No, Scandinavian Countries Are Not Socialist

By Gina Florio··  6 min read
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No, Scandinavian Countries Are Not Socialist

I never thought we’d see the day, but we’re now living in a time when there’s a mainstream conversation about whether our American economic system should be Socialist. Young college students, liberal arts professors, politicians, and pundits love to refer to the Socialist wonder of the Scandinavian countries.

People like Bernie Sanders, AOC, and Elizabeth Warren refer to the success of supposedly Socialist Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. 

“I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway,” Sanders said a few years ago, “and learn what they have accomplished for their working people.” AOC preaches all the time about how the U.S. should model our healthcare system on countries like Finland; this is just part of her “Democratic Socialist” dream. 

Even historian Michael Kazin, editor of Dissent magazine, summed it up nicely, “What Democratic Socialists want is closer to what exists in Scandinavia or Iceland.” The Socialism we see in Venezuela and Cuba looks ugly and unappealing, so Leftists instead point to Scandinavia to paint the perfect picture of Socialism.

Denmark has even less regulation on its economy than the United States does. 

But there’s one little thing all these people are getting wrong. The Scandinavian countries are not Socialist. Scandinavian Socialism is one of the biggest lies sold to you by the mainstream media. 

The Scandinavian Countries Are Free Market Economies

In 2015, Denmark’s then-prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen publicly corrected Bernie Sanders. "I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of Socialism," he said. "Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a Socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."

Indeed, the Scandinavian countries are free market economies. In fact, countries like Denmark have even less regulation on their economy than the United States does. They don’t have a federal minimum wage, which means private companies are free to set their wages however they so choose. Keep in mind that Leftist politicians like AOC and Bernie Sanders want to raise the minimum wage. I highly doubt they would be comfortable with preaching a message that celebrated no minimum wage. Additionally, employers can hire and fire their employees at their own discretion. Do you really think AOC wants our country to give this kind of freedom to private companies? 

Countries like Norway and Denmark have some of the strictest immigration laws in the world.

There’s no wealth tax in countries like Denmark and their corporate tax rate is actually lower than America’s. The wealthy are not punished for being wealthy in Scandinavian countries the way AOC fights for them to be in the U.S. These are very important details politicians conveniently leave out of their public conversations about “Scandinavian Socialism.”  

Not to mention that countries like Norway and Denmark have some of the strictest immigration laws in the world. It’s extremely difficult to emigrate to these countries and live there long-term. And if you do move to any of these countries, they expect you to assimilate to their culture, adopt their customs, and live among their homogenous population as if you’re one of them. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, both Sanders and AOC advocate for open borders and mass immigration. Plus, Leftists who support these politicians often insist that foreigners shouldn’t be encouraged to assimilate to American culture. “Diversity” is the ultimate goal, and assimilating to American culture would hinder the Left from reaching that goal. 

The Racially Homogenous Scandinavian Culture Allows for a Successful Welfare State

The fact that Scandinavian countries are so racially homogenous actually leads us to the next point, which is that these countries do have state-sanctioned, single-payer healthcare systems, and these are the Socialist welfare states that Democratic Socialists supposedly revere. They insist, well if Denmark gives their citizens free healthcare, why can’t America do the same?! 

In his latest book, United States of Socialism (a book I highly recommend reading if you want to understand the worldwide effects of socialist values), Dinesh D’Souza explains why the welfare state in Scandinavian countries can never be implemented successfully in the U.S. He points out that diversity is our strength in America, and the Left has allowed intersectional woke ideology to take over, which means it’s white vs. black, immigrant vs. native, and rich vs. poor. Their entire outlook in our country is us vs. them. 

These welfare states that provide free healthcare are an extension of the Scandinavian family principle.

However, countries like Denmark have a rich sense of togetherness. Yes, that togetherness is largely due to the fact that Scandinavian countries are racially homogenous — they’re all Scandinavian! For example, nearly 87% of people living in Denmark are of Danish descent. In America, we don’t have an overwhelming majority of one specific race or culture. It’s a majority white country, but those people who are white could be of German, Polish, Irish, Russian, or many other descents. 

Nordic culture preaches the politics of ethnic unity. D’Souza points out that they even get agitated when immigrants don’t assimilate to their culture. When you have a mindset like this, it’s very easy to feel like your entire country is your brethren, and that you have an obligation to help each other out, in a way. These welfare states that provide free healthcare to citizens are an extension of the family principle that exists in these small Scandinavian, racially homogenous countries. 

Population Size Is Also a Relevant Factor

Finally, let’s compare the population of Denmark to the U.S. The size and makeup of countries certainly play a large factor in what kind of economic system will be successful for them. You might be surprised to learn that Denmark’s population is only 5 million. Only 5 million. Los Angeles alone has 4 million residents, not to mention the 8.4 million people that live in New York City. We’ve seen Socialist policies fail in places like LA, so why do we think it would work in a large, incredibly diverse country of over 330 million people? 

Denmark’s population is only 5 million. Los Angeles alone has 4 million residents.

Closing Thoughts

Although the utopia of Socialism sounds good (free healthcare!), it’s not the reality of Scandinavian countries, and it’s certainly not an economic system that the U.S. has adopted. Socialism has failed in countless countries: Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Angola, Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Mali, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Just to name a few. Socialism has resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of millions of people.

No, we will not “get it right” this time in America. Socialism remains the most destructive economic system on earth, which is precisely why Scandinavian countries don’t adopt it — and why America shouldn’t adopt it either. 

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