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I think he's talking about the gap that opened up in the 1990's between the US and Europe because the US were early adopters of information technologies and productivity increases accrued there earlier. Also, he claims that the Lisbon Agenda for "Growth and Jobs" was based on a misdiagonosis of Europe's economic problems. The Lisbon Strategy is based on the idea that unemployment and sluggish economic job is due to lack of "competitiveness" rather than in a combination of lack of research and development and erosion of social protections. And the policy prescriptions that follow are different. Lisbon:
This strategy, developed at subsequent meetings of the European Council, rests on three pillars:
  • An economic pillar preparing the ground for the transition to a competitive, dynamic, knowledge-based economy. Emphasis is placed on the need to adapt constantly to changes in the information society and to boost research and development.
  • A social pillar designed to modernise the European social model by investing in human resources and combating social exclusion. The Member States are expected to invest in education and training, and to conduct an active policy for employment, making it easier to move to a knowledge economy.
  • An environmental pillar, which was added at the Göteborg European Council meeting in June 2001, draws attention to the fact that economic growth must be decoupled from the use of natural resources.
A "competitive, dynamic, knowedge-based economy" neglects engineering, materials and even biotechnology. Give everyone a computer and they'll be productive! Also, "human resources" is business-speak out of place in the "social pillar" part, and they are also asking for "education for a knowledge economy". At least they get it right on the reduction of resource use. Gonzalez says
I intend to convince the European social and economic agents that the European social model, that is social cohesion, depends on the European economy's ability to add value, that the success after WWII is that the social contract was a virtuous circle which made Europe a first-grade industrial economic power, with a strong degree of social chesion and a great capacity to generate a market [demand].
In another question about "advice to a young aspiring entrepreneur" he talks about "leadership" in terms of being able to inspire a team of people, believing in a project, avoiding a mercenary spirit, and aiming not to satisfy existing demand but to create new demand (I suppose true innovation means creating entirely new products). He's also clearly a fan of the Social Market Economy.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 at 09:41:32 AM EST
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The Euractiv story I link to in the introduction itself links to this interview in the Financial Times on January 18
"The Lisbon agenda identified the symptoms of Europe's malaise - lower growth, loss of competitiveness, widening technology gap - but misdiagnosed the disease," Mr González said.

"Europe suffers from an extraordinary corporate rigidity," he said. "And I am not only talking about the power of trade unions and labour rights. There is also enormous rigidity on the corporate side. You only have to compare the rankings of US and European companies now and 30 years ago. Most of the top US companies today were not around in the 1980s. There is a lot of mobility: it is a system that rewards risk, initiative and efficiency and allows companies to succeed as well as to fail.

"In Europe, there have been hardly any changes in the corporate rankings. Business, labour and political elites protect each other. We stifle innovation. That is why Europe has failed to produce a Bill Gates. It is a cultural problem." Mr González said.

There's more where that came from...


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 at 10:16:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seen here on ET in the Salon...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 at 10:22:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe has failed to produce a Bill Gates

Better not!

Sorry, but my impression is that Felipe got stuck in a lighter version of Third-Wayism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 06:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In some ways, he did.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 06:47:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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