America v Europe: A comparison of riches leaves both sides red-faced

When david hockney’s mother visited the British artist in Los Angeles she made an observation that points to the difficulties with transatlantic economic comparisons. “Strange,” she said, after a couple of days in the sun, “all this lovely weather and you never see any washing out.”

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It is an observation many European visitors have echoed. American travellers to Europe, meanwhile, often despair at washer-dryer machines that leave clothes damp. Indeed, for some American writers the lack of standalone dryers is symbolic of the continent’s backwardness. While economic statistics should solve such debates—by allowing for apples-to-apples comparisons—they are not immune to the problems posed by cultural differences. Is it that Europeans cannot afford proper tumble dryers? Or are they simply getting…

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This article was written by and originally published on www.economist.com