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Globalization, Economic Scale, and Talent – The Realities of Asia

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Michael Specht pointed me at this video link where he drew out the following thought: “the 25% of China population with the highest IQ is larger than the total population of North America.” ((Specht, Michael, February 11, 2007. “The Growth of Our Planet and its Impact.” Retrieved from on February 24, 2007.)) I’ve speculated that if you combined India and China, those two countries would be able to produce enough engineers over ten years to equal the entire size of the U.S. workforce. Consider having the talent base that you could innovate at a pace more rapid than currently conceivable just because of pure numbers.

Consider Michael’s thought. The 25% of the Chinese population that has the highest IQ is already larger than the entire U.S. population, not just the U.S. workforce. Let’s project this to India. The 15% of the smartest people in both India and China are larger than the entire U.S. population. And let’s be sensible, the smartest people over there really are as smart as the smartest people over here. The point being that they will have 10 times more “prodigies” and innovators than we will.

Here are some comments and questions that I have and don’t have answers to. (Gautam probably knows)

  • I fully believe that the educational infrastructure in India is quickly catching up to the U.S. However, India still sends students to places like the U.S. and the U.K. Is this due to quality, diversity, or capacity?
  • At the same time, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that China is nowhere in sight of creating the educational capacity needed to support the type of talent growth it is destined for. How many years it will take is an unknown. People say that China is the next frontier. I still believe that India is so far ahead of China that it will be 2 decades or more before China begins to realize its total potential. There’s the talent problem and the infrastructure to support it, but there’s also the issue with language. The language of business is not currently Mandarin.

Also from Michael’s post, “If you are 1 in a million in China there are 1,300 others just like you.” ((Ibid)) This applies to India as well (close enough anyway). For every really brilliant person you know of, there are 2500 people equally as talented in India and China. Now that’s something to think about.

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4 responses to “Globalization, Economic Scale, and Talent – The Realities of Asia”

  1. Romuald Restout Avatar

    I think there is one aspect that you overlook here. Not all parts of China and India are equal.
    While in some parts of these countries, education is indeed quickly catching up to western countries, there are vast parts that are far behind, and these parts will also contain some of these 25% of the population with the highest IQ.
    At the end of the day, the pool of talent that is actually available is smaller than the numbers you describe. That still makes a big number.

  2. […] and DD have been blogging a bit about the numbers of geniuses from India and China :-)DD has some […]

  3. systematicHR Avatar

    GG on the Indian and Chinese Educational Infrastructure:

  4. […] Asian geniuses Michael and DD have been blogging a bit about the numbers of geniuses from India and China :-)DD has some […]