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August 11, 2016


Michael Waddell

Another very interesting article. Always appreciate your excellent analysis.

Philip Mc Mahon

When and WHY did Scandinavian countries embrace Socialism?
Why hasn't other European countries like Ireland followed this model?
Future article maybe?

Michael Taft

Michael - thanks for your kind comments. Very much appreciated.

Philip - thanks for that. Personally, I wouldn't describe the Scandinavian model as 'socialist'. They are all premised on capitalist market relations but with strong social democratic interventions. Nor is there one model. For instance, Denmark does not have a social insurance system as such and has championed 'flexicurity' (flexible labour markets but with a strong welfare state). But there are certainly similarities between all the Nordic countries.

Many commentators have categorised European countries in five models: Nordic, social market (Germany, Austria), liberal (UK, Ireland), Mediterranean, and form Soviet bloc. Ireland's experience has been characterised by its former relationship with the UK, a weak industrial base and social democratic party, a weak social state, etc. Its not so much that we choose this or choose that in a vacuum; we are subject to our history.

I certainly will look at describing and comparing the performance of European countries on the basis of the models. That might give insight into what works best in particular countries.

Colin Walsh

As usual very interesting and informative article Michael

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