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May 21, 2024

PI Newsletter #128


1. Is China Creating A New Master Race?


 “Biotechnology development in China is heading in a truly macabre direction,” writes Brandon Weichert of The Weichert Report in an article posted on the American Greatness website.

In a communist society with unrestrained ambition, researchers are pursuing weird science. What happens when you mix pig and monkey DNA? Chinese experimenters can tell you. How about growing human-like organs in animals? Yes, they have done that as well.


All these Chinese moves are meant to obtain “biological dominance.” “There are,” as Ratcliffe noted, “no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power.”


China is in the process of creating the “perfect Communist,” Weichert, also the author of Winning Space, told Gatestone. “China is run by a regime that believes in the perfectibility of mankind, and with the advent of modern genetic and biotechnology research, China’s central planners now have the human genome itself to perfect according to their political agenda.”

Chinese scientists already are on the road of “gene-doping” to make future generations smarter and more innovative than those in countries refusing to embrace these controversial methods. “What you are witnessing in China,” Weichert has written, “is the convergence of advanced technology with cutting-edge bio-sciences, capable of fundamentally altering all life on this planet according to the capricious whims of a nominally Communist regime.”

The full article can be read here:



2. Yemen, LGBT Refugees, And White Supremacy: Everything You Need To Know About Biden’s First Foreign Policy Speech

On Thursday, Feb. 4, Joe Biden spoke from the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C., delivering the first foreign policy speech of his presidency.




3. Nordic Countries Are Not Socialist Paradises


[…] Nordic countries are often used as models of “good” socialism by leftists […]

Dr. Nima Sanandaji, a Swedish researcher and author, wrote the book “Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism,” which provides a very good explanation of the realities in Nordic countries. Let me summarize the book for you in case you don’t have time to read it.

Culture—Not the Welfare State—Lead to Nordic Countries’ Success

“A Scandinavian economist once said to Milton Friedman (American economist, 1976 Nobel Prize laureate in economics): ‘In Scandinavia, we have no poverty.’ Milton Friedman replied: ‘That’s interesting, because in America, among Scandinavians, we have no poverty, either.’” —Quoted by Joel Kotkin, Chapman University professor

The welfare state is not the reason for the Nordic countries’ success. The Scandinavian societies had achieved low income-inequality, low levels of poverty, and high levels of economic growth before the development of the welfare state.

Before the implementation of welfare state policies, between 1870 and 1936, Sweden’s growth rate was the highest among industrialized nations. However, as the welfare state was gradually adopted between 1936 and 2008, the growth rate of Sweden fell to 13th.

According to Dr. Sanandaji, “High levels of trust, a strong work ethic, civic participation, social cohesion, individual responsibility and family values are long-standing features of Nordic society that predate the welfare state. These deeper social institutions explain why Sweden, Denmark, and Norway could so quickly grow from impoverished nations to wealthy ones as industrialization and the market economy were introduced in the late 19th century. They also played an important role in Finland’s growing prosperity after World War II.” (All quotations in this article are taken from Sanandaji’s book unless otherwise noted.)

The book indicates that religion, climate, and history all seem to have played a role in forming these special cultures. These countries have homogeneous populations with similar religious and cultural backgrounds. Protestants tend to have a very strong work ethic; a very hostile natural environment make Scandinavia a difficult place to survive unless a farmer works exceptionally hard; many farmers own their own land and have complete control over the fruits of their labor, so it has been financially rewarding to work hard.

Culture matters. It is the culture, free-market capitalism, and the rule of law that has made the Nordic countries prosperous and made it possible to implement welfare policies without serious adverse consequences. It is also the culture that has fostered the success of the descendants of Scandinavian immigrants to America. Most of those migrants came to America in the 19th century before the implementation of welfare state policies. They were not elite groups, but their descendants are more successful than their cousins in Scandinavia, which suggests that the welfare state policies have impeded the growth of economy.

Southern European countries, such as Italy, France, and Greece, have adopted similar welfare state policies as Nordic countries, but have had much less favorable outcomes. Again, this strongly suggests that culture really matters.

Welfare State Policies Weaken the Nordic Cultures and Values

“It took time to build up the exceptionally high levels of social capital in Nordic cultures. And it took time for generous welfare models to begin undermining the countries’ strong work ethic.” —Dr. Nima Sanandaji, Swedish researcher

Policies help to shape the character of a society. As Scandinavians became accustomed to high taxes and generous government benefits, their sense of responsibility and their work ethic gradually deteriorated.

When asked during a 1981–84 survey if “claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled is never justifiable,” 82 percent of Swedes and 80 percent of Norwegians agreed. But in a similar survey in 2005–08, only 56 percent of Norwegians and 61 percent of Swedes agreed with the statement.

Generous welfare benefits reduce the incentives for taking a job or working hard. It also weakens parents’ incentives to teach their children to work hard. More and more people have become dependent on government welfare payments. And the dependency would pass from one generation to the next. This growing population in turn voted to support more welfare and bigger government, and therefore higher taxation, which has pushed the Nordic countries toward more extremes of socialism.

Are Scandinavians More Tolerant of High Taxes? No.

“Fiscal illusion distorts democratic decisions and may result in ‘excessive’ redistribution.” —Jean-Robert Tyran, Swiss economist, and Rupert Sausgruber, Austrian economist

Scandinavians have not been fully aware of the cost for a bigger government. Politicians have created a “fiscal illusion” in which a large portion of taxes is indirect or hidden, like those in effect before wages are paid, in the form of employers’ fees or employers’ social security contributions, and those included in the listed price of goods, like VAT. These taxes eventually fall on all people, but they are not aware of them.


A Failed Socialist Experiment in Sweden

“Sweden is the world champion in ‘jobless growth’.” —Headline of a 2006 article in the Swedish business daily Dagens Industri

From the beginning of the social democratic era in the 1930s until the 1960s, Nordic countries had remained relatively free-market-oriented and had similar tax levels as other industrialized nations. It was at the beginning of the 1970s when radical social democratic policies were adopted, and the fiscal burden and government spending reached high levels.

Sweden went the furthest toward socialism among Scandinavian nations since the late 1960s. The basic idea was to replace free markets with a model closer to a socialist planned economy. “Not only did the overall tax burden rise, but the new system also discriminated heavily against individuals who owned businesses. As politics radicalized, the social democratic system began challenging the core of the free-market model: entrepreneurship.”

According to Swedish economist Magnus Henrekson, in 1980, “the effective marginal tax rate (marginal tax plus the effect of inflation) that was levied on Swedish businesses reached more than 100 percent of their profits.” This means that a private entrepreneur would actually lose money if he or she made a profit. […]

As for the jobs in the public sector, they increased significantly until the end of the 1970s. At that point, the public sector could not grow larger because taxes had already reached the highest possible level. “When the welfare state could grow no larger, overall job creation came to a halt—neither the private sector nor the public sector expanded.”

[…] The reform in Sweden includes reducing welfare benefits, lowering taxes, liberalizing the labor market, and implementing gate-keeping mechanisms for receiving sickness and disability benefits. After the reform, from 2006 to 2012, the population supported by government benefits decreased from 20 percent to 14 percent […]

A Caution to Americans

The Nordic nations are returning to their free market roots. They have learned their lessons through their forays into welfare states or even tentative socialism and have turned around from a dead end. We Americans should not fall for leftist propaganda and rush into a future that is doomed to failure.


Editorial Comment:

This article and the book that the author has reviewed should serve as a lesson and caution not only to Americans but to leaders and citizens of other countries, as well.

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