A developed nation provides two things to its citizens: political freedom and a decent standard of living. Why are some countries able to accomplish this and others not? The world at the beginning of the twenty-first century is more divided than ever between the rich and the poor, between those living in freedom and those under oppression. Even in prosperous democracies, troubling gaps in well-being persist. As the credibility of traditional explanations-colonialism, dependency, racism-declines, many now believe that the principal reason why some countries and ethnic groups are better off than others lies in the cultural values that powerfully shape nations and peoples' political, economic, and social performance. Many of the distinguished contributors to Culture Matters believe that value and attitude change is indispensable to progress for those who are lagging. Among the prominent scholars and journalists contributing to the volume are Francis Fukuyama, Nathan Glazer, David Landes, Seymour Martin Lipset, Orlando Patterson, Michael Porter, Jeffrey Sachs, and Richard Shweder. Lawrence E. Harrison is a senior fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and the author of Who Prospers? and The Pan-American Dream.