Why do Danish-Americans do better than Danes?

That is one question I consider in my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

Nima Sanandaji, a Swedish policy analyst and president of European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform, has recently published a book called “Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism.” And while the title may be overstated, his best facts and figures are persuasive.

For instance, Danish-Americans have a measured living standard about 55 percent higher than the Danes in Denmark. Swedish-Americans have a living standard 53 percent higher than the Swedes, and Finnish-Americans have a living standard 59 percent higher than those back in Finland. Only for Norway is the gap a small one, because of the extreme oil wealth of Norway, but even there the living standard of American Norwegians measures as 3 percent higher than in Norway. And that comparison is based on numbers from 2013, when the price of oil was higher, so probably that gap has widened.

Of the Nordic groups, Danish-Americans have the highest per capita income, clocking in at $70,925. That compares to an U.S. per capita income of $52,592, again the numbers being from 2013. Sanandaji also notes that Nordic-Americans have lower poverty rates and about half the unemployment rate of their relatives across the Atlantic.

It is difficult, after seeing those figures, to conclude that the U.S. ought to be copying the policies of the Nordic nations wholesale.

There is more to the piece, and I will note that I see a Land of Twitter where many Danes have read only that part of the piece.   I close with this:

How’s this for a simple rule: Open borders for the residents of any democratic country with more generous transfer payments than Uncle Sam’s.

Do read the whole thing.  You can buy the Sanandaji book here.

Comments

The brother of the excellent Tino Sanandaji (Tino.us)! Congratulations to Sweden for managing to get these two into their country.

I agree with your simple rule- but limit it to citizens. Did you just come up with it? I thought you were an open borders guy.

I agree with Cliff on this, the word residents, makes for a massive loop hole.

Maybe this:

"Open borders for the (life long or 20 year+) residents of any democratic country with more generous transfer payments than Uncle Sam’s."

In Venezuela the transfer payments are 100%.

The difference between real value and nominal.

"In Venezuela the transfer payments are 100%."

Good point.

How's this for a simple rule- Open borders for Israel while no non-white immigration in future for any White Majority country. this is not left vs right, GOP vs Dems, Socialism vs liberty. This is war on White people.

While hostile elite defend Israel as a Jewish ethnostate with Jewish only immigration, they ravage White majority Europe/North America into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Gulag with non-White colonization.

The world is 91% non-White, only 9% White. But non-White colonizers are aggressively advancing their agenda to annihilate gullible Whites, just as Chinese annihilate Tibet.

How long will gullible Whites cuckold for murderous anti-White elite, who suppress our fertility, confiscate our guns, infiltrate/subvert our banks/FBI/CIA, indoctrinate White kids in academia/mass media, plunder White jobs/wages, & butcher White soldiers in bankrupting wars?

“Native” Americans invaded from East Asia. Yellow & Brown races committed 10-times more genocide, slavery, imperialism than Whites. Since Moses, Whites have been victims of Jewish/Crypto-Jewish, Muslim, N.African imperialism, slavery, genocide.

Gullible Whites should reject subversive ideologies- libertarianism, feminism, liberalism- & hostile slanders of racism. Peace to all humanity, but White people must organize to advance their interests, their fertility, their homelands. Spread this message. Reading list: http://goo.gl/iB777 , http://goo.gl/htyeq , http://amazon.com/dp/0759672229 , http://amazon.com/dp/1410792617

Oy, this goy again

A link to the Bloomberg article is here:

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-16/denmark-s-nice-yes-but-danes-live-better-in-u-s

Thanks

One possible explanation is that the more entrepreneurial Danes move to the US.

If you had read the article, this is actually mentioned.

There's lots of possible reasons. Food is cheaper, so maybe they have better nutrition. The weather is warmer, so maybe they spend less time just trying to keep warm. And maybe many of these so-called Danish-Americans have actually interbred with other races, resulting in a hybrid vigor effect.

"Less time just trying to keep warm." Really? Denmark really isn't that cold, I'd wager a fairly high proportion of Danish-Americans live in places colder than their homeland.

There is no scientific evidence that hybrid vigor even exists for humans.

How about the inbred lack of vigor in the royalty of Europe (for an earlier time)? Seems like evidence to me.

Why would hybrid vigor be a thing but only with animals and not humans? Isn't that the rationale behind the HBD idea?

Tyler notes that hypothesis in his article. Amusingly he mentions cultural traits as the possible reason that descendants of Danish immigrants also continue to have higher incomes rather than the more obvious reason - Occam's butter knife at work.

It is interesting to me thought that all of Western Europe (defined as a region from Northern Italy/Austria westwards) seems stuck at about 75% of the US PPP GDP for their equivalent populations in the US, the differences between various countries being much smaller than the similarities when compared to other regions of the world. This is despite the many differences in political organisations, history, regulation etc etc. I don't think it can be due to lack of education, or access to new technology, or even size of the market (the European market is as big as the US in terms of population). My suspicion is that the higher equality in most European countries means that cheap labor is scarce meaning that a lot of work is unpaid that in the US is counted as GDP. As a simple example, US citizens have lawn service and less holidays, Europeans have more holidays but mow their own lawns.

Did they count immigrants in Denmark?

I understand the idea that America is for people who want to shake the dust of this crummy little town off their feet and SEE THE WORLD.

But these immigrants were not drawn from the top strata of European society either. It seems to me that the exodus of Europeans to America had the effect of intensifying disparity of wealth back in the old country, a hollowing out of the 19th century version of the lower middle class if you will.

Maybe a lot of this was leveled during the world wars, but I recall this post of Tyler's on Sweden from 2014 on the persistence of wealth (not income) inequality in Sweden:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/05/wealth-inequality-in-sweden.html

'For instance, Danish-Americans have a measured living standard about 55 percent higher than the Danes in Denmark. '

Paid maternity leave, truly universal health care, a minimum of 25 paid days off a year - yep, obviously all minus points when comparing the two places.

Since the link to the actual column seems to be missing, apologies if those points were discussed. However, that 55% figure needs adjustment in light of the vacation time figure - earning less but having more free time is seen as a benefit, not a problem, at least in places where those that work actually value their own time more than money.

Nope, not discussed at all - just a couple of income numbers thrown out to make what seems to be an essentially partisan point when dismissing a centrist politician like Sanders - well, OK, possibly more center right from a European perspective, that is.

Another things Danes in Denmark lack compared to that not precisely defined group of Danish-Americans - a fear of getting shot (this account, which details a flight from Scandinavia to JFK, is fascinating - http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/the-terrifying-jfk-airport-shooting-that-wasnt.html - and one hopes that is nymag.com is not a problem). But then, that is probably because the Danes have not yet discovered all the benefits of open carry and a decades long drumbeat media fear of terrorism bring to a free society.

Most Danish Americans seem to live in the Mid West or in and around Utah. I am sure they do not live in fear of getting shot, and are probably at marginally less risk of being mugged than if they lived in Copenhagen. Swedish Americans certainly enjoy more personal safety than Swedes in Malmö or Stockholm.

My experience is that affluent Americans actually live in less fear of crime and terrorism than Europeans do, even if the crime statistics might not justify that behavior. In Viennese upper class suburbs it is very common to see nicer houses equipped with surveillance cameras, bars on first floor windows, and high fences. In the nicer suburbs of, say, Boston you will see very little of that, but rather houses with open lawns, furniture on porches, picture windows at ground level, etc.

Hmmm. Shootings (along with bombings, and stabbings) at airports and on public transit seem more a European than American thing these days (though, of course, the chances of being involved in such an attack in either the US or EU is vanishingly small). As for open carry. Europeans do love to shiver over the thought of American rednecks with guns, but I think even they are aware that there's really no actual danger in rural areas of the US where gun ownership is common but crime is low and that where they might need to actually worry about being victimized is in high-poverty, high-crime inner city neighborhoods.

It is much easier for common citizens to intervene in a potentially dangerous situation when there is little/no reason to expect that there will be a gun around.

Once several people are holding guns, the probability of someone getting killed is much higher than the situation where there are no people holding guns. I would add to that, that if several people are holding guns, if you also pull a gun, your probability of getting shot in most cases will rise, not fall (unless, say, you're the fifth guy on "your side" to pull a gun and there's only one person who's a threat - but, then, this isn't relevant to the notion of a single individual marching in with a gun and somehow saving the day ...)

Bernie is not center-right by any standard

"Bernie is not center-right by any standard."

By the standard of his home of Remulak (in France).

One last thing, it takes a crapload morth than a couple extra weeks of vacation to make up for 55% more income.

"Paid maternity leave, truly universal health care, a minimum of 25 paid days off a year "

If you're making 70k in America you have better access to healthcare than any 'truly universal ' system out there.
Total work hours should be considered though, including the relative lack of work saving appliances at home. May be a wash(er, haha).

It depends: The degradation of care in the insurance policies we see in the last decade or so make serious treatment problematic. Given the income we are describing, we can typically ignore increases in copays, but 20% coinsurance on hospital visits is now very popular, along with 4 figure emergency room fees.

So while access is probably better in the US for minor things, if anything really bad happens to you, European systems win.

It's also easy to forget the variation in employer-based healthcare offerings. My employer eats a very high percentage of pretty much the best insurance I have ever seen, thanks to a very young, tech workforce. My wife works for an employer with an older demographic, and through there, we'd have to pay more than triple for far worse insurance.

Also, many jobs, if you've been there a while, have 4 of 5 weeks vacation. If an american Dane is working more hours to make more money then it's by choice. Freedom to do so is good!

When I lived in Denmark a few years ago, a friend of mine wanted to work longer hours to save up for a rental income property. He found that his coworkers resented this immensely, and he was discouraged from going through with this plan because he would have been quickly pushed into a higher tax bracket. I love DK, by the way, but it's not nearly as easy as here to be comfortably middle class. (The taxation system is superb though. As I recall the form is 2-3 pages ... but taxes can be high.)

".... and he was discouraged from going through with this plan because he would have been quickly pushed into a higher tax bracket."

They don't have marginal tax rates in Denmark?

I remember in 2012 the NY Times had an article on the income tax that got it wrong and included quotes from a couple of people who were discouraged from expanding their small businesses because they would then be "pushed into" a higher tax bracket. A guy wrote in comments that he works with smart coworkers but none of them understood that only the income that goes over into a higher bracket is taxed at the new level.

This needs to be tested with double blind random assignment of Danes to Denmark or the US.

Of course, that would only be possible if Trump is defeated and the Danes randomly picked to be dropped in the US do not undergo extreme vetting, extreeeemmmmeeee vetting.

"Open borders for the residents of any democratic country with more generous transfer payments than Uncle Sam’s"

So Tyler admits that opening some borders makes more sense than others (has he ever actually said so quite this unambiguously?)

Tyler is also in favor of free riders (at the country level) since high-skilled immigration is gaining the economic productivity of those the US has not spent any money educating. Not the most ethical position in the world to take but who's counting?

Its only really unethical if you view a nations inhabitants as property of the state. If you view them as autonomous beings then its not unethical, in my opinion.

then why should the state spend money educating people?

To buy votes,

I do not think the Danish model will work in the USA. In fact, I would tax anyone working for a living a lot less, not more.

That said, prior_test2 raises a good point often not mentioned in comps: The amount of vacation time in Europe, and the universal health care. For that matter, a smaller fraction of GDP in the military.

Tote up those goods, and you might get a different result.

Life certainly appears more pleasant, on average, in Denmark than in the USA.

Some things are just true, such as I would rather be an average guy in Barcelona than Houston.

Indeed: "a measured living standard" invites questions such as 'measured by whom?', and 'how?', and 'including what?'

By the by, do the Danish-Americans live longer? Or longer in good health? Those would seem to be questions that might as well be answered at the same time. Anything else? Are they happier? But who would take seriously self-reported happiness? Do their marriages last longer?

Take it seriously or no the research does say the Danes are indeed the happiest people on earth (self reported). I'd wager they self report being happier than Danish-Americans would. Isn't that the point of....something important to being human?

I self report being happy in this country (the US), I don't want it to be Denmark. But I don't begrudge the Danes feeling they are very happy no matter their income vs ours

"I do not think the Danish model will work in the USA."

It doesn't work in Denmark, so that's hardly surprising. A welfare system like the Danish one will only work when labour market participation rates are very high, which is the only way you can make things work with the high taxes and the big public sector. The people who don't work are really expensive when transfers are as high as they are here and when so many things are covered by the public sector.

In Denmark, the employment rate of immigrants from non-Western countries was 47,7 % in November 2013, compared to 73,8 % for people of (…’supposedly’) Danish origin, according to numbers from Statistics Denmark (supposedly because Statistics Denmark makes it impossible to track immigrants after the first generation, so presumably a lot of poorly integrated muslim Turks in particular are counted as Danes when you look at the figures). When you look at the people in Denmark with fugitive status, 37 % of them were employed after having stayed in Denmark for 15 years (34% were employed after 5 years). (Danish link - http://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/NytHtml?cid=19187). An analysis of roughly 2000 Syrians arriving in Denmark between 2009 and 2013 showed that only 13% of Syrians were employed after having stayed here for three years.

Alan is also correct that you can't really compare 'Danes' this way, which should be obvious to anyone who've ever looked at the differences between emigrant and immigrant compositions. Today there are large differences between the groups who come to Denmark and the groups who leave (immigrant populations provide neat data points in that regard; for example 88% of the immigrants from the US who came to Denmark in 2002 had left the country by 2011, whereas only 9 percent of Iraqis who came in 2002 had left by 2011 (source: Indvandrere i Danmark, 2011 - publication by Statistics Denmark) - this despite the fact that Denmark actually gave cash prizes to Iraqis who left during part of that period, and there are really no good theoretical arguments for assuming that people who leave a country like Denmark should be similar to people who stay. One might argue that in the far past there were fewer differences between e.g. the Danish and the US economic systems because the Danish welfare state is a sort of semi-recent phenomenon in the big picture, but on the other hand transportation cost were *much* higher back in the times where political differences were smaller, so a large hurdle still had to be crossed in order for an individual to afford to successfully finance crossing the Atlantic.

"88% of the immigrants from the US who came to Denmark in 2002 had left the country by 2011"

If one were to apply a revealed preferences approach to these numbers one might incidentally be tempted to conclude that a large majority of the Americans who have tried out both the Danish system and the US system seem to prefer the US system.

On the other hand this would probably not be a fair way to approach the numbers as most of the Americans presumably didn't actually try out the 'Danish system', as we had a few policies in place during those years that made it somewhat attractive for e.g. American researchers to stay for a few years and then leave (lower taxes for highly educated individuals during their first few years of residence, then high Danish taxes if they didn't leave - so a lot of people left when the taxes went up to their 'natural Danish level', so to speak).

"I would rather be an average guy in Barcelona than Houston." Based on what, a vacation you took where you hung out at tapas restaurants? Probably not a representative sample. I'm not pretending that Houston is some paradise (you will note I certainly don't live there), but the unemployment rate in Texas is 4.2%; in Catalonia, it's over 17%. That's a pretty significant difference.

I have never been to Houston but I vacation briefly in Barceloba every year or two. Take this with a grain of salt, but ... based on what I've seen, many young Barcelona men work in the tourist or retail industry. I doubt you'd want to be lower middle income in either place. But no doubt Barca is better than many small Catalonian villages.

People in the above income groups often don't live in Houston (unless they really want to). They live in the awesome planned communities surrounding Houston such as Kingman and the Woodlands. These areas are affordable, yet among the nicest communities in the US.

I've lived and worked all over the US, but The Woodlands was truly extraordinary yet in no way elitist.

It's Kingwood not Kingman. Had to be said.

"Life certainly appears more pleasant, on average, in Denmark than in the USA."

I think this is the whole key, related link below. The Danes consciously try to optimize for a pleasant life.

When was the last time you heard that in the US as a political or economic goal? I think even Bernie was just skimming the surface, coming at the Danish system from an American Left perspective of social justice.

In USA, you get a bigger house, presumably with a yard where you can flip burgers on the grill while the kids splash around on the slip and slide and the dog chases squirrels up a tree. That is pleasant, don't you think? According to the BBC (albeit 7 years ago), you get less than half of that in Spain and just less than 2/3 of that in Denmark.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8201900.stm

I don't necessarily know that a bigger house is necessarily pleasant, but certainly a bigger yard (lot), lower population density nationally, & the nonexistence of anything like a homeowners association makes things more pleasant.

Two ways of accomplishing similar things?

"The Danes like sports – as participants, spectators and in front of the television. Almost two million actively participate in sports as members of an association. Almost two thirds of all children and young people are engaged in organised sports in their leisure time."

Two million is 36% of the population.

http://denmark.dk/en/lifestyle/sport/

haha, sure. he has to be politically correct but does anyone think that Jamaicans or Greeks work hard? Seriously, do you?

'Greeks work hard'

Visited any Greek owned restuarant recently? Or bought anything transported on a ship owned by a Greek line? - 'According to Lloyd's List, in 2015, Greece was the first ship owner country in the world in terms of tonnage with a total DWT of 334,649,089 tons and 5,226 Greek owned vessels. Greece is a maritime nation by tradition, as shipping is arguably the oldest form of occupation of the Greeks and a key element of Greek economic activity since the ancient times. Today it is the second largest contributor to the national economy after tourism.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Merchant_Marine

Greeks work hard enough that no one actually considers them notably lazy, at least where I live. What they are notable for is not having any interest in paying taxes. As noted by this slightly older BBC article - 'Income tax receipts as a percentage of GDP are only 4.7%, the lowest in the eurozone and less than half the 10% in the UK.

It would be good to think this is just because Greece has rock bottom tax rates but it hasn't - this is because for some people, what they actually earn and what they put on their tax forms are often different figures.

Last year, Horst Reichenbach, head of the EU taskforce offering technical help to the Greek government, said the amount of unpaid tax was estimated to be "in the order of 60bn euros.' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17702226 That is 60 billion, in a population of 11 million - pretty impressive work for such lazy people.

"Greeks work hard enough .... What they are notable for is not having any interest in paying taxes."

Which would not be a problem if they didn't have any interest in receiving government services, but they do, and the two ideas "no taxes" and "lots of government services" just don't go together very well.

Income taxes the government's way of punishing people who work and invest. Wouldn't it be better if the government punished vices such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or pot, and eating food with lots of sugar?

How hard would you work if you got paid Greek or Jamaican wages?

Confounding by indication. Danes who immigrate to the US are more likely to be professional and have advanced degrees (H-1B visas and so forth).

And their English is good. Better than Germans, maybe even better than Swedes (who normally have pretty good English too).

You mean today...

Yes. Most immigration to America from Scandinavia was in the late 19th century and then again after WWII. This was primarily unskilled labour.

True, but there must be some reversion to the mean after a few generations. Recent immigrant numbers must be tiny compared to the whole population.

I agree that you cannot measure living standards based on income. One of the things you notice living in the Netherlands or in Germany is what a nice life you can have if you make €50k a year, even for a family. Good schools, good hospitals, wonderful swimming pool, clean parks, etc. In the US, I guess you'd struggle to have the same level of comfort on that income.

In Germany, you also get to drive nice cars. Another guess: the average income of Mercedes Benz owners in Germany is half of the average income of Mercedes Benz owners in the US.

I am not trying to sell you social-democratic-utopia. Just saying that once you live here, you realize that income is a very poor measure of living standards.

"Good schools, good hospitals, wonderful swimming pool, clean parks, etc."

Public schools? hospitals? Swimming pools? Parks? Sounds like hell!

Thank God that the open borders crowd (under the guise of solidarity with "refugees") is putting an end to that!

Living in Denmark, I would agree that income is a very poor measure of living standards. In my town of 15,000 there are no cafes open between 3pm on Saturday and 10am on Tuesday. There are only two pubs, one the reserve of a biker gang and the other alcoholics, no semi-respectable citizen would be caught in them. There is not a single park. There is no sports team. But there are six supermarkets and a decent school, so everything's fine.

There is no more boring place to live in the world than the Nordic countries. On the plus side, it does mean that I'm getting a ton of work done.

Surely there is public outdoor space for leisure somewhere, if not a "park". Don't Danes spend a lot of time on the football field?

Possibly ... you have rather specific criteria of what might qualify as a park? I'm just surprised that a town of 15,000 in Denmark wouldn't have any such space. Like, I was in a town of a few thousand for a summer in Canada, and while they didn't have a park with a slide, monkey bars, teeter totters or other typical toys, a cement bowl had been implanted for a skate park and there were numerous green spaces open to the public for walking, picnics, or whatever you want, along nearby waterways. Many nearby forests had walking paths, etc. I'd bet that if you ask around or look around, you'll find lots of public leisure space in the outdoors, just maybe not what you're expecting. There always is.

I bet you are south of Copenhagen, not north... But this is not at odds with my experience of living in various places in DK, esp the bit about the bikers and drunks. It's a great place in many ways, but unless you have a superb job or an inheritance, you will be living in an apt. or row house. There's a lot of incredible naïveté about DK on the left.

Plenty of places to live in the US for $50k with "Good schools, good hospitals, wonderful swimming pool, clean parks, etc".

You can also drive nice cars, but not on 50k (neither in Germany). You can get a pretty solid car for somewhere in the 20k range though.

"Another guess: the average income of Mercedes Benz owners in Germany is half of the average income of Mercedes Benz owners in the US." because a Mercedes is an old man's car.

"One of the things you notice living in the Netherlands or in Germany is what a nice life you can have if you make €50k a year, even for a family. Good schools, good hospitals, wonderful swimming pool, clean parks, etc. In the US, I guess you’d struggle to have the same level of comfort on that income."

The Euro to dollar exchange rate is around 1.1 to 1. So that's $55K US per year.

Average household income in the US: $52K

So, your perception is incorrect. $55K per year is not struggling in the US. It's average for a household.

Is there any immigrant group in the US that does not have a higher average income than the average income in their Country of origin? I always assumed that that is why most immigrants came here.

Don't Japanese Americans tend to underperform somewhat?

I'd be surprised. I recall from Sowell's Ethnic America that the Japanese government was uniquely particular about its emigres to other lands. They came out at 170% of American average when he wrote the book I think.

Japanese Americans have a median HH income of just over $70K.

41% of Japanese Americans have a college degree versus only 38% of the Japanese in Japan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

Well if you are comparing Danish-Americans with Danes, you have to exclude immigrants in Denmark, which i doubt they did. That and take into account extra vacations, etc. So this whole comparison is kind of stupid.

"Well if you are comparing Danish-Americans with Danes, you have to exclude immigrants in Denmark, which i doubt they did"

To advance our immigration-uber-alles agenda, we must ignore the effects of immigration! That passes for logic in some places....

@Tyler, when talking about income...is it median or mean? It would be interesting to look at a superposition of US & Denmark income distribution (GDP PPP per capita) plots, not only at a certain value. If a larger amount of people is in the 1st decile of income in the US compared to Denmark, what's the point of having of having a higher mean? Problems come from the bottom income deciles. The less people there, life gets boring as others commenters said.

According to this page, which I offer as a random Danish view of Denmark, they get 5 weeks vacation.

http://studyindenmark.dk/why-denmark/quality-of-life-1/a-safe-and-balanced-society

So two things, are median wages vacation adjusted?

Second, does Tyler really capture in his famous "second half" that Danes have different goals? You would not really use median income as a measure of group welfare.

Read the page.

Yep, different goals. There's also the need to adjust for college, health care & etc. payed by income tax. So, is really higher income higher? If lower income people live a less stressed life, welfare of everyone goes up.

I found another link and quote on how different the Danish perspective really is:

"Sport is an important part of Danish culture. In Denmark we believe that sport is essential not only for the health but also for democracy and social cohesiveness."

http://denmark.dk/en/lifestyle/sport/sports-for-everyone

This is the actual government trying to get everyone out there to do sports.

I agree more generally about the Danish approach, but this part doesn't seem that unique. The US government does all kinds of hand-wringing about youth fitness, and on a more local level every American city I've ever lived in runs a sports league, a pool, maintains a running trail. And the places I've lived aren't exactly Copenhagen.

Part of it is certainly decentralization in the US. Our city and county parks have sports facilities. But the interesting thing for me about the quote is that it is tied to a national identity, not just good for you, but good for democracy and social cohesiveness.

Similar things but viewed a bit differently.

Really, we need basic comparison technique in High School. This is not mysterious.

American-Scandinavians, including Danes, are 99% people descended from 19th century emigration. They don't include a lot of Black, Latino, Asian, or Native Americans, nor if we go back a bit are there many Irish or Italians among them. So when you use "Scandinavian-Americans" as a comparison group, you are slicing out a group of the American population where every member has enough family stability to follow their families back for 100 + years, and whose families have been part of the top ethnic demographic for that time. Then you are comparing that to the entirety of the Danish spectrum, and remarking that they look good.

Compare them to Danes selected for the same criteria, and they don't look that good, even before you get into free time and freedom.

I am a Danish American descendent, with good income numbers. I do not agree with the idea that the Danish perspective is hugely different, impossible to learn.

What I note is that there is more than a cottage industry opposing it.

As simple as vested interests, political and economic?

90% of Denmark's population is of Danish descent

Danes in America are at the top of a layered cake which was built on 400 years of free or cheap labour by non-Dane racial and ethnic minorities. Danes in Denmark are all over the cake.

400 years?? You are counting every day from Jamestown to the present??

By the way, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_slave_trade

Haha, the source of my egalitarian view? Slaves can be English or African, its all the same.

I don't know about you, but I'm still living off of that Jamestown bounty exploitation surplus.

Trivia, the US Virgin Islands were a Danish posession acquired in 1917. The Danes ended slavery there in 1848. Ahead, but not by a huge margin.

All labor was cheap back then, including Dane. "racial and ethnic minorities" in the south provided labor value of course, but not so much compared to the free population, many who had similar living conditions. Very, very few lived off the labor of another. People were poor and everyone had to work hard to survive.

Yeah all those Minnesotan plantations run by Danes...

Virtually no Danish Americans have ever owned slaves. Virtually all of them arrived well after slavery ended. Virtually all of them settled in places that never allowed slavery (California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah).

That might be a small part of why they're doing well.

How about the standard of living of Americans living in Denmark, or Sweden, or Finland? I am willing to bet it is far higher than that of the average American. You might want to look at both sides of the coin.

Interesting point. The only Americans I know in Norway moved there because the state oil company paid them $$$$. But then you're really comparing apples to oranges; first-gen American emigrants to Scandinavia vs. sixth-gen Scandinavian emigrants to the US. I doubt there is a meaningful population of multi-generational Americo-Danish in Copenhagen.

The study isn't referring to Danes living in the US. So the accurate comparison would be Americans who immigrated to Denmark.

Danes have to compete against other Danes.
Danish-Americans compete against sub-par non-Danes. it's easy to do better if you have a handicap.

j/k

It's not very nice to denigrate Swedes in this manner...

"Conservatives should note that when it comes to regulatory efficiency and business freedom, Denmark has a considerably higher score than does the U.S., at least according to the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom."

Progressives should note that. Conservatives are largely in favor of regulatory efficiency and business freedom.

Tyler, another Great column!

But are Danish Americans taller than the Dutch?

Wonder what "measured living standard" means? Also, what is a Danish-American? Does the one-drop rule apply? I'm thinking of my very well off friend who immigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic whose mother was Danish. But also maybe Obama, who shares a common descent with former President George Washington with Halfdan, King of Denmark. The UN's Human Development Index ranks Denmark #4 and the US #8 (but falling). Denmark's national debt per capita is less than half of the US figure, median per capita income is about 20% higher, and their Average Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) is higher as well. Sorry, not rallying round the flag on this one. Come January, the Soros Administration will not be making things any better.

"How’s this for a simple rule: Open borders for the residents of any democratic country with more generous transfer payments than Uncle Sam’s."

Better yet, why not let the market allocate the right to reside in the US? Make the right of residence transferrable and tradable. If a software engineer in Bangalore thinks that she'd do better in the US, let her buy the right of residence from a Bernieista, who can then use the cash to grubstake a move to Denmark. If Tyson Foods decides that it needs Central American workers to do jobs that Americans won't do, let it acquire them legally through the purchase of residence rights rather than by pressuring INS to ignore the presence of illegals on the killing floor.

Of course, there are details to be worked out. We'd want INS to be able to veto someone for sufficient cause—"Sorry, Mr. bin Laden, but you failed the background test". In practice, we'd want to trade actuarial years of residence, so the relatives of a comatose 90-year-old with only days of life left can't sell his right of residence to a 6-year-old.

Beside taking the decision of who lives where away from the politicians, such a scheme would leave every legal US resident in possession of a valuable property, viz., their right of residence. This would justify our cutting back on social programs for the poor, since they wouldn't really be poor as long as they remained in possession of this asset. Imagine what a better world we'd be living in if, for instance, Michael Brown had been able to sell his right of US residence and use the proceeds to move to another country where, free from racism and corporate domination, he could have become a productive and respected member of society...

I think this could work well with no birthright citizenship and a stronger distinction between citizens and temporary residents. That way you could get the benefits of cheap labor from Latin America without having the country transformed politically and culturally (or have to deal with the economic burden down the road). The Saudis have huge numbers of foreigners they bring in to do all the work, none of whom will ever be naturalized. Meanwhile over here anchor babies make up about 8% of births.

I'm a little over a quarter Danish, but I do not have a Danish surname, and I have to go back to the 19th century to find an ancestor born in Denmark. Do I count as a Danish-America?

Depends. How do feel about pickled herring?

Good one. In my family the neeo always have some in the fridge lasted two but not three California born generations.

Depends. How do you feel about pickled herring?

It's not just Denmark. One would be hard pressed to find an ethnic group in America whose members earn less money than they would in their home country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

Mexican Americans earn 280% more money than Mexicans living in Mexico.

The poorest ethnic group in America are Somali Americans but it would take two centuries of solid economic growth for Somalia to come close to that standard of living.

so an immigration policy where we just charged immigrants the difference between what they'd earn in america vs back home would be fairly straight forward.

(% of foreign born pop. from your country)(household income for your countrymen in america - household income in your country) = the immigrants down payment.

charge interest on the remainder, and 10 years after you pay it off you can apply for a green card. #cooperdsgntd_plyr2020

Tallness is only an advantage if there are short folks nearby

I suspect you will probably find the answer to this in the income history of the US economy, and the resources and land of the American economy, and that you will *not* find so much of it it in the policy preference differences between Denmark and the US specifically (particularly not policy preferences regarding "transfer payments"). Americans are most likely more compensated for the same work, and have relatively cheaper goods (generally); how much of this is actually due to their specific policy choices?

Really, you have to decide policy choices on logic and reason and what you seek to accomplish, not simply "Well, in the "Super Economy" every ethnic group is doing better than other countries, so let's not import any different policy choices".

How about incentives?

Really, we need basic comparison techniques in high school. This is not mysterious.

American-Scandinavians, including Danes, are 99% people descended from 19th century emigration. They don’t include a lot of Black, Latino, Asian, or Native Americans, nor if we go back a bit do they include members of other groups that were previously given the stink-eye, such as Irish or Italians. So when you use “Scandinavian-Americans” as a comparison group, you are slicing out a group of the American population where every member has enough family stability to follow their families back for 100 + years, and whose families have been part of the top ethnic demographic for that time.

Then you are comparing that to the entirety of the Danish spectrum, and remarking that hey, my group looks good!

Compare them to a slice of the Danish society selected for the same criteria, and they don’t look that good.

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