Liberals worldwide invoke Scandinavia as a promised land of equality, while most conservatives fear it as a hotbed of liberty-threatening socialism. But the left and right can usually agree on one thing: that the Nordic system is impossible to replicate elsewhere. The US and UK are too big, or too individualistic, or too . . . something.
In Viking Economics—perhaps the most fun economics book you’ve ever read—George Lakey dispels these myths. He explores the inner-workings of the Nordic economies that boast the world’s happiest, most productive workers, and explains how, if we can enact some of the changes the Scandinavians fought for surprisingly recently, we, too, can embrace equality in our economic policy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a very good survey of an alternative approach to structuring an economy than the one American’s believe must be the best in the world since it is American.
The Nordic model that Lakey describes is not against markets, or capitalists, or profits. It does suggest that they should not be the ultimate concern in a society and should serve the needs of the members of the society, and not the other way around.
I do wish he had spent more time describing how we might adapt this model to current conditions in the United States. The description of how the Scandinavians developed the consensus they currently have relied pretty heavily on an organized labor movement that has largely been eviscerated in the US.
I do highly recommend it though. It is very approachable for book on this subject, and while I wouldn’t call it a page turner, it is a very enjoyable and enlightening read.
Amazing summary of the incredible benefits of these economies, and how they got that way. More people should read it and get active to make the USA follow their lead.
Let me say first that I am a professor of public policy, but I like to read "popular social science" that is well-grounded in real evidence and data, such as Women Don't Ask, The Big Sort, Bowling Alone, etc. I found Viking Economics very interesting and an easy read and I was glad I read it. It is thought-provoking and leads to mulling about the US economic structure. But, the chapter I was looking forward to the most--the one on whether we could do this in the US and, if so, how--was the weakest, and that disappointed me. I do recommend this book, and in fact have passed it along to my dad so that we can talk about it. But it's weaker than I wish--but I'm also not the standard audience, I'm sure. Read it, enjoy it, think about it--but don't expect too much.
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