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” […]

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. […]

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 Nordic Countries: The Next Supermodel | The Economist

Norway FTW.

Recent comments

Blog comments powered by Disqus

316 Notes

  1. the-last-septentrione reblogged this from catteries
  2. catteries reblogged this from kateoplis
  3. howverycinematicofyou reblogged this from kateoplis
  4. pardonmytits reblogged this from dadsdikkelsen
  5. cercandopertempo reblogged this from kateoplis
  6. soapboxes reblogged this from lipsyourloversleave
  7. reirvamos reblogged this from kateoplis
  8. younger-thanthesun reblogged this from lipsyourloversleave
  9. lipsyourloversleave reblogged this from kateoplis
  10. flaina-aloor reblogged this from kateoplis
  11. iamjazmine reblogged this from kateoplis
  12. nachinat reblogged this from kateoplis and added:
    I’ve been telling close ones that if I ever disappear one day, I’d be in Scandinavia.
  13. clownparadox reblogged this from kateoplis
  14. thepandabaker reblogged this from kateoplis
  15. serenadeofsound reblogged this from apoplecticskeptic
  16. saintofhope reblogged this from kateoplis
  17. rragamuffin reblogged this from kateoplis and added:
    “If you had to be reborn anywhere in the world as a person with average talents and income, you would want to be a...
  18. design-love reblogged this from kateoplis
  19. fuckyeahnewcollege reblogged this from kateoplis
  20. katla-fra-kanada reblogged this from kateoplis
  21. klavisha reblogged this from kateoplis
  22. quadrillion reblogged this from kateoplis
  23. youcancuttheflower reblogged this from kateoplis
  24. glimpses-of-truth reblogged this from robotbears