From Merryn Somerset Webb – MoneyWeek Magazine (Great Britain) –
It was “Obamacare” that finally did it for me. Barack Obama’s efforts to broaden healthcare coverage among US citizens was passed in 2010, and it remains a hot political issue. During the visceral, early debates, one regular insult hurled at its supporters – not just by the always-hysterical Fox News – was that “this bill will make America like Scandinavia”. As a regular visitor to Scandinavia, I decided to look into whether this slur was justified. My conclusion was clear: American or British, young or old, rich or poor – or an investor – you are better off being Scandinavian.
Scandinavia is normally defined as comprising Norway, Sweden and Denmark (hence the Nordic States) but, for historical and cultural reasons, we should include Finland and Iceland. Its total population is 27 million, with income per head higher than in the UK, with its population of almost 66 million. Only the two largest countries – Sweden (population 10 million) and Denmark (6 million) – have been nations for long. Norway only became independent in 1905; Finland in 1917; and Iceland in 1944. Historically, they weren’t especially nice places: from the 8th to the 18th centuries there was much high-testosterone aggression between various tribes, who created significant European empires along the way. Liberal, peaceful Scandinavia is very much a 20th-century creation.