Martin Wolf of the Financial Times serves up a sobering assessment of the European Welfare State Model:
This is a continent of high and persistent unemployment, declining productivity growth, rapid ageing and growing fiscal strains; it is also one whose once—proud role in knowledge—creation is in decline.
Mr. Wolf identifies the culprit as the overbloated state and then goes on to list some of its cardinal failings:
Fiscal unsustainability; mediocrity of provision; slackening work effort; slowing productivity growth; resistance to economic adjustment; flight of valuable economic resources; difficulties in absorbing immigrants; and even the undermining of the family.
None of this is new, but the erudite analysis and well—marshaled facts leave a strong impression. The article should be required reading for American liberals, given that the European welfare state model is something that they in earnest seek to emulate. Perhaps being acquainted with the facts of woe would lessen their enthusiasm for the ways of their European counterparts. But this may be too much to hope, since even the clear—cut evidence of failure rarely diminishes their devotion to policies that produce it.
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