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Thread: Why does socialism in Scandinavia work so well?

  1. #1

    Why does socialism in Scandinavia work so well?

    Is it the low corruption? Homogeneous society? Strong work ethic? But for whatever reason the Scandinavian countries are extremely socialist and extremely successful. I couldn't find any good articles to explain why.



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  3. #2
    define successful?

    how much of the population works to feed the other portion of their society?
    how much of the population works to cloth the other portion of their society?
    How much of their labor do they get to keep?
    Is this socialism forced or is it voluntary?
    Can they sustain theirselves without imports?
    How much opportunity is there to become more than what your parent's were?
    rewritten history with armies of their crooks - invented memories, did burn all the books... Mark Knopfler

  4. #3
    If you had a block of farmland and you were building a new country, capitalism would work the best

    but if you have a windfall like millions of barrels of oil deposits, dictatorships and socialism can result in a high standard of living, like Norway and Dubai

  5. #4
    I guess it all just depends on how "works so well" is defined, as usual.


  6. #5
    When's the last war they've been in?

    What's the last imperialistic empire they've started?

    How many natural resources are they sitting on?

    Etc, etc...

    Great question, though. I'm sure there are more reasons.
    Last edited by Brassmouth; 01-03-2009 at 11:41 AM.
    Force always attracts men of low morality. Albert Einstein

    Government is essentially the negation of liberty. Ludwig von Mises

    The great non-sequitur committed by defenders of the State, including classical Aristotelian and Thomist philosophers, is to leap from the necessity of society to the necessity of the State. - Murray N. Rothbard

  7. #6
    Just the fact that they are overt socialists and not covert socialists helps to establish ground rules that the citizenry understand and adjust behavior accordingly.

    In the US system of corporate socialism, the citizens are sold on the argument that "free markets" exist and attempt to behave as if we are in a free market when in fact we are as far from a free market as has ever been in modern history. This then leads to schizophrenic behavior on the part of the citizenry (ie- the usage of prescribed psychotropic drug use for most working adults).

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wd4freedom View Post
    Just the fact that they are overt socialists and not covert socialists helps to establish ground rules that the citizenry understand and adjust behavior accordingly.

    In the US system of corporate socialism, the citizens are sold on the argument that "free markets" exist and attempt to behave as if we are in a free market when in fact we are as far from a free market as has ever been in modern history. This then leads to schizophrenic behavior on the part of the citizenry (ie- the usage of prescribed psychotropic drug use for most working adults).
    Excellent observation. May I quote you on my blog? What you describe is truly Orwellian and unfortunately very true.

    I've been thinking something similar over the past couple of days. Why do we keep pretending this is (or was) a free market economy? With the ever growing list of industries begging for bailouts, why doesn't the gov't just be honest about it and admit that the US is rapidly becoming a socialist nation?

    Admitting the truth would at least relieve the continuous headache many of us have from reading and hearing all the doublespeak in the MSM.
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  9. #8
    It's not an outright socialist part of the world. Its economies are mixed, let's get that straight people!



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ShowMeLiberty View Post
    Excellent observation. May I quote you on my blog? What you describe is truly Orwellian and unfortunately very true.

    I've been thinking something similar over the past couple of days. Why do we keep pretending this is (or was) a free market economy? With the ever growing list of industries begging for bailouts, why doesn't the gov't just be honest about it and admit that the US is rapidly becoming a socialist nation?

    Admitting the truth would at least relieve the continuous headache many of us have from reading and hearing all the doublespeak in the MSM.
    "Socialism in America will come through the ballot box."
    by: Gus Hall
    [Arvo Gustav Halberg ] (1910-2000) leader of the Communist Party USA and its four-time U.S. presidential candidate
    Source: in an interview with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer (1996)

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Paulitician View Post
    It's not an outright socialist part of the world. Its economies are mixed, let's get that straight people!
    Heeeeeey.... When did you start discussing politics with my family?!

  13. #11
    "Democracy is the road to socialism." -- Karl Marx

    "Democracy is indispensable to socialism." -- Vladimir Lenin

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by synth_floyd View Post
    Is it the low corruption? Homogeneous society? Strong work ethic? But for whatever reason the Scandinavian countries are extremely socialist and extremely successful. I couldn't find any good articles to explain why.
    Read the chapter "Good Socialism" in PJ O'Rourke's book Eat The Rich.

    It's probably the best explanation I've ever read on why Swedish socialism "works" so well, for now.

    Quick thumbnail, it's cultural.

    The Swedes have a word, lagom, roughly meaning, "that's good, just enough, no more, thanks".

    They look for and aspire to be "OK", nothing more.

    In a small, homogeneous society, where extravagance is frowned upon and nobody wants or needs to do any better than "just OK", and one with plenty of natural resources, they make it work.

    Especially if they don't mind or care that anything past just enough is taken by government.

    Again, for now. The demographics and spending are catching up them though, they are looking at the same economic collapse that we are.
    "Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  15. #13
    Socialism in Scandinavia? What are you talking about?

    Denmark has more business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom than the U.S. while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights to the U.S.

    Sweden has more business freedom and freedom from corruption than the United States while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and property rights to the U.S.

    Norway is not nearly as successful as Sweden or Denmark despite its great natural resources, and thus is not used by social democracts as a good example of social democracy. But when it is used, it is useful to point out that Norway has greater freedom from corruption while having comparable property rights, business freedom, and trade freedom to the United States.

    Just use the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.

  16. #14
    Yeah but those countries all have tax rates that are ~50%, right? Free education, free health care, pension plans, etc. Maybe they just run it very well? France is pretty socialist but they haven't done as well. They also had a foreign empire, not homogenous society and some other factors though.

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by synth_floyd View Post
    Yeah but those countries all have tax rates that are ~50%, right? Free education, free health care, pension plans, etc. Maybe they just run it very well? France is pretty socialist but they haven't done as well. They also had a foreign empire, not homogenous society and some other factors though.
    Its not free.
    rewritten history with armies of their crooks - invented memories, did burn all the books... Mark Knopfler

  18. #16
    Maybe it has to do with the size of the country. Many European countries are smaller than most US states (albeit with greater populations) so it's easier for their governments to implement socialized programs better suited to their people. It's akin to Texas or Illinois or Michigan having their own socialized health care programs, which they do to the extent that they need it and it's cost effective and not bloated and wasteful.

    Then again, European countries have to submit to a higher power, the EU, so maybe my argument is weak.



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  20. #17
    They are homogeneous societies, with less than a trickle of in migration. Norway isn't an EU member.

    Norway's socialism is democratic. The people vote for the taxes in exchange for contractual services, it isn't quite as authoritarian as Sweden.

    Considered a Scandanavian country, the Netherlands has a truly authoritarian stance.

    The problem with the Heritage rankings is that there is heavy weighting for investment as an indicator of strong free market and no measurement for forced, non-representative taxation. Many Scandinavian countries allow open investment, most any country will take capitol...But they always seem to be in a budget balancing crisis, with very little room for growth.

  21. #18
    What you posted is less an indication of how well Scandinavia is doing and more an indication of how $#@!ed up we have become.

    Quote Originally Posted by krazy kaju View Post
    Socialism in Scandinavia? What are you talking about?

    Denmark has more business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom than the U.S. while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights to the U.S.

    Sweden has more business freedom and freedom from corruption than the United States while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and property rights to the U.S.

    Norway is not nearly as successful as Sweden or Denmark despite its great natural resources, and thus is not used by social democracts as a good example of social democracy. But when it is used, it is useful to point out that Norway has greater freedom from corruption while having comparable property rights, business freedom, and trade freedom to the United States.

    Just use the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.
    "Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  22. #19
    Their societies are successful in the sense of being stable and predictable, with low growth rates but also few market corrections. I saw a statistic that the average unemployed Sweded spends seven minutes a day looking for a job; they tolerate that because a Swede is a Swede, but the United States is too vast and heterogeneous for Americans not to feel swindled bankrolling that sort of sloth.

  23. #20
    Really guys, regulation is a bigger harm for an economy than taxation. This is why even heavily taxed but deregulated economies like those of Sweden and Denmark do so well compared to the U.S.:

    Quote Originally Posted by krazy kaju View Post
    Socialism in Scandinavia? What are you talking about?

    Denmark has more business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom than the U.S. while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights to the U.S.

    Sweden has more business freedom and freedom from corruption than the United States while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and property rights to the U.S.

    Norway is not nearly as successful as Sweden or Denmark despite its great natural resources, and thus is not used by social democracts as a good example of social democracy. But when it is used, it is useful to point out that Norway has greater freedom from corruption while having comparable property rights, business freedom, and trade freedom to the United States.

    Just use the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.

  24. #21
    Can't argue with that.

    How many pages is the Federal Register and CFRs up to now?

    Do I even want to look?

    Imagine a free society with little or no regulation and little or no taxation.

    Quote Originally Posted by krazy kaju View Post
    Really guys, regulation is a bigger harm for an economy than taxation. This is why even heavily taxed but deregulated economies like those of Sweden and Denmark do so well compared to the U.S.:
    "Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  25. #22
    Socialism working ? Never works for long..

    Life's not so great in Sweden according to a couple I met over the holidays. Past Muslim immigration is starting to cause major issues. The way the wife spoke , it sounded like the Ponzi scheme was crashing. Human nature and the moral hazard has always crashes socialistic societies.


    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1205...n_commentaries

    Article excerpt....

    "Why should one start a business?" they asked. [...]Especially for immigrants, the first signal from Swedish society is not that you ought to work, let alone become self-employed. The message is that the state will take care of you.


    BTW, there's plenty of regulation, in addition to taxes, in Sweden.

  26. #23
    I remember a while ago a swedish guy posted a huge rant about how sweden isn't so great as the lefties make it out to be and had a huge list of everything that was wrong with it. i will try to find it.

  27. #24



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  29. #25
    Didn't we have a Swedish member of this forum say how things are messed up in Sweden and their health care system has its problems too?
    "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." -- Winston Churchill

    Damn proud Classical Liberal/Minarchist!

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by raystone View Post
    there's plenty of regulation, in addition to taxes, in Sweden.
    Less investment, business, and financial regulation.

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Orlonater View Post
    Didn't we have a Swedish member of this forum say how things are messed up in Sweden and their health care system has its problems too?
    You don't need the testimony of an actual victim to know that socialized medicine is to public health as public education is to our nation's critical thinking skills.
    Force always attracts men of low morality. Albert Einstein

    Government is essentially the negation of liberty. Ludwig von Mises

    The great non-sequitur committed by defenders of the State, including classical Aristotelian and Thomist philosophers, is to leap from the necessity of society to the necessity of the State. - Murray N. Rothbard

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Orlonater View Post
    Didn't we have a Swedish member of this forum say how things are messed up in Sweden and their health care system has its problems too?
    No country is without problems. Sweden has problems, but the USA certainly does as well.

    But Sweden is a nice place. The people are generally prosperous and happy. Take a trip to Sweden- I assure you, you won't find a lot of misery and despair.

    They may have higher taxes than we do, but they also have less restrictions on their personal lives and less regulation. They also don't piss away their money on foreign misadventures.

    There are a lot of socialist countries that regulate the personal lives of their citizens far less than we do- Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, even countries that we think of as "buttoned up"- Germany and England- tend to have less restrictions on personal freedom than we do. I can't think of a single country in Europe where the exposure of a single female breast would cause the whole nation to go into fits and cause the government to consider greater regulation to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

    A LOT of places have less business regulation than we do- in some ways, even China is more business friendly than the USA (and Hong Kong is often considered the most business friendly place in the world).

    Of course, we piss away so much of our wealth on military misadventures. Most that money is just wasted. Even in peace time, we waste a huge amount of our wealth on the military. We currently spend FAR more on our military than the rest of the world combined (add up the military expenditures of every nation- China, the UK, Russia, Germany, down to the expenditures of the Vatican on its Swiss Guard- add 'em all together, and it ain't even close to what we spend).

    Anytime I hear some person say that the USA is unequivocally "Number 1", I know I've met a person who has never been anywhere. We have a lot of good things here, but we are hardly the only nice place to live.

  33. #29
    You can't argue that scandinavian socialism doesn't work. All those countries have historically had low unemployment, high per capita income, high wealth, healthy populations, well educated populations, etc.

    It flies in the face of all the Austrian economics and capitalist theories. I'm wondering why. I searched Lewrockwell.com and couldn't really find anything. One article said how bad it was in Norway(?) because they used to have eugenics and bad stuff like that but it didn't really mention anything about the economy.

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by synth_floyd View Post
    You can't argue that scandinavian socialism doesn't work. All those countries have historically had low unemployment, high per capita income, high wealth, healthy populations, well educated populations, etc.

    It flies in the face of all the Austrian economics and capitalist theories. I'm wondering why. I searched Lewrockwell.com and couldn't really find anything. One article said how bad it was in Norway(?) because they used to have eugenics and bad stuff like that but it didn't really mention anything about the economy.
    You're right, you can't argue that Scandinavian economies are that horrible, but you can argue that they aren't truly socialist:

    Quote Originally Posted by krazy kaju View Post
    Socialism in Scandinavia? What are you talking about?

    Denmark has more business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom than the U.S. while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights to the U.S.

    Sweden has more business freedom and freedom from corruption than the United States while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and property rights to the U.S.

    Norway is not nearly as successful as Sweden or Denmark despite its great natural resources, and thus is not used by social democracts as a good example of social democracy. But when it is used, it is useful to point out that Norway has greater freedom from corruption while having comparable property rights, business freedom, and trade freedom to the United States.

    Just use the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.
    The fact of the matter is that Sweden and Denmark, the two most successful Scandinavian nations (besides Iceland before their bankruptcy), have less regulations than the United States. Isn't it amazing that unions have a greater hold in America than in Denmark? How about that? Tell that to the next leftist you see praising Denmark. Did you know it's easier to open and close a business in both Denmark and Sweden than it is in the US? Or that there is less financial regulation?

    Now, there are problems with the various Scandinavian countries. Immigrant unemployment is through the roof (50% in Sweden). Their health care systems aren't what I would call "great." Obviously, high taxes slow economic growth. But by reducing their regulatory burdens, Scandinavian countries have achieved the kind of prosperity not dreamed of by other high tax-and-spend nations.

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