The New Yorker: Finland may have fine schools, but it’s one of the least diverse places on the planet

No mention of the new tradition of the carbeque or rioting from the elite, diversity-loving New Yorker

Do Scandinavians really have it all figured out?

The global pull of Scandinavian life, never weak, continues to strengthen…

…Finland has the West’s finest education system, according to the Organization for Economic Coöperation and Development. Sweden has taken in more refugees, proportionally, than any European country. Icelanders—spawn of a Scandinavian settler colony—buy more books than anyone and draw most of their energy from geothermal power…

…One can be forgiven for wondering whether there’s something fishy about the so-called Nordic Miracle itself… In “The Almost Nearly Perfect People” (Picador), Michael Booth, a travel journalist, scrutinizes the success of the Scandinavian brand. He points out that many people who speak glowingly of Sweden’s welfare state have never actually been to Sweden, let alone seen its most famous housing project…

In the past decade, the proportion of people who live below its poverty line has nearly doubled, to almost eight per cent. Finland may have fine schools, but it’s one of the least diverse places on the planet. Booth wonders why these countries receive doting praise…

He points out that the Norwegians take pride in their doughty environmentalism, yet pump more than a million and a half barrels of oil a day and cede manual labor, such as the peeling of fruit, to foreigners (the banana thing); one-third of people of working age don’t work. Finnish leaders have repeatedly sought to portray their people as even drunker than they are, apparently to gain control of the booze industry. [WTF?]

…He keeps returning to the idea that the Vikings—a rapey seafaring people who assimilated into northern European culture a millennium ago—are the cause of modern Scandinavia’s autonomy, egalitarianism, and restraint. [WTF?]

In recent years, however, a strange thing has been happening in Nordic countries: they’ve been getting more unequal…This is a region where, for most of the past couple of centuries, ethnic conflict has meant debate over whether candles can go on the Christmas tree…

Strikingly, much of Scandinavia has been getting less homogeneous in recent years, while its inequality has been increasing. Are the two phenomena related? Denmark’s domestic politics are riven by immigration. In the country’s last general election, the far-right, xenophobic Danish People’s Party received twelve per cent of popular support, and it won last year’s European Parliament elections with more votes than any other Danish party. Similar groups have gained sway in Norway and Sweden. A lot of the appeal of the Nordic model comes from its ostensible resilience: it’s supposed to be able to provide for anyone who comes to it. The rise of both anti-immigration sentiment and wealth inequality challenges that premise…

…Even if Scandinavian socioeconomics are immune to hate, though, Scandinavian culture isn’t. Sweden could end up as inflamed by prejudice as the United States…

Booth, trying to get his mind around this contradiction, pays a visit to the Rosengård housing project, in Malmö—Sweden’s most notorious immigrant complex, a short drive from the Danish border. It has an unusually high incidence of violence; Booth’s cabdriver describes it as “Sweden’s Chicago.” And its residents are disproportionately Muslim…

The local mayor tells him that the problem isn’t the immigrants but the infrastructure: Rosengård lost some of its public funding during Sweden’s own crash, in the early nineties, as the state resorted to a privatization-based rescue strategy for real estate, and it never recovered… An imam who lives there speaks of non-Western Muslims who are “slow to integrate,” owing to their unfamiliarity with the language and the life.

“Integration” has become a watchword at Rosengård and in Nordic ethnic politics more generally. It underscores the social and economic pressures to join the Swedish pack, the common turf where its supportive, all-embracing system thrives…

If the Scandinavians seriously think that devout Muslims will every “integrate” they are insane.  But, of course, we already know that.

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