5 Myths About Sick Old Europe (via Atrios):
Europe is more of a "workfare state" than a welfare state. As one British political analyst said to me recently: "Europe doesn't so much have a welfare society as a comprehensive system of institutions geared toward keeping everyone healthy and working." Properly understood, Europe's economy and social system are two halves of a well-designed "social capitalism" -- an ingenious framework in which the economy finances the social system to support families and employees in an age of globalized capitalism that threatens to turn us all into internationally disposable workers. Europeans' social system contributes to their prosperity, rather than detracting from it, and even the continent's conservative political leaders agree that it is the best way.
I'm a German teacher and obviously biased but I think that old world --or "old -Europe?!-- languages like German and French are still important to teach because they can open up the opportunities for students to be exposed to the European way and see for themselves. How can such myths still exist given the internet and the high volume of international travel? If I hadn't had the chance to first spend a summer in Germany back when I was a teenager, I might still think that "socialism" is a bad, bad word.
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