“This is an appreciation of the social model developed in the Nordic countries. Better than many other countries we have managed to combine a just distribution and an efficient economy. These were long thought to be conflicting factors, but Norway’s economic development has proven it wrong”, says Prime Minister Stoltenberg.
A competitive advantage
An important aspect of our model is a high level of employment, in particular the high level of female employment. We have developed extensive welfare systems for children and the elderly, which has made it possible for women to enter working life. A larger workforce has in return created increased growth potential and a higher welfare level.
Also, the Nordic societies represent a much higher degree of equality than most other countries. The Nordic countries have demonstrated a greater willingness to adjustment and reform than many other European countries. This has facilitated high-tech adjustments.
The three-partite cooperation is vital. Dialogue between workers, employers and the state contributes to a healthy social climate and to security and flexibility, and labour conflicts are less frequent than in many other countries.
The Nordic paradox
The Nordic countries are marked by a relatively high taxation level, strong labour unions, extensive welfare systems and large pubic sectors. At the same time these countries are marked by economic efficiency and high levels of employment.
This apparent paradox triggers interest all over the world. Most of the interest is focused on how social and economic security may be combined with an innovative business life and an adaptable economy.
“It is quite possible to have a society where a just distribution is combined with dynamic business life”, says Prime Minister Stoltenberg. “Still, we have our unsettled problems, and we must continue to develop in order to meet new challenges”, Stoltenberg adds.
Uneasy world economy
The combination of security and flexibility gives the Nordic countries a high score on global comparisons of welfare and living standard. Norway was one of the countries least affected by the finance crisis.
“It is not possible for other countries to just make a blueprint of the Nordic model. In a time of an uneasy world economy we still hope to be of inspiration by bringing our experience to Davos”, says Stoltenberg.
2,500 political and economic global leaders gather in Davos 26-30 January. While in Davos Prime Minister Stoltenberg will also have talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderón and other heads of state and government.