Europeanising the US: a Nightmare?

I recently went through the sunday roundup on Salon.com and took the time to watch all the Videos. A remark by Mitch McConnel hit me square in the face. “Obamacare is the single biggest step in europeanising our Country, we need to get rid of it.”

Skip to 4:45 for the quote

Mitch McConell, who came to some notoriety in the wake of the government shutdown, has been the Minority Leader of the Senate since January 3, 2007, so I will freely assume, that such phrases as he uses are common lingo at republican meetings. To me to say that europeanising the US is something bad falls into the same category as comparing Obama to Hitler for introducing the affordable care act or the general demonisation of anything that sounds social. (see Childish Murica – the Commies are gone – grow up!)

So what would be so bad about Europeanisation. Now to get me right; Europe is not the best at everything and the US still is the Leader in many aspects. The main difference is, that when Europeans see something better somewhere else usually we will go: “Hey that´s a good Idea, lets try and implement it.”

So why is that so difficult for some parts of the American political world. Obviously seeing your own country as the best thing that has happened to this planet probably helps other aspects have been mentioned in the “childish murica” and the “Three little Piggies” articles.

Of course many solutions that work in Europe can not work in the US; Geopolitical, cultural, historical and social situations are very different. Nevertheless the Europe is the global leader in many, mostly social and ecological aspects. The proper Approach in my mind would be to see, what works well and to analyse which aspects could be adapted to achieve the same results in the US, very much like other countries have copied some aspects of US systems to improve aspects of their own.

Lets break something down here.

The US and the EU are very similar in economical power.

The EU and The US have a GDP (PPP) of app. 16 Trillion.

(Depending on the sources the US (IMF) or the EU (Worldbank, CIA Factbook) is leading.)

The EU and the US have similar  GDP per Capita (Don´t forget the massive distortion through extreme income inequality in the US, the worst in the developed world – Huff Post article)

The US (2012) has a total public debt of 105% of GDP compared to 85% for the EU

The EU27 currently has a 1,2% of GDP trade surplus. vs.  a 3% deficit for the US

Yales environmental performance Index (EPI) has EU states at the Ranks 2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,24,28,32,33,36,41,44 and 45

The US is at 49 with only Bulgaria and Estonia coming in later within the EU.

The US has almost 5 fold the Homicide Rate of Europe.

And before the topic of Nobel prize winners comes up. The EU has 485 compared to 350.

Apart from those points: better social security, higher happiness indexes etc. etc.

Now Again: Europe has its problems and has done really stupid stuff (also post WW2) and it is a fact we have quite a few things  yet to learn from the US and other countries as we have things to teach; but to see any form of europeanisation as something that has to be avoided at all costs is taking national pride one step too far.

To be fair on the list above, Europe has some advantages.

A big advantage Europe has over the US in being more likely to adopt sensible policies are size, population, diversity and history.

The EU is half the size of the US, yet has 150 million more people speaking 24 “official” languages (more unofficial ones as well). In other words the necessity to find ways to get along is way higher.

Historically the industrial age started in Europe. We´re talking child labor and slave like conditions for the masses. This has left a deep desire for social justice combined with some pretty nice popular uprisings against the ruling classes.

Being somewhat of a Nations flat share, European countries “live” together with different personalities, strengths and weaknesses. This sometimes being a burden but at the same time a chance to see the best solutions of ones problems and being able to profit from these experiences. Also; if one of the flat mates does really stupid stuff the other ones get to stage an intervention.

The US on the other hand is somewhat of a homeschooled kid as countries go. One huge nation with one huge national market with one language that could basically do whatever it wanted for most of recent history. And as homeschooling goes: it can bring out the genius or the psycho in you.

And probably has achieved a fair share of both.

So as a bottom line here: while Europeanising the US will never be a goal or achievable or even desirable as a whole. Europeanising some aspects, especially in social policies might not be the worst idea.

And please start using the metric system like every other sane country in the world. Your military already does for FSMs sake.

RZ

 

 

 

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