by Madeline Grant
"Indeed, viewing Scandinavian countries as socialist – or even left-wing – overlooks an essential truth about how their economies are organised. While these nations do have high taxes and generous welfare, in many respects, their markets are unusually free, adopting exactly the kind of policies that the British Left, with its rigid adherence to central planning and intervention, spends its time fighting against.
Last week, the Labour Party pledged a minimum wage of £10 that would apply to all workers, including those aged 16-18. This policy would, if implemented, carry hugely perverse side-effects – with young and unskilled workers all but priced out of the job market.
In contrast, the very concept of central government setting a “one-size fits all” policy to cover all jobs and sectors is utterly alien to the Scandinavian economies. Neither Sweden, Norway nor Denmark actually has a minimum wage. Instead, wages are decided by mutual agreement between unions and employers, which usually vary according to the industry or occupation in question. In this respect, Scandinavian labour markets are far more flexible and decentralised than Britain’s."