What Makes Scandinavia Different? | Jacobin

What Makes Scandinavia Different? | Jacobin

It is no surprise, therefore, to find neoliberals and conservatives devoting considerable intellectual energy to delegitimizing the “Nordic Model” of public welfare.

Earlier this year, the Institute of Economic Affairs, a British neoliberal think tank, devoted an entire book to Scandinavian “unexceptionalism.” The aim was to explain away the success story of the Nordic welfare states, arguing in classical Hayekian fashion that the success of the Nordic countries predates the era of public welfare, and that anything exceptional and successful about it has vanished since then.

Meanwhile in the US, where the Bernie Sanders campaign has thrown ideas of Nordic social democracy into the political mainstream, National Review’s Kevin Williamson has adopted the opposite strategy. In a couple of recent pieces he acknowledges the continuing exceptionalism of the Nordic experience and admits that the Nordic countries have indeed been relatively successful until very recently.

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