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Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Nordic Theory

The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life - Anu Partanen, Abby Craden

The author, a journalist and a transplant from Finland to the United States, is in a unique position to explore distinctions between her adopted country and Nordic countries, including the one she left behind.  She focuses on education, health care, parental-leave policies, elder care, business, and taxation.  Taking on the widespread perception in the US that Nordic countries are "nanny states" that foster dependence through their social programs, she contends that knowing their government programs have their backs when it comes to health, education, and the social safety net actually does the opposite and encourages freedom.  In contrast, the US system tends to lead to different dependencies--such as children's prolonged dependence on their parents (college tuition being so high) and employees on their employers (health insurance, etc.).  And when parents age, the dependencies flip, as adult children struggle to care for elderly parents.


The book is not one-sided, as the author acknowledges positive traits about the US and posits that the US and the Nordic countries can learn from one another.  However, there are ways, as she points out, that life in the US could be "so much better," and it's worthwhile to examine how the Nordic countries built the structures as they did.