The Nordic Model
Apollon publishes a succinct overview of economic reforms
M. Michael Brady
The cover story of the current issue of Apollon, the University of Oslo research magazine, is about the Nordic model, a generic term for the economic and social policies common to the Nordic countries. Apollon, the Norwegian word for Apollo, the ancient Greek and Roman god of knowledge and other attributes, is an ambitious name for a magazine. Equally ambitious is the subtitle of the cover story, “Samarbeid, solidaritet, likestilling” (Cooperation, solidarity, equality), a tripartite motto, like the famed French Liberté, égalité, fraternité (Liberty, equality, fraternity).
The economic and social policies of the Nordic countries evolved in differing ways. That evolution in Norway started at the depth of the Great Depression on June 8, 1931, at Menstad, a district of Skien commune in Telemark, in a labor conflict at the Norsk Hydro plant there. It was a debacle that stood out, even in the conflict-ridden economic life of the interwar period. That made it one of the triggers of the enactment in 1935 of the Hovedavtale (Collective Labor Agreement), the legal turning point that paved the way for developing the Nordic Model as we know it today. Fittingly, the Apollon article is entitled “Den revolusjonerende reformen” (The revolutionary reform).
• “Den revolusjonerende reformen,” by Morten S. Smedsrud, Apollon, June 6, 2019: www.apollon.uio.no/artikler/2019/2_tema_norden_intro.html (in Norwegian).
• Info on the Menstad conflict: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstad_conflict.
This article originally appeared in the June 28, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.