When ever I hear folks rant and rave on the evils of European Social Democracies and how horrid they are, I always ask them to name the country that comes up consistently with the highest literacy rates in the world, lowest infant mortality, and much higher the the USA GDP per capita, and at the same time has what you would probably call the world’s most complete cradle-to-grave welfare state. Of course, no one knows the answer because so many folks here have been brainwashed into thinking productivity, budget surpluses, high standards of living, and great education and health care are not possible in socialist states. Well, they are really wrong.
Without a doubt, the best country to live in the world these days going strictly by the statistics (and not the weather) is Norway. Take a look at the CIA fact book for all the good stuff on Norway then take a look at the United States. Norway has bested the USA in standard of living for quite some time. The United States keeps dropping on all lists and just in GDP per capita is now sitting at number 10. Norway is ranked first on the Human Development index of 177 countries, so essentially they are number one country for living the good life. It is second, only to Luxembourg, for GDP per capita.
Today’s New York Times covers the little country that can and its stellar economic performance in today’s global economic crisis. A lot of credit is goes to Norway’s socialist finance minister Kristin Halvorsen. She’s in charge of Norway’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund that has been steadily buying stocks since March and is used to build a decent standard of living for every one in that country. Norway likes its government and its government works well. The Times article contrasts the economics of the U.S. and Norway and the U.S. comes up way short.