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Monday, May 11, 2009

WHY THE USA AND THE OTHER ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES DIFFER FROM THE ADVANCED WELFARE-STATE COUNTRIES IN EUROPE

Today's Buggy Topic

The subject-title captures most of it pretty faithfully, though it omits the way the buggy analysis ends in some predictions about how much the US is likely to change its limited welfare-state and regulatory systems in the Obama era.  Mainly it sets out a systematic analysis of why the USA --- in company with the other English-speaking countries: Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand --- have never developed the kind of strong statist direction of the economy and social-engineering that mark the prosperous West European democratic countries.

The Buggy Stuff Is Found At Economist's View. 

Click here and run a buggy search.  The longest post starts with Michael Gordon, rather than the buggy professor . . . mainly because I had trouble posting it under the usual pseudonym, a problem with the typepad blog's posting software.  In effect, if you start a post there, then --- as prof bug does --- get a line of thought going, and finish in Word, you won't be able to post the Word-completed commentary if typepad's posting software stays open too long.  Life on the Internet, no?

Note that the thread was started by Professor Mark Thoma, who runs his laudable economic web-site with deft skill, in a link to a lengthy commentary of Professor Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize-winning economist of strong libertarian bent at the University of Chicago.  In it Becker urges that libertarians separate clearly from the more zealous Moral Majority conservatives who, he believes, have brought the Republican Party into disrepute.  As Prof bug noted, among other things, the Republican Party is an uneasy amalgam of libertarians, Moral Majority types, and nationalist anti-free trade, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic right-wingers headed by Pat Buchanan.  They have little in common except a preference for limited government and free-markets. 

Mainly Though . . .

. . . Prof bug --- using some of his fellow posters' comments as a springboard --- sets out a systematic analysis, backed with historical data that range widely, that shows how statism generally has been more limited in its scope over society compared to the now strong democratic countries on the Continent of West Europe.  And he ends with some prognosis of how likely, given this historical context ---- institutional, legal, cultural, and political --- our existing state-economy relations are likely to change in President Obama's current administration.