David Rieff Slams European Welfare States
Foreign policy analyst and author David Rieff was interviewed today at Big Think on topics ranging from the American missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan to this week's G-20 summit to his latest book, Swimming in a Sea of Death.
Mr. Rieff has been noted for his challenging statements especially when it comes to foreign aid in the Global South, but it's never without a dose of rigorous and bold analysis that he weighs in. Watch for the exclusive interview with Rieff later this week on Big Think.
On how the readiness of the European welfare state to confront the crisis moving forward, Mr. Rieff had this to say:
"There are two problems with the EU. The first is that the welfare state that they've created is not one that can be supported in a region of declining population. In effect, there are not enough young people to support all these old people in the style to which the welfare state accustoms them. That's the first problem. The second problem is there are a series of countires that--countries particularly in the East and the former Warsaw pact bloc--who very quickly got in debt. And they're going to have to be bailed out by the rich countries in Western Europe and that's going to create tremendous stresses on the system, the equivalent after all in Europe to the subprime crisis in the United States."
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This economy has us in survival mode, stressing out our bodies and minds.
- Economic hardship is linked to physical and psychological illness, resulting in added healthcare expenses people can't afford.
- The gig economy – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy – is marketed as a 'be your own boss' revolution, but it can be dehumanizing and dangerous; every worker is disposable.
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Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
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