I've traveled in Europe, I like Europe, I wouldn't mind living in Europe, for a while, mostly because with the Maddog family income we would live like Kings, er, and Queens. And no, I am not bragging here, I am making an observation about how low the median incomes are thought most of Europe. Don't worry, analysis to follow.
One thing I noticed, even early in the 1990s, when traveling through Italy/Europe, was the vastly lower standard of living between Europe and the US. On a trip in 1994, we took the ferry from our Bellagio home base to Menaggio where we rented bikes and made a loop riding the SS340 down to the Funivia station just North of Argegno, riding the Funivia up to Pigra, and then following the SP13, turning right onto the SP14, following it back to the SS340 which we followed back to Menaggio, and the ferry ride home.
Great ride, not too long, and mostly downhill so it was easy to take in the scenery, and watch the people. This is a less touristed part of Italy/Switzerland. I was surprised by how lower middle class everything felt. This feeling never left me during that trip. It has reappeared every subsequent trip. The further from the big city tourist areas, the more everything feels like lower middle class US.
When I first stumbled upon this post by Mark Perry, I was not surprised, but I suspect many will be.
If Sweden Left The EU and Joined the US, It Would Be the Poorest U.S. State, Below Even Mississippi
I remember reading an article stating that if we normed US income so median US income was 100, Swedish median income would equal 67, about the same as the median black income in the US. Sadly, I was not able to find that article on second look.
The Mises Institute elaborates in this article:
If Sweden and Germany Became US States, They Would be Among the Poorest States
That Germany has such a low standard of living always surprises me. After all Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe, with low unemployment, and a driving economy. But the standard of living for the average German is pretty meager. And when one accounts for Purchase Power Parity, just how meager become indelibly apparent.
So, How does Britain do in this comparison?
Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi | Coffee House
Ouch! Time made the counter argument, er, sorta, and in inimitable Time fashion won the argument against the position Time staked out, dead bang! No, really, these people are wankers of the first order.
Britain Is Not Poorer Than Alabama
Tim Worstall runs the numbers, proving Time and it contributor are wankers. Time must not have had the time to run the numbers, or perhaps did not have the maths acumen. Worstall finds that yes indeed, Britain is poorer than every US State, even Mississippi.
Britain Is Poorer Than Any US State: Yes, Even Mississippi
In 2004, Timbre did an economic analysis of GDP between the US and Europe, and found Europe was lagging far behind the US.
Timbro: EU versus USA
Here are some GDP comparisons from Demographia:
Sweden: GDP Per Capital Compared to US From 1960
Germany: GDP Per Capital Compared to US From 1960
Does that put this issue to rest? The real issue for Europe is that America is pulling away from Europe, and will continue to do so. How long before the US standard of living is 4 times Europe, or more? The Obama Presidency has slowed the American economic train, but it seem unlikely that will last indefinitely, and the European train is slowing even more rapidly, so even if America continues to slow it will continue to pull away from Europe.