You remember Lethal Weapon 2?
You know where Mel Gibson goes crazy after he loses yet another girlfriend. Hooks up his truck to the support beam of this hoity toity LA house in the mountains and destoys it. Always wanted to do that, but I wouldn't need the loss of a loved one to drive me to doing that. I just plain want to do it under my own volition.
Regardless, in the end battle scene the bad guy, a diplomat from South Africa who is using his diplomatic immunity to avoid the cops and run drugs, shoots Riggs in the leg and Roger points his gun at him. The diplomat holds up his passport and laughs, “Diplomatic immunity” unaware that the law is quite clear that he can be shot now.
Roger then shoots him in the head and says, “Has been revoked.”
Then you sat there in awe as a 17 year old kid as to the wit and humor of that cool one-liner.
Regardless, it would seem that many New Yorkers and New York cops would like to do the same to UN diplomats in New York. For as a diplomat, it seems you can park wherever you want, drive your convoy through New York streets and hold up traffic, and piss off a town of 12 million people AND not pay a single parking ticket.
So two savvy economists, Edward Miguel and Raymon Fisman, did a study
looking at which countries were the worst offenders of New York City parking law. And the results were that it read like a Who's Who list of Transperancy International's Corruption Index.
Here are the worst offenders;
Here are the best behaved;
Well, OK, that's how they make it sound. When you run the corruption score against "Parking Violations Per Diplomat," the measure by which Fisman and Miguel gauge a country's propensity to ignore the law or respect foreign culture, the correlation isn't a passage from the Who's Who list, but a pretty decent correlation of -.33.
But as I thought of it further, the implications of this hit on a theory I've been toying around with in my head;
Lower taxes bring about higher economic growth; fine.
Hard work ethic brings about higher economic growth; fine.
But what of the culture of a country?
Spefically how mature and grown up a culture is and how adult they act certainly must have a bearing on the growth and standards of living of a country.
What put me onto this theory was the Scandihoovian countries. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, all have highway-robbery level taxes, yet still manage to produce the same amount of wealth than their low-taxed counterparts AND WITH LESS DEBT (actually, surpluses in most instances).
Head just a little south where recent French protests
against labor law reforms showed just how ignorant and uneducated the French youth are of basic economics, and you have a country with only 75% that of Scandinavian standards of living and a TON OF DEBT that still didn't increase their standards of living.
Go further south and you have Italy where again, taxes are similar, but standards of living are French AND GOVERNMENT DEBT EQUALS 110% GDP.
Alas, the only thing I can chalk the Nordic countries' ability to beat out their high tax, socialist economy rep and post higher standards of living than their mainland European counterparts is that they are a more responsible people, their culture is indeed superior. They are less corrupt (by corruption measures), they are more professional (I would fully expect a Norwegian to be on time as opposed to an Italian), and they seem not to take advantage of their welfare-state by evidence of their lower unemployment rates. This results in more wealth being produced and the higher standards of living they enjoy, all the while supporting a massive welfare state.
Of course, criticizing cultures and dare saying one would be superior to another is the equivalent to setting off a bomb in an quadrapalegic orhpanage in the political world.
Thankfully I'm not in politics and still appreciate the freedom of speech, not to mention, just the plain truth. Some cultures are superior to one another. It's just that simple. Please, somebody tell me how Somali culture is superior to American culture. Or somebody show me how Venezuelan culture is superior to Luxembourgian (sp?) culture. Or how French culture is superior to...ummm...mold culture.
Additionally, please show me the reason and rationale of the arugment that we shouldn't insist people assimilate into American culture, but rather keep living like they have in the past in a futile and counterproductive pursuit of "diversity" when that diversity, as far as I've seen, translates into wealth tranfers and the criminalization of American culture.
Alas, we will be able to see the effects of culture on economic productivity sooner than we may think. I recall it was Sweden that has massive immigration from countries where their diplomats are some of the worst violators of New York Parking Law. And based on projections, the Swedes will soon be in the minority in their country. No doubt they are passing on their hard work ethic to the new comers?