Monday, January 15, 2007

Mexicans have the worst values in the world: The World Values Survey asked people in all regions of the world in the early 90s if the following are ever justified: falsely claiming government benefits; avoiding transportation fare; buying stolen goods; cheating on taxes; stealing a car for a joyride; keeping lost money; lying in one's interest; being unfaithful; and accepting bribes. I averaged the ranks for each of the 40 countries, and zeroed in on the worst five:

Worst values ranking:
1. Mexico
2. Finland
3. France
4. West Germany
5. Belgium

Czechoslovakia is (was) about as bad as Mexico, but they were not asked several of the questions so they were left out. The remaining four were not even as close to being as accepting of bad behavior as Mexicans were. I'm sure that some respondents were creative and thought up ways when these things could be justified, but bleh--I still think the questions capture moral zeal or the lack of it.

But the neocons instruct us that Mexican immigration revitalizes America's decaying values. They will help us get our family lives back together. The wisdom of these guys is indeed breathtaking.


  1. Can you list the numbers of your averaged ranking so we can get a better feel for the gap?

  2. I wonder how much these kind of questions lose in translation. It's pretty easy to translate into Spanish, but I wonder if the the Finnish translation was a botch. Finns don't _act_ like they have bad values.

  3. Jody: Mexico 2.6, Finland 5.3, France 6.3, W. Germany 6.5, Belgium 6.6.

  4. Steve: Yes, there might be a translation problem, but in light of the fact that the numbers are based on several questions, perhaps the more likely explanation is that Finns, more than others, are less comfortable saying "never justified."

    If I can I'll analyze the raw data to get means instead of the percent giving such an extreme answer.

  5. Anonymous6:25 PM

    My 2 cents is that Finns are smart enough to think of situations where some of the things are ok.

    Eg. My wallet was stolen and I have to get to court to testify against a serial killer. It's ok to take the bus without paying.

    If the difference is creativity in thinking up exceptions, joyriding-style questions will be the best to ask and show the biggest difference between good and bad people.

  6. Anon: You're right, it's difficult to think of a case where joyriding is justified, yet Finns are the 6th worst. Maybe it's a translation problem, or being lukewarm on a survey doesn't always match behavior.

  7. I have to say that data on Finns is hard to believe. I have been to Finland several times and personally know some Finns. The country is one of the safest and well-governed around with law-abiding citizenry.

    One explanation may be that Finns are simply more truthful than many others, even Mexicans.

    In any case even if they do think that way, they definately don't act like that, as Steve Sailer said. That's why I am a bit cautious about conclusions drawn based on what people say rather than what they actually do.

  8. Thanks. That is a big gap.

  9. Behavior and ideology aren't always isomorphic, and sometimes are actually opposite. Examples include liberals who loudly champion diversity, while caging themselves off from as much diversity as possible, and conservatives who loudly champion sexual restraint while practicing something very different.


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