The auto industry provides an instructive case study of how differently Europeans and Americans are generally approaching the challenge of the economic downturn.

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European consumers and state-run health-care programs are being charged an extra €3 billion ($3.87 billion) annually because major pharmaceutical companies are creating barriers for the production and use of cheaper generic drugs, the European Commission says.

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In the months-long run-up to the bailout in Detroit, little was said about foreign competition. But the concern was always there. In announcing the 17.4 billion dollar loan, a White House official stipulated to the Washington Post that, “The companies will have to restructure their wage and benefit agreements so that by the end of 2009 they are competitive with foreign automakers that have plants in the U.S.”

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Boeing versus Airbus: The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business
By John Newhouse, Knopf, 272 pages
Reviewed by Robert Herzstein

“Politics is like baseball: You have to be smart enough to understand the game, but dumb enough to think it’s important.”
—Eugene McCarthy

In the large civil aircraft industry, too, you have to be a player, or a semi obsessive fan, to appreciate the day-today moves and posturing within the big airplane producers and the hundreds of companies and government entities that interact with them.

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James C. GreenwoodOne of the difficulties in formulating health policy is that the options are constrained by an iron rectangle of four, often-conflicting policy objectives, which seem virtually impossible to achieve at the same time.We want human beings to have universal access to health care; we want that care to be of the highest possible quality; we want it to be affordable; and we want constant innovation to ensure that our health care systems deliver the latest medicines, devices and techniques.

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