Democracy

In this category, you will find articles on democracy and the Nordics, including parliaments, voting systems, egalitarianism, consensual democracy, social democracy and the welfare state. Categories are interpreted widely.

Sundbyberg's folk high school in Sweden. Photo: Wikimedia, CC0.

2019.03.01 | The Quick Read, Kyle Frackman, Education, Democracy

Nordic folk high schools

Folk high schools are institutions which provide general and vocational education for young people and adults. Based on the philosophy of Danish educator, pastor, and religious revivalist N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872), the first school was founded in Denmark in 1844, but the concept spread to other Nordic countries in the following decades. There…

The Finnish Act on Freedom of the Press from 1766, which included the Principle of Publicity. Photo: © Tryckfrihetsförordningen1766 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

2019.02.27 | Article, Ainur Elmgren, Governance, Democracy, University of Helsinki

Open government in the Nordics

Open government is intended to ensure transparency, accountability and openness and involves fundamental issues such as press freedom, public disclosure and freedom of information legislation, all key aspects of the administration of Nordic states. These states were amongst the earliest to introduce lauded measures of open government, such as the…

The Himlastegen - or Heaven Steps - in Katrineholm, Sweden which allowed people to safely cross the railway tracks. Photo: Taken in 1950. From a leaflet in Swedish on folkhem by www.sormlandsmuseum.se.

2019.02.25 | The Quick Read, Norbert Götz, Democracy, Nation building, Södertörn University

Folkhem

Folkhem, literally meaning ‘people’s home’, is a Swedish term for what is otherwise designated as the Swedish welfare state or the Swedish model. It is even used and discussed in the context of the Nordic welfare state or the Nordic political model, and related ideas are prominent throughout the region (e.g. folkelighed, i.e. popular culture, in…

Rudolf Meidner (1914-2005), the Swedish economist. Photo: The Internet archive taken from his 1978 book Employee Investment Funds An Approach To Collective Capital Formation.

2019.02.21 | The Quick Read, John Logue, Economy, Democracy

Wage earner funds in Sweden, 1960s & 70s

The term wage earner fund refers to different models of redistributing profit amongst workers of individual employers or sectors. It is often characterised by the 1975 Meidner’s model which set out that new stocks issued could be paid to funds, which would be administered by a group of directors with advice from trade unions.

The Løgting or Faroese parliament is considered the oldest parliment in the world. It is mentioned in the saga ‘Færeyingasaga’ written in Iceland in around the year 1200, but historians estimate that the origin of the Faroese Løgting can be traced as far back as shortly after the first Norse settlement (landnam) of the Faroes in the year 800. The building is from 1856.

2019.02.21 | The Quick Read, Norbert Götz, Governance, Democracy, Södertörn University

Parliamentary culture in the Nordic countries

The Nordic countries have a particular parliamentary culture characterised by consensus and working across party lines. Their parliaments remain influential institutions considering the general trend towards greater executive power. The principles of parliamentary government and universal suffrage were introduced comparatively early in Norden. The…

It is often argued that a smothering state or the market forces of neoliberalism stifle civil society. Residents of Nordic countries remain active, however, although civil society organisations have changed considerably since the hey-day of 'movements' in the nineteenth century. Photo: clothes collection for refugees, Copenhagen Central Station in September, 2015.

2019.02.21 | Article, Norbert Götz, Culture, Democracy, Aarhus University

Civil society in the Nordics

The Nordic experience is characterised by an upward spiral of development resulting from a close interconnection between a strong civil society and a strong state. The term ‘civil society’ was initially used in the Nordic countries as an alien concept to denote antagonism to the dominance of the welfare state. From the late 1990s, civil society…

Input from labour market organisations and other interest groups can be fed into decision making from the local to the national level. Photo: Benjamin Child, Unsplash.

2019.02.21 | Article, Norbert Götz, Public policy, Democracy, Aarhus University

Corporatism and the Nordic countries

Corporatism is about the influence of organisations and interest groups on policy making. The Nordic countries are societies with strong interest groups, acknowledged and privileged by the state, that wield considerable influence on policy making and implementation. Corporatism, or neo-corporatism, is found within industrial relations, but is also…

The living room at Harpsund, with former British Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison visiting, 1953. Svenska Dagbladet via IMS Vintage Photos, Public Domain.

2019.02.18 | The Quick Read, John Logue, Democracy, Governance

Harpsund democracy

Harpshund democracy is the Swedish practice of regular tripartite consultation between government, trade unions and businesses on major policy decisions. The consultation reflects the importance of the major interest organisations in shaping and implementing policy in the Swedish political model. The assumption is that strong policy can be built…

A poster from a 2010 demonstration against the Danish government's plan to pass a number of money-saving measures including reduce the period of unemployment compensation from four to two years. The law was subsequently passed. Photo: Musernes Samlinger (Arbejdermuseet).

2019.02.15 | Article, John Logue, Labour markets, Democracy

Labour markets in the Nordics

National labour markets in the Nordic countries reflect trade union and Social Democratic principles of full employment and solidarity, while conforming to the conditions of capitalist market economies. They combine high levels of labour force participation with excellent systems of unemployment compensation. Throughout the region there is now a…

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