Tony Judt in the NYRB

Tony Judt reviews three books about Europe and America in the New York Review of Books. He’s nothing extremely original to say, but he’s eminently, and refreshingly sensible. Go read it.

The general topic should be good for a discussion.

7 thoughts on “Tony Judt in the NYRB

  1. Absolutely nothing new there. Same old tired arguments.

    But what is good is that it only adds more distance between the US and Europe. The less ties, the better.

  2. Good Reading…

    kstreetfriend comment:

    According to the New York Times: Recently, a number of for-profit colleges have faced inquiries, lawsuits and other actions calling into question the way they inflate enrollment to mislead/increase the value of their parent company?s stock.

    In the last year, the Career Education Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Ill., has faced lawsuits, from shareholders and students, contending that, among other things, its colleges have inflated enrollment numbers. The company acknowledged that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    In February 2004, F.B.I. agents raided 10 campuses run by ITT Educational Services of Carmel, Ind., looking for similar problems.

    Kaplan is wholly own by the Washington Post Company. I provided the S.E.C., Department of Education, and federal courts information that appears to prove Kaplan inflated the Concord School of Law enrollment, telling investors that the ?flagship? of its higher education division has as many as 600 to 1000 or more students.

    Why didn?t the Justice Department and S.E.C. included Kaplan with their investigation?

  3. But is it sustainable? Europe is building lovely motorways, but will have to pay for them later. Money going towards public spending is money taken away from pensions. How will Europe make up for its thirty day holidays today? By working an extra five years tomorrow.

    And who’s to say that espresso maker won’t be made equally well in China in ten years, and at half the cost? The Japanese managed to take a western invention – the car – and make it better and cheaper than anybody else, so the Chinese should be able to make coffee machines.

    Elsewhere, Judt sees the future as one of transnational institutions. But they were a feature of post-war times. And with hindsight, not a terribly effective way of getting things done. You can understand why the Americans don’t like them; their country’s built on this:

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Governments, rather than transnational institutions.

    But it’s an interesting article all the same.

  4. I was underwhelmed.

    There was some good stuff; it’s not a /bad/ read. But his biases are obvious, and his conclusions (IMO) questionable.

    Frex: the biggest worry Europe has is the integration of its immigrant populations, especially Muslims? Um… if by “Europe” you mean France and the Netherlands, you could make a case. But in Germany, Britain and Italy this barely makes the top five. In the New Ten it’s not even on the radar.

    Meanwhile, he completely ignores problems with European labor markets — you don’t have to be a gibbering laissez faire winger to see that there are problems — and briefly and quickly glosses over Europe’s looming demographic crisis.
    I was really hoping for a thoughtful treatment of this topic (it’s, like, freaking impossible to find), but he pretty much blows past it. Und so weiter.

    The folks at crookedtimber seem to like it, though.

    Doug M.

  5. Interesting read alright,

    most of the stuff aint new, as ye say. but that was a very good example, the coffee and the latte.
    would i be too bold in suggesting that as i see it europeans expect limitiations in consumption, hence “quality” is more of a premium as opposed to americans, who value quantity more so, hense the “free Refill”, and they expect consumption is limitless.

    my analogy is a bit rough. apologies.

    gr8 blog btw. even if going thru a quiet phase.

  6. Plenty of mistaken comparisons that easily came to mind while I was reading the review; I started to respond, but thought: why bother? what is the point? he wants to believe it, let him believe it.

    I am a non-European immigrant to the US and have spent a fair amount of time in Europe, including 3 weeks in Germany last month. I like Germans, and wish them well, but realize quite clearly that Americans and Europeans are very different people.

    And that’s the way they should remain. And people wistful for the European way of life should migrate there, instead of trying to remake their own country into a facsimile of it.

  7. Kevin P., the main difference between the USA and Europe, EU members or not, is the physical space, so any claim like yours is disingenuous.


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