Sunday 20 October, 10.30am until 12.00pm, Pit Theatre Wrestling with the World
In the midst of European economic crises, the Nordic region has emerged largely unscathed, continuing to top global indexes in health, education, equality and well-being as well as recording impressive economic growth. Sweden, Denmark and Norway have drawn praise from across the political spectrum; from social democrats to free marketers, while Scottish nationalists often cite the Scandinavian countries as role models for an independent Scotland. But why is this region so successful? What is the secret? For some, it is welfare programmes, government regulation and high levels of tax, while others hail economic reform and freer markets, and others still a culture of transparency and openness and a strong work ethic. Can this model be emulated elsewhere?
Or has the Nordic model gone from being idolised to being romanticised and mythologised? What is hidden or ignored when discussing this success? Is it merely a veneer, covering deeper social problems, such as those indicated by riots in the Stockholm suburbs earlier this year?
Watch the debate:
Thomas Hylland Eriksen
professor of social anthropology, University of Oslo; novelist; author, Ethnicity and Nationalism and Globalization: the key concepts
journalist & broadcaster ; founder and director, Nordic Horizons; author, Blossom: what Scotland needs to flourish
director of research, Centre for Market Reform of Education, Institute of Economic Affairs
Brussels correspondent, The Times; co-author, No Means No
freelance journalist; producer and reporter for Sweden's public service radio
Danish expert on cradle-to-grave welfare services across Scandinavia is to help plan the welfare system of an independent Scotland.Tom Gordon, Herald Scotland, 4 August 2013
They have so much to teach us.Tabatha Leggett, Buzzfeed, 26 July 2013
It is well know within International Relations that Scandinavia has excelled both politically and socially as a region; providing some of the best services and quality of life within the world.Peter Banham, A Little View Of The World, 27 March 2013
The Nordic countries are reinventing their model of capitalism, says Adrian WooldridgeEconomist, 2 February 2013
If the Nationalists are serious about copying countries like Norway and Denmark, they will face a heavy bill to equip Scotland's armed forces to match Scandinavian levelsAlan Cochrane, Telegraph, 21 January 2013
How's your health? Do you socialise with friends regularly? Feel fulfilled after a day's hard graft? I'm not just being nosy; these are strong indicators of the quality of your life.James Urquhart, New Scientist, 11 March 2009
What can changes in tax structure accomplish? The Swedish tax reform of 1991 is the most far-reaching reform in any industrialized country in the postwar period.Jonas Agell, Peter Englund, Jan Sodersten, National Tax Journal, December 1996
Racism today: alive and kicking?
"I was impressed by the intensity of the debate and the high level of intellectual engagement, not least by the audience. It was an invigorating, even exhilarating experience to be part of a festival based on the conviction that disagreement is good. The Battle of Ideas is a fantastic concept, may it spread epidemically to the rest of the world. I am already looking forward to next year's event."
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor of social anthropology, University of Oslo; novelist