Oct 8, 2007, 4:43 PM
Post #4 of 15
Similarly, I recall a book that claimed that a country's economic success is a function of the culture. I tend to think that corruption, rule of law, and even education are a function of the culture. Note that the Scandinavian countries consistently rank very low on corruption, lower than their neighboring countries.
Re: [caldwelld] A Mexican in the US is 5 times more productive than at home
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And of course corruption and rule of law are to some extent functions of the government.
If you want to see an example of a country exhibiting collapse due to bad government, look at Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The country was the breadbasket of Africa, and now there is not enough food to feed the residents, due to a badly botched land reform scheme.
It all makes a lot of sense to me. If natural resources were important, then Russia would be an immensely rich country. I believe that Russia also has a substantial educated class, but lacks rule of law, has too much corruption, etc. Communism did not help either.
China is an interesting example of a country that is suddenly prospering due to a change of government. In that case, the social culture has not changed much, but the government is encouraging capitalism instead of fighting it. So there government seems to be trumping culture.
It all reminds me of something that a Mexican said to me many years ago, when I said that "Mexico is a poor country". He corrected me, and said that "Mexico is a rich country, only the people are poor." He was referring to natural resources, silver, oil, etc., which Mexico has in abundance. He blamed the poverty of the people on the government and the ruling class.
Mexico has had bad government in a one-party system for 70 years, but I don't think that is the whole story. Mexico lacks an educated population. Mexico has lots of corruption and not much rule of law. And Mexicans have a track record of fighting amongst themselves instead of pulling together, as can be easily seen by reading a history of Mexico, or just reading the daily paper.