Myth 1: Europe has a weak, sclerotic and noncompetitive economy.

ShareFACT: Europe has the largest economy in the world, producing nearly a third of the world’s economic output, almost as large as the United States and China combined. It has more Fortune 500 companies than the U.S. and China combined, and some of the most competitive national economies in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. From 1998 through 2008 (until the global economic collapse), Europe had a higher per capita GDP growth rate than the U.S., and currently the continent previously known as the “land of high unemployment” has a lower unemployment rate than the U.S. (U.S. 10%, European Union, 9.5%, Germany 7.5%, France 10%).

Europe is the largest trading partner both of the United States and China. Europe’s stocks and investment returns have out-performed those in the U.S., making Europe an international investment magnet.  In fact, Europe is corporate America’s biggest target for foreign investment, U.S. businesses make far more profits there than anywhere else in the world, over twenty times more than they have made in China. But Europe’s economy is not just powered by Fortune 500 companies and big corporations. It has more small businesses than the U.S. that provide two-thirds of Europe’s jobs, compared to about half the jobs in the United States.

– Steven Hill, guest blogger

Ed. comments:

You can see all the posts in this series here.

Steven Hill is the author of “Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age” ( He’ll be visiting Seattle and Bellingham next week:

  • Monday March 15 at 11 a.m., interview on the Dave Ross Show, KIRO 97.3 FM
  • Monday March 15 at 7 p.m., presenting at the University of Washington Communications Building
  • Tuesday March 16 at 7:30 pm: presenting at Town Hall Seattle (tickets here)
  • Wednesday March 17, 7:00 p.m.: presenting at Village Books, Bellingham

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