Is the Good Life Out of Reach?

If you believe the official statistics, these should be feel-good times in Western Europe. The economy is growing at its fastest pace since 2000, while inflation and interest rates remain low by historic standards and unemployment almost everywhere is falling. Try telling that to Marie Pereira. She sells Baccarat crystal in the fancy Bon Marché department store in Paris, and she's feeling anything but well off at the moment. "Basic things like food shopping are twice or even three times as expensive as before," she complains. "People have much less money at the moment, so they have to cut back. It's...

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