No offense to Bernie Sanders (or his supporters)…

| May 22, 2019 | 73 Comments

thatcher on socialism
Iron Lady, Margret Thatcher

…but Scandinavian Socialism is a myth.

Veritas Omnia Vincit is back, this time with his timely thoughts on myths circulating among the chattering class about how the USA should follow Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden into Socialism. That argument falls flat for numerous reasons, so this a good place to shut up and give the helm to VOV.

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Expanding on some of my thoughts in a previous article about the size of the clown car on the Democratic side for the primary season I am interested in seeing the new coverage on almost all of the Democrats who are now trying to “out Sanders” Bernie Sanders. Many of these “progressive” candidates are simply spouting positions previously held by Bernie Sanders, free this or free that, as a mechanism to engage younger more energized voters. Many of the current crop of progressives are progressive in the way that one might view a coyote as a dog. It might look and sound similar but it’s not the real thing. To his credit Bernie has the personal integrity to hold the same positions for decades. Often the wrong position, but the man is nothing if not consistent.

My favorite aspect of this, now that Venezuela has gone belly up while its people eat zoo animals, is the use of the Nordic model of “socialism” as an ideal that Americans pursue. The reason I enjoy this comparison is that it’s actually wrong on every level. There is nothing socialist about the markets in the Scandinavian world.

The arrogance of Americans who believe they can redefine the word socialist to mean what they want it to mean instead of what it actually means never ceases to amaze me. Americans try and tell me that socialism is present in the social services of these Scandinavian nations. Newsflash for the purposely ignorant, social services DO NOT equal socialism. A close look at the Scandinavian economy and market structures indicate quickly how wrong that idea of socialism in Scandinavia really is in defining their society and economy.

Let’s look at what’s true in the statements, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden are fairly successful economies. I would agree with that assessment. What is false is they are successful because they are socialist. That’s not at all accurate based on the evidence. The Fraser Institute is a think tank that ranks the economic freedom level of every nation in the world…as an indicator of economic freedom the left’s former darling, Venezuela, is ranked 162nd on this chart while the actual commies in China are 107th. Meanwhile the US is 6th on the list with Denmark at 16, Finland at 22, Norway at 25, and Sweden the worst of the lot at 43, all of them however in the top third of most economically free market nations. Hardly socialist by traditional definitions.

Additionally what’s truly interesting in my research is that Sweden actually operates a full blown school voucher program where parents can utilize freedom of choice in the form of those vouchers to send their children to public or private FOR PROFIT schools using those vouchers. Hardly the stuff of full blown socialism, allowing people to take their tax money back and use it as they wish instead of how the government dictates. Anders Bohlmark and Mikael Lindahl authored a study in 2012 regarding the success of the Swedish voucher system. They draw the conclusion that the public system having to compete with the private system has resulted in better average outcomes across the board for ALL students in Sweden. They note that it took a decade to start to see these results but they note they are seeing them largely due to competition in their view.

Another interesting component of the free market economy in Sweden is that there is no legally defined minimum wage. They have strong union presence in many industries and fields which negotiate appropriate competitive wages, but the government takes no position either way in managing the outcomes of those negotiations.

The basic economic markets in these countries have little government interference in how they operate and consequently they are as I noted above considered to be fairly free markets and not at all socialist in nature. That they have chosen to pay a high tax rate to receive a high measure of social safety services is their choice as a society. We may or may not agree with their choices, but they are certainly free enough to choose their own path as they have done. It does not make them any more socialist than the United States.

I’m certainly willing to discuss social benefits that add to the general welfare, I am not however willing to discuss them dishonestly. If Bernie Sanders and the rest of the Democrats want to talk about Socialism that’s fine. They should stop using Scandinavia as a model for their belief system as that reference is not only inaccurate it’s somewhat dishonest in its attempt to define on their terms what is happening in another country.

As always I don’t want you take my word for any of this, I’ll just let the former Prime Minister of Denmark (Lars Løkke Rasmussen) use his own words on this subject….

“I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,”

“The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security for its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.”

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts.
VoV

Thanks, V. You knew this was coming- a lure to draw some over to the dark side..
Swedish bikini team
Swedish Bikini Team

Category: Guest Post, International Affairs

Comments (73)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    Swedish Bikini Team

    *FIRST!* to say,

    “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes… all at the same time.”

    *leaves thread to start a GoFundMe for my funeral*

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      HONEY HUSH and Child Puleeeze. I’ll get social with any and all of them. I just found either the next 6 Mrs. 5th/77th FAs and a damn good reason to start a branch of the Morman Church in Sweden or what would be the death of me….And what a way to go. Tanks for the attention getting bonus AW1Ed! My other handle may need some pulling.

      Oh, btw, spot on again VOV. Guess the poddle d^cks can only use empirical data that fits their agenda. In spite of our warts, the economic and government systems that we use have stood us in good stead for over 200 years. Hope I’m dead and gone a long time before the useful fools are stood up against the wall, or sent to the re-education camps. The lack of history being taught is showing up more and more with these fools. Maybe they won’t ruin this Country before my Grandchildren’s grandkids get to be my age.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      Swedish Bikini Team

      BUNK!!!!!

    • The Other Whitey says:

      The only thing hotter than a Swedish blonde is a Swedish brunette. Reference the two Swedish chicks in “Kung Fury”—the bikini-clad, SMG-wielding, dinosaur-riding Viking Swedish chicks (it’s that kind of movie, and funny as all hell for it).

      • jim h says:

        i love how awesomely cheezy that movie is. i really wish it was longer. i never encountered so many 80s tropes and over-the-top performances in one place before. they need a sequel or something.

        • The Other Whitey says:

          Between time-traveling Hitler (AKA Kung Führer), the AI sportscar HOFF 9000 (who doesn’t like to be hassled), and Kung Fury taking on nazis with original Street Fighter combos after he runs out of ammo, it’s a celebration of 80s cheese!

          Rumor has it that a sequel is in the works!

        • The Other Whitey says:

          Besides, the captain’s line was pure gold:

          “Thanks to you, now I’ve got the mayor up my ass like a fag on viagra!”

    • xyzzy says:

      Nope. Forget that Euro crap. I want a Dixie Queen with a Confederate flag bikini and a Florida tan. Hubba Hubba!

  2. ChipNASA says:

    I’ll just leave some maths here for ya’ll

    https://tradingeconomics.com/denmark/personal-income-tax-rate

    A high of 65% to a lower today, 55.80 %.

    Hmmmm, We’re about 2/3rds that I believe…or even lower.

    • Slow Joe says:

      Wow. 25% sales tax?

      • rgr769 says:

        Wouldn’t great to live a socialist paradise where one pays a 56% income tax, plus an 8% social security tax, plus 25% sales tax. In addition, you would get free everything as a member of the FSA (Free Shit Army). Imagine how great it will be until people start eating each other after all the zoo animals. That Commissar has one hell of an economic plan. But hey, the commies/socialists/Marxists will get it right this time, even if they have to kill 200 million people this go around.

  3. Slow Joe says:

    Link for the Fraser Institute?

  4. Slow Joe says:

    OMG, is that a Swedish flag?

  5. Slow Joe says:

    I mean, 6 Swedish flags?
    Can I be the pole?

  6. T1B says:

    I’ll just wait for whatshisname to show up and tell us all we’re stoopid…

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      BUTbutbutbut wait, he has this supposedly superior edjumukayshun from UC Berzerkely that HAS to be ALL truth that he HAS to show us when he thinks he’s dazzling us with brilliance and not even baffling us with bullshit!

    • LC says:

      I’m not whatshisname, and VOV is certainly not stupid, but I will argue one minor point among the many valid ones he’s made:

      Americans try and tell me that socialism is present in the social services of these Scandinavian nations. Newsflash for the purposely ignorant, social services DO NOT equal socialism.

      Nobody that I know of on the Left is actually arguing for government ownership of private business. When they talk about socialism, they ‘simply’ mean social programs, often funded by higher taxes on businesses. When Amazon pays nothing in federal taxes on $11B in profit, but you or I have to pay tens of thousands, that tends to irritate people – especially the younger ones, whose wages haven’t matched the increased cost of living.

      It’s easy to get lost in the semantics, but words can have multiple meanings, and change over time. Example: It’s fantastic that everyone here is so much smarter than the average person. 😉

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        State -control- of the means of production is the core of Socialism.

        They can say you “own” it, as did the Nazis for some connected members, or that “we” own it, or that the government owns it.

        None of that false-flagging matters. -they- control it.

        The -control- part is the Marx of Cain, and the root of the death-spiral called Socialism.

      • Eden says:

        When Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, et al, start paying taxes at the confiscatory rates they want to impose on the so-called “tippy-top” 1%, and live under the same rules as the rest of us (medical insurance, Social Security, etc.), then I might start believing that they have sincere motives for what they preach.

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        LC that is entirely my point, the left needs to stop trying to redefine words to suit their agenda.

        Socialism is defined by Marx as step one towards communism as a means to take control over private industry.

        If you don’t mean socialism stop saying socialism and simply use the term social program as they are NOT synonymous.

        Just because some Americans want to redefine the word doesn’t make the definition change and it undercuts the motives of those pushing for those social programs. It makes the rest of us suspicious, especially us surly curmudgeons.

        Your analogy about the word fantastic isn’t accurate either, it’s simply sarcasm based on semantic context. Socialism in this instance isn’t used sarcastically. A better analogy would be the word gay perhaps…the definition has clearly changed over the last 80 years.

        My point is that it’s arrogance for Americans to tell the Scandinavians what kind of government they have when the Scandinavians are telling us they know what they have and it isn’t socialism.

        We Americans do that a lot though, tell other people what they really mean and what they really have.

        • LC says:

          Your analogy about the word fantastic isn’t accurate either, it’s simply sarcasm based on semantic context. Socialism in this instance isn’t used sarcastically. A better analogy would be the word gay perhaps…the definition has clearly changed over the last 80 years.

          I didn’t mean ‘fantastic’ in the sarcastic way; I picked it because it’s literally a word that has a meaning very different from its primary definition. Look up ‘fantastic’ in MW or the OED and the primary definition is one derived from ‘fantasy’, whereas in common use it means ‘great’.

          Language is pretty (meaning fairly, not attractive) fucking (for emphasis, not meaning the act of sex) imprecise. We rely on context to supply that. The context of the current discussions around ‘socialism’, especially by younger people, is they want more money spent on social programs. Not government control of private business.

          On the rest, we’re in broad agreement.

          • timactual says:

            “they want more money spent on social programs.”

            They should start with education.

            “Welfare state” is a perfectly good and accurate description of what they want. Socialism is not. The intent of your new “social program” definition is to disguise the real intent of leftists, which is de facto government ownership of business. We have already had a “managerial revolution” where an elite of managers controls corporations instead of owners (stockholders). Socialists just want to change that controlling elite to government bureaucrats.

            Yes, language evolves. When you do it intentionally for political reasons it is called “Newspeak”.

      • Slow Joe says:

        Nobody is going to challenge LC in his preposterous claim on corporate taxation?

        Disappointed.

    • Commie-Tsar says:

      I have a talisman (The Flaccid Penis of Truth) and MOUNDS of empiric data to prove to all of you that ORANGE MAN IS BAD and that this economy is EVIL! Only Communism is the pure and proven way for all!

      Uh, oh…. I just peed myself again…

  7. If all these demorat peeps want a sanders type socialist society, how come most of them are millionaires or six figure A holes????

  8. OldCorpsTanker72 says:

    “one might view a coyote as a dog. It might look and sound similar but it’s not the real thing.”

    I once got kicked out of a veterinarian’s office for trying to get him to give a rabies shot to my coyote pup. I’ve never seen a vet so mad. He was red in the face, screaming, and threatening to turn me in to the game warden.

    So if that’s what this socialism thing is all about, I don’t want any of it.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      I live in the business district of Main Street in a suburban town, there is a bit of woods between me and the river but it’s definitely not country, by a wide margin.
      Earlier in the week I noticed a turkey hen in my back ‘yard’ (it’s really a wetland/woodsy area).
      Last night, drifting off to sleep early for a 0400 wake up for spring turkey season, I heard coyotes yelping in the backyard/swamp. Sounded like they were about 50 meters out.
      Just in case I needed to go outside I decided to pull a AR with a tac light out and put 28 rounds of soft points in it.
      One, I’m not worried. A pack with young, more than moderately concerned.

  9. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    SAEDA-gull will swoop in eventually…..

  10. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    SOCIALISM, a form of governance SO TERRIFIC that it must be kept upon a population at gunpoint once it is inflicted.

  11. 26Limabeans says:

    Angry old commie. The look on his face when Trump denied Socialism said it all.
    The young heads full of mush that fawned over him in 2016 are older now and approaching or have passed the frontal cortex divide.
    Biden is all they have left (pun) and Bernie will sue for peace as his running mate.

    • Commie-Tsar says:

      I believe in Bernie… even went as far as getting carpet burns on my knees for worshiping the one and only true chance to stop ORANGE MAN. He can still save us and make me the COMMIE-TSAR of this blog!!!!

      I have to go… got to chase away the three RV’s with homeless people in front of my Oakland dacha.

  12. Sapper3307 says:

    I like to compare the population of Sweden vs the population of Texas.

  13. Wilted Willy says:

    VOV, If we are number 6, who is number 1? Inquiring minds want to know?? I agree with Iron Lady, sooner or later they will run out of other peoples money!!!

  14. Commissar says:

    It is you that is defining socialism incorrectly. Not the social democrats.

    There is nothing about socialism that precludes a free market or requires a controlled economy.

    I have said over and over that social democracy retains a free market for the vast majority of goods and services.

    I have also said time and time again that social democracy uses the best practices we have learned from two centuries of economic policies globally.

    I have made it clear that there are several things a society can invest in that pay dividends far exceeding the investment. Investing in infrastructure, health, and education are three prime examples.

    Venezuela is a red herring. It was never a social democracy. Nor did it ever attempt to be. It was a kleptocracy that utilized an extraction economy to pay people off so they would accept the kleptocratic regime. It also was hit with massive sanctions and embargoes dooming it to fail even if it had attempted genuine social benefit reforms.

    What the Nordic models do have is high marginal tax rates. Strong labor rights. Strong policies forcing corporate responsibility. And massive investment in education (labor).

    Not a single liberal candidate is advocating anything even remotely close to a controlled economy. The fact that so many idiots kept trying to frame this as “free market capitalism vs controlled economy socialism” is a frustrating aspect of how stupid our political discourse has become and how inexcusably ignorant most Americans are.

    By the way, almost every single economic theory uses a market for the distribution of most goods and services. Capitalism does not have a monopoly on the concept of a “market”. Nor was it the first theory to even conceptualize a market for the distribution of goods.

    We have a century of economic data, including tax records of a trillion households, from 28 democracies that prove conclusively that our version of capitalism is a complete fucking failure and that the Nordic model is overall a significantly better model for a economy.

    • Commissar says:

      Oops, more than a BILLION households. Not trillion. Was just discussing the national debt and had “trillion” stuck in my head.

    • Commie-Tsar says:

      Uh,oh… can someone give me a new pair of Depends? I think I’ve filled my up…

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      Once again I’m not defining socialism in any fashion other than the one originally created by the two men responsible for bringing that version of governance to the annals of modern history, notably Marx and Engels who, by they way, used socialism and communism interchangeably in their papers and essays.

      Socialism in that regard is EXACTLY as I have said it is, regardless of your thoughts to the contrary. Marx and Engels both define socialism as the transition from value based to use based production. Their intent was to describe a transition where the law of value was replaced by use-value and was determined through an economic planning board…doesn’t sound free market at all Commissar.

      This is my point and has been my point, when the men who brought the terms into the public vernacular provide you with a definition for the terminology they use it’s more than a little disingenuous on your part and others to pretend you know more about the word than those who created and defined the word.

      It speaks to questionable motivation and makes honest people wonder about your actual agenda. If you want strong unions with high taxes in a fully free market, unencumbered economy say that. Don’t try and bullshit your way around it. Trying to redefine socialism on behalf of the Scandinavians as an economic model for the US simply comes off as lazy or cynical or a little of both.

      Marx and Engles wrote a great deal about economic theory, they used these terms over and over and over in those writings.

      Pretending they mean something else today is a lie.

      • David says:

        But if the lefties were forced to use accurate, true terms for things they would have nothing to talk about! (Just as an example… see how terms like ‘gun control’, ‘child safety’, ‘assault weapons bans’, ‘Saturday Night Specials’, ‘common-sense refoirms’ ‘weapons of choice for murderers/terrorists/etc.’ have all been used to mask their real goal of ‘civilian disarmament’.)

      • Commie-Tsar says:

        But… but I AM full of bullshit! It’s the only way that I can present an argument! It’s how the profs at Berkeley taught me! I can’t have an original thought of feeling – to do so would be so bourgeoisie!

    • Mason says:

      “It also was hit with massive sanctions and embargoes dooming it to fail even if it had attempted genuine social benefit reform”

      So it’s at least partially our fault that it failed.

      “our version of capitalism is a complete fucking failure”

      Once again, America = Bad, huh? If our system is such a “complete fucking failure” why is it the biggest economy in world history? The US nominal GDP is larger than the next two biggest combined. The only place that can come close is the entirety of the EU.

    • timactual says:

      ” Strong policies forcing corporate responsibility…

      …Not a single liberal candidate is advocating anything even remotely close to a controlled economy.”

      You don’t see the contradiction? You don’t thing “forcing corporate responsibility” requires government control?

      “And massive investment in education”

      Something we already have.

      ” Capitalism does not have a monopoly on the concept of a “market”. ”

      No one here disagrees. The word “free” preceeding the word “market” makes the difference.

      “our version of capitalism is a complete fucking failure”

      No, it isn’t. I wonder at your definition of ‘failure’.

  15. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Additionally what’s truly interesting in my research is that Sweden actually operates a full blown school voucher program where parents can utilize freedom of choice in the form of those vouchers to send their children to public or private FOR PROFIT schools using those vouchers.

    Won’t fly here with the two teacher’s union (NEA and AFT) and their leftist fans – they want to scrap charter school and vouchers for the established failing model.

  16. Commissar says:

    I guess I should be happy some of you all are finally coming around to the idea of a Nordic model social democracy. If you want to just relabel it “Nordic capitalism” to make it easier to accept than whatever floats your boat. Or in this case; floats all boats.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      YOU are more full of shit than twenty million Geese!!

      • Commissar says:

        Dude you literally have zero damn clue what socialism is, what capitalism is, what any of these theories actually say, how there modern and historical contexts, or how they relate to each other.

        You don’t know if I am full of shit because you are clueless about all of this.

        The Nordic model has pits social benefits and social/public good as it’s overriding priority. Everything else, particularly profit, is secondary to the public good.

        By the standards of Americans is is socialist. By the standards of economists and scholars it is on squarely on the “socialist” side of the spectrum.

        This discussion of Marx in understanding the Nordic Model is as unhelpful as discussing Smith in describing modern US capitalism.

        What we have today in the US is nothing like Smith’s notions of a society. What we have today is closer to finance feudalism than anything Smith envisioned.

        As for Marx, most socialist leaning economists credit Marx with being largely correct with what he said was wrong with capitalism but largely incorrect with what he said capitalism would lead to, and entirely incorrect with his proposed solutions.

        Saying Marx is wrong does not mean someone is a capitalist or even not a socialist. Modern economists pretty much all agree Marx were wrong, even the “neo-Marxists” who discard most of what Marx believed except some his basic assertions about the flaws of capitalism.

        We have had over 200 years since Smith and 150 since Marx. We have also have almost a century of detailed economic data tracking individual households across nearly every western industrial democracy.

        While we still divide economists and economic theories largely on the socialist vs capitalist spectrum none of the modern theories much resemble the now archaic ideas of 18th and 19th century economic philosophers and ethicists.

        The Nordic model is squarely on the socialist side of the spectrum.

        I do not know a single economist that advocates a command economy today. Though that is not saying much because neither Marx or Engels advocated a command economy either.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          THANK YOU for proving me right!!!

        • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

          Cone on, Lars… everyone here knows your full of shit! We didn’t need you to confirm that…

        • 26Limabeans says:

          You seem to have it all micromanaged down to the last detail.
          It is the details that matter for you.
          The nuance of each ism explained for the unenlightened.
          No thanks professor. Truth needs no explanation while lies have to be revised and nurtured in order to be sold. Socialism is a lie.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          It’s so clear, isn’t it?

          He says: “I do not know a single economist…” but can’t name even one real economist he knows personally.

          And, as always, there is no support for those statements, such as “almost a century of detailed economic data” – incorrect, because WE can track detailed economic data all the way back to the Roman Imperium, and earlier, if necessary.

          I’ve already done one article on the comparison between the salaries of Roman soldiers and modern troops, with backing for it.

          No such thing comes from the self-absorbed leftie Commissar.

        • timactual says:

          Why don’t you supply us with the true, formal, definitions of “Socialism” and “Capitalism” and lift us out of the swamp of our ignorance?

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          TELL ME Commieczar, have ANY of your perfessers EVER held a job anywhere in the real world outside the confines of a college campus? Yes, have any of them ever made it in the private sector? I bet the answer is no.

    • SFC D says:

      I didn’t see anyone “coming around” to it. What I saw was VoV calmly and rationally explaining it, showing that it’s not the “socialism” it’s normally portrayed as.

    • timactual says:

      It already has a label–“welfare state”. Of course it’s not as fashionable, nor does it give a false sense of intellectual respectability or of familiarity. That probably explains its lack of usage these days, as the “social democrats” and other leftists take control of academia & the media.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      No matter how much ice cream you add to your cat shit pseudotheory, it doesn’t become a sundae.

  17. GDContractor says:

    I often wonder how robust some of those posterchild Nordic economies would be without petroleum and geothermal contributing to their GDP.

    • GDContractor says:

      For example:
      “Oil and Gas trade. Norway is in the global top 5 exporters of crude oil. The oil and gas sector constitutes around 22% of Norwegian GDP and 67% of Norwegian exports. Norway is Western Europe’s most important source of natural gas.Apr 16, 2018”

  18. Heidi says:

    It always makes me kind of cringe, when some Americans are looking towards the Nordic countries, as the best of the best when it comes to this stuff, if they dug deeper into what actually goes on there, they would not be so happy about what they would see.

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