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Earlier today, Mitt Romney suggested cultural superiority plays a hand in the disparity in GDP per capita between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who ate breakfast at the luxurious King David Hotel.

Romney said some economic histories have theorized that "culture makes all the difference."

"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence."

While the divide between Palestinians and Israelis in broad terms of national wealth is rooted in a number of political and historical forces, and warped by the unrest in the area, I was curious to see if international rankings of GDP per capita might shine a light on cultural forces at play in the rest of the world.

My conclusion? GDP per capita is a poor indicator of cultural superiority. It is, however, a great indicator of tax havens and oil reserves.

What a shock, Mitt has a cultural bias for hiding money and avoiding taxes.

A rundown of GDP per capita numbers below the fold...

According to the CIA Factbook, there are 10 countries with GDP per capita ranking higher than the United States.

Rank Country GDP per capita (PPP) Date of Information
1 Liechtenstein $ 141,100 2008 est.
2 Qatar $ 104,300 2011 est.
3 Luxembourg $ 81,100 2011 est.
4 Bermuda $ 69,900 2004 est.
5 Singapore $ 60,500 2011 est.
6 Jersey $ 57,000 2005 est.
7 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) $ 55,400 2002 est.
8 Norway $ 54,200 2011 est.
9 Brunei $ 50,000 2011 est.
10 Hong Kong $ 49,800 2011 est.
11 United States $ 49,000 2011 est.
source - CIA Factbook
That list almost reads like a list of "Where's Mitt's money?"

A 2010 Congressional Research Service report listed six of those countries ranking higher than the United States in GDP per capita as international tax havens - Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Bermuda, Singapore, Jersey, and Hong Kong.

The remaining four ranked higher than the United States derive significant national wealth from natural resources. Qatar, Norway, and Brunei are rich in oil; the Falkland Islands receive 25% of GDP from fishing licenses sold to foreign companies.

Four of the 10 derive wealth from what the Earth provides. The other six derive wealth from what money they hide.

Hiding money sounds exactly like the kind of cultural superiority Mitt Romney can support.

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