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Europe vs America

 
Ugly Redneck
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An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today : Europe vs America

Some excerpts:


It found that if Europe were part of the U.S., only tiny Luxembourg could rival the richest of the 50 American states in gross domestic product per capita. Most European countries would rank below the U.S. average

....

U.S. GDP per capita was a whopping 32% higher than the EU average in 2000, and the gap hasn't closed since. It is so wide that if the U.S. economy had frozen in place at 2000 levels while Europe grew, the Continent would still require years to catch up. Ireland, which has lower tax burdens and fewer regulations than the rest of the EU, would be the first but only by 2005.




Higher GDP per capita allows the average American to spend about $9,700 more on consumption every year than the average European. So Yanks have by far more cars, TVs, computers and other modern goods. "Most Americans have a standard of living which the majority of Europeans will never come anywhere near," the Swedish study says

....

In other words poverty is relative, and in the U.S. a large 45.9% of the "poor" own their homes, 72.8% have a car and almost 77% have air conditioning, which remains a luxury in most of Western Europe. The average living space for poor American households is 1,200 square feet. In Europe, the average space for all households, not just the poor, is 1,000 square feet

 
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No comments on the actual topic, but here's a blog, someone trying to explain 'the difference', and its worth reading.

USA vs. Europe

Europeans are focused on fairness. Americans are focused on freedom. Europeans look at Americans as a bunch of uncultured barbarians running amok in their country and worse, through the world spreading their vulgar culture around. Americans see Europeans as a bunch of sissies whose people meekly except regulations and massive taxation in an effort to make life more "fair" for everyone. The American response would typically be "Hey, life ain't fair!" to which the European might answer "But it should be!" And so it goes from there.




The poorest Americans live pretty darn poorly compared to people in similar situations in Europe. If life were an obstacle course where 90% of the people were able to compete it and 10% didn't, the 90% in the US are rewarded far more than the 90% in Europe. But at the same time, the 10% who can't do it suffer more in the US than they do in Europe. So which path do you take?



You get the idea!
[ June 18, 2004: Message edited by: Ashok Mash ]
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Ashok Mash:
You get the idea!



Nope I dont! The study was conducted by Europeans and the report concludes that the poor in America are much more wealthier than the "average" European.

Here is the excerpt incase you missed it:


In other words poverty is relative, and in the U.S. a large 45.9% of the "poor" own their homes, 72.8% have a car and almost 77% have air conditioning, which remains a luxury in most of Western Europe. The average living space for poor American households is 1,200 square feet. In Europe, the average space for all households, not just the poor, is 1,000 square feet



The poor own a home, car and air-conditioner. But they dont own two of each.. thats what makes them poor :roll:
 
Ashok Mash
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Originally posted by Ashok Mash:
>>> No comments on the actual topic <<< <br /> <br /> link.. quote.. quote... blah blah<br /> <br /> >>> You get the idea! <<<



Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
Nope I dont!



'The idea' is that I have absoulutely no intersted in this issue what so ever, and all I am doing is posting something from the net which raised many comments from other readers! May be I should have added an 'FYI' or something, my mistake!

n other words poverty is relative,...

Exactly! If western Europeans from Ireland, UK, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Austria, Germany and others do not have air-conditioners, its probably because they spend that money to upgrade their centralised heating systems. And of course, Europe is much smaller place with well connected road and rail network and with excellent public transport systems in place, environment friendly Europeans prefer public transport to cars anyway!

Well, we all know USA has more resources, GDP etc than small countries of Europe put together (some of them rather poor, especially the Eastern block), I personally fail see any significance purpose of these comparisons, and hence my first post, and this last post, hopefully!!
 
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The way I see it is, Europe is just bunch of thugs and looters who are enjoying the wealth they robbed from their colonies. While America is a country of hard working and enterprising people who have earned their riches the "fair" way.

Europe is histroy, while America is the future
 
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Originally posted by Terimaki Tojay:
The way I see it is, Europe is just bunch of thugs and looters who are enjoying the wealth they robbed from their colonies. While America is a country of hard working and enterprising people who have earned their riches the "fair" way.

Europe is histroy, while America is the future



Thats right!

Now shut up and hand me your lunch money or I'll get my good friend Belgium to give you a wedgie. :roll:

This thread is potentially as imflammatory as a Pakistan vs India thread
 
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You won't catch nude cyclists cycling down the roads in America. Americans are so puritanical.

BTW this isn't an indication of poverty in Europe , but Europeans caring for the environment, promoting cycles over cars.
 
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
BTW this isn't an indication of poverty in Europe , but Europeans caring for the environment, promoting cycles over cars.



Ref both poverty and the environment... Ever been to Eastern Europe?
 
High Plains Drifter
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
You won't catch nude cyclists cycling down the roads in America. Americans are so puritanical.


What is this 'cycling' of which you speak?
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

What is this 'cycling' of which you speak?



Perhaps you say "bicycling" or "biking" ? Pedal pushers ?
not motorbikes BTW.
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


Ref both poverty and the environment... Ever been to Eastern Europe?



They are only just coming back into the fold after years in the wilderness.
The prodigal sons of Europe. The standard of living would be expected to be lower.
An interesting POV from an American.


Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation. It is entering a post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant�s �Perpetual Peace.� The United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might. That is why on major strategic and international questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus:


[ June 18, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Leverager of our synergies
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In other words poverty is relative, and in the U.S. a large 45.9% of the "poor" own their homes, 72.8% have a car and almost 77% have air conditioning



I am not sure you can define poverty like this. My parents income is hardly more than $100 a month, but they own their apartment and they have air conditioning. No car, but I don't think they ever wanted one.
 
Helen Thomas
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The economics are not so different, in GDP and other terms.

America's GDP surged by 1.5 % in the year to the first quarter. Europe's GDP growth grew only by 1.3%. Over the past decade it has consistently fallen behind America.

Between 1993 and 2003, America's annual growth averaged 3.3% compared with 2.1% in the euro area. Yet GDP figures exaggerate America's relative performance because it's population is growing much faster.

GDP per person grew at an average annual rate of 2.1% in america against 1.8% in the euro area - a much more modest difference.

Germany's economy has been struggling sine German reunification in 1990.
Leave out German's figure and the EU annual growth in GDP per person rises to 2.1% exacly the same as America's.

Were Britain part of the EU this effect would be even more outstanding. Like America, recent rapid growth has been driven partly by home-mortgages. As the interest rates fell and house prices rose, people took out bigger mortgages and spent the cash on a car or a new kitchen.

Comprends ?

Without actually doing similar calculations it would be difficult to get an accurate picture.
For e.g.
In America the measure of producivity frequently used is output per hour in non-agro business sectors.

The European Central Bank publishes figures that include the public sector where productivity growth is always slower.

Europeans have to choose working longer hours during their lifetime or may continue to attach more value to leisure and quality to life rather than hard cash. That is their choice .

But Euroland has a secret economic success story which will be a struggle to maintain if the trends of lower births and immigration vs an increasing ageing population continues.

With more and more people flocking to the French Riviera to be 2 hours from sun soaked beaches, 2 hrs from ski slopes, 2 hrs from anywhere in Europe there isn't going to be a lot of work done. The future doesn't bode well.
[ June 19, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
blacksmith
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Finally found the article. Actually, technically, it's an editorial, but it seems mostly factual. My favorite sentence:

"The authors admit that man doesn't live by GDP alone, and that this measure misses output in the "black" economy, which is significant in Europe's high-tax states".

Makes one wonder what the figures would be like if the black markets were added on both sides of the Atlantic.

Luxembourg is behind only one state: Delaware. Maybe small states have advantages. Both are about a third again the U.S. average.

I have to say I've noticed that in annual visits to England over the last six or seven years, there have been more and larger automobiles each time. New Labor seems to have broken the cycle Jeroen referred to.
 
Helen Thomas
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As far as poverty in Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia or Czech and Slovakia are not considered poor any more.
Well Slovakia may be.
I'm a bit confused as to where Slovakia is anymore. Poland was never part of the Czechoslovakia.

Slovakia
Friggin' maps.

This is a better map Slovakia
I guess Warren didn't notice the nude cyclists . Just ran them over in his mammoth car.
[ June 19, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Mark Fletcher:
This thread is potentially as imflammatory as a Pakistan vs India thread



Maybe, I should have posted the below excerpt as well in my first post, but here it is..


We don't report this with any nationalist glee. The world needs a prosperous, growing Europe, and its relative economic decline is one reason for growing EU-American tension. A poorer Europe lacks the wealth to invest in defense, a fact that in turn affects the willingness of Europeans to join America in confronting global security threats. But at least all of this is a warning to U.S. politicians who want this country to go down the same welfare-state road to decline.

 
Warren Dew
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Helen Thomas:

I guess Warren didn't notice the nude cyclists . Just ran them over in his mammoth car.

Nah, I took the train while in England. Over one of the few (?) nonelectrified portions of tracks.

My U.S. car would have been mammoth in England a few years ago, but no longer, I think. The BMW Minis I saw were on the small end of the range last month; a few years ago, they would have been on the large end. (As opposed to the original Mini, which was smaller than those bicycles you talk about....)
 
arch rival
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"Were Britain part of the EU this effect would be even more outstanding."

Britain joined the European Common Market, in 1973. The European Common Market was what became the EU.
 
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
Helen Thomas:

Nah, I took the train while in England. Over one of the few (?) nonelectrified portions of tracks.



Can't be, you're here and not utterly lost in a delay somewhere
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Marcus Green:
"Were Britain part of the EU this effect would be even more outstanding."

Britain joined the European Common Market, in 1973. The European Common Market was what became the EU.



Thanks, Marcus. Well spotted. The European Central Bank publishes figures for the euro area which excludes Britain. The euro being the single European currency.

Were Britain part of the euro area.....

Hey, the average American clocks up 40% more hours during his life-time than the average person in Germany , France or Italy. The average person in the euro area is still 30% poorer than the average American (in terms of GDP per person measured at purchasing-power parity). The main reason why the income gap has not narrowed is that Europeans have used some of their increase in productivity to increase their leisure rather than incomes.

Americans continue to toil longer hours for more income.

Which group would you rather be in ?

Remember the parable of the ant and the grasshopper ? There are two versions.
Did you empathise with the ant or the grasshopper?
[ June 19, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
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I moved to US from Europe about 3 years ago...

One thing that's REALLY different are the people. In US: they'll smile in your face, act all nice and shit, but when it really matters, they'll sell you out for a penny on a dollar, and when you say "but we were friends", they'll say "so what".

In Europe, however, its different. If there are 10 people beating the hell out of you, your friend WILL join in and protect you, EVEN THOUGH he knows he'll probably get wounded, he'll still do it. I'd like to see that happen in US.

Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-American, as a fact, I love America, and I have lots of friends here, but it's just not the same.
 
Marcus Green
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No I'm not familiar with the parable of the ant and the grasshopper. Your description of the difference between the statistics makes me think of the choice between working to live or living to work.

My experience of Europe and the US make me think Ivans comments are a wild and baseless generalisations. However here is my own wild and almost baseless cultural stereotype... Move in next door to an American and they say hello and invite you into their house and greet you the day afterwards.

Move next door to an Englishman and they will say hello and invite you into their house after you have lived next door for ten years and there has been some appalling disaster that has destroyed your house.
[ June 20, 2004: Message edited by: Marcus Green ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Ivan, are you Bulgarian?
 
Wanderer
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I'm thinking Ivan may be looking at the difference between longtime friends such as he know back home, and newer friends met here. Personally I'd expect more committed loyalty from the people I knew in Arizona than the ones I know from California or Colorado (on average anyway), but I don't think that's an inherent difference between people from those states - it's just that I lived in Arizona a long time, and my friends there are people who go way back. To be fair, I haven't gotten in many bar fights to test this theory. Also, based on Ivan's comments here I think it's possible that the people around him just don't think he deserves any help in a bar fight.
 
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One thing that's REALLY different are the people. In US: they'll smile in your face, act all nice and shit, but when it really matters, they'll sell you out for a penny on a dollar, and when you say "but we were friends", they'll say "so what".

Ok, now when you said this thing, admit it, it's unfair. Jim is right about the difference of being your friend last 20 years and last three days.
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Marcus Green:


Move next door to an Englishman and they will say hello and invite you into their house after you have lived next door for ten years and there has been some appalling disaster that has destroyed your house.



Ahh! But in all the ten years you'd be closely inspected behind twitching net curtains.

It'll be another 10 years before you get invited to the shed at the bottom of the garden.
[ June 20, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:


Ahh! But in all the ten years you'd be closely inspected behind twitching net curtains.

It'll be another 10 years before you get invited to the shed at the bottom of the garden.

[ June 20, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]



That's only in Belgium

Seriously, he's right in stating that Americans are far more open towards strangers than are Europeans (on average, typically, usual disclaimers about generalisations here).
I've lived in the same apartment for 7 years and know most of the others in the complex on sight. Everyone says hello, good night. But I know only one of them by name...
We also tend to wear out the z key on our keyboards far less frequently
 
Jeroen Wenting
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That will in part be due to my exceptional social skills but not completely
 
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The thing about the difference between Europe and America is that they are... well... different. There are so many factors involved that its hard to come up with a definitive answer (as we've seen from the number of different measures mentioned above).

A major difference is the history of the two places. Europe has had several millennia of war back and forwards across it. Even the Roman Empire united only a half at best of Europe, so there is little history of Europeans working together. The USA, while being similar in size (population, area, economics etc) has been united for all but a small amount of time - this must give a tremendous advantage.

The unification difference is not just in the field of politics though - the USA has been united economically as well. Europe has spent a large part of the last centaury split between two different economic systems - capitalism and communism. It'll take a while to get the ex-communist countries up to the same level of GDP, living standards etc as the US. It will happen, but its going to take a while.

Europe is also made up of a lot of different cultures. Although there are many different cultures in the USA, its nothing compared to the number of different peoples, languages, societies that make up Europe. This means that Europe cant take quite unilateral decisions, but must negotiate every decision, making for a less flexible economy.

Europe also suffered from the 20th centaury in a unique way. No other part of the world was torn apart as much as Europe. The devastation from two world wars and then the cold war had huge economic ramifications. After WWII, the infrastructure of Europe had been shot to pieces. Its taken decades to get it all back together again.

The wars have also had large psychological side effects. Europe has seen, countless times, the affect of war upon itself. Although the USA suffered during the war, it (luckily) didn't suffer the terrible horror of having its towns and cities destroyed and its people killed in their own homes. Imagine the effect of 9/11 over and over again in front of you... Its this horror that is in the minds of the Europeans as they sit around the negotiation tables. That Europe is at peace with itself is an incredible achievement. The last few years are an almost unique event in European history - Germany, France, Britain, Spain all at peace. A Europe in which the worst conflict in recent times has been a civil war in just one country is amazing, and something that some people don't understand. They think the European hesitation over going to war is a sign of weakness, instead of what it really is - the result of learning the hard way that war should be a last resort.

Despite all these historical and economic differences, I think that the average American and the average European would not be that different in terms of their friendliness, hopes and ideals. We'd probably get on quite well as long as we avoided talking about politics
 
Greenhorn
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Well said Joe.

Its people of my parents generation who are making many of the political decisions in Europe today. My mother remembers the rumble of fleets of German bombers as they passed overhead on their way to the big cities. 9/11 was the equivilent of a medium sized bomber raid. There were thousands of raids...

Its interesting to note that Americans think of Europeans as "sissies" because of their reluctance to join in a single war we disagree with. The ferocity of the land and sea battles fought in Europe over WWII is unparralleled in history and a great deal of heroism was shown on both sides. Given that, and the fact that the US was reluctantly dragged into a war that was a close as possible to Good vs. Evil, and you have to wonder who the real sissies are.
 
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