The society values a highly trained workforce
This cultural value follows from the previous one. As an economy grows toward greater prosperity, the higher-value products often will be technologically complex ones, such as medical and scientific equipment, electronic devices, complex transportation systems, computer programs, and financial services. For such industries, knowledge eventually will become the key to even greater economic development.
Landes traces various ways in which the growth of technical and scientific knowledge brought wave after wave of economic development to Britain and then to other European countries, such as Germany, which imitated and then in some areas surpassed Britain in knowledge. Highly trained and skilled craftsmen and technological workers proved increasingly valuable in industrial production.
By contrast, the nations in South America did not attract or keep highly trained and skilled workers in sufficient numbers during the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. For example, Argentina had an abundance of productive land and good climate, but it lacked skilled craftsmen, tools, and the ability to develop industrial production. And because of the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church in Latin
American countries, for many years most Northern Europeans and North Americans (mainly Protestants and some Jews) were excluded, and their knowledge and skills were excluded, too.