Their much vaunted work ethic is generally no more than glorified avarice, an attitude more worthy of Shylock than a man who calls himself a Christian. During the Ages of Faith the people were given a great many Holydays throughout the year, they not only weren't made to work, but would be guilty of sin if they did. This was much better than the frenzy of modern people who go about foaming at the mouth to get more money to buy more useless chinese-made rubbish. If they were Catholics rather than pagans, they might remember Our Blessed Lord's words "What doth it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul."Wealthy economies are not simply made by working hard. For prosperity to ensure a whole lot of ancillary virtues must pre-exist. Things like honesty, punctuality, suppression of envy, etc must exist as well. Catholic South America is dysfunctional not because of a lack of work ethic, but because an absence of an honesty, punctuality and scientific ethic. Being Catholic does not seem to have protected the South American elite from the sin of avarice.
And wealth doesn't just give cars and big houses. It allows medical research, MRI scanners, proper sewerage, electricity that is reliable, the provision of running water, good quality food etc.
I don't have time to elaborate on this tonight but here's a good essay by a man who pretty much shares the same mind with me on the subject.
I'll reply to comments if I can.