American economic superiority just won't die

17 March 2009

The US has always had a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to European economic policy. The social characteristics of most European countries stand in contrast to the American mock laissez-faire economic style and have generally been referred to as the reason why Europe fails to boom, dominate and innovate like the good old USA.

Things aren't great in Europe right now, and definitely not in the UK, but it does seem like the finger of blame for this whole global economic meltdown points squarely at the US. In fact, you'd kind of think Americans would be trying to keep hush about exactly how much of a shitstorm they've led us all into.

With all that in mind it's particularly galling to read an op-ed in the NYTimes headlined A Continent Adrift... Don't worry, the condescension doesn't end there. Krugman starts off by expressing his care and thought for Europe ("I’m concerned about Europe.") and then drops this bomb, "The clear and present danger to Europe right now comes from a different direction — the continent’s failure to respond effectively to the financial crisis.". The article just keeps going and going from there.

Possibly the most annoying bit comes midway through the article: Why is Europe falling short? Poor leadership is part of the story. European banking officials, who completely missed the depth of the crisis, still seem weirdly complacent. After eight years of Bush leading the world in circles it is particularly irritating to hear a lecture on "poor leadership". Bush years behind us, the current US banking officials are definitely not paragons of action and responsibility.

All things aside, yes we are in this economic collapse together, and no it's not productive to be worried about placing blame, but the last thing anyone outside of the US wants to hear is American boosters trumpeting their superiority in disaster.

TOPICS:   Travel   Economy


  • The R.
    Wow, are you really that sensitive?
  • The B.
    Yep, it's all America's fault, nothing to do we 15 years of slowly stripping away at financial policy to give banks more freedom to play God (and this is worldwide), nothing to do with people not actually checking what they were buying (here's some great shares full of sub prime mortgages) and generally overinflating products, nope, it all falls firmly at Americas feet. And you know what the NYT have a point, Broon still seems to be sitting with his thumb up his arse, throwing money at the problem as if that will help, no investigation into the FSA to see what can be improved, no new rulings to clamp down on the trading, the banks still have free reign, Obama actually seems to be kicking a little bit of arse in putting legislation in place to hold the banks back.
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    Really you think the US has been responsibly managing this crisis? As I said I don't think they should be pointing fingers anywhere until they show they are capable of sorting out their own mess in their own country. You think "Broon" has been throwing money at a problem??? Have you seen the amount of $$$'s thrown at the problem in the US? We're not in the same league. Anyway, all I'm trying to say is 'those in glass houses...blah blah'.
  • me
    surely two fools don't make a right?, Personally i think the less action the better from 2 governments that think the way out of a crisis caused by too much debt is too actually make debt easier to obtain. The lowering of interest rates and writing "tax" cheques to guarantee such debt can have only one effect, produce a whole new generation of greedy little imps who think nothing of obtaining their material desires by paying with some one else's money. now theres a moral headline.....
  • The B.
    Yes, America has been throwing money at the problem, but how many times was Obama's plan kicked out by the house of representatives as they deemed it too risky to throw that much money at it? Broon's just chucking as much money as he wants to, there's no one to stop him at this end, Mervin King is utterly inept and spineless, the public now own how much of LloydsTSB/HBOS? Barclays are being bailed on their toxic debt when they've been filtering deals through the Caymans to avoid about £100m in taxes every year, all this is being ignored and then he starts lecturing the rest of the world as though he's some sort of financial genius, what an arse. I don't think anyone's responsibly managing the crisis but at least the Yanks started to try and put some legislation in place to limit the banks, Pa Broon’s actually doing exactly what they want with no restrictions whatsoever.
  • Martin
    The US has always had a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to European economic policy. You could have ended that sentence seven words earlier.

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