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Whose economy? Scotland in Northern Europe: balancing dynamic economies with greater social equality . Whose Economy? Poverty and Inequality. Whose Economy? Oxfam/UWS seminar series.
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Why do we have less poverty than the United States, but much more than Norway, Sweden and Denmark? The reasons lie very much more in the distribution systems of the respective countries than in the personal behaviour of people in poverty. Why some affluent Western democracies maintain substantial poverty and others are more egalitarian and accomplish low levels of poverty is mainly due to “the generosity of the welfare state”.
Adrian Sinfield, Whose welfare state now?, in Whose Economy?, http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/download?Id=436761&dl=http://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/oxfam/bitstream/10546/188809/5/dp-whose-economy-papers-complete-series-010911-en.pdf
Source: Eurostat, OECD, Scottish Government
Source: OECD (2008), Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries.
over 90% in Finland;
80%–89% in Belgium and Sweden;
70%–79% in Denmark and Norway;
60%–69% in Italy;
50%–59% in Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta;
40%–49% in Romania;
30%–39% in Austria, Ireland and Slovenia;
20%–29% in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK;
10%–19% in Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Spain;
below 10% in Estonia and Lithuania.
Higher among women than among men in half of the 20 countries examined – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden
World Economic Forum (2011) The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GCR_Report_2011-12.pdf
Innovation leaders: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden all show a performance well above that of the EU27 average
Once again, Norwegians rank among the happiest people in the world, behind only their fellow Nordic neighbours in Denmark and Finland. The latest Gallup World Poll indicates that the Nordic countries, with their social welfare states and relative affluence, must be doing something right.
Only the people of Iceland were missing when four out of the five Nordic countries grabbed the top spots on the Gallup World Poll’s list. Sweden ranked just after Norway in a tie for fourth place .
Forbes Magazine, from OECD report
In Norway, also considered by the United Nations to be the world’s best place to live, fully 69 percent of the population were said to be thriving while none of the respondents was “suffering.” But 31 percent were considered to be “struggling,” compared to 30 percent in Sweden, even though the economy in Sweden is considered to be weaker than Norway’s.
10. Austria 9. Israel 8. Finland 7. Switzerland 6. Sweden5. The Netherlands 4. Australia3. Norway 2. Canada 1. Denmark
“Only prudent Norway is holding its head above water”. • Associated Press: “Iceland teeters on the brink of bankruptcy”• International Herald Tribune: “Iceland is all but officially bankrupt”• Forbes: “Iceland teeters on bankruptcy”• New York Times: “Iceland, in financial collapse...”
During the past twenty years we have witnessed several major crises throughout the financial world. The IMF study of banking crises around the world reveals that 133 countries experienced significant banking sector problems at some stage during the years 1980-1995. The amount of public expenditure needed for resolving the crises and reviving banking sector activity has been remarkable in all countries. According to the above-mentioned IMF study, in some 25% of the crises, the costs exceeded 10% of GNP. The figures from the Nordic countries show that taxpayers' costs have ranged from 3% (Norway) to 8% (Finland) of GNP. Considering that not only the government budget but the whole economy suffers from such a crisis, it is understandable that the countries around the world, together with international organisations, have joined forces to determine the most efficient ways to avoid systemic financial crises.
Sweden and Norway had banking crises in the early Nineties. The Scandinavian banks collapsed after ... a credit and property bubble in the 1980s that burst just like ours. The Norwegian government moved quickly, driving down the shares of the banks to zero, nationalising many and taking an equity stake in the rest. It restructured and recapitalised the banks and then sold them off, so that the Norwegian taxpayers didn’t lose and the bankers didn’t get bailed out.
A banking system in crisis after the collapse of a housing bubble. An economy hemorrhaging jobs. A market-oriented government struggling to stem the panic. . banking system was, for all practical purposes, insolvent. … [but 3 years later, Sweden back on track]
But the final cost to Sweden ended up being less than 2 percent of its G.D.P. Some officials say they believe it was closer to zero, [with more returns to come].
However, the reforms enacted during the 1990s seem to have created a model in which extensive welfare benefits can be maintained in a global economy.
Advanced European Countries: Main Macroeconomic Indicators, 2009–12 (Percent) IMF
The happiest countries seem to be places where there is a good balance of work and leisure time. Not all nations can afford to keep unemployment low through government subsidies. Not all countries can afford to provide universal medical coverage. Not all countries can afford to educate almost all of their children, which in turn supports extremely high literacy rates and builds a population of skilled workers.
24/7 Wall St
The prime minister said: “there are countries in Europe, small countries that make it on their own, but ...
we are betteroff X
we are stronger X
we're fairer X
we're richer X
Iceland's Finance Minister SteingrimurSigfusson has told the BBC that his country's size has been crucial in the move towards recovery: "You are quicker turning a small boat around than a big ship."