Western Europe’s share of world GDP fell from 36 percent in 1974 to just 26 percent in 2011, with a projected fall to 15 percent by 2020. In contrast, the US share has remained steady at about 26 percent of world GDP. As economic freedom declines, EU member states are becoming less and less competitive on the world stage, while emerging economies from Asia to South America are gaining ground. Decades of big government policies have now brought several European economies to their knees. Soaring taxes, spiraling unemployment, mountains of red tape, stifling labour regulations, and ruinous levels of public spending needed to fund vast and unsustainable welfare states and entitlement programmes have created a perfect storm of economic malaise. And France is a potent symbol of that decline, with huge levels of public debt, now standing at more than 80 percent of GDP, government spending at 55 percent of GDP, and a tax burden equivalent to 42 percent of total domestic income.