Monday, February 15, 2016

Some Charts that Show Why it Makes Sense to Want US Economy to be More Like Europe

The idea that Democrats want to make America more like Europe is a favorite Republican attack line. The New York Times, David Brooks expresses amazement that so many millennials are supporting Bernie Sanders, an open admirer of the European model. Why would anyone in their right mind favor “sluggish” Europe over “vibrant” America?
Writing in

If we focus on data rather than snappy sound bites, the attraction of the European model is clear: European countries, especially the high-income democracies of Northern Europe, make better use of their wealth in supporting a good life for their citizens.

Here is a chart that gives the big picture. The horizontal axis shows GDP per capita. (GDP here is measured at purchasing power parity (PPP) to remove distortions caused by over- or undervalued exchange rates.) The vertical axis shows a measure of human wellbeing called the Social Progress Index (SPI). Unlike some other broad indexes of human welfare, the SPI does not explicitly include income, wealth, or GDP. Instead, it regards them as “inputs” that support the production of “outputs” like health, security, and personal freedoms. >>>Read more


  1. I was hoping to repost your most recent blog about why it makes sense for the US to be more like Europe. We have an expat newsite/corporate services company called Dispatches Europe. My email is:

  2. Edwin Dolan has been very associated with Russia, just like Bernie Sanders. Wondering if he is a near-communist like Sanders? Comparing the U.S. (324 milion people) with Denmark (6 million), or Finland (5.5 million) or Netherlands (17 million), or even France (64 million) or Sweden (10 million) is totally innane. With such a large difference in size, diversity, and numerous other factors, to hand pick a couple of statistical charts and make a case based on that alone is totally wrong and misleading.

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