Ann MettlerWhy is Europe so slow in reforming its moribund economy? Could it be that the arguments we use – and the intellectual models we follow – are based on 19th century concepts and conditions and cannot meet the challenges of the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century?

After a decade of discussion about the need for reform, Europe’s economic decline has been thoroughly analyzed, and there is ample evidence that current approaches are not working. The reason for the decline is increasingly clear. It is caused by interest groups that claim that any reform – however small – entails the imminent destruction of the “European social model.” That, for example, was one of the main arguments recently used to block the opening of the EU market for services, which would have been of immense benefit to most Europeans.

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