[Marxism] Modern Day US Government Economic Science
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Wed Jul 28 10:38:39 MDT 2004
July 28, 2004
Belief in hell may light economic fire
Fed research draws parallel to nations' wealth
By ALISTER BULL
Reuters News Service
Economists searching for reasons why some nations are richer than others
have found that those with a wide belief in hell are less corrupt and more
prosperous, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Researchers at the regional Federal Reserve bank acknowledged the importance
of productivity and investment in the economic process but looked at some
recent unconventional efforts to explain differences in national prosperity.
The St. Louis Fed drew on work by outside economists who studied 35
countries, including the United States, European nations, Japan, India and
Turkey, and found that religion shed some useful light.
"In countries where large percentages of the population believe in hell,
there seems to be less corruption and a higher standard of living," the St.
Louis Fed said in its July quarterly review.
For instance, 71 percent of U.S. residents believe in hell, and the country
boasts the world's highest per capita income, according to the 2003 United
Nations Human Development Report and 1990-1993 World Values Survey.
Ireland, not far behind the United States in terms of income, likewise has a
healthy fear of a netherworld, with 53 percent of the population saying they
believe in hell's existence.
"I'm not surprised," said the Rev. Eileen Lindner, deputy general secretary
of the U.S. National Council of Churches, when told of the results.
"The expectation that there is a cultural belief in hell or perpetual and
eternal punishment for wrongdoing will act as a disincentive to wrongdoing."
The St. Louis Fed's researchers took a two-step approach to linking religion
"A belief in hell tends to mean less corruption, and less corruption tends
to mean a higher per capita income," they wrote. It correlated the belief in
hell findings of the World Value Series with a measure of corruption
produced by Transparency International.
Corruption figured in
It then looked at the relationship between corruption and per capita gross
domestic product and found "a strong tendency for countries with relatively
low levels of corruption to have relatively high levels of per capita GDP."
The researchers also noted the long tradition among classical economists to
equate a society's honesty, and the strength of the rule of law, with
"Adam Smith wrote that one of religion's most important contributions to the
economic development process is its value as a moral enforcement mechanism,"
the Fed researchers said.
The St. Louis Fed's essay "Fear of Hell Might Fire Up the Economy" can be
found at: www.stlouisfed.org/publications/re/2004/c/default.html.
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