Dumbing down has a high price

We’ve all seen it and maybe even succumbed to it. I’m talking about the all-pervasive opiates for the masses, international borders notwithstanding. This includes Big Brother, the guessing games, the cookery shows and the endless procession of utterly senseless “Promi” news; a 24/7 iPod drowning out the “real world”.

Looking at the results starting to come out of the school system studies (Pisa et al) show something quite remarkable. Something I for one didn’t expect. The results of full time schooling and the benefits of relatively good dietary conditions since the end of the 19th century led to a peak in measured IQs in the late 1960s. It is not possible to judge the influence of the revolutions (social) that swept the western hemisphere; the horizon expanding questioning of everything, up to and including the sacred old set in concrete values of the past.

Whether all that was constructive is debatable but the interesting thing though seems to be reflected in a pattern that shows the IQ levels in Europe have been declining since the late sixties. The arrival of round the clock TV first in the UK followed by Holland, Germany, France, preceded the declines in the measured IQs in these countries. It seems as soon as the previously restricted times of transmission and in some households, the restriction of viewing for children to maybe an hour a day or even half an hour, just enough to watch “Pussy Cat Willum” and the news, the IQ levels began to fall. With the end of the National Anthem at 10:30 and the Test Card things appeared to go to pot.

A link to an interesting article is included here. The nub here is the quote “…in a 100 year period the world’s average IQ will have dropped from 92 to 86, a change of 6%.” If the trend is correct we are all on the way to becoming complete retards.

Now I’m not silly enough to blame the decline solely on the mass media. Although, god knows there is enough junk out there to mesmerise. No, that’s not it! Not alone any way. There are other major factors that must be taken into account when looking at the demise of IQ. The late sixties saw a massive influx of cheap labour into Europe, Britain from its former colonies, the boatloads of Punjabis who were brought to south London from the foothills of the Himalayas to making sausages in Southall. Not the academic elite by any means. The Influx from the Caribbean, without which London Transport (as it was then called) would have collapsed, again no disrespect but these weren’t mental astronauts either. There was also Germany, with the vast influx of Southern Italians and Yugoslavians, France with its Algerians, Holland the Indonesians and so on. So it might be a nice idea to say, “…it’s the telly wot dun it .“ But sadly it isn’t just that.

The reduction in IQ has tangible repercussions in the economics of the world. If we draw the picture for our own microcosm, TRNC, we maybe can see the influences of the factors involved in this dumbing down in more detail at a more understandable level maybe. Here we have the combined effects of three major factors:

Firstly: the ethnic cleansing of the area, the removal of the traditional business acumen and businesses, leading to a decline in living standards which lead to the skilled workforce packing their bags and leaving for pastures new; Palmers Green and Tottenham come to mind. There was a move from the tradition of working for someone for a wage and then suddenly being left freefalling in an economy that produced nothing since the workforce had left to get jobs abroad.

Secondly: and not insignificantly, the influx (some may say forced) of poorly educated and economically weak elements from Anatolia.  See parallels above

Thirdly: the arrival of more and more “junk TV”, “mind switch off” MP3 music and Internet trivia.

One could argue this achieves the objective of the pure “Turkish State” and gives a government the ability do to what it wants without let or hindrance as the population is politically illiterate, if not actually, which I think is also a major problem in TRNC. A population that is, apathetic at best or easily manipulated at worst is not good for democracy.

So what has this dumbing down done for the fledgling state? A dislocated population with no roots in the culture of the Island, a two tier society, settlers and Cypriots of whom the former have little or no idea what is expected of them or what they can expect. A section of society often mocked for its “stupidity” and “idleness”. On top of this the effective contribution this group appears to make to the economy as a whole is its apparent willingness to do the jobs no locals want or, in its “Turkishness”, a somewhat dubious benefit to the community as a whole.

A Cypriot population that believes its own “humbug” that the lack of recognition and the continuing isolation from the rest of the world are the reasons for their lack of competitiveness compared to their southern counterparts. Statistically the divide between earnings in the North and the South, taking the black economy into account in the North, doesn’t appear to be that great after all. The isolation was from the beginning self-imposed, both before and after the intervention of Mother Turkey. But, sadly, there appears to be nobody left  capable of understanding this. It is always the fault of others.

The dumbing down has its price in the quality of management, this is apparent in the catastrophic demise and / or condition of some of the state’s nationalised and semi-nationalised industries. I think I can leave the reader to put the names in the frame here.

The dumbing down has its price in trade. The isolation argument here has lost its place in the front running reasons for the distorted trade balance; a far more serious argument is that fact there is nothing to sell.

Then, there is, some may say, deliberately contrived dependence on Turkey for economic support. The fledgling will never fly if the parent feeds it forever. No motivation to get up and do something is only part of the answer, no acumen to do it is a far greater one. Is this dependency keeping the parties apart? Is the attachment to the vagaries of the Turkish Lira a  boon or a millstone?  The harsh fact is that there are avenues for trade, be they across the “Green Line” or via Turkey. The reality is that there is nothing to trade. Because of the general dumbing down that has taken place not even the things that could have generated income. The building industry and the half-baked attempts to “regulate” a free for all is just one of many examples.

43% of the TRNC’s GDP was generated by construction in 2004 and stupidity has seen this figure drop catastrophically. Drifts in sovereign income are not uncommon. You only have to look at the states that have or are running out of oil for proof. TRNC’s problem is that there has been nothing to replace it. How about Tourism? Do intelligent beings destroy cultural heritage sites for posterity? Manufactured goods? Generations of lawyers are qualifying at universities with degrees only recognised here. Does a state with 200,000 inhabitants need more government employees than lawyers, more lawyers than cash generating tourists? I don’t think so.

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