Bernie is wrong on democratic socialism in Sweden, and everywhere else

But as a Scandinavian political scientist who has studied Nordic politics, economy and history in depth, I do not feel the Bern. The Vermont senator has embraced an urban legend; his love affair with Scandinavian socialism gets it all wrong.

Contrary to the prevailing narrative, the success of Nordic countries like Sweden — as measured by relatively high living standards accompanied by low poverty, with government-funded education through university, universal health coverage, generous parental-leave policies and long life spans — precedes the contemporary welfare state.

In fact, when we examine Nordic politics, economy and history as exemplified by Sweden, we find that the Northern European success story was not achieved thanks to a welfare model funded by high taxes, but perhaps despite it. It is high time Sanders stops misleading his followers on this score.

Research has suggested that the Northern European success story has its roots in cultural rather than economic factors.