Public Attitude Threatening the Nordic Welfare Model

- Weak public support is the most serious threat to the Nordic welfare model at present, said Mogens Lykketoft at a kick off conference for the NCoE on Welfare Research Reassessing the Nordic Welfare Model on 24 October 2007.
 Public Attitude Threatening the Nordic Welfare Model
The Nordic Model
Kristin Clemet and Mogens Lykketoft were among the keynote speakers at the welfare research conference in Oslo. Combining competitiveness and growth with a high level of social services, the Nordic welfare model is attracting international attention. Nordic citizens are among those who are least at risk of poverty and have the highest life expectancy in Europe. However, the Nordic model is under pressure from globalisation, European integration, immigration, the ageing society and increased individualization.

Mogens Lykketoft is worried about the future of the Nordic Model; but the gravest threat is "domestic", in his opinion. Globalisation, he believes, presents an opportunity for the Nordic countries. “The model that the Nordic countries have developed over decades has provided our countries with a solid basis, and through profitable investments in fields of strong Nordic competitiveness our region can profit on the globalisation process”, he says.

Domestic Challenges
‘No tax hike‘ policies, immigration stop and increasing privatisation indicate that the Nordic welfare model is on the retreat, according to Lykketoft. These developments cause changes in the populations‘ attitude and willingness to pay for the Nordic model’s community solutions. Economic prosperity, low unemployment among most social groups, increase in labour immigration and in social inequality are threatening public support to community solutions.

When the large middle class no longer benefit from the welfare model in their daily lives, they don‘t see themselves as potential users of welfare benefits and their willingness to invest in the Nordic model will decrease. And when only relatively small, but visible groups of society – made even more visible by the growing social inequality and failing immigrant integration policies – receive benefits, the majority will go for new solutions. In this way they might close down the Nordic welfare model, Lykketoft fears.

Researchers Reassessing the Nordic Model
At the NCoE Reassessing the Nordic Welfare Model, a group of distinguished Nordic researchers will investigate and critically discuss whether the Nordic welfare model has the ability to renew itself under changing external and internal conditions (ageing populations, changeable patterns of parenting and partnering, individualisation, etc.).

The researchers ask whether the behavior of the Nordic welfare states corresponds to the idea of a distinct Nordic welfare model, or whether these welfare states in practice are moving away from this idea.
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