Friday, April 24, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener ... in Norway

Ah Norway! There has been so much talk of you lately and how America should model itself after you! After all, you are an egalitarian society, that enjoys both huge government spending and economic growth. Why wouldn't we want to be like Norway? I mean check it out! Isn't the grass so green!
Sarcasm aside, I am quite skeptical of the "Nordic Model" working in America and here's three reasons why (I do have more but these won't put you to sleep):
  • Scale - Have you ever made a plan and pulled it off and then though to yourself "That was great I should do it again but at a much larger scale." It's not as easy. Say you were successful with a small garden and you decide to expand your garden. After all it isn't much different right? Instead of taking an hour a day to nurture your plants, you would have to take more time in the garden.

    Implementing the Nordic Model would be the equivalent of a gardener deciding to become a farmer. I don't think people are aware of the fact that Norway has roughly the same population as the state of Alabama. Alabama makes up less than 2% of America's population (which is coincidentally 1/50th. Get it, 1/50th. 50 States. I'm such a nerd). Administering the "Nordic Model" for the United States, a nation with 65 times the population, would obviously be, well, a difficult task. The scale of the project would be more complicated (have higher "costs" in economic terms). I don't believe the model scales well, and that's one reason why I am skeptical.
  • America's Diversity - America is a diverse place which is a good thing. So what does this have to do with Norway? Well did you know that 94% of the population of Norway is the same ethnic group (Norwegian). 94%!!! The United State's largest group is the white alone (meaning white and not Hispanic) group. They make up 74% of the population. There are a few places that are a homogeneous as Norway. No Utah is only 90% White. West Virginia is 94% white, New Hampshire is 95% and Maine and Vermont are 96%. Those are the only 4 states.

    So what does this have to do with Norway? It is a lot easier to act in favor of the "Public Interest" when everyone is so similar. What is the "Public Interest" of America? The news illustrates the diversity of opinions that exists, and which is to be expected. Afterall, this is America.
  • Is the Grass REALLY that Green? - I really think proponents of bringing this way of life to America are in love with it; and as the cliche goes "love is blind." The black market in Norway has exploded. If people are so happy with their system, why is there a black market. Shouldn't their needs be taken care of? America's system is not perfect, just as our democracy is not perfect. But it is without a doubt the best system out there.

    Interesting Side Note: There was an article in the Economist back in December of 2006 speaking about Sweden(another Nordic model country) and how it's not working for them. There have been recent studies saying that it is also a deceiving because Sweden is about a rich as the state of Louisiana. How would you like for everyone to have that standard of living.

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