Yes, Australia can learn from Nordic nations

Andrew Scott and Rod Campbell, authors of the new book The Nordic edge, have penned an article in The AFR calling on Australian policy makers to emulate the Nords on policy:

  • Australia should look “at countries that consistently produce desirable social outcomes” – the Nordic nations.
  • “The Nordics among the world’s most prosperous, equal and happy nations, but also they have dealt with many of the issues that Australia finds so difficult – work-life balance, tax, industrial relations, climate and energy”.
  • “Denmark’s unemployment payment was already double the rate in Australia before the crisis – and it remains so”.
  • “Nordic governments invest heavily in the early years of children’s lives by directly providing public and community education and care, rather than just raising subsidies to predominantly private, profit-driven providers”.
  • “Paid parental leave there is generous”.
  • “Prisons [are] more humane and recast prison staff as not just guards, but also as role models and mentors”.

I wholeheartedly agree with the thrust of the article (book) and have made similar arguments in the past.

However, the one area where I would especially like to see Australia emulate the Nords is on population growth.

The Nordic nations have achieved their success without resorting to strong mass immigration driven population growth:


Nordic populations have remained relatively stable.

Between 1960 and 2019, the combined populations of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland grew by only 6.9 million people (34%), from 20.1 million to 27.0 million.

Over the same time period, Australia’s population ballooned by 15.1 million people (147%), from 10.3 million to 25.4 million.

Australia should indeed seek to emulate the Nordic countries by focusing on improving productivity and living standards instead of perpetual low quality, quantity-based growth that benefits a small number of elites over the masses.

Running significantly lower immigration post COVID is a good start.

Unconventional Economist


  1. We should also emulate their salaries for CEOs and Vice Chancellors. It seems they can still get the job done on much lower levels of remuneration.

  2. In effect, Australia has been forced into 18 months of “Nordic” population policy. This is quite unacceptable to LibLab and the power elite. Hence, normal “Big Australia” transmission is to be resumed ASAP. It is understood that this ignores the electors and the environment, and will preference foreign nationals ahead of Australian citizens. Democracy 101.

  3. But the billionaires.
    Won’t somebody think of the billionaires.
    How will they become even richer if the plebs are given money that could be going to them?

  4. “However, the one area where I would especially like to see Australia emulate the Nords is on population growth.”

    You have to be joking Leith. I’d encourage you to travel to Malmo in the south of Sweden, or any of the no-go zones in Stockholm. Or to Toyen in Oslo. They are no go zones for a reason full of the worst aspects of the demography one might find at the Flemington high rise.

    Sweden also had one of the biggest intakes in its history over recent years (aka “The Free Sh’t Army”).
    Whatever number the Nordics are taking in is too high and completely at odds with an Anglo-centric Western Democracy.

    While its not polite to hold those views in Scando society speak to an un-brainwashed native and ask them what they really think.

    • Sure, the Swedes stuffed up big time when they took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015. But this was an aberration and the National Government was punished big time for doing so. But over the journey Sweden’s population policy has been far better than Australia’s.

      The numbers speak for themselves: Sweden’s population grew by 37% between 1960 and 2019, versus 147% growth in Australia. I’d take that any day of the week.

      • Yeah, but quoting those numbers hides the extent of natives decline. Their population has actually fallen substantially without immigration. Moreover, their birth rate buoyed by newly immigrant families.

        Their birth rate is not as bad as South Korea, but they are on par with southern Italy (i.e. approaching 1 faster than 1.3). If you run the math, social change is inevitable. I will not pass judgement on whether its good or bad.

  5. blindjusticeMEMBER

    The results of migration in Sweden are horrendous. Look up the % non eu foreign born there. Imagine these guys holding the balance of power.

    A pro-Islamic Party Nyanset (Nuance Party) is targeting Sweden’s Turkish and Muslim communities in a bid to reach the election threshold of 4% and enter parliament in the 2022 elections.

    Party leader Mikail Yüksel announced to his 200 followers on TikTok on Friday that the party’s posters have even been put up in Turkey. Founded in 2019, the party could potentially gain a large following in Sweden, which is home to an estimated 810,000 Muslims, or around 8.1% of the population. Of these, around 50,000 people have Turkish origins.

  6. This is an illogical argument that is constantly made without any reference to reality – for instance, Denmark has six million people in a country two thirds the size of Tasmania. To put that on an equivalency basis to where you live, Victoria should have a population 32m.

    Nordic nations are not about to be swamped by outsiders, but we are. Your argument is dangerous to our national security. We are not at sustainable levels, and yet you never think this argument through. Our nearest neighbour will soon be at 350m in fifty years, and will have a top 10 economy.

    And you propose we sit here empty? Wake up and smell the coffee…

      • The replacement fertility rate is roughly 2.1 live births per woman for most industrialised countries (the current average globally is ~2.66). Remarkably, with the exception of Israel, no developed nation has a replacement birth-rate. More surprisingly, more than half of the developing world has birth rates around (e.g. India at 2.2) or below (e.g. China at 1.7) replacement levels.

        Now China is about to do something about it… they are taking a long term view! I suggest we do the same!

        • GonzificusMEMBER

          If we want to increase the birth rate then the cost of shelter needs to be reduced so that 1 fulltime wage can service the mortgage and provide for the household. While both parents are required to work birth rates will remain under stress. Kids are expensive & time consuming.

          • There is no danger of over population, look at the Nordic countries – how much food they grow in such small areas!

        • “Now China is about to do something about it… they are taking a long term view! I suggest we do the same!”

          That will worsen China’s demography for several decades as the young will need to be supported.

          Why go down that road when we can run a moderate migration intake that stabilises the population?

          • Populations do win wars… or the lack thereof (e.g. colinisation). But that is not the argument is it? You have to peddle back on the Gaia we are all going to die via Malthusian ends.

            There is no such thing as a “sustainable” population – is having 350m population in Indonesia with the six or seventh largest global economy stable? Will they retain much of their current forested areas? Yes of course they will… For an example, despite its population increasing by >500m over the past 30 years, India, which once faced chronic food shortages is not only self-sufficient but now retains substantial grain reserves. Indonesia, formerly the world’s leading rice importer, is increasingly a major exporter.

            What I say above is an anathema to you, because its a different world view. Look, I am not going to argue or denigrate what you believe in, and its happy times for your fans because it reinforces existing bias, green message. But thankfully, its a minority view. And I suspect, increasingly so.

            You have to think long-term.

          • “But thankfully, its a minority view. And I suspect, increasingly so.”

            Nope. The majority of Australians do not support mass immigration and rapid population growth. This view has firmed since COVID (go read the comments to any story on the topic).

            “You have to think long-term.”

            I am. Doubling the population of our capital cities over 50 years (as projected by the ABS) is foolish.

          • NSW has come dangerously close to running out of drinking water on at least 2 occasions in the last 30 years. It struggles to support the current population, and simply can’t support a much larger one. If you think australia can support a similar population density to the european countries you need to go for a road trip across australia and see what it’s really like.

        • We have the highest population growth in the developed World, depending on how you count it. 2.5 the OECD average. Our fertility rate has been as high as 1.9 quite recently so there is little danger of a falling population when virtually no one is talking about zero immigration.

    • Can I also say that many, participants, reside within this MB thought bubble. It is self reinforcing, often willing to attack and degenerate any ideas contrary to the general thrust of the game. And you guys seem to delete posts simply on the basis you disagree with them.

      I think the challenge is the ability to evaluate and and determine third and fourth order derivatives. For instance, if anyone thinks the Chinese government is petulant and reactionary in regards to Australia, hasn’t read much of their history, or strategy. It is very, very deliberate. What they are doing to Australia is the implementation of a long-term strategy that they spent some time (years) discussing before they began their current course of action.

      I only say the above, because what you are proposing above is a form of national suicide. If there is no immigration, then what next?

      • “If there is no immigration, then what next?”.

        False binary. I have never called for zero immigration, just pre-2005 levels of migration. That was still higher than the OECD average.

        Stop spreading falsehoods.

      • Yes their strategy as worked out well hasn’t it? The bribery and influence opertations, cyber attacks and ratcheting up of sanctions had the opposite effect. We responded by shoring up our sovereignty with foreign influence laws and banning Huawei. It’s driven us closer to the US and other western countries. In frustration they issued the list of 14 demands which has show their hand and how they were trying to finlandise us. The trade sanctions have been ineffectual with our last figures being the 4th highest on record and they are having to pay $200 per tonne for iron ore.

    • I’ll tell what is an illogical argument: “Your argument is dangerous to our national security.” How? Wars are not won on manpower.

      You also conveniently ignore that Australia has severe water constraints, unlike European nations.

      How would a ‘Big Australia’ improve living standards? Please enlighten us all?

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Nordic nations are not about to be swamped by outsiders, but we are. Your argument is dangerous to our national security. We are not at sustainable levels, and yet you never think this argument through. Our nearest neighbour will soon be at 350m in fifty years, and will have a top 10 economy.

      There is no remotely feasible process that will meaningfully change the population difference.

      Most nations on Earth are far more vulnerable to be “swamped” than we are. We have a moat.

  7. Apples and oranges (or, rather, pear shaped monarchy).
    There are very few things in common.

  8. Norway is by far a better example as it is commodity rich and, unlike Sweden, has refused point blank to join the neoliberal EU.

    Look at its population graph and contrast it to our race to the bottom, globalist, neoliberal hellfest.