Free Trade and Taxes – Denmark Edition


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

12 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    The big question is can a sprawling country with a diverse population sustain a system similar to what the Danes have.
    I may sound biased here due to my half Canuk heritage but I would suggest that the answer probably lies with Canada. They are doing it very slowly but I think that Canada is inching towards the Danish model. The Canadians are gradually doing away with their (modest by American standards) culture wars. Their politics over the last decade have put the country into a position of general fiscal balance (yes they’re running a deficit now but umm recession? Keynes would approve.) They’re cold. I’d hazard that the Canadians are the closest thing we have to a halfway point between America and Northern Europe. So watching the Canadian experience may be instructional towards possible courses for America.

    One question; did Yglessia or anyone else mention what the Swedes position on the drug war is? I know there’s some libertinism in some parts but I honestly don’t know how much prohibitioning they do over the entire family of drugs in general.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    One thing to take away from this is that our discourse on what are acceptable possibilities is constrained and limited. Many of these options are just not considered conventional wisdom.

    While I would like a more egalitarian society, I have faced the fact that many people do not . There is a significant segment of the electorate that has a visceral dislike for poor people. They believe the poor are leaches who don’t want to work and are lazy. It is easy to find criticism of the health care reform, based on “I don’t want to pay for lazy people to sit around in trailer parks and use drugs.” So any attempt to create a more egalitarian society will be met with that criticism.

    These also violate core “conservative” principles so they obviously don’t work, are unconstitutional and are , of course, socialism.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

      “There is a significant segment of the electorate that has a visceral dislike for poor people. They believe the poor are leaches who don’t want to work and are lazy.”

      Sounds like more stereotype than reality, buddy.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

        well i certainly don’t think all conservatives believe that, but i have heard that sentiment from media conservatives, politicians and many, many times from ordinary citizens. I’ve heard it to many times for it just to be one or two cranks.

        Amusingly I was a getting a hair cut years ago and the barber was going on and on about the evils of welfare and how people sat around on welfare and did nothing. As he was snipping around my left ear he said he wished the word welfare could be taken out of the language. I couldn’t help myself and told him the word welfare is in the constitution. He stopped cutting and I pondered whether I was going to leave the barber with a bit less ear. he didn’t cut me, but finished my hair cut with a few huffs and puffs. I didn’t go back to him again.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

          Why not? Isn’t he entitled to make a living?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            oh sure he is. i just didn’t want my blood spilled due to my own inability to silently listen to him rant. I gather that one of the perks of being a barber is getting a captive audience.Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

              Yeah I quit going to a barber because he was Patriots fan. So no judgment here.

              In fairness, I think those people exist, I just challenge the notion that it’s a significant portion of the population. I also think sometimes our focus on economic inequality in America masks the relative uniqueness of our political egalitarianism. After all Denmark not only has institutionalized class in their monarchy but like all of Europe (and most of Asia) has yet to elect or elevate minorities to positions of political power like America has.Report

  3. Avatar Will says:

    What, is it Denmark Day at the League or something?Report

  4. Avatar Justus says:

    You seem to be saying that Denmark’s government policies have resulted in an egalitarian society, but everything I have ever read shows them to be a fairly equal society historically in terms of a homogeneous culture, religion, and socio-economic background.

    Per Wikipedia: “82.0% of the inhabitants of Denmark and 90.3% of the ethnic Danes are members of the Lutheran state church. About 9% of the population has foreign citizenship—a large portion of those are from other Scandinavian countries.” Later, “According to figures from Statistics Denmark, in 2009, 90.5% of Denmark’s population of over 5.4 million was of Danish descent.” And it is worth noting that Denmark has ” some of the toughest immigration laws in the European Union.”

    I’m not discounting their policies, many of which are worthy of consideration, but I feel it is disingenuous to give those policies credit for creating an egalitarian society. In fact, I would feel more comfortable saying that Denmark’s homogeneous culture and egalitarian society caused their government policies, not the other way around.Report