IQ and Social Status and Success

I thought this was pretty fascinating…from the post The verbal tilt model, Emil O. W. Kirkegaard posits a link between IQ and social status, as shown by the matrix below:

Regardless of political affiliation, high IQ people, either in terms of quantitative or linguistic/verbal intelligence, have higher social status relative to their peers than those who are less intelligent.

I came to a similar conclusion: IQ, especially in our increasingly technological and efficient economy, is, more then ever, positively correlated with wealth and social status, especially online. This holds both in terms of relative social status and success and absolute social status and financial and personal success.

An astonishing 141 million people voted in the US 2020 presidential election. Even adjusting for population growth, that blows 2016 out of the water and sets a new record both in terms of total votes and relative number of votes. It is mostly average-IQ people, who have little social status, education, or wealth, who voted. This can possibly explain why educated elites, on either side of the political spectrum, are somewhat critical of democracy (which makes it a shared narrative), because even in a constitutional republic with considerable checks and balances, voting is one of the few ways average, low-status people can influence how society is run, and I think these elites, possibly rightfully so, are concerned about the possibility of ill-informed voting for bad policy or bad leaders. There is the concern that average-IQ pepel are not only less informed of the issues but also more easily swayed by rhetoric, appeals to emotion, and false/wrong narratives.

From the post America: The rise of the smart

Generations ago, the opportunities for high IQ people to become highly successful financially and or socially, where limited. Some became writers, professors, economists, or policy makers working behind the scenes in rooms that persistently smelled of cigarette smoke. But there wasn’t much of an opportunity to distinguish oneself. Athletes and actors, generations ago, had considerable status, more so than even today, as nowadays entertainment has become much more fragmented and decentralized due to the the rise of the internet and the decline of mass media such as record labels.

But the information age, starting in in the early ’80s with personal computers, and then in the ’90s with the world wide web, and finally in the 2000s with apps and social networking, turned the tables in favor of the brainy, who found themselves with more wealth and social status than earlier generations could have imagined was possible. It’s not just about genius tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, but also on a smaller scale, too, where this wealth and status disparity between the smart and average is obvious.

The correlation between IQ and success and social status holds not just for ‘professional work’, but also for social media success (such as number of followers).

Some examples:

Number of twitter followers and YouTube subscribers, Instagram followers, etc. Excluding celebrities, brands/businesses, and athletes, the number of followers one has on Twitter is correlated with IQ. On the IDW, for example, Eric Weinstein and Lex Freidman have hundreds of thousands of followers and they are both high-IQ. This also holds for political twitter accounts, too. James Woods has a very high IQ and a lot of followers and social status on Twitter.

On YouTube, videos by Bill Gates Paul, who used to be a programmer but is presumably retried and makes videos about alt/dissident-right politics, get thousands of views and hundreds of comments, indicating considerable popularity and above-average social status, in part because Bill conveys being smart and has a high IQ. If his IQ were only average, his channel would not be nearly as popular, because by being smart, viewers are more inclined to take his opinions seriously. Being a programmer, which Bill occasionally mentions in his videos, helps convey credibility, which is an invaluable resource when there are so many channels vying for attention. Bill also has a very popular Twitter account, with 67 thousands followers, and his tweets get hundreds of likes and dozens of comments. That pales in comparison to many celebrities, but relative to political personalities and cultural critics, Bill’s relative success is very high, in large part due to having a high IQ. Same same also holds for another YouTube and Twitter right-wing personality, ‘Styx666’, who conveys the outward appearance of being smart through his appearance, mannerisms, and speaking style, is also very popular.

The same holds on Twitter for scientists and other STEM people and social scientists, who tend to have thousands of followers. By comparison, the typical average-IQ person who comments on Trump or Biden’s twitter accounts, has fewer than 100 followers. These people think their tweets matter and are being read: they most certainly are not. Of the thousands of comments posted in response to tweets Trump and Biden, Twitter may only choose 200 or so comments to be displayed, usually by order of number of likes and retweets. So it is mostly comments posted by accounts that have a lot of followers, that are displayed.

IQ is predictive of Reddit Karma, Stack Exchange points, etc. High-IQ people, who compose 2000-10,000-word ‘effort posts’, which get tons of votes, are bestowed Karma for their contributions, and hence status if they do it enough times. People of average IQ generally do not write effort posts, both because they are not smart enough to articulate their thoughts/beliefs cogently into long-form writing; and, second, because they tend to not hold strong convictions or opinions about anything. Subject-matter experts on sites such as Physics Exchange, Math Exchange, or Stack Exchange, get a lot of points, and hence status, for their helpful contributions, and with enough points can be used to land career opportunities or pad one’s resume.

IQ is predictive of Only Fans, Patreon, and TikTok followers, subscribers, and revenue. Yes, even success at porn or soft-core porn is positively correlated with IQ. The college wage premium even holds for escorts and other sex workers.

IQ is highly predictive of FIRE (financial independence, early retirement) success and stock/option trading success (such as on r/wallstreetbets). From IQ: it is about relative success

IQ , as mentioned above, is highly predictive of relative success to one’s peers for endeavors that have a cognitive component. On “FIRE” subs, people who attain financial Independence early almost all are in tech or other professional jobs and have high IQs. Those who take longer to retire or retire with less money at a later age, tend to have lower IQs and work in jobs that do not pay as well. So IQ is highly predictive of FIRE success, which is specific, as opposed to more general ‘life success.’ Of course there are plenty of high-IQ people who take a long time to retire or die penniless, but among people who aspire to retire early with a lot of money, it is almost exclusively all high IQ (with the exception of athletes and entertainers, but these are very rare. There are way more coders getting rich than actors or athletes.).