"Greeks Work Hard, So Why Is There a Debt Crisis?" http://www.cnbc.com/id/44944435 While hard work is a predictor of success, it is nowhere near the most important factor. If it were, 90% of all Mexicans would be billionaires. The most important factor is the ability to create crap en-mass that people want, and then through hard work, milk it for all you can. Look at Germany with BMWs, or Japan with Toyota etc. Some countries have natural resources, so they mobilize their work force to extract it, and then they become rich and think they are clever. A modern example is Brazil or Australia. An intermediate example is Saudi Arabia.