Lawrence E. Harrison writes,

the foregoing suggests the existence of a Universal Culture of Progress: the same Economic Behavior values, whatever their root, create prosperity in widely different geographic/climate, political, institutional, and indeed cultural settings. As far as we know, culture has nothing to do with genes. While cultural change is neither a simple nor easy proposition, it is constantly occurring around the world, and there is no compelling reason why the “universal progress values” should be beyond the reach of any human society.

Read the whole essay. I must say that Cato’s Will Wilkinson has put together a very stimulating series of these “Cato Unbound” discussions.