Why Europeans Think We're Insane | Economy | AlterNet

A friend on Facebook posted this, and when I started to respond I realized it called for a longer analysis.

Why Europeans Think We're Insane | Economy | AlterNet

This is naïve and deserves a more detailed response. Yes, as an American resident in Spain, I know full well: European social benefits are vastly greater than those in the US. But that could not have happened (it's all since WWII) without the US: Marshall Plan, US defense spending & much else. The story is well told in Tony Judt's Postwar. And because of "the Crisis" (which showed how dependent European prosperity has been on US prosperity—it all started with US financial giants finagling their books and US banks overextending credit) the European advantage may not survive the big benefits cutbacks in the UK and elsewhere. Or will almost certainly diminish.

I'll have more to say about Judt's book on modern Europe soon. I'm about half-way through it, reading slowly and carefully (it's a big book) because what he says (whether I always agree with him or not) is so important for understanding where we are now

"No TV"

A complex, beautifully written story by
Dirk van Nouhuys at Unlikely 2.0

Here's just a sample:

Joe walked from the front door a little way along the palm-lined drive to where his companions waited in the battered Volvo bus that had carried them from Elsinore to Sarajevo, crossed from Le Havre to Vera Cruz, and then carried them from Vera Cruz here. He thought he had been on this road forever, at first a celebrity, then a classic, now three-quarters forgotten, meeting people he did not understand, unable to discern the outlines of motivation, disconcerted by the greed for violence and power, seeing figures that looked like battered cars, the motor failing, the fender falling off, and the emergency brake intermittent, trekking on a great highway where no one was sure of his direction. He imagined stopping someone to ask the way to the next town and hearing grammars plucked from a language beyond scholarship. Everything falling, like in Revelations, bumbling, directionless on this crowded road, refugees toting trunks of belongings, baskets, bundles, going north and south, tired, crazed with sleeplessness. The only hope: "I love to see her use her powers".


Update on "Sultan"

I've just ordered conversion to e-book format "for purchase on Kindle devices and Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices." Thus the book should be available for nearly instant delivery anywhere with Internet, and cheaper. (Price to be determined, but it will be less than the $15.70 list for the paperback, and virtually no shipping charge.) I was studying how to do this myself (you can do the conversion from a text in MS Word), but it was going to take me hours to figure out and anxiety about making mistakes, so I was glad to see the offer from CreateSpace to handle it for $69.

Of course, the printed paperback is prettier, with its color cover. But I'm beginning to enjoy reading on my Kindle, and maybe you will too. And if you live outside the US, you get the book much quicker (within minutes) and save the extra shipping expense, which can be considerable to Europe or Asia.