American exceptionalism, Part II: A second characteristic of American society that makes it unique, according to a recent speech given by Charles Murray, is a lack of class envy. Supposedly, this trait of ours drives the class-conscious Europeans mad. The World Values Survey asked respondents if incomes should be made more equal (1) or if incomes differences need to be larger to create incentive (10) or to choose a number in between the extremes.
Burkina Faso 7.1
South Korea 6.5
World mean 5.9
South Africa 5.5
Great Britain 5.4
New Zealand 5.4
Hong Kong 4.8
Notice how quite a few developing countries agree that income inequality is necessary, and it is particularly interesting how Russians believe this. It looks like Africa tends to agree, but developed Europe, the region Murray is comparing us with, does not. Mexico seems to accept large income differences, which is an indication that immigrants from that country might not have an intense desire for income redistribution here.
So, the picture is similar to the last post: the U.S. is different from Europe, but some developing countries seem to be more American now than America--at least in sentiment, if not reality.
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