D. Landes remarks that, in the years 1000, no one would have bet a penny on the chances of Europe to play a significant role on the world scene, yet, 500 years later, this domination of the world by western powers became evident. According to him, among all the causes of the emergence and prosperity of the European nation-states, the most important single reason that specified failure or success is the cult of work, seriousness and spirit of enterprise that sustained their effort at development. The European expansionism was, he wrote, an epiphenomenon that was a lethal cataclysm for some and inflicted humiliation and pain to others, whose effects proved amendable as shown by the contemporary rise of India, China and Brazil. The Jesuit Republic of the Guarani brought peace and wealth to them, and the Belgian Congo, pacified and administered by Roman Catholic religious orders was a model of colonial development: its colonization was well done, even if the purpose was the exploitation of its richness to the sole benefit of the Belgian Crown. These successes in development based on Christian principles, meaning therewith those rules of conduct defined by the New Testament and the Canon Law, demonstrate that a management of human affairs on this basis is possible and beneficial to the people.
The concept of economic development is a Western invention based on private property defended by the Church. However, not all Nation-States of Europe respected equally well this concept. The various Nations that conquered the world treated the conquered lands according to their own values of civilization. On the whole, the brutal exploitation of the richness of the world and the occupation of the immense majority of human cultures by avid despotic regimes during the last 2000 years, be these Muslim or Christian, reduced the potential for development toward a humane form of government to only a few countries.