• Social Democracy: A healthy, educated, equal economic system.

    I am a Social Democrat. The reasoning is simple, if you care about social equality, freedom, democracy, quality of life etc., then Social Democracy is the best way to achieve these. Many European nations apply Social Democracy to a certain extent but there are four nations which are truly Social Democratic: Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Let’s see how successful these nations are when it comes to what is important to a functioning society.

    I used images because there is a lot of information so using text would be incredibly long and boring. Plus, now even Libertarians can enjoy the post because it’s mainly pictures.

    And before the “Nordic countries aren’t perfect” crowd jump in, nobody says they are. The idea people think the Nordic nations are a utopia is a strawman. It’s easier to attack the idea that they are a utopia (which they certainly are not) than counter the idea that the Nordic countries perform consistently well over numerous criteria thanks to their economic and social system. Do they have their problems? Of course they do. But no other nation or economic system performs as well as them on a consistent basis across multiple criteria which are important to a functioning society, as you will see.











    Women's inequality


    Working woman



















    government debt 2015 vs 2007





    Unemployment rate


    I couldn’t find one graph that could adequately cover this topic, but Nordic countries do quite well across a range of issues dealing with entrepreneurship and encouraging enterprise. See here for more details.




    Healthcare outcomes

    Of course Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland all offer free health care.











    Quality of life




    purchasing power








    World press freedom index
    World press freedom index

    I think that is enough, and I think my point is proven. Obviously the Nordic countries have their problems, but they are successful in so many categories, both economic and social. And are certainly ahead of Ireland in most of them. This shows Social Democracy works.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Humanisticus

    One Pingback/Trackback

    • Otto Greif

      If you are going to make these sorts of cross-country comparisons you have to adjust for demographic differences.

    • Otto Greif

      The United States’ World Press Freedom Index ranking is absurd.

    • Derek Carr

      Yes, your comparison to Scandinavia has convinced me we need more socialism to solve our country’s problems. Outdated concepts like capitalism, private property rights, liberty, being able to directly enjoy the fruits of one’s labors have had no bearing on America being the envy of the world.

      • Social Democracy isn’t socialism, it’s a form of capitalism. You still have private property rights and plenty of liberty (more than the US at the moment).

        And America being the envy of the world is deluded, nationalistic nonsense.

        • Derek Carr

          Definition of Social Democracy from Merriam-Webster:

          “a political movement that uses principles of democracy to change a capitalist country to a socialist one”

          Hmm…that seems pretty clear to me. Socialism absolutely means less freedom and liberty and more centralized government control by definition. If you like ceding even more power to government elites and bureaucrats then you’ll love socialism.

          If America is not the envy of the world then why do so many beg, borrow, and steal to get here?

          • It borrows some socialist aspects but it isn’t socialism. And what liberties and freedoms do the people in Scandinavian countries lack that people in the US have? I think you’ll find they enjoy the exact same freedoms.

            People try to get to many countries, not just the US.

            • Derek Carr

              Since there is a “spread the wealth” mentality in Scandinavia there is lower productivity and less of a reward for working hard. The feeling is why should I work so hard when I won’t receive more in return? The people I’ve talked to who have lived or visited extensively there say that the work ethic has been watered down to do the minimum one has to do to receive the gratuitous benefits.

              Yes, people try to get to other countries besides the US but the US is the crown jewel for most wanting to immigrate.

            • I am afraid you are talking nonsense. There are no productivity problems in Scandinavia, if you want to suggest there is then please provide evidence beyond anecdotes.

              As for US being crown jewel, I refer to my earlier comment about delusional, nationalistic garbage.

              And since you avoided answering my question about freedoms and liberties I assume you have accepted that you were completely wrong and they are not lacking in any freedoms.

            • Derek Carr

              There is a lot here to absorb. If a middle-class worker is paying considerably more in taxes then he has less freedom; less freedom to spend his hard-earned money on what HE deems important. If the government is confiscating more of his money then he has fewer choices and freedoms available to him. This shouldn’t be a difficult concept.

              From the Economist where it is explained how there is a movement to the right in Scandinavia because of low productivity and other factors:

              “Sweden still has too much unemployment, especially among the young, the unskilled and immigrants. But partly because the government’s reforms have made work pay more and unemployment pay less, this recovery has seen the creation of a lot more private-sector jobs than previous ones. Public services remain generous, but this government has done more than the Social Democrats to boost the private provision of education, health care and welfare.

              “The third trend is a malaise in socialism, and not only in Scandinavia. Many had hoped that the financial crisis would lead to a renaissance of the left, because the perceived failure of free-market capitalism would pull voters back into supporting a bigger role for the state. And yet Sweden’s election will confirm that this is not happening. In Denmark and Finland (even, lately, in Norway) the left is falling back. Across much of Europe, with the exception of France, the crisis has so far seemed to help the right more than the left.

              Competence and moderation have been hallmarks of Mr Reinfeldt’s government. Other countries are interested, not least Britain. The Tory leader, David Cameron, a friend of Mr Reinfeldt’s, is also in coalition with the liberals. British public-sector reformers now look to Sweden for examples of greater competition and more private provision. So the Swedish model still appeals—but to the right, not the left. That is a mark of how far the Swedish Social Democrats have fallen.”

            • Holy cow, do you not understand the concept of personable freedoms and liberties.

            • Derek Carr

              Please explain your “concept of personable [sic] freedoms and liberties.”

              I don’t you could have read the excerpts of the article I provided as your reply was posted less than two minutes after mine. Did you read the excerpts from the Economist? Did you see the part where there is movement towards the center as the more socialist programs weren’t working?

              Edit: I also showed where there are productivity problems as that is why changes are being made.

            • The idea that somehow a person’s liberties are impinged on by taxes is ludicrous. It would be like saying my freedom is being is being impinged upon by my employer because they don’t pay me enough. It’s silly. Plus, it’s what they voted for, it’s what they want.

              As for your quote, it’s an on opinion piece from 2010. Opinion pieces are not evidence. Especially opinion pieces from 5 years ago. Not too mention since then the Economist has called the Nordic countries the best run countries in the world.

              If you want to prove something you need studies, statistics, not opinion. And so far you haven’t provide any to back up anything you’ve said.

            • Derek Carr

              The fact that you don’t understand a person’s freedom (economic and otherwise) is impinged by higher taxes is a testament to your level of indoctrination. If one has substantially more of his private property confiscated by the government (in this case his personal income) then he simply has less choices to make for his own life.

              He may not be able to choose to send his kids to private schools, buy that new car he needs, buy a nicer place to live, or to give to his favorite charity and a thousand other things he cannot do as most of his income is confiscated. What is so hard to understand about that? Do you think the government spending your hard-earned money in the way they see fit instead of yourself somehow gives you more freedom?

              The author of this article did not present a “study.” He did present a lot of statistics which can often be misleading. The US is nothing like Scandinavia in terms of culture, numbers of population, diversity in political views and cultures, work ethic, and many other characteristics. Norway has a population of less than 5 million and yet is a leading oil exporter. They have a lot of money to spread around a tiny number of people.

              It is my opinion as well as many other economists and politicians that democratic socialism could never work here. Certainly that is debatable but it’s hard to fathom how one could think more socialism and more leftist ideology is what our country needs more of. But then I’m not a leftist as you are.

            • Personal freedoms are things like the right to education, right to healthcare, right to shelter, freedom to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of and from religion. And when it comes to them the Nordic Nations beat the US.

              Freedom does not mean freedom to afford a nicer car.

              And these statistics are based on studies.

              You still haven’t backed up any other foods your claims. Really no point continuing if you’re not going to bother.

            • Derek Carr

              Much of freedom means being able to enjoy the fruits of your own labor and to spend the money your earn on what you deem important. It absolutely does mean the freedom to buy a new car if that is how you want to spend your own money. It may also mean paying for private education for your kids, financially helping a friend or family member, spending money on recreational pursuits you enjoy, or a thousand other things that true freedom enables one to do if they so desire and can afford it.

              If, on the other hand, the government is confiscating most of your money and wealth then many of those decisions are removed from your control. You may think it is utopia to have the government decide how much money you will take home, make healthcare decisions for you and many other decisions you should be making for yourself but I believe most Americans find that repugnant.

              It doesn’t take a study to demonstrate how socialistic systems have failed everywhere they have been tried (with the possible exception of Scandinavia). The more moderate type of socialism in Scandinavia works there to some degree for the reasons I outlined earlier. They are minuscule countries in terms of population, not diverse culturally, all or most agree on ceding power to the government, and are swimming in oil money. However, as I have demonstrated, there has been a shift to the right in recent years as they found their overly-generous entitlement programs were unaffordable and unproductive.

              You have not proven your claim of Democratic Socialism would work in this country. It is certainly debatable but our country is vastly more complex and culturally different from Scandinavia. We are (or at least were) the economic powerhouse of the world which was built on free market captialistic principles. To somehow say we need more socialism (more government control) is not only foolhardy but would never pass muster with the majority of independent thinking Americans.

            • Even if I were to accept your vacuous logic re tax and freedoms, the Scandinavian people have chosen this, they have voted for this time and time again. So they are choosing what they do with their money. So you still haven’t backed up the claim that they have less freedoms.

              ” It doesn’t take a study to demonstrate how socialistic systems have failed everywhere they have been tried (with the possible exception of Scandinavia).”

              What? It hasn’t been tried any where else, so it couldn’t have failed any where else. Another baseless claim. Please provide evidence for this statement, and don’t use socialist or communist nations as examples because they are not democratic socialist nations.

              “However, as I have demonstrated, there has been a shift to the right in recent years as they found their overly-generous entitlement programs were unaffordable and unproductive.”

              This made me laugh. You haven’t proven anything of the sort. You provided a quote from an opinion piece; opinion. You know what opinion is right? Opinion is not fact, it is not proof. And to make matters worse, it was from over 5 years ago. Sweden is still very much a democratic socialist nation. Of course there is a spectrum from left to right within democratic socialism (as with any economic system) but saying a shift right within this spectrum is indicative of failure is ludicrous.

              As for the US being an economic powerhouse, so what? If a nation is an economic powerhouse but a huge swathe of is citizens are living in abject poverty despite working a full time job, is that the sign of successful nation? I wouldn’t think so. A nation is supposed to look after all its citizens, not just the rich.

              Or how about the fact 45,000 people die every year in the US because they can’t afford healthcare. Is that the sign of a successful nation?

              Or the fact corporations have almost every politician in their pocket. Anyways, I could go on.

              Long story short, you still have a provided any evidence, all your claims are baseless. We done?

            • Derek Carr

              You seem to believe that more government control is the answer to solving America’s problems. I believe the answer to solving our problems is returning to the free market principles we have stayed from. We will find out this November which path Americans choose.

              Democratic Socialism is still a type of socialism which you seem to try to deny. There is a sliding scale with free market capitalism on one side of the spectrum to communism on the other side. Democratic Socialsm would fall towards the left end of that sliding scale. It’s a supposed hybrid of socialism and democracy. Not even Bernie Sanders tries to pull off the whopper that Democratic Socialism is not a type of socialism.

              I believe Democratic Socialism definitely results in less freedom to the individual as more centralized planning and control must take place. If Scandinavians voluntarily choose and vote for this type of system then that is their choice. I don’t believe most Americans will voluntarily choose a nanny-state bigger than the one we have already.

              In fact, I believe most Americans feel we have lurched towards the left under Obama’s executive overreach. Americans want a return to constitutional principles, the proper separation of powers, and the government ceding to the will of the people rather than the other way around.

              While Scandinavia does enjoy a fairly high standard of living I believe it is due more to the factors I previously mentioned. I continue to believe it would be an abject failure here and lead to economic insolvency (a path we are already on). We have seen over the past century where Socialism and leftist ideologies have failed (Venezuela and Greece would be recent examples).

              Our government already squanders the trillions they take out of our economy. There is never enough money for the social engineers on the left who will always demand a larger share of our wealth and income. To have the belief that if we just cede more power and more money to centralized, government elites and bureaucrats to solve our problems is irresponsible at best.

              The long story short is you and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Neither one of us can “prove” what philosophy is best for the country. It will be up to the American people to choose our future path. May the battle begin…

            • I never said it isn’t a type of socialism, but it isn’t socialism in its purest form and therefore different.

              Can I prove that Social Democracy will work in the US? No. But how many recessions does it take to realize free market capitalism doesn’t work? How big does wealth gap have to be? How many people have suffer abject poverty? How many people have to die because they can’t afford healthcare.

              I have established a long list of criteria above which I think is necessary for a successful nation regardless of tax, what is your criteria? Simply be economically strong? Hell, China is economically strong, does that mean communism is right?

            • Derek Carr

              “I never said it isn’t a type of socialism…”

              Previously, in another post you said, “It borrows some socialist aspects but it isn’t socialism.” Hmmmmm.

              Again, you seem to believe and assume socialism is the only answer to the challenges we face in our country. I would counter that there are much better solutions to the problems you cited than incorporating any kind of socialism here.

            • TimeWarper

              You keep trying to erect a strawman. He never said it’s the only answer but given its success, as the evidence suggests, it is a model that needs to be taken seriously. But I don’t think you care about any of that. You have yet to provide any evidence. All you have provided are assertions. That’s it. The thing with Americans is that taxes scare the shit out of them. Even though it works in their best interest. For example, Sweden has higher taxes but they don’t have to worry about poverty (as much), education, healthcare, etc…in fact, they end up saving more money in the end and hence why they have a larger disposable income. In America, people are selfish. Those that are successful don’t want to live in a society where their taxes go to improve the lives of others. So for example, there are some who complain about their taxes being used to educate or save the lives of others. This is ludicrous. If anyone is living in a bubble of ignorance is you, Carr. You have yet to give any substance to your arguments but then again I have a feeling your standard of evidence is based on mere opinion.

            • Derek Carr

              Socialism and leftist ideology needs to be taken seriously? You mean like evaluating successful countries such as Venezuela, Greece, Cuba, China, the former Soviet Union, and North Korea? The farther left a country moves the more miserable are the lives of its citizens.

              High taxes and more centralized government control are hardly the answers for a more successful country and economy. You fail to acknowledge the many unintended consequences of removing more money out of the private economy. I believe there are much better solutions by fully embracing a free market economy where more people have a better chance at bettering their lives than any other economic system yet devised.

              I’ll trust the ingenuity, entrepreneurism, hard work ethic, and generosity of the American people a hundred times more than faceless bureaucrats and elites that believe they know better than us.

            • TimeWarper

              I like how you specifically chose those countries and ignored the successful ones. You know, the ones that beat America in almost every measure such as education, healthcare, employment benefits, inequalities, etc. That’s quite disingenuous. Surely, you know no one is advocating for America to become like North Korea or USSR. Also, if I was you, I would educate myself a little bit more on the different economic systems and their variations rather than, again, strawmanning like there is no tomorrow. Ignorance is not bliss.

            • Derek Carr

              Our government has grossly mismanaged the overwheming amount of money they have taken out of the economy and our pockets. We are about 19 trillion in debt which is an impossibly too large a number to ever pay back. But it’s even worse, our unfounded liabilities (our true debt) is over 200 trillion dollars – an unimaginably monstrous number. It is the political left that is constantly harping on more spending and the debt be damned. Obama has basically doubled our national debt.

              Someday, this whole system will crash under the crushing debt that politicians have created for their own power and political expediency. We are passing on a non-sustainable debt onto the next generations for our own temporary convenience. It is unconscionable to put our kids and grandkids in that predicament. There is not enough income to tax to pay for our existing liabilities much less adding even more entitlements and debt.

              If politicians were held to the same standards of those who work in private enterprise they would be in jail. And socialists like yourself want to offer these political elites more money and power?

            • TimeWarper

              You can speculate as much as you can but the fact is that there are other countries who do not fit your worst case scenario narrative. How about coming up for the current system? Also, I would advice you actually look at the plans that are on the table. Even economist agree, for example, a single payer health insurance system saves the government and the individuals money. The same applies to education. There are good policies and bad policies. You, are focusing on bad policies and speculating like there is no tomorrow. You have yet to provide anything substantive or relevant to models that are in fact working and working better than what we have.This is really not all that difficult to understand.

            • Derek Carr

              I’m a principled fiscal conservative, timewarper. As such, the massive amount of national debt (which you didn’t comment on) and the uncontrolled growth of the federal government are totally incompatible with liberty, individualism and sound financial policy. And you’re suggesting to give them more power and more money. It’s speculation on your part to assume your solutions would make our country better.

              You also didn’t comment on how we are passing on a non-sustainable debt to the next generations. Is this at all a concern for you? Medicare will be bankrupt very soon unless massive new funding and/or reform takes place. And yet, socialists like yourself believe the government has the answer to solving these problems when they are often the reason for the problems.

              Obamacare has been a disaster for the middle class with substantially higher premiums, deductibles, and of course, losing one’s doctor and previous health plan despite Obama’s promises to the contrary. Our current entitlement plans are headed for bankruptcy and those on the left want to double down and create more entitlements. It’s sheer lunacy.

            • TimeWarper

              We save money in the process. For example, switching to single payer system we save 5 trillion in 10 years. Maintaining status quo only increases debt. Cutting social programs that benefit the less fortunate should not be an option if there are alternatives. There are. We can cut back on our bloated military funding. We can put in place better programs that benefit all and be cost-effective. We can have corporations pay their fair share. Other countries are doing it and in return their populace is much better off. There are better ways of reducing our debt, expenses and so forth than cutting much needed social programs. You need to stick your head out of the bubble.

            • This is a perfect example of ideological thinking and cognitive dissonance.

              You claim to be a fiscal conservative yet are against single payer health care which will save money. And why are you against it? Purely because it falls under the label of socialism instead of libertarianism.

              You don’t mention anything about the obscene amount of money bring spent on the military. The Navy even had to speak up and say they didn’t any more money. Yet were receiving a greater budget regardless. How many “fiscal conservatives” spoke out then?

              The US imprisons a massive percentage of its population in private prisons, costing tax payer hugely. Often in prison for petty crimes such as cannabis use. Do “fiscal conservatived” speak out against this ridiculous waste of tax? Nope. But they do complain about social programs that might help the poor. Why, because the latter falls under socialism whereas the former is under free market principles.

              Sp you complain about debt yet don’t care about things that cause debt if they fall under the label of capitalism. And you don’t support policies are financially sound if they are under the remit of socialism. You base your position on labels as opposed to get soundness of the policy. This ideological thinking 101.

              Oh, and the Scandinavian countries have some of the lowest national debt in the world.

            • Derek Carr

              Sorry, Peter, but I believe the ideological thinking is on your end. You believe more empowered, centralized government is the answer to society’s problems without taking into account the horrendous track record of existing US government programs or the unintended consequences of such a plan. You seem to believe in giving more authority and control to the very political elites who have gotten us in this debt nightmare. With the left the answer is always giving up more individual freedom and power to supposedly selfless and highly intelligent politicians who know better how to run our lives than we do.

              I believe a single-payer system is built on a false ideology. Yes, presumably everyone is “covered” by a “health-plan.” However, you simply choose to ignore the profound loss of individual freedoms in not being able to choose one’s own doctors and make your own healthcare choices. Instead, healthcare choices are made by bureaucrats and formulas. Mandatory rationing of healthcare will become a reality under a single-payer system. I don’t believe Americans will accept a bureaucracy deciding they are too old to have a hip replacement at age 70 or are deemed unworthy of receiving cutting-edge cancer therapy.

              These socialistic systems are always running out of money, inefficient and wasteful, have perverse incentives, often are corrupt, and will result in decreased quality of care for everyone (except for those who are politically connected). You’re basically talking about giving all Americans the same type of care that veterans receive from the VA (which is a travesty). Our country is also massively more complex and diverse than Scandinavia.

              You and other leftists may believe more government is the solution to our problems but I believe most Americans believe in limited government and more individual freedoms. I don’t think you and I (and Timewarper) will ever agree on how we should move forward. We will find out in November which side wins.

            • Mine is based on evidence, evidence I have painstakingly supplied. You on the other hand haven’t provided an ounce of evidence. (except insisting an OpEd which has been proven to be wrong is evidence. It ain’t)

              You have made many baseless claims and have wandered back in with another facepalmer of a comment.

              In single payer, you can still choose your doctor and you can still choose your healthcare. These choices are not denied you in single payer. However, what ever choice you make is already paid for. Unlike in the US were people die because they can’t afford the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands it cost to get treatment. What greater loss of liberty is there than losing one’s life due a backward healthcare system?

              As for your comment about these socialist systems running out of money, corrupt etc. Baseless.

              Oh, and guess who pays significantly less on their healthcare per capita yet provides far superior health outcomes? That’s right, the Nordic countries, and the entirety of Europe actually.

              And guess who has the least debt per capita?

              Anyways, you seem to think more freedom will cure the US’ ails, but what evidence have you provided to show this? None.

            • Derek Carr

              I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere, Peter. You suggest America should abandon the very principles and philosophy that made us a great and prosperous country. We are not like Scandinavia and most of us don’t want to be. We are vastly more complex and independent (more like capitalistic Switzerland which also placed well in your lists). I believe most Americans don’t want a “nanny state” and want to live our lives without the government making decisions we want to make for ourselves.

              Much of your evidence comes from sources that are biased to promote government based solutions. While we have healthcare challenges there are much better solutions than a single payer system and rationing of care. We can argue over what a single payer system in the US might actually look like but by its very nature single payer would result in rationing of care and many medical decisions being made by bureaucrats. That’s why over 40,000 Canadians travel to the US every year for healthcare instead of using their own “free” system. There is approximately a 4.5 month wait to see a specialist in Canada.

              There will always be waiting lists, lowered access to MRI’s and other high tech treatment, formulas for “accepted” treatment, “approved” medication lists, and medical decisions being made by bureaucrats instead of doctors and patients. It’s beyond bad judgement to hand over the healthcare of 320 million Americans to the same bureaucracy that runs the VA hospital system. What makes you think it would be run better than the VA?

              There cost savings of a single payer system you promote are way too optimistic as Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security and other social programs always prove to be. BTW, the single payer system in Norway you touted spent over $9700 per person in healthcare costs (2013) which was $600 more than the US during the same year.

              You believe in government solving the problems of society while I believe most Americans believe in individual liberty, free markets, limited government, and the entrepreneurial spirit and generosity of Americans to get us back on the right path.

            • TimeWarper

              Actually I did. You just seemed to have ignored it.

            • TimeWarper

              Also, America is a socialist country in many ways. You should probably look into that.

            • Derek Carr

              Unfortunately, I would agree with you in this point.

    • Pingback: David Deming and the Strawmanning of Bernie Sanders Supporters • Great Plains Skeptic()