As you have noticed, I have barely blogged this year, only writing short posts on Facebook. The reason is that I am prioritizing the book I am working on. It has taken a long time, but should be finished soon. I apologize for the delay, and hope readers will find the extra time and effort went to good use. In the meanwhile my brother Nima has released a new book “Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism”
The thesis of Debunking Utopia is that the admirable social outcomes and economic sucess of Nordic countries often predate the welfare state, and are not entirely a consequence of welfare state policies. The sucess should rather be explained by cultural features of Nordic societies such as high trust, work ethic and norms about individual responsibility. As an example, in the dicussion on the causal effects of health care policies a few years ago I poined out that life expectency was higher in Sweden than the United States already in 1900.
Scandinavian countries were uniquely successful already in 1960, when their tax rates were not far above that of the United States were. These countries were highest or among the highest in global rankings of outcomes long life span and low child mortality, which are today often cited to prove the beneficial effect of the welfare state.
Nima book updates my 2010 comparison of Scandinavia and other western european countries with Americans of Scandinavian ancestry in terms of earnings. The argument is again arguing that the favorable outcomes of the latter compared to other American groups is due to culture and social capital.
An article by Nima in National Review argues: “American admirers of Nordic-style social democracy argue that by copying social-democratic policies, the U.S. will copy Nordic social success. But is this true?…It was mainly the impoverished people in the Nordic countries who sailed across the Atlantic to found new lives. And yet, as I write in my book, Danish Americans today have fully 55 percent higher living standard than Danes. Similarly, Swedish Americans have a 53 percent higher living standard than Swedes….
Perhaps even more astonishing is that Nordic Americans are more socially successful than their cousins in Scandinavia. They have much lower high-school-dropout rates, much lower unemployment rates, and even slightly lower poverty rates. Similarly, immigrants to the Nordic countries fare worse than those to the U.S. with regard to employment, self-reported health, and the school results of their children. In short: What the American Left admires about the Nordic countries clearly has less to do with their social-democratic welfare states than with the exceptional culture in these historically Protestant societies”
Another topic dicussed in Nimas book include the difficulty Nordic countires have experienced in integrating immigrant. Those who find the topics interesting can order Debunking Utopia from his publisher WND Books, Barnes & Noble or Amazon. I am proud to note that my younger brothers book has already reached top lists for political topics on Amazon, and is currently number one best selling book in the segment on utopia.