Economic Futures of the West
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Economic Futures of the West

Jan Winiecki

Jan Winiecki explores the various problems that the West must deal with in order to remain an efficient competitor in the world economy. These, he argues, are primarily consequences of the ever-expanding welfare state; consequences that are not only economic but also socio-psychological and, therefore, political. The author also considers the evolution of Western Europe and the USA from a new perspective, noting the ‘Europeanization’ of US economic policies and regulation and the ‘Americanization’ of polices and regulation in some European countries. The book concludes that the main challengers to the West – Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so-called BRIC group of countries) – are unlikely to gain economic supremacy over the West any time soon, given that they have to contend with their own difficulties.
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Chapter 8: How much of US exceptionalism is still left in the ‘Europeanized’ USA?

Jan Winiecki


During the 1980s and 1990s, and even in the first years of the present century, it was popular, or even fashionable, to point to different economic and social developments in the USA and Western Europe. The books by Alesina and Giavazzi and by Gersemann mentioned in Chapter 7 are just a small sample from among many. And, apart from writings by authors of collectivist (socialist, welfarist – you name it) preferences, the differences were seen to be largely in the USA’s favor. To begin with, economic growth in the USA during the period in question was higher than that in major West European economies. More importantly, economic growth in the USA was generating much greater employment benefits than in Europe. With GDP growth rate differentials to the tune of 0.5–1.0 percent annually, employment differentials were significantly larger: 1.5–2.0 percent annually in the USA and 0.6 percent in ‘old’ EU countries (0.7 percent annually in Germany).

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