Is Norway's government better than U.S.?

“…capitalist America, now the most unequal of all the developed nations, and consequently a democracy no more. Political scientists say it has become an oligarchy — a country run at the expense of its citizenry by and for the super rich…”

“…As a result, Norway ranks with Sweden, Denmark, and Finland among the most income-equal countries in the world, and its standard of living tops the charts…”

See also about childcare, etc.

On the other hand “Consider the Norwegian welfare state. It’s universal. In other words, aid to the sick or the elderly is not charity, grudgingly donated by elites to those in need. It is the right of every individual citizen.”

I also found the following interesting:
“By the time kids enter free primary school at age six, they are remarkably self-sufficient, confident, and good-natured. They know their way around town, and if caught in a snowstorm in the forest, how to build a fire and find the makings of a meal. (One kindergarten teacher explained, “We teach them early to use an axe so they understand it’s a tool, not a weapon.”)”

If you are American, do you think Norway has a better government? (please read the article)

If so, are there any politicians that can help the U.S. to become more like Norway?

More about why Norway and the Nordic model are so good:

Norway’s model works well in small countries with little economic diversity or geographical diversity. Norway is the size of medium US states. Of course its easy to look good.

OK, resident Norwegian speaking. And…

WTF? No, really, what? We have axe-wielding six year olds with the confidence and self-sufficiency to survive in the wilderness? Doesn’t sound like any small child I’ve ever met around here. My guess is that they’ll most likely last five very terrified minutes, before being eaten by the nearest wildlife. And as for finding the makings of a meal, I doubt most of them would be able to do that in their own kitchens.

Also, I don’t think they often have the opportunity to be caught in snowstorms in forests, to begin with, so I’m not really sure what that’s about. Maybe I don’t live far enough out in the sticks, though.

And “remarkably good-natured”? Um, no. As far as I can tell, our kids are exactly the same screaming, useless, snot-nosed brats that you’ll find in most places. Or in other words: Exactly what you’d expect.

I mean, Scandinavia is great, and I don’t particularly want to live anywhere else. But let’s not mythologize it, OK?

This is probably true. Also, Norway has an abundance of oil revenue. Per head of population Norway’s oil income must surely dwarf any other Western democracy. If we are to look at the benefits of the Scandanavian model Sweden, Denmark etc are the countires we should be comparing with not Norway. Norway is not a comparable country to anywhere else.

To continue my earlier post: The OP’s link seems to have some odd notions indeed about Norwegian childhood.

Yeah, no kidding? That would be monstrous for most Norwegians, too, I think, and I’m guessing we would cry massive foul it that was going on. Again, my impression is that both kindergarten and school are quite a lot lighter on the axe-wielding than this writer for some reason seems to think. And, anyway, I don’t know what “taking away” your children is supposed to mean here. Most Norwegian kids are in kindergarten when they’re small, because both parents usually have jobs. It’s as simple as that. No one is taking your kids away, it’s quite voluntary on the part of the parents. Then, the kids go to school, because children go to school, same as in most places, So, I don’t see what’s so weird about either of those concepts.

BTW: The last time we did this kind of thread, Scandinavians were all pig-fuckers. This time, apparently, we’re juvenile axe-murderers. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Yeah. I’ll get back to you on this when I stop laughing.

Just to clarify-- If Norway were a US state, it would be ranked 23rd, between Colorado and South Carolina.

As an East coast Scotsman I can confirm my distant ancestors believed Norwegians to be pig fucking axe murderers.:slight_smile: Now, how about some of that oil money as reparations? Unfortunately we wasted our oil revenue on drug addicts, single mums and deep fried mars bars.

Keep in mind that Norway is not composed of states in the way the US is. The US does not have “an education system”; it has 50, or more, educations systems. You could not make the US like Norway unless you changed the constitution or were able to make all 50 states, individually, like Norway.

In technical terms: the US is a Federal State, while Norway is a Unitary State

I’ve lived half my life in Sweden and the other half in the US. I much prefer the US, warts and all.

There’s some mismatch with the thread title and the OP. Government does a lot more the redistribute wealth and income. Or teach children to wield axes(?). I would want to compare security, economic development, innovation, conflict resolution, management of public goods, various freedoms, etc.

If we’re talking about redistribution, I don’t really care if other people are rich, so long as standards of living are generally increasing over the long term. I believe they are. When I work harder, study harder, and delay gratification to increase my future income, I like not having the bulk of that new income taxed away.

That all said, I like safety nets. But those come in many different flavors. I don’t know if Norway or somewhere else does them best, or if they’re even one-size-fits-all. But they cost money. And if I’m the one with the money, that’s where it has to come from.

Six-year-olds in the wilderness with axes aside, there’s a point here and it’s not just about Norway. Denmark and Sweden are also strong and successful social democracies, and indeed so is most of western Europe, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, but the Scandinavian countries remain the iconic examples.

Social democracy might be defined as a system where the government plays a significant role in public institutions and in upholding important social values including a basic social solidarity. Wikipedia has a pretty good though lengthy definition from which I adapted the following that I think gets the idea across succinctly: Social democracy is a political ideology that supports economic and social interventions by government to promote social justice within the framework of a regulated capitalist economy.

Like any political system, social democracy is a continuum and all democracies embrace its principles to at least some extent. What is noteworthy is that the US embraces it by far the least, and in that respect is an outlier among all modern democracies, the closest thing to unfettered capitalism. The remarkable absence of any system of universal health care is pretty much a proxy for everything else. Constant drumbeats from the right lately seem to be turning it into a place where “liberal” has practically become a dirty word, and “socialist” is pretty much synonymous with “criminal” and possibly “traitor”. In that respect this thread overlaps a great deal with this one, where a lot of those issues have been discussed.

If you have time, I would love to hear some reasons why. I’ve never even visited Sweden.

I’ve never been able to verify this statement from an interview of Lee Ohanian by Russ Roberts. http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/08/ohanian_on_the.html

Maybe this is already a measure being used somewhere. How much additional money do you have to earn to pay someone so that after taxes (both yours and the recipient’s), he or she has $1 left?

Not really. They have a weak military, and this country is on the verge of having one as well.

With the caveats that (a) it’s difficult to compare tax rates (even marginal rates) between countries because there are so many different factors involved, and (b) Sweden really does have a high maximum marginal tax rate, this sounds like bullshit to me.

According to this, Sweden has a maximum marginal tax rate of 56.9% compared to a maximum rate in the US of 46.3%. And according to this, it’s 59.7% in Sweden as compared to 55.9% in the US – that is, the highest marginal rate you’d pay as a combination of federal, state, and local income tax depending on where you live.

So unless both those comparisons are way off, or there’s something else the guy isn’t telling us, if you can’t afford to hire a house painter in Sweden, you can’t afford to hire one in the US, either.

It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t lived there just how pervasive the government is in Swedish life. I felt smothered. I worked 2 jobs, one full time in IT (“high” salary), plus an evening and weekend job servicing satellite receivers and I still barely scraped by. Not because I didn’t make any money, but because the taxes took so much and as a “high income” earner I didn’t qualify for any of the subsidies.

When I moved to the states, doing the same job for the same company, I tripled my net income.

But it was more than money, it was the feeling that nothing happened in the country unless the government approved. Everything was handled by some agency, often multiple agencies. Filling out forms was a career path.

Reason I moved was because I realized I was the odd duck. People around me loved the feeling of being taken care of. They saw it as a fair trade. I realized nothing would ever change so I left. I’m much happier now.

Maybe there are some business taxes or VAT or something added into the mix. E.g. I make money, pay taxes, pay the paint business, who pays taxes, and then pays the painter, who pays taxes. But I’m not seeing that add up as claimed either.

I see no one seemed to dispute this:

The webpage also said:
“In the U.S., full-time salaried workers supposedly laboring 40 hours a week actually average 49, with almost 20% clocking more than 60. These people, on the other hand, worked only about 37 hours a week, when they weren’t away on long paid vacations”

And talks about a universal welfare system, etc.

The article also said that only 11% of American workers are in a union while in Norway it is 52% and Sweden it is 70%.