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Norway, Finland, The Netherlands etc. Most Socialist- highest standards of Living?

The most socialist counties in the world have the highest standards of living-it appears to be from the very responsive governance they have established.

Why do these full on socialists have such a high standard of "sustainable" living. Parents with newborns 4 months off to bond. free great sustainable health care-for all, almost free college where they chase talent not cash or legacy-- the list goes on and on!

Sounds pretty appealing -with a proven track record of sustained success- where has libertarianism proven itself viable- it has not, not to say it would not given a chance

but we do have a proven path to prosperity- we do not need to reinvent the wheel



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And then imagine how many

And then imagine how many multitudes better those countries could be with free market economics.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
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As far as Norway and Finland goes,

the environment has bred this idea of group cooperation for probably as long as people have lived there.

Because of the low sunlight, the people there make sure their kids are outside for a huge number of hours per day, even eating their snacks and lunches outside, wearing their gloves. That's not something people with shorter winters do. I don't know if this is because of direct awareness of the dangers of low Vitamin D, but the people who make sure their kids are outside a lot are the ones who'll survive there.

A communal creche where children are cared for in batches naturally evolves from this need for an extreme amount of outdoor hours. Each individual household can't have an adult keeping toddlers off the fjords for every hour of daylight. The culture ended up with much less of the hearth and home ideals you get other places and its "children belong to the state" concept developed earlier than it did in even Prussia. They were more vulnerable to statist principles earlier than other cultures because their society was already structured around a sort of "rugged collectivism".

Why they can prosper with so much statism, I don't know. Perhaps their statism came about with less parasitism toward locals. In other places, statism arises as a parasite on the heels of prosperity. There, it may have sprung up ahead of prosperous times. There is something more stable about their statism than that in other places and it's an interesting intellectual exercise to ponder.

As for the Netherlands, I don't know much about whether it developed statism as early as Norway, but I do know they also go to odd lengths to keep their kids outside, such as leaving their babies sleeping in strollers outside of restaurants.

Defend Liberty!

Define "Socialist"

When people use the term socialist they can mean a million different things. Everyone from Obama to Hitler to FDR to Bernie Sanders to Hollande has been called a Socialist at some point.

Scandanavia is "socialist" in the sense that there is 1) very high taxation and 2) a lot of government services provided, included healthcare. But in other ways, Scandanavia is quite capitalistic, even more capitalistic than the United States. For example, corporate profits are taxed at very low rates. School choice is widespread in Sweden. Finland has probably the most laissez faire public school system in the Western world (and the most successful). Labor markets are liberalized to a greater extent than the United States: people can get hired and fired very easily, with very little government intervention. Minimum wage is negotiated between unions and corporations, with the government only playing a role as facilitator. None of these countries spends a lot on the military industrial complex (does Norway even have one), and save tons by rarely incarcerating. Denmark (and probably Norway, though I'm not sure) consistently ranks as one of the freest markets in the world, far higher than the United States. Some of the "socialistic" policies are arguable more socialistic in the United States. For example, an often heard complaint about Denmark is that they tax water twice: once when it comes out of the faucet, and then again when it is let down the drain. Whereas in the United States, water is subsidized to an extreme extent (a couple of cents per gallon), so who's the socialist?

I will also add that some of these countries, especially Denmark, have very stringent immigration restrictions. This helps the welfare system from not "bleeding out".

Do they have 300 million people living there?

And how long has this been going on? And why should I take your word for it anyway?

Factor Oil Revenues in your socialist paradise

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

Truth is Treason

What he said ^^^^

What he said ^^^^

"You only live free if your willing to die free."

It's true. In Holland there are almost no homeless

The standard off living is (in the Netherlands) better over here.
We only pay 1.66% on defense, and our government spents only 3,2% more than it have(and that's a bad year).
We are a small country, and that's much more easy to manage.

So the US must say goodbuy to the central government, the FED and it's empire. Than it will work out just fine. The standard of living will rise for everyone.

Good points. The US spends more on defense than the

COMBINED defense spending of China, Russia, UK, France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia and Canada. Thankfully it's just defense spending so that's not socialism. Carry on denizens.

Brazil is socialist and it is

Brazil is socialist and it is hell.

Socialism doesn't necessary not work...

Collectivism works somewhat when there is 'social pressure'. What do I mean by that? The best example is within the home. The family is a 'social' or 'collectivist' unit that doesn't operate strictly under free market guidelines.

Many items are shared. Those that do the most work are not necessarily rewarded the most. What compels adherence to respecting communal property is the pressure one receives from loved ones. Or the desire to make them happy. This works in place of the profit incentive.

The 'social pressure' model breaks down when too many people participate. When an individual taking action does not feel they are impacting anyone personally, because they are all random strangers, the incentive to be 'polite' or clean up after yourself is gone. That's when you get pollution.

These socialist nations have smaller populations with more responsive governments. The ratio of public officials to citizens is higher, therefore they listen and respond more quickly. That means the 'social pressure' aspect, while not perfect, is more effective than in countries with larger populations.

In the US, the congress was capped at a ratio to the population sometime in the 20th century. I forget the stated reasons but the most likely sinister one is that it's easier to bribe politicians when there's fewer of them. Had they allowed the congress to continue growing to represent population growth as was originally intended, there'd be like 1000 more of them today.

One quibble

I largely agree, but on the topic of 'it's easier to bribe a few politicians than a lot of them', I actually think it works the other way. In fact, one of the arguments in favor of decentralized government is that so people can have a more personal relationship with their representatives. When you have a few politicians running the show, literally every interest group is chasing the same people.

It depends on who is doing the bribing

It's easier for an oligarchy to keep fewer politicians in line. And I think the implication here is that, once an oligarchy had enough power to cap the number of representatives, it wielded the power it already had to keep its reins from loosening in the future.

Defend Liberty!

These places aren't all cupcakes and rainbows.

But the UN has certainly been successful in perpetuating the mythos. I always hear of the wonderful socialism of Europe from media and people who have never lived there, but from people I know who have I get a different story.

If you are an independent minded, "free-will" type spirit, with a low tolerance for inefficiency and bullshit, generally despise authority and "group-think", these places are like hell on earth.

If however, you have a more laid-back "go-with-the-flow" sheep-like personality, and aren't the type to get bent out of shape over "the principle of it" (taxes, bureaucracy, wasted time and energy, nanny-state at every turn), it can actually be a paradise.

Different strokes for different folks. As for the "sustainable living" and free this and that and high standard of living, give it a couple of decades. Socialism always looks desirable and prosperous and wonderful early on, but give it time and it rots like a banana. Remember, for many years the media ranted endlessly about how wonderful life in the the Soviet Union and Germany was, and in some respects, it was in the beginning. It never lasts. It is easy to predict why if one reads the work of Ludwig von Mises.

Are Norway and Denmark really

Are Norway and Denmark really hell on earth? They have their issues (no ziploc bags!) but that seems like a really overblown comment.

I admit a touch of hyperbole

but I was merely expressing my sentiment as an opinion, not fact. I am sure many, if not most other people would disagree with me, but then again, it was an opinion. As for me; you couldn't pay me enough to live there.

The statement was also not a judgment on the people that do live there. I have personally visited the Netherlands, and my brother has lived in Denmark. I have had acquaintances from both Norway and Sweden. While I didn't see eye to eye with them on virtually any important subject, I didn't dislike them or think them bad people. In fact I rather enjoyed our conversations in an intellectual capacity. As far as living there? That is a different story. Superficial differences like tastes in food, music, and lifestyle are qualities which lend themselves to adaptability. Unfortunately things like my core values and sense of morality do not, and are not compatible with those of the society in general. Altruism, government, and theft is the national religion, and I do not tolerate these ideas well. Imagine what it would be like to be an atheist living in Vatican City, or a Christian living in a Muslim controlled country, and perhaps you can understand my sentiment.

Just watch Lillyhammer on Netflix

...you'll see how fun it is to live in Norway with a bureaucrat hiding behind every decision you "get" to make in your life. I prefer the individualism that libertarianism offers. The use of force and coercion that socialism requires in order to "work" is what's most detestable in my book, not "sharing" per se. Also consider the population. It's much more efficient when you're talking 10 million vs. 300 million when it comes to dispensing the goodies. Just as Natives were successfully communal or "socialist" it was based on the relatively small population of tribes combined with a bounty of resources. What's more, Scandinavian countries have been historically difficult to immigrate to, especially from impoverished, uneducated, low-skill nations. I'm no expert nor statistician, but it doesn't matter, because as I said if my liberty is infringed upon, the trade-off of a "better standard of living(which seems has too many variables to be quantifiable anyway)" wouldn't be worth it to me. Having said that, the U.S. isn't too great either.

"free great sustainable

"free great sustainable health care-for all"

How many times does this have to be said? There is -no such thing- as free healthcare, unless the doctors and nurses providing it are slaves (while a supporter of socialism may be okay with slavery for the "good of the many", libertarians will have no part in it). Someone pays their salaries. Someone purchases the facilities and equipment. The fantasy that services paid for via taxation are somehow "free" is the biggest hoax played on people who have no sense of reason whatsoever.

SteveMT's picture

These nanny states will someday tell people to jump off cliffs.

And do you know what? For the betterment of the Homeland as decreed by puppet masters, they will jump. It's called brainwashing as in Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome, an irony so aptly named relative to this post as in Stockholm, Sweden, another one of those "highest standard" socialist countries.

Really

but we do have a proven path to prospertity- we do not need to reinvent the wheel"

Why on earth would someone on the DP want to pretend socialism is the answer? Weird to say the least for we are freedom finders are we not? Socialism never equals freedom!

There is explanation

In nordic countries, while taxes are, indeed, collected, the actual waste is much much lower than in US.

For example in Nordic countries the level of military spending is considerably lower than in US.

In Nordic countries they do not have periodic wars which, according to US invented accounting are not included into the budgets for they are extraordinary items. No wars to finance and no interests to pay.

In US a significant part of the income tax goes to Fed. Reserve to pay the interests for the old debts.

Long story short collected taxes stay in the country and are benefited by all.

In US there is a significant level of segregation as defined by your locality, property prices and accompanying taxes and the quality of schools.

All in all, collectivism does have the benefits, however in US only few selected benefit from it.

Engage in Secure Exchange

I would not call the Nordic countries socialist

I think it would be more accurate to say that they are mixed economies with a strong egalitarian culture. The key to understanding the Scandinavian countries is the Law of Jante:

You are not to think you're anyone special or that you're better than us.

This law is a basic tenet of their society and is almost the opposite of what American children are taught. However, we would be foolish to dismiss it or their obvious success and high levels of happiness. I would say this deserves a deeper look with an emphasis on the cultural factors in addition to the economic factors.

"It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go - maybe even longer. If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play Go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs." - Piet Hut

Garan's picture

I've been told that Minnesota & the Mid-West is Egalitarian

A friend of mine lived in Minnesota and California.
He contrasted the people in terms of how praising they were of actors and stars.

He said that in California, there is much praising.
In Minnesota, people don't give nearly as much praise.

Of course there are plenty of exceptions, yet a main point.

Minnesota has had a long history of Scandinavian culture.
Maybe that had a large influence.

i would argue that these are

i would argue that these are not the most socialist countries in the world. People see one HUGE program that is ran in a socialistic fashion and claim it is the most socialistic country. Even if a country had 1000 small socialistic programs, compared to a country that had 5 huge socialistic programs, people will claim the country with 5 programs is more socialistic that the country with 1000 small ones

Socialist Propaganda

Low population, highest oil producing country for western europe(Norway)
Less immigration until recently , more free market economy compared to U.S
Higher suicide rates compared to US , less regulation when it comes to starting a small business

.

And the reason immigration is low

is because they actually have immigration standards. You cannot just waltz into Norway and Sweden and expect free education, food, healthcare, etc (like here in the US). If you cannot establish the productive value you will add in these countries, you will not become a citizen and it's GTFO.

Scandanavia --> Not so hot.

"Take the Danes, for instance. True, they claim to be the happiest people in the world, but why no mention of the fact they are second only to Iceland when it comes to consuming anti- depressants?"

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/scandinavian-mi...

--I seem to recall that none of them repaid a penny of their WW2 war debt to the USA except for the Finns.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

This is an old post, but I'll go ahead and reply!

As others have said, they don't entangle much in foreign wars.

However, our economy is still more advanced/progressed then theirs. With as much burden continually being placed on the economy in the U.S., the U.S. is still the place where companies like Google and Apple sprout up.

Those kind of global-dominating companies rarely come from these European countries. And there's a reason for that.

Norway may have the "cool" perks of living there like have mandatory paid vacation, not working many hours, and governmnet-subsidized healthcare... but it stifles innovation, competition, and technology. So if you're okay with living in an economy that relies on more efficient economies' hand-me-downs in order to "progress", that's Norway (or most other European country for you).

Ever heard of these Swedish companies?:

IKEA
Volvo
Ericsson
H&M
Skype
Spotify

For a country of 10 million, that's pretty impressive.

"It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go - maybe even longer. If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play Go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs." - Piet Hut

Not

Not that impressive. ;)

I didn't say *nothing* has came from these countries. It's jus that Apple and Google have revolutionized entire industries and changed the world. IKEA and Volvo.... Well not so much.

I beg to differ

IKEA has revolutionized the furniture industry and has enabled millions of people to furnish their homes with low cost. IKEA is the epitome of how the free market benefits the poor.

"It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go - maybe even longer. If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play Go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs." - Piet Hut