Sunday, October 18, 2015

Positively Disgusting

Paul Krugman writes this outrageous paragraph today:
One of the really great moments in the Democratic debate, at least for those of us who think America can learn from other countries, was the exchange over Denmark. Bernie Sanders said he wants America to become like Denmark; Hillary Clinton was a bit skeptical, but agreed that Denmark is a good role model. And it is! Denmark has combined high taxes and strong social benefits (free college, heavily subsidized child care, and more) with strong employment and high productivity. It shows that strong welfare states can work.
Krugman knows better,

Here are some of the facts about Denmark, this centrally planned utopia (via Per Henrik Hansen ):
Despite its reputation as a showcase of political utopia, 40 percent of its adult population live on government transfer income, full-time, all-year.
[T]hose with only 9 years of education, in Denmark it is 34 percent, whereas in the U.S. it is 14 percent. In Sweden the number is 26 percent and in Norway 18 percent. Again the numbers are much more favorable in the U.S.
In Denmark, many people are prevented from gaining the education they would like. All higher education is publicly run and free. Central planners decide how many doctors, architects, engineers, lawyers, economists, etc., that society needs. Students are rationed according to their grades in high school. If your grades are not high enough, you may not begin a degree program of your preference.
There are no objective tests of the quality levels in Denmark that I know of. However, one indication of the falling quality level in education could be the considerable shift in applicants for higher education away from the sciences and into the humanities. Everything involving mathematics, or other clearly demonstrable skills such as natural science or economics, is disliked by the applicants.
Denmark is one of the few OECD countries where the average life span has hardly increased since the early 1970s.
And that was in 2003. Things have gotten worse as even Krugman admits:
[I]t is worth noting that Denmark has had a fairly bad run since the global financial crisis, with a severe slump and a very weak recovery. In fact, real GDP per capita is about as far below pre-crisis levels as that of Portugal or Spain, although with much less suffering... just in case you wanted to think of Denmark as a role model across the board, this is a useful reminder.
So where does he get the absurd idea that "strong welfare states can work" and mention Denmark in the same breath?



  1. as a libertarian leaning anarchist i can say truly that the very best justification for a socialist state is the existence of people like those who write for your blog
    reminds me of those paki fundies who go ape over trivialities or saudi's wanting to behead kids

    you really are quite horrible weasel creatures

  2. There is another difference: Denmark has - up until recently - a fairly high level of homogeneity, allowing for a higher level of public trust. That homogeneity and public trust simply don't exist in the US. So even if it did work as Krugman claims - which it doesn't - it could not be replicated here.

  3. 34% of people in Denmark only have 9 years of education. Lets be fair here - most of those people are migrants and its basically illegal to speak out against it.

  4. Krugman logic: Most basketball players smoke marijuana. Basketball players are some of the most athletic people on this planet. This example proves that marijuana can produce athleticism and great NBA players! Everybody who doesn't agree with me is a shill!

    (I played basketball in community college, and pretty much sat the bench the entire year because I was white--which means I was slow, couldn't jump, and was completely useless in the fast-break offense. Most of my teammates smoked weed, I did not. If Krugman had been my coach he would have tried turning me into a pothead, completely ignoring all of the factors which actually produce a good basketball player!)

    1. As an aside, I believe Krugman should produce an article for his blog in the Times that clearly states to all those wealthy black basketball players that he and other socialists want to take those players' hard-earned money. I would like to see how that goes over.

  5. Drawing from memory here, but I recall Tom woods had a Dane on his podcast talking about this. 

    The fallacy of holding Denmark up as a socialist role model is that as an economic entity it's been consuming the accumulated capital the country produced long ago when it was more free market than it is today. Its recent economic performance is poor. As 

    thatcher famously observed, "the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money". In the case of socialist economies, it's useful to note that "other people's money" is not only the earnings of present-day people, but also, (and far more importantly), the productivity and savings of past generations. 

    This is of course true with the US, but Krugman-type pseudo intellectuals pretend to be unaware of bastiat's unseen economic factors. 

    1. I wonder if there are any figures showing the accumulated wealth per country and how much it is being destroyed or not replenished. I see this point mentioned a lot and it makes sense but it'd be nice to know some more about it.