Can The U.S. Follow The Scandinavian Model?

There is an opinion article out by Megan McArdle with Bloomberg that states the U.S. cannot follow the Scandinavian model (of higher taxes on the rich, robust social services, etc.).

The article then proceeds to give a series of uncomfortable, race-based opinions why.

Oddly enough, this same week, articles came out stating that Reverend Franklin Graham said that Shariah law should be banned from the U.S.  However, there seems to be no evidence that Shariah is being implemented in the U.S.

So, it is an interesting juxtaposition: The U.S. can’t use the Scandinavian model of governance, but we are apparently in danger of enacting Shariah law.

Several points were made about the Scandinavian model. The first point was that “…Swedes have the same poverty rate in America as in Sweden…” At first glance, the point seems to be that Sweden has the same poverty rate as the U.S.

Upon closer inspection of references, however, their source actually states that Swedish people have the same poverty rate as people in the U.S. with Swedish ancestry. No definition of “Swedish ancestry” is given in the article. 1/4th Swedish? 1/2 Swedish?

Another claim is that “small homogenous countries are probably better able to support a cradle-to-grave welfare state than large, heterogenous ones.” Again, the article goes for the race (“heterogenous”) angle, and in this case does not give any sources to back up the claim.

“…(T)iny countries are more likely to generate outlying results than bigger ones (which looks fantastic if you drop the outlying underperformers from your sample)…” writes Bloomberg. The Bloomberg article then references an article about schools to make its point about the Scandinavian model of governance.

The article also states that “Tiny population nestled atop huge fossil fuel deposits” is probably not a strategy that the U.S. can emulate. Of course, immense natural resources is what propelled the U.S. to its historic economic prowess.

The next point made has to do with productivity and innovation: The article claims that academics Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson and Thierry Verdier, argue that productivity disproportionately comes from economies where “incentives for workers and entrepreneurs results in greater inequality and greater poverty” . . . i.e., the United States. Those innovations, however, don’t make just us more productive; they filter out to the rest of the world.

This may or may not be true, but the article admits that many have also taken issue with the academics assertions.

Other points made make little verifiable sense – such as the fact that many of the innovations and/or products in Scandinavia come from outside its borders. That is likely true, but one only need to look for the words “Made in China” or “Made in Japan” to see that the same is true for the U.S.

The same week that this article on the Scandinavian model came out, articles came out reporting that the Reverend Franklin Graham has said that Muslim Shariah law should be banned in the U.S. Graham pointing to the various human rights abuses committed by terror group ISIS in its implementation of the Islamic law.

Is the U.S. taking on Shariah law?  Wouldn’t that be something that the U.S. would have to voluntarily do?

This seems easier said than done.  How could we possibly implement Shariah law if we don’t want Shariah law?  According to the Huffington Post, only 1% of the American population is Muslim.  How could Shariah law be “foisted” upon us?

(Updated article)

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