Saturday, February 12, 2005


There's an article in the N.Y. Review of Books by Tony Judt that is just typical of Leftist distortions and anti-Americanism. And is it supercilious and arrogant! In his opening paragraph Judt baldly assserts that American coffee is "largely without flavor". How do you answer such asinine condescension? What poor stupid people he obviously thinks Americans are. I guess it is at least fair warning of the low quality of the reasoning that follows. Fisking the article is a job for an economic statistician and I am sure that such a fisking will happen so I was going to leave it at that but I cannot resist just a few interim remarks pointing out where some of the distortions lie:

One of his most unforgivable assertions is that America has a high infant mortality. That was the subject of much discussion fairly recently so he really has no excuse for trotting that deception out. America has a high infant mortality rate mainly because America tries hard to save even very premature babies. And many of those attempts fail, of course. So naturally America has more infant deaths than countries that do not try to save such babies and do not count them as babies at all.

And he says that European productivity per worker compares favourably with American productivity. Of course it does. It has to. Europe's legally enforced high minimimum wages ensure that only highly productive people are worth employing. But that leaves around 10% of the European workforce unemployed, compared to around 5% in America. And that extra 5% in Europe produce nothing at all. The only fair comparison would be to compare productivity of the whole workforce, not just the employed part of it. If you did that Europe would really be in the basement!

And he mentions the generous maternity benefits for Swedish mothers. They are generous all right. So generous that few Swedish companies can afford to employ women. So it is only poorly-paid government jobs that most Swedish women can get. And Sweden has a QUARTER of its workforce on welfare of one sort or another, anyway. So that's REAL maternity leave!

What he says about the poor quality of American education, however, is undoubtedly true. He omits to mention, however, that education is the one section of the U.S. economy that his Leftist co-religionists dominate.

But I think his description of the United Nations tells you all you need to know about Mr Judt's desperate blindness. He calls it "the jewel in the crown of international agencies". Words fail me at that point.


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