How America made Scandinavian social democracy possible | FT Alphaville

 

New research presented at the annual conference of the Economic History Society suggests the stereotype fairly describes the outcome of migration from Norway and Sweden to the United States in the second half of the 19th century. (Thanks to Romesh Vaitilingam for pointing it out to us.)

The researchers suggest the migration flows, which were small relative to the native population of America but equivalent to about 25 per cent of the total population of Scandinavia, changed the character of Norwegian and Swedish society by removing the most ambitious and independently-minded people.In other words, Scandinavian social democracy might not be possible without America’s historic willingness to absorb those who refused to follow the “Law of Jante”.

Source: How America made Scandinavian social democracy possible | FT Alphaville

 

Law of Jante:

The ten rules state:

  1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
  2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You’re not to laugh at us.
  9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.