The Misconception of Scandinavian “Socialism” and how it’s abused by the Left
Many left-leaning politicians, most notably the likes of Bernie Sanders, like to point to the Scandinavian countries – ergo Sweden, Norway and any in between – as good models of democratic socialism to give their policies merit. What they fail to understand is that these countries are not democratic socialist countries. Despite this, the phrase ‘democratic socialism’ has become popularized in today’s political lexicon to re-legitimize the overall consensus of socialism to the left wing.
In simple terms, democratic socialism is a system which combines majority rule with state control of the means of production. In this regard, Scandinavian countries are actually not good examples, because by nature, they are not socialist. In actuality, Scandinavian countries are what’s known as ‘social democracies.’ This is an ideology that purports to promoting public welfare through high taxation and spending, but within the framework of a capitalist economy – this is what is largely upheld in Scandinavian countries, under the aptly named “Nordic Model.” This model enforces free-market capitalism that acts alongside a strong welfare state.
This model contains many policies that the typical socialist would turn his head at. The typical democratic socialist would oppose any form of global capitalism, and free trade. These are both things that have fully integrated into the Nordic Model, and unlike the economies of countries that practice true socialism, the Scandinavian countries allow private-enterprise.
Supporters of the aforementioned Sanders, or even the establishment crook disguised as a liberal revolutionary, Jeremy Corbyn, greatly confuse the actual definition of democratic socialism by pointing to the Scandinavian Countries, which do not practice true socialism. Corbyn however often likes to point to Venezuela, which while currently under state capitalism, is largely a good example of the results of “socialist” ambitions – high minimum wage that is meaningless due to a hyper inflated and valueless currency, and state-imposed restriction of civil liberties, all in the name of socialism.
One of Corbyn’s most popular policies would be to raise the minimum wage in the United Kingdom to £10. Now on paper, sure, that sounds all fair and nice, who wouldn’t love to earn £10 an hour? In practice however, all this does is increase the number of people on minimum wage, lower living standards, and make things worse for those at the bottom of the ladder, while the rich largely remain unaffected. For example, imagine you typically earn say £7 an hour, but thanks to Corbyn you go up to earning £15, but being taxed 50% so you go back to earning £7 an hour. This is essentially what Corbyn’s ‘socialism’ would entail. The image of better wealth for the masses, but in reality taking from the rich, and giving to those in power.
There is no such government-imposed floors on work in Sweden, Norway or even Denmark. Minimum wages in these countries are agreed upon by collective-bargaining agreements between trade unions and employers. These union imposed waged lock out the lowest skilled of workers, and act as their own kind of detriment to an economy, but arguably work better than what true socialism means, and by extension, what Mr. Corbyn gladly advocates.
The left continues to try and legitimize the barbarism of socialism which is by nature, nothing but legalized plunder of the masses – take from everyone, give to the state, but make it ‘look’ like you take from the rich because of high taxes. It sounds appealing because of equality and political correctness, because it’s social, but sooner or later, people begin to realize that everyone living the same low quality lifestyle is suddenly not so fun.