Thursday, July 29, 2004
Astounding Benefit of Believing in Hell
Countries whose citizens believe in hell are not only less corrupt, but also more prosperous. That's the word from economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, who were trying to figure out why some nations are so much richer than others. In addition to looking at productivity and investment factors, they examined some unconventional ideas to explain differences in national prosperity, reports Reuters. It turned out that belief in hell was very telling.
Drawing on the research from several outside economists, the St. Louis Fed studied 35 countries, including the United States, European nations, Japan, India, and Turkey and realized that religion was a powerful economic force. "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 wrote in its July quarterly review. In the United States, 71 percent of the population believes in hell. Perhaps it's no coincidence that it also has the world's highest per capita income. Don't believe it? Look at Ireland. As Reuters says, the Irish have a healthy fear of a nether world with 53 percent of the population acknowledging hell's existence, and the country is not far behind the United States in terms of income.