Stumbling towards Stockholm

Lane Kenworthy believes that within the next half-century the United States will very likely become a “modern social democracy,” using government to advance a “good society” of economic security, opportunity (at least in the Amartya Sen sense of “capabilities”), and rising living standards for all. It will do this through generous and employment-friendly social policies (insurance, cash transfers, in-kind services, other public goods) that also facilitate “freedom, flexibility, and market dynamism” (p. 9). The Nordic countries (particularly Denmark, Sweden, and Norway) are Kenworthy’s model for this sort of society. He admires the Nordics’ egalitarian achievement and welcomes their market-centered and business-friendly pragmatism, which reminds him of us. He sees all sorts of reasons why the United States should become more like them and none for why we cannot, and without “destroying liberty, breaking the bank, or wrecking the economy” (p. 1)—so he expects we will.

– SAGE

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