While globalization is perceived as a challenge both in the United States and in Europe, the policy debate in both regions differs widely with even the position of the fight and left sometimes reversed. Following standard stereotypes, it is clear that Americans are more pro-market than Europeans. Does not the old continent struggle with the consequences of its politicians continuously fiddling around with the free-market forces? According to the same cliches, part of the difference stems from the stronger leaning of Europeans towards the political left as the left worldwide usually pushes for stronger government interventions.
A closer look at current national policy debates reveals a much more nuanced picture. In some fields, such as free trade, it can even be argued that Europe is at the moment more free-market than America, with parts of the American left playing much more protectionist tunes than their European counterparts. And in other fields, the European left surprisingly takes positions which in the United States are today often associated with a certain breed of free-market Republicans.
While on both sides of the Atlantic challenges from globalization have been a dominant topic in economic policy debate, the reactions have been quite different. Both the European Union and the United States have experienced extremely strong growth
in Chinese imports over the past years, with the respective bilateral trade balances with China deteriorating sharply. In both regions, stories about the offshoring of thousands of jobs have featured strongly in the national media. On both sides of the North Atlantic, a very small portion of the toys or apparel sold is still made at home.
However, it has been mainly American politicians who have started to blame the rest of the world for the domestic industries' problems. Not only is Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) regularly referring to the American middle classes' fear of having their jobs shipped abroad, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) stated in his reply to President George Bush's State of the Union address that it is the duty of the U.S. government to "to insist that [the American workers'] concerns be dealt with fairly in the …