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The Nordic nations punch above their weight in global discussions of economic policy. Advocates of bigger government in the United States, such as Bernie Sanders, claim that those countries are proof that socialism can work. But there’s a big problem with that claim. The Nordic nations don’t have any of the policies – government ownership, […]

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Earlier this year, I explained why Nordic nations are not socialist. Or, to be more precise, I wrote that if they are socialist, then so is the United States. And my slam-dunk evidence was this chart from the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World., which shows that there is almost no difference in overall […]

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There are a lot of positive things to be said about Norway. Most impressive, it is the world’s #2-ranked nation for high-quality rule of law. It is in the top quartile of countries for economic liberty. When measuring non-fiscal factors, it is in the top-10 percent for economic liberty. It is ranked #11 in the […]

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I will be speaking to a policy conference on the financial crisis in Oslo tomorrow, organized by the Progress Party, which is the main opposition party. If anyone wants to wake up at 6:00 a.m., you can watch me live at http://www.frp.no/no/FrP_TV/.

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Assuming the Democrats also win the Senate along with the White House, we may be poised to take a big leap in the direction of bigger government and more statism (which is why I explained a Clinton victory in 2016 would not have been the worst possible outcome). As such, we may as well enjoy […]

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Having already written several dozen columns on public policy and the coronavirus, it’s time to add my two cents to the debate over Sweden’s (comparatively) laissez-faire approach to the pandemic. If nothing else, it’s remarkable that the nation Bernie Sanders praised for socialism (albeit incorrectly) is now the poster child for (some) libertarians. What makes […]

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Assuming he was able to impose his policy agenda, I think Bernie Sanders – at best – would turn America into Greece. In more pessimistic moments, I fear he would turn the U.S. into Venezuela. The Vermont Senator and his supporters say that’s wrong and that the real goal is to make America into a […]

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I’ve written many columns about Sweden and Denmark over the past 10-plus years, and I’ve also written several times about Norway and Iceland. But I’ve mostly neglected Finland, other than some analysis of the country’s experiment with “basic income” in 2017 and 2018. Now, thanks to a very interesting column in the New York Times, […]

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I give Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang credit for a bit of honesty. Both of them have proposals to significantly – indeed, dramatically – expand the burden of government spending, and they actually admit their plans will require big tax increases on lower-income and middle-class voters. Their numbers are still wrong, but at least they […]

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The World Bank has released its annual report on the Ease of Doing Business. Unsurprisingly, the top spots are dominated by market-oriented jurisdictions, with New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong (at least for now!) winning the gold, silver, and bronze. The United States does reasonably well, finishing in sixth place. It’s also worth noting that […]

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I get quite agitated when the folks in Washington make dumb choices that waste money and hinder prosperity. That being said, I take comfort in the fact that governments in other nations also do stupid things. I guess this is the policy version of “misery loves company.” And it’s also a source of horror and/or […]

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Because they wrongly assume the economy is a fixed pie, some of my friends on the left think it’s bad for there to be rich people. They actually think that must mean the rest of us have less income. But that’s not true. At least it’s not accurate if we start with the assumption that […]

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What’s socialism? Is it the centrally planned economies of Cuba and North Korea? Or the kleptocracies of Zimbabwe and Venezuela? How about the interventionist welfare states of Greece, Italy, and France? Or the redistribution-oriented Nordic nations? Since socialism means different things to different people, the answers will be all over the map. But there’s one […]

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I have this quaint notion that the Constitution guarantees economic liberty by limiting the power of Washington. Needless to say, parental leave is not one of the enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8. Sadly, many people (include the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) don’t share my view. So let’s set aside that objection […]

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I relentlessly mock socialism, in part because it’s such a target-rich environment. But I’m also hoping that humor is a way of debunking this wretched ideology. I’m worried, after all, that socialism may triumph thanks to a combination of “public choice” and diminishing societal capital. Today, let review the case against socialism. We’ll start with […]

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When talking with people who dislike free enterprise, it’s quite common that they will admit (at least once I share some of the evidence) that markets produce more prosperity than statism. But that generally doesn’t convince them. In part, this is because they believe it is wrong to have significant income disparities. Especially if they’ve […]

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I don’t always fully agree with Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Institute, but I’m an avid reader of his work because he writes intelligently on issues that I care about. I especially like it when we’re on the same side. A good example is his recent column about billionaires in the New York Times. He […]

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In Part I of our series on Socialism in the Modern World, we looked at the tragic story of Venezuela. Today, we’re going to look at what we can learn from the Nordic nations. And the first thing to understand, as I explain in this interview, is that these nations are only socialist if the […]

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When I think about social welfare spending, I mostly worry about recipients getting trapped in dependency. But I also feel sorry for taxpayers, who are bearing ever-higher costs to finance redistribution programs. Today’s column won’t focus on those issues. Instead, we’re going to utilize new OECD data to compare the size of the welfare states […]

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The most persuasive data, when comparing the United States and Scandinavia, are the numbers showing that Americans of Swedish, Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian descent produce much more prosperity than those who remained in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway. This certainly suggests that America’s medium-sized welfare state does less damage than the large-sized welfare state in […]

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I just spent several days in London, where I met with journalists and experts at think tanks to find out what’s happening with Brexit. By way of background, I think voters in the UK made the right decision for the simple reason that the Brussels-based European Union is a slowly sinking ship based on centralization, […]

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My favorite publication every year is Economic Freedom of the World. It’s filled with data on fiscal policy, regulatory policy, trade policy, monetary policy, and quality of governance for 162 jurisdictions, and it provides an unbiased way of gauging the degree to which they allow economic liberty. It also allows readers to slice and dice […]

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Whether I’m writing about a rich country or a poor country, my research starts with a visit to Economic Freedom of the World. Published by the Fraser Institute in Canada, EFW uses five major factors (fiscal, regulatory, monetary, trade, and quality of governance) to rank nations based on the overall amount of economic liberty. The […]

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My favorite annual publication is the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World, which measures the amount of economic liberty that exists in 159 nations. The rankings are based on five equally weighted categories, though I’ve always viewed “Legal System and Property Rights” as being the most important because even low taxes and light regulation […]

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Move over, Crazy Bernie, you’re no longer the left’s heartthrob. You’ve been replaced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an out-of-the-closet socialist from New York City who will enter Congress next January after beating a member of the Democratic leadership. Referring to the boomlet she’s created, I’ve already written about why young people are deluded if they think […]

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If you look at the top of your screen on my home page, you’ll notice that I have a collection of special pages such as the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame and examples of what happens when you mix government and sex. I’m thinking of creating a new page, but I need a pithy way of […]

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In yesterday’s column, I shared a humorous video mocking the everywhere-its-ever-been-tried global failure of socialism. And I tried to preempt the typical response of my left-wing friends by pointing out that Scandinavian nations are not role models for statism. In global ranking of economic liberty, Nordic nations score relatively high, with Denmark and Finland in the […]

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One of the great insights of “public choice” is that politicians engage in self-serving behavior just like everyone else. But there’s a profound difference between them and us. In the private economy, we can only make ourselves better off by providing value to others. In government, by contrast, politicians oftentimes make themselves better off by […]

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We joked about communism yesterday, so let’s stick with the humor theme and make Trump today’s target. Months before the 2016 election, I shared a world-according-to-Trump map that had some very clever parts (I especially liked the portrayal of Eastern Europe and Canada, though I confess I’m not sure why China was labeled as the […]

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Too much government can be hazardous to your health. But I’m not talking about government killing you because you bet on a football game. And I’m not talking about government killing you for selling an untaxed cigarette. Nor am I talking about government killing you with bureaucrat-run healthcare. Instead, this is a column about the […]

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