Saturday, May 28, 2011

We Could Afford To Be More Scandinavian

Some of our parents think very highly of their Scandinavian ancestors and friends. They go there when they can and like to show us their photos afterwards. They admire all things Norwegian/Danish/Swedish, the neatness of the landscape, how well kept everything looks, the good repair of the infrastructure, the modesty and decorum of the people, also of course the blonde hair and the cheekbones. We sometimes hear them wishing America could be more like the old country.

There are a number of ways we could be more like Scandinavia, and it would make us a better society and a fairer one. Raise taxes on the very rich, for instance. Scandinavia is full of rich people who live very very well, who pay very high taxes on the upper end of their incomes and in this way help the less fortunate, less successful, the less healthy, take care of themselves. These rich Scandinavians haven't moved away in droves. They haven't shut their businesses and moved to Mexico or Malaysia or some other low tax/low wage country. Employment is robust (Norwegian friends of ours have noted that a lot of Swedes now work in Norway where there are more jobs than people), national debt is low compared to the U.S., contentedness is high, the sense of economic freedom is equal to ours.

And the Scandinavian economy has functioned just as well as our own, possibly better during this economic crisis. In Scandinavia the basic security of the population hasn't made them too afraid to buy goods and services they need.

Anyway, an excellent analysis can be found at Lane Kenworthy's blog. Worth reading and sharing with your Scandinophile friends and relatives. Kenworthy did his comparisons with Denmark and Sweden. Norway being a very rich oil exporting nation makes the comparison less apt; oil wealth subsidizes a lot more there. We could learn a lot from Scandinavia. How to be a better and fairer, a more efficient society. It's actually wasteful to throw too much money at people who already have too much.

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