Letter: Nordic countries proof democratic socialism works

From: James D. Kubal


Some writers have pointed out Venezuela, Cuba and Russia are all failed socialist systems. Some have suggested that progressive politicians are advocating this system, where there is no private ownership of any business.

Bernie Sanders and other progressives are promoting democratic socialism, which he defines as simply expanding on successful social programs, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, while preserving capitalism. All these programs enjoy overwhelming popularity today. Could Medicare be expanded to meet the needs of the uninsured as every other industrialized country in the world has done? Expanding Medicare should actually support free market capitalism, as millions more become insured and have access to private medical care and supplies.

Despite the claims of some, democratic socialism is working in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

All these countries have less government gross debt per capita then the U.S. The Nordic countries ranked in the top 10 for the happiest countries, the U.S. ranked 18th. The Nordic countries have a higher standard of living than the U.S., and much less income inequality.

Yes, these countries have a wealth of social programs, and higher taxes, but still promote capitalism. Norway has a higher labor participation rate, percentage of people working, than the U.S. For the 13th consecutive year, Norway ranked highest in standard of living, life expectancy and education.

Of course, transferring the Nordic model of democratic socialism to the U.S. is fraught with challenges, but to dismiss it out of hand as a failed system is simply not accurate.