Europe Closes the Gap

In the business world of the future, the U.S. rules the roost, but Europe still has a lot to crow about

When an American Internet merchant like Jeff Bezos joins Charles Lindbergh and Winston Churchill in the pantheon of TIME's Men of the Year, it's all too easy to assume that the economic future belongs exclusively to the U.S. and that Europe will become a quaint museum dependent on tourism and some luxury niches for its livelihood. Too easy--and wrong. While the Old World is still bedeviled by archaic habits and practices, it enjoys a global lead, possibly unsurpassable, in certain sectors that are at the heart of the technological revolution.

Take the mobile phone. If it's impossible to sit in a...

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