"I cannot think of any modern industrialized nation in the the tropics....I wonder why? Does the heat just make people lazy and unmotivated?"
Well coming from a tropical country, the heat DOES make people lazy and unmotivated! That's why we have air conditioning! The heat and humidity really puts people off..... Thank god for air conditioning.... I can never study properly without it. Singaporeans and Hongkongers are known for working their butts off.....
It is true that the native population of Singapore, the Malays, are not as economically well off as the migrant races of the Chinese and Indians. But then again, if we look at all countries in the world (South Africa, Australia, USA etc) the native populations have never been able to be as economically well-off as migrants.
I suppose this debate basically comes to the Rich North Poor South phenomenon.
-LZA did mention that Costa Rica is developed compared to the rest of its neighbours, I don't think it enjoys a standard of living similar to Western Europe.
Therefore is it right to conclude that Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have the highest standards of living outside the western, capitalist, free (however you wanna term it) world?
It's also interesting to not that All the above countries have/had Western aid and support at some point in time.
I would love to hear Yyz717's comments on this.... hehe.