I should add–in my recent posts, I’ve implicitly compared US cities to European countries. But my focus of cities as the crucial economic level applies to Europe as well–it would be better to deal with country-level economies than continent-level, but better still to deal with city-level.
With that in mind, I mentioned in my last post that the unemployment rate in Finland is a mere 7.8% while that of Portugal is 12.4%. Down at the bottom end of the scale is Austria, currently at 4%, while Germany is in the middle at 6.1%.
But is it meaningful to say that German unemployment is better than Portuguese, as the unemployment rate is lower? Well, barely: unemployment in Berlin, however, sits at 13.6%–worse than the average for Portugal, while Bayern sits at 4.5%, better than almost any country in the EU.
Point being: there is a huge amount of economic diversity between countries, but as much or more within countries. When we define our economic policies at the broadest possible levels–continents and countries–we ignore the crucial variations, and our policies are the worse for it.