Discussion: Culture and Prosperity

That’s the debate these days that dominates politics and world affairs.  Do people’s values  and those of the community around them influence success?  Romney waded into the muddle this week, comparing Israel’s relative stability and prosperity to it’s neighbors’ lesser fortunes.  Palestinians and their allies were offended at the implication of course, with cries of “Oppression!” and “Occupation!”  Amounting to “We never got the chance!”  [One could argue that many economic crises are political rather than shortage-based, but that’s another post.]

Lost in that flaming troll-swamp is the comparison to Israel’s other basket case neighbors, who have less “oppression” from the Jews and fewer “occupations” to worry about.  Egypt and Syria and Saudi Arabia are still oppressive police states who’s only access to even the veneer of prosperity is fueled by the Western oil market.  Lebanon is still a failed state ruled from the shadows by Hezbollah terrorists.  Jordan and Turkey are just kind of caught in the middle, but wander down the path to modernization/liberalization in fits and starts.  Maybe there is something to what former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir(Hey, look who in the region broke the Feminist Glass Ceiling first!) said: “There will be peace when they start to love their children more than they hate us.”

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