In "The Wall Street Journal" Nobel Laureat Edmund S. Phelps asks, why Europe's economic development is not as good as the economic development of the United States:But the article has more precise information about the "Big Three" (Germany, Italy, France):
The nations of Continental Western Europe, in the reforms they make to try to raise their economic performance, may prove to be a testing ground for the view that culture matters for a society's economic results.
As is increasingly admitted, the economic performance in nearly every Continental country is generally poor compared to the U.S. and a few other countries that share the U.S.'s characteristics. Productivity in the Continental Big Three -- Germany, France and Italy --stopped gaining ground on the U.S. in the early 1990s, then lost ground as a result of recent slowdowns and the U.S. speed-up. Unemployment rates are generally far higher than those in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Ireland. And labor force participation rates have been lower for decades. Relatedly, the employee engagement and job satisfaction reported in surveys are mostly lower, too.I think, this is mostly a thing of mentality. Europeans today do not work so exhaustingly as do people in the United States. Europeans often are not so enthusiastic about their work. They're not so enthusiastic by "making things running". But may be, there is more in it. May be the german mentality cannot be motivated so easily only by the goal of "making money" or by the goal of "making things running". May be, german mentality needs more to be really as motivated as people in english-speaking countries are today. They need "ideas" or better: "ideals".
The values that might impact dynamism are of special interest here. Relatively few in the Big Three report that they want jobs offering opportunities for achievement (42% in France and 54% in Italy, versus an average of 73% in Canada and the U.S.); chances for initiative in the job (38% in France and 47% in Italy, as against an average of 53% in Canada and the U.S.), and even interesting work (59% in France and Italy, versus an average of 71.5% in Canada and the U.K). Relatively few are keen on taking responsibility, or freedom (57% in Germany and 58% in France as against 61% in the U.S. and 65% in Canada), and relatively few are happy about taking orders (Italy 1.03, of a possible 3.0, and Germany 1.13, as against 1.34 in Canada and 1.47 in the U.S.).The article ends with a thought, that resembles my own:
Perhaps the way out -- to go from unsatisfactory performance to high performance -- will require not only reform of institutions but also a cultural shift that returns Europe to the philosophical roots that put it on the map to begin with.