps, I am JuanP not Davy

    Way past your bedtime, DavySkum. You have been busy committing ID theft and sock puppeteering since 4:30 AM. How to get any work done on the fantasy farm if computer trolling is your occupation 17.5 hours a day.

  11. Darrell Cloud on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 6:50 am 

    Social welfare systems have suspended the consequences of bad decisions. Said another way, we have hired the bottom quartile to reproduce.

    Systemic collapse will begin the process of natural selection again.

  12. claes on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 8:41 pm 

    Elitarian systems have suspended the consequences of bad decisions. Said another way, we have hired the top corrupt 1% to reproduce the former great America.
    Systemic collapse will begin the process of natural selection again

  13. claes on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:03 pm 

    Darrell, The rot goes from the root to the top, or maybe it’s the other way…. who knows

  14. Davy on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:16 pm 

    Definitely from the root claes. Us one percenters are exceptional. It’s all you guyses fault. That’s why I have a private jet and all you dumbasses will ever have is a Buick.

  15. JuanP on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:22 pm 

    OOps, I am JuanP not Davy. Davy has me mentally chained and that is why I am so obsessive compulsive about him. I am now off the wall triggered.

    juanpee id theft:
    Davy on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:16 pm
    Definitely from the root claes. Us one percenters are exceptional. It’s all you guyses fault. That’s why I have a private jet and all you dumbasses will ever have is a Buick.

  16. More Dumbass Davy Identity Theft on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:25 pm 

    JuanP on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:22 pm

    JuanP doesn’t even post here anymore.

    Stupid

  17. Davy on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:32 pm 

    I hate you juanpee.

  18. Father Sullivan on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:36 pm 

    Love thine enemies like thy friend Davy.

  19. claes on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:36 pm 

    Juan, I’m all in for Trump. It’s the swamp i’m after.
    The swamp being Democrats or Republican , I don’t care.
    The american elite has managed their own country so badly that they deserve a “Darwin award” , which is the same as letting natural selection do it’s job.

  20. JuanP on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:38 pm 

    you are not worth the effort to hate juanpee. You are just a lunatic to be toyed with. I find your id games hilarious. I am very happy you have wasted a year of your life on mindless head games with no intellectual value. LMFAO

  21. JuanP on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:39 pm 

    juanpee were you abused by Father Sullivan?

  22. Michael Corleone on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:44 pm 

    Keep you friends close, and your enemies closer, and whatever you do, don’t piss off people you don’t even know over the Internet.

    That’s really stupid Davy.

  23. More Davy Identity Theft and Projections on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 10:29 pm 

    JuanP on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:38 pm

    JuanP on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:39 pm

    “were you abused by Father Sullivan?”

  24. Father Sullivan on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 10:41 pm 

    How many days has it been since your last confession Davy? Our records show that you’re long overdue.

  25. Davy on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 11:51 pm 

    “OOps, I am JuanP not Davy.””

    Oops. sorry again y’all. I’m having a identity crisis on top of all my other problems.

  26. Davy on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 3:02 am 

    Bless me father for I have sinned.

    I have committed the following transgressions, and I seek absolution. I am am guilty of:

    -stalking.
    -Identify theft
    -Sock puppetry.
    -exceptionalism
    -plagiarism
    -Douche-baggery.
    -excessive pride. Oh yes.
    -I have coveted my neighbors sheep. And goats. And donkeys. As well any rodents, raccoons and possums that happen to wander near enough for me to grab hold off.

    And I regularly kick the animals on my estate. It is my way of helping deal with my frustrations and anger. But, my bible says I have dominion over all the animals of the earth, so I am pretty sure the big guy upstairs will let that one slide. If he even minds, which I am pretty sure he does not.

    I only included this one for the sake of being thorough.

    Well, I feel much better. I’d love to stay and chat, but I have an essay to complete and have to check zero hedges latest links to copy and paste for everyone so, be talking down to you all in a couple hours.

  27. Davy on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 3:59 am 

    Oops sorry Father, I almost forgot.

    – bearing false witness against thy neighbour

    I do that one a lot. Please forgive me.

  28. JuanP on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 5:02 am 

    Juanpee id theft:
    Davy on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 3:02 am
    Davy on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 3:59 am
    Up most of the night drinking and drugging JuanP? What amazes me about your above comment is the amount of effort you put into mindless comments. You really have taken internet gaming to a new level of stupidity.

  29. More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 5:05 am 

    JuanP on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 5:02 am

  30. JuanP on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 5:13 am 

    Juanpee sock:
    Michael Corleone on Sat, 13th Jul 2019 9:44 pm
    Keep you friends close, and your enemies closer, and whatever you do, don’t piss off people you don’t even know over the Internet. That’s really stupid Davy.

    JuanP, my effort to fight your mentally ill stalking and ad homs is part of my prep efforts. The world is full of mindless stupid aggressive people and you are one. You rarely have any intellectual to say. Little of that is on topic. You are just making a mockery of this site because like you say above “you are pissed off” One year of your life devoted to mindless ad hom stalking. LMFAO. VICTORY.

  31. More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 5:15 am 

    JuanP on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 5:13 am

  32. Gaia on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 6:00 pm 

    There is no such thing as “online friends” and “online romance”- it’s a crock of shit. Nobody knows for sure who they are interacting with online.

  33. Gaia on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 6:04 pm 

    Social media is controlled by intelligence agencies and user’s personal information is shared, not kept private.

  34. makati1 on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 7:13 pm 

    gaia, you are spot on. I could be an educated 18 year old female with a permanent tan. How would you, or anyone else, know I’m not? You wouldn’t. But I really am a 75 year old American male living in the Philippines. Prove that I am not. lol

    Online friends are a sick joke along with online romance. When the internet goes down permanently, millions are going to be in shock as their digital world evaporates into harsh reality. So be it. The psyber disease is only spreading, mostly among the young and the social outcasts. I have no online “friends” that I have not met personally face to face, or family.

    “Psyber, was a constructed hybrid that arose from Cyber which was physical machine connection to the human body, and Psychology, to represent a word designating the psychological connection with networked machines.”

    “… networked machines” or people you do not know physically, another form of machine, perhaps computer generated? Beeep!

  35. makati1 on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 7:31 pm 

    I wish I had friends but keep this a secret that is why I am here. Juan and Anon are my best friends.

  36. JuanP on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 7:34 pm 

    “This Won’t End Well” – Lies, Damned Lies, & China’s Retail Sales Data
    As far back as 2013, China’s macro-economic data has been ‘questionably’ smoothed at best, and outright fake at worst. Whether it is trade data (“never been faker” than in 2016) or aggregate production (2018’s massive GDP distortions), as economist Nouriel Roubini once asserted, China just makes its numbers up. This month was no exception…Following China GDP’s dramatic slowing to just 6.2% YoY – the slowest since record began – there was a delightful surprise to appease those who are wondering whether record credit injections and more easing measures than during the financial crisis had any effect at all. China retail sales and industrial production rebounded handsomely with the former spiking 9.8% YoY – the most since March 2018. There’s just one thing though – the entire surge in retail sales (and industrial production) seems to have been triggered by an almost unprecedented sudden surge in auto sales to large (state-owned) enterprises…A 17.2% YoY explosion in sales to SEOs (up from just 2.1% in May) – the most since August 2011 – is almost too good to be believed (ok forget almost, it is too good to believe and seems like pure top-down manipulation of the data – whether sales were effectuated or not), echoing the kind of forced buying rush that occurred in 2009. And that did not end well. However, absent considerably more liquidity, forced credit injections, or a miracle, Auto sales are about to hit a wall as China’s credit impulse begins to slow…Finally, no matter what China does to ‘flatter’ its data and project economic might in the face of Trump tariffs and a collapsing ponzi scheme, the single stat that is hardest to fake (and easiest to see reality) is the dramatic decline in the marginal productivity of debt. As John Rubino recently noted, China, like the US, is getting progressively less bang for each newly-borrowed buck. There’s a point at which new borrowing doesn’t just product less wealth but actually destroys it. The US and China are heading that way fast, while Europe might be there already. As Evans-Pritchard, notes, the result is “maximum vulnerability.”

  37. More Deranged Davy Identity Theft on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 8:21 pm 

    JuanP on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 7:34 pm

  38. More Davy Identity Theft and Child Like Behaviour on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 8:23 pm 

    makati1 on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 7:31 pm

    “I wish I had friends but keep this a secret that is why I am here. Juan and Anon are my best friends.”

  39. muhamad-bin-pedo.al-ameriki-akafmr on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 9:46 pm 

    (((supertard))) sergey brinn has give us google and we’re smarter but machine is smarter faster. we’re smart like “veger”.
    the era of meat cpu is over with the relinquish — first to ibm deep blue chess – and only in recent memory the game “GO”.

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