Today's NYT included an article in the Week in Review section noting the prevailing Scandinavian wisdom that they are "incomparably affluent, with all their needs met by an efficient welfare state." The lands of Volvos, IKEA, and rampant socialism are truly delusional: "a large pizza delivered from Oslo's most popular pizza joint - will run from $34 to $48, including delivery fee and a 25 percent value added tax."
Even better -
All this was illuminated last year in a study by a Swedish research organization, Timbro, which compared the gross domestic products of the 15 European Union members (before the 2004 expansion) with those of the 50 American states and the District of Columbia. (Norway, not being a member of the union, was not included.) After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and slightly ahead of Connecticut.
The next European country on the list was Ireland, down at 41st place out of 66; Sweden was 14th from the bottom (after Alabama), followed by Oklahoma, and then Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy. The bottom three spots on the list went to Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise.
I don't know, this article just seemed really interesting to me. We always hear about how Europeans hate America and American culture - maybe we shouldn't put much stock in those stories. It turns out that the economic impact of the average Alabamian is better than that of the average Scandinavian or "Old Europe" resident. Sounds an awful lot like jealousy, no?