The term socialist has been thrown around quite a bit in the past few years. Not since the cold war has the term garnered so much attention in the press and from politicians. But when you look at countries who actually have a socialist economic structure, you can see some similarities to the United States – but there are some really stark differences.
Below, you will see some of the most socialistic nations in the world today:
- New Zealand
Despite popular myths, there is very little connection between economic performance and welfare expenditure. Many of the countries on this list are proof of that, such as Denmark and Finland. Even though both countries are more socialistic than America, the workforce remains stronger.
In China the government manages and controls the economy. Many of the domestic companies are owned and run by the government. Recently, the Chinese economy has become more geared towards capitalism, but is still officially socialist. Life in China remains relatively less stressful and more relaxed than life in capitalist countries like America.
Denmark has a wide range of welfare benefits that they offer their citizens. As a result, they also have the highest taxes in the world. Equality is considered the most important value in Denmark. Small businesses thrive, with over 70 percent of companies having 50 employees or less.
Finland has one of the world’s best education systems, with no tuition fees and also giving free meals to their students. The literacy rate in Finland is 100 percent. Finland has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Like Denmark and other European countries, equality is considered one of the most important values in society. Whereas in the Netherlands, government control over the economy remains at a minimum, but a socialist welfare system remains. The lifestyle in the Netherlands is very egalitarian and organized, where even bosses do not discipline or treat their subordinates rudely.
Like the Netherlands, Canada also has mostly a free market economy, but has a very extensive welfare system that includes free health and medical care. Canadians remain more open-minded and liberal than Americans, and Canada is ranked as one of the best top five countries to live in by the United Nations and the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings.
Sweden has a large welfare system, but due to a high national debt, required much government intervention in the economy. In Norway, the government controls certain key aspects of the national economy, and they also have one of the best welfare systems in the world, with Norway having one of the highest standards of living in all of Europe. Norway is not a member of the European Union.
Ireland has arguably one of the best welfare systems in the world, with unemployment checks higher on average than Denmark or Switzerland’s average. Around 25 percent of Ireland’s GDP goes towards paying for the welfare system, as compared to 15 percent of America’ GDP towards America’s social support programs.
New Zealand may not be a socialist country, but the welfare system in the country is very wide ranging, offering support for housing, unemployment, health, child care, and education as well. Therefore, New Zealand has many of the characteristics of a socialist country, even while remaining officially free market.
Lastly, Belgium has most of the same social security benefits that New Zealand offers, including invalid and old age pensions. The welfare system causes much of the country’s budget deficit though, and so is considered by some to be a burden on society.