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Thursday, December 06, 2007

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Lafayette

Article: "although near-term growth has been revised down virtually everywhere in the OECD area, the baseline scenario depicted in this Economic Outlook is actually not that bad in view of the recent shocks"

Right ... if you've got a job. If you're waiting for one ... well, the wait gets longer.

The EU area is forecast to have a total growth rate of 1.9% p.ann. for 2008. Developed economies need 2.5% to trigger job creation, so the EU is way, way, way below that target rate.

The EU is trying to shake the gloom that has beset its economic growth since, say, the early 1990s. It has proven to be incompetent at managing a common growth policy. Economic growth in the EU is historically a patchwork from the very good (the UK, some parts of Scandinavia) to very bad (namely France and Germany, the EU's principle economic motor economies).

It is good that statistical reporting should, finally, be amalgamating the EU so that it can be compared with its sister-economy, the US. But the comparison derived is not flattering to the EU. It is still rife with backward work regulations that are prompting businesses to dislocate eastward or contract to the Far East. Internal economies are, still, relatively moribund -- despite the boom in real estate investments throughout the EU, which has been able to sustain internal demand but not grow it. And, R&D investments are not at a level necessary to stimulate demand with product innovations. (When, ô when, will the EU come up with an iPod or an iPhone!?!)

'Tis a shame. The EU needs to take a long, hard look at what is constraining its growth and then make a coordinated effort to address those constraints. They are multiple and across the board.

There is still hope that the EU's manifest destiny of economic superpower status is just around the corner. But it has been, once again, pushed beyond the horizon by a year or two. True, this may be the fault of externalities, like the sub-prime mess in the US (thank you, thank you, Uncle Sam, this is only the second time in ten years that you export your "free market" speculative frenzies to the rest of the world! When ya gonna learn?) Or oil prices.

But, pointing fingers at "externalities" is not going to help the EU rectify its own "internalities" that continue to inhibit its growth rate.

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