A View Not Available in North America
I do like elements of the quality of life in Europe, but little of my affection has to do with “higher living standards.” The available evidence is that in terms of material wealth (the “spiritual” kind is rather harder to measure), on average Americans are notably richer than Europeans. Air conditioning is nearly impossible to find (I well remember spending the miserably hot summer of 1995 in Paris without it), people tend to have less living space, etc., etc. Much of that is documented in Olaf Gersemann’s careful work Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality, which I was citing…in the statement that was quoted in the Washington Post in this letter, by Lowell Rudorfer: “According to Tom G. Palmer of the Cato Institute, ‘Two-thirds of Americans who lose their jobs find new ones in less than three months, whereas two-thirds of unemployed Germans take longer than six months and nearly half take over a year to find new jobs.'”
A Sophisticated Work Comparing European and American
Conditions: It’s Also a Great Read and an Excellent Intro to
Contemporary Economic Analysis
Italy is a wonderful place; imagine how much better it would be if the Italians were richer.