Sunday, June 01, 2008

European Utopia

In his book Earth In The Balance, the Goracle advocated higher gasoline prices as a way of forcing us peons to conserve and/or seek out alternate technologies. I wonder how many of his followers are cheering today's gas prices. If you believe in Gore but aren't cheering, you, sir/ma'am, are a hypocrite. Our European betters aren't happy with gas approaching $10/gallon:

European drivers pay the highest gas taxes in the world. In Britain, tax accounts for around 65 percent of the pump price for diesel, which recently topped 130 pence a liter or $9.88 per gallon.

OK, but Europe is thriving while the US' economy is in the gutter, right? Not so fast:

Eurozone inflation surged to the highest rate for 16 years on the back of sharply higher oil prices as consumer spending in the 15-country region showed further signs of weakness.

Well, the economy is more than just gas prices and inflation. How about unemployment and per capita income?

The Association of European Chambers of Commerce in Brussels warned that the transatlantic gap had widened yet further in the past five years by all key measures, despite the pledge by EU leaders at the 2000 Lisbon summit to transform Europe into the world's "most dynamic knowledge-based economy" by the end of the decade.

The EU-wide umbrella group, known asEurochambres said the EU's overall employment rate was still stuck at levels attained by the United States in 1978, chiefly due to an incentive structure that discourages women from working and prompts early retirement by those in their fifties.

It found that the European Union's research and development levels were achieved by America as long ago as 1979, while the lag time on per capita income is 18 years.

"It will take the EU until 2072 to reach US levels of income per capita, and then only if the EU income growth exceeds that of the US by 0.5pc," the study said.

Throw in the growing Muslim population/problem , and I'd suggest booking a trip to Europe while there's still something there the Western world could recognize.

What's causing these difficulties in Europe? Socialism.


Ellen K said...

It makes me wonder if the politicians here are even looking at what has happened to Europe in the past five years. Consolidation, imposition of the Euro and trade agreements have simply made trade unwieldy and has hurt their exports and manufacturing. Down the road, they will have to lay off workers, and many of those will be the middle eastern immigrants. But since the European community has embraced a liberal cradle to grave social safety net, I doubt they will return home. So you will have a failing economy, a burdensome tax system and a disgruntled and nonworking immigrant class. Sounds like someone may be in for a revolution.

Ronnie said...

I'm the last one to call for political correctness but labeling something like "Muslim problem" is just disrespectful and ignorant. Our country was said to have an "Irish problem" and a "Black problem" but we view such thoughts and wording today as extremely rude and insulting with good reason. Don't complain about anything being disrespectful when you group people together as a "problem".

allen (in Michigan) said...

The revolution's already started.

There have been a number of setbacks for the "command economy" bureaucrats of the EU. Somewhere there's probably a list but taxes, work rules, agricultural subsidies, medical policy have all become bumps in the road to a socialist utopia.

Not to say things have ground to a halt or reversed but all is not going smoothly in USA-East.

Darren said...

What would you call it, Ronnie? A "situation"? An "issue"?

It is what it is.

Ronnie said...

From what I've read your supposed "Muslim problem" is a mixture of poverty and racism. Poverty and racism against a group of people tends to create separatism and violence, both of which add to what is a circular problem. Looking at the causes and not labeling Muslim people as a "problem" would probably be a start in the right direction of easing out of those circular problems. Muslim people aren't any more of problem than Catholic people, but the economic situation and the social treatment of the group is.

Darren said...

We don't seem to have a Muslim problem here in the US. There is one in Canada (see Mark Steyn's kangaroo court as today's example) and in Europe.

Wishing it weren't so doesn't make it not so.

When you want to cut people's heads off for posting cartoons, when you kill filmmakers, when you seek to have sharia law (as opposed to the law of the land) allowed for Muslims, I call that a *problem*.

Anna said...

Also, in Europe, the rail system is much more developed and the whole area is more compact.

Not so, over here.

I've considered how to get to the museum area in downtown Cleveland from a west side suburb, and it can only be done, by driving to a train station, taking the train to the airport and a bus from the airport to University Circle (and perhaps even a second bus) I'll drive instead.

Ronnie said...

But the problem is your saying Muslims as whole are a problem, when it is actually only some Muslims that are radical enough to kill cartoonists and filmmakers while demanding sharia law.

Ellen K said...

But it does seem that those Muslims to who advocate violence against
-people who make fun of them
-people who worship differently
are allowed to position themselves as The Voice of Islam. It's pretty much like Rev. Wright claiming to be The Voice of Black America. But when the majority of Muslims who simply desire to live their lives choose to ignore those who promote violence,then there is a problem. That's not peculiar to Muslims because the Irish have had a long history of similar insurgencies. But what happens when good men and women do nothing?

allen (in Michigan) said...

> But the problem is your saying Muslims as whole are a problem,

No, what we're saying is that the problem as a whole is Muslim.

There are other terrorist groups in the world but they don't trouble the U.S. all that much. There's ETA and the Tamil Tigers and God knows how many others. But it's the Muslim terrorists who've targeted the U.S. and American citizens.

The "broad-brush" assumptions that you find so objectionable are a natural, unavoidable result of war and the delicate and nuanced distinctions that you feel must be made are a luxury that's unaffordable in a war.

No war? Then the Miranda ruling and all the rest of the panoply of the justice system applies. But if it's war then survival dictates and justifies actions that wouldn't be necessary or justified in peace.