Barry Ritholtz is back from Europe, noting the relatively low stress levels among Europeans, who trust their social safety nets to get them through the European crisis (link).
After being exposed to Wilkinson’s research (here), I believe that the false god of Econ is not just completely wrong but actively evil in the ideas it promotes regarding social welfare.
The message of Wilkinson is that social justice creates the best social welfare outcomes, where social justice is prima facie defined as a much more egalitarian (but hardly “Rawlsian”) distribution of income and wealth than the US currently suffers. And where the measures of social welfare are epidemiological, health-related measures, not phony economic aggregates like Gross Domestic Product. Like, how well people are actually doing.
So in spite of the common view that Europe is doomed and America is still exceptional, I believe there’s a good chance Europe will do better in terms of human welfare in weathering the crisis than America will.
If America lurches to the right and the Republicans are able send America into a neo-feudal state, dividing the population into the ultra-rich and serfs (I say this with little exaggeration; see Barry’s comments on social classes in the link above), the weeping and gnashing of teeth will hardly produce beneficial economic results, except for those who have no national allegiance, namely the international money elite who are behind the Republican thrust.
Will the stress that a Romney victory would impose on America spark creativity or cruelty? Romney’s vision has no place for social justice. It is Social Darwinism in its rawest form. There is a huge literature showing that stress actually has very adverse effects on the human mind and spirit (link).