"Britain is doing better than Europe"


This fallacy usually implies that Britain's US-leaning, Thatcherite legacy of monetarism, "flexible labour", union-busting and other supposedly strict adherences to "market" economics, has left Britain in a stronger position than European countries such as Germany, France, Scandinavian countries, etc.

The latter nations have a recent history of more "social" (socialist in some cases) policies than Britain – such as relatively generous welfare schemes and regulation of working hours, etc. If, as the fallacy asserts, these countries are falling behind Britain, then this "proves" that hard capitalism triumphs over remnants of soft socialism.

UK newspapers/magazines such as the Daily Telegraph, Times, Economist, etc, often cite, as evidence, "higher unemployment" or less "competitive" industry in European countries. However, a closer scrutiny of economic indicators reveals many European countries to be out-performing Britain in many ways – higher per capita income, more generous welfare provision, etc. This is particularly true of Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland – which have in recent years topped most charts of not only economic performance, but "quality of life" indicators.

For example, the Christian Science Monitor ran a story in October 2005 asking how Finland rated as one of the most successful and "competitive" countries on the planet, whilst simultaneously funding a very generous welfare system (which appears to go against all orthodox economic wisdom).

"When full-time workers in Sweden lose a job, they remain on full pay for a year. During that time, they are eligible for retraining at government's expense. And if they remain unemployed after a year, they may qualify for unemployment compensation, equivalent to an average income, indefinitely". (Source: Scandinavian success)

More examples and detail to be provided for this fallacy soon...