If you want an America more like Sweden, you need more Swedes

When welfare state advocates have argued that Sweden and other Scandinavian countries have shown that welfare state policies can work and are consistent with high levels of economic production and growth, I have long had one reply: Those policies would work here too if America had 310 million Swedes.

Scandinavians have traditions of social cohesion and high levels of trust that go back well before their twentieth century welfare states, unlike many other nations and cultures that supplied immigrants to America. Evidence in support of this comes from Tino Sanandaji, a graduate student at the University of Chicago whose Super-Economy blog features “Kurdish-Swedish perspectives on the American economy.” Tino (as he refers to himself) chides scholars who compare America’s levels of social trust unfavorably with those of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, and points out that Americans of Swedish and Scandinavian descent have even higher levels of trust than prevail in their home countries.

And for an Iranian-American Chicago-based perspective, check out Pejman Yousefzadeh’s new blog.

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