Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

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Wednesday, April 16, 2003
There's an editorial in the Times that echoes some of my thoughts about the European attitude towards work as compared to the American attitude. I feel like each has made a different choice -- generally speaking, America has chosen to work harder (longer) for a higher material standard of living (overall -- not counting for economic inequality), Europeans have chosen to work less but have more "free time". I feel like each choice is valid, but have wondered whether, by working harder, America continually improves its efficiency and productivity -- thereby enabling US companies to outcompete European companies, resulting in more unemployment in Europe (which there certainly is). If that's true, Europe will be forced to abandon its current system for a more ruthless American-style work ethic.

There are hundreds of economic variables that come into play, so I don't know if my concern there is legitimate. I hope it's not, because the author's Take Back Your Time initiative is most welcome. America needs to get off the treadmill.

(Another thought -- incomes in Europe may not be that much less, but take home pay is significantly less, since higher taxes are required to pay for the extra social services. Oh, and prices are higher as well, so actual buying power is less. Again, a perfectly legitimate tradeoff, but a tradeoff nonetheless).

What do you think? Should the US adopt more of a European model? How do we do that?

Edit: there's already a good thread about this piece at Signal vs. Noise, for what it's worth.


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