Well, yes Ritchie

That explanation is, he suggests, to be found in the work of the Nobel prizewinning Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal. Lakey’s argument is that Myrdal encouraged all these states to invest in the individual person as the primary resource for delivering economic growth. This idea, and the actions that result from it, is, he believes, the pillar of the Nordic economic model. At its core this idea, he observes, rejects the classical view of work – that it is a struggle to win the means of existence – and puts in its place a positive framework of incentives for economic participation.

The book explores this hypothesis in numerous ways, but at its heart a number of things stand out that, at a time when the economies of so many countries are so badly failing those who live in them, must be worthy of serious study.

The first is conceptual. As a result of these states having largely rejected the core assumptions of classical economics, profit is seen as a consequence of work and not as its goal. Banking is seen as a service and not as the focus of economic growth. Education is viewed as vital to personal growth, which just also happens to be the perfect countercyclical investment that secures long-term prosperity. And underpinning all this is an expectation that each person will work to contribute to the overall well-being of the society of which they are part: this is a perception of work as a participatory activity.

The result appears to be a Keynesian, social democratic nirvana where education, healthcare and pensions are free, the social safety net is still strong and cooperatives supply 40 per cent of housing in Norway.

Could actually be something a little different.

They’re all in the top 25 for the Index of Economic Freedom. They’re all in the top 30 of the Fraser economic freedom measurement. They’re all in the top 15 of the World Bank’s ease of doing business list. In fact, there’s a serious argument that leaving aside the tax and spend part they’re all significantly more free market than either the UK or US.

Another way to put this is that they’ve not rejected anything about classical economics at all. Quite the opposite. Let the market rip, tax it to provide some buffers against the effects. This is somewhere between neoliberalism and the Third Way that is.

Of course, you’re never going to get things right if you cannot analyse why certain places work, are you?

37 comments on “Well, yes Ritchie

  1. Sweden is rich from being a sea faring 1st world trading nation that avoided both world wars (I think the only one?).

    Norway is a oil rich nation and can’t really be compared to other nations-except maybe Alberta?

  2. It seems like he’s talking about cultural issues rather than economic issues. Countries where people are proud to work and ashamed to sponge are always going to be economically stronger that those where people are proud to screw as much from the state as they can. But the driver is cultural not economic.

  3. It will be interesting to see how the Nordics are regarded in 20 years time.

    I suspect Sweden at least will be taken out of the stats as it will ruin them for nations which have not chosen to commit collective suicide via the importing of rapey, halfwitted peasants.

  4. ‘Of course, you’re never going to get things right if you cannot analyse why certain places work, are you?’

    Zactly. Ritchie sees what he wants to see.

  5. Murphy has already chalked a circle on the front wall of his unimpressive end-terrace in Ely where he’d like the posthumous blue plaque to be placed commemorating the Nobel Laureate in Economics who once lived there.

  6. ” This idea, and the actions that result from it, is, he believes, the pillar of the Nordic economic model.”

    They were all, until very recently, ethnically and culturally homogeneous and filled with industrious, intelligent Northwest Europeans.
    Let’s see how they fare after they’ve imported a few more million third-world peasants.

  7. @ Benaud
    Spain.
    OTOH the Spanish Civil War was a dress rehearsal for WWII so your point is valid even though I can pendantically differ on ne detail.

  8. @ Jonathan
    The third world peasants are – from necessity – hard-working (otherwise they die of starvation). It’s the others that you need to worry about!

  9. @Benaud:

    “Norway is a oil rich nation and can’t really be compared to other nations-except maybe Alberta?”

    Venezuela?

  10. @John77

    “The third world peasants are – from necessity – hard-working”

    But not noticeably intelligent.

  11. @ Jonathan
    Occasionally but not invariably. Also, intelligence is not the only desirable attribute in immigrants – honesty, hard work, tolerance, willingness to learn, patience, good humour ….
    Lavrenti Beria and Josef Goebbels were intelligent …

  12. @john77

    “…honesty, hard work, tolerance, willingness to learn, patience, good humour… ”

    ” These are just some of the reasons why Mogadishu is the World’s No.1 city to relocate to….”

  13. @ Jonathan
    Mogadishu is not inhabited by peasants – it is inhabited by people who are not peasants. It is a city.

  14. @Benaud, October 16, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Sweden is rich from being a sea faring 1st world trading nation that avoided both world wars (I think the only one?).

    Sweden didn’t avoid WWII they allowed Germany to transit through Sweden and use Swedish resources in exchange for not being attacked/invaded. Many Swedes are embarrassed about Sweden’s appeasement.

  15. Many Swedes are embarrassed about Sweden’s appeasement.

    Why? Taking on Germany would have been suicide. The ’embarassed’ ones are the stupid, the virtue signallers and the mad.

  16. Pcar.

    Thats what I was kind of getting at.

    They weren’t bombed just involed in sales and diplomatic jostling.

    The point about Spain is fair but would you regard it as first world? I thought it was a basic peasant economy with insitutions to match. I don’t really know though.

  17. I love the way the left think Sweden is some sort of socialist paradise where they are all part of some sort of Borg collective. The truth current be further from that if they tried. When Cameron was banging on about the Big Society and using Sweden as the example the BBC’s Analysis* team did an excellent program about Sweden.

    At the root of Swedish conservativism is what the experts call a “Swedish theory of love” – in which the state is seen as the defender of the individual.

    IIRC they even use the libertarian word to describe Swedes.

    *The BBC can do some quite good work, shame its costs billions for the odd nugget.

  18. Why? Taking on Germany would have been suicide. The ’embarrassed’ ones are the stupid, the virtue signallers and the mad.

    It’s true that Sweden could have done little to prevent the Germans marching through on their way to Norway. They didn’t have to sell them all those lovely munitions, though (“Hitler’s unbombable ball-bearing factory”) – but it did provide lots of filthy lucre. Ask a Norwegian what they think of Swedes (after a few drinks).

  19. Education is viewed as vital to personal growth

    The Sweden that is big on Charter Schools?

    I’ve been to school in Sweden (admittedly a long time ago), and it wasn’t big on personal growth. It was big on sound academic learning.

  20. If Sweden were populated by the Swiss then at the very least the Nazis would have had to go around to get to Norway

  21. (“Hitler’s unbombable ball-bearing factory”)

    They also supplied us with ball-bearings, plus intelligence (e.g Bismarck and Prinz Eugen), and repatriated our sailors and airmen who ended up there for whatever reason.

  22. @ Benaud
    Spain ruled most of America and a lot of Europe when it was the greatest world power. It didn’t produce any spin bowlers so it’s probably below your horizon but it’s not a peasant economy.

  23. Spain is most certainly not a third world country although we do have the usual suspects who it seems would prefer that it were.

    Bilbao shipping companies lent ships to the UK in the First World War.

    We are a mid-to-almost high tec industrial country blessed with near perfect weather for agriculture and tourism so those are 2 enormous and vital sectors which can make us look less advanced.

    It is true that in 1960 a great part of the country was extremely rural and extremely poor. Times have changed.

    Our wine scene is probably the most innovative in the world, we build high speed train infrastructure, sewage plants, motorways and run them world-wide, own part of Britain’s airports…..

    We even have flushing toilets 🙂

    And whenever you want to talk about football, I will let you buy me a drink

  24. We even have flushing toilets

    One up on the French, then :).

    On a recent tour of Spain (using those high-speed trains, in a desperate attempt to get some benefit from my EU taxes), one thing that struck us was that, in France, sight-seeing was complicated by having to keep eyes on the ground to avoid all the dogshit (despite many signs forbidding it, free poop-bag dispensers etc.) As soon as you crossed the border, it all magically disappeared. It can’t be (from my experience) that the Spanish are more amenable to direction by authority, so I wonder why. A very good thing, whatever the reason.

  25. Less pets to start with. We have a more robust attitude to animals. They are for work, fighting or eating!

    Less pet dogs, less dog shit and big campaigns against. Life is hard enough for those of us who are dog owners (Rambo is mine) that we do clear up.

    You can be done in some places for walking your dog without poop bags about your person!

  26. j77

    Spain ruled most of America and a lot of Europe when it was the greatest world power. It didn’t produce any spin bowlers so it’s probably below your horizon but it’s not a peasant economy.

    I must dispute that. There was of course Ashley Giles the ‘King of Spain’. He may have been the only monarch to play for England as Ranji was only a prince.

  27. Well born in Surrey or not he was still crowned KIng of Spain in the Edgbaston gift shop, which is all that counts.

  28. Thanks, bilbaoboy, that makes sense. I still find it surprising that there is such a marked cultural difference between Perpignan and Barcelona – they’re both Catalan, after all! Do you notice a similar divide between San Sebastian (sorry, Donostia) and Biarritz?

  29. @Rob, October 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    “Many Swedes are embarrassed about Sweden’s appeasement.”

    Why? Taking on Germany would have been suicide. The ’embarassed’ ones are the stupid, the virtue signallers and the mad.

    Embarrassed they actively helped and did nothing to hinder – no effective resistance movement or obstruction, delays, train breakdowns etc

    Not the stupid, the virtue signalers and the mad – those with morals & a conscience.

  30. @ Maurice Tate
    You southerners! Spain didn’t produce Ashley Giles.
    Anyway, the only thing that *really* counts in cricket is whether you are born in Yorkshire (using the genuine pre-70 county boundaries).

  31. Chris

    San Sebastian (don’t apologise, I try not to use Donostia) is richer than Biarritz and much more urban.

    Guipuzcoa, the province is full of small often family industrial companies supplying bigger companies, has some hi-tec, plus the Mondragón Cooperative Organisation. SS has some of the highest house prices in Spain. And in 1920 was very important already.

    Over the border it seems all more lightweight and spread out. The quality of construction is cheaper (not necessarily worse) and you don’t have the (pleasant) city crush of SS.

    Incidentally, the Basque Country has the highest concentration of Michelin stars per capita and if you go to one the restaurants they are always full of French. They like it. I’m booked in for lunch at Arzak for my birthday soon. Highly recommendable.

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