lunedì 5 settembre 2016

Utopia scandinava

Le istituzioni formali dipendono da quelli informali. X quello che se una cosa funziona da noi nn è detto funzioni nel terzo mondo.

Danes today outlive their American counterparts, but not because Denmark has the highest tax-to-GDP ratio in the developed world. As late as 1960, taxes in Denmark were actually lower than in the United States (25 percent of GDP compared with 27 percent), yet at the time, Danes lived 2.4 years longer than Americans—well before the creation of the Danish welfare state. In Sweden and Norway, too, the gap in life span compared with the United States is smaller today than it was in the mid–twentieth century, when their public sectors were relatively less developed. Child mortality follows a similar trend: when Nordic countries had small welfare states, they were further ahead compared with the rest of the world than they are today.

Esempio svezia: 4 fasi:

1. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, liberal politicians such as Johan August Gripenstedt, minister of finance from 1856 to 1866, introduced reforms designed to secure business freedom, free trade, and strong protections for property rights. From around 1870 to 1936, Sweden pursued pro-market economic policies and was rewarded with an average yearly growth rate of two percent—the highest of any western European nation during the period and twice as high as rates of leading economies such as that of the United Kingdom.

2. In 1936, the Swedish Social Democratic Party was able to form its first majority government. The Social Democrats went on to dominate Swedish political life until 1970, slowly raising taxes and expanding the welfare state while, for the most part, leaving the market-oriented policies of their predecessors in place. During these years, Sweden’s growth rate rose to 2.9 percent. Although higher in absolute terms than before—a product of technological growth and the postwar boom—this was around the western European average. (Austria, for instance, grew by a yearly average of 3.5 percent over the same period

3. Then, between 1970 and 1991, Sweden—unlike other Nordic countries—experimented with third way socialism. The pinnacle of these policies was the introduction of “employer funds,” a system through which ownership of private firms would slowly be transferred to funds run by the labor unions. Sweden’s average growth rate fell to 1.4 percent, the second lowest in western Europe, and many successful businesses and individuals left the country

4. The socialist experiment was followed by an era of renewed focus on market reforms, reduced generosity of welfare programs, and significant tax reductions. The reforms paid off: between 1991 and 2014, Sweden’s growth rate rose to 1.8 percent—placing the country only slightly behind the United Kingdom, which had the highest rate in western Europe during this period.

Uguaglianza in a 2008 study of top incomes in Sweden, the economists Jesper Roine and Daniel Waldenstrom explain that “most of the decrease [in income equality in Sweden] takes place before the expansion of the welfare state and by 1950 Swedish top income shares were already lower than in other countries.” A 2013 study by Anthony Barnes Atkinson and Jakob Egholt Sogaard reached a similar conclusion for Denmark and Norway. As my brother, the economist Tino Sanandaji, explains in another paper from 2012: “American scholars who write about the success of the Scandinavian welfare states in the postwar period tend to be remarkably uninterested in Scandinavia’s history prior to that period.

Cultura non istituzioni. Cultura del lavoroGood social outcomes in the Nordic countries predate the welfare state because what makes Nordic societies unique is related not to policy—large welfare states can also be found in countries such as Belgium, France, and Spain—but to culture. Over 100 years ago, German sociologist Max Weber observed that Protestant countries in northern Europe tended to have higher living standards, better academic institutions, and more well-functioning societies than countries in other parts of Europe. He attributed their success to the “Protestant work ethic.” The welfare states were introduced only once Nordic societies had already become prosperous and equal.

Historically, impoverished people in the Nordic countries were more likely than the rich to sail across the Atlantic to start new lives. Yet despite coming from the poorest rungs of Nordic society, Nordic Americans have become much more affluent than their cousins back in Europe. Today, measured by GDP per capita, Danish Americans’ living standards are 55 percent higher than those of Danes; living standards of Swedish Americans are 53 percent higher than those of Swedes; and Finnish Americans’ living standards are 59 percent higher than the Finns’. Even for Norwegian Americans, who lack the oil wealth of Norway, living standards outpace those of the Norwegians by three percent.