Because We’re an Arrogant Culture

If Europe Can Learn From U.S., Why Not Vice Versa?: Clive Crook- Bloomberg

While thinking them over, the U.S. has plenty to learn from Europe, and vice versa. In the past 30 years, most of the learning has been on Europe’s side, until the Great Recession called some of it into question. The European Union’s single- market project aimed to create an economy that would rival the U.S. in vitality and innovation: hence the emphasis on un- European ideas such as deregulation, cross-border competition, lower taxes, lower government spending and curbs on state subsidies for failing industries.

Europe’s politicians looked at the U.S. and decided they needed, among other things, more American incentives and more American creative destruction. That was how to achieve faster growth and higher living standards . They said so explicitly: Unlike their U.S. counterparts, they weren’t embarrassed to point to the other model. And notwithstanding some of the exaggerations about the success of the American model, European countries have been right to move a good way in the U.S. direction. How strange, therefore, to see Romney’s fellow Republicans attack him for his time in the private-equity business, that quintessentially American force for creative destruction.

Workers Not Jobs

On the other hand, Europe can teach the U.S. a thing or two about social insurance — and not just in health care, the most egregious failure of the American economic model. Help for the unemployed has traditionally been ungenerous in the U.S. In the past it didn’t matter because the country’s flexible labor market sped people back into jobs. Now, a severe recession and a slow recovery have caused long-term unemployment to surge, and negative housing equity has made moving to find work harder. Income support and help for retraining and relocation need to be rethought. Don’t be embarrassed. Look to Europe to see what might work.

Good article that makes a number of solid points.  This really does highlight the downside of the concept of ‘American Exceptionalism’, a political ideology that assumes whatever America does is right (unless done by a Democrat, obv).


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