Friday, October 16, 2015

Denmark, America and democratic socialism.

I didn't watch the Democratic presidential debate ...

Guess Who Else Is a Socialist?, Timothy Egan (New York Times)

One of the side benefits of a well-watched national political debate is the exposure it brings to something obscure and forgotten — like Denmark. Who doesn’t love a country that gave us a dish of frikadeller and rugbrod to go with paid parental leave and universal health care?

 ... but I love Denmark, and have spent more time there than anywhere else in Europe, with the exception of Slovakia and possibly Germany. Here is a reflection from our most recent visit in 2009.

Today's Tribune column: "One fine weekend in Copenhagen."

The crux of Egan's essay is this:

Once you label something socialist, it brings to mind dour Soviet types trotting out dreary worker clothing for the spring fashion line. Or, here at home, those insufferable parlor room Marxists who think it would be utopia if only we nationalized every Starbucks. In that sense, the worst thing about socialism is the socialists.

Free of the label, a hybrid economy where health care, education and pensions for the elderly are provided, side-by-side-by-side with creative capitalism, works pretty well in the Nordic countries, Britain and Canada. And most of the tenets of what is considered democratic socialism have majority support in the United States.

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