Friday, December 09, 2005

EU vs. US Economy

I liked this analysis of the two heavyweights. While on the surface the US GDP/capita is higher and the unemployment rate is lower, when you look a little deeper, you see something different.

European hourly productivity over the past 40 years has risen much more rapidly than U.S. productivity, and several EU countries are now more productive per worker hour than the United States.

Most EU countries have positive trade balances, while our negative trade balance continues to grow.

All EU countries have lower rates of poverty and far smaller gaps between rich and poor.

Personal savings rates in the EU average 12 percent; in the United States, 0 percent.

EU unemployment rates are generally somewhat higher than in the United States. But U.S. figures don't include our massive prison population (2.1 million), five to 10 times as high as that in EU countries.

According to the World Economic Forum, of the five most competitive economies in the world, four are northern European and the most competitive, Finland, has the smallest gap between rich and poor of any country, while guaranteeing 30 days of vacation a year and prohibiting forced overtime work.

Health, in all EU countries, is superior to that in the United States, despite our spending far more per capita on health care. Moreover, Europe's high quality of life is attained with only half the U.S. per capita consumption of resources.

We could live happier, healthier lives by working and consuming less.
Gotta admit, I like the European style better. I am curious now what the US unemployment rate would be like if our incarceration rate wasn't so high.

Via Seattle PI

3 comments: said...

what can you say now about the us economy?

Anonymous said...

What you haven't taken into account is military spending. The Europeans would have a much harder time providing social services and 'closing the gap' between rich and poor if they didn't rely on US military support. Turkey has a bigger army than both Germany and France, but lucky for those European countries they have the NATO alliance with by far the biggest military spender in the world. This doesn't go to the question of who's richer, but rather your like of the 'European style'.

Fat Knowledge said...


Interesting point. I would love to see the US reduce their military spending and put pressure on the Europeans to increase theirs. But many Americans would get upset at this idea, as they want America to be the sole military superpower and are willing to pay to make that the case. So, I do think that there is a difference in what each thinks is valuable to spend money on, and I am much more in the European camp on this one.

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