This is a continuation of my previous post... to have a relook at the much-criticised "socialist" economic model.
The fall of Berlin Wall, and the collapse of Soviet economy is widely described as the triumph of free-market capitalist economy over the flawed socialistic economy model (the fact that this connection is a pretty large leap of logic, is another story;0)... But such is power of this paradigm, that since then any information which contradicts this myth (e.g., when later Russia adapted the IMF-prescribed model of free markets, its economy went into even greater shambles), is forgotten, ignored, or at best, explained away as an exception.
Contrary to popular belief, the socialistic economies have been thriving, are competitive, and perhaps provide a better model of economic development than the free-market economies, as the data below shows.
While there is perhaps nothing wrong in the free-market capitalist economy (except that it is a contradiction in terms, as I had once pointed out earlier), but there is a certain intellectual poverty in the blind belief that "one-size fits-all" - that one economic model is suited for all societies, irrespective of their unique history, local needs, cultural values, etc.
It is in this context, it is useful to study the The Scandinavian Socialist Model. The Scandinavian countries - Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland - are Socialist Welfare States, characterised by all those things which are nowadays seen as "primitive" and "backward" - high taxes, government subsidies, state interventions, etc.
The following is the global ranking of these countries - they feature in top 20 on all - on 5 indices of development:
1. GCI (Global Competitiveness Index): issued by World Economic Forum, and is based on a composite ranking of growth potential, business competitiveness, etc.
2. HDI (Human Development Index) : issued by UN which is a composite of education, per capita GDP, longivity, etc.
3. Gini Index: this a part of HDI, which ranks countries according income disparities in the society
4. IDC Information Society index: composit of computer/telecom penetration and e-nabled societal structrue etc.
5. Economist's Quality of Life Index: issued by The Economist's Intelligence Unit, and is a composite of 9 factors: material well-being, health, political stability, family and community life, climate and environment, job security, political freedom and gender equality.
Since the world - and definitely, India - has become quite "US-centric", I have color-coded the rankings of these countries and USA.
Think about it! - why do these facts never feature in main-stream media, are never discussed in public forums, are rarely taught in business schools or elsewhere?... and for that matter, why most of us never bothered to find out about these alternative economic models?!!!