An extremely approachable overview of Nordic economic policy and Scandinavian views on the social safety net, with an excellent if brief history of the labor struggles that got them there. Though it was especially painful to read during the opening days of 2017, it ultimately served as a tangible reminder of what is possible when a society chooses to embrace solidarity over selfishness.
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—now with a new afterword by the author—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.
About the Author
GEORGE LAKEY is Visiting Professor at Swarthmore College. He is the author of many books and articles and has written for Waging Nonviolence and Common Dreams, among other publications.
"George Lakey has for decades reminded us what a powerful tool nonviolence is, and in this book focused on Scandinavia shows us how nonviolent tactics and brilliant organizing won enduring changes in four countries' governance and economy and, more than that, the values and beliefs about what is just, fair, good, and possible. This book is an adventure and a field manual for our moment.” —Rebecca Solnit, Activist and historian, Harper’s contributor, author of Hope in the Dark
“Here, Lakey combines historical analysis, economic data and interview-based opinion to produce something that delivers much more than each of those could do in isolation. As a result, Viking Economics tells a story of economic change and the foundations on which it was built at a time when it is so obvious that such narratives are desperately needed in modern political discourse.”—Richard Murphy, Times Higher Education magazine
“Viking Economics shows us there's no reason we couldn't be making far more progress across a wide range of problems. George Lakey is great at explaining why.” —Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author, Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, founder of 350.org “Carrying student debt? Working longer hours with no vacation? Do you wonder if it is possible for the U.S. to reverse a generation of extreme inequality? It doesn’t have to be this way. Viking Economics helps us envision a different way of organizing our economy to put people and planet first. ” —Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, author of Wealthy, Come Home
“The Nordic model has proven extraordinarily successful in ensuring a decent standard of living for all the citizens of these countries, while at the same time keeping them open to international trade and at the forefront of technology. This short book is a great starting point for those looking for insights into the origins and structure of this model.” —Dean Baker is Co-Director of Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People
“Brilliant, fun to read, and most timely--just what Americans need right now! Lakey busts key myths that keep us believing we can’t have the society we want. Bravo for this great source of evidence-grounded hope!”—Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity andCourage for the World We Want