Unless the Goal Is Lower Living Standards, Bernie Sanders Has Learned the Wrong Lesson from Europe
. . . at how poor it feels.
Oregon, Maddogshome, is number 18 in state to state GDP (PPP) comparisons. Mark Perry has a nice comparison between US GDP per capita by state vs. European countries and Japan, Korea, Mexico and China. I was surprised that Oregon ($54,858.00) beat all of the listed countries, and even beat the US GDP (PPP) average ($54,629). Yes, oil rich countries like Norway at $64,856.00, Luxembourg at $97,661.90, and Switzerland at $57,235.30 are outside the EU, but within Europe and do very well, but small Norway's economy is substantially oil dependent, and both Luxembourg, and Switzerland are small countries with large banking, and financial sectors. These are factors unreproducible for the US.
Like Dan Mitchell, I like and respect much of what the Nordic nations have done, but I suspect they will need to follow, and even improve upon Sweden's welfare reforms.
Frankly, I suspect that the US, the Nordic countries, Switzerland, and a few other nations are beginning to slowly but surely find the sweet spot here at the End of History. Exactly what the sweet spot is, has yet to be defined, and I suspect that we will find many interpretations. The ultimate question is how much security the people feel comfortable with versus how much liberty they desire.
The charts and links above seem to point out that the US has done amazingly well as a large nation in creating the economic liberty/wealth aspect of the equation, while the smaller more homogenous Nordic countries have done particularly well in creating a safety net.
Sweden's welfare reforms have been particularly productive. If the US would begin adopting more of the Swedish welfare reforms is seems likely we could move more quickly to define the sweet spot.
When it comes to ranking countries by per capita GDP (PPP), The US position is amazing. It comes in at 10th after 5 tiny oil kingdoms, and 4 tiny trade, and/or banking and finance countries.
Unless the progressives have their way and the US economic engine is hobbled, it is clear the US will continue to accelerate economically forcing the Nordic nations to continue with welfare reforms. The alternative is to be left behind as The US pulls away economically. I have no doubt the Nordic nations will not allow this to happen.
The Southern European nations are another story completely.
The graph found in Dan Mitchell's piece show how clearly the southern European nations are falling behind in the economic race for per capita prosperity. This graph clearly shows that there is something about the germanic states, and areas which allow them to become far more prosperous than other parts of Europe. These nations include Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany (although former East Germany seems to have been damaged by its time as a Soviet Satellite), Switzerland, Austria, and the germanic parts of Italy, and France. Also interestingly the north of Spain is particularly prosperous, as is southern Ireland (an historic change).
Notice also how the large cities in many of the lower GDP countries are GDP sinks, for example, London, Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Athens, and Budapest all show up as anomalously prosperous areas against a backdrop of much lower prosperity.
While we should not totally discount the tiny super prosperous nations like Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Norway, these offer far fewer opportunities to learn than will the slightly larger to medium sized nations like the Nordic countries. The super tiny tend to be wealthy because they excel at something like banking, or trade, or are sitting upon a large pool of oil. Large nations cannot replicate these specific benefits.
At this point the very best thing America can do is continue to drive forward economically, creating prosperity for all of our citizens. This will pressure the other nations of the world to follow suit. The ultimate goal is to create sufficient wealth to fully eradicate world poverty.