How the Scandinavians got it right — and how we can, too

by George Lakey220px-galdhopiggenfromfannaraki

Sat Oct 15 Keene, NH: Toadstool Bookstore, 4pm.

12 Emerald St. , the corner of Main St. and Emerald St.

Bill McKibben: “A completely fascinating account of the Nordics–and, in particular, of Norway, one of the planet’s most fascinating nations. 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.” Journalist, climate activist, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College.

Frances Moore Lappé: “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!” Author of Diet for a Small Planet and Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Want.

Dean Baker: “Lakey gives a useful account of the development of the Nordic economic and social model. This 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.”  Co-Director of Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, D.C.

Chuck Collins: “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.  With this book, George Lakey stirs our imagination with practical and inspiring lessons from the Nordic countries for U.S. economy and society.”   Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, and author of Wealthy, Come Home.

In this book, George Lakey, who has lived and worked in Norway, tells an uplifting story. What economists call “the Nordic model” puts Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at the top tier of international ratings.  That includes education, abundance of jobs, health care, and security for all people.  Only Norway found substantial oil. All four Nordics were nimble in bouncing back from the 2008 crisis that still bedevils Europe and the U.S.

The book is not your regular economics book. It tells a very human story: what is it like to be a professional in Norway, or a parent or student or worker or entrepreneur or farmer or retired person or immigrant? The reader will meet people from many walks of life, even the author’s Norwegian family of in-laws. This book is lively and inspiring.

Surprises in the book include the fact that Norway has more start-ups per capita than the U.S., and Sweden outpaces the U.S. economy’s innovativeness.  Denmark is racing ahead to achieve carbon neutrality and already generates enough wind power to sell surplus to Germany. Iceland’s low crime rate is the envy of Europe; in the years since 2008 Iceland increased its already high economic equality.

Nordic societies are not utopian.  Racial and ethnic diversity challenges them. Women have not fully broken the “glass ceiling,” although they have 40% of corporate board seats and give significant political leadership.   For brief periods Swedes, Icelanders, and Norwegians did de-regulate their financial sectors, with disastrous consequences that forced them back to their Nordic model.  The book tells the dramatic story of how they waged their own struggles for democracy and freedom, and opened the space to create a model that others learn from

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