Europe's Needs and Resources: Trends and Prospects in Eighteen Countries

Europe's Needs and Resources: Trends and Prospects in Eighteen Countries

Europe's Needs and Resources: Trends and Prospects in Eighteen Countries

Europe's Needs and Resources: Trends and Prospects in Eighteen Countries

Excerpt

THE "Europe" with which this Survey is concerned comprises eighteen countries: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the German Federal Republic (together with the Saar and West Berlin), Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. This is not the geographer's Europe, which is usually defined as the area north of the Bosporus and west of the Urals, thus including not only the European sliver of Turkey but Yugoslavia and the Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe as well as a considerable portion of the USSR itself. Nor is the designation "Western Europe," though widely accepted as a more precise description of the region under consideration, wholly satisfactory, for much of Eastern Europe is farther west than Greece or Finland. For want of a better term, however, "Western Europe" is used interchangeably with "Europe" in the present volume to designate the territory occupied by the eighteen countries named above.

This group of countries corresponds closely to the membership of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (and to the European membership of its successor, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), which, however, does not include Finland (and, until recently, did not include Spain) but does include Turkey, which lies almost wholly outside geographic Europe. The Soviet satellites have been excluded from the present Survey not on ideological grounds per se, but because their economic orientation is almost wholly towards the East rather than the West, while their centrally planned economies do not lend themselves to the type of analysis attempted in this Survey. This second consideration also prevents the inclusion of Yugoslavia. The territory covered by the present Survey thus includes the noncommunist Western-oriented countries of Europe, the economies of which are largely responsive to the free play of market forces rather than government flat.

IMPORTANCE OF EUROPE

This western part of the geographer's Europe possesses an economic and cultural importance out of all proportion to its size. With only 3 per cent of the world's land surface and 10 per cent of its population and no longer possessed of natural resources of great variety and abundance, the people of Western Europe create close to 25 per cent of the world's national income, produce nearly 20 per cent of the world's food supply, 30 per cent of the steel and nearly as large a proportion of the coal and account for 40 per cent of the foreign trade of the world.

This small area is thus one of the most prosperous and productive regions of the world, in economic importance second only to North America. Although per capita income and labor productivity in Western Europe are still less than half what they are in the United States and some of the British Dominions, they are far above the levels of the rest of the world. This prosperity has been achieved partly by skillful development of Europe's limited range of resources, but increasingly through exploitation of its own advanced technology in serving as a workshop . . .

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