Is Scandinavia Pro Business?

There is often a debate about whether Scandinavia is socialist or really business friendly. But is there actually a contention?

You are right Michael I don’t talk that much about the business environment in this story. However I do go into a lot more of those details, that you mention in this story: What is Modern Scandinavian Socialism in 2020?

  1. Flexibility in work hours. Working overtime, weekends, shifts etc is a big part of what conservatives would regard as business friendliness. Yet overtime work is heavily restricted. Running a factory with shifts 24/7 is expensive as you need very high compensating for irregular hours.
  2. Worker rights. Anglo-Saxon concepts of being business friendly means companies have a lot of power over what employees can and cannot do. Many American companies have been shocked when setting up operations in Norway only to realize they can no longer perform drug tests on their employees, do criminal background tests, or ban talking about politics or religion. To take a few examples. Nordic employees have far more rights in the workplace than Anglo-Saxon enterprises are accustomed to.
  3. Long vacations. In America it is often regarded as very business unfriendly if you take much more than a week vacation. How will business operate when employees are away that long!? Well in Nordic countries vacations for 4 weeks or longer are pretty normal. Something Anglo-Saxon businesses view as almost an impossible burden placed on them.
  4. Powerful unions. In the US unionization rate is about 10% and is widely regarded as something profoundly anti-business. Every American company seems to fight tooth and nail to avoid workers getting unionized. Yet in places like Iceland 90% of employees are unionized. Does that sound business friendly from an Anglo-Saxon perspective? All Nordic countries are heavily unionized and unions have far more power than in Anglo-Saxon countries.

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Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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