Cover image for Viking economics : how the Scandinavians got it right - and how we can, too / George Lakey.
Viking economics : how the Scandinavians got it right - and how we can, too / George Lakey.
1st Edition.
Publication Information:
Brooklyn : Melville House, 2016.
Physical Description:
x, 287 pages ; 24 cm
Discovering today's Vikings beyond the guidebooks -- Part I. How they got to the top. Vikings as iconic adventurers, then and now -- Making their way in a globalized world -- Vikings get lost, bankers go wild -- Iceland creates the biggest crash, then rebounds -- How Norwegians empowered themselves to adopt the Nordic model -- Part II. Design for living in the Nordic countries. More start-ups than the United States: support for entrepreneurs, workers, and the equality of women -- Family farmers and cooperatives: key players in the Nordic model -- Preventing poverty: Nordics learn how an advanced economy can abolish poverty -- Creating work/life balance -- Breaking barriers to education and lifelong learning -- Paying for what you get: the Viking approach to taxes -- Part III. Today's challenges, for them and for us. Allowing racial and other differences to work for the common good -- Reaching for high goals on climate change -- How relevant is the Nordic model to the United States.
"An academic and activist takes an entertaining look at the Nordic welfare state--and shows us how we, too, can have a far more equal and just economic system In America, many Democrats invoke Scandinavia as a promised land of equality, while most Republicans fear it as a hotbed of liberty-threatening socialism. But the left and right can usually agree on one thing: that the Nordic system is impossible to replicate here at home. The US is too big, or too individualistic, or too puritan, or too, something. Whatever the reason, it's impossible, and we shouldn't bother to try. Enter George Lakey. A longtime activist and academic, Lakey has spent decades studying the economies of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, and in Viking Economics, he reveals that Scandinavia's deep commitment to the welfare state is much more recent than we think. Not long ago, Scandinavia was a far more unequal place, with a much weaker commitment to the social welfare of its citizens. There's nothing inherently Scandinavian about greater equality. So why not try it here? Viking Economics is more fun and entertaining than any economics book you've ever read. And, very possibly, more convincing! As he ranges from twentieth-century Norwegian history to the details of Swedish childcare policies, Lakey never loses his sense of humor or his expansive, generous vision of a better, more equal future. By explaining that even Scandinavia's grandest experiments in social equality are rooted in recent political struggles, Lakey explains shows how we can do it, too--conventional wisdom be damned"-- Provided by publisher.


Library Branch
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
1 Bob Harkins Branch 330.948 LAK Book Adult General Collection

On Order



Scandinavians work less than we do, they have free childcare and healthcare, and they're just generally happier. We're told that we can't have what they have... but what if we can? In Viking Economics, George Lakey explains how the Nordic system works and shows us that if we put in the hard work Scandinavians did not that long ago, we, too, can have a fairer economic policy.

Author Notes

GEORGE LAKEY is Visiting Professor at Swarthmore College. He is the author of many books and articles and has written for Waging Nonviolence and Common Dreams, among other publications.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Thinking of moving? Looking for a place with free education, health care, and job training? Forget Canada, try Norway! In this book, Lakey (Toward a Living Revolution) lays out the many benefits of the Nordic system. Although he is not actually trying to convince readers to move to Scandinavia, he does point out many advantages those countries have and the lessons that other nations can learn from their methods. Lakey relates policies in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland to current events in the European Union (EU) and the United States. He points out that the Nordic reliance on co-ops, unionization, and social support programs has enabled those countries to bounce back faster from economic downturns. Throughout the text, nonviolent collective action is emphasized as the path to a better quality of life and high levels of equality and happiness. Norway and Iceland are not part of the EU (unlike Sweden and Denmark), but they are part of the European Economic Area. Norway has a particularly close relationship with Europe and admits many refugees and guest workers. Verdict Norway may serve as a model for the post-Brexit UK, and readers with an interest in how the Nordic model came about will be fascinated by this timely title.-Cate Hirschbiel, Emerson Coll. Lib., Boston © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Discovering Today's Vikings Beyond the Guidebooksp. vii
Part I How They Got to the Top
1 Vikings as Iconic Adventurers, Then and Nowp. 3
2 Making Their Way in a Globalized Worldp. 11
3 Vikings Get Lost, Bankers Go Wildp. 27
4 Iceland Creates the Biggest Crash, then Reboundsp. 35
5 How Norwegians Empowered Themselves to Adopt the Nordic Modelp. 53
Part II Design for Living in the Nordic Countries
6 More Start-ups than the United States: Support for Entrepreneurs, Workers, and the Equality of Womenp. 75
7 Family Farmers and Cooperatives: Key Players in the Nordic Modelp. 95
8 Preventing Poverty: Nordics Learn How an Advanced Economy Can Abolish Povertyp. 105
9 Creating Work/Life Balancep. 131
10 Breaking Barriers to Education and Lifelong Learningp. 143
11 Paying for What You Get: The Viking Approach to Taxesp. 161
Part III Today's Challenges, for Them and For Us
12 Allowing Racial and Other Differences to Work for the Common Goodp. 179
13 Reaching for High Goals on Climate Changep. 205
14 How Relevant Is the Nordic Model to the United States?p. 221
Acknowledgmentsp. 249
Notesp. 251

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