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The Decline And Fall Of Europe by Fareed Zakaria (WaPo)

Cartoons and riots made the headlines in Europe last week, but a far less fiery event, the publication of an academic study, may shed greater light on the future of the continent. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris, released a report, "Going for Growth," that details economic prospects in the industrial world. It is 160 pages long and written in bland, cautious, scholarly prose. But the conclusion is clear: Europe is in deep trouble. These days we all talk about the rise of Asia and the challenge to America, but it may well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe.

It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the E.U. has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the United States, and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years. If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German. (Britain is an exception on most of these measures, lying somewhere between Continental Europe and the United States.)

People have argued that Europeans simply value leisure more and, as a result, are poorer but have a better quality of life. That's fine if you're taking a 10 percent pay cut and choosing to have longer lunches and vacations. But if you're only half as well off as the United States, that will translate into poorer health care and education, diminished access to all kinds of goods and services, and a lower quality of life.

Funny, my diary a couple of days ago about the US having a lower GDP per capita, when adjusted for inequality, came from that same report. Wanker.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:08:13 PM EST
Eeew.  Contaminating my diary with Fareed Zakaria...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:18:46 PM EST
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Yes, I am very sorry about that. Sometimes he sort of makes sense, and then he writes the worst kind of tripe like today.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:36:15 PM EST
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You have to remember - only the uber-rich are included in the analysis. Because they're the only ones who matter.

I was reading an analyst's report today and it made the usual dig about 'Europe's high welfare costs.'

I suppose it's because these are given to poor people. Which is a very bad thing, because it means the money isn't going to rich people, where it naturally belongs.

It's also completely different to Enron's corporate scamming, or Halliburton's naked corporate-welfare profiteering, or any of the other shams, crimes, swindles, cons, rip-offs and schemes that keep the corporate raiders happy on their unsustainably irrigated golf courses and private hunting and shooting parks.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:25:04 PM EST
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What constitutes Europe is greatly being defined by what the EU stands for.  While for those coming from EU member states it might not seem so, it does for the majority of the Southeast European countries.  Every development--political, economic, or social--is undertaken to fulfill EU standards and conditions.  That is because currently the main aspiration of these countries is to join the EU, which they view as an entrance to Europe itself.  The EU is without doubt--at least for me--a club of European governments more than a union that unites the people of Europe.  Nevertheless, the influence it has in shaping and defining the lives of the ordinary people should not be underestimated.  An ordinary citizen of a Southeast European country cannot even visit the rest of Europe without having to undergo numerous visa procedures, and even then it is not for certain that that "right" will be given to that person.  Of course, such laws are in place due to the different transitions that have characterized Southeast Europe in the last decade or so--which have led to the vast immigration into Western Europe.  So, how uniting is Europe in fact?
by qika PR (qikadreqit@yahoo.com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2006 at 10:29:31 AM EST
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Can I troll rate you this? Please?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:51:38 PM EST
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