Did Scandinavian emigration laid the seeds of the Nordic model?
An interesting argument from some researchers examining how Norwegian and Swedish migration may have nurtured egalitarianism.
Anne Sofie Beck Knudsen of the University of Copenhagen presented an interesting paper on “Historical individualism: mass migration and cultural change” at the annual conference of the Economic History Society this year, arguing that individualists emigrating from Norway and Sweden to the US might have had a lasting impact on the two countries’ current culture.
The researchers suggest the migration flows, which were small relative to the native population of America but equivalent to about 25 per cent of the total population of Scandinavia, changed the character of Norwegian and Swedish society by removing the most ambitious and independently-minded people.
In other words, Scandinavian social democracy might not be possible without America’s historic willingness to absorb those who refused to follow the “Law of Jante”.