Retired Swarthmore College professor, George
Lakey, will read from his new book "Viking Economics: How The Scandanavians Got It Right
- And How We Can Too". Lakey has lived and worked in Norway tells an uplifting story about his observations. What
economists call “the Nordic model” puts Denmark, Iceland, Norway and
Sweden at the top tier of international ratings. That includes
education, abundance of jobs, health care, and security for all people.
Only Norway found substantial oil. All four Nordics were nimble in
bouncing back from the 2008 crisis that still bedevils Europe and the
The book tells a human story: what is it like to be a professional in Norway, or a parent or student or worker or entrepreneur or farmer or retired person or immigrant? The reader will meet people from many walks of life, even the author’s Norwegian family of in-laws.
Surprises in the book include the fact that Norway has more start-ups per capita than the U.S., and Sweden outpaces the U.S. economy’s innovativeness. Denmark is racing ahead to achieve carbon neutrality and already generates enough wind power to sell surplus to Germany. Iceland’s low crime rate is the envy of Europe; in the years since 2008 Iceland increased its already high economic equality.
Nordic societies are not utopian. Racial and ethnic diversity challenges them. Women have not fully broken the “glass ceiling,” although they have 40% of corporate board seats and give significant political leadership. For brief periods Swedes, Icelanders, and Norwegians did de-regulate their financial sectors, with disastrous consequences that forced them back to their Nordic model. The book tells the dramatic story of how they waged their own struggles for democracy and freedom, and opened the space to create a model that others learn from.