The global economy is an insanely complex system of labor, money and goods all governed by laws to keep each facet in check. So it'd be pretty depressing if researchers discovered that the whole thing was actually the end result of a bunch of seemingly random bullshit, wouldn't it?
Answer: Yes it would be, and they did.
5The Belief in Hell
It's widely believed that fraudulent practices like mortgage underwriting and predatory lending were some of the main causes of the 2000s credit crunch, which raises some terrifying concerns: If the state of the economy is so dependent on a handful of people promising not to be greedy, what's really stopping the economy from collapsing all over again as soon as those assholes decide more is better? Surprisingly, it might be their belief in hell.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Harvard researchers both independently studied the correlation between believing in hell and economic development. Each analyzed years of data from dozens of countries, and in each case the results were the same: The more a population believes in hell, the less corrupt and more prosperous their country's economy is.
"I hate it when naked men try to swamp my boat. No more insider trading!"
Interestingly, believing in God alone didn't cut it. It's explicitly the fear of eternal damnation that ultimately scares us into not being such gaping assholes and working earnestly toward a brighter future for everyone.
Of course, nothing is actually stopping you from being a decent, hardworking banker or whatever without believing in hell. The problem is that when you look at the big picture, it simply isn't in our nature to give a fuck about more than a handful of people or their money.
"That whole Enron scandal won me enough new souls to build a whole porch out of shinbones."
So it takes the threat of being boiled alive in their own urine to make a few corporate heads stop and rethink their strategy of embezzling and Ponzi schemes. Which starts to make a lot more sense given that so many CEOs are ...