There are a lot of ways to dice numbers, particularly economic numbers. But almost any way you cut it, America is far wealthier, more productive, more prosperous and more consumptive than Europe or almost anywhere else on earth.
In fact, according to an apples to apples comparison by the American Enterprise Institute, most Europeans, including wealthier Western Europeans, would have a higher living standard if they were living in Mississippi — America’s poorest state. This goes for Sweden, Denmark and Belgium — mentioned because the growing cadre of Americans extolling socialism like using them as examples.
Pretty sure they don’t like using Mississippi as an example.
In a chart put together by Mark Perry, a scholar at AEI and professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, the GDP per capita of America’s 50 states in 2014 — based on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis — is compared to the GDP per capita of countries in Europe and Asia on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis.
The PPP, according to the World Bank, is “Gross Domestic Product (GDP) converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as the U.S. dollar has in the United States.”
Using this measurement makes the comparisons more accurate in real life by adjusting for the differences in prices in each country. So the United Kingdom’s unadjusted GDP per capita was $45,729 in 2014, but because prices for goods are higher on average than in the U.S., for everything from food and clothing to energy and transportation, the adjustment lowers per capita GDP in the U.K. to below $40,000. Conversely, prices in South Korea are generally lower than in the U.S., which means that its GDP per capita goes from below $28,000 on an unadjusted basis to above $34,000 on a PPP basis.
So, apples to apples.
AEI’s Perry writes: “Most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country.”
Here is the chart:
The chart above demonstrates clearly that the U.S. average per capita GDP of $54,629 is higher than European nations. The big difference? America’s robust capitalism compared to Europes’ burdensome socialism.
More data making this very same point comes via the consumption side as opposed to the production side.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, showing “average individual consumption” for various member nations, creates a baseline average of 100 — again to make apples and apples comparisons.
So the averaged score for all OECD nations is 100. The score among its European member nations is 96. But the U.S. score is 147 — clearly indicating that Americans are far more prosperous than Europeans and other First World countries.
This OECD data is two years older, but as you can see this is just a long-term truth. By both production and consumption measurements, the U.S. is far stronger than Europe.
All of this should make the point clearly that for the United States to continue to prosper — and carry other nations along in our wake — we must reject the burgeoning socialism that is revealing itself.
A few examples to complement the data.
Hong Kong and Singapore were small, poor Asian locales at the end of World War II. But both instituted free markets, limited government, robust capitalism, and a rule of law supporting those. Doing so, the pair have becoming two of the richest locations on the planet. Their citizens are thriving and prosperous.
Conversely, Cuba and Venezuela were at one point growing economies. Cuba was a thriving little island, albeit with divided wealth, that for generations now has been locked in poverty under the boot of Communist dictators where there is almost no wealth left at all. Venezuela has immense oil reserves and was building some economic momentum. But they turned to socialism and the people are now literally starving, eating stray animals to stay alive.
These four examples are the extremes, but they solidly back the hard data.
Our European friends would be much better off if they had not travelled down the social democrat road, as their economies continue to fall behind the United States’ economy, and their people’s standard of living stagnates or declines.
Free stuff from the government is not free. It brings a big, costly government that restricts rights and prosperity. We would be foolish to emulate the socialistic parts of Europe.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.