Dead Wrong® with Johan Norberg – The Welfare State & Trust
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Dead Wrong® with Johan Norberg – The Welfare State & Trust


Sweden and other Scandinavian countries lead the world in trust; proof that generous welfare states result in trust between people…even strangers. Nope…that’s Dead Wrong. Sure, Scandinavians are much more likely to say that most people can be trusted. But you know something interesting? People of Scandinavian ancestry in the United States are also much more likely to say that most people can be trusted. And this seems to suggest that Scandinavians were more trusting 150 years ago, when they started to move to the United States, 100 years before the welfare state. So trust must have been the result of something else; perhaps our history of few conflicts, few invasions, little or no feudalism. International comparisons show that neither larger welfare states nor income equality have a causal effect on trust. So the welfare state did not create trust, but perhaps trust created the welfare state. To accept that the government redistributes resources on a large scale, you should expect politicians not to waste it, and recipients to deserve it. In a more corrupt place, with less trust, where people just take whatever they can get, a generous welfare state wouldn’t result in trust, it would result in ruin.

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3 thoughts on “Dead Wrong® with Johan Norberg – The Welfare State & Trust

  1. Such a great insight. I've been researching the Scandinavian countries since the 2016 election and am very glad to have these new studies that confirm what I've been thinking.

  2. Hello!
    Why don't you enable the "Contributions" to the "Dead Wrong" series?
    I'm mexican, and I would love to translate the transcript to Spanish, so people here in Latin America and other countries could understand better.

    I hope you to consider it!

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