The advantages of (preserving some remnants of) the free market: The US vs. the EU

This morning I stumbles upon a 2004 academic study on the economic differences between Europe and the US.  Yes, it’s a few years old, but I suspect the overarching trends of greater per capita GDP and consumer spending capacity in the US remain the same (Not that there aren’t problems with those measurements, of course).

To highlight a few of the statistics:

  • Per capita GDP in the US is higher than anywhere in the EU by at least $4,000.
  • It would take between 10 and 27 years of completely flat economic growth in the US for any EU country to match the average American per capita GDP.
  • In fixed money terms, the per capita GDP in the US has grown at the fastest rate since 1970 among the US, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany.
  • All but four individual American states have higher per capita GDPs than most members of the EU:  “Connecticut, for instance, has almost twice the material prosperity of old European great powers like France and the UK.”

The study points to high taxes, perverse incentives, large percentages of government employees, and foolish labor laws as the primary reasons for these differences.  Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly the direction in which we’re moving.  Maybe the EU will catch up faster than we think.

Published in

Post a comment