David Brooks and impossible lifestyles


In Europe, workers across the Continent want great lifestyles without long work hours. They want dynamic capitalism but also personal security. European welfare states go broke trying to deliver these impossibilities.

This is a weird thing to say.  I’m no European, but I think what Continental folks mean by “great lifestyles” is not “a 3000 sq foot house” or “a new car every five years” but something more like “a flexible schedule with time to spend on family and travel.”  I think they would say, of us, “Workers across America want a great lifestyle with long work hours and two weeks vacation a year.  American families make themselves crazy trying to deliver these impossibilities.”  And they would be right.


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4 thoughts on “David Brooks and impossible lifestyles

  1. Richard Séguin says:

    I totally agree with your position on this.

  2. Yemon Choi says:

    Why do I get the feeling Brooks has not asked any of these “workers across the Continent”? Or is this a case of Friedman’s Cabbie?

  3. Sam says:

    You, sir, are a genius! And David Brooks is an idiot.

  4. IJK says:

    I disagree, and see no contradiction here. Clearly, different cultures have different ideas as to what constitutes the norm and what is a desired luxury. NY Times being a local newspaper with national ambitions, Brooks is writing to the audience he knows well, to the people who work long hours with relatively few “personal securities”, but that consider new cars and large houses to be the norm. Criticizing him for not being even handed on the international scale is a bit like criticizing Times sports writers for being biased towards the Yankees, or their editorial page to be overly liberal (see http://nyti.ms/3fQTcS).

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