Kenworthy Interview – Podcast April 19, 2021

Common Sense Capitalism. Steve Williamson welcomes Lane Kenworthy, professor of Sociology at the University of California San Diego, to discuss his latest book, Social Democratic Capitalism.

The show begins with Kenworthy being asked to compare the US economy with those of the Scandinavian countries that are often called socialist. He responds that they are not socialist in the way that most people understand the term. “There are sectors in the countries that are socialist – healthcare for example,” he says. “But most of the economy is privately owned. So, in that sense, they’re structurally pretty similar to the United States and most other economies that we think of as capitalist.” Further he notes that the differences in taxes and domestic spending as a percentage of GDP are not dramatic.

Kenworthy goes on to list what he believes should be the goals of social democratic capitalism: 1 – Economic security so people can have a decent life, take some risks, and not find themselves in dire straits. 2 – To do right by the least well off to make sure their lives are at least okay. 3 – To make sure there is a lot of liberty.

When asked why the US should move further toward the Nordic system, he replies, “I think the simple answer is that it seems to work very well. Looking at our own society and seeing how much better it is now. And looking at how these other countries have gone much further and seeing how much more security they offer.”

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