The Post-Capitalist Society is Already Emerging in Denmark
By Alex Pietrowski
Similar to the end of feudalism hundreds of years ago, is capitalism to be replaced by a new type of social infrastructure and an emergence of a new kind of human being? Many believe that the much-needed shift has already started, as the message that capitalism is not working becomes louder and clearer. The system of monopolies, industrial giants, banks and governments has been so focused on privatization and commercialism that it has resulted in scarcity and inequality, lacking the vision of true freedom and abundance for all.
As the era of capitalism forges on, people are starting to realize the extent of its failures. Capitalism has been deficient in ensuring that basic human necessities are available to all, and has driven many people and even nations into financial ruin, enslaved by their jobs or by their creditors.
Feudalism was an economic system structured by customs and laws about “obligation”. Capitalism was structured by something purely economic: the market. We can predict, from this, that postcapitalism – whose precondition is abundance – will not simply be a modified form of a complex market society. But we can only begin to grasp at a positive vision of what it will be like. ~ Paul Mason, The Guardian
The shift into a new post-capitalism era is not likely to happen on a mass scale, but in a modular manner as different people, in different places, and at different speeds transform society, as in the example of Open Source Ecology, an organization that is helping to usher in a new type of collaborative global ‘maker’ culture.
Some would argue that the pre-era of post-capitalistic society already exists in some places, that it is already sculpting what will come next, while also diminishing the struggles of the “have-nots” and the artifice of the “haves”. Take Denmark for example. It is rated as one of the top 3 happiest countries in the world. When one starts to compare it to other countries, it appears that maybe they actually have society figured out. Here are some quick comparisons of Denmark to the United States (the US) and other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as compiled by We Are Anonymous:
Denmark’s per capita income is $6000 higher than in the US.
Denmark has the second lowest poverty rate out of the 34 countries in the OECD.
Denmark ranks seventh among OECD countries in terms of employment rate. And their unemployment benefits are admirable: if you’ve worked at least 52 weeks over a three-year period, you are entitled to 90% pay of your original salary for up to two years.
The work force enjoys an average work week of 33 hours per week and five weeks of paid vacation each year. To put things in perspective, the US average is 47 hours per week and you’d be lucky if you had more than 16 paid vacation days/holidays.
Healthcare spending is around $4400 per capita, above the OECD average of $3300, but dwarfed by the excessive $10000 per person in the US.
Tuition costs don’t exist! College is free and students are given a $900 per month stipend if they live on their own. Tuition costs from in-state public to private college in the US range from $9000 to $31000 per year.
Denmark was ranked by Forbes as the best country for business in 2014, and was ranked #3 by the World Bank for ease of doing business.
Parental leave after a birth of a child is an average of 52 weeks paid time off. In the US, an employer is required to give you no paid time off.
Although taxes are high in Denmark, Danes are still able to save. Total gross national saving is estimated at 24.1% of GDP in 2013 (in the US, it’s about 13%). This may have something to do with lower household consumption, which averages at 49% of GDP versus 69% in the US.
Denmark uses taxes and social spending aggressively to narrow the income gap between the rich and the rest.
“I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism, therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy… The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.” ~ Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen
Are you pursing your dreams and living your life as you wish? Could capitalism still get all of us there? Or is a new societal infrastructure imminent, just waiting for enough of us to wake up?
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.