What is the secret of Scandinavian success?

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

Lesley Riddoch
journalist & broadcaster ; founder and director, Nordic Horizons; author, Blossom: what Scotland needs to flourish

Gabriel Sahlgren
director of research, Centre for Market Reform of Education, Institute of Economic Affairs

Bruno Waterfield
Brussels correspondent, The Times; co-author, No Means No

Nathalie Rothschild
freelance journalist; producer and reporter for Sweden's public service radio

Produced by
Ed Cottingham media analyst and researcher
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