For some, David Brooks and Tom Friedman, the EU’s rejection of the new constitution shows that Europe is stuck in the mud and not willing to join today’s globally competitive world. They might be right, but there is also the possibility that Europe sees the handwriting on the wall that today’s developed countries, including the US, face a world that mean the end of life as we know it, regardless of how hard we work.
Can Americans compete with Chinese and Indian workers? Of course, but they will have to work 20 hours a day (or 35 hours a day according to Friedman), and they will have to live many people in one room, instead of a few people in a whole house. Maybe the Europeans recognize this and are rebelling. While in America, the government is controlled by those who will gain from the changes, those who own the capital that benefits from cheap labor overseas. For a few in America (and in Europe) this will be the greatest change ever. They will live even more like Asian satraps than they do now.
Maybe European voters are smarter than American voters when it comes to their financial well being. Americans have not been quick to destroy Social Security, despite Bush’s plea that they do so. Maybe they don’t understand that the globalization of the world labor markets threatens their entire livelihood, not just their retirement.