Monday, February 04, 2013
[…] One. The people of Denmark do as they are told to do, think what they are told to think, and never question authority. Minds are controlled by state propaganda, and the janteloven, keeps people servile and compliant. One cannot expect any help if something bad happens to you, as I was reminded a couple of months ago when an American student was attacked on a bus here in broad daylight and beaten up for being a ‘Chinese boy’ while every single passenger turned a blind eye.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. […].
A close-knit community. [...]
Two. Denmark is not the best country in the world, as if there could ever be such a thing. Almost every week there is a report saying so in the media. Danes believe their flag is descended from Heaven and that they are the chosen ones. The country supposedly has the best restaurant and food, the happiest people, the smartest society, the most environmentally friendly civilization on the face of the planet, the best city in the world to live in. I could go on.
(Is it impolite to mention also that it’s also the cancer capital of the world, has a huge problem with alcoholism and suicide, is Europe’s second most wasteful nation and is addicted to coal and has the fourth largest environmental footprint of any country in the world?) Is it a case of ‘we think OSDS’?
Three. Relating to two. This week – and I just have to share this with someone because nobody really in the international press outside of specialist international policy websites has reported it – Denmark flunked out of pretending to be green! Yes, you read it here first. Extra, extra! Greenland, which ahem, is kind of independent and allowed to do what it wants as long as Copenhagen agrees to it, is being sold to the Chinese! Well, not all of it, just the bits that contain uranium. This, apparently, would make supposedly anti-nuclear Denmark one of the biggest exporters of uranium on the planet.
They don’t want it in their back yard – they want it in yours!
But it’s not just uranium. Eco-friendly Denmark wants a slice of the oil pie too. Denmark’s version of the-historical-German-party-whose-name-cannot-be-mentioned-in-polite-company- said that ‘Future generations will not forgive us,’ if Denmark does not go for the massive oil and uranium grab on turf that it controls. And the main parties all seemed to agree.
Read in full at Doomstead Diner
By the same author:
Saturday, February 02, 2013
The idea of lean Nordic government will come as a shock both to French leftists who dream of socialist Scandinavia and to American conservatives who fear that Barack Obama is bent on “Swedenisation”. They are out of date. In the 1970s and 1980s the Nordics were indeed tax-and-spend countries. Sweden’s public spending reached 67% of GDP in 1993. Astrid Lindgren, the inventor of Pippi Longstocking, was forced to pay more than 100% of her income in taxes. But tax-and-spend did not work: Sweden fell from being the fourth-richest country in the world in 1970 to the 14th in 1993. [...]
On public services the Nordics have been similarly pragmatic. So long as public services work, they do not mind who provides them. Denmark and Norway allow private firms to run public hospitals. Sweden has a universal system of school vouchers, with private for-profit schools competing with public schools. Denmark also has vouchers—but ones that you can top up. When it comes to choice, Milton Friedman would be more at home in Stockholm than in Washington, DC.
All Western politicians claim to promote transparency and technology. The Nordics can do so with more justification than most. The performance of all schools and hospitals is measured. Governments are forced to operate in the harsh light of day: Sweden gives everyone access to official records. Politicians are vilified if they get off their bicycles and into official limousines. The home of Skype and Spotify is also a leader in e-government: you can pay your taxes with an SMS message.
The new Nordic model is not perfect. Public spending as a proportion of GDP in these countries is still higher than this newspaper would like, or indeed than will be sustainable. Their levels of taxation still encourage entrepreneurs to move abroad: London is full of clever young Swedes. Too many people—especially immigrants—live off benefits. The pressures that have forced their governments to cut spending, such as growing global competition, will force more change. The Nordics are bloated compared with Singapore, and they have not focused enough on means-testing benefits. [...]
Photo and read more at The Economist