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bballcrook21
Posts: 4,468
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2/9/2016 6:07:52 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Bernie Sanders"s entry into the presidential race has sparked a nationwide conversation about socialism and its potential to remedy the real and perceived pathologies suffered by Americans. Throughout Sanders"s extensive political career, he has proudly labeled himself a socialist while being careful to distance his ideological roots from basket cases such as North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and other collectivist nightmares. Rather, as with most progressive socialists, he considers himself a "democratic" socialist sharing more in common with the relatively wealthy Scandinavian countries.

It is interesting that progressives like Sanders can look at a rich country like Sweden and automatically conclude that the nation"s high living standards do not result from a laissez-faire past, low levels of national debt, monetary independence, no centrally mandated minimum wage, strong legal protection of property rights, a level-headed central bank, low corporate tax rates, or even Sweden"s gradual move toward more privatization in healthcare, social security, and education. Rather, progressives naturally assume that Sweden"s high living standards are a product of their high taxes and nationalized industries.

But, imagine if LeBron James took up smoking. Any success on the court would be despite his destructive habit not because of it. Sweden"s economic success has come in spite of its socialism.

I will focus on just one Scandinavian country, Sweden, given that it has often been touted by progressives as a sort of heaven-on-earth. A (very) brief history of this fascinating country might help us better understand Sweden"s current high living standards and the many ways in which Swedish socialism has set an unnecessary cap on the nation"s productivity.

Sweden: From Crippling Poverty to Unheralded Prosperity Through Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Some 250 years ago, the area we recognize now as "Sweden" was a frozen tundra inhabited by a huddled mass of starving peasants. Their lives were tightly controlled by a series of kings, aristocrats, and other men of artificially high esteem. As award-winning author, Johan Norberg points out in this excellent piece on Sweden, it took a series of classically-liberal minded revolutionaries to wrestle control from the elites and put Sweden on a path to prosperity.

Licensing czars, an oppressive guild system, and a litany of other onerous regulations on free exchange were dramatically reduced or eliminated. In the century from 1850"1950, the population doubled and real Swedish incomes multiplied nearly tenfold. Despite the almost non-existence of a welfare state or any major state control of economic sectors, by 1950 Sweden was the fourth richest nation in the world. Sweden"s extraordinary growth during that century rivaled even that of the United States (Sweden was not a participant in the two World Wars). As a matter of fact, capital formation and wealth creation proved so abundant in Sweden during the global depression of the 1930s that even social democrats in the legislature practiced a form of salutary neglect to ensure the prosperity would continue. As with any other country, Sweden"s impressive capital stock was built by entrepreneurs operating in a free market system.

Sweden"s Experiment with "Nordic Socialism" is Relatively New and Has Been Disastrous for Growth

Big business looking for government protection worked alongside ambitious politicians and union leaders to force Sweden into adopting socialist policies in the decades following its impressive growth. Over time, government spending more than doubled and taxes in certain sectors were doubled or even tripled. Despite these calamitous changes, by 1970, the OECD still ranked Sweden as the fourth richest nation in the world. However, by 2000 Sweden sank to number fourteen. Dr. Per Bylund from Oklahoma State University has previously pointed out that from 1950"2005, Sweden did not add one net private sector job. Nordic Socialism has frozen a once entrepreneurial and prosperous people in time. With few exceptions, Sweden"s large businesses have very little incentive to innovate (and they have not), and many enterprises now survive purely on government contracts whose value is impossible to ascertain without a system of free exchange to establish prices for goods and services.

Sweden has managed to live comfortably for decades despite its many heavy-handed socialist policies only because so much capital stock was created in the decades prior (not to mention a sane monetary policy). Yet this capital consumption is eroding Sweden"s wealth. In 2007, Professor Mark J. Perry from George Mason University pointed out that if Sweden were to be admitted as a 51st state to the Union, it would be the poorest state in terms of unemployment and median household income. Yes, even poorer than Mississippi. In fact Sweden"s current welfare state suppresses household incomes so effectively for Swedes that a 2012 IEA study found that American Swedes have roughly the same unemployment rate as Swedes in Sweden yet earn, on average, 53 percent more annually.

In recent years, Swedish lawmakers have begun slowly privatizing chunks of their socialized sectors such as healthcare, social security, and education. Last year, Reason magazine pointed out that private health insurance has exploded in a country where cancer patients may wait up to a year for treatment in the state-run system. This trend has grown. Sweden, furthermore, has begun outsourcing education to private providers and seen not only a reduction of costs but an increase in parent satisfaction and learning outcomes for graduates.

Bernie Sanders has Picked up the Wrong Lessons from the Nordic Model

Bernie Sanders has stated now, and in the past, that he would like to see an America with universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, expanded social security through higher payroll taxes, mandatory vacation days and sick leave, free secondary education, and the enactment of a slew of other progressive policies. It seems he has only forgotten to promise yachts for the homeless.

The underlying problem with socialists like Bernie Sanders is that they do not actually believe (or understand) in economics at all. As Ludwig von Mises himself has pointed out, socialism is not an economic theory " it is a theory of redistribution. Only free exchange can coordinate entrepreneurs and their resources in a way that creates actual goods and services that satisfy consumer needs and wants. Socialists like Bernie Sanders take no part in this process of wealth creation; they merely show up after the fact and demand title. Sweden has practiced this form of parasitic socialism on their accumulated wealth and it has significantly stifled Swedish productivity.

Nordic-style policies advocated by Sanders have (predictably) restricted Sweden"s growth for decades. The notion that we can implement Nordic socialism in a nation of 320 million people without destroying labor mobility, taxing capital out of existence, and absolutely crippling innovation where it"s needed most is pure delusion. Sweden is slowly returning to its productive capitalist roots. We should do the same.

https://mises.org...
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. -Friedman

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Friedman

Society will never be free until the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Communist.
Death23
Posts: 785
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2/9/2016 7:10:57 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
You should provide the link at the beginning instead of the end so that it is clear to the readers who the author is at the get go. The only way I could tell right away was because the quotation mark was where an apostrophe should be, which indicates copy/pasting.
Death23
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2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
The article is a bunch of conservative propaganda coming out of the mises institute. They were formerly bosom buddies with the Cato institute, founded by the Koch family. Perhaps I should start believing what's being said in the articles from RT.

The bias in the article is obvious. Look -

"progressives like Sanders [..] automatically conclude"

"progressives naturally assume"

Crap like that, it's straw man bologna to misrepresent the reasoning of the opposing side as assumptions and automatic conclusions and then argue against it. It's said that it is "natural" for progressives to "assume" things; Come on.
xus00HAY
Posts: 1,395
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2/9/2016 2:03:39 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
The percentage of his income that a Swede with a good job pays in taxes is so high that their lifestyle would never be accepted in America.
While parts of Sweden are uninhabitable tundra, there are warmer parts where farming can be done.
What happened in Sweden was ever so many of it's workers emigrated to America. This created a labor shortage in Sweden. Because of the law of supply and demand the wages of the workers shot way up. This made Sweden a rich country.
The problem is a worker in China or another 3rd world country gets paid so little, you have to pay a Swede more money to work an hour than you have to pay a Chinaman for a week. This makes it very difficult to export anything. So a SAAB that is made in Trollhatten ( by trolls? ) can not sell for a competitive price with a car made in Korea.
xus00HAY
Posts: 1,395
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2/9/2016 2:10:14 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
Being as the population of Sweden is one of the world's whitest, A post that says Sweden is very good is too racist to be allowed in this forum
triangle.128k
Posts: 3,681
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2/10/2016 8:52:00 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
I agree with this,

Also, the only part where Sweden is "socialist" is with its government spending and taxation policies. Sweden is more economically free than the US in almost every other aspect. I can't stand it when sociali- *gets killed* Democratic socialists always use some Nordic country as an argument.
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,107
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2/11/2016 12:42:12 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Can't get any further right than Mises.
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

DDO Risk King
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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2/11/2016 12:46:55 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/11/2016 12:42:12 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
Can't get any further right than Mises.

I hate communists, but they do a better job at explaining the problems with the current class system than anyone. They propose a stupid solution, but their analysis is great.
walker_harris3
Posts: 273
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2/11/2016 1:53:29 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM, Death23 wrote:
The article is a bunch of conservative propaganda coming out of the mises institute. They were formerly bosom buddies with the Cato institute, founded by the Koch family. Perhaps I should start believing what's being said in the articles from RT.

The bias in the article is obvious. Look -

"progressives like Sanders [..] automatically conclude"

"progressives naturally assume"

Crap like that, it's straw man bologna to misrepresent the reasoning of the opposing side as assumptions and automatic conclusions and then argue against it. It's said that it is "natural" for progressives to "assume" things; Come on.

So you're going to completely dismiss the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?
Death23
Posts: 785
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2/11/2016 2:15:01 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/11/2016 1:53:29 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM, Death23 wrote:

So you're going to completely dismiss the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?

I'm not going to seriously consider an article when it has clear indications of bias. Obviously, that isn't the same as dismissing "the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite belief penned the article". Of course, you write a statement, begin it with "So you", and then end it with a "?" despite the fact that it's a statement. I don't get why people do this all the time. It's typical straw man nonsense - Misrepresent what I did or said, and then argue against the misrepresentation. Can't you do better?
walker_harris3
Posts: 273
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2/11/2016 2:20:24 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/11/2016 2:15:01 AM, Death23 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 1:53:29 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM, Death23 wrote:

So you're going to completely dismiss the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?

I'm not going to seriously consider an article when it has clear indications of bias. Obviously, that isn't the same as dismissing "the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite belief penned the article". Of course, you write a statement, begin it with "So you", and then end it with a "?" despite the fact that it's a statement. I don't get why people do this all the time. It's typical straw man nonsense - Misrepresent what I did or said, and then argue against the misrepresentation. Can't you do better?

Question marks indicate a "question." Let me put it in simpler terms for you: Do you dispute the validity of the facts about Sweden's economic history that were presented in the article?
Death23
Posts: 785
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2/11/2016 3:00:01 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/11/2016 2:20:24 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 2:15:01 AM, Death23 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 1:53:29 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM, Death23 wrote:

So you're going to completely dismiss the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?

I'm not going to seriously consider an article when it has clear indications of bias. Obviously, that isn't the same as dismissing "the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite belief penned the article". Of course, you write a statement, begin it with "So you", and then end it with a "?" despite the fact that it's a statement. I don't get why people do this all the time. It's typical straw man nonsense - Misrepresent what I did or said, and then argue against the misrepresentation. Can't you do better?

Question marks indicate a "question."

You didn't phrase it as a question. You phrased it as a statement. If you phrased it as a question, it would have gone something more like this:

"Are you completely dismissing the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?"

Obviously, the answer to that question is "no" because the reason the article was dismissed was due to multiple indications of bias as opposed to the fact that "people of the opposite political belief penned the article".

Let me put it in simpler terms for you: Do you dispute the validity of the facts about Sweden's economic history that were presented in the article?

Dispute would be too strong of a word. Not believing them; Not accepting them as true; Not trusting the assertions; Suspending judgment; etc. Just being cursory, I would suspect that the direct historical account is probably accurate for the most part, but the causal inferences would probably be the most dubious.
walker_harris3
Posts: 273
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2/11/2016 3:08:30 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/11/2016 3:00:01 AM, Death23 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 2:20:24 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 2:15:01 AM, Death23 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 1:53:29 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM, Death23 wrote:

So you're going to completely dismiss the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?

I'm not going to seriously consider an article when it has clear indications of bias. Obviously, that isn't the same as dismissing "the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite belief penned the article". Of course, you write a statement, begin it with "So you", and then end it with a "?" despite the fact that it's a statement. I don't get why people do this all the time. It's typical straw man nonsense - Misrepresent what I did or said, and then argue against the misrepresentation. Can't you do better?

Question marks indicate a "question."

You didn't phrase it as a question. You phrased it as a statement. If you phrased it as a question, it would have gone something more like this:

"Are you completely dismissing the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?"

Obviously, the answer to that question is "no" because the reason the article was dismissed was due to multiple indications of bias as opposed to the fact that "people of the opposite political belief penned the article".

Let me put it in simpler terms for you: Do you dispute the validity of the facts about Sweden's economic history that were presented in the article?

Dispute would be too strong of a word. Not believing them; Not accepting them as true; Not trusting the assertions; Suspending judgment; etc. Just being cursory, I would suspect that the direct historical account is probably accurate for the most part, but the causal inferences would probably be the most dubious.

I'll find you "unbiased" accounts of the EXACT SAME information then.

https://sweden.se...
https://elgarblog.com...
Death23
Posts: 785
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2/11/2016 3:49:39 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/11/2016 3:08:30 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 3:00:01 AM, Death23 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 2:20:24 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 2:15:01 AM, Death23 wrote:
At 2/11/2016 1:53:29 AM, walker_harris3 wrote:
At 2/9/2016 7:23:08 AM, Death23 wrote:

So you're going to completely dismiss the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?

I'm not going to seriously consider an article when it has clear indications of bias. Obviously, that isn't the same as dismissing "the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite belief penned the article". Of course, you write a statement, begin it with "So you", and then end it with a "?" despite the fact that it's a statement. I don't get why people do this all the time. It's typical straw man nonsense - Misrepresent what I did or said, and then argue against the misrepresentation. Can't you do better?

Question marks indicate a "question."

You didn't phrase it as a question. You phrased it as a statement. If you phrased it as a question, it would have gone something more like this:

"Are you completely dismissing the facts of the matter simply because people of the opposite political belief penned the article?"

Obviously, the answer to that question is "no" because the reason the article was dismissed was due to multiple indications of bias as opposed to the fact that "people of the opposite political belief penned the article".

Let me put it in simpler terms for you: Do you dispute the validity of the facts about Sweden's economic history that were presented in the article?

Dispute would be too strong of a word. Not believing them; Not accepting them as true; Not trusting the assertions; Suspending judgment; etc. Just being cursory, I would suspect that the direct historical account is probably accurate for the most part, but the causal inferences would probably be the most dubious.

I'll find you "unbiased" accounts of the EXACT SAME information then.

https://sweden.se...
https://elgarblog.com...

That's not the same information.