Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Greediness of America

Liberals like to indict America as being uniquely money-obsessed. Sociologists claim it is a fundamental feature of the country (unlike most other countries). The World Values Survey asked respondents if the statement "wanting to get rich" sounds like them. Here are the percentages who answered "very much like me" or "like me" (N = 71,288):
Country % Agree
Ghana 62.2
Mali 57.4
South Africa 48.5
Morocco 47.3
Ethiopia 42.7
Zambia 41.6
Rwanda 36.2
Jordan 35.8
Burkina Faso 35.2
India 31.0
Iran 29.8
Malaysia 29.1
Turk 28.5
Vietnam 23.6
China 23.1
Indonesia 20.7
Egypt 19.6
Ukraine 19.6
Russia 18.9
Moldova 17.5
Cyprus 16.9
Trinidad 16.8
Chile 16.7
Serbia 16.6
Georgia 16.5
Romania 14.2
Thailand 13.7
Germany 12.1
Poland 10.4
Bulgaria 10.0
South Korea 10.0
Taiwan 10.0
England/Wales 7.5
Scotland 7.5
Canada 7.4
Mexico 7.1
Netherlands 7.1
Slovenia 6.7
Spain 6.5
Australia 6.0
USA 5.9
Uruguay 5.7
Andorra 5.6
Finland 5.4
France 5.4
Peru 4.9
Sweden 4.3
Switzerland 4.2
Argentina 4.1
Brazil 4.0
Norway 2.8
Japan 2.3

Out of a sample of 52 countries, the United States ranks 41st in greediness.


  1. Anonymous2:56 PM

    At a quick glance, the correlation with povery level is crystal clear.

  2. Anonymous2:57 PM

    I should add, desperately poor unstable societies. I neglected countries like Brazil and Peru, which are rather poor, but not dire.

  3. Stephen9:14 PM

    I'd guess that 'rich' invokes something entirely different to a Ghanian than to a North American.

    Ditto 'greed'.

  4. There may be cultural differences in willingness to describe yourself in a certain light. It'd be wise to look at more than one reference point before making a claim as the whole geography of thought thing might apply.

    For example, the percentage of people in the west that say they're "very proud" of their country is quite high, but the number unwilling to serve in the military is around 1 in 3. You see the exact opposite in the east where it's just not socially acceptable to say you're "very proud" of something, but a very large percentage are willing to serve in the military.

    Germany and Japan are outliers.


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