To reiterate and expand what @TheRealPolina has said here;
It is not luck that has brought the West (formerly Christendom) great wealth and prosperity, it is choice. 2000 years ago Europe was much like the rest of the world around it, there were scores and scores of inbred tribes having their little quarrels, and killing each other and themselves with feuds. After the Western Roman Empire fell, that slowly changed. Unlike what some would say, the dark ages weren’t entirely dark, cities survived, and so did Christian Churches in the cities. With the Schism, the Pope gained control over the church and slowly consolidated that, enacting a series of social changes that radically changed Europe. It is impossible to understate the extent of these changes.
The first was to eliminate paganism, and with it, superstition. Only God had power, there were no spirits in the wind, waves, thunder, lightning, trees, or any other natural event or entity.
The Catholic Church made cousin marriage invalid and illegal, forcing the tribes to intermingle, eventually blending them together into the homogeneous peoples we know today.
This was a very slow process, taking hundreds of years, but it worked, though even now it has left us with some legacies. Pagan originally meant “country folk”, because as the Churches were in cities first, the country folk converted second, so when the city folk were outbreeding (rather than inbreeding), and believing in a single God outside the universe, the country folk still believed in spirits everywhere and marrying within their small villages and tribes, even now people will call country folk “inbred.”
These people, our (for Europeans reading this) ancestors CHOSE to convert to Christianity.
They CHOSE to stop believing superstition.
They CHOSE not to marry their cousins, subsequently raising their average IQ. (Cousin marriage plunges average IQ by about 10 points, nearly a full standard deviation).
They then defended this, at great cost in blood, from invading Muslims, who do embrace cousin marriage. These invaders conquered the Spanish, who then at additional cost, drove them out and regained their heritage. From both the West in Spain, and the East in Greece and former Yugoslav states, bore this enormous cost. Their current deleterious state can in no small part be attributed to this historical struggle.
From there, there were more choices. Our ancestors chose to send many, but not all of their intelligent sons to be educated by the Catholic church. These men created the foundation for the rule of law found throughout Europe by rigorously working out the Catholic Church’s canon law, they became Europe’s first lawyers. Even from shortly after the fall of the Empire, when Charles I the Great formed the Carolingian empire, churchmen advised him, and many later advised other rulers.
Subsequently when the Caroline Empire fell and Feudal rule grew out of the state and civil positions appointed by Charles, our ancestors laboured under both fair and foul liege lords. These lords and knights CHOSE to accept certain edicts of the Catholic Church’s ruling, as well as that of secular rulers; in the former case, they accepted that to plunder the poor and raid villages that were not under their care was evil. We know this now, but to them it was new. We ONLY accept it now because they did and passed those higher morals onto us. In the latter case, the secular rulers convinced these lords and knights to cease their frantic castle building once it no longer became necessary.
The 1st Crusade is when Europe CHOSE to become united as Christendom in defence of itself from the repeated Muslim invasions in the southwest and Southeast; coming to the aid of Byzantium; that state which was once the Eastern Roman Empire. Fortunately this also eliminated much of the need for castles everywhere, as it diminished the horrible raiding and slaving of Muslim pirates.
I could continue, but this isn’t meant to be a history lesson.
The summary is that this prosperity is the result of , choices. Overall these choices and the ideology guiding them have been good, as we have seen that Christendom & the West has benefited mankind in a way that no other civilization has. This wealth and prosperity is the legacy that was left by our ancestors, and those that did not have children because they died in war, or plague, or chose to have no children because they were building a better society for the children of their brothers, sisters, and cousins.
This legacy was left to ALL their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring. That includes us, and it includes the next generations too. This wealth and prosperity is ours to share, as we have done with China, Japan, and much of the East in the last 200 years. But it is not ours to throw away as we are doing right now.
It is passed down to us so we could pass it along to our future generations. This prosperity is not ours, though we enjoy it.