Learning from success and mistakes of others

The U.S. used to be the model of economic freedom, but as you can see from the nearby chart, we are losing our edge as others catch up. The “Economist” runs an interesting survey of the Nordic countries. They are not what we recall. Sweden, for example, has school voucher program that would make Milton Freidman proud.

Economic freedom in the U.S. peaked around the year 2000, right about the time of our great prosperity and declines after. Meanwhile, the Nordic improved their results and we are now at about the same level. Please read the articles starting at this link.

In many ways, the Nordics got to the future first. They looked into the abyss of overlarge government and turned aside in time. The Nordics have not given up on their welfare model, but they have harnessed the power of the market to help pull it. They have vouchers for schools; private firms running public hospitals and vastly liberalized labor markets. BTW, we are using that word liberal in the original sense, meaning that employers have more freedom to fire workers. But they protect workers with retraining.

Little countries like Norway, Sweden & Denmark can never provide a complete example for a big and diverse country like the U.S. One reason they can do so much is that they are not very diverse and so avoid both many of the challenges and benefits of a variety of different people. In fact, they have significant trouble integrating immigrants. But just as the states are laboratories of democracy, small countries can provide ideas that we can see tested.

Our Scandinavian friends have tried the big government route and driven it to dead ends. They have not given up on social justice, but they are learning to use freedom and market mechanisms to achieve success.

Anyway, I suggest you read the survey at the links above and ask what we can learn.

Posted by Christine & John at February 2, 2013 11:38 AM
Comments
Comment #361283

I find little to compare tween the US and Nordics, C&J.

We have lost our ‘edge’ thru a well planned and long instituted policy of globalism.

As the left and the right see globalism as a plus it is seldom mentioned as problematic when discussing US economy.

The major holdout’s in achieving full globalism are transitory worker immigration and the wealth unbalance between some major producers.

it seems we are doing our best to level the playing field; greatest xfer of wealth in history, etc. Risky too, in putting the world economies thru a period of recession/depression.

But, since most of the risk is on the middle/lower class it doesn’t seem to generate much concern; stock market at 14k while half the 12 graduates are unemployed.

But, back to your article; there are some actions in the background working to improve things. One example, some young people are trying to create jobs for themselves. I would assume that is where one person would start a popcorn store and a friend might set up next him/her and sell the butter for the corn, etc.

In any event, we are looking at maybe 20-30 years more of warping the world economy in something we can all get along with.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 2, 2013 4:00 PM
Comment #361284

Roy

Nordic economies are much more exposed to globalization than ours.

Posted by: C&J at February 2, 2013 4:07 PM
Comment #361285

Roy

But thanks for commenting. You are one of the few who comments on my “serious” posts.

Posted by: C&J at February 2, 2013 4:10 PM
Comment #361291

Watchblog is becoming a figment of yesteryear. Reasons are just more tautology. Everybody has their turf staked out and are in a wait and see mode for the next 4 years, IMO.

Folks seem to believe that if things don’t get any worse and we can hire a few folks into $10-12/hr jobs things will be ok.

Question I have is how much longer will young folks sit on their hands on this issue. One would think they would be in the streets now with signs like ‘you live in my mom’s basement, I don’t won’t to’ and so on.

Then too, there is the football game…

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 2, 2013 8:01 PM
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