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Well, actually, no.

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The European Union's $16 trillion economy has been quietly surging for some time and has emerged as the largest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the global economy. That's more than the U.S. economy (27 percent) or Japan's (9 percent). Despite all the hype, China is still an economic dwarf, accounting for less than 6 percent of the world's economy. India is smaller still.The European Union's $16 trillion economy has been quietly surging for some time and has emerged as the largest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the global economy. That's more than the U.S. economy (27 percent) or Japan's (9 percent). Despite all the hype, China is still an economic dwarf, accounting for less than 6 percent of the world's economy. India is smaller still.
Several posters talking about single payer health care have mentioned that Europe is falling apart. Actually, it appears to be kicking our butts.

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Beware of stereotypes based on ideological assumptions. As Europe's economy has surged, it has maintained fairness and equality. Unlike in the United States, with its rampant inequality and lack of universal access to affordable health care and higher education, Europeans have harnessed their economic engine to create wealth that is broadly distributed.

Europeans still enjoy universal cradle-to-grave social benefits in many areas. They get quality health care, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, paid sick leave, free or nearly free higher education, generous retirement pensions and quality mass transit. They have an average of five weeks of paid vacation (compared with two for Americans) and a shorter work week. In some European countries, workers put in one full day less per week than Americans do, yet enjoy the same standard of living.
Sounds like hell, doesn't it?

Still, we have a bigger army. I think.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...d=opinionsbox1
 

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This to me is the economic bottom line. Keeping people healthy and capable means higher productivity. We've been killing our ability to innovate and produce by stupidly focusing only on next quarter's profits.

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Europe is more of a "workfare state" than a welfare state. As one British political analyst said to me recently: "Europe doesn't so much have a welfare society as a comprehensive system of institutions geared toward keeping everyone healthy and working." Properly understood, Europe's economy and social system are two halves of a well-designed "social capitalism" -- an ingenious framework in which the economy finances the social system to support families and employees in an age of globalized capitalism that threatens to turn us all into internationally disposable workers. Europeans' social system contributes to their prosperity, rather than detracting from it, and even the continent's conservative political leaders agree that it is the best way.
 

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This makes me want to take a page out of some Cuban's book and float a raft to Europe.

This is me running away to a country that doesn't want me to be poor.
 

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I saw something the other day about which countries are producing the most college grads. Let's just say that our stance that college is a privilege and our tradition of shackling people with enormous debt to get an education is gonna bite us in the butt. But heck, maybe they'll outsource their assembly and call center jobs to us.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
I saw something the other day about which countries are producing the most college grads. Let's just say that our stance that college is a privilege and our tradition of shackling people with enormous debt to get an education is gonna bite us in the butt. But heck, maybe they'll outsource their assembly and call center jobs to us.
I doubt they'd outsource to us. We need to outsource our own companies work to us first.
 

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Large-scale outsourcing to the US won't happen until Americans will routinely learn 1 or 2 foreign languages well enough to communicate clearly by phone.

I think the current difference between teh US and Europe is less related to the accomplishments of Europe (many countries are torn socially nowadays) than to the incredible downfall of the US, which, like a modern-day Rome, is pouring all its resources into its army and the hands of the lucky few (there are many more multimillionaires and billionaires in the US than anywhere in Europe). Also, we can write very long sentences. In a language that's not our own.
 

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Hold on now. Just hold on.

So how come I read all this other stuff about all the immigrants/nonEuropeans-in-Europe who are living in poverty and can't find jobs?

Where do they fit into this happy&healthy&burstingwithjoyEuropeans scenario?
 

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The picture is rather more complex than that. First of all, a lot of that growth is in the new parts of the EU, which are low wage and low tax. In Western Europe, growth is highest in the countries with flexible labour markets. Companies don't expand in France and Germany because it costs so much to hire, and is impossible to fire someone once they're hired.

High-tax regimes like Sweden are doing well, but the Nordic model is difficult to replicate. It seems to require a fairly high level of social cohesion.

Don't kid yourself about countries not wanting you to be poor. Some things are better, like free health care, but a British council estate or French cité is as grim as anything you will see in America--if not worse. The racism is as bad (and in France there's no hard stats on just how bad it is because you're not allowed to collect them, but just try applying for a good job with a non-French surname), there are no jobs, there are gangs, drugs, burning cars.

The US still does pretty well on college grads (and the biggest problem with increasing graduate levels is at the school level anyway--we produce too many kids who aren't capable of handing college level work). And don't be too enamoured of free education. The US does the best on quality. The UK is second. Both charge--and you get better value in the US (UK is badly underfunded and UK students do the least work of any Europeans). In France (and Germany and Italy), university is practically free but you sit on the floor because it's so overcrowded. Or if you're very well educated and very very very privileged, you do a prepa for the grandes ecoles. The French elite is even smaller and more homogeneous than the American one.

merpk, immigrants are our underclass. We want jobs done cheaply, but don't want to work for starvation wages, so we let immigrants live 10 to a room. In the UK we also let all the Poles and Balts come in and do our service jobs. Then when a gangmaster lets a bunch of illegal Chinese immigrants drown to death we wring our hands.

This isn't to say that American crowing over the decline of Europe is all true and justified. But Europe is no bed of roses either.
 

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Don't kid yourself about countries not wanting you to be poor. Some things are better, like free health care, but a British council estate or French cité is as grim as anything you will see in America--if not worse. The racism is as bad (and in France there's no hard stats on just how bad it is because you're not allowed to collect them, but just try applying for a good job with a non-French surname), there are no jobs, there are gangs, drugs, burning cars.
Umm, i live in the ghetto in the US, everyday I look out my door and see the pregnant lady across the street start wigging out because her coke dealer is late (how she can afford coke
but i'm pretty sure she's turning tricks). CPS comes like once a week but they never take the poor baby away that she already has that is often toddling around by himself outside and I'm sure that they have no plans to remove this one coming. I can't honestly concieve of a time when we will be able to get out because our household can't make over a certain amount and still live here or get state paid health care. If we lost our apartment and our medicaid even if my husband made $25 per hour we still could not afford to live in our area, we can't leave because we can never save $, we live paycheck to paycheck. If we had universal health care than we could make as much as we wanted and keep our healthcare and if we had paid maternity leave and child care options I could actually work and we could afford a better place to live. Oh and we have that immigrant thing too but imagine it in a enormous scale and substitute Chinese with Hispanic people. The chicken processing plants use to import massive quantities of people from Guatamaula (illegally) and house them in what looked like prison barracks, worked them literally to death and then dropped them half dead off to the e-room where they would be deported if they survived. Even with all the thorns you describe it still sounds better than the Country I live in.
 

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I have to largely agree with AlexisT. I've lived in Europe and it isn't some utopia. But I'd still take a lot of it over what we have in the US. Universal healthcare, for example.

And those five weeks of vacation. Man, do we miss that.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by simonee View Post
Large-scale outsourcing to the US won't happen until Americans will routinely learn 1 or 2 foreign languages well enough to communicate clearly by phone.

I think the current difference between teh US and Europe is less related to the accomplishments of Europe (many countries are torn socially nowadays) than to the incredible downfall of the US, which, like a modern-day Rome, is pouring all its resources into its army and the hands of the lucky few (there are many more multimillionaires and billionaires in the US than anywhere in Europe). Also, we can write very long sentences. In a language that's not our own.
this is one thing that is definitely better in europw..start younger with the different languages instead of "here, get a d and youre cool" when youe 14 or older already for only one class ya know?
 

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Originally Posted by Peri Patetic View Post
I've lived in Europe and it isn't some utopia. But I'd still take a lot of it over what we have in the US.
This.

I am looking to move out of the country we are in now but the US is not on my list of possible relocations.
 

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So true!!
There are MANY things I don't like about the UK and many things I don't like about the other European countries I lived in.
Yet, having lived in the USA for 7 years, there is one thing I know for sure: there is NO WAY we would EVER want to live there again!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexisT View Post
The US still does pretty well on college grads (and the biggest problem with increasing graduate levels is at the school level anyway--we produce too many kids who aren't capable of handing college level work). And don't be too enamoured of free education. The US does the best on quality. The UK is second. Both charge--and you get better value in the US (UK is badly underfunded and UK students do the least work of any Europeans). In France (and Germany and Italy), university is practically free but you sit on the floor because it's so overcrowded. Or if you're very well educated and very very very privileged, you do a prepa for the grandes ecoles.
I disagree with this characterization of American universities.

- A lack of preparedness for college-level work among entering freshmen is reaching crisis proportions in the US; a recent study by ACT found only a quarter of students who had taken four full years of college-prep work in US HS's (which is a subset of the HS population) were ready for college-level work. Many students now take remedial courses in the first year of study just to get them ready for college-level work, which means the four-year undergrad degree is an endangered species. We are doing a terrible job here of preparing students for college. That's one reason some HS's and even primary schools have been investing in programs that appeal to international standards, like the International Baccalaureate program. But they still represent a tiny fraction of the total school population.

- Overcrowding (sitting on the floor, giant lecture halls where students basically do all their work independently) is the norm even in our most expensive prestigious universities. First and second year students routinely find required classes full, which means an extra semester (or more) just to complete requirements. Or worse, public colleges just turn qualified students away.

There is no perfect educational system out there, but if you want a large productive consumer middle class you can't pre-emptively cripple it with $30k in education debt. Education debt prevents young adults from home ownership, something that provides the foundation of a strong economy.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagomom View Post
I disagree with this characterization of American universities.

- A lack of preparedness for college-level work among entering freshmen is reaching crisis proportions in the US; a recent study by ACT found only a quarter of students who had taken four full years of college-prep work in US HS's (which is a subset of the HS population) were ready for college-level work. Many students now take remedial courses in the first year of study just to get them ready for college-level work, which means the four-year undergrad degree is an endangered species. We are doing a terrible job here of preparing students for college. That's one reason some HS's and even primary schools have been investing in programs that appeal to international standards, like the International Baccalaureate program. But they still represent a tiny fraction of the total school population.

- Overcrowding (sitting on the floor, giant lecture halls where students basically do all their work independently) is the norm even in our most expensive prestigious universities. First and second year students routinely find required classes full, which means an extra semester (or more) just to complete requirements. Or worse, public colleges just turn qualified students away.

There is no perfect educational system out there, but if you want a large productive consumer middle class you can't pre-emptively cripple it with $30k in education debt. Education debt prevents young adults from home ownership, something that provides the foundation of a strong economy.
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And, IMO, better a free education than to be one of the MANY here who can't afford it at all. I would rather finish my degree and sit on the floor than never get the chance. And student loans are a HUGE problem for many people.
 
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