Like Japan, much of Europe turned to socialized systems to recover from the ruins of WW2. While this did help to support the populations of that era, the programs were exposed to be more about maintenance, and less about progress.
The "post war dream" was realized for many, but there was little planning for a future or growth. Core industries across Europe, like the proud Automobile Industries in England and Germany became shadows of their former selves...Domestic ownership of Banking and land resources dropped and the economies became more focused on "services."
With the WW2 generation still alive but no longer working, those and other nations are left with aging populations,stagnant economies and a workforce that must look more and more to immigrants to fill its needs. Barely two generations into the "post war dream" it is very clear that those systems will not be able to give today's youth the same benefits enjoyed by their elders.
EDIT: Where was that Toshiba made? What is the quality record of Audis? Which market made Toyota the #1 automaker in the world? The answers are: "China"..."fair to poor" and "the United States."
And as for the U.S. Auto Industry, I agree it is a very good example of socialized thought destroying industry. For what led to the downfall of the Auto Industry? Certainly a great deal has to do with poor management and short-sightedness on the part of executives...but the simple fact is that this was known over 20 years ago...why were they not able to compete? Why did they not have the cash flexibility to respond to market demands...quite simple...too much of their money was tied up in maintaining a stagnant workforce rather than on innovation....too much money was spent meeting the demands of workers who had been raised to believe that an employer should cover all their costs from date of hire to the grave...
And to correct you...Japan's SOCIETY is Socialized...not it's industry (or at least it wasn't)...which is why their non-unionized automobile industry far surpasses their counterparts in America and Europe. What is the crisis facing that industry today? A less dedicated younger generation of workers and an ever-tightening ring of government regulation...those ARE the results of socialist thought...
You seemed to have missed my point...so here it goes again: The U.S. economy is the product of two centuries of progress and struggle..."Socialism" as you know it has only been around for a little over 50 years and it is ALREADY showing it's failings. In Japan, the younger generation raised in a "safety net" society doesn't have the fraction of the dedication of their elders. In England, the old class-system seems to have been entrenched deeper than ever, with young Etonians being raised to rule while a whole new underclass from Asia fills the gap.
Again, my point is what happens when Toshiba stops making affordable laptops? What happens when Audi's are built to Soviet quality standards? What happens when you realize that it's what a country can make on its own, not what it can buy, that determines it's strength.
Are these countries "greater" today than they were 30 years ago...when Japan was investing in the U.S. rather than pulling out...when factories in England and Germany were making actual products, and not just assembling parts made elsewhere? Can you really point to a line of progress? Or are things just "as good" or "pretty good?"
I personally fear that it is too late for the U.S. to realize this...but I still maintain hope we will understand that we must collectively work for our futures, rather than just cut up the pie that's before us and assume we can just nip down to the shop and buy another one tomorrow...