Monday, February 01, 2010

Europe vs. the U.S.

Economics Does Not Lie, authored by French economist Guy Sorman, includes a chapter entitled "Europe Versus the United States" about economic differences between the two continents. Here are some excerpts:
  • At the end of World War II, Western European per capita income was only 42 percent of the American figure; by the beginning of the 1980s, it had made up most of that gap, reaching 80 percent of the U.S. standard of living...Over the last twenty years, however, this relation has been reversed (Great Britain aside). After reaching 80 percent of the American standard, the Europeans have since fallen back to 70 percent -- the same gap as in 1970.
  • To establish a business in the United States, [Harvard economist Alberto Alesina] observes, one must go through four formalities that take four days and cost $166. The same process in France requires fifteen formalities that take fifty-three days and cost the equivalent of $3,963. In Italy, the sum would be $5,012, and in Greece, $10,218. In Sweden, which has become the most "flexible" of European countries, such a process would still cost $664.
  • Tax rates in Europe have gone up from 30 percent on average during the 1960s to 50 percent during the present decade.
  • As owners of agricultural concerns, the Queen of England receives €600,000 in subsidies every year, and the Prince of Monaco €300,000.
  • In 1820, about ten years before Alexis de Tocqueville made his famous visit to America, a spectacular event took place, though no one could have known it at the time: U.S. per capita income overtook that of Western Europe. This stunning fact was revealed only in 2007, in a new study by the OECD. The study, conducted by Angus Maddison, also showed that the U.S. economy has remained the world leader ever since 1820.

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