Western Europe: The Price of Prosperity

Parliament last week conducted a lively debate on Britain's high cost of living, while British workers grumbled loudly about its damage to their pay packets. In Italy, where the government has launched an unpopular austerity drive to halt rising prices, the man in the street has found a new scapegoat in la cara vita. And the French, who love to complain, moan relentlessly about la vie chere. In any language, inflation is Europe's foremost economic preoccupation—and the problem that most threatens its extended boom.

Papal Plea. With European consumers clamoring for goods faster than farms or factories can produce them,...

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