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Americans and Europeans Raised in Prejudice and Ignorance

A new round in transatlantic bashing: Denis, a French expat in the US, writes in SuperFrenchie:

They may call each others moonbats and wingnuts, but whether they're sporting long hair or military haircuts, Americans by and large all agree on this: America is the greatest country in the world, the American way of doing things is the only possible one, and everybody supports the troops. They learn that in schools from the earliest age, along with the fact that everything else (and everywhere else) is, by definition, flawed. And that's if they're taught anything about other places at all. History of the world in high school, for example, is a 2-semester optional course! Geography manuals do not exist. Innocent until proven guilty, to them, is a uniquely American concept.

So when I read in Foreign Policy magazine that "millions of children are being raised on prejudice and disinformation," I felt some optimism. Finally, I thought, someone is going to tackle the problem of bias and lack of openness to the world in American schools. Oops! They were talking about France and Germany.

Denis' "bashing back" is mild compared to Foreign Policy magazine's article "Europe's Philosophy of Failure." The introduction reads:

In France and Germany, students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination. Taught that economic principles such as capitalism, free markets, and entrepreneurship are savage, unhealthy, and immoral, these children are raised on a diet of prejudice and bias. Rooting it out may determine whether Europe's economies prosper or continue to be left behind.

Yes, the author is German. Stefan Theil is Newsweek's European economics editor and completed his research of American, French, and German textbooks and curricula while a trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Headlines and introductions, however, are usually written by the editorial team. Besides, the article was commissioned by a US publication. Foreign Policy magazine has not commissioned an article from SuperFrenchie...

So, I am with Denis and his headline: "Would someone please give a mirror to Foreign Policy magazine?"

Regarding: looking in the mirror: I know today's US textbooks are different from this US Cold War cartoon from 1949: "Meet King Joe" is funny and educational:

American labor, management and capital -- the greatest production team in the history of mankind -- have made the United States the industrial master of the world.

Transatlantic relations would be better, if US and European magazines and textbooks would give more room to views popular on the other side of the Atlantic.

Just like Foreign Policy magazine (a reputable think tank publication) appears to be keen on bashing "Europe's Philosophy of Failure," the German weekly Spiegel (less reputable, but probably more widely read) tries to hype any real or imagined US failure, see for instance Davids Medienkritik's post "Unemployment: Kannapolis Instead of Chemnitz."

And what is the balanced and extremely humble publication that refrains from sensationalism and covers both sides of the story to promote mutual understanding? Atlantic Review, of course. ;-) Totally humble. See for instance these posts on economic policy:

Using the United States to Scare Germans

Germany's Economic Importance for the US -- Economic Reform and Poverty (56 comments)

Nobel Prize Winner Compares the Economic System in the U.S. and in Germany

The Economist: Germany in danger of "Americanization" without the good points

Is Health Care Unaffordable or do Millions of Americans Just Have Other Priorities?

The Return of Fear


Related post on history textbooks: Failure of Education: Franco-German reconciliation with Anti-Americanism

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Pat Patterson on :

Now if this issue had been regarding German high school subjects and essentially was based on two anecdotal stories from a website and an actually quite well done cartoon designed for elementary school children I'm fairly certain by now everyone would still be laughing at the flimsinees at the source of the whole post. However in California by time a student has reached either the 11th or 12th grade, recommended years for AP courses, he or she would have already had four years of geography beginning in elementary school, three years of world history in jr. high and high school and in addition he also could have taken, depending on his high school, AP classes and exams in French and German Literature, French History, European History, Economics or even a course called Human Geography. AP Economics closely matches the curriculum of most states economics courses and as one who has taught both (here's another useless anecdote} the content reveals the the efficiencies and inefficiences of many different systems without any broad or subtle hints as to which is superior. But I did find often that the students most likely to embrace free market capitalism are either immigrants themselves or the sons and daughters or immigrants who have absolutely no interest in the history or economic situation in their home countries. Woe betide any country in the world that doesn't think that it is the best and that the sun shines brightest there.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Related column today by Paul Krugman, recommended in the Tips from our Readers bar in the right sidebar: [i]Today I’d like to talk about a much-derided contender making a surprising comeback, a comeback that calls into question much of the conventional wisdom of American politics. No, I’m not talking about a politician. I’m talking about an economy — specifically, the European economy, which many Americans assume is tired and spent but has lately been showing surprising vitality.(...) But the next time a politician tries to scare you with the European bogeyman, bear this in mind: Europe’s economy is actually doing O.K. these days, despite a level of taxing and spending beyond the wildest ambitions of American progressives.[/i] [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/opinion/11krugman.html[/url]

David on :

California students muct be an exception; recent polls show that one fifth of all Americans cannot find the United States on a map of the world.

Pat Patterson on :

Since there was no link provided, and regardless of what the Miss Teen USA Pageant officials said, 94% of the 18-24 year olds polled could find the US on a map in a Roper Poll conducted for the National Geographic Society. Admittedly there were some gaps in their knowledge but not enough for a Sputnik type program to prepare America's youth for knowing where Ulan Bator, Kenya or Chicago are located. [url]http://www.nationalgeographic.com/roper2006/index.html[/url] An online poll, the 2006 Geography Cup, just last year, with a higher per capita participation by users from the UK, resulted in American participants getting 62.36% of the questions correct and the respondents from the UK getting 57.94% correct.

quo vadis on :

One fifth of Americans haven't finished Jr. high school yet. Perhaps a class in critical thinking is in order for our German friends.

Pat Patterson on :

That little tidbit came from an American, David. Can't blame Germany for that shaky factoid.

quo vadis on :

My apologies to our German friends! I checked his blog and while his 'about me' reveals nothing, his blog seems to link to a lot of German language sites. To be honest, I can't imagine that anyone who actually knows many Americans could believe something so far-fetched. Perhaps this is some of the 'free' thinking he promotes on his site.

Anonymous on :

Chicken Hawk--why don't you got draw a map according to your Chimpy-Haliburton lies?

Anonymous on :

America is where my stuff is.

David on :

The 1/5 may have been an exaggeration, but the truth is equally appalling. For my doubter friends (including the cowardly "Anonymous") the survey was conducted by National Geographic on young people between the ages of 18 and 24 in 21 countries. Americans placed 20th in their ignorance of geography, narrowly beating out their peers in Mexico. Among the findings: "• Thirty-four percent of the young Americans knew that the island used on last season's "Survivor" show was located in the South Pacific, but only 30 percent could locate the state of New Jersey on a map. The "Survivor" show's location was the Marquesas Islands in the eastern South Pacific. • When asked to find 10 specific states on a map of the United States, only California and Texas could be located by a large majority of those surveyed. Both states were correctly located by 89 percent of the participants. Only 51 percent could find New York, the nation's third most populous state. • On a world map, Americans could find on average only seven of 16 countries in the quiz. Only 89 percent of the Americans surveyed could find their own country on the map. • In the world map test, Swedes could find an average of 13 of the 16 countries. Germans and Italians were next, with an average of 12 each. • Only 71 percent of the surveyed Americans could locate on the map the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest body of water. Worldwide, three in 10 of those surveyed could not correctly locate the Pacific Ocean. • Although 81 percent of the surveyed Americans knew that the Middle East is the Earth's largest oil exporter, only 24 percent could find Saudi Arabia on the map. The international survey was conducted for the National Geographic by RoperASW. The results were based on face-to-face interviews with at least 300 men and women aged 18 to 24 in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Britain and the United States."

superfrenchie on :

Priceless video: http://www.youtube.com/v/juOQhTuzDQ0&rel=1

Volker on :

Oh boy, is she for real? I can't believe that this is real.

Joerg on :

Do US students learn anything positive about European welfare states, like the successful ones in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands? Many Americans refer to national health care and unemployment benefits and other welfare measures as "socialism" or even "communism." Is that sentiment based on ignorant educational system?

David on :

No, we were told from an early age that Sweden has the world's highest suicide rate and that the Dutch practice Euthanasia and the French are promiscuous sex fiends - I guess that's why in grade school we were all Francophiles.

Pat Patterson on :

Since the Dutch didn't legalize euthanasi till April, 2002 I'm at a loss as to when "...we were told..." about that practice unless during The Howdy Doody Show. Who knew that Buffalo Bob and Princes Summerfallwinterspring could see into the future ? But I'm very sure that if all the five and six year olds were just recently told then they probably didn't really have much interest in finding out that "...the French are all promiscuous sex fiends..." [url]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1904789.stm[/url]

SC on :

Do you mean _all_ US students or _some_ US students, Joerg? You know that education across the US is not standardized. SuperFrenchie acknowledges this in the comments to his own posting. So the answer to your question is that some US students do learn positive things, and some don't. But whether they are presented with a positive view of European social welfare programs in their school education - or other aspects of European culture, for that matter - or not, most teenagers in my experience, are strongly influenced in their beliefs by the views of their parents and of their community at large: This applies not only to the US and Europe. So look at the US at large, Joerg. When you write that "Many Americans refer to national health care and unemployment benefits and other welfare measures as 'socialism' or even 'communism.'" Do you think this is a view commonly held by that portion of the electorate - a large one as you know - that are reliable Democrat voters? A significant segment of US students would be contained in this subset of the population.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

@ SC I have not conducted any surveys, thus I cannot be specific on numbers. Thus I was just talking about an impression. If there is valid criticism that German and French schools "indoctrinate" their students by not giving ample space to the benefits of the free market leading to "prejudice and bias," then there might be valid and similar criticism of the US educational systems as well. I have certainly heard plenty of bias and prejudices about Europe, the continent full of welfare-queens, where people can only afford tiny cars, live in small apartments because they are so poor, plenty of beggars on every corner, the workers are constantly on strike, even though they just work 35 hours anyway and have two months holidays every year and the government is stifling each and every private business. Are these stereotypes any less bad than the anti-American and anti-capitalist stereotypes over here? Where are these prejudices and biases coming from? Aren't the educational systems to partly blame? I know that there is plenty of independent, free, critical and open minded thinking going on in the US education system. But that is also the case over here. While there is strong support for a significant welfare state here, there are also plenty of students advocating more and more market reforms, capitalism etc. Thus, Foreign Policy magazine's introduction is exaggerated and it is bashing: "students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination" sounds like brain-washing like in North Korea or some SciFi movie. What a phrase: "forced to undergo". Google that phrase and you will find plenty of examples about female circumcision, abortion in China, and plenty of other medical procedures. So I guess, in Europe students' brains are cut open and some socialist mega-computer programs the thinking according to the complete work of Marx/Lenin. Okay, maybe I am too hard on the FP's choice of words. I know poor little Foreign Policy magazine has to sell copies. They are not living in the socialist paradise of Europe. I should have some sympathy with companies living in truly capitalist countries. There is so much competition. It is really difficult to make a living. Bashing is required and should be excused. Socialists who write sensationalistic stuff to get more readers are bad, but poor little capitalists may do so. If FP magazine wants to bash, then SuperFrenchie and AR and others can bash back.

Anonymous on :

@Joerg No, you're not too hard on FP. That phrase "forced to undergo" is certainly over-the-top and does raise an eyebrow - and the blood pressure. I've had a similar reaction to some things I've read in Foreign Affairs in recent years, after which I'm found grumbling about editorial standards "these days": Old fogeydom looms! ;) Does education, in particular secondary education, play a role in the generating reactions among Americans such as those you cite? To degree, I suspect, more by it's absence than by any attempt to reinforce a particular view toward the social systems in Western Europe. This reflects a view of my own elementary and secondary education which I think remains true in much, and probably most, of the country today: My education on Western Europe at time painted a 1000+ year historical spectacle coupled with a presentation of the physical and human geography. There was comparatively little time to spend on contemporary social systems; all the more so today, I would think, with the emphasis on results based education. I'm suggesting that most of what people in the US think they know about the contemporary world, and in this case Western Europe, probably comes from the portraits painted in various media by various people; much of it subject to the agenda and bias of the presenters.

SC on :

(Sigh) Anonymous above is me.

quo vadis on :

[i]Do US students learn anything positive about European welfare states, like the successful ones in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands?[/i] I recall discussing the concept of the welfare state in general and in the context of US history, but not in the context of other specific countries. That was a while back now, so things may have changed. [i]Many Americans refer to national health care and unemployment benefits and other welfare measures as "socialism" or even "communism." Is that sentiment based on ignorant educational system?[/i] I've never heard anyone refer to these things as 'communist', but do you not regard socialized medicine, social security and other similar state sponsored programs and services as socialist? Perhaps it's just a matter of degree (which it is). Socialism in measured quantities is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it unknown in the US.

superfrenchie on :

Joerg: [i]//Do US students learn anything positive about European welfare states, //[/i] The word "welfare", in the United States, is a very negative word and conveys only negative connotations. To sum it up, welfare is for lazy people. (There's also plenty of racist undertones, but we won't go there.) Therefore, hearing something positive about "European welfare states" is pretty much not really possible. Even if some positive things are said, the use of the word "welfare" gives it an overall negative feel. Same thing for the word "socialized" and all its declinations. “Welfare,” “socialism,” “Europe,” all those words are synonymous. Try to find an American that doesn't think European health care is not "rationed". David: the video is real. It’s Kelli Pickler. She's a former American Idol contestant, and this was a celebrity edition of the game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” She’s not acting! (Smart kid, though!) Here is the video again with a [url=http://www.youtube.com/v/juOQhTuzDQ0&rel=1]working link[/url].

Zyme on :

Interesting to read. Though I think this deception of entire generations is not an american concept. It is the nature of every ambitious nation to talk down the fundaments of foreign societies. You can see this in Europe as well. Just pick a few documentaries on China or America in Germany, and tell us how many of them shed a positive light on those countries. I expect the Chinese to act the same way. More interesting would be to ask what trait of national elites in entirely different cultural spheres leads to such deceptions of the own people. Any ideas?

Pat Patterson on :

But compared to the retired French policeman on the French version of "Who Wants to be A Millionaire?" who answered that the sun revolves around the earth, Kelli Picklet is a genius. [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMFsuB1koIQ&mode=relate&search=[/url]

superfrenchie on :

Pat: Much worse: my understanding is that he was an officer in the army, not a policeman! Also, the audience gets it wrong! Very, very embarrassing. (Kelly Pickler is also much more attractive...)

Pat Patterson on :

superfrenchie-Thanks for the reply. I hope, though I fear not, that we can end these little snippets that only reveal that there are stupid people everywhere in the world. And for the most part they are no more indicative of a nation's intelligence or educational success than counting the words in a native dictionary to reveal how literate one nation might be.

superfrenchie on :

Oh come on, Pat. This video is just hilarious. No harm done!

moimême on :

ORLY? Tell that to this person, you'll do her a favor http://divinedem.blogspot.com/2007/09/le-idiot.html

SC on :

@superfrenchie You've lived in the States for awhile now, and you're right to note a general unease with, and in many cases publicly expressed distaste for, what I would call, communitarian solutions. What do you think accounts for this? By the way, while the term "welfare" has taken on negative connotations, the racial context, while there, has been always been sensationalized, IMHO. You'll find a negative reaction to the term throughout the country even in the most racially homogeneous parts. Have you never heard the terms "white trash", or "trailerpark trash" bandied about? "Welfare" as you refer to it, is as bound up in class and cultural distinctions, as in anything else.

superfrenchie on :

[i]//What do you think accounts for this//[/i] Biased education. The point of the post. [Although sometimes I'm wondering if it's really biased, in the sense that the teachers may really not know any better. They're not really trying to influence the students that European welfare is bad, they really truly are convinced that European welfare is bad and would not necessarily conceive of any other point of view. Is that still bias when you don't really know that another point of view actually exists?]

Sue on :

I don't think the prevailing sense is that the European-style welfare is bad, but that it isn't relevant to American circumstances or experience. The "Great Society" programs the US put in place in the 60s under Johnson were modeled after Sweden's. They were also accompanied (here) by a large increase in the crime rate and in common measures of social dysfunction (illegitimacy, school drop out rates, etc.). In short, they did not work as advertised. Welfare reform under Clinton pruned back the American welfare state considerably, and it was politically popular (among people who vote, at least).

SC on :

Yes, and all the issues surrounding "welfare" programs and their reform aside, I've always been struck by a widespread distrust, or at least skepticism, of government administered programs. I've even had the occasional conversation here in my little corner of rural Missouri in which while it would be admitted that Europeans aren't generally crazy and do seem to like the public and social welfare policies of their governments, those same policies could never work here, if for no other reason than our government bureaucracy could be counted on to make a mess of it all.

SC on :

I think your aside may be more on point. You may be assuming that discussions of public policy or, more specifically, social welfare policies of Western European countries take place somewhere in the typical US secondary education curriculum. That certainly wasn't my experience, though that was some time ago. I would be surprised if that were the case today. In your posting titled "History of the World" and the in the comments following you indicate an awareness of the lack of uniformity to be found in US secondary education due to a number of factors not the least being the role of choice. And as I noted in response to Joerg above, I find that most teenagers and young adults are strongly influenced by the views of their parents and those prevalent in the communities in which they are raised. In turn those views are strongly influenced by views, biases, and agendas found in the various media which form the primary window on the world for a great many Americans. And as you must know, coverage of the issues you point to vis a vis Europe is not very complete here. Right? Now your experience with your kid's schools that you note in your "History of the World" post may include specific examples, involving teachers, of the more egregious types of bias you've cited. I'm just saying that it would surprise me to find that those were more than the exception. But if by "education" you mean to include all that students are "taught" outside the classroom as well as inside, then of course there are ample examples of biased presentations to be found.

Nomad on :

as a french living in France, studied in France, work in France, I am aware that the 35 hours were a stupidity, but I don't see that they are really in use in many private enterprises, may-be in administrations and in big state enterprises such as, EDF, Air-France, Renault... as far I am concerned, I own a small enterprise and my hours are nearer the 18 hours a day. and as far the Frenchs being "promiscuous sex friends", I would say : we like to talk about sex, to charm, to have sex, but we are very precautionus with whom we want to have intercourses, the persons must respond to certain criteriums ; it's not alike getting sex with anyone

superfrenchie on :

The promiscuous Frenchie is another one of these false stereotypes that Americans love to have about the French: Americans actually cheat more than the French! In this [url=http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSKUA44910320070504]recent study[/url], 3.8% of married men and 2% of married women in France admitted to having affairs. That compares with 3.9% of men and 3.1% of women in the U.S.

Pat Patterson on :

Pamela Druckerman's book would hardly classify as a report or study as most of her information seems to come from personal interviews with a few people and some anecdotes. Also in an interview she gave to a Canadian magazine she noted that the French were the least likely to talk about or admit to affairs which would seem to me to indicate that the statistics might just be more than suspect.

Don S on :

I think the stereotype of the oversexed French has it's roots in the period after WWI. WWI killed or maimed maybe 40% of the French male population between 18 and 40, which meant a lot of French men were unable to support a wife. The solution (or so I have heard) was that many of the remaining able-bodied French men took both wife and mistress and had a family with both of them. Often the women were sisters or friends. Oo la, la! Not. Is that true, superfrenchie, or just another urban legend?

superfrenchie on :

Pretty much every single idiotic stereotype held by Americans about France dates back from WW2, and has not been updated since. See [url=http://www.e-rcp.com/gripes/]here[/url] for a list.

Don S on :

"as far I am concerned, I own a small enterprise and my hours are nearer the 18 hours a day." I'm not suprised. When I travel in France I use the Guide Routard to direct me to the small independent & often family-managed hotels and restaurants which are all over France. They are extremely impressive, top quality, and relatively economical. One doesn't see too many 35 hour weeks in such businesses!

superfrenchie on :

Pat: [i]//Woe betide any country in the world that doesn't think that it is the best and that the sun shines brightest there.//[/I] Actualy, it's really an American specialty. Yes, I have stats! The National Opinion Research Center recently [url=http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/06/060301.nationalpride.shtml]surveyed[/url] how proud the citizens of 33 countries were of their nations, asking them whether they agree with statements such as [i]"my country is a better country than most countries."[/i] A second set of questions surveyed the citizen’s pride in specific areas, such as the nation’s achievements in science and technology, the arts, sports and political influence in the world. The [url=http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/06/060301.nationalpride.pdf]results[/url]: the U.S. led the world in pride over specific accomplishments and was second behind Venezuela in the general national pride portion of the survey. And what do we find at the bottom of the list? The established nations in Europe, including France which was at the bottom of both lists (30th on the general national pride, and 23rd in specific accomplishments.) See also [url=http://www.iht.com/pdfs/europe/f24-iht_april%2027th%20release.pdf]here[/url]: 35% of Frenchies have a negative opinion of... France I almost forgot the kicker? Among the surveyed countries, the better-educated you were, the lower the national pride...

quo vadis on :

How sad for you all. Seriously.

quo vadis on :

Perhaps more to the point of the post, why would anyone want to model their own country on one held in low regard by its own citizens? This could also have some relevance to the 9 January post on immigrants and integration. Who wants to join a team with morale problems?

Elisabeth on :

You are being silly to insist that pre-doctral work, the report is all of 6 written pages, that accounts for less than twenty percent of universally recognized nation states is definitive proof of anything other than Mr. Kim's natural ability to sniff some press and further grant money, one hopes.

superfrenchie on :

Ah. I guess it's easier to discredit the messenger. Apparently, I wasn't being [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13577802/]the only one[/url] being silly...

Elisabeth on :

Are you seriously citing the tv to provide corroborative evidence for your opinion? That's not silly. That's funny.

Pat Patterson on :

I'm not sure what a claim that 1/3 of the French surveyed had a negative opinion, which is not the same as pride, proves. Other than the assumption that 2/3, a supermajority, think that France is indeed better than any other country. Good for them! I doubt if the motto of Marseille has been changed yet; "By her good deeds, the city of Massilia shines." Nor do I suspect that the first line in the French national anthem doesn't bring a swelling of pride in the average Frenchman; "Arise, children of the fatherland The day of glory has arrived!"

superfrenchie on :

[i]//Other than the assumption that 2/3, a supermajority, think that France is indeed better than any other country. //[/i] You're making that up. The opposite of having a negative opinion is having a positive opinion, not thinking that one is better than any other country.

Pat Patterson on :

Superfrenchie-Your own comment noted that 1/3 or 35% had a negative opinion on France. It would appear then that a supermajority, 60%+, then would have a positive opinion. Your rejoinder seems to agree with my point in that "The opposite of having a negative opinion is having a positive opinion..."

joe on :

Pat. Don't use logic makes people grumpy

superfrenchie on :

So? We were talking about people who think their country is better than others. Obviously, the 1/3 of people who have a negative opinion of their own country do not think so. But that doesn't make the remaining 2/3 who do have a positive opinion think their country is better than anyone else.

nomad on :

France now £70bn richer than Britain, overtaking us in World rich list beating a pro fre-market country, Uh, does that count ?

Pat Patterson on :

Any link to that figure? The latest numbers for a complete fiscal year are from 2006 which shows that the UK, with a smaller population, still has a larger economy($2.346 trillion) and a higher per capita income($31.8k) than France($2.137 trillion and $31.2k). But then the Japanese have a free market economy that is twice the size of the UK or France($4.22 trillion and $38.5k) with only slightly less than double the population. GDP as an exemplar is a little shaky as government spending counts in the total economy of that country. Those are dollars spent that might have been available to expand the private economy but weren't. Especially since the Eurozone does not allow much leeway for the individual countries to create monetary policies that might expand their economies. That's not to say the US doesn't have the same problem considering the slavish devotion of the Federal Reserve to prevent inflation while the economy seems to slide into recession and the dollar's value, though slightly improved lately, shrank.

superfrenchie on :

France's and UK's population are equal, give or take a few 100K. Otherwise, I agree with your figures, and I haven't seen nomad's numbers anywhere.

Pat Patterson on :

As an aside I think that France, if it can figure out a way to operate outside of Eurozone limits, is actually in a much better position to grow its economy. In other words France needs to figure out a way to steal (or rather misdirect) the financial business that the UK essentially monopolizes and to move more sucessfully into those areas of value added manufacturing that Germany has a strong position. To be honest I see France doing better over the long term than either the UK or Germany.

superfrenchie on :

Actually, nomad was right: [i]"the size of the British economy has slipped below that of France for the first time since 1999, thanks to the falling pound."[/i] See [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml?xml=/portal/2008/01/15/ftlondon115.xml]here[/url].

Pat patterson on :

I wouldn't start passing out the $500 a bottle champagne quite yet as the figures cited, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, are a projection based on the last quarter of 2007. The core of the argument resides in the projected rates of growth via exchange rates not on any increase in productivity. In fact the report makes it clear that there is no reducation on the per capita GDP of the UK or in the size of the GDP at all.I was left wondering, if the GDP and per capita income are still larger than France what exactly are the author's talking about. Plus it seems that the Consevatives are arguing that this reversal is due to a lack of central planning and Keynesian stimulation of the economy. One more example of how different conservatives are when compared across the two continents. Here's a link to a precis as the NIESR site is black with bright lettering and thus extremely difficult to read; [url]http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=429352&in_page_id=2&ito=1565[/url]

superfrenchie on :

Here is [url=http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-237/0801125593160906.htm]another article[/url] about it. [quote][i]"The size of the British economy has slipped below that of France for the first time since 1999 due to the slide in the value of the pound, it was reported Saturday. The US, Japan, Germany, China and France all had larger economies than the UK in the third quarter of 2007 and in 2006, the Financial Times said. The rapid fall in the value of the pound to 11-year lows against European currencies was blamed for pushing the British economy into sixth place in the world."[/i][/quote] Yes, it's due to the rising value of the euro, but that's what weatlh is made of: value! If your house loses value compared to that in a different neighborhood, you may still have the same income, which of course matters greatly, but you're simply no longer as wealthy. As for productivity, France has long been way above the UK, both in GDP per hour worked and in GDP per hour. In that second category, France is actually at the same level as the US: See [url=http://stats.oecd.org/WBOS/Default.aspx?DatasetCode=LEVEL]here[/url] for those stats.

Pat Patterson on :

That's the wire article from the Daily Mail and it appears that the release is not talking about GDP or per capita income at all but rather the value of the assests. And assets only have value when they are bought or sold. Which I suppose is interesting but rarely used in determing anything.

superfrenchie on :

[i]//assets only have value when they are bought or sold.//[/i] That's funny. Go tell that to a banker when you want to borrow money.

superfrenchie on :

And it is GDP. From the [url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/abe2ffc4-c08b-11dc-b0b7-0000779fd2ac.html]Financial Times[/url]: [quote]In 2006, the GDP of France was €1,792bn (£1,353bn) compared with £1,304bn for the UK. With sterling worth €1.47 on average in 2006, this put the UK economy comfortably 6.7 per cent ahead of the French economy. But with sterling’s more than 10 per cent fall against the euro in the past six months to €1.32 to the pound, the UK’s economy in 2008 is now 4 per cent smaller than France. [/quote]

Pat Patterson on :

In the fifth paragraph, again the same wire service article based on information from the original source, the NIESR is very clear that the UK is still ahead via GDP and GDP per capita but owing to the projections from 2006 the size of the total economy, not the GDP, might be less. The wealth of a nation's economy is not the GDP but the size of the economy. Hypothetically Ford may be a $40 billion company but its contribution to the economy is based on sales and wages not assets. Not to be too picky but isn't it time one noticed that all these sources, the Daily Mail or FT, are based on only one source, the NIESR.

joe on :

Almost everything is local. Are you telling me because the value of a Brit's home decreases in comparison to some in france, there is a problem. I don't think so. Unless of course, the Brit intends to move to france.

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