In Foreign Policy, Nima Sanandaji explains that, contrary to what you may have heard from Bernie Sanders, the Nordic countries are anything but socialist, and in fact are thriving capitalist democracies. He writes (abridged):
Today, Nordic nations still have higher taxes and more generous welfare systems than most parts of the world. But since the 1990s, Sweden and other Nordic nations have focused on strengthening those norms of social responsibility again by increasing the control of public welfare systems, reducing generosity in the welfare models, and lowering taxes.
Indeed, many Nordic policies now promote free trade and free enterprise. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, which measures how capitalist a country is by studying regulation and taxation in different areas of the economy, ranks Denmark and Iceland as the 10th and 11th most capitalist countries in the world. Finland comes in at 17th, Sweden at 21st, and Norway at 28th. By comparison, the United States is ranked 20th. Property rights, business freedom, monetary freedom, and trade freedom are strong in the Nordic nations.
Nordic social democratic parties have also had to modify their migration policies as their working-class voters have shifted to more conservative parties that push for migration control. In Denmark’s 2019 general election, when Social Democracy party leader Mette Frederiksen defeated the center-right incumbent to become prime minister, she gained support on a platform that combined traditional social democratic policies with a strict immigration policy.
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