Page 1 of 12
1
2
3
11
... LastLast
  1. #1
    The Insane Catta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Århus
    Posts
    17,939

    The Nordic Super Model

    Well, disregarding all the ominous posts about and those who are downright inane I now create a positive one!


    The next supermodel

    Politicians from both right and left could learn from the Nordic countries
    SMALLISH countries are often in the vanguard when it comes to reforming government. In the 1980s Britain was out in the lead, thanks to Thatcherism and privatisation. Tiny Singapore has long been a role model for many reformers. Now the Nordic countries are likely to assume a similar role.

    That is partly because the four main Nordics—Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland—are doing rather well. If you had to be reborn anywhere in the world as a person with average talents and income, you would want to be a Viking. The Nordics cluster at the top of league tables of everything from economic competitiveness to social health to happiness. They have avoided both southern Europe’s economic sclerosis and America’s extreme inequality. Development theorists have taken to calling successful modernisation “getting to Denmark”. Meanwhile a region that was once synonymous with do-it-yourself furniture and Abba has even become a cultural haven, home to “The Killing”, Noma and “Angry Birds”.

    From Pippi Longstocking to private schools

    The idea of lean Nordic government will come as a shock both to French leftists who dream of socialist Scandinavia and to American conservatives who fear that Barack Obama is bent on “Swedenisation”. They are out of date. In the 1970s and 1980s the Nordics were indeed tax-and-spend countries. Sweden’s public spending reached 67% of GDP in 1993. Astrid Lindgren, the inventor of Pippi Longstocking, was forced to pay more than 100% of her income in taxes. But tax-and-spend did not work: Sweden fell from being the fourth-richest country in the world in 1970 to the 14th in 1993.

    Since then the Nordics have changed course—mainly to the right. Government’s share of GDP in Sweden, which has dropped by around 18 percentage points, is lower than France’s and could soon be lower than Britain’s. Taxes have been cut: the corporate rate is 22%, far lower than America’s. The Nordics have focused on balancing the books. While Mr Obama and Congress dither over entitlement reform, Sweden has reformed its pension system (see Free exchange). Its budget deficit is 0.3% of GDP; America’s is 7%.

    On public services the Nordics have been similarly pragmatic. So long as public services work, they do not mind who provides them. Denmark and Norway allow private firms to run public hospitals. Sweden has a universal system of school vouchers, with private for-profit schools competing with public schools. Denmark also has vouchers—but ones that you can top up. When it comes to choice, Milton Friedman would be more at home in Stockholm than in Washington, DC.

    All Western politicians claim to promote transparency and technology. The Nordics can do so with more justification than most. The performance of all schools and hospitals is measured. Governments are forced to operate in the harsh light of day: Sweden gives everyone access to official records. Politicians are vilified if they get off their bicycles and into official limousines. The home of Skype and Spotify is also a leader in e-government: you can pay your taxes with an SMS message.

    This may sound like enhanced Thatcherism, but the Nordics also offer something for the progressive left by proving that it is possible to combine competitive capitalism with a large state: they employ 30% of their workforce in the public sector, compared with an OECD average of 15%. They are stout free-traders who resist the temptation to intervene even to protect iconic companies: Sweden let Saab go bankrupt and Volvo is now owned by China’s Geeley. But they also focus on the long term—most obviously through Norway’s $600 billion sovereign-wealth fund—and they look for ways to temper capitalism’s harsher effects. Denmark, for instance, has a system of “flexicurity” that makes it easier for employers to sack people but provides support and training for the unemployed, and Finland organises venture-capital networks.

    The sour part of the smorgasbord

    The new Nordic model is not perfect. Public spending as a proportion of GDP in these countries is still higher than this newspaper would like, or indeed than will be sustainable. Their levels of taxation still encourage entrepreneurs to move abroad: London is full of clever young Swedes. Too many people—especially immigrants—live off benefits. The pressures that have forced their governments to cut spending, such as growing global competition, will force more change. The Nordics are bloated compared with Singapore, and they have not focused enough on means-testing benefits.

    All the same, ever more countries should look to the Nordics. Western countries will hit the limits of big government, as Sweden did. When Angela Merkel worries that the European Union has 7% of the world’s population but half of its social spending, the Nordics are part of the answer. They also show that EU countries can be genuine economic successes. And as the Asians introduce welfare states they too will look to the Nordics: Norway is a particular focus of the Chinese.

    The main lesson to learn from the Nordics is not ideological but practical. The state is popular not because it is big but because it works. A Swede pays tax more willingly than a Californian because he gets decent schools and free health care. The Nordics have pushed far-reaching reforms past unions and business lobbies. The proof is there. You can inject market mechanisms into the welfare state to sharpen its performance. You can put entitlement programmes on sound foundations to avoid beggaring future generations. But you need to be willing to root out corruption and vested interests. And you must be ready to abandon tired orthodoxies of the left and right and forage for good ideas across the political spectrum. The world will be studying the Nordic model for years to come.
    This article from The Economist illustrates very well the difference of culture that is even very evident on this board every time a discussion of healthcare comes of for example. And with more and more countries political spectrums becoming increasingly ideologically radical a pragmatic government is much preferred in my opinion. Would you like your country with a model like the one in the North? Why and why not? (And "No, because X country isn't Y country" is neither constructive nor a coherent argument.)

  2. #2
    I am Murloc! Tiili's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    5,404
    One can argue against the 'decent schools and free health care' though. :/
    Close your eyes and smile.
    [15:53] <PizzaSHARK> you have such a cute accent! ^_^

  3. #3
    The Unstoppable Force RICH816's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Portsmouth, UK
    Posts
    22,424
    You quote Sweden a lot, but from what I have seen on these forums the modern Swedes are as Anti-Viking as you can get. The complete opposite really. Apart from that, good post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    I do sympathize with these so called terrorist organisations. As far as I'm concerned, at least they are fighting for something they believe in, and for what they see to be the greater good. They're not fighting to line the pockets of statesmen, governors and oil barons. I wish we could the same about the people on this side of the planet.
    Hobbes talking about Al Qaeda and ISIS.

  4. #4
    The Insane Catta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Århus
    Posts
    17,939
    Quote Originally Posted by RICH1471 View Post
    You quote Sweden a lot, but from what I have seen on these forums the modern Swedes are as Anti-Viking as you can get. The complete opposite really. Apart from that, good post.
    They will invade Britain when you least expect it. And hack your computers too!

  5. #5
    High Overlord Silhouette55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Czech Rap-ublic, yo.
    Posts
    156
    The secret of Nordic success is clearly Trocadero.

  6. #6
    'Mark, heck yeah!

    on a more serious note, Ive really only heardmostly positive things about Sweeden, denmark, Finland, ect from my father who does buisness there extensively. I would like a more moderate force that got things done here in America, but with our current polarization thats just not feasible.

  7. #7
    The Unstoppable Force RICH816's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Portsmouth, UK
    Posts
    22,424
    Quote Originally Posted by Cattaclysmic View Post
    They will invade Britain when you least expect it. And hack your computers too!
    More like give us a fabulous make-over and make excuses for past miss deeds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    I do sympathize with these so called terrorist organisations. As far as I'm concerned, at least they are fighting for something they believe in, and for what they see to be the greater good. They're not fighting to line the pockets of statesmen, governors and oil barons. I wish we could the same about the people on this side of the planet.
    Hobbes talking about Al Qaeda and ISIS.

  8. #8
    The Insane Catta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Århus
    Posts
    17,939
    Quote Originally Posted by RICH1471 View Post
    More like give us a fabulous make-over and make excuses for past miss deeds.
    http://satwcomic.com/art/700x1282xtr...ZarMV2gYv0.jpg

    We are fabulous and you know it.

  9. #9
    Corruption bars our way!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RICH1471 View Post
    You quote Sweden a lot, but from what I have seen on these forums the modern Swedes are as Anti-Viking as you can get. The complete opposite really. Apart from that, good post.
    The super politically correct gets too much attention, no one takes them seriously here either. You'd be surprised how fiercly opinionated Swedes are.
    I'm a European federalist. Now you know.


  11. #11
    Scarab Lord GreatOak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Chicago, USA
    Posts
    4,909
    I'm not so inclined to dissect this point by point at the moment, since I have to go to the Super Bowl party soon, but it definitely has some merit. Gotta give Sweden credit for handling their welfare system though and applying free market principles to fix their problems at the same time. Hayek would be...sort of proud.

    Here's a cool site that takes that data and applies pretty colors to it.

    http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/

    Don't let me get in the way of any circlejerking though.
    "It woudl be funny as hell if the abodinal snoawman walk in the background" -Confucius

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Cattaclysmic View Post
    Well, disregarding all the ominous posts about and those who are downright inane I now create a positive one!

    This article from The Economist illustrates very well the difference of culture that is even very evident on this board every time a discussion of healthcare comes of for example. And with more and more countries political spectrums becoming increasingly ideologically radical a pragmatic government is much preferred in my opinion. Would you like your country with a model like the one in the North? Why and why not? (And "No, because X country isn't Y country" is neither constructive nor a coherent argument.)
    So even Cattaclysmic promotes right wing economic policy as long as it's disguised as praise of his country/neighbouring country.

  13. #13
    The Insane Catta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Århus
    Posts
    17,939
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatOak View Post
    I'm not so inclined to dissect this point by point at the moment, since I have to go to the Super Bowl party soon, but it definitely has some merit. Gotta give Sweden credit for handling their welfare system though and applying free market principles to fix their problems at the same time. Hayek would be...sort of proud.

    Here's a cool site that takes that data and applies pretty colors to it.

    http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/

    Don't let me get in the way of any circlejerking though.
    The thing you seem not to understand is that they dont use the free market to fix things. They use their noggin to fix the things. And if that involves the free market so be it but it doesn't have to. What you should be taking away from that article is that pragmatism > ideology

    ---------- Post added 2013-02-04 at 12:13 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    So even Cattaclysmic promotes right wing economic policy as long as it's disguised as praise of his country/neighbouring country.
    Depends on how you define it. I have never been a proponent of a planned economy

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    So even Cattaclysmic promotes right wing economic policy as long as it's disguised as praise of his country/neighbouring country.
    Or rather, when it's used smartly, instead of stupidly. (Like some countries do, or many do)

    Also, tbh I feel a lot more comfortable with the way Scandinavian countries are run, as compared to how the United States is ran, maybe I'm just a traitor or something.....

    Question, are guns completely banned in the Scandinavian countries, or are they just heavily controlled?
    Last edited by xxxdeletexxx; 2013-02-03 at 11:15 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Cattaclysmic View Post
    Depends on how you define it. I have never been a proponent of a planned economy
    Wasn't a very serious comment.

    Anyway, Anders Borg is probably the best thing to happen to the Swedish economy this millennium.

  16. #16
    Banned This name sucks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    A basement in Canada
    Posts
    2,725
    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    So even Cattaclysmic promotes right wing economic policy as long as it's disguised as praise of his country/neighbouring country.
    Well you can't argue that the way the US is currently going hasn't been a complete disaster. And his country/neighbouring countries have consistently topped pretty much every happiness scale ever made.

  17. #17
    wtf? that viking has horns! i thought you were against horny vikings catta
    Quote Originally Posted by TradewindNQ View Post
    The fucking Derpship has crashed on Herp Island...
    Quote Originally Posted by Wells View Post
    Meet the new derp.

    Same as the old derp.

  18. #18
    Elemental Lord Noomz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    In my head, where crazy happens.
    Posts
    8,642
    Quote Originally Posted by RICH1471 View Post
    You quote Sweden a lot, but from what I have seen on these forums the modern Swedes are as Anti-Viking as you can get. The complete opposite really. Apart from that, good post.

    Depends on what your idea of a viking is. It was the Danes that went and plundered. Pretty sure everyone did that in those days though, viking or not.

    The reason Scandinavian countries come up in discussions so much is that we, the people who live in them, are everywhere on the internet and we're bilingual or even multilingual.
    There are more countries with universal healthcare and so on, that are just as good.

    I think of us Sweds as rather passive-aggressive. We have a lot of strong opinions but we don't really voice them.

  19. #19
    The Insane Catta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Århus
    Posts
    17,939
    Quote Originally Posted by Hastings95 View Post
    Question, are guns completely banned in the Scandinavian countries, or are they just heavily controlled?
    Im pretty sure its very hard to legally own handguns.

    I know my Uncle's brother oughta have hunting rifles because i remember him talking about having lost a lot of hearing due to hunting.

    ---------- Post added 2013-02-04 at 12:21 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by smelltheglove View Post
    wtf? that viking has horns! i thought you were against horny vikings catta
    Very much. But they look damned cool!
    I cant remember who told me but some say that those helmets may have been used for ritual purposes. I mean - they have helmets and drank mead from horns. Who is to say they didnt just attach them to the helmets after a particularly drunken night.

  20. #20
    I am Murloc! Garnier Fructis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Location:
    Posts
    5,491
    I am disappoint. I came into this thread expecting actual super models.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dejablue View Post
    Is physics forever relegated to reiterating integrals that can never approach the derivative limits of true reality?
    Quote Originally Posted by auBerg View Post
    You are a certified crackpot that is subservient to the manipulators of science who are dreaming to control knowledge.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •