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"As the new Congress begins work, it should peruse a recently published book, The
Future of Europe: Reform or Decline, by two Italian economists, Harvard's Alberto Alesina and
Bocconi University's Francesco Giavazzi. They explain what went wrong in Europe in particular in
France, Germany, Italy, and Spain and how Europe can continue as a major economic power." Diana
Furchtgott-Roth New York Sun
The MIT Press
"This book could have been a diatribe, but is saved from that by the intelligence of the authors' arguments and policy recommendations. A must read for those interested in the European economy." P. K. Kresl Choice
The MIT Press
Posted January 29, 2011
This book deals with several major policy problems that Europe and Europeans are facing today. The usual suspects include non-competitive research and universities, mishandling of the increasingly multiethnic societies, liberalization of markets, high price of the social state, rigid labor market, to name just a few. There seems to be an increasing amount of literature and critical articles dedicated to these issues, in a stark contrast to the inability of European politicians to get a firm grip on them. Even though this book claims that Europe should not necessarily adopt Anglo-Saxon social and economic model, it is hard to escape this conclusion when reading the actual comparisons with the UK, US and other "Anglo-Saxon" countries.
One big policy issue that is not being discussed here deals with the collapse of the European family and its roots in the dismantling of the Judeo-Christian religio-ethical tradition. A good place to start reading more about this is George Weigel's "The Cube And The Cathedral: Europe, America and Politics Without God"
Additional criticism of this book concerns its editing. There are numerous spelling and other mistakes, and several graphs and charts are not all that clear. Otherwise, it is a very readable and engaging book.