EU versus USA

Er Evrópusambandið langt á eftir Bandaríkjunum? Ef já, hve mikill er munurinn? Er bilið að breikka?

Rannsókn sænsku Timbro hugveitunnar á muninum á milli Evrópusambandsins og Bandaríkjanna. Er munur og hver er hann? Þessi skýrsla var gefin út árið 2004

Frá formála rannsóknarinnar 

. . . "Is it possible to break the spell of economic stagnation in Europe? Yes, undoubtedly. But, alas, it seems highly improbable. The member countries have agreed on a relatively far-reaching reform agenda in the Lisbon accord (yes, in the modern European context it is far-reaching). But the agenda lacks impetus. Not to say a true awareness of the need of reforms. Worse still, many European politicians and opinion-formers seem totally unaware of the lagging performance of the EU economies and that a few percentage units lower growth will affect their welfare in comparison with other economies.

Such is the background to this study on the differences in growth and welfare between Europe and the US. Too many politicians, policy-makers, and voters are continuing their long vacation from reality. On the one hand, they accept, or in some cases even prefer, a substantially lower growth than in the US. On the other hand, they still want us to enjoy the same luxuries and be able to afford the same welfare as Americans can. Needless to say, that is not possible. But the real political problem is that lower welfare standards – as with inequality in general – are a relative measure for most people. They are always viewed by comparison with others, and rarely in absolute terms. People would rather weep in the backseat of a new Mercedes than in the backseat of a second-hand Volkswagen.

This study is based on a widely acclaimed and thought-provoking book – Sweden versus the US – that was published earlier this year in Swedish by the same authors – Dr. Fredrik Bergström, President of The Swedish Research Institute of Trade, and Mr. Robert Gidehag, formerly the Chief Economist of the same institute, and now President of the Swedish Taxpayers’ Association. The study presents important perspectives on European growth and welfare. Its highlight is the benchmark of EU member states and regions to US states. The disturbing result of that benchmark should put it at the top of the agenda for Europe’s future."

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Gunnar Rögnvaldsson,
May 5, 2009, 6:37 PM