Readers who've been following my series of articles on the current Ebola crisis in Congo will recall that one of the biggest problems is cultural blindness to the seriousness of the problem. This article sums up the local cultural approach. The root of the problem is, one's dealing with a very low local level of average intelligence. I'm not being racist or discriminatory in the least by saying that; it's a scientific, measurable fact. That lack of intelligence overall makes it very, very difficult to educate the locals into a healthier, more rational approach to the problem.
(That doesn't only apply to Ebola, either. If you install a water purification system in a tribal village, you'll soon find that it stops working within a matter of weeks, because those charged with maintaining it simply don't bother to do so. It's some sort of voodoo or magic to them, not something they can control or do anything about. If it breaks, they can always go back to drawing polluted water out of the river, just as their ancestors did for generations. It's your problem, as the donor, to fix it - never theirs; and if you don't fix it, you've cheated them by giving them a defective product. I speak from long and bitter experience!)
I've been reminded anew of this issue during the investigation into the recent crashes of two Boeing 737 Max airliners, one in Indonesia, the other in Ethiopia. It's clear that Boeing needs to at least do some redesign work on their systems, to make them more transparent to pilots and easier to operate. Nevertheless, I can't help noting the very clear signs that in both cases, maintenance and basic flight skills were lacking. I won't go into detail here, because that would take far too long; but it's already clear that the Indonesian aircraft was not properly maintained, and in both cases, the flight crews made several mistakes that may have been major factors in causing the crashes. Of course, it's politically incorrect to say that, which is why neither investigation has yet come out and stated it in so many words: but if you talk to US pilots of the same aircraft, their opinions are pretty much unanimous. They can point to specific problems and incidents and actions, and criticize them on the basis of expert knowledge.
I recommend an article about world IQ that shows the problem in graphic detail. Here's an excerpt.
David Becker has released a new version of the World’s IQ. Each country has a score showing the cognitive abilities of their citizens, this being a blend of genetics and the environment of each country, particularly as regards education and health. (Click both images for a larger view.)
The world’s global score is 82. This is 12th percentile rank on the Greenwich Mean Intelligence benchmark of IQ 100. As school teachers used to say in end of year reports: “Could do better”.
What does IQ 82 mean in practical terms? The account below gives the achievements as shown in Western economies, with free education and usually free healthcare, and will need to be adjusted for other economies, probably downwards to account for poorer educational systems and the burdens of ill health.
Here, in broad terms, are descriptions of those in the IQ 75 (5th percentile) to IQ 90 (25th percentile) range.
There's more at the link. It's well worth reading the whole article, to see the implications of these numbers for national economies and destinies.
There are many who decry such statistics as meaningless, racist, discriminatory, and all the rest. Trouble is, for those of us who've been "on the ground" all over the world, in many of those countries, the IQ statistics are a very accurate predictor of how much we'll be able to do in a given location, and how well the locals will be able to assimilate what we do with them, and take control of their own destinies once we're no longer there to hold their hands. The correlation, in my experience, is as close to 100% as makes no difference.