Yes, Culture Does Matter

Yet, how then to account for Jordan, where GDP per capita is just $5,900, or Egypt, where it is only $6,500? Israel can hardly be blamed for a lack of economic growth in those countries. In fact, no Arab nation without substantial oil wealth has a GDP per capita greater than half that of Israel.

Perhaps Romney could have used a better term than “culture” to describe the combination of attitudes toward markets, the role of government, the welfare state, inequality, and institutions that underpin a nation’s economy, but nit-picking about terminology shouldn’t eclipse the larger truth: If a nation hopes to prosper, it must foster a culture conducive to prosperity.

In fact, Israel itself had to change in order to spur economic growth, abandoning the old socialist solidarity of the kibbutz for a political culture that encourages entrepreneurship, investment, and risk-taking.

via Yes, Culture Does Matter – Michael Tanner – National Review Online.

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