Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are capitalist, not socialist, success stories. Julia Howe and Anthony Kim debunk a popular socialist talking point:
Denmark ranks as the 10th most economically free country in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, which cites free-market policies and regulatory efficiency as reasons for the high standard of living. Sweden is ranked 15th and Norway 23rd, both with similar descriptions of thriving private sectors and open markets.
These three countries are clearly not operating under centrally planned economies, or their economic freedom scores would be significantly lower.
Second, the success of these countries is clearly based on a capitalist foundation, and it predates the expansion of social programs. Sweden, for example, became a wealthy country in the mid-20th century under a capitalist system with low tax rates.
Social programs and high tax rates were not implemented until the 1970s, which caused the economy to significantly underperform and unemployment to rise.
In recent years, Sweden has been privatizing socialized sectors, such as education and health care, cutting tax rates, and making welfare less generous. Even though tax rates and government spending remains comparatively high, open-market policies generate the revenue to support the spending.
[Julia Howe and Anthony Kim, “Why Democratic Socialists Can’t Legitimately Claim Sweden, Denmark as Success Stories,” The Daily Signal, August 10]