Faced with the United States, Europe must get rid of its passion for regulation – L’Express

Faced with the United States Europe must get rid of

The thesis of the decline of the West has become the favorite refrain of those who, instead of looking at the facts, take up Russian language elements without batting an eyelid: self-hatred, visceral anti-Americanism, anti-macronism which, through contagion effect, becomes a anti-Westernism… The error is obvious. Because there is no Western decline, at most the end of a monopoly of absolute power. What is true, however, is that there is a relative European decline within the West. This is the subject that should obsess us as the 2024 European election campaign begins, for the moment largely relegated to a political beauty contest within France. However, the issue is crucial: do we want a Europe that is autonomous from the United States or do we agree to let ourselves be tossed around by the decisions of our American friends? Do we want to ensure our own scientific and economic power, a condition of our security, or do we resign ourselves to being terrorized when the possible election of an unpredictable oddball like Donald Trump arises? This is the subject.

The first thing to do is to face reality. For twenty years, the American economy has been more dynamic than that of the European Union. The gaps have widened recently with the policy, certainly costly in terms of public finances, reindustrialization and renovation of infrastructures, carried out by the Biden administration and, on the other hand, the setbacks of Germany, the leading economy of the ‘Union. The result is that the GDP per capita of the United States (in purchasing power parity, that is to say corrected for consumer prices) is close to 70,000 dollars, compared to 45,000 dollars in the ‘European Union. This colossal gap means in concrete terms that the Americans have financial room for maneuver per capita which allows them to increase salaries or invest in their defense which is unrelated to ours.

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Create a European Nasdaq

That being said, we must ask ourselves the question of the reasons for this difference in income, which is an attribute (certainly not the only one) of influence and power. If we get to the bottom of the subject, the Americans have understood that the dominant countries are those which attract human intelligence to their soil and which master the production of artificial intelligence, the two being perfectly linked. In fact, despite the anti-Semitic and racist excesses of Wokism on American campuses, it is still to New York, Boston and San Francisco that we find the best universities, those to which students from all over the world want to flock.

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This precipitate which brings together scientific research, tech companies and venture capital is unique in the world, at least in these proportions. Because the European Union does have some valuable universities, great start-ups and venture capital companies (the semantic difference between the French “risk” and the English “adventure” is significant). But without ever being able to “scale up”. For example, a substantial political program with a view to the next elections could mention the creation of a European Nasdaq in order to ensure that our large start-ups, which have managed to pass the threshold of research and development and receive revenue from businesses, can draw on capital on a financial market dedicated to innovation, deep and liquid.

The French Mistral capable of joining the most powerful club

What are the most powerful companies on the planet? No doubt those we call on Wall Street the “magnificent seven”: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, Meta and Nvidia. It is clear that no European company can compete with one of them. However, some would, on paper, have the ability to join this club. This is the case of the French company Mistral in the field of generative AI, today dominated by Open IA (another American company).

But for this, our tech companies need a single, fluid market, which is built through freedom and not regulation. However, the drama of the current European Parliament and the Commission is their obsessive passion for everything relating to regulation, particularly in the face of innovations resulting from AI, a passion which has no longer found any obstacle since the start of the British. The problem is that it is not compatible with the spirit of power. Here is the choice of the month of June.

Nicolas Bouzou, economist and essayist, is director of the consulting firm Astères