American Capitalism Is More Compassionate Than European Socialism

by Matthew Melchiorre on December 3, 2012

in Economy, Features, International, Nanny State

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America has not yet become Europe. And that’s a good thing. In Investor’s Business Daily, I empirically show that the American model of greater economic freedom and a leaner public welfare state create more opportunity and more wealth than the European social market economy. Capitalism takes care of the less fortunate too, but relies on individual choice and human compassion instead of paternalism and forced wealth redistribution.

Read the whole article here. These are some of the highlights…

Pursuing career aspirations is easier in America.

U.S. workers are, on average, more satisfied with their jobs than their European counterparts.

Of workers surveyed in the U.S., 47% indicated they were “very satisfied” with their current employment. Only 25% of those surveyed in Europe reported the same.

That’s roughly twice as many people in the United States doing what they love.

Europeans, enduring drastically higher long term unemployment and underemployment than Americans, are far more likely to have a difficult time finding work.

During 2002-2011, 15% of unemployed Americans had been jobless for more than 12 months, compared to 44% in Europe, according to Eurostat.

And Europe has nearly three times the number of underemployed — defined as those working part-time because of the unavailability of full-time positions — than the U.S., according to the OECD.

Not only is finding a job in Europe more difficult, but the work is only about half as likely to be truly satisfying.

That’s all well and good. Now, what about having a safety net underneath you when you fall down?

Despite having a smaller public welfare state, the U.S. spends roughly the same amount of resources as European countries in caring for the less fortunate.

How can this be? Thirty-eight percent of U.S. social spending is done privately and voluntarily. Philanthropy also plays a much larger role in America than in Europe — after all, the Charities Aid Foundation ranked the U.S. as the “world’s most giving nation” in 2011.

After accounting for the cost of voluntary private social spending and the benefits of charity in both the U.S. and Europe, I found that Americans are still wealthier than their European counterparts.

U.S. post-tax household income less voluntary private social expenditure discounted for charitable giving is $28,182, according to my data calculations from the OECD, International Monetary Fund and others.

That’s more than $3,000 greater than the population-weighted Nordic average of $25,071 and nearly $4,000 greater than the Western European figure of $24,422.

Not only do Americans enjoy greater opportunity than Europeans, but also greater wealth. When Europeans label the American model of capitalism and smaller government as “cruel,” they should instead look in the mirror and realize that the shoe is on the other foot.

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