Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Culture, worldview does make a difference in economic outcomes.

Mitt Romney is being criticized for suggesting that the economic disparity between Israel and the Palestinian state could be ascribed to culture.  A Palestinian leader accused him of racism.

To suggest that culture, which is the aggregate values and beliefs of a society, doesn't impact a nation's economic development is ludicrious. 

The economic success of the West is largely attributable to values and beliefs which flowed out of Christianity and the biblical tradition.  See Rodney Stark's book, "The Victory of Reason".  The belief that there are economic laws of nature which govern economic activity are self evident and common sense.  Ideas have consequences.  Simply look at the US and it's free market system and the former USSR and government run economy.  What's the difference?  Ideas.  Beliefs which work their way out through the culture. (I think the problems facing the US economically are due to faulty ideas making their way into our culture.)

To suggest some countries are underdeveloped because they have cultural problems isn't racist but common sense.

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