Belief in Evolution Versus National Wealth

I saw this comic from Calamities of Nature earlier and just had to repost it.

Belief in Evolution Versus National Wealth

Belief in Evolution Versus National Wealth (1)

The results, sadly, don’t surprise me at all. This graph makes it look like the U.S. is some great anomaly (and it is in many ways), but I have a hypothesis that actually causes this graph to make sense. The U.S. has greater wealth inequality than the other countries with a high GDP per capita, by quite a large margin. (2) This implies that if we were to re-graph this using median personal wealth, instead of mean personal wealth, the U.S. would be much farther to the left on the graph. I suspect it would still be an outlier, but not nearly as much of an obvious outlier.

Worldide Gini coefficients

Worldide Gini coefficients (2)

The above graphic shows the Gini coefficient for nations around the world. Blue means near perfect wealth equality, and dark read means near perfect inequality. Notice how red the U.S. is compared to western Europe, Japan, and Australia.

P.S. Note the sources used to create the Calamities of Nature graph: a government agency (not a politician) and a journal article from Science. It passes the trustworthiness test outlined in my previous post.

(1) Piro, Tony. “Belief in Evolution Versus National Wealth.” Calamities of Nature. 15th June, 2011. Available:
(2) “Economic Inequality.” Wikipedia. Available:


7 thoughts on “Belief in Evolution Versus National Wealth

  1. We need to watch this ‘equity’ graph over time as related to GDP. If, as a scientist, you saw GDP fall radically causing political instability as a result of ‘equity’ policies, how would this effect your opinion?

  2. Couple things to note Sabio: first just a quick clarification: I’m an engineer, not a scientist (they aren’t the same thing, despite what some engineers may claim). BTW, when you say equity policies, do you mean equality policies? I assume that’s just a typo.

    To answer your question, my hypothesis is based on the observed data. Like any hypothesis, it changes with the data, and so if the observed data changed, so would my hypothesis.

    I’m definitely not saying we should strive for perfect equality (i.e. socialism). There is going to be a “sweet spot” of inequality where the desire to advance economically is maximized. Think of it this way, if there is perfect equality, then it’s not possible for individuals to advance, thus leading to a stagnation of innovation. On the flip side, if there is extreme inequality, then it is practically impossible to advance, so once again the incentive is missing (e.g. “there’s no way I can ever get ahead, so why bother”), leading to a stagnation of innovation (think Middle Ages). Income inequality must be balanced against these competing facets…and that balancing point probably shifts over time as well.

  3. Right, I was wondering if you were supporting equity as used in economics to describe “fairness” and thus redistribution. I do think there are sweet spots that depends on a huge number of factors, not just income numbers. We sound like we agree to a large degree.

  4. Yeah, I agree that straight up redistribution of wealth isn’t a sound method for solving economic inequality imbalances. I think that it comes down to economic regulations. Too little regulation, and we have things like the economic meltdown of 2008 (or the great depression), but on the flip side, too much regulation can also have a negative effect (see the economy of the 70s).

    When it comes to the economy, I get the impression that pretty much everything needs to be done in moderation…extremists views from either side is almost always incorrect.

  5. I am a bit extreme, perhaps. When you have good and bad, moderation leads to luke warm and deserves being spit out. (as you understand the allusion)

    I think government regulations, interferences and innuendos to encourage house-ownership, building and un-guaranteed mortgages led to part of our problem. I think the largest blame lies in government policies — but will agree that better monitoring to catch crimes of the wealthy is key. Plus, I think the crimes of the wealthy and the powerful should pay dearly.

    But I am not an economic guy, no much of a political person.

  6. Es interesante ver como en USA hay tanto fundamentalismo religioso como los mahometanos. Explica el peligroso discurso populista de Trump y que haya dos criterios, uno auxiliar a los pobres y desocupados (Obama), otro que esos pobres son responsables de su situación y no corresponde que otros los cuiden y mantengan (Trump). Latinoamérica está corrompida por ese populismo que embrutece a los pueblos. Llama la atención que no se mencionan: Canadá, Latinoamérica ni África y gran parte de Asia, Acepto que salvo Canadá, son países con enormes diferencias sociales, de educación y de ingreso, por lo cual habría que obtener por lo menos dos índices por c/País.

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