Thoughts on The Nordic Theory of Everything | Confessions of a Community College Dean

The U.S. has strayed from its own ideals, and in reality, Americans today enjoy less opportunity than do people of other wealthy nations. The land of opportunity needs to bring the opportunity back.”

“The secret of Nordic success is not big government. It’s smart government. And as many Americans themselves are already well aware, less big government, and more smart government, is something the United States desperately needs.” What is still

Why is Australia with only 24 million people chasing the USA down the spiral of doom?

So hallmarks of Nordic welfare states like universal free healthcare, free college, subsidized day care, and free elder care exist not to lull people into dependence on the nanny state, as American conservatives tend to argue. They exist to allow people to live the lives they choose. It’s easier to start a company when leaving your job doesn’t mean giving up your health insurance. It’s easier to raise kids when every public school is good, and college is free. Their social programs aren’t about dependence on the state; they’re about independence from each other, the better to allow healthy and free bonds to form without the distortions of constant economic need.

But to assume that “freedom” and “government” are engaged in a zero-sum battle is to miss entirely the role of economic coercion in the decisions we make in daily life. To the extent that governments can reduce the strength of economic coercion — through, say, free community college — they can actually increase their citizens’ freedom to live the lives they want to live. If healthcare is a right of citizenship, then it’s easier to leave a crappy job and start a new company. If every school is good and college is free, parents don’t have to strain to salt away money for tuition, and new graduates don’t start their adult lives with student loan debt. If women and men fare equally well in the workplace, and parental leave is paid, then each family can determine the childcare arrangements that make the most sense for them. The conditions that make certain decisions “rational” are, themselves, subject to conscious change.

via Thoughts on The Nordic Theory of Everything | Confessions of a Community College Dean