| Dick Langlois |
From a review by Andrei S. Markovits of Peter Baldwin, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe Are Alike — An Essay in Numbers:
Baldwin commences his data-rich book with the economy, where he demonstrates convincingly that the stereotype of America’s being ruled by an unfettered free market with minimal state intervention and low taxes, while Europe is controlled by the dirigiste étatism of faceless bureaucrats who stifle all market initiatives with high taxes and cumbersome regulations, is totally erroneous. Indeed, Baldwin musters impressive data that a) taxes on income and profits are lower in ten European countries than they are in the United States, b) America’s income tax progressivity hovers in the middle among European states, c) its taxation of the wealthy far exceeds those in any European country, and d) its property taxes are only surpassed by those of Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom.
The U.S. is in the middle of the pack in almost all other statistical categories as well. The book is a tour de force, says the reviewer, but it will have no impact, since the idea — or, rather, multiple formulations of the idea — that the U.S. and Europe are fundamentally different is so strongly entrenched on both sides of the political spectrum on both sides of the Atlantic.