Quote Of The Day

“Combined with this is the fact that most European populations experience a profound feeling of impotence in the face of their own immovable political elites…This feeling of impotence is not because of any lack of intelligence or astuteness on the part of the populations in question: if you wanted to know why there was so much youth unemployment in France, you would not ask the Prime Minister, M. Dominque de Villepin, but the vastly more honest and clear-headed village plumber or carpenter, who would give you many precise and convincing reasons why no employer in his right mind would readily take on a new and previously untried young employee. Indeed, it would take a certain kind of intelligence, available only to those who have undergone a lot of formal education, not to be able to work it out”. –Theodore Dalrymple, Weismann fellow at the Manhattan Institute who lives in France, writting on, Is “Old Europe” Doomed? at Cato Unbound

5 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”


  • Richard Thomas

    One could say the same about the U.S. and its immovable political and economic elites.

  • Yeah, but the difference is that in the U.S., we have avenues for minorities and the poor to move up, we don’t have double digit unemployment, and we have a economic mobility.

    I think Condoleezza Rice said it best when she said:

    “But I also hope that around the world it’s noted that on matters of race, the United States is about 100 percent ahead of any place else in the world in issues of race. And I say that absolutely fundamentally. You go to any other meeting around the world and show me the kind of diversity that you see in America’s cabinet, in America’s Foreign Service, in America’s business community, in America’s journalistic community. Show me that kind of diversity any place else in the world, and I’m prepared to be lectured about race. “.

  • Richard Thomas

    Hispanic Pundit wrote:

    “Yeah, but the difference is that in the U.S., we have avenues for minorities and the poor to move up, we don’t have double digit unemployment, and we have a economic mobility.”

    Alfonso, you are making claims here that are difficult to quantify.

    In order to make a claim that the US has economic mobility, you would need a study that was very sensitive to definitions, time scales and date quality and the data would have to be sliced several ways to verify the findings.
    In order to get a good study, you would need a long term study of households. If you read these two studies from the Federal Reserve System, they contradict your point.

    Minneapolis Fed Reserve Study.

    Chicago Fed Reserve Study.

    Also, the U.S. and European countries have different ways to calculate unemployment. For example, the official German government definition of unemployment treats anyone who is working less than 15 hours a week, and desires full-time employment, as being unemployed. By contrast, the U.S. definition treats anyone who worked even a single hour in the reference period as being employed.

  • Understood, but when you factor in France, Italy, Spain and most other European economies, there is unanimous agreement that their unemployment is higher than in the United States, especially for the minority underclass.

    In order to get a good study, you would need a long term study of households. If you read these two studies from the Federal Reserve System, they contradict your point.

    The comparison between Europe and the United States with regard to income mobility is much more debated, and as you can show me studies going in one direction, I can show you studies going in the other.

    But the primary reason why I tend to believe the latter is because I have seen it over and over again with my very own eyes. Take my father, for example, he immigrated to this country (illegally, at that) from Mexico when he was twenty years old, with no education at all, not even the ability to write his own name. Shortly thereafter came several of his brothers and sisters, more than 14 of them, and in a couple generations, all of them are home owners and making enough money to be safely in the middle class. This is not unique to my parents or my family either, almost all of my current Mexican friends – and I have many of them – could tell you the same story. All of their parents and family members that immigrated to this country (legally or illegally, educated or uneducated) have reached the level of home ownership and middle class.

    Than there is my generation; take my friends that I went to college with and continue to be very close friends with, for example, I have one friend who came from Peru at 25, now a highly paid engineer, another friend who lived in a studio with four other family members, in a very poor and high crime area of Long Beach, now a big engineer, a friend who came here from Vietnam, same story, another friend who grew up with me in Compton, now a top engineer. I could go on and on with these stories.

    That is not to say that the United States can’t do better; that there are not a significant amount of people who still have not achieved the ‘American dream’. But when you add this to the fact that the United States is clearly the industrialized country that takes in MORE immigrants than any other country in the world, it is an amazing testimony to the very real benefits of the American form of capitalism.

  • Richard Thomas

    Hispanic Pundit wrote:

    “The comparison between Europe and the United States with regard to income mobility is much more debated…”

    Yes it is. And you are right to say that “and as you can show me studies going in one direction, I can show you studies going in the other..”

    But I find it odd that the U.S. compares itself to Europe and some people bad mouth Europe. It’s childish and shows hints of doubt and self esteem issues.

    Thanks for the stories about you family and friends. But as you know, anecdotal evidence can only take you so far. And comparing people who came from less economically fortunate countries with their American success stories can be misleading. Of course many are going to do better since U.S. society has many more advantages. That is not to deny their success but to point out the advantages that the U.S. has over other nations. There are many challenges facing the U.S. people and its economy. I’m for open borders since I believe in liberty, but also because it add to American’s strength, which has little to do with its military force, but everything to do with its ability to be adaptive to change.

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