What makes you think Europe has been lagging behind? Do you really measure economic performance by whether jobs are interesting or not or how many blockbuster movies an economy produces? You think Europes problems are solved by entertainment? As boring as it sounds, hard work and taxation are the only things that can turn around the vicious cycle, the huge debts that have been building.
GDP figures don't lie. The average American is 30% more productive than the average Western European (Eastern Europe lags even more). Europe's problem is they're more worried about "doing what needs to be done" rather than enjoying life. Your attitude is one of the reasons why Finland has a high suicide rate.
Besides, the futuristic industries have hardly kept the US citizen from having huge debts themselves. While the US GDP growth has been impressive compared to EU countries, it´s been fueled by borrowed money, which is the primary resons fot the whole credit crisis.
Europeans borrow money too. Where do you think the eurozone crisis came from? No economy can grow without borrowing. The Chinese are borrowing more than anyone at the moment. It's not about the quantity but the quality of borrowing. Americans have proven themselves to be better at lending money than Europeans.
then again, narrowing it down is obviously complicated. nothing "genetic" about it. in fact, most big players in silicon valley are either first - or second-generation immigrants, hardly the average representative of the us of a.
add to that stuff like the huge homogenous market. give sweden ~ 300 mil people and its new media sector would easily match america's. when it comes to patents and trademarks, per capita most european countries easily outdistance america anyways (so do japan and several other asian countries). the one thing truly american is the all-out perfection in marketing and branding. nobody will touch them on that. ever.
Don't know where you get that from. Most Americans are of European decent and most big players have been around for several generations. Trying to brand certain Americans as "average" is like trying to describe certain Europeans as average. There's plenty of diversity across the country in terms of culture and economic strength. California is just one of many.
Shear quantity of patents is not a measure of innovation. Anyone can invent any pointless idea and ring up the patent office. Again, quality over quantity.
Germany for example is awesome because of the manufacturing and high skill within things like the car industry. 1 job in the German car industry is probably 10 other jobs in Germany. That's how it works. Those high end manufacturing companies are solid gold for a country. It creates jobs for suppliers, sub-suppliers and so forth in a full value chain. That type of business must be kept in Europe at all costs and not be outsorced
Manufacturing cars is great but it's not everything. In fact it's nowhere near the major industry it use to be. Every blue chip company provides jobs both directly and through suppliers, sub-suppliers etc. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Pepsi, Walmart, Amazon - all of them are solid gold. These days the car-makers are more like silver.
Basically, Europe destroyed itself in the two world wars. The damage can be only partially repaired. It was easier to rebuild buildings, but the sense of limits and insecurity has remained, even after the collapse of the Berlin wall. That wall was a good picture of Europe, not just in terms of conflicting ideologies. Europeans are generally less flexible and less confident than Americans, and 60 year time is a short period in historical perspective.
60 years is plenty of time. In 40 years Japan not only recovered but actually overtook America (briefly). The Berlin Wall perfectly illustrated the gulf between European-style socialism and American-style freedom.