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  1. #1
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    NORDIC COUNTRIES: an example for other governments?

    Interesting article by the Economist, referenced by Bill Gates during his Reddit chat yesterday.

    The Nordic countries: The next supermodel | The Economist

    From this American's perspective I think the Economist struck a balanced tone; there's certainly a lot we can learn from the Nordics (and by studying other countries in general) but all is not utopia over there, either.
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  2. #2
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    "Government’s share of GDP in Sweden, which has dropped by around 18 percentage points, is lower than France’s and could soon be lower than Britain’s."


    Still way higher than ours.
    We're letting a couple hundred billionaires scam us.

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    My take way is in the following....
    "
    ...
    They are out of date. In the 1970s and 1980s the Nordics were indeed tax-and-spend countries. Sweden’s public spending reached 67% of GDP in 1993. Astrid Lindgren, the inventor of Pippi Longstocking, was forced to pay more than 100% of her income in taxes. But tax-and-spend did not work: Sweden fell from being the fourth-richest country in the world in 1970 to the 14th in 1993.

    Since then the Nordics have changed course—mainly to the right. Government’s share of GDP in Sweden, which has dropped by around 18 percentage points, is lower than France’s and could soon be lower than Britain’s. Taxes have been cut: the corporate rate is 22%, far lower than America’s. The Nordics have focused on balancing the books. While Mr Obama and Congress dither over entitlement reform, Sweden has reformed its pension system (see Free exchange). Its budget deficit is 0.3% of GDP; America’s is 7%.

    On public services the Nordics have been similarly pragmatic. So long as public services work, they do not mind who provides them. Denmark and Norway allow private firms to run public hospitals. ...
    "

    At one time they were at the point of high taxation and high spend. It caused problems and things have improved as they moved to lower spending a low taxes. What is clear is that they TRIED the government-centric approach and turned away from it with success. Naturally it appears to be a work in progress we should learn from other nations success and failures and adapt what we will work here.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    ...turned away from it with success. Naturally it appears to be a work in progress we should learn from other nations success and failures and adapt what we will work here.
    I'm a past Master of Trial and Error, and I agree. Let's try to not hurt anyone.
    We're letting a couple hundred billionaires scam us.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    My take way is in the following....
    ""

    At one time they were at the point of high taxation and high spend. It caused problems and things have improved as they moved to lower spending a low taxes. What is clear is that they TRIED the government-centric approach and turned away from it with success. Naturally it appears to be a work in progress we should learn from other nations success and failures and adapt what we will work here.
    what we're missing is all these countries don't have to spend huge chunks of their GDP on their military
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  6. #6
    AM999's Liberal Facist
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    what we're missing is all these countries don't have to spend huge chunks of their GDP on their military
    This.

    It should also be noted that of the 4 nordic countries cited, 3 are smaller in population than New York City alone.
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  7. #7
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    Small, culturally and ethnically homogeneous countries with populations equal to Brooklyn NY. They ain't got our problems.

    It's interesting to see what they do there, but I think interesting is about as far as Nordic countries go towards being a governing model for a country like the US.

    edit: yeah, what Marc said.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by foto View Post
    Small, culturally and ethnically homogeneous countries with populations equal to Brooklyn NY. They ain't got our problems.
    Mostly the same problems—education, health care, jobs, income, taxation. They achieve different results. Quality of life. Longevity.

    How does size reduce our success? Poverty levels? This is a very rich country, with nearly 300 billionaires, way more than any other country. Diversity? I thought that was a strength. Definitely not national resources.
    We're letting a couple hundred billionaires scam us.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadHabit View Post
    Mostly the same problems—education, health care, jobs, income, taxation. They achieve different results. Quality of life. Longevity.

    How does size reduce our success? Poverty levels? This is a very rich country, with nearly 300 billionaires, way more than any other country. Diversity? I thought that was a strength. Definitely not national resources.
    Simply put, we are a culturally diverse group of people living in an absurdly large country. We can't get agree on anything, and can't getshit done. A huge amount of corruption without the same kind of national/cultural/ethnic identities that tie other groups of people together.

    They aren't exactly angels over there either, particularly with the racism. How many European Countries have officially recognized fascists running every election cycle and getting in office?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadHabit View Post
    Mostly the same problems—education, health care, jobs, income, taxation. They achieve different results. Quality of life. Longevity.

    How does size reduce our success? Poverty levels? This is a very rich country, with nearly 300 billionaires, way more than any other country. Diversity? I thought that was a strength. Definitely not national resources.
    Look at where the wealth is concentrated in the tax brackets...overwhelmingly the supermajority of money/wealth is in the USA is in the top income tax bracket. Last I knew, the top 25% by income tax bracket (over $80,000/year) account for 80 or 90% of the money/wealth. Rich? Well, a very few of us are, and overwhelmingly most are not...."rich" being of course in comparison to our cost of living and standard of living, not in comparison to Somalia.

    Health/care? Look at the obesity stats. I doubt the Nordic countries have our self-inflicted health problems to the extent we do.

    Taxes? We want **** and don't want to pay for it including a grossly overfunded military....I doubt the Nordic countries with no military to speak of have military spending problems...and they manage to pay for things to.

    Education? In the USA the system has been built adhoc to fleece kids into insane amount of debt, to the benefit of the profit ledgers of banks. Can't speak for education in the EU.
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  11. #11
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    A perfect example is how the Tea Party and the Occupy movement are basically the same political movement involving two different cultures of people. If the TP and the OWS got together, that would be something.

    Remember Iceland? They had a peaceful political revolution a couple of years ago, with no heavy trips. Just a couple of blushing politicians, people holding hands, and some apologies. Try that here.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by foto View Post
    They aren't exactly angels over there either, particularly with the racism. How many European Countries have officially recognized fascists running every election cycle and getting in office?
    Whoa, there. I think if you're going to point the ol' racist finger I think the US has a few skeletons in its closet that it needs to clean out first.

    Sure, there are a few, such as the Jobbik in Hungary. But perhaps you know of many more?

    Not saying that Europe is full of angels, quite far from it, but I'm not exactly sure where your argument is headed.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaxRomana View Post
    Whoa, there. I think if you're going to point the ol' racist finger I think the US has a few skeletons in its closet that it needs to clean out first.

    Sure, there are a few, such as the Jobbik in Hungary. But perhaps you know of many more?

    Not saying that Europe is full of angels, quite far from it, but I'm not exactly sure where your argument is headed.
    I can't say another country has racists because my country has racists? Well, if I can't talk about racism until the US has a national dialogue on the issues than I will cease and desist. Anyway, I guess I am not going anywhere with my argument, but I was talking about the cultural and ethnic homogeneity of Scandinavian countries, so I thought it was apropos.

    No offense intended. Sorry, I realize the use of the word "fascist" was wrong, how about "ultra-nationalistic"? There are quite a few.
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    Quote Originally Posted by foto View Post
    Simply put, we are a culturally diverse group of people living in an absurdly large country. We can't get agree on anything, and can't getshit done. A huge amount of corruption without the same kind of national/cultural/ethnic identities that tie other groups of people together.

    They aren't exactly angels over there either, particularly with the racism. How many European Countries have officially recognized fascists running every election cycle and getting in office?
    you do know sweden has a much lower population density than the us right? Norway has an even lower density than sweden.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker View Post
    you do know sweden has a much lower population density than the us right? Norway has an even lower density than sweden.
    Yea, but I don't understand how is this contrary to anything he said?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaxRomana View Post
    Whoa, there. I think if you're going to point the ol' racist finger I think the US has a few skeletons in its closet that it needs to clean out first.

    Sure, there are a few, such as the Jobbik in Hungary. But perhaps you know of many more?

    Not saying that Europe is full of angels, quite far from it, but I'm not exactly sure where your argument is headed.
    I think that with all the introspection on racism we get here in this country it's justified to point out that the examples of a better way may not be any different in that respect.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    My take way is in the following....
    ""

    At one time they were at the point of high taxation and high spend. It caused problems and things have improved as they moved to lower spending a low taxes. What is clear is that they TRIED the government-centric approach and turned away from it with success. Naturally it appears to be a work in progress we should learn from other nations success and failures and adapt what we will work here.
    Too bad you don't understand the main difference. While the US political system is governed by interests groups and big money, in Europe that is not the case, hence they can react to mistakes and adjust policy. The US could manage its problems far better if Congress would not base policy on the wishes of the highest bidders. The US political system is built to concentrate wealth in the hands of a tiny minority, because it is controlled by a tiny minority.
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