Website owner:  James Miller

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Formula for Economic Development

   We live in a world in which there are a few wealthy nations and 
   a whole lot of very poor nations.  Today the vast majority of 
   mankind is poor even though there is great wealth in a few 
   countries.  The United States, Canada, the countries of 
   western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan enjoy a high 
   standard of living.  The most of the people in most of the rest 
   of the countries of the world are poor.  What has made the rich 
   countries wealthy and why are the poor countries poor?  Well, 
   behind the wealth of the wealthy countries is a great long, 
   gradual development process involving the industrial 
   revolution, the long arduous advance of science, invention and 
   technology in combination with ever and ever larger 
   aggregations of capital being put to use in production and long 
   hours of hard work of hundreds of millions of industrious, 
   hardworking people over a great many years.  All this, employed 
   in the utilization of a country's natural resources, has slowly 
   built all the many great infrastructures of the wealthy 
   countries of the world that provide all the conveniences that 
   their peoples enjoy. A vast, complex, interdependent system has 
   gradually developed in these countries that provides the 
   peoples with their high standard of living.  A journey of a 
   thousand miles is made a step at a time and the development of 
   the wealthy countries of the world has occurred a step at a 
   time.  It has been a plant of slow growth, one generation 
   building on the work of previous generations, man building on 
   the structures of his forefathers.  What has actually happened 
   has been that a few countries have grown increasingly wealthy 
   while the people in the most of the countries of the world have 
   simply continued living in the way that mankind has lived for 
   thousands of years.  Thus the people in these poor countries 
   are poor only by comparison with the people in the wealthy 
   countries of the world.  "Poor" depends on what you are 
   comparing with.  They are not poor in comparison with the way 
   mankind has lived for thousands of years.  The poor countries 
   of the world have simply been left behind, have not developed 
   very fast in comparison with the wealthy countries of the 
   world.  The poorer countries have just not been able to get the 
   formula right.  They just haven't been able to duplicate that 
   complicated mix of ingredients that has produced the wealth of 
   the wealthy countries.  The plant just doesn't seem to want to 
   grow.  The soil isn't right, the temperature isn't right, or 
   something.  And with modern satellite television, etc. the 
   poorer people of the world learn how the people in the wealthy 
   countries of the world live and they become envious and 
   dissatisfied with their own lot.  They become restive and want 
   change.  And they become attracted to people and political 
   movements offering quick and easy solutions --- like the 
   Communists.  Many like the ideas of the Communists --- take 
   from the rich and give to the poor.  They would love to have 
   the wealth of the rich. 

   The countries of Latin America.  The countries of Africa.  What 
   is the problem?  First, recreating what the wealthy countries 
   have done isn't a quick, easy, simple process.  It takes time.  
   Second, I think there is something else that plays an important 
   role in economic development besides just natural resources, 
   capital and technical knowhow.  I think the character of a 
   people, their mentality, their culture, plays a critically 
   important role.  Different peoples have different mentalities, 
   different ways of thinking.  In my mind I compare German 
   mentality and character with Latin mentality and character.  
   Germans have a reputation for being energetic, punctual, 
   methodical, organized, efficient and industrious.  They have 
   that reputation and they are, as a group, indeed so.  Latins, 
   as a group, are, on the other hand, (to say it bluntly) 
   unpunctual, unmethodical, disorganized, inefficient and often 
   not particularly energetic or industrious --- a fact that can 
   be testified to by anyone who has traveled in Latin countries 
   (these are generalizations and there are, of course, always 
   lots of exceptions).  Most of the wealthy nations of the world 
   are made up mostly of peoples of northern European (Germanic) 
   origin, people known for being energetic, industrious, efficient 
   and hardworking.  Work has a lot to do with wealth.  Certain 
   character traits have a lot to do with wealth.  Belief in 
   education, an emphasis on education, has a lot to do with 
   wealth.  The wealth of a nation is the collective wealth of its 
   inhabitants.  Hundreds of millions of energetic, intelligent, 
   educated, industrious, efficient, organized people working 
   together create wealth, for themselves and for their 
   descendants.  Hundreds of millions of unenergetic, 
   disorganized, uneducated people not working together don't 
   create much wealth.

   What countries of the world were settled by the English?  
   How many countries which were settled by the English are poor?  
   None.  Is that just accident?  Which countries of the world 
   were settled by the Spanish?  How many of those are rich?  How 
   many are poor?  They are all poor.  Is that just accident?  I 
   don't think so.  If we look at ethnic groups within countries, 
   do some ethnic groups tend to be prosperous and others poor?  
   If so, which groups tend to be prosperous and which poor?  
   Different cultures can be very deeply and radically different.  
   Far more different than a person who has lived his entire life 
   in a single culture might be able to comprehend.  Cultural 
   mentalities can be radically different.  Personal financial 
   success has a lot to do with mentality.

   Does religion play any role in determining what countries are 
   rich and which are poor?  I note that most of the rich countries 
   of the world are predominantly Christian Protestant and that 
   almost all countries that are predominantly Christian Protestant 
   are rich. On the other hand, almost all countries in which other 
   religions dominate are poor.  Consider the countries dominated 
   by Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox churches, Islam, Hinduism,
   Buddhism, Confucianism, etc.  They are all poor. (exceptions 
   to the above rule are France, Israel and Japan).  Is there 
   something in Protestant mentality that accounts for the fact that 
   Protestant countries tend to become wealthy?  Or could it be that 
   God has especially favored the Protestants, blessed them?  

   It has become popular in certain liberal circles in America to 
   speak disparagingly of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, referring 
   to them as WASP's.  Well, the WASP's have had a lot to do with 
   what has made America wealthy and powerful.

   Feb 2001

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