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Wednesday, April 05, 2006


claus vistesen

The printer is heating up as I type ... Good find!

I am looking forward to read it.


Yes, it's provocative, and one could disagree with many of its assertions - at least to the point I read to, which was about page 30, after which I binned it.

Ireland, of course, is a great success today, and one can be very happy for them considering the state they were in before they joined the EU (and long before that, needless to say).

But it has been one of the few major net recipients of EU aid. I'm not criticising their corporate tax policy, far from it: but if other countries are paying for their development, they can probably afford lower taxes, no?

Or can they? - because they have one of the very highest child poverty rates in the developed world.

This contrasts strongly with Finland, which comes under criticism in the erm.... outburst above. Finland has the lowest or second lowest child poverty rate in the developed world.

And it's all very well for them to claim Finland hasn't created any jobs since 1981, but as Krugman says, lying with statistics can be a matter of choosing the time-frame. Because in fact, Finland had very many jobs wiped out by the crash of the USSR, and unemployment 10 years ago was around 20% - today it is well under half that. Who else has more than halved their rate in 10 years? - it can't be many.

Finland has a budget surplus, a current account surplus, falling unemployment, an above EU-average growth rate, a below EU-average inflation rate, and very good indicators from a social perspective.

Yet we are criticised for being 'laggards'.

Now you know why I only read to page 30 or so, because it's all too predictable what they said everyone else.


Hirvi makes good points about the first of the chapters. I make similar points and more on my blog. I am afraid this book is not an honest attempt at really understanding the situation but rather a deliberate attempt to push a particular agenda. There is no balance at all. It is a prime exmple of research done with the conclusions very firmly in place beforehand.

Having said that, I don't think the Nordic model would suit everyone and certainly not the US (if there is a "Nordic model" at all beyond a shared interest in equality of opportunity).

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