Europe Is Not Lost Yet: A Comment on Daniel Bell

Europe Is Not Lost Yet: A Comment on Daniel Bell

Europe is not lost yet. Daniel Bell’s arguments are good, but not convincing. Bell’s basic error lies in his hidden suspicion of the shape of the European welfare state. Without a doubt, in the next ten years the social welfare systems of the European heartlands will have to be intelligently restructured. The claim that this will be impossible after the first ill-boding catastrophes and under pressure caused by suffering is entirely unprovable. Bell’s reference to the fact that the United States spends 15 percent, Japan 10 percent, and Europe 25 percent of its gross national product for social welfare says nothing about the long-term competitiveness of these countries or blocs. One might ask how long the United States will be able to live with a capitalist system that in the bottom third of society leads to brutal poverty, vicious aggressiveness, and rampant criminality. One is more sure of one’s life in Sindelfingen, Arezzo, or Lyons than in Miami or Detroit. It is reckless when comparing differing cultures to consider only economic costs and to ignore the fact that economic success also requires a minimum of social cohesion.

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Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima