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Old And In The Way
March 11, 2003 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Old And In The Way. Their economy has lost any resemblance of dynamism, their military might has shrunk to the point of irrelevance, and their society is regressing towards a centrally planned socialist political system. Now with their standard of living dipping below even the poorest sub-group of Americans, is Europe a dying continent, with all its glory days already way behind it? [more inside]
posted by VeGiTo (38 comments total)

 
"We have conventionally thought of Europe as having about the same standard of living as Americans. This is less and less true. For the European Union as a whole, GDP per capita is presently less than two thirds of U.S. levels. America's poorest sub-groups, like African Americans, now have higher average income levels than the typical European."

and

"We have conventionally thought of Europe as having about the same standard of living as Americans. This is less and less true. For the European Union as a whole, GDP per capita is presently less than two thirds of U.S. levels. America's poorest sub-groups, like African Americans, now have higher average income levels than the typical European."

[disclaimer: I am not American]
posted by VeGiTo at 6:26 PM on March 11, 2003


oops the second quote should be:

"Even corners of Europe that have resisted excessive government manipulation of the economy are now being dragged toward the statist norm by E.U. rules. Recently the European Court of Justice ruled that British employers must give all part-time workers four weeks of paid vacation, to align their policies with the rest of the European Union. In an effort to guarantee the "good life" by government edict, French, German, Dutch, and other continental finaglers have mandated short work weeks, long vacations, and fat social services, which has driven all dynamism out of their economies."
posted by VeGiTo at 6:27 PM on March 11, 2003


i'm getting kinda tired of all the anti-europe stuff. and this is a double post from way back.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:27 PM on March 11, 2003


Here's that way back post.
posted by gwint at 6:45 PM on March 11, 2003


I guess if a country is well-off, its leaders can't possibly make bad decisions.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:46 PM on March 11, 2003


Astonishingly uninformative and long-winded drivel. Possibly the worst signal-to-noise ratio posted here in months.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:51 PM on March 11, 2003


Let me get the argument here:

The Largest collective economic collective in the world even compared to China is irrelevant?, in the next 50 years the EU will be the LARGEST economic block ever I predict, with an area from Lisbon to Kholmsk. and close to China and Japan.

How stupid does all this venting sound?

Poor Americans have better standard of living?
cause we have more money? and Pay less Taxes? hmm.
That equates to: no healthcare, no insurance, no real retirement and no job stability but it means equal better living standard?

....well Damn sign me up for the lower Euro standard then..

at least I can get my f**king teeth fixed..
and so free preventative health care!
oh and the poorest American sub group is Native Americans not blacks, I know Some of my Fam live in Akwasasne and they are truly poor. worse in Pyramid lake and Taos.. so you do not know American poverty, if you think just rural blacks have it..

(Not taking away for any other group, but sheesh get real people)

America is NOT the end all be all of world views,

Not everyone likes us or agrees with us,
GET OVER IT!!!

And quit insulting EVERYONE who dares disagree!

OH and America GROW THE F**K UP, ALREADY!
Your embarrassing your freinds and neighbors
posted by Elim at 7:00 PM on March 11, 2003


Dang I love ranting...
posted by Elim at 7:01 PM on March 11, 2003


Makes me laugh that writers like that think of Europe in the singular... 'their' economy, 'their' currency, 'their' army...

The EU has 15 member states, plus 13 candidates for admission.

We are, in the main, pleased to work in a collaborative manner, rather than a coercive one. It's a good way to avoid nation state conflicts, and was supported for many years by US policies... if only to avoid being dragged into 'old world' conflicts.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:04 PM on March 11, 2003


I don't think GDP per capita is a good measure of "standard of living." It doesn't take into account, for instance, those hours people spend not working and, instead, actually living. Nor what you can purchase with your income.

Americans typically live to work. That is to say, they spend five or six days a week working an 8 to 12 hour job, and then spend whatever small amount of time they have off to go spend that money on low-quality consumer goods.

Those in more enlightened countries work to live. Which means that they work whatever time is necessary to achieve a reasonably comfortable lifestyle -- say four days a week, no more than eight hours a day, with paid lunchtime and extended vacation. During their time off they do something interesting with their lives -- instead of shopping, travelling, visiting, partying. Those consumer goods they purchase tend to be higher-quality.

Massive generalizations, yes... but with a certain element of truth.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on March 11, 2003


trollish, dead-horse topic, badly documented double post


not bad for a first link, mr Rumsfeld
posted by matteo at 7:16 PM on March 11, 2003


quality life... unless you're part of the 10 percent unemployed
posted by VeGiTo at 7:25 PM on March 11, 2003


"Those consumer goods they purchase tend to be higher-quality."

Right. That's why my Krups coffee maker kept throwing up all over the counter. The styling was great, and the coffee that made it into the carafe was pretty good - but darn near like clockwork every third pot ended up on the counter. Tried different grinds, different filters - but every third brew cycle would puke all over...

That's why the Fiat I bought lasted all of 40,000 miles before the engine needed a rebuild. The Renault I bought lasted 100,000 before the transmission blew up - but it also ate three starters during that time.

And I don't even WANT to think about the MG. 3 alternators, two voltage regulators, and two oil pumps. Definitly an 'enthusiast's car'. Drive for two hours, work on it for three...

Sorry - I just don't buy that 'better workmanship' label. Higher price, certainly. Better? Rather dubious, in my opinion.

JB
posted by JB71 at 7:26 PM on March 11, 2003


*looks around for Miguel's sure-to-be-spectacular entrance*
posted by zpousman at 7:31 PM on March 11, 2003


I am tempted to pick apart every paragraph here - but it's just not worth it.

JB - have you ever driven an American car?
posted by romanb at 7:34 PM on March 11, 2003


Romanb:

Yes - I drove a Saturn for ten years. One water pump, one starter, one oil pan gasket, and one radiator - 150,000 miles. The MG I had for a year and 10,000 miles...

I'm currently 10,000 miles in a Honda, nothing's fallen off yet. I'm cautiously optimistic.

JB
posted by JB71 at 7:40 PM on March 11, 2003


Consider the source: American Enterprise Online is published by American Enterprise Institute, funded in large part by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, an extremely powerful far right-wing foundation.

I can't provide a direct link, but go to this search engine (by the excellent mediatransparency.org site), check recipient and select AEI in the selectbox if you want a complete picture of AEI's funding. Handy search engine, if a little unwieldy.
posted by simian at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2003


anyone have any factual corrections to make to the piece?
posted by shoos at 8:14 PM on March 11, 2003


anyone have any factual corrections to make to the piece?

What facts? Half of the piece is the writer complaining that Europeans aren't saying nice things about Americans, while ignoring the equivalent nonsense here. The other half is the European federation viewed through a hopelessly myopic American view of what constitutes progress. It doesn't present an argument, just takes it as given that the American way of doing things is right, and therefore anything divergent in Europe is wrong.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:41 PM on March 11, 2003


FFF: The nice thing about living in these United States is that if you prefer to live a lazy, er, "enlightened" life, I am not nearly as responsible for subsidizing it as I would be were we on the other side of the Atlantic. And no one is stopping you from trying to be as "enlightened" as you wish.

Elim: That equates to: no healthcare, no insurance, no real retirement...well Damn sign me up for the lower Euro standard then

Some of us believe that if you want those things, it's your responsibility to earn them for yourself. Your teeth shouldn't be my problem.
posted by trharlan at 9:35 PM on March 11, 2003


Hmm.

1 EUR = 1.10278 USD / 1 USD = 0.906798 EUR, as of today.

As of Jan 2002, 1 EUR = 0.883366 USD.

Nope, no economic vibrancy there. No sirree.
posted by arto at 10:05 PM on March 11, 2003


quality life... unless you're part of the 10 percent unemployed

All that tells me is that perhaps the EU reports unemployment figures honestly.

The nice thing about living in these United States is that if you prefer to live a lazy, er, "enlightened" life, I am not nearly as responsible for subsidizing it as I would be were we on the other side of the Atlantic.

No, over here we pay welfare to the rich and connected rather than the poor and hungry. And get angry and change the subject when anyone points it out.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:06 PM on March 11, 2003


trharian: Such a cop-out. "I got mine; you get your own." The system is skewed against the employee. Prime industries are moving overseas, leaving behind only low-wage service sector jobs-- and those employers have figured out that it's cheaper to hire part-timers (and pay no benefits) and work them just below the threshold where they'd have to be given full-time status.

Civilization is what happens when we stop acting like selfish shits and start looking out for each other. The world is not a zero-sum game.
posted by Cerebus at 10:07 PM on March 11, 2003


arto: good job relating the strength of an economy to the value of its currency. You may be surprised to find that in year 2002, Canada's economic growth outperformed all countries in the G7, while its currency was hitting a 10-year low.

Cerebus: civilization grew when we accepted that most of us are inherently selfish, such that we could abandon the unaccomplishable Marxist ideal and embrace the lesser evil that is Capitalism.

And where is all those industrial workers moving to? Certainly not Europe, but places that are becoming increasingly, not less, capitalistic.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:24 PM on March 11, 2003


The workers aren't moving to those places, only their jobs are.

But I take it that what you're saying is that we should be more like Indonesia and China and all the rest, and settle for less than a quarter of what we now get paid for the same job; while the senior corporate officers continue to increase their take into the hundreds of times what the wage earners get. You make it sound so attractive. Yes, by all means let's go that way.

Oh, wait. We are.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:30 PM on March 11, 2003


anyone have any factual corrections to make to the piece?

Yes the population rate in America is going up faster than Europe, but only because of immigration and minority. If you look at only Americans of European ancestery we are not keeping up with zero-sum population growth we have the same problem as Europe although not as extreme. So everyone get busy makeing babies.

He did not mention the health care bomb. What happens is eventually health care costs overrun a culture and life expectancy starts to drop, Russia is a case example and the rest of Europe is headed in that direction with socialized health care although it has not tiped (yet) the numers and trends are clear. Dropping life expectancy and declining population are the definition of civilization on the decline.
posted by stbalbach at 10:42 PM on March 11, 2003


Wow, my arriving late to the party hasn't hurt the number of people piling on to rip this piece of Rush-fodder to shreds. Great jorb on this one, folks.

Americans flaunting their selfishness as the heart of their way of life make Ben Franklin's ghost cry.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:46 PM on March 11, 2003


but only because of immigration and minority. If you look at only Americans of European ancestery we are not keeping up with zero-sum population growth we have the same problem as Europe although not as extreme. So everyone get busy makeing babies.

Oh, no, "we" are being outbred by those minorities!

Read what you wrote. Then read it again. Then imagine how it looks to someone who doesn't factor race into the equation. Or to an American who happens to be one of those minorities. As for me, I will resist giving your posting the name it deserves.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:49 PM on March 11, 2003


If you look at only Americans of If you look at only Americans of European ancestry we are not keeping up with zero-sum population growth ... Dropping life expectancy and declining population are the definition of civilization on the decline

SO even though Population in the US is up, because European ancestry population is not rising, then we are dropping, Now That is racist... Europeans are the only ones that count. it seems in some folks view..

Damn those Brown people for having babies and coming here, (forget the Europeans came here uninvited too for the most part,)

Russia is a case example of a fail government due to internal and external pressures of a political nature destroying the social support structure and Crime Crime Crime, not health cost... socialized health care in the rest of the world is for the most part working far better than ours any one can afford and get ting PREVENTATIVE care is easy,.

Civilized nations should not deny care to the poor, just because they are poor.

Social Darwinism leads to revolution, in modern history..
posted by Elim at 10:59 PM on March 11, 2003


I finally understand this whole "Emperor Wears No Clothes" thing.

Your teeth shouldn't be my problem.

A-ha! And therein lies the rub.

Your wars for neo-con corporate profits and world domination shouldn't be my problem. I gain nothing. In fact we as a people are in the process of losing everything. To lend succor to those who take from you while they gain from your exploitation is self-annihilating.

This includes the annihilation of your teeth too.
posted by crasspastor at 11:51 PM on March 11, 2003


--George_Spiggott
--Elim

I factored race into the equation to show the problem of declining population is not only a European problem but an American European problem. The author suggested only Europe has this problem and I'm saying America has it too. My comments are not racist nor do they automatically imply what you suggest unless taken out of context, but why would you do that, did you read the article?
posted by stbalbach at 12:06 AM on March 12, 2003


Your teeth shouldn't be my problem.--trharlan

Elim's snapping teeth, sharpened when the vampire Reedis Tribute rose from the undead, fastened onto the surprised neck of Trharlan The Less Than Munificent, who had grown careless.
posted by Opus Dark at 2:04 AM on March 12, 2003


Doesn´t GDP per capita also factor in obscene wealth in the hands of the very few? For instance if you have 10 citizens from the US and 10 from the EU figure their gdp, won´t it be skewed if one of US ten is Bill Gates?

Of course America generates far more wealth than the EU, but how it that wealth distributed?

I lived in the US for 28 years, now I live in Europe. I make less money now, but I consider my standard of living to be higher. Impossible you say? It really depends how you measure it...
posted by sic at 6:03 AM on March 12, 2003


I factored race into the equation to show the problem of declining population is not only a European problem but an American European problem. The author suggested only Europe has this problem and I'm saying America has it too. My comments are not racist nor do they automatically imply what you suggest unless taken out of context, but why would you do that, did you read the article?

We all read the article, stbalbach. And its implication is clear -- you note that both Europeans and whites in America are declining in number, and you see this as a comparable problem for both even though this is made up for by other races here.

I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you were not trying to be racist, but only if you post something that argues your point much better. As it stands, you've said something deeply offensive to a lot of people.
posted by Epenthesis at 8:16 AM on March 12, 2003


Epenthesis, if one is to understand population decline, it doesn't make sense to pretend that all sectors of a society are equal. We know in America that whites, generally, have a lower birthrate than most other ethnic groups; this is simply a reality. If you do not factor in immigration, the United States would have a declining population. This simply tells us that immigration is part of the United States's continuing dynamism. Italy, Russia, and other nations that do not have the same level of immigration will face severe demographic challenges in the 21st century, as an aging population is supported by a smaller working cohort -- challenges that in many ways will exceed those of population growth.

Take your ridiculous cries of "racism" and "offensive" someplace else.
posted by dhartung at 9:58 AM on March 12, 2003


Reading this piece of garbage was a total waste of time.
Start with conclusions and then attempt to build a justification. Bleech!
But then, right wing "think tanks" nearly always produce such tripe.
Isn't this the same tank that produced our current foreign policy? Wow, it's turning out really well!
posted by nofundy at 11:14 AM on March 12, 2003


I would thank you for elaborating on a complex issue were you not also being unnecessarily snarky.

stbalbach equated a decline in our white population with a decline in Europe's overall population. We had every right to cite it as an offensive remark without more context -- and indeed, what you've provided contradicts his statement "If you look at only Americans of European ancestery." He all but said that other races don't count!

I asked him to explain himself, which was as fair a response as he deserved.
posted by Epenthesis at 11:21 AM on March 12, 2003


We had every right to cite it as an offensive remark

Who's "we"? No thanks!
posted by stbalbach at 4:40 PM on March 12, 2003


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