Since 1991, a number of surveys have asked people if they agree or disagree with the statement "I admire people who get rich by working hard." Usually about 50% "completely agree" and 40% "mostly agree." Agreement is uniformly high among different demographic groups; it has some connection to political views, but even among liberals about 80% agree. Is this another case of "American exceptionalism"?
The question was also asked in the 1989 Pulse of Europe survey, which I discussed in an earlier post. The results:
UK France Italy Spain W. Germany E. Germany
Completely agree 60% 59% 61% 63% 37% 40%
Mostly Agree 32% 27% 30% 28% 49% 49%
That is, there is less enthusiastic agreement in the US than in Britain, Italy, Spain, and even France. Only the Germans have a lower percentage of "completely agree."