Everyone seems to agree that Europe is a basket case compared to the US. Left-leaning economists say it is because of “austerity”, right-leaning economists say it is because of the “burdensome welfare state”. Wondering around Vienna, Austria recently I counted exactly 3 people begging and no one sleeping in the streets. There was a vibrant cafe scene. Compare that to what I see every day in the US: beggars on almost every street corner, not only in the city, but in affluent suburbs. I trip over people sleeping on the sidewalk in San Francisco. Admittedly, I am one person spending one week in one European city, but could it be that our relentless focus on GDP growth blinds us to a bigger picture?
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