So people in North America, and in Europe I think, tend to assume that things are more expensive in Europe because of ‘socialism.’ This assumption is held by just about everyone, from the average bumpkin all the way up to the policymakers in the halls of power themselves. The problem is, that the term ‘socialism’ encompasses a whole host of different policies and variables, across the spectrum of human society – from politics, to education, to economic regulation in a wide range of areas. I think that we owe it to ourselves, as interested parties, to break down this monolithic and really rather useless label ‘socialism,’ and see which parts of it, in particular, might be responsible for making things more expensive in Europe (which in general they are).
Now, most of us assume that the main, number one, numero uno reason why things in Europe are expensive is because those darn Europeans are so lazy. They take off six weeks of vacation per year, and often times they only work, gasp, 40 hour weeks, or even 36 hour weeks! They get generous terms for maternity and parental leave, and the list goes on. American workers would very much like to believe that this is why Europeans live in tiny houses, and pay tons for gas, food, electronics, clothing, and in short don’t have nearly as much ‘stuff’ as North Americans do. (more…)