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“The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life”
“The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life”
WhenWednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, 7 – 9 p.m.
Campus locationKane Hall (KNE)
Campus room220
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars, Special Events
Event sponsorsDepartment of Scandinavian Studies,, Tina Swenson,, 3-0645

Economic Opportunity Institute,, Matthew Caruchet, 206-529-6360
Twitter@uwscand, @eoionline
Target AudienceUW students and faculty, public interested in Nordic welfare state

In her talk, Anu Partanen discusses some surprising lessons the United States could learn from the successes of Nordic countries. Survey after survey has shown that Nordic countries offer their citizens a higher quality of life than what Americans today are generally able to enjoy. The Nordics top international comparisons in education, health, gender equality, children’s wellbeing, and overall happiness. They have produced successful businesses and globally-admired innovation while allowing employees to enjoy a healthy work-life balance, and they ensure for all citizens good paid parental leaves, free college and universal health care—all while remaining wealthy, competitive countries. Yet many Americans dismiss the Nordic approach as “socialism” that only works in small, homogeneous countries with a collectivist mindset and an altruistic tolerance for high taxes.

As Anu Partanen reveals, however, these ideas about the Nordic nations are mostly myths. Partanen, a journalist originally from Finland who is now an American citizen, dispels these myths and delves into the concrete ways the experiences of Nordic countries could help the United States strengthen its own values of independence, diversity, freedom, and opportunity. As Americans find themselves more and more anxious about their daily lives and their futures, and embroiled in political turmoil over the faltering middle class and the possible loss of the American dream, adapting elements of the Nordic approach could help the United States reinvigorate the American dream and return America to its former glory as the land of opportunity.

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