A new report was recently released that has very few surprises for people who read the blogs. According to a study conducted by a European Union small business organization named Eurochambres, the United States economy is about 20 years ahead of the EU in just about every category. (You can read the report yourself, in PDF format, here.)
The study is surprisingly frank in its assessment of the EUís chances to catch up with the US. Even with the best possible conditions it will take decades or even more than a century for the EU to achieve parity. And this will only happen if hard decisions are made right now.
One thing I also found to be very refreshing is that the report makes no bones as to which country the EU is trying to best. Claims that Europe is merely trying to find a more efficient system of internal governing without looking to become a rival of the US are becoming less credible with every year.
It appears to me that the biggest problem the EU faces is the drain on the economy due to its cradle-to-grave Socialist-style welfare system. For some reason, I donít see the report even mentioning this directly. This is probably because the retirement and government subsidized benefit system is a big sore point in the EU. Proposed cuts in these benefits, even changes that we in the US would have characterized as being mild to middling, have been met with a great deal of protest by the voters.
Right now the US has a greater degree of political influence, military power, cultural dominance and economic might than any other society in the history of the world. Itís obvious that this state of affairs canít continue forever. But itís also obvious that the EU isnít going to move to the head of the line if they canít get a handle on the situation created by their own internal policies.
(Big slobbery hat tip to Ace.)