Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Europe is Sinking

Fareed Zakaria's recent Newsweek piece describes the "Decline and Fall of Europe:"
It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the EU has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the U.S. and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years. If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German...
People have argued that Europeans simply value leisure more and, as a result, are poorer but have a better quality of life. That's fine if you're taking a 10 percent pay cut and choosing to have longer lunches and vacations. But if you're only half as well off as the U.S., that will translate into poorer health care and education, diminished access to all kinds of goods and services, and a lower quality of life. Two Swedish researchers, Frederik Bergstrom and Robert Gidehag, note in a monograph published last year that "40 percent of Swedish households would rank as low-income households in the U.S." In many European countries, the percentage would be even greater.
Amazing. But this is no real suprise. Europe is dominated by cultural and political collectivists that are now beginning to reap the results of their misguided and disasterous endeavours. Zakaria nails the problem:
Whenever some politician makes tiny, halting efforts at reform, strikes and protests paralyze the country.
So shortsighted. This topic seems to be quite hot of late. Here is an article from Mark Steyn that I quoted a few weeks back which suggests that the continentals will be forced to rely on immigration to prop up their crumbling social benefit structures - a remedy that will ultimately, according to Steyn, lead to the same result suggested by Zakaria: the end of Europe as we presently know it. So, pick your poison: death by economic collapse or death by Sharia. Oh, how pleasant.