4 thoughts on “Educate Me: The Nordic Model of Economics”

  1. It appears to work best in a homogeneous society, less so – thought not entirely impossible – in a multi-faceted society that views individual autonomy in the way the U.S. does.

  2. Angela is right. Several years ago I read an article about the problems Denmark faced with persuading certain segments of society that immigrants deserved the same benefits as “real” Danes. Then there is the issue of the size of the nation. Convincing people that community includes everyone is easier when here and there aren’t that far apart. There is also the distribution of wealth that you start with. Even in an egalitarian society (which ours isn’t), transferring a signifcant percentage of wealth to even out income is a hard sell.

  3. This is something I’d also like to hear more about. From what I gather it seems the best model in the world. Nordic countries are the richest, most equal, have the highest living standards, highest gender equality, give the most in foreign aid, lowest levels of pollution, best healthcare, best welfare state, lowest poverty level (I could go on all day) in Europe if not the world. Seems like the best model. Unfortunately probably can’t be transferred to America because even if you diluted its polices down, you would still be called a Communist

  4. To continue what others have said, the main obstacle to implementing such a model in the US is that it requires a high degree of social cohesion and low diversity. High social cohesion helps to discourage free-riders, while encouraging a feeling of “we’re in this together”, while low diversity suppresses the emergence of us-versus-them interest groups. In the US we have a high degree of diversity, which means that our political climate often disintegrates into interest group battles over who gets the biggest share of state benefits (though the participants don’t always admit that’s what’s going on). We also have a lower degree of social cohesion (though it’s higher than in some places), which makes the free-rider problem more prominent, and encourages feelings of resentment and hostility.

    (Why couldn’t we have both high diversity and high cohesion? In theory we *could*, I suppose, but we don’t have that right now, and no one knows how to make it happen.)

    Finally, the US is just a lot BIGGER than any of the Nordic countries. There are lots of things that work in a country of a few million people that don’t work in a country of a few hundred million people.

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