Note: Nima Sanandaji is the author of the soon-to-be-released “Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism.”
(FEE) — The new American Dream is to be found in Denmark, at least according to the American left. As the support for free markets is falling, many Americans turn to the vision of introducing democratic socialism, inspired by the Nordic countries. It was the quest of introducing a Nordic-style welfare model that propelled Bernie Sanders, an unlikely candidate, to compete with the much more well-funded and connected candidate Hillary Clinton for months in the Democrat primary. However, the aim of introducing a Nordic-style welfare model is also shared by Clinton, who will run against Trump in the coming presidential race. Ezra Klein, editor of the liberal news website Vox, has explained, “Clinton and Sanders both want to make America look a lot more like Denmark – they both want to pass generous parental leave policies, let the government bargain down drug prices, and strengthen the social safety net.”
Out with the Old
Turning towards democratic socialism is a major course change in American politics. For a long time, Americans have favored small governments and free markets over a generous welfare state. However, opinions are changing. A recent Harvard University study shows that a significant share of the American youth have lost faith in the free market system. Merely 38 percent of Americans in the age group 18-34 support capitalism. This is only slightly higher than the 33 percent who support socialism. As a contrast, amongst the middle age generation (50-64 years), fully 52 percent are in favor of capitalism while only 15 percent prefer socialism. Amongst those over 65, as few as 7 percent support socialism, while 60 percent believe in capitalism.