The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 June 2003

Europe nonresurgent

No screen is perfect, which may explain why the estimable Robert Prather has been busily swatting some Eurofly. The bug in question, modestly identified as nobody, is evidently persuaded that the European Union will displace the United States in the Undisputed Superpower class, but so far his arguments have been unpersuasive.

Were I faced with this creature, I'd snap off a couple of one-liners and be done with him. Prather prefers to eviscerate his arguments, statistic by dubious statistic, until there's nothing left but bluster and whining — which, you have to admit, is just about all there is to the EU these days.

The preeminence of the US isn't something that's been handed to us on a silver platter by the deity of the moment, nor is it an accident of history. It exists because we've done a decent job (not a perfect job, but not too shabby either) of sticking to the high-flown notions we adopted in the 18th century, and in the process demonstrating that those notions actually do work. If the Europeans want to play in this league, they're going to have to shed an incredible amount of political and cultural baggage that does nothing but weigh them down. I'm not holding my breath.

Posted at 7:38 AM to Political Science Fiction


I think Prather could have saved a lot of time by just saying "Bite me".

Posted by: Ravenwood at 12:24 PM on 23 June 2003

Yeah. Life is too short to waste time trying to enlighten the unenlightenable.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:52 PM on 23 June 2003

umm... far from going off on a tangent about how great europe is (I have really no opinion on that) I will say that america is weaker economically that it has been in the past. We are one Chineese embargo away from a third world country. We still have a high economic output but in reality we are a nation of resellers at this point. Our shining spots are out military superiority, agricultural exports and financial importance. We know that miltary and financial might are symboitic. In a peaceful world we lose out because its just wasted money. So far it looks like we'll be using our miltary. But you have to have a strong economic base and I think we need to do some fast footwork to reposotion ourselves in teh global market. Namely we need to actually produce some goods.

We should not be so proud that we ignore looking critically at our economy and its relative strength. I give us a c+ right now, could use some work.

Posted by: bruce at 6:48 PM on 23 June 2003

Producing some goods would be nice; our manufacturing sector is woefully weak. But I think we're a bit stronger than that, even if the Chinese do seem to make two-thirds of the products on the shelves of your nearest Wal-Mart.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:13 PM on 23 June 2003

two thirds? ..... umm, try 98%.

Posted by: bruce at 1:44 AM on 25 June 2003

Just a guess; I haven't actually been inside a Wal-Mart in the better part of a year.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:57 AM on 25 June 2003

its not just wal-mart... its pervasive in electronics, typically only high end or low volume goods are still produced in first world economies. We're a nation of resellers.

Posted by: bruce at 11:50 AM on 25 June 2003

But I like low-volume equipment!

(One of these days I have to find out how many 4VR-5456 receivers JVC moved in the middle 70s — and, of course, to see if there are any left.)

Posted by: CGHill at 7:29 PM on 25 June 2003