We Could Learn a lot from the Scandinavians

The Conversation has run this interesting article suggesting that we could learn a lot from the Scandinavian Countries re Public policy.  It is all about comparing countries with a long history of governing to improve the welfare of the people and accepting high taxes with our far less people friendly policies that help minimize the taxes of the rich.

Funny thing is that people like the Yanks have been saying for years that what the Scandinavians are doing will wreck the economy despite the durable success of the Scandinavian countries.  The Yanks and clowns like Hockey don’t seem to understand that good health, excellent education, a fairer distribution of income etc. actually help economies stay healthy.

Worth a read and worth discussion.

The OECD has identified Australia as one of a small number of countries in which long working hours are common. In comparison, parents in Sweden and the other main Nordic countries have working weeks shorter than the OECD average. This is in addition to their substantial paid parental leave and publicly provided child care.

Shorter working hours allow parents from Sweden to pick up their children after work without the time pressures Australian parents face.

Australia will probably move to make child-care centre hours more flexible to suit our long working hours. However, the government should encourage shorter working hours, which are more compatible with family life.


3 thoughts on “We Could Learn a lot from the Scandinavians”

  1. Indeed.

    Just take a look at Norway – with a small amount of arable land and a very short growing season, not too much in the way of grazing either; quite good (until recently) fisheries, good but not unlimited supplies of timber, some hydroelectric power which requires hefty supplies of scarce capital for each station, a few minerals …. and then they hit the jackpot with offshore oil.

    Instead of enriching a handful of scoundrels with their oil wealth as we did in Australia with our cornucopia of mineral riches, they put the money into such things as their sovereign wealth funds.

    Now the Norwegians are getting rich and the stupid Australians are becoming poorer and poorer.

    Wonder what we have to do to persuade the Norwegians to buy Australia off our current Overseas “Investors(??)” and Owners?

  2. What you notice about the Scandinavians is that they have done sensible things over a long period of time. It is not as though Norway got smart with oil.
    Living in a country that freezes over in winter may help people think ahead.

  3. Doing sensible things over a long period is considered a felony among Australia’s wilfully ignorant and lazy decision makers – so that’s out.

    Way back in the ‘forties, Havelock Ellis asserted that those who lived in cold countries were more dynamic – and for that he was branded a racist a generation later. I think that it is a bit broader and far more complex than that: living anywhere there are climatic and topographic challenges does stimulate both vision and vigour …. but it must be built on social foundations that allow new ideas to emerge, changes in habits to happen and social mobility to occur; there must also be the prudent distribution and use of resources (especially long-term credit). Religion or ideology must not be allowed to impede either curiosity or experimentation – nor should they dominate universal education to the extent that children grow up as social cripples, ignorant of the real world and its demands. If such a society is involved in war then must be only necessary war so that its blood and its treasure are not wasted on one battlefield after another and thereby become weak, poor and helpless.

    Yes, we could learn a lot from the Scandinavians but we choose not to do so.

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