Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Red America v. Blue Europe

America v. Europe

John Lama sent me the article "Schroeder quits government, blasts U.S., Britain" where the former German Chancelor lashed out at "Anglo-Saxon" economic policies favoured in Britain and the United States, which he said had "no chance" in Europe. I guess he means that "economic growth and prosperity also have no chance in Europe" said my son. John and Gerhard are probably both right.

The current issue of The American Enterprise, my favorite journal of politics, business and culture, is devoted to a series of articles examining Europe's flight from "economic and political reality." The articles compare continental Europe (primarily France, Germany, Italy and Spain) with America in the areas of economic growth, employment, productivity, higher education, science and technology, demographics and "spirit."

Britain and Ireland are excluded from the European union for this comparison since they are much closer to America in most of the measures.

The article Red, White and Bruised looks at the long history of anti-Americanism among European elites. The first clear statement of anti-Americanism can be traced back to a French lawyer, Simon Linguet, who in 1780 warned that "the dregs of Europe would build a dreadful society in America, create a strong army, take over Europe and destroy civilization."

Early in the 20th century French prime minister Georges Clemenceau sneered that "America is the only nation in history that has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."

German poet Heinrich Heine called America "that pig pen of freedom inhabited by boors living in equality."

No, the anti-US sentiment did not start with George Bush's presidency. Once in a while we gave as good as we got, like when President Eisenhower dismissed the French as "a hopeless, helpless mass of protoplasm." Facsinating, enlightening article!

I'll discuss at the rest of the AE series in the next few posts. Here I'll finish with a look at higher education.

One of the telling statistics is the spending on higher education. The US spends 2.6% of total GDP on college education as compared to 1.1% in France and Germany and only 0.8% in Italy. The discrepancy is even larger when one notes that the GDP/person is 40% higher (and growing) in the US compared to those European countries. Thus the US spending on college per person is roughly 3.5 times the European average. One result is shown in the following table.

1. Harvard USA
2. Stanford USA
3. Cambridge Britain
4. UC Berkeley USA
6. CalTech USA
7. Princeton USA
8. Oxford Britain
9. Columbia USA
10. Chicago USA
11. Yale USA
12. Cornell USA
13. UC San Diego USA
14. Tokyo Japan
15. Pennsylvania USA
18. Wisconsin USA
19. Michigan USA
20. Washington USA

Top 20 Universities in the World, 17 in the USA

Taken from an article in The Economist (The Brains Business, 9/8/05) the table lists the top universities in the world ranked according to academic and research performance, Nobel prizes, publications, etc. Note the presence of two British universities (Cambridge and Oxford), a Japanese university (Tokyo) and seventeen American Universities (including 6 in California and 7 in the Ivy League). The US universities emply 70% of the world's Nobel prize-winners.

The oldest universities in the world (Bologna and Paris, circa 1080) are not on the list nor is Barcelona, Berlin or any other continental European university. Funding is one of their major problems along with government interference.

The "brain drain" from Europe to America since the second world war continues and has recently accelerated. This is a huge problem for a European Union that just five years ago proclaimed its intention of becoming the world's premier "knowledge economy" by 2010. Lots of luck, as we will see in the next post.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


In light of the article that I forwarded to you today from the Journal, I wonder if there may really be genetic differences between us and those Europeans who stayed behind instead of immigrating here over the years.

Maybe we are more inclined to believe in individual endeavor and they in collectivism. Maybe the French really are more disposed to surrender. This could get really interesting. Nature is trying to tell us something. Maybe that diversity really means just that – we’re not all the same and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Together to the wall,


11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, Bill.

It all makes sense to me. You see, I believe that the world, as stated in the Bible, will see the rise of the antichrist out of Europe. This could only happen in Europe because as noted in your article, Europe is in a spiral downwards in morality and intelligence and common sense. Sure they’ve hated America because this country was founded by men who believed in the God of the Bible. And we continue to be the light to the world with regard to missionaries sent out. This in spite of the fact that we have our share of corruption!

May God bless America because we sure need it…hmmm, I wonder where the world would be if not for the U.S.A.? One nation under God – which other nation ever said that?


1:47 PM  

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