Why Is Europe a Dirty Word?
Published: January 14, 2012
“He wants us to turn into a European-style welfare state,” warned Mitt Romney. Countless versions of that horrific vision creep into Romney’s speeches, suggesting that it would “poison the very spirit of America.”
Yet there is something serious going on. The Republican candidates unleash these attacks on Obama because so many Americans have in mind a caricature of Europe as an effete, failed socialist system. As Romney puts it: “Europe isn’t working in Europe. It’s not going to work here.”
But the basic notion of Europe as a failure is a dangerous misconception. The reality is far more complicated.
It’s absurd to dismiss Europe. After all, Norway is richer per capita than the United States. Moreover, according to figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, per-capita G.N.P. in France was 64 percent of the American figure in 1960. That rose to 73 percent by 2010. Zut alors! The socialists gained on us!
Meanwhile, they did it without breaking a sweat. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that employed Americans averaged 1,741 hours at work in 2010. In France, the figure was 1,439 hours.
If Europe was as anticapitalist as Americans assume, its companies would be collapsing. But there are 172 European corporations among the Fortune Global 500, compared with just 133 from the United States.
Read the full article here: The New York Times
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- Downgrade of Debt Ratings Underscores Europe’s Woes – NYTimes.com (policyabcs.wordpress.com)