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Books on European Innovation

A day after my recent musings, the Wall Street Journal looked at three books on European growth…

Cousins and Strangers is written by the last British governer to Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner. Most of the text seems to mirror the kind of Bush administration bashing that progressives in the US already do, so nothing new there. It could be interesting for Americans to better understand how Europeans view themselves in relation to the U.S.

In The Next Superpower? Rockwell Schnabel argues that the EU is a serious global economic force, and Americans need to pay heed. No argument there. He worries about overregulation and Europeans’ inability to take risk in order to make progress.

It’s Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century that looks like the really interesting read for its counter-intuitive stance. The author, Mark Leonard, points out that two billion people now live in Europe’s “zone of influence” and gradually adopt European ways of doing things. This includes the EU’s 80,000 pages of regulations which, while seeming to hobble flexibility on the surface, is also dramatically changing any country that must obey them upon entry to the EU. So whereas the U.S. uses force to achieve regime change in Afghanistan, Leonard argues that the new power will be softer, as with the EU’s peaceful transformation of “all of Polish society.