Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan
How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life

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Synopsis

The acclaimed labor lawyer and prizewinning author Thomas Geoghegan asks: where are we better off—America or Europe? In an idiosyncratic, entertaining travelogue that plays on public policy, Geoghegan asks what our lives would be like if we lived them as Europeans. Sneaking out of his workaholic American life, he takes five trips where he tries to understand so-called European socialism firsthand. Though he first tries France (which has become a rhetorical stand-in for the continent as a whole in many Americans' minds), he eventually ventures into Germany to see what some call the "boring" Europe. There he finds the true "other"—an economic model with more bottom-up worker control than that of any other country in the world—and argues that, while we have to take Germany’s problems seriously, we also have to look seriously at how much it has achieved. Social democracy may let us live nicer lives; it also may be the only way to be globally competitive. This wry, timely book helps us understand why the European model, contrary to popular neoliberal wisdom, may thrive well into the twenty-first century without compromising its citizens' ease of living—and be the best example for the United States to follow.

Germany is more generous than the U.S.:
The average number of paid vacation days in the U.S. is 13, versus Germany’s 35
New mothers in the U.S. get three months of unpaid job-protected leave and only if they work for a company of 50 or more employees, while Germany mandates four months’ paid leave and will pay parents 67% of their salary to stay home for up to 14 months to care for a newborn.
U.S. life expectancy is 50th in the world, compared to Germany’s 32nd.
 

About Thomas Geoghegan

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Thomas Geoghegan is a practicing attorney and the author of several books, including "Which Side Are You On?", which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and received a special citation from the PEN/Martha Albrand Award judges. Geoghegan contributes regularly to "The American Prospect" and lives in Chicago.
 
Published August 10, 2010 by New Press, The. 338 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?

The Wall Street Journal

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In the U.S. it's 'work, work, work.' A rock drummer in France gets a state stipend.

Aug 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Were You Born on the Wrong Co...

Huntington News

... BOOK REVIEW: 'Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? ... Chicago labor
lawyer and author -- and Irish storyteller Thomas Geoghegan -- in a ...

Aug 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Were You Born on the Wrong Co...

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