Monday, August 30, 2010

Rumors of the Nordic Nanny State's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Spend enough times reading left blogs, and you will here folks extolling the virtues of the "Nordic" model of the welfare state of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and Finland, in contrast to either the "Continental" model of Germany and France, or the "Anglo" model of the UK and Canada. Purportedly, the Nordic countries feature an economic model that combines flexibility—relatively light business regulations, less emphasis on employment guarantees in union contracts—with the security of a generous, high-quality welfare state. It seems tempting.

Except that there's actually plenty of business regulation in Nordic countries. For instance, EA Sports UFC MMA won't be sold in Denmark. Why? Because the arena artwork features advertisements for Rockstar energy drinks, and the country has a blanket prohibition on their marketing. In the current legal climate the U.S., such a ban would last approximately eight seconds. So we have a long way to go before we reach our Nordic utopian future.


Blue said...

Then how do you explain Yglesias' favorite statistic, that 0 of Forbes top 15 richest people in the world are Chinese, but 2 of them are Swedish?

Nick Beaudrot said...

multiple endpoints, small sample size, luck, the general higher level of wealth in Sweden than in China (especially since wealth often takes decades to accumulate and China was even poorer 20 years ago)

Galen said...

They seem to do fine without RockStar, they have some of the highest happiness rates in the world.