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Millennium Development Goals Photo

In an International Herald Tribune column asking “Is Europe’s welfare system a model for the 21st century?Katrin Bennhold contends that, as the world’s economic elite gather in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum, there is decidedly less Europe-bashing than in years past. After the global financial shake-out of the past  year, she wonders, “Could Europe’s much-reviled social welfare system actually end up being the model for the 21st century world?”

In the United States, the global stock market rout has wiped out trillions of dollars in retirement savings and rising unemployment is leaving more people without health insurance. In response, officials of the new administration of President Barack Obama have been busy studying the Swedish bank bailout of the 1990s and the Swiss and Dutch health care systems and have been quietly contemplating whether Europe’s high fuel taxes and carbon trading system are the right way to limit the burning of fossil fuels that contributes to global warming.

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