by Joseph Weisenthal

US And Europe Not Competing Economically

from the let's-be-friends dept

There's been some recent debate about whether Europe or the United States will be a home to more innovation in the future. The discussion isn't unlike those about China and the US, which pit them as competing economies. But in a period of globalization, are these discussions relevant? European citizens can benefit from US innovation as easily as US citizens can, and vice versa. American investors can invest their money into European startups with little extra cost, if they don't like their opportunities locally. While it's easy to talk about countries the same way we talk about companies (e.g. Google vs. Microsoft), it doesn't make much sense when capital, ideas, and companies freely transcend national borders.

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  1. identicon
    Tony, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 4:35pm


    soon enough the united states will be an entire country of overweight people working in service based industries with no production or manufacturing to speak of... oh wait, that's what it is already...

    these foreign countries will control us with their products someday... oh wait that too is already happening (oil)...

    someday people will learn from history

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Ben Hueber, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 4:44pm


    There's way more to this than a simple one shot answer that you are sending at us. People move innovation to China almost as much as Europe.

    This post is like saying, 'because my friend and I can both buy whatever we want at the store, we will share and have the same success forever!'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Tyshaun, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:28pm


    The problem with people who advocate innovation being the key to the future forget one thing, people like boundaries. We like taking pride in saying "I am a citizen of X" or "I am a member of Y group". While you are absolutely right there is nothing stopping investment and shared innovation in theory, in reality the nature of humans to belong to specific groups, at the expense of others most time, will mean that we will still revel in innovation made in "our" little piece of the human tribe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    titanandrews, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:41pm

    Re: ::sigh::

    You have hit the nail right on the head, buddy!!!! It's amazing to me that no one else sees this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Nationalism...

    But how do you choose the boundaries. Why is someone in North Dakata an American, but someone in Lichtenstien just a citizen of Lichtenstien? A kilometer one way or the other and you're a different group?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    farlane, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:58pm


    If we could check the blue helmets at the door and agree to a simple system of ground rules (no shooting each other in the face, no letting people starve to death while wasting food, no speedos, etc) we could form groups of any size or composition and co-exist peaceably.

    It's impossible, however, to have a common trust when people are lobbing daisycutters or molotovs at each other.

    I agree that US v Europe is silly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Nationalism...

    Because human beings inherently want to be better than those around them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: ::sigh::

    You have hit the nail right on the head, buddy!!!! It's amazing to me that no one else sees this.

    No, there is no nail there.

    I don't know why people always think things like this, but it is not true.

    If the products produced by america were not worth more than anywhere else in the world, then no one would pay for them.

    American people are more productive.

    It doesn't matter if it comes to education or environment or whathaveyou, but it is true.

    You would not trust an underpain asain sweatshop worker to assemble airplanes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 9:36pm

    How can you have innovation among Facism.

    We are being run by a Facist Govt. at present it seems, so to think that innovation like the Earth moving around the Sun is going to continue is doubtful at best. Ideas are being shut down quicker than they start them.

    Most technology has come from us. We send it to China to be made smaller. We, however are the ones who have innovated over the last 100 years. It's in the history books and not hard to see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: ::sigh::

    About 90% of major aircraft components and assemblies are put together in Asia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 10:33pm

    Instead of opening your mouth and removing all dou

    Some of you like to think you know what you're talking about, but obviously don't.

    Very few countries have citizens that work harder than we do, have the quality of output our workers do, or work as many hours in a given year or standard work week as we do in America. It's a fact, but you're of course welcome to plug your ears and scream things contrary to fact.

    That being said, sure, there is some structural unemployment, a lot of which results in people working temporarily in service industry jobs. But the whole world economy is in a trasition of sorts, "late stage capitalism" is what one person might call it, "post-industrialism" might be another, or maybe even a stage AFTER post-industrialism. Too soon to tell. As a result, thanks to cheap educated labor overseas, some of our jobs have gone there.. but contrary to what the masses think, IT jobs have grown, and some have even come back. Small businesses here are flourishing when you have management that understands they need to work hard and INNOVATE. Like that factor on "On The Money" last night on CNBC if anyone watched that, bringing back millions of dollars of work from China, and doing it faster, better, cheaper.

    There's some nagging problems in our economy, but just because perhaps your own little parts of the country APPEAR to be full of McDonalds doesn't mean the whole country is. There's probably a ton of "real" jobs all around, they just arent obvious because they're in offices or taking place in a warehouse instead of a building with a traditional smokestack on top of it.

    Anyway, what Mike said is true, for the most part. I can invest, and do, as easily in India or China or South America as I can here (at least with companies that list on our exchanges, otherwise you have to get their currencies, which is annoying). And if I wanted, and had the initiative, could start up a company over seas too.

    The only discussions needed are Europeans talking about themselves. They're going to shoot themselves in their own ass if they don't stop trying to be so socialist; IT DOESN'T WORK. History tells them that, simple economic analysis says it's wasteful, the people rioting in the streets every damn month should be a clue... And here in our own country, we need to stop moving in the same socialist direction, but the ignorant masses don't want to hear about "dead weight loss" on taxes and how forcing competition in the medical system would ultimately lower costs, they just want handouts ;-(

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    u suck, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 10:38pm

    Re: How can you have innovation among Facism.

    Who's us/we? What have you done, or are you claiming that you're a genius because you somehow inhabit the same general area of the planet as someone that once did something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    u suck too, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 10:41pm

    Re: Instead of opening your mouth and removing all

    "Very few countries have citizens that work harder than we do, have the quality of output our workers do, or work as many hours in a given year or standard work week as we do in America."

    Thanks. I needed a laugh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Instead of opening your mouth and removing

    Thanks. Your ignorance regarding world-known facts from studies done by american AND european & asian universities gives me a good laugh too. Except when I think of how popular the misconception is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Ryan King, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 11:21pm

    Responding to the Innovation maneuver.

    I believe the underlying principle to why our race for innovation is necessary is not the selling aspect of the market as the article states. It is more of the outsourcing of jobs based on loss of that innovation. We will lose our "academic" labor (i.e. Customer Service, Data Entry, etc.) to developing countries. That's great! They boost their economy which is what helps globalization gain ground in the first place. But then, for the Americans (or any country for that matter) who loses those service jobs, there must be new innovation to create jobs to relace them. To continue to pay people in America premium salaries, there must be new technologies (which once the back-office jobs are outsourced) can afford to pay for the experienced worker that would man the creation and exploitation of those new innovations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Responding to the Innovation maneuver.

    You're right, called 'structural unemployment'. Everyone seems to flip out over it, saying we're a gutted service industry based economy thats doomed, but history shows..... we just have to hang on. People will get new job skills, new fields will arise, americans will train for them, go back to college if necessary (even if it means debt), and then we'll be filling those jobs again. And not too long after that, another industry will probably get gutted, repeating the process. It's happened in America before, and it ultimately just makes us better.

    Do we REALLY miss manufacturing jobs anyway? If anyone says 'yes', I'll gladly post some pictures of San Fran back when you couldn't see across the street on a daily basis from smog :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Claire Rand, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 12:11am

    aircraft bits

    90% of aircraft bits put together in asia...

    hmm. working down the road from where rolls royce aero engines are built, oh and having been round the place where airbus wings are made i'd have to beg to differ somewhat. Micro electronics may be made in the far east but they handle mass market, high volume stuff.

    air craft don't count as either, i dare say many component chips etc are made out there but the physical bulk? no way.

    now maybe 90% of the components by count are made out there...

    airframe: 1 part
    4 engines: 4 parts
    at seat lighting control chips.. one per seat..

    yes i think i get the idea.

    i see the point you are trying to make, but the aircraft industry is a poor target.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Randy Gordon, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 1:29am

    National Competitiveness

    I usually follow China, but I occasionally research Europe.

    Europe is very definitely is in competition with the United States.

    The Europeans have a number of different approaches, some of them, like the Programmes (a five year plan for financing research and startups) http://europa.eu.int/pol/rd/index_en.htm
    are innocuous.

    Others, like their industrial espionage groups, are not. Although they are considerably less effective than their pacific rim counterparts, they have had both some notable sucesses, and some operations that have resulted in real harm to Americans (And if the "love tapes" urban legend is real, some very hilarious failures)

    Unlike most other nationally oriented CI operations, Europe seems to place more emphasis on sabotaging American technical progress and obtaining information to win contracts, rather than stealing technical achievements. European CI groups have a certain provincialism, and tend to think America has few technical secrets worth stealing.

    As an American, I am a little offended by that.

    In the recent past, they have tried to form technical alliances with South American countries, but it seems those countries have decided to ally themselves with China, instead, viewing the Europeans as "proxy Americans". The europeans seem upset with that view. (hehehe, serves them right for looking down on our technical achievements).

    European corporate competition is not anything to really worry about, technically. European open source efforts, on the other hand, are at American levels, and range from pretty impressive (ObjectWeb) to vaporware.

    However, mostly, European open source developers do not appear to consider themselves "European", any more than American open source developers consider themselves "American". I don't think they really count as part of national competitiveness evaluation.

    Far more troublesome is that European corporations have a tendency to import their corruption, bigotry and prejudices into America.

    Many (though not all) non American employees of European corporations in America have very definite feelings about Jews, for example, and are a lot less repressed about acting on their views. The local Jewish community here has lots of stories about some of the more egregious acts.

    Because of various legal technicalities, and a tradition of extremely large campaign contributions, many European corporations feel that they are pretty much outside the jurisidiction of American law. It appears that, in practice, they are correct in that assumption.

    On the other hand, European CI groups are remarkably prejudice free, often containing an equal number of members from the America's, Asia, and Africa, as well as Europe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Moogle, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 12:21pm

    Cite, dammit!

    You all sound like wackos with your blanket (anti-)nationalistic comments. Link to some credible sources, if you want anyone with 2 brain cells to bang together to listen to you. Hell, a little research might actually teach you all something about the topics you think you know so much about.

    The US is neither completely devoid of manufacturing, nor magically better than everyone else because, well, we're better dammit! C'mon people, you're not alergic to verifiable facts, are you? Gimme some citations. Until then you're just some reactionary screwball spouting his own preconcieved notions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Garlynn, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 4:00pm

    Yeah, but what about taxes?

    I'd much rather have the company that's based in my zipcode, and thus paying property and income taxes that support the school district where my children go to school, be the one that is expanding and making a profit, over the country someplace overseas... or even in another state.

    So in a sense, I don't care so much about America vs. Europe as Oregon vs. the world, for instance. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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