Is Europe a role model for ending our political and economic troubles?

01/27/10 Robert Lorei
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Welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. Coming up: Is Europe a model fror getting this country out of its economic troubles? We'll meet the author of a new book who says yes, it is. But first some listener comments about yesterday's program on which we talked about last week's Supreme Court decision granting more power to corporations to influence elections.

In his new book, Europe's Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age (University of California Press), political writer Steven Hill of the New America Foundation shows how a quiet revolution has been occurring in post-World War II Europe. For a decade, Mr. Hill traveled widely to understand the "European Way" that, he concluded, has taken the lead in this make-or-break century challenged by a worldwide economic crisis and global climate change.

Europe's Promise details how a world power has emerged across the Atlantic, one that is re-crafting the rules for how a modern society should provide economic security, environmental sustainability, and global stability. Hill explains Europe's bold new vision, and shows how Europe is paving the way for better health care, a more-family friendly society, small business creation, more democratic workplaces and an innovative foreign policy.

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Great show

really enjoyed yesterday's show. Sounds like a great book, I'm going to buy it. You did a fine job with your questions, addressing each of the major conservative bugaboos about Europe, which your guest skilfully debunked. I do read conservative publications such as Forbes and the WSJ, and they tend to assume (seldom citing supporting data) all the things you enumerated in your questions: Europeans pay crippling taxes, bear crippling regulations, permanently high unemployment, health care system a catastrophe, blah blah. Having lived and worked in Europe, I've seen first hand what nonsense all this is. All is not perfect there, but the higher standard of living makes it a delight to travel and to live there, and a bitter frustration that we can't build a similarly advanced society here in my home country. One issue you didn't mention on the show (though perhaps it is addressed in the book): The differences between US and European society are related to fundamental differences of temperament and outlook, and to major differences in the political climate. In general, Europeans have a much more collectivist attitude, and they willingly accept things that would seem big-brotherish to us more individualistic Americans. They do not have the same deep mistrust of government that we do, and no European country that I know of has anything like the hostile, us vs them division between left and right that we have here.