Why Denmark Isn’t the Utopian Fantasy Bernie Sanders Describes

I usually write my own articles for this blog, but sometimes I read articles which are so insightful that they beg to be shared.  The article i just read on the Washington Post website fits that description.

During the current Democratic Presidential nomination campaign, Bernie Sanders has has to defend the fact that he has always referred to himself as a “democratic socialist”.   In this country the term “socialist” often conjures up visions of Russian communists and the like.  Sanders correctly points out the form of socialism practiced in elected democracies is a far cry from Russian communism, or any other form of communism for that matter.

In defending his political beliefs, Bernie has often often used Denmark as a shining example of democratic socialism in practice.   As you will recall in the first Democratic debate Sanders said, “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” to which Hillary Clinton replied, “But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America.”

The problem is that Bernie has never lived in Denmark and thus probably does not understand that life in Denmark is not as rosy as he would have us believe.   The Washington Post article is based on the book, “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.” by Michael Booth, a British journalist who has lived in Denmark for over 10 years.

Below I have pulled out some of the more salient points made in the article:

…you still see racial stereotypes in the media here (in Denmark) — the kind of thing which would be unthinkable in the U.S.

….they also record the highest rates of violence towards women

(Denmark) regularly beats the U.S. and virtually every other country on earth in terms of its per capita ecological footprint.

(Denmark‘s) economy has always benefited from its arms industry, which is one of the world’s largest.

(The Dane’s) economy depends far too much on one industry (oil), they’ve taken their foot off the gas in terms of their work ethic

…the quality of the free education and health care is substandard. …. they have the lowest life expectancy in the region, and the highest rates of death from cancer.

And there is broad consensus that the economic model of a public sector and welfare state on this scale is unsustainable. The Danes’ dirty secret is that its public sector has been propped up by — now dwindling — oil revenues

Denmark has the highest direct and indirect taxes in the world, and you don’t need to be a high earner to make it into the top tax bracket of 56% (to which you must add 25% value-added tax, the highest energy taxes in the world, car import duty of 180%, and so on).

Here is the link to the full article:

Why Denmark Isn’t the Utopian Fantasy Bernie Sanders Describes

Cajun     11/3/15

One thought on “Why Denmark Isn’t the Utopian Fantasy Bernie Sanders Describes”

  1. Morning Cajun,
    When I read this article in the NY and Washington Post I was truck by how counter it seemd to many other sources I have read regarding Denmark and Scandinavia as a whoile.

    I bit of research disclosed this counter:


    Here are 9 reasons Denmark’s socialist economy leaves the US in the dust
    C. Robert Gibson | October 21, 2015

    Sorry to nitpick but a spell check might give you FantaSy not FantaCy

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