Thursday, August 16, 2018

How to Debate Paul Krugman and Other Socialists Who Claim Sweden and Denmark Are Socialist Success Stories

By Robert Wenzel

Paul Krugman just put out this pro-socialist tweet:
It sounds like he is running the New York Times in-house chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Krugman must certainly be overjoyed with
the latest Lefty fad that Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are popularizing: "democratic socialism." 

The fad is mostly a kid thing, outside of Daddy Sanders, the Democratic Socialists of America are gaining influence on college and high school campuses, claiming to have chapters of the Young  Democratic Socialists of America at more than 200 campuses across the nation.

One of their recruiting tools is to point to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as examples of socialist success. But while the northern three may have major welfare programs, they are far from socialists in the manner that the YDSA thinks of socialism.

At the Daily Signal, Julia Howe and Anthony B. Kim explain:
The YDSA website describes the group’s vision as “a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.”...
[They] cite Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as examples of socialist success. There are, however, several key problems with that. 
First, these countries are not technically socialist. By the YDSA’s definition, socialism entails a centrally planned economy with nationalized means of production. Although these countries have high income taxes and provide generous social programs, they remain prosperous because of their free-market economies.
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.
Got that? Denmark and Sweden both have a higher freedom ranking than the United States:

So if the YDSA wants to move toward Denmark and Sweden, they need to be advocating for more freedom and less central planning of the type they indicate they support on their website.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of


  1. I've successfully shut down this argument of leftists by saying they can have their social welfare state like Sweden and Denmark if they take all the funds they need from waging wars. That is be like these countries and not wage war across the globe. So no new taxation, they have to shutdown the wars, the military bases across the globe, etc to pay for the social welfare. That is get rid of the war party. After all having only a welfare state is move towards liberty from having a welfare-warfare state. Interesting enough takers are few and far between. Either way it shuts down the be like Sweden argument.

    Like many things the left proposes it is simply a way to obtain power. If they can have it without the additional power they suddenly don't want it any more.

    1. I like this .... a lot! I may use it! Thanks Jimmy

  2. Where in the world is this free [sic] market you keep referring to? Countries have mixed market Keynesian economies. The few remaining have command, i.e., socialist economies.