Yesterday, Eurostat released a new report on poverty in Europe. 24% of folks in EU member states were considered "poor". The percentage of "risk of income poverty" was highest in Bulgaria and Romania, near 40%, followed by Greece near 36%. The least poverty-stricken nation is Czechia, 14.8%, followed by Holland, Sweden, Finland around 17%.
It's sort of good – perhaps a reason to brag – for a post-communist country to end up this high. But I think that it's not just "good news". This victory mostly means that Czechia has been excessively socialized and remains excessively egalitarian. The communist regime struggled to bring some "basic things" to every citizen and one may say that it has succeeded, albeit at a level that the Westerners must have considered a caricature of wealth. The newly restarted capitalism increased the level significantly while the political atmosphere kept the basic socialist minima.
It seems pathological if someone wants to make our system even more egalitarian or socialist in character. I am sure that too little poverty must be one of the demotivating things that hurt the progress of the economy.
Second, Broad Band TV News published interesting graphs about the country origin of films that were aired on European TVs between 2014 and 2015.
Most of the movies I choose to watch on TV are American. I think that most of them that are being aired are American movies, too. The U.S. global hegemony in the film industry seems self-evident to me. The numbers show that 65% of the movies aired on European TVs in a 2014-2015 season were American movies.
31% of the movies end up being European – but only 16% (a greater half of those) may be assigned a unique nation of origin. What are the top EU nations that produce films? We often complain that the Czech movie industry has weakened but at least by this number, it doesn't look bad.
- France, 20%
- Italy, 17%
- Germany, 14%
- Britain, 14%
- Czechia, 8%
- Spain, 6%
Note that the EU has 510 million people. Out of it, the six countries above correspond to the following percentages of the population:
- France, 13%
- Italy, 12%
- Germany, 16%
- Britain, 12%
- Czechia, 2%
- Spain, 9%
Despite this clear leadership in Europe, Czechia would lose – by a factor of 2 – in a battle against the U.S. in the number of movies per capita. Well, if you assumed that the non-national EU films are 8% Czech as well, Czechia and the U.S. would be tied. But I don't even try to talk about California which would devastate everyone else.