Read this Jared Dillian piece entitled “The Anthropology of Finance”. It’s about how, if you’re an investor looking for new opportunities to earn returns, you need to look at the local culture.
What I’m trying to say is that the people of Norwich have no aptitude for making money. I’m not saying they are dumb. I’m not saying they are anti-business. Norwich leans left, like the rest of Connecticut, but there are many left-leaning places that are thriving economically. I’m saying that commerce is not in their culture …
In measuring why economic growth occurs, we subtract out population growth, yielding a residual: what’s left over. Then we subtract out capital growth, yielding a smaller, finer, residual. At simple levels we stop there, but at higher levels we go on with whatever data we can get our hands on.
And what we’re left with is residuals that vary from place to place. And those variations are positively correlated with well-being. We don’t know how to measure it yet, but macroeconomists are working very hard on quantifying what it is about culture that leads to improvements in well-being.
America seems to have a lot of it though. Contemporary Utahns are very sanguine about their own culture. Unfortunately, the data suggest that Utah is merely average when compared with other states.