Some scholars suggest that Western ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible in Islamic and other cultures. Indeed, Samuel Huntington cautions that Western values are not universally shared, which may lead to a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. But other scholars suggest that the differences between civilizations can be largely explained in terms of economic development. Using the Gallup International Millennium Survey based on a random sample of 57,000 respondents in 60 countries, we provide strong support that higher levels of per capita GDP are not only associated with the selection of certain values held to be most important in life, but also with a decreasing importance accorded to religion. Moreover, we argue that if countries were able to successfully industrialize, value change would occur and the gap in values would narrow. The results of a simulation, for example, suggest that if countries where Muslim respondents reside were able to successfully industrialize, the current difference in values between Muslim and Protestant respondents would decrease
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