Sunday, August 01, 2004

Economic Models

Just as Europeans are re-thinking the work-leisure trade off ("Europe's workplace revolution" , this week's Economist), several letters to the editor in today's NY Times rue the fact that Americans work longer hours and have shorter vacations. (And which candidate will these writers support in November?)

On a more positive note, we'll always have Europe -- to visit and to dream about, if not to emulate.

The New Yorker's John Cassidy writes about "Winners and Losers ... The truth about free trade." Cassidy starts with Greg Mankiw's troubles in Washington, beginning when he praised the outsourcing of jobs -- and obliquely alluded to the economic importance of creative destruction (although he did not use the phrase). When politicians talk about free trade, it's all about jobs. Period.

Can democracy and free enterprise co-exist? In an election year, one wonders.

How, then, do we get by? We routinely underperform re our potential. But it apparently takes double-digit unemployment rates to concentrate the mind and rethink the European model.

Just when NY Times readers have fallen for it.