NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Europe Transformed In Ten Years

November 8, 1999

November 9 marks the 10th anniversary of the fall of the 66-mile Berlin Wall. That event set off extraordinary forces which have transformed the Continent -- almost invariably for the better -- in the intervening decade.

  • Among European Union nations, per capita gross domestic product has climbed from the equivalent of $11,494 then to $16,802 now.
  • Inflation, which had been running at 5.2 percent annually then, stands at only 1.2 percent on average now.
  • There are 447 cars per 1,000 people now, compared to 390 then.
  • In Germany alone, GDP per capita has climbed from $14,362 to $19,776.

Italy has witnessed some of the most dramatic shifts in operations and policy. By 1994, a whole generation of politicians -- some very corrupt -- had been retired. At the start of the 1990s, 90 percent of its banking system and 60 percent of its economy was in state hands. Now, most banking is in private hands and almost all state industry has been sold off.

France nationalized its commercial banking system in 1982. After undergoing a complete about face, banks, manufacturers and insurers have come back into private hands.

Source: Special Report, "Europe Ten Years Later...," Business Week, November 8, 1999.


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