The American Left is far more interested in northern Europe than it is in southern Europe, despite the fact that southern Europe constitutes the majority of the population of the core 15 European Union members. Why?
The American Left has convinced itself that the relative success of the welfare state in northern Europe happened in a cultural vacuum and can be replicated anywhere, anytime. Yet numerous European countries that attempted to replicate Nordic policies without having uniquely Nordic levels of social capital and population homogeneity have so far failed. This suggests that more factors determine outcomes than economic policy alone, and that similar policies can have different outcomes in different countries. If America follows Europe in building a full-scale welfare state, we have no idea if the results will be closer to “Sweden and Denmark,” southern Europe, or (as is most likely) somewhere in between.
For all their fascination with Europe, southern Europe doesn’t loom large for the American Left. But France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Greece are more representative of European outcomes than Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, and have equally sized welfare states. Their failure should not be ignored in the American debate.http://www.american.com/archive/2012/february/the-american-lefts-two-europes-problem?roi=echo3-11301642575-7992076-7d4fde0db6a3fa046d13f162df12f938&