I wonder what would be the largest trait differences between the West and East? I mean places like Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, & Singapore are as financially well off. They both must share some of the same industrious characteristics, but societies in most other ways are entirely different. Is it Christianity? Not the invisible one, but the outward visible one.
I think that there are 2 major requirements for a nation to thrive:
1. Rule of Law/Property Rights
2. Cultural identity and solidarity
The chief enemies of 1. are censorship, central banking, the welfare state, and crony capitalism. The chief enemies of 2. are uncontrolled immigration, affirmative action, and failure to establish and promote a consistent national identity.
The people of a nation will be industrious when these two conditions are in place, to a degree that reflects the strength or weakness of these conditions in that nation.
The cultural identity of the West is visible Christianity. The East, so far as they are influenced by the West, benefit from the invisible influence of Christianity in their legal systems, which promotes 1.
The problem with cultural Christianity is that it cannot be established and nurtured merely by social traditions. It has to come from the soild teaching of the church. I believe that the Apostle's Creed is the bare minimum that a church must profess in order to be culurally relevant. The current position of the Visegrad nations and Russia on the issue of Islamic migration, in contrast to Western Europe and Scandinavia, demonstrates this. While salvation is not certain without a heartfelt understanding of justification as taught by the Reformers, what is certain is that the abandonment of Christianity by the West will lead to its collapse.