August 7, 2015

THE NORDIC MODEL IS LUTHERANISM:

RETHINKING THE SCANDINAVIAN MODEL (Nima Sanandaji, 08/04/2015, New Geography)

Nordic societies are uniquely successful. Not only are they characterised by high living standards, but also by other attractive features such as low crime rates, long life expectancy,  high degrees of social cohesion and even income distributions. Various international rankings conclude that they are amongst the best, if not the best, places in the world in which to live. One example is the "Better Life Index", complied by the OECD. In the 2014 edition of the index Norway was ranked as the nation with the second highest level of well-being in the world, followed by Sweden and Denmark in third and fourth position. Finland ranked as the eighth best country.

The OECD "Better Life Index"
 
1. Australia
2. Norway
3. Sweden
4. Denmark
5. Canada
6. Switzerland
7. United States
8. Finland
9. Netherlands
10. New Zealand
 

If one disregards the importance of thinking carefully about causality, the argument for adopting a Nordic style economic policy in other nations seems obvious. The Nordic nations - in particular Sweden, which is most often used as an international role‑model - have large welfare states and are successful in a broad array of sectors. This is often seen as proof that a "third way" policy between socialism and capitalism works well, and that other societies can reach the same favourable social outcomes simply by expanding the size of government. If one studies Nordic history and society in‑depth, however, it quickly becomes evident that the simplistic analysis is flawed.

To understand the Nordic experience one must bear in mind that the large welfare state is not the only thing that sets these countries apart from the rest of the world. The countries also have homogenous populations with non-governmental social institutions that are uniquely adapted to the modern world. High levels of trust, strong work ethic, civic participation, social cohesion, individual responsibility and family values are long-standing features of Nordic society that pre-date the welfare state. These deeper social institutions explain why Sweden, Denmark and Norway could so quickly grow from impoverished nations to wealthy ones as industrialisation and the market economy were introduced in the late 19th century. They also play an important role in Finland's growing prosperity after the Second World War.

The key homogeneity of those 10 states is cultural conformity.
Posted by at August 7, 2015 7:57 AM
  

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