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Laurens Rademakers

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Is the superior Northern European social model applicable to all societies?

It is well known that the Northern European way of organising a society leads to the highest levels of wealth, health, happiness, and even biological strength ever achieved in mankind.

Hundreds of social, economic, medical, and biological parameters point that way.

Typical for the Northern European model is: free world-class health care (socialised medicine), free world-leading education, a very generous social security net, very low inequality (egalitarianism), high taxes - to name but a few of the dominant traits.

Now there's a debate about whether this model can be applied to different cultures. The question is important, because it may inform choices to be made by leaders in developing countries - who now have the choice between the Anglosaxon model of development (which leads to misery), or the Northern European model (which leads to prosperity).

Is the miracle model applicable to other cultures? Or does culture impose strong barriers to its adoption?

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  • Oct 27 2011: I think you left out the most important part of the Northern European model...Leaving archaic religious ideologies in the past. Sweden is something like 85-90% Atheistic?

    I don't think a diverse cultural society will ever be able to come together as successfully as a nation like Sweden when religion, or more to the point multiple religions, are so entrenched into that society.
    • Oct 27 2011: Well most Scandinavians are not atheists they are simply rational Christians who use the state church to get baptized, confirmed, married and buried. 80% are members of the State Lutheran Church in Denmark, and pay the church tax. Don't know about Sweden but it's probably close as far as church membership.
      • Oct 28 2011: Is there such a thing as a "rational Christian"? Believing in the Noah's Ark story, talking snakes, all humans being directly descended from "Adam and Eve", etc, etc, etc disqualifies people from the "rational" group in my mind.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism#Europe

        The Wiki post shows some interesting information. I have seen other surveys that put the number of non-believers in Sweden and Denmark at even higher levels. Being married in a church or having a religious burial doesn't prove anything other than people like their traditions and reinforces Pascal's Wager.

        Do you assert that if the majority of the population had more of a fundamentalist view on any Abrahamic religion that the idea of being a member of a multicultural society would be perceived as anything close to what it is in Northern Europe now?

        What do you think I meant by "archaic religious ideologies"? What do you think I meant by that dogma being "so entrenched into that society"?
        • Oct 28 2011: You meant rational Christians. Just as I mean rational scientist when I say Quantum Physicist who also leave archaic scientific ideologies in the past. Can you not hold the paradox of a christian who does not believe in God in your hand ? Then you'll have a hard time with particles and waves existing at the same time. not to mention the 11-dimensional M-theory, which requires spacetime to have eleven dimensions. Surly a talking snake is possible in perhaps one of these dimensions (?) :-)
          Here is the first line of that wiki *The demographics of atheism are difficult to quantify* In Denmark you
          most be Baptized and Confirmed to be a member of the Church, In the first case of baptism your parents
          must swear you believe, in the second case of confirmation you must swear you believe. So for me all the poll shows is that Danes are lairs at their confirmation or they have changed their minds I do not know how good
          or challenge the findings of the Eurostat Eurobarometer poll. I simply know the real statistics of membership in
          the Lutheran Church of Denmark and that is at present 80% of the population. Of course it's tradition, but active belief is not necessary to consider yourself a Christian. If the Eurostat Eurobarometer poll had asked are you a member of a Christian church the poll would reflect the cultural structure of the Danish society and that's what is important any society. Culture is the most important factor in this discussion and the poll only show that Denmark has a culture of freedom where you can say *I don't believe in God* and still support the existence of a State Christian Church. The weakness or the strength in any given millennium of the belief in a god is not relevant in a rational society, that's the Northern Model. Unlike the US where the state does not dare disregard the irrational beliefs of the Christian Bible Thumpers
      • Oct 29 2011: Are you trying to argue for the existence of a Christian who does not believe in God? If so, I would say that you are simply not allowed to make things up. The core of a Christian is the thought that Jesus is Divine and died for their sins.

        Are you trying to say that science is not rational? Science gives answers to questions in the most honest way possible and much of what science does is say "We don't know for certain". Quantum physics often doesn't go along with common sense. The only reason that Quantum physics is taken seriously is that it can predict with a high degree of certainty specific outcomes. If quantum physics is ever proven to be wrong, the theories will change.

        Your arguments are so weak that I almost did not reply. This particular survey shows that only 23% of Swedes believed in god in 2005. That number has been undeniably shrinking since then. Other surveys show similar results. Do you have an actual argument against this information? I get the feeling that you are just trying to be funny?
        • Oct 29 2011: I am using Christianity as a cultural and social construct, so it does not mater how many do not believe in God, all that matter is the construct of a CHRISTIAN culture.
          Yes, science is not rational on the level of quantum physics at the present time, or are you saying that every survey you've seen in the last year has shown that all people *believe* in an 11-dimensional universe.
          To state this one more time, the non belief in a god does not meant *I am not a Christian*
          And if they asked the question of the Swedes * Are you a Christian* the survey would reflect the true nature of the culture and social structure. And I don't mind if you don't reply.
          You say in *formation* like it's a fact, like the science is in, like climate change is man-made
          like the world is round, like there are only 3 dimensions. Don't mind me I only dream of a world open enough to contain no opinions.
      • Oct 29 2011: "To state this one more time, the non belief in a god does not meant *I am not a Christian*"

        You are making things up! You are changing the meaning of words to fit your argument. You can't do that...

        One might say that a society is following certain Christian values if it does not believe in God, but you can not say that someone is a Christian if he or she does not believe in God. A Christian follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught that he was the son of God (along with many other "divine" teachings). Failing to follow the teachings means that someone is not a Christian.
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          Oct 29 2011: This is an interesting debate. I am Norwegian, although I've been raised mostly in the US. However, I lived between both countries growing up. There is some truth to what Joseph is saying, Jason. I completely understand what you're saying too, however. Truth is, people can define themselves in whatever way they choose and still disagree.

          A Christian who is an active member of a church in the US, and follows biblical principles and scripture is a practicing Christian, by their own definition and the Bible's. However, in countries whose state church is Christian, as it is in much of Europe, it's part of their identity and culture. I completely understand why it makes no sense to you, yet it's true. Many people say they believe in God, but don't attend church. Others are agnostic. However, the church is where weddings and funerals are held, choirs are very popular all over Europe as well. It's as if there's a disconnect between their spiritual life and the church. The church is a direct reflection of their cultural identity. It's different in the US.
      • Oct 29 2011: Linda,

        Semantics has a little to do with it, but not much.

        I can be a member of a Golf Club, but not a Golfer. I can be a member of the Christian Church, but not a Christian. I can't be a Christian and not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (I am not religious if you haven't guessed by now).

        Chris┬Ětian (krschn)
        adj.
        1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
        2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
        3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
        4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
        5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.
        n.
        1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
        2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus

        The noun uses of the word are precise.
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          Oct 29 2011: I understand, Jason. Perhaps the best way to see it is it's a Christian culture. Although this generation is not 'church-going,' their ancestors were. The social and cultural foundation of the country (Norway) is built on Christian values, with the state church being Lutheran. Even though many may doubt their beliefs, it doesn't change the moral and cultural foundation that is already laid, and they've been raised by - it's passed down through the generations.
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          Oct 29 2011: One more thing, Jason. We can't really judge who is a Christian or not, can we? In my view, I think God would be much bigger than anything we can imagine or construct in our various world views and interpretations. I recall hearing people weren't Christian if they didn't specifically say the 'sinner's prayer,' which I'm sure you'd agree is absurd. Chances are very good that people raised in such a culture do follow the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps not to the letter, they probably don't even do it with Jesus in mind. It's simply their make-up because they've been taught those principles and morals their whole life. It's a collective consciousness, for lack of a better term.
      • Oct 29 2011: Linda,

        I agree with much of what you say and I really respect the way you say it.

        However, we have one major disagreement...

        From the Bible:
        "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."---Jesus

        To not believe in God is to not follow the teachings of Jesus is to not be a Christian.

        To not believe in God is Agnostic at best, but more Atheistic. A culture that is inspired by Christianity is also inspired by "The Golden Rule", which came much much earlier and has nothing to do with religion. My entire point is that Northern European culture has evolved past archaic religious ideologies.
        • Oct 30 2011: evolved past archaic religious ideologies.
          Yes, evolved to being Christians without a belief in God (new concepts are hard to comprehend) and without help from the Bible. Just as the non practicing Jew is still a Jew,
          I am a non practicing Catholic and am still a catholic. I don't believe in the Catholic God, nor do I believe in the Infallibility of the Pope and yet I'm still culturally, mentally, and legally a Catholic . Now you would/might say I can not be a Catholic and not believe in the Infallibility of the Pope, it's the dogma (truth) of the Catholic Church. So lets just say, no your wrong I am a Catholic having been baptized and confirm a Catholic. There are a lot of words for it, non practicing, lapsed, sinful and so on, however until I am formally excommunicated from the church I am a Catholic. The Lutherans, to my knowledge have no formal * kicking out* dogma.
          Nice to have your voice in here Linda,I though my wagon was surrounded. Your statements are considerably less augmentative than mine, I tend to go off the deep end at times.

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