Democratic socialists in the United States often use their friends in the mainstream media to promote their argument that Venezuela, Cuba, and other troubled third-world countries are not fair comparisons of their vision. They say that northern European countries are a more fair analogy.
But an analyst in Barron’s magazine points out reporting from the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, which places many of these Northern European countries at or above the United States’ ranking in economic freedom. In other words, contrary to the mythology that they are socialist utopias, Barron’s pops the mainstream media’s bubble about reporting on the true economic position of many of these countries.
“Polls tell us that 20-somethings today feel better about socialism then they do about capitalism,” Rainer Zitelmann writes in Barron’s in his article The Myth of Nordic Socialism. “Among those reclaiming the term are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. and Bernie Sanders in the U.S. To them, socialism doesn’t mean a state-controlled system like the one we saw in the old Soviet Union, but the dream of a ‘democratic socialism’ based on the Nordic model. But their dream is based on a big misunderstanding.”
In looking at the rankings, Heritage places Switzerland (No. 4 in freedom) with a higher rank than the United States (No. 12) in economic freedom and even the United Kingdom (No. 7) and Canada (No. 8) are higher in economic freedom than the United States. Iceland is also more economically free (No. 11) and the Netherlands (No. 13) is just behind America as is Denmark (No. 14) and Finland (No. 19).
Heritage has been producing this index for the past 25 years, looking at the rubric of 1) Rule of Law (property rights, government integrity, judicial effectiveness), 2) Government Size (government spending, tax burden, fiscal health) 3) Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom) and 4) Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).