I could not have stumbled onto this article at a better time. I have been trying to make the case that Democrats should not fear GOP calling them Socialists. Instead, we must point out we want to provide the things Americans say they want in poll after poll. Most importantly, Norway proves it is not a pie-in-the-sky lost cause.
Reliable statistics on the Venezuelan economy are hard to come by, but Norway is unquestionably more socialist than Venezuela according to the above definition. Indeed, it is considerably more socialist than supposedly-communist China, where only 31 percent of national wealth is owned by the state.
Norway is not some destitute hellscape. Indeed, not only are Norwegian stores well-stocked with toilet paper, it is actually considerably more wealthy than the U.S., with a GDP of over $70,000 per person. Even when you correct for the moderately large oil sector (which accounts for a bit less than a quarter of its exports), it still has a cutting-edge, ultra-productive economy — far from some petro-state living off oil rents like Dubai.
Socially, it routinely ranks as the happiest (2017) or second-happiest (2018) country in the world. The rest of the Nordics are also usually among the top five as well — even more remarkable when you factor in the phenomenon of seasonal affective disorder and the extreme northerly position of the Scandinavian peninsula.
On a snapshot of other quality-of-life measures, Norway boasts:
- A life expectancy of 81.7 years.
- An infant mortality rate of two per 1,000 live births.
- A murder rate of 0.51 per 100,000.
- An incarceration rate of 74 per 100,000.
How does all that compare to the United States? Well, our economy is somewhat less wealthy, with per capita GDP of $59,500 — but to be fair, that is about the highest outside of oil-rich or tax haven countries. Socially, however, the picture is much worse: America ranks in the mid-teens for happiest countries, while its life expectancy is two yearsbehind Norway, and actually fell in 2016 and 2017. America's infant mortality rate is three times higher. Its murder rate is over 10 times higher, as is its incarceration rate.
My Politics Done Right show today covered this in great detail.
The article points out something that should give Americans pause.
The fact is, when it comes to building a decent place to live, Norway is completely blowing America out of the water. So while conservatives have been pointedly ignoring the most obvious and relevant piece of evidence in their spittle-flecked tirades against socialism, Norwegians can and do point to the United States as an example of what happens when you let capitalism run wild — and with a great deal more justice.
So much for American exceptionalism. Saying so does not make it so.