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Publisher's Summary

Liberals worldwide invoke Scandinavia as a promised land of equality, while most conservatives fear it as a hotbed of liberty-threatening socialism. But the left and right can usually agree on one thing: that the Nordic system is impossible to replicate elsewhere. The US and UK are too big, or too individualistic, or too - something.

In Viking Economics - perhaps the most fun economics audiobook you've ever listened to - George Lakey dispels these myths. He explores the inner-workings of the Nordic economies that boast the world's happiest, most productive workers, and explains how, if we can enact some of the changes the Scandinavians fought for, surprisingly recently, we too can embrace equality in our economic policy.

©2017 Melville House (P)2017 TalkingBook

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Great quality and Important!

Kind of out of Talking Book's ballpark but such a good book. Complex but very approachable. Listen up, because this is legit!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Russ
  • HOT SPRINGS, New Caledonia
  • 10-19-17

Amazing ideas in this book

Expect a clean, professionally narrated book about economics and social policy but FUN! Loved it and would listen to again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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SO GOOD!

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Love that this exists. Wish they would release this on the news. Exactly what people need to hear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Audiobook

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Amazing. Can't believe this isn't required reading (or listening). Should be taught in schools. Awesome book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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MIND BLOWING

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This is something that everyone should hear. Very convincing. Very well-written and the narration is great!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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More of this!

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I can't believe this book isn't bigger. If everyone would just listen and work together we'd have this situation on lockdown. So necessary right now. Thanks, Mr. Lakey!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed this!

What did you love best about Viking Economics:?

A very interesting look into the Nordic model of society. George Lakey breaks down Scandinavian countries in regard to health, income, and over all happiness and he makes a very convincing argument for why we should be taking notes. Wonderful audiobook!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Really Interesting

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George Lakey has something to say. I'd listen to him, America. More of this. More of this.

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Must Listen

If you've never read this or heard about this topic you've got to listen. Seriously mind boggling that the USA doesn't take a note from this study. Come on, people!

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How to move the U.S. towards Scandinavian Heaven

Right now, as the 1% and right-wing extremists steer the U.S. ship of state, the description of the Nordic model in "Viking Economics" sounds like Heaven. George Lakey, the author describes many aspects of Scandinavian life, including education, the environment, work/life balance, and the stresses of recent high immigration. In a conversational, easy-listening tone, he relays personal anecdotes along with broad statistics to back up his points.

Bottom line, the quality of life, work/life balance, socioeconomic equality, and economic security are all superior in Scandinavia to what we have in the U.S. But what about freedom? Lakey quotes the findings of Freedom House, which provides well-accepted annual rankings of freedom for each country in the world. Scandinavia wins again. For example, in 2016, Norway was given the highest ranking possible on freedom, 100. Whereas, the U.S. came in with an 89 (https://freedomhouse.org/report/fiw-2017-table-country-scores). In the U.S., where money speaks louder than the 99% and where we incarcerate a higher percentage of our population than any other country, we have a ways to go.

Lakey’s characterization of the security, well-being, and sense of freedom in Scandinavia all rang true to me. My husband and I visited Denmark and Sweden last summer. We could feel the sense of security, the happiness, and the greater freedom to live life as one wants and not as economic stresses require. These were palpable.

But, would it be possible for the U.S. to adopt the Nordic model? Could we free our young people from mountains of educational debt? Could we provide everyone with high quality healthcare? Could we provide our seniors, regardless of income, with in-home care so that they could age in place if they wish?

For the U.S., resources are not the issue. We work many more hours, have greater natural resources, and have a higher GDP per person than in Sweden and Denmark. George Lakey addresses the obstacles that people usually mention: the grip of the 1% on our political system, our racial divide, and our cultural diversity. (I wish he had addressed another issue, our larger population size.) He shows how these may not be the barriers that many people suppose and that in certain ways, Scandinavia faced similar obstacles.

Lakey goes on to lay out a four-point strategy for the U.S. modeled on how the Scandinavians wrested the power they needed from their ruling elites to create the Nordic economic system:

• Create a vision of the future, shared by many Americans, of greater equality of opportunity, better work/life balance, a stronger social safety net, and a less corrupt political system. He suggests that a starting point could be the vision that Black Lives Matter has laid out.

• Increase involvement in worker-owned co-operatives and consumer co-operatives. Co-operatives create the skills and the democratic participation required to move us towards the Nordic model. Already, more than two-thirds of Americans participate in at least one co-operative, especially consumer co-operatives like credit unions. A large proportion of farmers participate in marketing co-operatives. Increasingly, employee-owned businesses are forming in the U.S.

• Commit to non-violence. In addition to the inherent desirability of avoiding violence, George Lakey quotes statistics indicating that non-violent social movements are twice as likely to succeed as violent movements.

• Act! Demonstrate, hold workers strikes, boycott…whatever it takes. The Scandinavian countries wrested their political systems from the ruling elites with social movements on the scale of our 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Lakey feels that if we want the kind of revolutionary change that the Nordic model would bring, we will need to do the same.

Lakey concludes with an Afterword written in spring 2017 with comments on the Trump administration. He points out that Trump is a symptom of great dissatisfaction. This is a moment when a new vision could unite so many people who are unhappy with how things are going in America today.