Directions (1-15): In the following passage there are blanks, each of which has been numbered. These numbers are printed in the passage and against each, five words are suggested, one of which fits the blanks appropriately. Find out the appropriate word in each case.
A common belief, even among economists, is that inequality is greater in individualistic societies than in collectivist ones. Individualistic societies are generally ____(1)____ to be selfish and uncaring towards fellow human beings, which, it is __(2)____ , should cause them to suffer greater economic inequality. It is ____(3)___ said that in the absence of wealth redistribution by the government, individualistic societies will tend to aggravate inequality.
“Are individualistic societies less equal? Evidence from the parasite stress theory of values”, a 2017 paper by Boris Nikolaev, Christopher Boudreaux, and Rauf Salahodjaev __(4)__ in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, ____(5)____ , comes to a different conclusion. The authors find that income distribution is actually more equitable in individualistic societies than in collectivist ___(6)____. While this sounds counter-intuitive, it makes sense when the actual causes of economic inequality between people are considered.
What differentiates individualistic societies from their collectivist __(7)___ is their belief in individual freedom. So, while the population of an individualistic society might believe, for instance, that people are __(8)___ to the fruits of their labour, collectivist societies put more emphasis on the collective welfare of society. For the same reason, individualistic societies prefer a smaller government that imposes lower taxes and regulations on everyone, while collectivist societies ___(9)___ a larger government to impose a greater burden on the rich.
Interestingly, however, the creation of a larger government to redistribute wealth and uphold social justice does not lead to less inequality. In fact, a larger government __(10)__ greater opportunities for special interest groups to capture it and forward their own agenda. This __(11)___ in fewer economic opportunities for the wider population, which results in lower competition and greater economic inequality. Obviously, this is the opposite of what supporters of a collectivist government want, but reality works against their wishes.
On the other hand, under the rule of a smaller government, economic __(12)__ are available to a much wider population. Special interest groups have fewer opportunities to exploit the powers of the government, as there is less __(13)___ on the government to guide the economy in the first place. This leads to greater competition in individualistic societies, ___(14)___ translates to lower levels of economic inequality, as __(15)___ by the study.