Socialism refers to an economic and political theory where production of commodities is owned by the community as a whole (Fijnaut & Paoli, 2006, p. 3). In such an arrangement, public/communal ownership of means of production of all goods and services is regulated, controlled and owned communally. The community does this through its government. In Denmark, socialism dates back to around 1840’s during the European Revolutionary waves that resulted in political and economic reforms in Europe (Fijnaut & Paoli, 2006, p. 4).
As at the end of last year (2016), Denmark registered a total population of 5.7 million people, a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of $ 295 billion, unemployment rate of 4.6%, GDP per capita of $ 52,000, inflation of 0.5% and a GDP Growth of 1% (Harrits & Scharriberg, 1992, p. 10).
Effects of Socialism in Denmark
Denmark’s current population of 5.7 million people makes about 0.08% of the world’s population. There are numerous effects of socialism impacting the people of Denmark. These effects vary from positive to negative ones depending on the ultimate impact on the society. The positive benefits revolve around free services such as education, child care, health care and protection of the unemployed (Harrits & Scharriberg, 1992, p. 28).
One of the major benefits that Denmark has so far reaped from socialism is free access to social amenities such as healthcare and higher education. These services are offered to all and with equality where everyone in need of these services stands a chance to get the services without any discrimination. The free healthcare program is funded through an efficient national health tax set at 8% of taxable income. For those people who are unable to take care of themselves, $ 100 basic income per day is extended to them. This is to enable them afford basic requirements such as food, shelter and clothing.
Secondly, socialism has contributed a lot to a balance in wealth and earnings. The lifestyle gap between the rich and the poor in the society has been greatly reduced. Everybody equally accesses essential basic services like education, good infrastructure and proper healthcare (Jørgensen, 2008, p. 43).
Thirdly, socialism is seen to eradicate monopolies and their negative effects such as overpricing. In a capitalist market, forces of demand and supply dictate and vary the prices of commodities with the possibility of prices skyrocketing in instances where demand overwhelms supply. For a socialist set-up as is the case in Denmark, the government constantly regulates prices to ensure everyone has access to social basic amenities (Fijnaut & Paoli, 2006, p. 13).
Socialism is also seen to have a number of negative impacts in Denmark. For instance, Denmark’s population suffers from low work morale due to lack of incentives and work merit. Recipients of free social amenities will not be driven towards working hard to afford such services independently (McCusker & Thomson Gale (Firm), 2006, p. 21). They are pretty comfortable with free services that they have no drive or motive to work harder nor dream of improving the quality of their lives (Jørgensen, 2008, p. 32).
Demand for higher taxes is another negative effect of socialism. For Denmark to meet the need for provision of free social amenities, she has to dig dipper into the taxpayers’ pockets. Ultimately, such a country registers higher rates of taxation compared to capitalist regimes. Globally, Denmark has one of the highest income tax rates current standing at 55.80 % (Harrits & Scharriberg, 1992, p. 29).
In conclusion, Denmark has witnessed both negative and positive effects of it current socialist socio-economic set-up. However, inspite of the two conflicting sides of the effects, the impacts of the positive effects can be seen to ouwit and neutralize the negative effects (“Libertarian Socialism,” n.d., p. 56).
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