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Book Review: Of Gravlax and Power Grids

Economic lessons from Scandinavia.
Norrebro, Copenhagen

Norrebro, Copenhagen

Photographer: In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

We are not Denmark,” Hillary Clinton said in a Democratic presidential debate last year, in response to a Bernie Sanders monologue against “casino capitalism.” Then she said: “I love Denmark. We are the United States of America.”

Well, sure, she’s got us there. But there’s a lot to love about Danes, as well as Swedes, Norwegians, and Icelanders, sociologist George Lakey argues in Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right—and How We Can, Too ($21.95; Melville House). As a rule, Scandinavians are annoyingly clean, efficient, and public-spirited. Iceland, with the population of Pittsburgh, has an airline with direct flights to Orlando. Copenhagen is infested with bicycles. The area seems to have more crime novelists than criminals.