Bernie's Right—America Should Be More Like Sweden
. . . and unsurprisingly, Sweden should be much more like America.
Johan Norberg is an excellent economist who has taken the time to write and nice concise synopsis on what made Sweden prosperous, what eroded that prosperity, and what is now rebuilding that prosperity.
As expected, he finds that the necessary ingredients are republican governance (Sweden's Constitutional Monarchy), free markets, reformed religions (Sweden's Lutheran religious history, and its work ethic), significant limitations on government regulation of the business, personal, and trade elements in society, and a tightly cohesive homogenous population. He also admits that the cohesive homogenous population is not possible in the US, and is no longer a possibility in Sweden due to recent immigrations.
The basic story is that Sweden became wealthy at about the same time as America 1800-1950, and this occurred prior to the period of the Swedish Social Democratic experiment, a failed experiment which reduced Sweden from 4 wealthiest nation in the world, to the 14th. A swift and steep fall from grace.
Today, Sweden is digging out of its failed tryst with socialism by privatizing, becoming reacquainted with free markets, and trade.
Read the whole thing it is well worth your while.
Another Climate Alarmist Admits Real Motive Behind Warming Scare
. . . redistribute wealth.
"Have doubts? Then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:
“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.
So what is the goal of environmental policy?
“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.
For those who want to believe that maybe Edenhofer just misspoke and doesn’t really mean that, consider that a little more than five years ago he also said that “the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.'"
All that remains unspoken is the desire to bell the American economy with massive regulations and restrictions. Why?
Thank American-style capitalism for this chart - AEI
America is economically accelerating away from the other nations, even the wealthiest nations. Note that Sweden began to reform its welfare state just before its economic performance began improving in the 1990s.
Sweden 'slimmest Nordic welfare state '
"'The generosity of the system has declined," said Gothenburg University politics professor Jonas Hinnfors. "Much of this already started changing in the 1980s and especially in the 1990s.'
In the wake of a banking crisis in the early nineties, Stockholm scrapped housing subsidies, reformed the pension system and slashed the healthcare budget. A voucher-based system that allows publicly funded, privately managed free schools to compete with state schools was introduced, and has drawn attention from right-wing politicians elsewhere, including Britain's Conservative Party.
In 2006, conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's government accelerated the pace of reform, tightening the criteria for unemployment benefits and sick pay while lowering taxes. Income tax in Sweden is now lower than in France, Belgium and Denmark, and public spending as a share of GDP has declined from a record 71.0 percent in 1993 to 53.3 percent last year.
Once the darling of progressives, Sweden has become a model for free-market-leaning thinkers including British weekly The Economist, which last year hailed the scaled-down Nordic model as "the next supermodel."
"They offer a blueprint of how to reform the public sector, making the state far more efficient," it wrote."
Tragically, this is one of the most useful lessons coming out of Europe today, yet neither other European countries nor America's left/progressives are willing to accept this received wisdom, and implement it. The real problem is the old progressive system allowed extensive graft and corruption, and politician find this invigorating, while the reformed system allows little room for graft and corruption.
The other received wisdom coming from Europe is that the endemic political corruption, family structure, and business/employment relations of the southern European countries make them a model to avoid at all costs. They will likely return to a sub-first world economic status unless they change.
As the article discusses, the budget bite which is affecting nearly all of Europe, and nearly all of the United States is serious, and demands political, economic, and welfare state reforms. Ultimately, I suspect that all will be forced to move to a blend of American and Swedish models. Here at the End of History we are finding that while we understand the macro level pillars of republican governance, free markets, and reformed religions, there is much to accomplish at the micro level implementing the three pillars with respect to each institution. So, applying the End of History received wisdom to education means determining whether vouchers, or some other mechanism works better than public schools, and whether those vouchers should be extended to all schools, or only secular schools, etc.
Back to the subject at hand. America is accelerating away from the rest of the world economically. This is causing much consternation among the elite in many nations. Sweden has apparently found a way to maintain a safety net which is greater than that offered by America but also create greater economic growth.
Global warming is a policy run amok, its underlying goals are venal. The idea that limiting economic growth, and per capita GDP will somehow be a benefit is wrong. We have seen that over time wealth limits population, and solves problems like pollution. This will continue to happen and improved the lives of all. Limiting economic growth in light of this is a human rights violation of the greatest magnitude.
Both Sweden and America can learn much form each others economic models. Europe would do well to forget the punitive attempts to shackle America's economy, and instead take to heart the best options arriving from the American, and Swedish economic models.
I've traveled in Europe, I like Europe, I wouldn't mind living in Europe, for a while, mostly because with the Maddog family income we would live like Kings, er, and Queens. And no, I am not bragging here, I am making an observation about how low the median incomes are thought most of Europe. Don't worry, analysis to follow.
One thing I noticed, even early in the 1990s, when traveling through Italy/Europe, was the vastly lower standard of living between Europe and the US. On a trip in 1994, we took the ferry from our Bellagio home base to Menaggio where we rented bikes and made a loop riding the SS340 down to the Funivia station just North of Argegno, riding the Funivia up to Pigra, and then following the SP13, turning right onto the SP14, following it back to the SS340 which we followed back to Menaggio, and the ferry ride home.
Great ride, not too long, and mostly downhill so it was easy to take in the scenery, and watch the people. This is a less touristed part of Italy/Switzerland. I was surprised by how lower middle class everything felt. This feeling never left me during that trip. It has reappeared every subsequent trip. The further from the big city tourist areas, the more everything feels like lower middle class US.
When I first stumbled upon this post by Mark Perry, I was not surprised, but I suspect many will be.
If Sweden Left The EU and Joined the US, It Would Be the Poorest U.S. State, Below Even Mississippi
I remember reading an article stating that if we normed US income so median US income was 100, Swedish median income would equal 67, about the same as the median black income in the US. Sadly, I was not able to find that article on second look.
The Mises Institute elaborates in this article:
If Sweden and Germany Became US States, They Would be Among the Poorest States
That Germany has such a low standard of living always surprises me. After all Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe, with low unemployment, and a driving economy. But the standard of living for the average German is pretty meager. And when one accounts for Purchase Power Parity, just how meager become indelibly apparent.
So, How does Britain do in this comparison?
Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi | Coffee House
Ouch! Time made the counter argument, er, sorta, and in inimitable Time fashion won the argument against the position Time staked out, dead bang! No, really, these people are wankers of the first order.
Britain Is Not Poorer Than Alabama
Tim Worstall runs the numbers, proving Time and it contributor are wankers. Time must not have had the time to run the numbers, or perhaps did not have the maths acumen. Worstall finds that yes indeed, Britain is poorer than every US State, even Mississippi.
Britain Is Poorer Than Any US State: Yes, Even Mississippi
In 2004, Timbre did an economic analysis of GDP between the US and Europe, and found Europe was lagging far behind the US.
Timbro: EU versus USA
Here are some GDP comparisons from Demographia:
Sweden: GDP Per Capital Compared to US From 1960
Germany: GDP Per Capital Compared to US From 1960
Does that put this issue to rest? The real issue for Europe is that America is pulling away from Europe, and will continue to do so. How long before the US standard of living is 4 times Europe, or more? The Obama Presidency has slowed the American economic train, but it seem unlikely that will last indefinitely, and the European train is slowing even more rapidly, so even if America continues to slow it will continue to pull away from Europe.