Skip to comments.NORWAY BREAKS WITH SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
Posted on 10/05/2013 7:40:52 AM PDT by Dysart
Largely uncommented on in the US press, Europes long-standing social democratic tilt has changed. During recent years, almost all Western European nations have seen a dramatic fall in support for the traditional Social Democratic parties, which for so long have dominated the political landscapes. In response, the centre-left parties have morphed, moving towards greater emphasis on the benefits of free markets and individual responsibility. In several countries the former communist parties now claim that they fill the role of traditional Social Democrats. A new breed of modernized centre-left parties is likely to replace several centre‑right governments during coming years. The third consecutive loss for the German Social Democrats illustrates the continuing difficulties for Europes labor movements to gather the strong support that they previously almost took for granted.
Until recently oil-rich Norway has remained unique, as the only nation where Social Democrats have resisted change to highly generous welfare benefits. In 1999 the former Swedish social democratic minister of business, Björn Rosengren, famously called Norway the last Soviet state due to the lack of willingness to adopt market policies. But now even Norway is shifting with the recent election of a centre‑right government formed by Erna Solberg. Making the transition from a full-scale welfare state to a system which consistently rewards work more than public handouts will be a difficult one for Norway. Hopefully, the newly elected government will draw inspiration from the neighbor to the east.
Politicians in Norway for long admired the Swedish social system, seeing their larger neighbor as a pioneer of Social Democratic policies.
Recently however, particularly the left has begun to emphasize the uniqueness of the Norwegian Welfare Model rather than the Scandinavian Welfare Model. Swedish policies have even been used in the recent election as deterrence by the left. It is easy to see why. The current centre-right government in Sweden, elected in 2006 and re‑elected in 2010, has focused on a broad reform agenda. The workfare policies introduced include: somewhat less generous benefits, tax reductions aimed particularly at those with lower incomes, liberalizations of the temporary employment contracts and a gate-keeping mechanism for receiving sick and disability benefits.
The policies have successfully addressed the problem of overutilization of welfare benefits. The number of those on sick leave in Sweden has fallen from around 212,000 individuals in 2005 to 136,000 in 2012. At the same time, the number of individuals on early retirement has fallen from 557,000 to 378,000. If we look at the total share supported by various government benefits, we can see that this figure has been reduced from 25 to 16 percent of the working age population between 2005 and 2012 (adjusted to full‑time equivalents). Not a bad feat given that the period has been shaped by the global economic downturn.
Until recently, Norway has continued on the path of very generous public handouts. Contrary to Sweden, overutilization of welfare systems has thus continued in Norway. Erna Solberg utilized this fact to criticize the Social Democratic policies during the recent election campaign. Solberg noted that the working age population which depends on welfare benefits has increased slightly from 31.2 percent in the beginning of 2006 to 31.7 percent in the beginning of 2013. After adjusting the figures to full‑time equivalents, and thus making them more comparable to the Swedish data given above, the Norwegian magazine Aftenposten calculates that the share has been stable around 20 percent of the population since 2005.
By relying on workfare policies, Sweden has thus gone from having considerably more to quite less dependency on public handouts. It should be noted that both countries are very healthy. The high share on sick benefits, disability benefits and early retirement is not a sign of bad health. Rather, it is a combination of overutilization of welfare systems by segments of the population at one hand, and of the willingness of politicians to hide the true unemployment by classifying individuals as outside the labor force on the other hand.
The difference between the more work-fare oriented Sweden and the more welfare oriented Norway are also seen in the number of hours worked. Swedes on average spend 14 percent more hours working than their neighbors to the west. (In fact, as my brother has shown, in terms of hours worked per working age adult, Sweden has recently even outpaced the US). Particularly young Norwegians are considered to have a notoriously weak working ethic, while Swedish workers are highly praised in Norway. Interestingly, since Norway has such significant oil resources, the countries welfare state is supported by lower taxes than Sweden. Clearly, overly generous welfare systems will create welfare dependency even when combined with more moderate tax levels.
Norway remains, in many regards, one of the most affluent nations in the world thanks to its oil‑wealth. But whilst Sweden and Denmark have introduced significant market reforms during recent decades (Denmark recently even ranked slightly above the US in the Heritage/WSJ index of economic freedom), Norway has resisted change. It is of course an exaggeration to call Norway the last Soviet state, although this notion remains popular in Sweden.
A more nuanced perspective is that although Norway has yet to introduce market liberalizations which promote competition, reduce state involvement in the economy and promote workfare policies, it seems headed in this direction. Norwegians can continue to afford an overly generous welfare system. But they have good reasons to be concerned over the social and economic consequences that follow long‑term welfare dependency and deterioration of the work ethic. Like many other European systems, Norway has much to gain in bringing in more emphasis on individual responsibility and free markets in the traditional Social Democratic system.
It would be almost comical that Obama still seeks to fundamentally transform the U.S. into a Euro-style Social Democracy even as they edge away, however slowly, from it. And Obama fails to see the scale problem here, which is far from amusing. For this reason it is important to stall his overtures and run out the clock on his reign.
But they have infested ALL of the parties with the socialist and muslim kommisars now, so the formal structure of the government matters little.
It’s still red, jihadish and homo.
And overtly criminal and corrupt.
What a handle for an American president!
Should we just sit around and let the nation continue it’s final drift into anarchy, or shall we establish a third political party that would draw votes from both of these parties engaged in incest?
The fanatical left in America has always looked to Europe as an example, which means our fanatics have always been a few steps behind. We have yet to make the mistakes of other fanatical leftists, and our kooks are still true believers, lacking the sense needed to avoid the pitfalls other leftist fanatics have made.
The countries slowest to fail like Norway are the ones with the most natural resources to exploit and export.
That’s how you pay for Social Democracy- get the US to buy your resources and provide you with free military defense. They all would have failed long ago if the US had developed a sound energy policy and pulled the military out of Europe.
Somehow the genius Obama thinks we can afford it while still providing this worldwide subsidy and operating at a trade deficit. Math is not a good subject for him.
“Math is not a good subject for him.”
Math old skool, he nu skool.
Wish we could do the same here.
At the end of Zero’s reign, we’re going to have to cut every federal agency by 75% just to take out the trash.
That's a fact.
Sadly, when the populace finally sees they have been conned, the Socialist cancer has spread to the entire body of the culture, so every "fix" is sabotaged in the long run and the population descends into serfdom or worse.
In the News/Activism forum, on a thread titled NORWAY BREAKS WITH SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, IbJensen wrote:
What a handle for an American president!
Should we just sit around and let the nation continue its final drift into anarchy, or shall we establish a third political party that would draw votes from both of these parties engaged in incest?
With the socialist/communists in complete control of the visual and print media who’s aim is to split any political opposition. Talk of a 3rd party effort might be supported by them. But their objective would be a continued march to eliminate political opposition.
There must be an infastructure for a 3rd party to have for it to be creditable not only to win an election but to sucessfully govern particularly in a democratic system . You need party members in the sundry legislature and city councils etc to to get your program in place. That means you must have a bottom up local party apparatus knocking on doors promoting and supporting it .
The democrat party has this to a certain extent particularly in citys where they control the functions of governing. A tree cut down, a sewer cleaned, a sidewalk or street repaired ,a zoning change, getting a handout. When the resources (money) gets limited and services allocated dis pro-portionably. Those that get prefered treatment are party members on the receiving end at the expence of others who don’t have the “clout”.
When that happens the opportunity opens up for political opposition to point that out and seize the advantage.The problem is that that is happening but the so called Republican leadership is not following up. But the sundry tea party groups can and should by getting conservative candidates elected to office.
As far as dealing with the media is concerned. It should be called out and exposed for its complicity supporting the regimes effort to create racial strife which has devolved into killings of innocent white and hispanic murders because of their reporting of the Zimmerman/Martin case. In which they used a security guard trying to do his job. As a vicious racist killing by whites, then hispanics, and the attacker a victim because the President of the United States said so.
The mental level of liberal is that of a soccer team supporter. It has nothing to do with logic, but all jingoist emotion and team player worship. It is why they love Mexican illegals flying their flags in America. Once they loven Obama like a stupid soccer team, you cannot change the mind of these stubborn retards with macho ego invested in it.
Liberals are Hitlers.
I'm sure that you have been told the same. How do you respond?
Maybe close-knit homogeneous societies can manage an extensive welfare state better than enormous, ethnically diverse societies can without massive fraud and inefficiency. It's more a matter of everybody knowing and keeping an eye on each other, than of anything ideological.
But the model seems to be breaking down in Scandinavia as society grows more complex and more diverse and old village habits die out. As programs and benefits expand, the available funds may have trouble keeping up.
Further, I assume the presumption is that we are "capitalist" in economic structure. That is false. They should glance at Hong Kong or Singapore or the Aussies to observe much freer marketplace systems.
We truly have a mixed economic climate here. Crony Capitalism, yes; this is not new. Elements of socialism and fascism, unfortunately growing alarmingly more so. Pockets of entrepreneurship and free market advocates maneuvering to operate in the face of it all? Yes, still.
I believe the rewarding, bountiful returns on investment and sweat equity of the latter is superior.
Obama of course on on the cutting edge of societal evolution. Unforturnately, he’s stuck in 1965. But O’s bringing us his vision of the past, whether we want it or not.
The stupidest thing about this article is that it claims left-win parties are going to start to become “free market/libertarian” oriented.
Not going to happen, but what will (and has started to happen) is that right wing (genuinely conservative or libertarian) political parties will raise up to challenge the left-wing socialism.
Think UKIP as one of the prime examples.