Social Policy and Economic Development in the Nordic Countries: An Introduction

  • Olli Kangas
  • Joakim Palme
Part of the Social Policy in a Development Context book series (SPDC)


The nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed major transformations of economic systems around the world. The first was the creation of capitalist markets in the Western hemisphere. The second was the transition from capitalism to socialism in several countries. The third was the transition in the reverse direction: from centrally planned command systems back to market-based economies. The new globalization of business attached to an explosive expansion of information technologies (ITs) and the rapid IT-based industrialization of the Asian economies may constitute a fourth great transformation that will change the economic order of the globe. During such great transformations, there are always winners and losers. In the wake of such changes, old forms of security vanish and new ones take shape. A crucial issue here is how destructive or constructive change actually becomes. In a Schumpeterian sense, we can speak about a ‘constructive destruction’ (Schumpeter 1950). This term refers to a situation where old, inefficient forms of social activities are destroyed and replaced by more efficient and better systems. An interesting question is how and to what extent different countries, or groups of countries, have managed to harness the destruction, in a socially justifiable way, and to create social and economic institutions that can effectively utilize the potentials and possibilities the new situation creates. How can the Nordic experience be interpreted in this perspective?


Social Policy Labour Supply Welfare State Nordic Country Family Policy 
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Copyright information

© United Nations Research Institute for Social Development 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olli Kangas
  • Joakim Palme

There are no affiliations available

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