Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät - Nordeuropa-Institut

Kazimierz Musial: Tracing Roots of the Scandinavian Model. Image of Progress in the Era of Modernisation

Working papers "Gemenskaper ­ Gemeinschaften" Volume 17
Funded by the National Bank of Sweden's Tercentenary Foundation


Introduction 7
Method and Sources 14
Denmark Versus Sweden as a Typical Example of the Scandinavian Progressiveness 19
A Bigger, Nicer and More Progressive Sweden 30
Scholarly Construction of Sweden 42
Popularising Scandinavia 48
Popular Images and Selective Memories 56
Post-War Constructs of the Danish Identity and Future of the Scandinavian Model 68
Bibliography 75

[...] we cannot, for example, observe the Milky Way because nothing like this exists in reality. What exists are only some defined celestial bodies in a defined order which have been called the Milky Way. This very appellation, i.e. this very construction causes us, when looking at this complex of celestial bodies, to perceive it as the Milky Way. It becomes, similar to [...][for example] the Second World War, something real. And in general everybody agrees with it.(1)


It was the period after World War Two that gave rise to a new coinage: the Scandinavian model. The concept connoted welfare politics and political progressiveness in general. This very concept and appellation has since been elaborated and applied by historians and political scientists to describe social and political systems in Scandinavia. With time it also attracted the politicians and journalists who propagated it by making an extensive use of it. The term Scandinavian model was an embodiment of the belief that somewhere in Europe, in its northern part, there were progressive and modern countries which could possibly constitute an example for others to follow.

My goal is to investigate how the image of a progressive Scandinavia came about. What interests me is how this image emerged as a culturally constructed notion. I am not intending to analyse the concept of the Scandinavian model in a narrow sense of conceptual history but the image of Scandinavian progressiveness in a broader sense. Progressiveness is not regarded merely as a figure of thought; it implies a belief in the existence of a certain frame of mind, a mental capacity, by virtue of which a change for the better comes to be regarded as inevitable. Progressiveness came to be regarded as a moral quality which pushed individuals or groups of individuals to act in an innovative manner, to try out new solutions and to try to reach the unreachable. The Scandinavian model can be seen as an icon of such a belief.

The image of a progressive Scandinavia has been shaped and enhanced by two dimensions which in the course of its development remained in constant interaction: an external, foreign dimension and an internal, native one. It is an essential part of my argument that foreign images of Scandinavia, i.e. its xenostereotypes, had an enormous influence on the constitution of what the Scandinavians thought of themselves, i.e. on their autostereotypes. Stereotypes in general and the xenostereotypes in particular are not simple analytical units. For example, it may be problematic to claim that they are representative for larger parts of the population in the society in which they were coined. Additionally, the xenostereotypes probably tell us more about the condition of the society where they were coined than about the actual state of things in the country they refer to. This may happen because they are often ideologised and used selectively in order to promote the desired political programmes in the society in which they are coined. It may be argued that to a great extent this was also the case with the image of Scandinavian progressiveness. Depending on the ideological needs and political ends different aspects of the Scandinavian solutions were stressed. The image of the Scandinavian progressiveness was, but for the political context, also very dependent on the time when it was applied. On the one hand, for example, in the middle of the twentieth century there were voices praising the Scandinavian middle way politics which allowed the economy to flourish while the output was divided according to egalitarian principles. On the other hand, in the 1970s one could hear voices stressing the totalitarian traits of the Scandinavian social contract and these traits were pictured as an inevitable consequence of excessive social engineering.

In the 1970s and 1980s both in Scandinavia and abroad there were several attempts to define the contents of the Scandinavian or the Nordic model. They can be summarised by a number of research theses and questions which were posed as the most relevant directions to be pursued. Apart from the alleged Scandinavian/Nordic model of welfare policy there was a suggestion to investigate the existence of a Scandinavian/Nordic way to democracy and modernisation, a Scandinavian/Nordic model of economic policy, a Scandinavian/Nordic mentality, and eventually a Scandinavian/Nordic model as a structure dominated by the Social Democratic concepts.(2) In different years some of these approaches were picked up and both in Scandinavia and abroad different directions enjoyed the researchers' attention. Now, if all these suggested research directions are contrasted with a statement formulated by two Danish scholars in 1983 that Scandinavians had never seen themselves as representatives of one consistent and distinctive model, then the above efforts to discern a particularly distinctive Scandinavian model are nothing else but a belated attempt to construct a common Scandinavian or Nordic identity culturally.(3) In this respect the foreigners were much quicker and more efficient in doing it.

In general, American and European views of Scandinavia differed as far as the ideological issues were concerned. Also in this respect the time was an important factor. Depending on the stage of modernisation and development of American and European societies different aspects were viewed as typically Scandinavian or as an embodiment of progressiveness. At different times different images were called forth and used as arguments in domestic political debates. In the 1950s and 1960s, for instance, some more conservatively minded Americans feared that the social and political model pursued in Scandinavia epitomised letting socialism or even communism in through the back door. This stood in a great contrast to the 1930s and 1940s when there was quite a number of people, who with roots in the progressive movement of the early twentieth century, looked forward to the then new concepts of Scandinavian social engineers. Eventually, there was also a number of American political scientists (by US standards they could be declared as leftist) who during the difficult years of the Cold War saw the Scandinavian societal model as a solution to the contemporary ideological and political conflicts.

But for the Germans, who for the sake of their own identity construction already since the nineteenth century exploited the alleged Germanic affinity of the Scandinavians, other Europeans were pretty late to discover the idiosyncrasies and potential exemplariness of the peoples in the north of Europe. Only after World War Two following the American patterns did the European politicians start to look at Scandinavia as a region capable of providing patterns for the solutions on the continent. During the Cold War Europeans seem to have been more likely to turn a blind eye on the potentially hidden ideological threats and took interest in the efficiency of the Scandinavian social contract. There were of course doubts on the part of the conservatives in a few countries but, generally speaking, during the Cold War the Scandinavian model was seen as a feasible middle way between Western democratic capitalism and East European communism.(4)

After World War Two, beyond any doubt, the image of the Scandinavian progressiveness, iconised as the Scandinavian model, included the notion of the political and social 'third way' between the two ideal-type regimes. This image was mainly generated by the Anglo-American and West European discourses despite the fact that the East Europeans occasionally also expressed their interest in the Scandinavian achievements. However, they were hardly given the floor to participate in the discussion because of the Iron Curtain. As a result of this, and of the Scandinavian westward orientation in general, only the xenostereotypes produced in the Western hemisphere were treated by the Scandinavians as possible constructs of their own identity.

For that matter there was nothing new in such an orientation. The Scandinavians, and especially the Swedish, had already appreciated America since the late nineteenth century. The USA virtually became the promised land for most of the emigrants who left Scandinavia. What is relevant for this investigation is that in the beginning of the 1930s there was a turning point in this interest. Gradually not only did the outflow of emigrants terminate but also a qualitative shift of interest took place, i.e. Americans started taking interest in how the social issues and politics were handled the Scandinavian way.

Originally the inter-war period, which in many respects was characterised by unification of the political and social systems in the Scandinavian countries, did not attract much foreign attention. Until the 1930s Scandinavia was hardly regarded as a model, nor did the international public opinion focus too much on the small states in the north of Europe. Even though there were journalists, educators, scientists and social reformers who already then described the uniqueness, innovations and progressiveness of the Scandinavian solutions, at that time only occasionally did these countries evoke any international interest.

The image of Scandinavia quickly changed for the better over the course of the 1930s. This happened not only because the Scandinavians suddenly seemed to have done something very spectacular or remarkable. It is rather the world around them that changed drastically for the worse as a result of the Great Depression. Under these circumstances many countries found themselves unable to provide solutions to the crisis in their economies and to the massive unemployment. What followed was political radicalisation, insecurity and a doubt whether European liberal democracy was the most suitable form of government in these difficult times. Even in countries which so far had seemed to be bastions of democratic tradition and institutions a conviction developed that the future would inevitably belong to the dictatorships able to mobilise masses on the left and the right, i.e. to the national socialism and communism. Even authors who were clearly in favour of democracy and, in this respect, saw Scandinavia as an example to be followed, recognised dictatorship as an undesirable but efficient alternative under these difficult circumstances.

[...] in considering the efficiency of democracy, one must admit that a dictator, able to impose a certain object on the whole of the people, can often succeed in working towards that object more efficiently than any democracy can hope to do, since owing to variety of human nature the democracies in peace time rarely or never work for a single object, except in the very broad sense of working for a social order in which every individual shall be able to enjoy freedom and happiness.(5)

Democracy was seen as a withering form of government, unable to meet the challenges of the present and the future.(6) In such an international climate and political context it did not take much to be regarded as successful. The first quality by which the success was measured was not only economic prosperity and welfare but also remaining faithful to the democratic principles. This is exactly what the Scandinavians exemplified. Democracy was seen by the peoples in the North of Europe as a prerequisite of national co-operation which developed earlier and by now had been well founded. Gradually it also became evident for the outside world that thanks to the relatively stable political situation it was possible to pursue economic challenges much more effectively. This fundamental difference between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe in the inter-war period had an extraordinary significance for the construction of Scandinavian autostereotypes. Especially the national history writing came to be heavily influenced by these images.

Incidentally, when in the 1970s and 1980s the inter-war period was portrayed as a foundation period of the modern Scandinavian societies, the Social Democratic parties were declared the main agents of the transformation. The emerging interest in progressive Scandinavia, which symbolically started with the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930, roughly coincided with the Social Democratic parties reaching for power in Denmark and Sweden. The formation of their government was then interpreted as the best proof of Scandinavian unyielding democratic principles and common sense. Democracy in these countries was seen as truly efficient as it was able to produce policies devoid of radicalism and fanaticism. Within this discursive framework attention was paid to the fact that already in the middle of the 1930s American publications appeared praising the Swedish middle way.(7) Accordingly, in the post-war period all this seemed to provide a credible framework for discussing Social Democratic Scandinavia as a model for the world to follow.

In this regard Sweden enjoyed the world's greatest attention as the most advanced, socially engineered country, where the tradition of shaping the society in a rational way reached back to the inter-war period. Swedes themselves came to believe that they had created a better system than any other nation in the world. For example in the 1960s it was argued that Sweden would not join the EEC because the EEC states had a more primitive social organisation.(8) During the next decade this Swedish autostereotype was often corroborated until the beginning of the 1970s when foreigners started asking questions about whether Sweden still was a model to be followed.(9) The boat which contained Scandinavian stereotypes was rocked but it took another twenty years before they eventually came to be questioned. In 1990 Peter Baldwin, an American historian turned the alleged affinity between the welfare state development and the Social Democratic hegemony upside down. Not only did he claim that Sweden's exemplariness in terms of social policies was not recognised world-wide until World War Two, but he also assigned significantly greater importance to the middle classes in shaping the Scandinavian social solutions.(10) Since then, despite the image of Sweden and Scandinavia internationally losing its shining, the belief in the superiority of their own development model has still continued to be present in the domestic Scandinavian consciousness.

To return to the previous point, in the inter-war period, especially in the late 1930s publications and press articles concerning Scandinavian development appeared in both Europe and the USA. Even though the Scandinavian countries were not the most often quoted examples of progressive development, apart from their informative nature, the publications which described them were often used as an argument in domestic debates. In the 1930s they were meant either to legitimise or to justify introduction of radical steps aiming at combating the crisis which followed the Great Depression. Their narrative style, which often resembled the eighteenth and nineteenth century Reiseberichte, i.e. travel-books genre, implied their informative character, while at the same time their content could easily be interpreted in order to supply a required, politically correct argument. In this respect Scandinavian politics with its peaceful ideological development served as ideal types not only for the 'Western' world but also for the countries of Central Europe.(11)

The outbreak of the Second World War on 1 September 1939 and 9 April 1940 when the German troops marched into Denmark and Norway are symbolic deadlines for the time framework of the inter-war period in Scandinavia. This date represents the start of several years of setbacks for Denmark and Norway as regards the image of Scandinavian progressiveness. It became obvious that not only did the war slow down the economic growth of Sweden's neighbours, but quite naturally it stopped the process of societal transformation. In contrast, neither of the dates was particularly tragic for the Swedish society. The neutrality peculiar to Sweden guaranteed the continuity and comparatively impressive stability of what later came to be called the Swedish model. For their part, in Denmark and Norway World War Two and the experiences connected with the resistance movement were very essential and acquired a symbolic meaning. They had a great bearing on the construction of their national identities in the post-war period. Nonetheless, they played only a minor role in the foreign construction of the Scandinavian progressiveness.

For the world outside Scandinavian standing during the Second World War mostly seems to have confirmed the validity of values already earlier ascribed to the Scandinavians while at the same time it provided Sweden with an image of the leading country in the region.(12) The progressive features attributed to the Scandinavian countries after the Second World War were thus mainly based on the success of Sweden. Another thing is that the social engineering which was initiated in Sweden in the inter-war period might have seemed too radical for other countries in the region. As a result, Swedes, who were seen as having the courage of their modernistic convictions, were able to steal the scene.

The post-war image of the Scandinavian progressive solutions included several characteristic elements. On the one hand, the Scandinavian countries were declared as the epitome of modern states with well developed institutions where the principles of democracy were not only registered in their constitutions but also practised in every-day life. On the other hand, due to the specificity of the Scandinavian political culture the Social Democratic parties came to be regarded not only as the main actors on the political scene, but also as the raison d'être of the progressive, modernistic development.

Method and Sources

The choice of sources and the applied method have been heavily determined by the following research questions.

The first one is a logical consequence of the initial approach presuming a constant interaction between foreign and native images in the construction of xeno- and autostereotypes. The question is to what extent in Scandinavia was the notion of being progressive determined by the existence of the xenostereotypes. In other words, to what extent has the image of progressive Scandinavia been developed externally as an image of a desirable direction of social and political development, and to what extent and how did the Scandinavians make use of such a notion. The rationale of this question is an allegation that socio-economic and political models of development are in general constructed in countries or areas other than the ones they describe. For instance, the models which describe a societal organisation of a given country or a given territory, like the American model, the Anglo-Saxon model or the German model, were mostly coined in countries and territories other than the ones in question.(13) Similarly, it is tempting to suggest that the image of Scandinavia in general and the Scandinavian model in particular have been constructed and given the conceptual framework outside Scandinavia.

Yet, the anticipated constant interaction between a native and a foreign component in emerging stereotypes calls for another question about the influence the Scandinavians themselves had on producing the image. The question is not whether Scandinavia really was the way it was imagined and believed to be, or whether its inhabitants actually lived up to the image they were confronted with, but the question is whether the foreign images were perhaps founded on some carefully selected autostereotypes. These were subsequently processed and exported and, in turn, they conveyed some distinctive, desirable images and notions to the outer world.

In this regard, one more question has to be asked about the role played by the Scandinavian Social Democrats in the process of image construction. As mentioned earlier, the Social Democratic parties became one of the characteristic components of the image of progressive Scandinavia after World War Two. The reason for this was twofold. Firstly, since their coming to power at the wake of the Great Depression Social Democrats enjoyed the so-called problemformuleringsprivilegiet(14) for many years. Secondly, in both their home countries and abroad they were given credit for building up the welfare state which became one of the most spectacular institutional solutions that proved Scandinavian progressiveness. A comprehensive and innovative approach to the social question became one of the most famous notions associated with the social democratic Scandinavia.

In order to deal with these questions it seemed appropriate to apply a comparative method. Thus, a comparison is made between the foreign and native images of Scandinavia. Foreign sources concerning Sweden and their reception are contrasted, if possible, with the concurrent sources describing Denmark and with the way Danes made use, or rather took no notice of them. This difference is analysed within the framework of the national identity construction, i.e. with respect to the dissimilarity of these processes in both countries. A comparative analysis of the position of academics in general and of the social scientists in particular in Denmark and Sweden provides arguably the most plausible explanation as to why the two countries came to enjoy such a different status and estimation in international consciousness.

Eventually, the alleged Scandinavian progressiveness in solving the social question is not discussed within the framework of the welfare state discourse alone but it is presented in a broader context as a reaction to economic and identity crises. From this perspective, for instance, the crisis following the Great Depression may be regarded as a sounding board of the Scandinavian success. Such an approach to the Scandinavian way of solving the social question is not very frequent. Traditional approach to the progressive features of the Scandinavian solutions has most often been limited to a description of the welfare related issues. Welfare state has traditionally been one of the most explicitly analysed and characteristic constructs able to define Scandinavia as the most extraordinary exhibit in comparison with other welfare state regimes. The region was declared to be one of the 'three worlds of welfare capitalism' and in this way the Scandinavian countries, despite their size and population, could be perceived as an equal partner of the USA and continental Europe as far as the discussion on possible development models was concerned. In this way a community of Scandinavian welfare states was constructed and the Scandinavians could feel they were bigger and better than the population data and the physical features of their countries would otherwise allow. The intensified focus on the welfare state resulted first in constituting the term Swedish model and later on the Scandinavian model as analytical entities in macro-economics, political science, welfare research and labour market research.(15)

Needless to say, the applied comparative method determined the choice of sources. Despite the fact that Scandinavia was not the most interesting region to be studied for most of the inter-war period, a number of relevant publications may be discerned. Those used as primary sources are the ones which, on the one hand, were or could have been relevant for the contemporary political and social debates in the 1930s and, on the other hand, those which to the highest degree were or could be required by the Scandinavians in order to support their preconceived self-images. Respectively, apart from the publications which appeared in Sweden and Denmark, the sources originating from the English-speaking countries have been found to be most relevant. They seem to be the most important because of the enormous influence the USA had on shaping the world's public opinion. The Americanisation of the world, which undoubtedly had a significant bearing on the societal patterns and political behaviour in European and non-European countries following World War Two, in the case of Scandinavia had already been tangible since the turn of the century. It was in the USA where the Scandinavians, and especially the Swedish academics, looked for conceptual inspiration and material support.

This Scandinavian predilection might explain why hardly any German pre-war publications concerning the Scandinavian region have been employed as sources. Indeed, German images of Norden enjoyed some reception in Scandinavia in the inter-war period. They were very different from the xenostereotypes produced in the USA and for some time they competed with each other as possible foundations of the Scandinavian autostereotypes. In Germany 'Nordic race' was taken up by racists and Nazis who found it convenient to describe the blonde, long-headed race they associated with superiority.(16) National Socialism continuously made references to the Nordic heritage when looking for legitimisation of its racial policy. There is considerable evidence that apart from Scandinavian National Socialistic groupings the German conception had much influence on the discourse pursued by some academic communities in Scandinavia. For example in Sweden organisations like Svensk-Tyska akademiska förbundet and Riksforeningen Sverige-Tyskland could be characterised as openly supporting the German Nazis' policies.(17) They produced an alternative German friendly Swedish autostereotype which given the right circumstances could easily have been accepted. In comparison with other Scandinavian countries Sweden remained under the greatest German influence since the beginning of the century. Sweden could be claimed to be distinctively oriented towards Germany.(18)

On the other hand German ideologised reverence of Scandinavia and the Nazi admiration of the Nordic race also exploited the image of Scandinavian superiority and progressiveness. Though, it was a very different image of progress from the one presented in the American debate. The Nazis offered the most comprehensive form of state interventionism in the world at that time. It was totalitarian but it was able to fight the unemployment so effectively that from five million in 1933 it had practically vanished by 1938. From the German point of view modernising Scandinavia and, in this respect, its modernistic liberality were not very interesting. Nor was the Scandinavian democracy applicable in Germany. Instead, the German interest concentrated on the imagined Nordic Gemeinschaft that was supposed to give a new spirit and identity. By comparison, the progressive Gesellschaft, which was a result of the Scandinavian way to modernisation, played a far more significant role in the American debate.

As World War Two came to an end the American image became decisive for the discourse concerning Scandinavia and the Scandinavian model. As a result, it has also become the focal point of this investigation.

Denmark Versus Sweden as a Typical Example of the Scandinavian Progressiveness

From the foreign historical and geographical perspective it often seems that both Denmark and Sweden as well as other Nordic countries have constituted one model of societal and political organisation. Especially after World War Two journalists, economists and political scientists provided altogether for a unanimous picture of the whole Scandinavian region in their writings. The term Scandinavian model has often been used by economists and political scientists for whom it was necessary or practical to have a frame of reference for their analysis. This Nordic frame of reference was frequently arrived at by creating an imaginary, ideal welfare state regime in theory. As a result, the Scandinavian welfare states became kinds of reference models and rhetorical figures to which other European and non-European welfare state regimes could be compared.(19) Such an attitude in the post-war period, which also influenced the process of the national history writing in Scandinavia, had its roots in a social-scientific hybrid produced by American sociological and politological functionalism. Its aim was to describe how society functioned in terms of laws, and hence to find ways to improve and correct its shortcomings. It was believed that a standard Western route to modernisation was transferable to other cultures. People assumed that the future was foreseeable and could be planned.(20) Americans were the main constructors here but also the Scandinavians were attracted by the image of progressive Scandinavia. It offered them an opportunity to show the region to be more prominent and important than it would be the case if their countries were treated as separate units.(21)

The powerful influence of American scholars after World War Two resulted in generalisation of typologies, e.g. they launched the Anglo-American model playing down the differences between Britain and the United States. Consequently, such an attitude also led to simplification and categorisation of Scandinavia. The Scandinavian/Swedish model, which as a term started entering the political and social science vocabulary by the end of the 1960s(22), without much consideration was earlier often placed together in one basket with the Benelux states. It is easier to understand why this happened if one keeps in mind that from American perspective it was rather Western Europe on the whole that presented a more tangible analytical unit. In this respect, Scandinavia, with its small and homogeneous population, and with territory lying at European periphery was likely to be overlooked in the classifications made according to very general criteria. Gradually the foreign image of a homogenous Scandinavian region entered the consciousness of its inhabitants. From the national, Danish or Swedish point of view the diversity, which had been an acknowledged fact, was likely to be forgotten if only the countries could avoid the obscure small state image.

The 1960s are usually regarded as the period which brought about changes in this attitude. Small was not yet beautiful but it was at least appreciated. At that time the older, mainly of Anglo-American origin, popular notion of the Scandinavian progressiveness was reformulated again as a success story of small Nordic democracies. Supported by the economic data it seemed credible enough to be told and spread. This was being done both in Scandinavia and abroad where Sweden came to be regarded as the most exemplary and progressive among the Nordic siblings.

The alleged progressiveness seemed easiest to prove by means of the social sciences. As a result, for example, in Sweden social history started to develop as a special sub-discipline of the national history writing.(23) Also in the other Scandinavian countries social sciences such as sociology, political science and statistics as well as economics were seen as patterns for the social history to follow.(24) Foreign images of the Scandinavian progressiveness were eagerly confirmed and developed by the Scandinavian scholars. In the post-war period they were likely to become attracted to the institutionally reformulated image of the Scandinavian progress. They followed its development very diligently and even argued about which Nordic country was more successful in realising the Scandinavian model framework in practice.

Thanks to the scholars and scientists, both Scandinavian and foreign, the newly invented term Scandinavian model had its raison d'être. Developing theoretical models describing economic, social and political reality was a comparatively new phenomenon after World War Two. Indeed, the theories of modernisation and the world-system theories in sociology which were meant to explain patterns of social change in the third world countries were only developing rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s. These theories mostly resulted in analysis which could easily adopt a success story of European periphery as a model for the world's periphery.(25) It was generally believed that sooner or later all countries were bound to follow the standard 'Western' route to modernisation. Progressive Scandinavia was supposed to show the way. However, the Scandinavian model was not only a theoretically defined analytical unit. Scandinavia was not only seen as an ideal type in the Weberian sense but there was a wide-spread belief that Scandinavia actually was progressive and as such it could provide solutions for the world.

Undoubtedly, after World War Two it was the Swedish who, among the Scandinavians, enjoyed the world's greatest attention. Not only the scientific projections but also politics and economic results influenced the perception. What made Sweden in many scholars' eyes the most interesting case to study in Scandinavia was the country's effective corporativist tradition which enabled it to control capitalism, and practically continuous development despite the atrocities of World War Two in the rest of Europe. In Denmark there was a certain break in the government's activity, not to mention social legislation, and the 'real' welfare state development is claimed to have started only after the Second World War.(26) In many respects the war also had a bearing on other aspects which made Sweden more attractive to study. Its increased economic capacity in the post-war period was seen as a result of Sweden's peculiar neutrality. The war let the Swedes grow rich while the Danish economy to a great extent shared the fate of other countries in continental Europe.(27)

However, there is little wonder that Sweden got so popular after World War Two. The image of her success and progress was not created from one day to another. Already by the end of the 1930s the country was presented in magazine articles, in newspapers, as well as in academic works as the epitome of excellency and modernity.(28) Especially in economics the assumed ingenuity of the Swedish solutions à la New Deal overshadowed the Scandinavian perspective. For example, in September 1938 the American magazine Fortune gave probably the most characteristic account of what was being said about Sweden those days.

From Sweden comes news of a rare fiscal miracle, an unprecedented boom; and a new technique of outmanoeuvring the depressions. This smart and prosperous little country has discovered how to put through social reforms without troubling business confidence. Administered by Socialists, kind to capitalists, present-day Sweden is a lesson in New Dealism without tears - and almost without debts. [...] Sometimes the inhabitants themselves complain that nothing happens in Sweden - the country is too happy. The headlines reflect neither imperial ambitions nor labour fratricide. In the last five years, for instance, nothing has happened, except that Sweden has created the greatest boom in her history, the greatest boom in any peaceful country to-day. Industrial production is 50 per cent above the 1929 peak with mills, mines, forests, and factories producing at almost 100 per cent capacity. Unemployment is reduced to a minimum and the national income can buy 25 per cent more than ever before. The government has emerged from five years of extensive agricultural subsidies and public works with a healthy budget and a startling method of handling depressions. [...] The incredible fact to be noted by Americans of every stripe is that Sweden has gone in for a far reaching New Dealism without scaring, overtaxing, or otherwise discouraging private enterprise and investment. [...] Sweden's experiment is worth reporting, not only because Sweden is half the distance again ahead of the 1929 milestone at a time when the U.S. is still struggling to get back there, nor because Sweden is at the same time ready and waiting for the next depression, but because she has achieved those two miracles without the sacrifice of essential democracy.(29)

Furthermore, both in Sweden and abroad Swedish singularity was underlined by the scholarly elaborated foundations of the Swedish economic solutions.(30) Later on emphasising singularity and importance of the Stockholm School of Economics in elaborating scientific foundations of the Scandinavian model would become one of the favourite Swedish topics when referring to the successful crisis solutions in the 1930s. Coinciding with it the moralistic overtones like 'Sweden is the best and socially most advanced place in the world' created a picture of a steady island on the wild ocean of international economic chaos and crises.(31) Already in the late 1930s it was believed that the country not only invented a successful pattern of dealing with the social problems but also had a patent on realising the goals of a socialist society, while nominally still remaining a capitalist country. Subsequently this notion allowed the Swedes to feel superior in the world polarised between two orthodoxies of the western liberal market economy on the one hand, and the infamous Soviet economic planning on the other. The Swedish originality, which was already portrayed as the middle way in the 1930s, seemed to live up to expectations. At the same time it was clear that 'Swedes know what [...] others find especially Swedish and this is incorporated in the construction of Swedish understanding of their singularity'.(32) As a result, a kind of national hubris was created among Swedes, which was built upon a myth of economic and political superiority. Sweden epitomised the notion of Scandinavian progressiveness while other Scandinavian countries were only seldom mentioned abroad as realising a variant of the Swedish model.(33) The notion of Swedish progressiveness, which already earlier developed in the English speaking world driven by sociological and politological functionalism, dominated the international perspective. According to popular belief it was Sweden that showed the middle way and was the world laboratory, the progress machine or the prototype of modern society.(34) Denmark would at best be mentioned as an interesting case to study but without enjoying the same notion of the success story epitomised by Sweden.

The Danish have neither appreciated, nor really accepted Swedish notoriety. One manifestation of such an attitude in the late 1970s was that Danes themselves were likely to use the term Danish model while talking about specifically Nordic solutions as for organisation of society and economy in the Scandinavian countries(35). For the Danish autostereotype the construction of the Danish model was an important element. Only in this way could they make up for the estimation enjoyed by their internationally renowned 'big brother' Sweden. This coincided with a renewed emphasis on the national feelings which started together with the Danish entry into the EEC. At that time Danes badly needed new constructs of their own identity, which would allow them to feel secure in this supranational organisation. This was no longer a question of the military security but there was widespread concern about whether such a small country would be able to defend her language, customs and political culture from being deluged by the European unification processes.(36) Constructing the concept of the Danish model as a variant or even as the main component of its conceptual, generally appraised, Scandinavian predecessor was meant to guarantee the survival of the venerated idiosyncratic features of this small country.

One of the means applied in this process of construction was taking a retrospective view on the roots of the Scandinavian success story. In this way it was possible to point at the original Danish contribution which not only were variants but could claim to have created the uniqueness of the Scandinavian way. Consequently, there was a number of scholars who, with regard to economics and social solutions, focused on the native Danish component of the Scandinavian solutions.(37) Bent Rold Andersen claimed that only Denmark came closest to the 'pure Scandinavian model' (with the exception of unemployment funds).(38) This renewed emphasis on the national idiosyncrasies from the 1970s does not seem to have faded away. On the contrary, the debate on the Danish membership of the European Union in the late 1980s and in the 1990s witnessed an increased effort to show the remarkableness of the native Danish solutions. The closer the full, not only economic but also political, integration was, the more pronounced among the Danish public were the worries that Denmark would loose its unmatched character. In the beginning of the 1990s Jesper Due and his colleagues gave a very detailed description of the Danish collective bargaining system, but they hardly acknowledged the application of similar institutional solutions in close vicinity of Danish borders. The book might suggest that Danes alone take a patent on institutionalisation of collective bargaining.(39) An utmost belief in the singularity of the Danish solutions was provided by Jørn Henrik Petersen from Odense University who published a collection of essays on the Danish welfare state. According to him the Danish model is the most original in Scandinavia while Sweden has copied and followed it but diverged greatly from the Danish genuine plan.(40) Among the most recent publications on the Danish side only Søren Kolstrup in his Ph.D. dissertation on the roots of the Danish welfare state was less direct in his assessment of how the Danish model influenced the Nordic solutions. He paid tribute to the Danes, who in many respects had been pioneers, but he also did not fail to notice that by 1935 the Swedish had not only made up for the underdevelopment in institutionalisation of the social policy, but also rightfully had been branded as dominating the Nordic developments.(41)

All these Danish efforts which were meant, on the one hand, to strengthen the national identity and, on the other hand, to attract attention to the Danish way and correct the 'Swedenised' image of Scandinavia, only slowly started to bear fruits. Additionally, in the 1990s the crisis of the Swedish welfare state has been the factor which has automatically caused a greater interest in Denmark on the part of the foreign observers. What is more, after a successful implementation of an 'individualised labour market reform' and slashing unemployment figures Denmark has recently become an object of interest also in the EU. Erfolgsmodell Dänemark has become an example of an innovative approach possibly to be emulated by its southern neighbours.(42) Eventually the Danish autostereotype seems now to be winning over the earlier foreign images of Scandinavia.

Nonetheless, when taking a longer historical perspective into account for most of the post-World War Two period it was the Swedish social and political system that has served for many as the archetype of the Scandinavian model and Scandinavian progressiveness. Sweden has been distinguished as the country where not only the welfare state has been the most comprehensive, but also where the opposition between socialism and capitalism has effectively been bridged. Sweden was the country to refer to when one looked for Scandinavian examples. Even today when reading economic reports and browsing through daily international newspapers, the reader will surely find economic indicators of the Swedish performance compared to the OECD countries or the rest of the world. Other Scandinavian countries are seldom presented and Sweden is most often regarded as an indicator of Scandinavian developments, even though for a few years the Swedish figures have hardly been representative of the Scandinavian region. In the past this practice could be explained by the fact that it must have been more convenient to observe economic and social tendencies in the country which was more populous and where the size of industrial structures was easily comparable with that of some other larger European countries. At present the earlier notion of 'the most representative Scandinavian country' in many regards seems to remain intact even though the economic performance is no longer representative of the whole region. What is more, not only the English speaking world is trapped by this Swedish notoriety but the same pattern is often propagated by other Europeans too.(43)

Moreover, apart from the image of Sweden as an economic and social wonderland, the question of ideology in the bi-polar world of the Cold War made this country more spectacular to observe than any other of her Scandinavian neighbours. By the end of the 1940s, shortly before the Iron Curtain was effectively drawn, from the American vantage point the whole of Scandinavia was portrayed as being in danger of 'Soviet pressure to bring these small neighbours into Russian orbit'.(44) Later on it was no longer Denmark or Norway, which became members of NATO, but Sweden that was often looked upon as a country heading along the road to socialism, i.e. being 'but one step from a communist grave'.(45) Sweden was definitely worth observing, albeit with apprehension. With respect to ideology nobody ever spoke of a Norwegian model or a Danish model.(46) Bourgeois socialism, democratic socialism and eventually economic democracy became the veritable Swedish export products within the Socialist International.(47)

As a result, also in popular belief Sweden became the most interesting case to study in Scandinavia after World War Two. It is worth noting though that mainly economic and social issues were taken into account as elements of the success story and indicators of the ingenuous solutions. This phenomenon was, in a way, a replication of the constructs conceived in the American New Deal debate in the late 1930s. However, the Swedish Sonderweg which originally had been constructed on the grounds of the social and economic success, after the war was also enhanced by the political and cultural dimension. The inhabitants of the middle way turned into the peacemakers, Swedish girls became symbols of an easygoing sexual lifestyle and the Scandinavian design came to be represented by the mass produced IKEA furniture.

When nowadays Denmark seems to epitomise the most successful continuation of the Scandinavian model the notion of the progressive Sweden has faded away, or at least it seems to be blurred by an obvious crisis of its welfare state in the recent years. For Swedes themselves the question of reviewing their societal model already became topical in the 1970s and grew even more interesting in the 1980s and the 1990s. Unlike among the Danes, the access into the EU was now not seen as a threat to the Swedish national identity. After all Sweden had not experienced any foreign invasion for over 300 years. In the twentieth century the Swedish ego was boosted for so long since the 1930s that the fear of diluting her national identity in the European superstate was hardly present. On the contrary, entering the EU was regarded by many as a pragmatic and rational decision which seemed to offer a solution to the economic crisis. Almost simultaneously more and more people became aware of the fact that economic and social solutions of the previously praised middle way did not necessarily lead to Europe and it would be indispensable to make changes in folkhemmet.(48) As a result, on the popular level and especially outside Scandinavia, present transformation seems to have done some harm to the previous image of the Swedish progressiveness. This is not to suggest that the Swedish model is due to quickly disappear as a framework of reference or as a figure of speech. The notion of exemplariness has been present and cherished for so long, both in Sweden and abroad, that it will probably take longer to render it void. What is more, there currently appear to be new attempts to redefine this concept. The most paradoxical one is showing Sweden as a model of successful deconstruction of excessive social services.(49) In this case the very concept of progressive Sweden lives its own life, even though the notion of the Swedish model in the past had a thoroughly different content, as well as the time-space scope necessary for the model to make sense also changed. Perhaps Sweden is no longer viewed as an ideal welfare state and paradise on earth but, taking into account present international tendencies to economise on social expenditures, it still has a chance to be seen as progressive. This time, however, the notion would have to be shared with Denmark which nowadays attracts attention of the European observers more and more frequently.

A Bigger, Nicer and More Progressive Sweden

A question which I would like to address in this chapter is when and how did an image of the Scandinavian progressiveness in general and the Swedish progressiveness in particular come about. The latter is of great interest in particular since, as it will be argued, the traditional view of the Scandinavian countries as very generous welfare states does not provide sufficient explanation as to why Sweden rather than Denmark was seen as the epitome of progress. Taking the welfare state institutions alone as a point of departure does not suffice to give an answer as to why Sweden was depicted as calling the tune in Scandinavia, especially when looking at the early Danish legislation in many areas vital for the construction of the welfare state. It was only in the post-World War Two discourses that the successful welfare state became the famous Scandinavian idiosyncrasy.

By comparison, when taking the pre-war examples of welfare institutionalisation into account, Danes might be seen as pioneers as far as a comprehensive, co-ordinated social legislation was concerned. Danes were in most cases the first to practice the institutionalised social solutions which later on saw the light of the day in Sweden. Apart from the decisions concerning social policy, also in the domain of politics the Swedish Social Democrats might be said to have made extensive use of Danish concepts before the 1930s.(50) By the end of the 1930s Denmark was being put forward as the 'modern fairy story' of social legislation. In 1937, when Agnes Rothery published her book describing Danish life and institutions under the suggestive title 'Denmark, Kingdom of Reason', she did not hesitate to stamp the country's social legislation as the most progressive in the world.

The Constitution of Denmark rather naïvely forbids any Dane to starve. The Social Reform of Denmark - which stamps that country as one of the most enlightened in the world - goes further. No Dane should starve, but neither should his life be filled with fear: fear of sickness, of invalidity, of unemployment, of indigent old age.(51)

At that time Denmark could constitute an example in social legislation not only for Sweden but also for many other countries. Thus, had it been the institutional development of the welfare state alone that should epitomise Scandinavian progressiveness, most likely more attention would have been paid to Denmark.

In spite of all this, however, regardless of the world-wide recognised Danish originality and pioneer welfare legislation, in the late 1930s already Sweden came to enjoy the position of the Scandinavian leader. It is therefore tempting to suggest that Sweden's notoriety owed much to some other constructs and the welfare state only later became one of them. To begin with the 1930s among the concepts feeding the image of the Swedish progressiveness was a belief that Swedes were more radical and were in possession of more economic potential to instantly reorganise the society in a modern way.(52) From outside this Swedish drive for modernity, apart from the economic successes, was mostly perceived as a quality characteristic for being progressive and, as such, inherent in the rationally founded Swedish way.

Alternatively, such a rapid modernistic development may just as well be seen as a reaction typical for nouveau riches or social climbers. From this perspective Sweden could be seen as wanting to make up and overcompensate for the time when it was poor. Because of this the image of poor Sweden from the beginning of the century acquired a symbolic meaning.(53) Exaggerating the fact of being poor was necessary for acquiring a framework in which the modernistic project could mirror itself. For anyone who studied Swedish development and for the Swedes themselves the image of being progressive acquired quite a new dimension when the affluence of the late 1930s was compared to the misery of the past.(54) In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the image of an underdeveloped and poor country was one of the images of Sweden that were sent abroad, especially to the USA, together with a huge wave of the Swedish emigrants. It may be safely concluded that in the post-World War Two discourse this external image in connection with an image of speedy modernisation led directly to branding Sweden as an 'avant-garde' of societal transformation and as a model to be followed.(55) The twentieth century is often called the age of extremes and the extremely quick and rationally founded Swedish metamorphosis attracted the observers.

For many it was the rationality of the Swedish achievements that was the most attractive. It was generally felt that what Karl Popper later would call 'social engineering' was taking place in Sweden in the inter-war period. In the late 1920s and 1930s Sweden had a number of economists and charismatic individuals who, to a greater extent than was the case in Denmark or Norway, practised the new rational approach to economy, society and politics. After all, but for the economic capacity, it seemed to require administrational wizardry and political genius to turn the allegedly poorest European country at the beginning of the 20th century into the most prosperous one forty years later. Including economists in the parliamentary activity and in the national governments was often practised in Sweden and, in comparison with other countries, could be seen as a key factor of the Swedish progress. This Swedish 'idiosyncrasy' was easily discernible to foreign observers and especially when compared to the Anglo-American practice it could be seen as explicit evidence of the Swedish progressiveness and the original Swedish way to modernisation.

One point on which Sweden differs markedly from England is that professors in the social sciences are not only listened to by the Riksdag but often are actually members. [...] The fact that so many professors in the social sciences take an active interest in public affairs must be a real benefit to the level of public discussion and of legislation in Sweden, and must be very effective in avoiding the danger of a purely aloof and academic attitude on the part of the universities.(56)

Sir Ernest Darwin Simon, a Manchester expert on social services who formulated this opinion in 1939, was obviously impressed by the fact that out of the eight professors of law in the University of Uppsala five were members of Parliament. He also noted that the University of Stockholm had a strong Faculty of Economics led by professor Gustav Cassel and that his four leading pupils held high-ranking positions in Sweden's political life. Accordingly, professor Gunnar Myrdal was a Social Democratic MP, professor Gösta Bagge was an MP and the leader of the Conservative Party, professor Bertil Ohlin was an MP and President of the Young Liberals, and eventually professor Nils Wohlin was an MP, member of the Farmers' party and head of customs. Such a myriad of political affiliation among the country's most leading economists, when all four of them held leading position, one in each of the four political parties, was seen as a remarkable coincidence which called for a comment. Simon concluded that 'Clearly, even in Sweden, a thorough study of economics by no means always leads to the same conclusions on matters of practical politics'.(57) In the 1930s the message which was sent from Sweden to the world was that co-operation for the common good was possible on the rational grounds provided by economics despite the political differences among the country's leading politicians. This was arguably one of the notions which constructed the image of a progressive Sweden.

At the same time this may provide an explanation to why the image of progressiveness was not attributed to Denmark. By contrast, the tradition of academics participating in the work of the Folketing and/or the government was not so developed and explicit in this country. This does not mean that Denmark did not have economists who, in a comparative perspective, were just as original in inventing new economic solutions as the Swedish academics. On the contrary, it might even seem that the necessity of unbalancing the state budget at the time of crisis suggested by Jens Warming in 1931 was well ahead of what eventually was accepted as the solution by the Swedish economists or eventually comprehensively presented by J. M. Keynes in 1936.(58) Much indicates that Warming, similar to his Norwegian colleague Ragnar Frisch and his Danish colleague Jørgen Pedersen, was a few years ahead of the Swedish economists in preaching the state expansionist financial policy as a means of stabilising the economic cycle. During a meeting of the Nordic economists in Stockholm in 1931 Bertil Ohlin gave a revolutionary lecture in which he presented the thesis that the state should fight the depression and fall of prices by suspending the collection of taxes and in this way increase the buying capacity, maintain the demand and boost the employment. In his polemical article Warming did not pay so much attention to Ohlin's suggestion to suspend taxes, which eventually was not realised by any government, but he supported very explicitly, by providing simple examples and a detailed calculation, the idea of unbalancing the budget at the time of depression. He claimed it was the state's duty to have a budget deficit in such hard times. As shown by Niels-Henrik Topp Warming's calculations and analyses concerning the practical application of counter-cyclical policies presented in 1931 indicate that at that time he 'went significantly further in formulating new ideas in financial policy than any other Danish or Scandinavian economist'.(59) In the beginning of the 1930s, however, the governing Social Democrats, similar to their Swedish colleagues, did not have any clear theoretical standing on the issue of expansionist financial policy.(60) Still, no government, now just like then, can function without advisers on economic matters. Frederik Zeuthen and Jørgen S. Dich were probably the most important scholars appointed by the Danish government as experts in social policy. Nonetheless, the Danish scholarship in the inter-war period does not seem to have enjoyed the same high position in political life as the scholarship did in Sweden, nor did Danish academics participate so actively in the works of the Folketing. Foreign observers did notice the Danish achievements in education but it was rather the popular and the folk high school education that was underlined.(61) Danes were also reported as excellent engineers capable of building the most modern ships, bridges; they even discovered electromagnetism. But as to the most modern art of engineering, the social one, no Danish scientist or scholar could match the fame enjoyed by the Swedish.(62) In the social sciences, in comparison with the representatives of the Stockholm School, the Danish scholars were neither known nor renowned on international forums. In this respect they were loosing ground to their internationally celebrated Swedish colleagues.

Such a disproportion in political activity and participation between the Danish and Swedish scholars in the 1930s may be regarded as a consequence of a divergent view on the role of science in both countries. While popularity of the social sciences was on the rise in Sweden and especially economics and statistics were used in order to legitimise political decisions, in Denmark the social sciences were still regarded mainly as university-bound academic disciplines, rather than powerful means capable of legitimising the political decisions. In this context it is remarkable, as noted by Niels-Henrik Topp, that even the three large Danish monographs concerning the financial policy, which were written during World War Two, did not deal with Jens Warming's works from the beginning of the 1930s.(63) By contrast, such a disregard would be unthinkable in Sweden. Having had professional contacts with the American institutions where the academically legitimised discourses on society already since at least the early 1920s had had a major impact on the government, the Swedish social scientists did not hesitate to follow in the footsteps of their American colleagues. Like in the old days, when many Swedes had emigrated to the USA in order to earn money, now the scientists went to study at American universities, to observe American institutions and to gain experience. Indeed, there were very practical reasons behind such developments.

By the end of the nineteenth century and especially since 1905, i.e. since the national identity crisis connected with the loss of Norway, it had become a great concern of the consecutive Swedish governments what measures must be taken to stop the outpour of emigrants. There were two major orientations as to how the question should be approached. The first one, which may be called national-conservative, was represented by agrarian groupings which claimed that emigration undermined the agricultural production. Also the military authorities maintained that far too many people emigrated and in this way escaped military service. They wanted to stop the outflow of emigrants by law. The other orientation was represented by liberals who suggested that the emigration could be stopped by improving the social situation rather than by introducing any legal measures. For the liberals the underlying question in the requested crisis therapy after 1905 was not only What is wrong with Sweden?, but also How can Sweden be modernised?. The answer to such questions was looked for in America. How could this progressive America be taken on board?

The official Emigration enquiry (Emigrationsutredningen) conducted between 1907--1913 produced some 20 volumes of statistical data and information (bilagorna), and a 900-page long conclusion (betänkandet) including suggestions for practical measures. The final draft was written by the chairman of the commission Gustav Sundbärg, a liberal, and it was also the liberal orientation that was accepted as the official framework for the emigration issue. The conclusion which could be derived from it was that if so many people were heading for America because of its superior societal organisation, then perhaps through progress in social life and institutions it would be possible to turn Sweden into a country which would rather attract than repel. Among others this is how the notion of folkhemmet, the home for all the Swedes, saw the light of the day. It was meant to unite all the Swedes in a national community which was to be a superior alternative to emigration.

Thus, the emigration to the USA, when identified as a national problem, although the underlying problem was obviously the loss of Norway, also decided the fate of the Swedish academic orientation. Through an observation and copying the patterns of American progressive life and institutions it was hoped rationally to turn Sweden into an attractive country to live in. The American patterns of the research-oriented university, which should engage in answering the social question, gradually gained foothold in Swedish institutions of higher education.(64) Subsequently this would have a great bearing on how the American foundations allocated the resources devoted to research in the social sciences. This Swedish academic orientation towards the USA was undoubtedly one of the factors which both during and after the Great Depression made it more natural for the Americans to look at Sweden rather than any other country in Scandinavia. After all, not only did the Swedish scholars learn to communicate on the same wavelength with their American colleagues but it was also evident that they wanted to create some version of the progressive USA in Sweden in order to solve the emigration question. More importantly, the Swedish scholars, having benefited from the experiences made by American social scientists, were willing and ready to go much further than their American counterparts could and dared, and actually on a larger scale they were given the chance to apply the social research results in practice. The specific Swedish political and social situation, as well as the will to quickly recover from the identity crisis at the beginning of the century facilitated the rationally conducted experiment rather than continuity in inventing new patterns for social policies. Unlike in more liberally oriented countries, experimenting with state interventionism was not out of the question.(65) When the Great Depression reached its peak such an attitude turned out to be very successful as it enabled greater flexibility in addressing the needs of the day. The social sciences were then used to legitimise the political decisions and rational argumentation was much more difficult to fend off than hardened ideological standing.

The situation in Denmark was very different. In the first place Danes did not feel they needed any radical societal change around the turn of the century. Denmark had taken her time to recover from the identity crisis in 1864 and managed to build a strong national community based on the values propagated by N. F. S. Grundtvig. Outer loss became inward gain and when the industrialisation speeded up the modernisation processes in other countries the Danish were all too secure in their 'rural commonwealth' to be willing to take up the modern challenge.(66) As a result, the spirit of experimentation as a way to progress, which was so tangible in Sweden, was very alien to the Danish. The way to progress was seen in improving the existing structure and in continuing the highly elaborated agricultural techniques, rather than in embarking on new projects which could lead the country astray. Quite naturally such an attitude did not require the newest solutions which could be provided by the social sciences. But for the economic advisers, who could tell the government what to do in very practical matters, the academics were not regarded as a necessary factor to legitimise the political decisions. It was rather the practical common sense and the experiences derived from the successes of the co-operative movement that constituted the background of political decision making. No wonder, then, that in the 1930s the Danish government was not very interested in the scientific legitimisation of its decisions that could be provided by the country's leading economists, Jørgen Pedersen and Jens Warming. In comparison with Sweden scientific rationality was to a lesser extent regarded as a necessary tool to meet the challenges of the future. Consequently, the social sciences continued to be seen within the framework of academic disciplines rather than as a means capable of engineering the society.

The disproportion between Denmark and Sweden as to the number of academics who engaged in the activities of the parliament and the government had a great impact on the image of these countries abroad. What is more, this difference also started to influence the inter-Scandinavian perspective. The xenostereotype of the Swedes as being the most efficient and the most progressive in Scandinavia gradually gained recognition in Denmark as well. This happened despite the fact that from the Danish perspective it took longer to accept the image of Swedish progressiveness and it was significantly more diversified than the xenostereotype constructed outside Scandinavia. The reason for it was that at the beginning of the twentieth century Danes used to look down upon the Swedes. This was both a result of the Swedish not having a very high opinion of themselves, as well as the Danish conviction that their state and its democratic institutions functioned better for the good of the citizens.(67) It was only after 1930 that the spectacular results of Swedish rapid modernisation improved the Danish view.(68) By the end of the 1930s even for the Danes it was becoming clear that Sweden was mentioned more and more often when foreigners talked about the Scandinavian way. It coincided with an ever increasing Danish fear of Germany. Denmark felt more and more exposed to the German threat. The feeling of standing alone again against its southern neighbour caused a major shift in the Danish perception of the Swedish. Out of the sudden it became clear that the so much cherished democratic principles, high social standards and righteousness could prove insufficient if not defended by economic and military capacity. The modernising Sweden was now seen as being well on the way to build it up.

Danes felt that ground was being lost and this happened not only as a result of notoriety and international recognition gained by their Swedish neighbours. All of a sudden Danes discovered that Sweden was experiencing economic progress in all fields. It became apparent that a lot of improvements had been made in Swedish agriculture, which now not only produced enough goods to cater for the home market, but also was able to export agricultural products. For Denmark, that until now had a patent on being the 'agricultural giant' in Scandinavia, this came as a surprise. After all, even foreign publications which praised Swedish progressiveness paid tribute to Danish agriculture and mentioned it as leading and inspiring for the rest of Scandinavia.(69) Moreover, the growing Swedish export industry, which now made extensive use of its own raw materials, was a definite sign of Swedes taking the first position among the Scandinavian countries.(70)

Modern Sweden, as it has developed in the period between 1905 until today, from being an insignificant periphery of Europe has become a powerful centre with decisive influence on the whole contemporary economic vision of the world. We know that Sweden, now also with respect to the economy, is the leading country in Scandinavia. A point of departure for the understanding of modern Sweden is the industrialisation of the Swedish economy.(71)

Yet, the Danish view of Sweden changed not only because of Swedish rapid economic progress. There were other aspects, such as ideology and democratic practice, which attracted the attention of Danish observers. In the past they both were applied in order to legitimise the feeling of Danish superiority. At the turn of the century Swedes were seen as primitive and less educated because of the fact that their state had been less developed.(72) In the 1930s this picture changed and it was now recognised that democracy also prevailed as the principle in Swedish society. However, while it was believed that in Denmark democratic practice also was a human principle, in Sweden it was portrayed only as an element of the political system and not present in everyday life.(73) Eventually it was noted that there were positive elements in the Swedish national character such as solidarity, good organisation and discipline which let them control capitalism and co-operate in the efficient construction of folkhem. Nevertheless, influenced by the negative stereotypes generated in the past, even these positive traits were most often described as negative in Denmark, since they allowed for an easier control of the citizens by the state. Danes who loved democracy and individual freedom despised the seemingly 'authoritarian' practices of the Swedish Social Democratic state.(74)

This image of Swedish social reality and administrative procedures was one of the reasons behind the different perception of modernity in Denmark and Sweden. The very word 'modern', which both in Sweden and in other countries was an adjective characteristic for positive descriptions of Swedish progress, had a dubious meaning in Danish. In Denmark, however strange it might sound, the dragging process of modernisation was heavily laden with references to the past. It was generally maintained that only through continuity and building on the achievements of the past was it possible to build the future. Infrequent attempts to show Denmark as a country modernised within the framework provided by the industrialised West European societies were doomed to be criticised.(75) It was purposefully disregarded that with the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930 not only Swedish modern architecture and modernistic know-how but also the country's eagerness to change and rationally challenge the future made an impression of a highly sophisticated modernisation in progress. Accordingly, this formed a background in a landscape where also political innovation became an ever more distinct figure. After shots in Ådalen in 1931, which came to symbolise the most bloody conflict on the labour market in Sweden's modern history, there came Kohandel which could be perceived as the most pragmatic political breakthrough increasing the efficiency in fighting the Great Depression.

Still, the modernisation of Swedish society in the 1930s, which both in Sweden and abroad was seen as a positive development, was often used as a bogey in the Danish debate. Sweden became a symbol for all the catastrophes that would reach Denmark if it took modernity as an ideal goal.(76) Even in such issues as development of the welfare state Danes would rather appeal to tradition, continuity and the past, than to experimentation and the future. By and large, Danish politicians from left and right behaved as if they believed that the voters would react positively to such appeals and would reject the modern visions. As a result, even though in many respects Sweden could claim to have achieved the leading position in Scandinavia in the 1930s, it was mainly recognised abroad and only grudgingly in Denmark. The closest neighbour was rather unwilling to accept modernised Sweden as a model for its development, not to say as a representative of the whole of Scandinavia. Even though it was becoming clear to the Danes that they were about to lose the leading position in Scandinavia, they did not want to admit it easily.(77)

Scholarly Construction of Sweden

In the inter-war period changes in social policy may be regarded as one of the exponents of the new rational approach to the modern organisation of society.(78) In its most advanced form social policy was supposed to solve the social question by means of social engineering. The Swedish were more inclined to try moulding the society according to some scholarly motivated rational patterns. The ideal of a modernised society as a desirable goal of social evolution practically did not have opponents in Sweden, while there was a great number of them in Denmark.(79) Unlike in Sweden the Danish modernists did not get on very well with the Social Democrats. In Denmark it was rather intellectuals and the so-called cultural radicalism that became proponents of modern society. Danish intellectuals were often in opposition to these Social Democrats who acted as if cultural radicalism did not occur in Denmark. As a result, Danish intellectuals were not, like their Swedish counterparts, integrated as members of Social Democratic governments but they were often excluded and underwent further political radicalisation. This is why they were subsequently taken for communists or anarchists.(80)

In spite of miscellaneous approaches to modernity the recognition of scientific rationality as a means of solving social and political problems may be claimed to have been characteristic for both countries. No wonder, this belief in the new role of science was strengthened in the 1930s. During crises the relationship between science and politics is said to become especially relevant. Whenever old norms and procedures fail the search is on to find new and more efficient ones. To be applicable they have to be reliable and legitimised. This is the reason why these norms are often borrowed from areas with prestige. Clearly, the politicians need science, but it operates like some kind of symbiosis in which scientists and experts strengthen their position as well.(81)

In the inter-war period the public interest in science started when it was called upon to provide solutions in the wake of the economic crisis. Science provided patterns for planning the economy and was able to set up rational standards to be reached by the social engineers. The numerous social problems in particular showed the need for a new scientific approach and rational solutions. Accordingly, social policy was supplied with new ideas stemming from scientific milieus. Setting up standards was common to the contribution from all scientists. Standardisation was useful for new measures introduced in social policy but, as a consequence, also the approach to other disciplines changed.

It is possible to discern three consequences of thinking in the terms of standards for the decisions made in social policy. Firstly, the old poverty investigations developed into consumer economics. This process was parallel to the evolution of a labour market-based social policy into a standard welfare policy. Secondly, it was important that evolving standards provided a tool. Normative standards gave directives for new activities. Thirdly, thinking in the terms of standards was linked with administration. What would be the point of having standards if they could not be implemented. Standardisation and planning became two sides of the same coin.(82)

As indicated in the previous chapter, the participation of academics in the public life was different in Denmark and Sweden. This feature also seems to have had a bearing on the diverging images of the two countries that were generated abroad. Hence, the existence of eminent and entrepreneurially-minded individuals in Sweden may be a clue to explaining why American public opinion accepted Sweden as the Scandinavian example and constructed it as the epitome of progressiveness. In the USA of the 1920s and 1930s an unprecedented growth of interest in the social sciences occurred. As such it was not an unexpected phenomenon and it should rather be interpreted as a inherent feature of modernity or a intrinsic component of the modernisation process.

In consequence the social sciences were regarded as a possible means of improving the diagnosed malfunctioning of the American society. Similarly, a growing interest in the social sciences also developed in Europe together with the increasing difficulties in handling the social question after World War One. The main difference, however, between Europe and the USA was the amount of money available for the development of schools and for the research. The USA was much better off and this seems to have decided the fate and direction of this branch of knowledge. A world-wide domination of the American scholars in the social sciences, which is an acknowledged fact with reference to the post-World War Two period, actually became reality already shortly after World War One. Among the foundations which supported and generated the research and which constantly looked for the best solutions aiming at the improvement of the well-being of the society were the Rockefeller Foundation and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial.(83) For both of them the Swedish scholars and accordingly Sweden turned out to be of great interest.

Until World War One the Swedish scholarship was heavily Germanised but after the war the USA quickly substituted Germany as the most successful superpower from which one should seek inspiration and support. The Americanisation of the world, which already at the turn of the century was the theme of many books and pamphlets, became a leitmotif of the Swedish reality in the inter-war period. Undoubtedly, the earlier date portrait of the American reality provided by the Swedish emigrants laid grounds for the myth of American superiority. Many of the successful emigrants who left earlier for the USA looking for a better life now returned home and brought with them an image of the country where economic, political and cultural progress was an inevitable feature of everyday life.

In the 1920s and 1930s a very spectacular and intensive series of contacts took place between the Rockefeller Foundation and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial (which merged with the Rockefeller Foundation in 1929) on the one hand, and two Swedish professors in economics, Gösta Bagge and Gunnar Myrdal on the other. At that time Bagge was a conservative politician and Myrdal was a Social Democratic politician-to-be. They applied to the Rockefeller Foundation for support for the work of the newly established Institute for Social Science, affiliated to the Stockholm University College (Stockholms Högskola).(84) The openness and the belief of the two scientists in Sweden being able to provide universal solutions must have made a good impression on the Americans because the contacts became more intense and more frequent. The support provided by Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial and the Rockefeller Foundation was aimed at financing the national income project launched in the mid-1920s by Bagge, who, beside being a politician, was Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the University of Stockholm. The project involved Erik Lindhal, Gunnar Myrdal and Alf Johansson, the scientists who later came to be regarded as some of the most famous representatives of the Stockholm School of Economics. The project initiated by Bagge, which was so generously financed by the American foundations, 'should be viewed as one of the sources of the Stockholm School'.(85) In the inter-war period five Swedish social scientist made use of Rockefeller fellowships and in this way they both made the name of Sweden known in the USA and also exposed Swedish economics to American influences. Undoubtedly, the American image of Sweden as a country on the threshold of a modernistic change owes much to the construction made by these scientists. For the first time since the Swedish emigrants started arriving in the USA Americans were now confronted with a different image of Sweden than that of a poor country at a European periphery.

Gösta Bagge, who was the first Swedish economist to study in the USA where he stayed at John Hopkins in 1904--5, was lucky when after having received a Swedish-American foundation grant to visit Stanford and Harvard, he arrived at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in Autumn 1924. He asked for funding for social research at the School of Social Work which he had headed in Stockholm since 1917. He was not quite aware that the Rockefeller Foundation was in the process of launching a major programme of support for research in the social sciences in the USA and Europe. So far only the London School of Economics (LSE) was known to the Americans as the only European institution capable of carrying out research in this field. As a result, the LSE became one of the major beneficiaries. Thanks to Gösta Bagge the Stockholm School of Social and Municipal Work also received considerable funds and Sweden in general became known as the social laboratory and a very promising case to be studied.

Great things were said to happen in Sweden and the land by its nature and thanks to its people was due to experience progress. It was in 1925 that in an application for support from the Rockefeller Foundation Bagge not only presented a perspective on the newly pursued social sciences, but he also presented an excellent promotional view of Sweden as a social laboratory.

From a scientific point of view Sweden is therefore in many respects an almost ideal 'laboratory' for social research the result of which on account of this ought to be of considerable interest also for the rest of the world. But as yet very little real inductive scientific work has been done in the social field in Sweden. On the one side huge masses of material have been collected by the official and other bureaux, but have not been used and analysed in a scientific way, on the other side the work which has hitherto been done in Sweden in social science, has almost wholly been of an almost abstract and deductive character.(86)

The message was a simple one: Sweden had a homogenous population, differentiated industry and a very progressive social legislation. Sweden was very promising for social science studies and with help from the foundation it could provide solutions which would be of great use elsewhere. But Sweden, and for this sake the whole of Scandinavia, needed adequate resources theoretically to process the practical social development which, as Bagge argued, had taken place in the region during the last few decades. Bagge explained that

There is in fact no institution in Scandinavia today where scientific social research in being carried on a systematic plan. Occasionally a professor of economics might make an investigation of that kind a part of his work, but he has many other fields to cover and the curricula of the general universities do not afford opportunity for work of this kind.(87)

Bagge claimed that if 'scientific social research could be carried on [...] in a more systematic way and the results published in English', these studies would be of general interest.(88)

Bagge's arguments were so effective that, as one Rockefeller official later described it, he painted the picture of Sweden as an "Eldorado" of social research. Beardsley Ruml, the young director of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, noted during the interview with Bagge on 19 September 1924 that Stockholm was a 'considerable city' and the 'best place in Scandinavia'.(89) As a result, the Memorial granted $ 75,000 for five years beginning 1 January 1926, which was one of the largest institutional grants to an European university before 1930.(90) It was believed that Stockholm would become a centre of social science research in Scandinavia and, therefore, it was decided that it should be one of the major institutional centres in Europe supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. In all, the support for the social sciences in Stockholm reached over $250,000 in the inter-war period. The financing involved many visits of high ranking American officials to Stockholm and opened the door of the leading American research institutions to the Swedish scholars. In a way they all became the best cultural ambassadors of Sweden who carried the name of their country to the highest levels of the educational and research institutions in the New World.

In this way an American view of the rationally founded and progressive Sweden was created thanks to the very attractive notion of the 'laboratory' country presented by its eminent scholars. Such a construction provided a good foundation for conceiving the Swedish model later on. As a result, Sweden became the Scandinavian country which the American scientific community was most familiar with while other Scandinavians remained in the shadow.

Undoubtedly, the xenostereotype of Sweden as a country in progress, which took roots in the USA, was to a great extent constructed on the grounds of the Swedish autostereotype nurtured among Swedish intellectuals. This autostereotype, though, was based on the image of America as a model of modernity to emulate. It would not have been so pronounced and so plausible if Swedes had not endeavoured to imitate the USA in order to acquire the new identity of a modern country. When it turned out that science could provide a key to legitimising modernistic changes, this track was followed with great diligence. This happened to coincide with the general reorientation of research priorities in the USA in the direction of the social sciences. As a result both the xeno- and autostereotypes went through a mutually reinforcing process which in effect produced the image of Sweden as a highly progressive country. The Swedish model took its conceptual roots.

Popularising Scandinavia

As shown above discussing Sweden and/or Scandinavia was not completely new and original after World War Two. But for the Swedish scholars who got in touch with the American academic community and were successful in presenting their country as an interesting case to study there were also other attempts to present Scandinavia in a more popular manner for the broad public. Many of the discourses followed the general pattern of presenting the region as an almost unanimous geo-political unit where the governments were successful in combating the challenges of the Great Depression. Especially in the USA, but also in Great Britain and in some countries of continental Europe, the Scandinavian countries attracted attention. For instance, as one of the Polish journalists put it, in the Slavonic countries of the West, the Scandinavian countries were of great interest because of their successful 'practical socialism' as opposed to the failure of the 'idealistic socialism' in other countries of continental Europe.(91)

Many journalists went to Scandinavia to study the roots of its well-being and possibly to give an account of the developments from which the governments 'back home' should learn how to provide prosperity for its peoples. Additionally the European reporters tended, more than their American colleagues, to focus on the efficiency of the democratic decision making in Scandinavia. After all there was a growing concern about the fate of the European democracy and the threatening examples of the fascists, National Socialists and the communists lay much more on the hearts of the Europeans. Americans were mainly looking for practical solutions to their domestic problems, for example, the mass unemployment, and when successful solutions could be found they were immediately reported and used as arguments in the internal political debate.

In most cases the books, reports and newspaper articles focused on a single Scandinavian country, most often on Denmark or Sweden, and with such a point of departure the authors often generalised or gave examples from another Scandinavian country where certain things seemed to be done in a better way than in the country they described. It is characteristic that Norway received hardly any attention from the foreign observers who dealt with the region in the inter-war period. Finland, whose membership of the Scandinavian family was debatable for some authors, was most often portrayed as being on its way to meet the societal standards set up by Sweden and Denmark. By the end of the 1930s the first publications in English written on behalf of the Nordic countries also appeared. They were intended to promote a comprehensive image of the whole Nordic region as a unanimous cultural community consisting of five independent states.

Probably the most characteristic illustration of the xenostereotypical image of the region is an account given in 1939 by Sir Ernest Darwin Simon who, after touring Scandinavia, wrote a book on 'the smaller democracies'.(92) Simon promoted the story of success seemingly shared by all the Scandinavians, including Finland. He grouped the three kingdoms together as 'the most encouraging thing in the world today'(93), whilst the government of Finland also seemed to him 'to display the typical Scandinavian qualities of practical common sense and moderation'.(94) He believed 'that Finland would steadily work towards a really progressive and tolerant democracy'.(95) Simon's book, which apart from an analysis of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland also contains a chapter on Switzerland, is a true signum temporis. While for many in the 1930s the political and ideological future seemed to be decided by the totalitarian Stalinism and fascism, the small countries offered truly democratic principles which seemed to bring peace, harmony and prosperity. No wonder they were appreciated.(96)

E. D. Simon was one of those concerned Europeans who had both the capacity and qualifications to dwell upon the subject of democracy. As a City Councillor and Lord Mayor of Manchester, an officer of Manchester University, a Member of Parliament and for a short time a member of the government he gained a wide experience of different aspects of how democracy worked in England. Against this background he decided to share his observations with the world as he found that:

The achievements of some of these small countries are extraordinarily heartening: [] Denmark, where 200,000 small farmers have built up a new owner-co-operator system of farming, at once the most democratic and the most efficient in the world; Sweden, which has done more than any country to abolish unemployment and to reconcile the interests of town and country and of capital and labour.(97)

What is striking and symptomatic for Sir Simon's publication is the way the attention is distributed to the individual countries. On the one hand, the author is quite clearly influenced by the American stereotypes and he follows in the footsteps of the American journalists; on the other hand, he conveys the prevailing image of Scandinavia by the end of the 1930s very well, with all the proportions included. Thus, out of the 125 pages which the Scandinavian countries occupy in the book, 63 pages are devoted to Sweden, 30 to Denmark, 9 to Norway and 11 to Finland. The rest contains a general account of the Scandinavian achievements. In comparison with an earlier image of Scandinavia which could be derived from descriptions in American sources there is quite a quantitative and qualitative change of interest. Before 1930, for example, the Worldwide Encyclopaedia devoted 319 lines to Denmark, 126 to Norway and only 55 to Sweden. There was no mention of Swedish literature, while Danish national literature occupied 105 lines.(98) This alone shows how big a shift took place and how successful the constructors of the modern Sweden were in turning the world's attention to her.(99)

It seems that the political developments in Europe by the end of the 1930s really made many people aware of how exceptional the countries in the North of Europe were. In 1939 apart from Simon's 'The Smaller Democracies' another book was published, although with Finland excluded, concerning the issue of Scandinavian democracy. Ben Albert Arneson was American and his book on the democratic monarchies of Scandinavia had two editions, the first in 1939 and then a revised one, ten years later. (100) Indeed, the word democratic included in the title provides a key to understanding the Arneson's appreciation of the Scandinavian monarchies. Like few other authors in the English-speaking world before him, Arneson did not hesitate to show the whole of Scandinavia as a pattern for the world to follow. What made him more original and trustworthy was that he did not only focus on a single Scandinavian country and from this position criticised the American democracy but instead he attempted to elicit the most characteristic features of the Scandinavian political culture and the Scandinavian social contract which, as he believed, made these countries successful. On these grounds he occasionally told the Americans that some other place in the world there was a better system and a more humane capitalism.

While no one has a right to insist that our American democracy should imitate in detail the democracies of Scandinavia, it would be entirely in order to say, that these systems should be carefully studied by all those who are trying to bring to any people the best in modern legislation and administration.(101)

Arneson is one of the authors who found it hardly justifiable to classify Finland as a Scandinavian country. Thus, the typical features which for Arneson constituted the inter-Scandinavian bonds were based on the common heritage, position of the king, language, religion, racial homogeneity, as well as on occupations, industry and trade. These typically Scandinavian features bear a striking similarity to what was being discovered by other authors. For example, Simon wrote:

[...] Denmark, Norway and Sweden are so alike in many respects that it seems worth while to try to summarise their remarkable achievements as a whole. The populations are small and homogenous; there are no substantial minorities, either racial or religious; they have had a long period of peace and security in which to develop democratic institutions.(102)

It is interesting that Arneson also mentioned the Scandinavians who lived in the United States. The statistical proportions stemming from 1940 concerning the number of Americans of Scandinavian descent show a clear tendency and may serve as an additional explanation to why Americans were likely to take a greater interest in Sweden, rather than in Denmark or Norway.(103) Swedes, being the largest ethnic group stemming from Scandinavia, were more likely to become present in American consciousness.

Having defined who the Scandinavians were Arneson did not differ much from the mainstream narratives in presenting a very stereotypical picture of characteristically Scandinavian occupations, industries and patterns of trade. While in all Scandinavian countries agriculture was mentioned as the leading occupation, Denmark was given the priority as regards 'agricultural excellencies'. Norway was said to produce excellent ships and Sweden's high grade iron ore gave her a world-wide reputation for quality steel production.(104) Again this pattern is very much alike what one could find in Simon's publication.

They have all large peasant populations, a strong tradition of peasant independence, and have done much in the last fifty years to split up large estates and to encourage peasant ownership. [...] All three have developed industry vigorously during the last fifty years and have now an approximately equal balance between their industrial and agricultural populations. Sweden has built up an important export trade in high-class industrial products, based on her timber, iron, and water power; Norway has developed the largest shipping industry in the world in proportion to population; Denmark, though possessing no raw materials, has succeeded in developing an efficient industry with a substantial export trade.(105)

Apart from these archetypal features Arneson points at certain aspects of Scandinavian domestic trade which attracted the world's attention. He claimed that it is through the growth of the co-operative movement that Denmark, Sweden and Norway became the scene of economic experiments 'which are watched with interest by all those who are seeking a solution for the perplexing problems involved in the production and distribution of economic goods'.(106)

Dwelling upon the internal structure, administration and the judicial system of the three countries he gives quite a detailed account of each of them, thus showing both the similarities and the differences among the Scandinavian neighbours. However, every chapter includes at least a few lines or a paragraph stating the resemblance among these countries. For example, in the case of administrative law it is recognised that Sweden differs from her two neighbours in that she has set up a separate administrative court system. Nevertheless, the very next sentence which concludes the chapter on the administration of justice is permeated by the spirit of Scandinavian congruity:

Regardless of these differences, however, it is obvious that there is a marked resemblance among all these countries to the extent that each has a strong, well-manned, and effective court system enjoying the respect and confidence of the common people.(107)

This notion of likeness and at the same time excellency is repeated in the closing sentence of the chapter on local government.

In this field, as well as in administration in general, the local governments of Scandinavia rank among the most efficient in the world.(108)

The atrocities of World War Two only strengthened Arneson's conviction in the uniqueness and stability of the Scandinavian political system. This time he also stressed the permanence of the democratic system in Scandinavia. In 1949 he wrote that despite the war's turmoil which effected the Scandinavian states, 'the democratic philosophy and in most details the same governmental structure as that of ten years ago' was 'not only evidence of the stability of the Scandinavian peoples but [was] also a striking manifestation of the lasting quality of democracy itself'.(109) Arneson brings in the issue of potential Soviet pressure on the three northern countries, which in 1949 was becoming a burning issue with the Danish and Norwegian NATO membership as the final solution. In this unfavourable situation when the 'three of the best examples of modern effective democracy' were lying in the path of a possible Russian westward movement, Arneson sees the need to focus increased attention on the governmental structures of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.(110)

Summing up, Arneson not only made use of some old clichés when showing the picture of the three Scandinavian neighbours in 1939, but also, in 1949 as one of the first authors writing on Scandinavia, he anticipated the problems connected with the 'middle-way' position of Scandinavia on the borderline of the Iron Curtain. In the 1960s, when the economic success was achieved and the name was made, the publications like these of Arneson's suited the image of Scandinavian progressive development very well. No wonder that the rationally defined Scandinavian way was then about to become famous and was regarded as something more than an image of progressive societal organisation; it seemed to be an ideal standard to follow.

Apart from the foreign descriptions which analysed the Scandinavian region as a culturally and economically homogenous area, which could serve as an example of progressive politics, in the inter-war period there were also attempts by the people of the Northern Countries to present themselves as co-operating and sharing the same values, traditions and heritage. In 1937 on the initiative and the authority of the delegations which were established in 1934 by the respective governments for the promotion of economic co-operation between the Nordic countries a book was published in English which was supposed to tell the world about 'the spirit of co-operation among the Northern Nations'.(111) Apart from being one of the first publications describing the phenomenon which after World War Two took on an institutionalised form, the book provided good evidence of the Nordic autostereotype, i.e. how the respective governments viewed, or wished to view, the Nordic unity, harmony and prosperity so often praised by the visitors.

The first striking feature is the very use of the term 'the Northern countries'. While the outer world mostly focused on Scandinavia and towards the end of the decade a strong tendency to concentrate mainly on Sweden dominated, this publication presented a much more thorough insiders' view. Only seldom would this approach be applied by foreigners and, at the most, Finland would be possibly added as a member of the Scandinavian family. The 'Northerners', however, presented themselves in the following manner.

There are five countries in the North of Europe, five countries which have, though politically quite independent, so much in common, historically, culturally and economically, that they may claim the right to appear before the World under the name of "The Northern Countries of Europe" or, more shortly, "The Northern Countries". Their names are, in alphabetical order Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.(112)

Thus, not only Finland but also Iceland, which by default was completely omitted in foreign descriptions, was counted as a member of the Nordic family. After World War Two when the institutional co-operation developed nobody was surprised that this country also counted among the Northerners. However, in 1937 this so explicitly presented self-image of the North of Europe was a novelty.

In the light of the fact that the pre-World War Two foreign publications concerning the region, but for a few examples, usually covered only individual countries, it is remarkable how this book, which to a great extent constructed a Nordic autostereotype, was able to promote a unified image of the whole area. The cultural affinity, which in other descriptions was limited to the three Scandinavian countries, was extended here to apply to all the Northern countries by referring to 'their common inheritance of cultural traditions and institutions'.(113) Furthermore, a high standard of education and common features in the province of the administration of the law were said to be common to the peoples inhabiting these countries.(114)

It is not possible to state with great certainty how big an impact this publication had on constructing the image of the Northern countries abroad. Many writers who at that time dealt with Scandinavia seem to have relied more on their first hand experience and personal contacts with people living and working in these countries, than on what they could find written on paper. Nevertheless, the very fact that such a book appeared, sponsored jointly by all five Nordic governments, shows that there was an awareness of the necessity of co-operation as well as the determination to present own achievements to the broad international public.

Popular Images and Selective Memories

From the present perspective Sweden's post-World War Two reputation in general and its progressiveness in particular seems to be a matter of fact. To a great extent this notion has come about as a result of the post-World War Two construction of the Scandinavian and Swedish identity. This image has been effectively shaped by a constant interaction between foreign and native stereotypes which mostly referred to symbols, patterns and events able to confirm some preconceived ideas, beliefs and notions. What is more, only some, carefully filtered images and accounts conceived as early as the inter-war period have been used in this process as constructs of the Scandinavian identity.

In this respect at least the story of the reception of two books is worth taking into account as an example of the selective approach applied in the process of constructing the image of Scandinavia. The books in question, by a journalist Marquis Childs on Sweden and by a reporter and social reformer Frederic C. Howe on Denmark, were both published in the USA in 1936 and both were most likely meant to be used as arguments in the debate concerning the state interventionism.(115) At that time the USA just made an account of Roosevelt's New Deal measures and especially the proponents of these solutions looked for arguments which could support the second wave of interventionist legislation to be proposed by Roosevelt's administration. The story of successful recovery experienced in the Scandinavian countries, which was presented to the American public by Childs and Howe, seemed to provide ideal arguments to use in the debate in favour of the suggested policy. Nevertheless, only one of these books, the one on Sweden, actually served its purpose, while the other, which covered the Danish success story, was hardly ever referred to and was forgotten very quickly.

Judging by the number of references and commentaries it can be argued that Sweden was made prominent and famous thanks to Marquis Childs.(116) For many his journalistic account not only served as a presentation of pre-World War Two Swedish life and institutions, but it also became one of the books that was frequently quoted and referred to as the most definite proof of Swedish achievements and Sweden's progressiveness. Despite the fact that for some authors the book was an obvious piece of propaganda, it stimulated further investigation and brought about a growing interest in this, so far generally little known of, Scandinavian country.(117)

Regardless of what people thought of this book, numerous authors were inspired by it. For example, in 1939 Sir Ernest Darwin Simon noted that much of the inspiration for his study of the Swedish society came from the discussions concerning this country which had taken place in the USA over the past few years. He was well aware that the picture of Sweden was probably painted in too bright colours but, like many others, he felt obliged to have a closer look at the phenomena Childs described.

Perhaps most has been done by Sweden: The Middle Way, by Childs, to make people believe that great and exciting things are happening in Sweden. They have abolished unemployment - it has been done by a Socialist Government - everybody is happy! So I arrived in Sweden full of interest and hope.(118)

'Sweden: The Middle Way' had a long lasting influence on several generations of authors writing about Sweden. Almost two decades later a conclusion similar to Simon was reached by Steward Oakley who identified Childs' construction on the one hand, while his 'Story of Sweden' corroborated the image of the Swedish uniqueness on the other.

That great progress was made in all fields in Sweden in the 1930s is undeniable. It was during this decade that ­ thanks partly to the publicity given to her by writers such as the American journalist Marquis Childs, whose book Sweden: the Middle Way was first published in 1936 ­ she came to be regarded by many outsiders as a near ideal state, which had achieved social security, equality and economic prosperity while remaining liberal democracy.(119)

In comparison with Sweden Denmark was seldom put forward as the Scandinavian example in the post-World War Two period. In the 1950s and 1960s, when quite a series of books was written about Sweden, there were hardly any publications on Denmark which could match the coverage of her neighbour. Nor was the book written by Howe in 1936 ever referred to as a record of the Danish achievements or as an example of the Scandinavian solutions which were meant to be appreciated. But for a few scattered bibliography entries it is almost impossible to track it down as a source which inspired people who wrote about Scandinavia. This is even more remarkable when the contents of Howe's publication are actually contrasted with the book written by Marquis Childs. Many themes and topics included in both books bear great resemblance to each other.

In comparison, many features which are presented as exemplary in one country are also likely to be found presented as very spectacular in the other. Eventually, in both books, although it is more pronounced in Childs' volume, there is quite a bulk of material which refers to Scandinavia in general rather than specifically to Sweden. In 'Sweden: The Middle Way' part of the introduction is devoted to a critique of the American 'worship of bigness' but otherwise almost the whole introduction praises common Scandinavian solutions and progressiveness. Thus, it might seem that Childs' intention was not particularly to favour Sweden as an ultimate provider of the exemplary solutions but Sweden was being presented as a country where most of the recommended measures, which could help to fight the Great Depression, could be traced in particular. Childs wrote:

It is possible that certain smaller nations may have not only inherently greater powers of survival in a time of crisis but also a greater capacity for real progress. Above all others the Scandinavian countries seem to possess the strength that comes out of an ancient integration, a fundamental coherence. [...] they are not insulated from the shocks that disturb that precarious mechanism [of international trade]. But they have modified their internal economy in such a way that they are insured in part against these shocks.(120)

Later he continued in a similar manner:

If the test is the good life for the greatest number, and now, here in this immediate present and in the immediate future, not in some distant and debatable tomorrow, then one may well consider what has happened in these small countries; and without any condescension which in the past we have reserved for small things. For they have achieved a measure of peace and decent living that will serve, and for a long time to come perhaps, as a standard for larger nations.(121)

At some point, though, he modified his generalisation and more specifically pointed at Sweden and Denmark as the most representative examples.

The modifications of the capitalist economy that have gone forward gradually in Sweden and Denmark, and to a lesser degree in Norway, during the past thirty years may be more apparent than real; more perceptible to the visitor than to the native.(122)

Furthermore, Childs himself did not hesitate to pay tribute to Denmark where it was due.

The metamorphosis that occurred in Denmark in the half century from 1880 to 1930 is nothing short of miraculous.(123)

When discussing Scandinavian achievements in agriculture the whole chapter was dedicated to the Danish accomplishments. Undoubtedly, he had a very high opinion of what Sweden's neighbour was capable of.

If all this has the air of a latter-day Arcady, yes, of Utopia, it is because the Danes actually did achieve a very high type of rural civilization.(124)

However, judging by a great number of articles and books which referring to Childs' publication only discussed Sweden, few people actually bothered to read the introduction. What is characteristic is that even though many authors were well aware of the similarity between Danish and Swedish solutions, and sometimes even identified Denmark's exemplariness in certain domains, they inevitably ended up writing according to the pattern conceived alone by the title of Marquis Childs' publication. The more years passed since Childs' book appeared for the first time, the more frequently it was treated as an icon symbolising the early stages of the Swedish model. 'Sweden: The Middle Way' became an almost obligatory footnote in writings about life and institutions of Sweden or Scandinavia in this century. The image of Sweden was seen as sufficient to present the whole region.

Although it is Denmark that has most studiously kept the state separate from the business world [...], it is the Swedish story that is most revealing about Scandinavian economics. Sweden dominates the Nordic business scene. It is an economic wonder, having transformed itself in less than a century from a poor, underdeveloped country to a rich nation which has, after three decades of Social Democrat government, one of the most effective capitalistic systems on earth.(125)

What followed was, that Denmark, apart from its folk high schools and agriculture, never became that popular or spectacular in the English speaking world, nor was it regarded as a Scandinavian example that would be worth referring to.(126) Sweden was constructed as the most spectacular exhibit in Scandinavia and, implicitly, as a model for the world to follow. As a result of the fame acquired by Marquis Childs' image of Sweden it could seem that this country has always been the most prominent in Scandinavia and overshadowed its smaller neighbours.

Yet, in the inter-war period the situation was different and, judging by the total number of publications devoted to individual Scandinavian countries and to Scandinavia as a whole, still in the beginning of the 1930s it was far from obvious which country in the region was the most interesting for the world to look at. The above mentioned book of Howe from 1936 is a good case in point. Moreover, during the first three decades of the twentieth century Denmark was relatively more often an object of interest for the English-speaking authors.(127) This interest was not only evoked by the fact that everybody who looked for successful patterns of the co-operative movement was sooner or later bound to visit and study the country. Denmark was also interesting because of other aspects; especially due to its democratic traditions and comprehensively applied democratic principles it was presented as the most progressive Scandinavian example as to the development of the political culture.

Frederic C. Howe and his book from 1936 are good examples of this tendency. Howe had already published a book fifteen years earlier in which he had popularised and glorified Denmark as the most encouraging example of the co-operative movement and modern agriculture. Already then he had pointed out Denmark's social progressiveness and her exemplariness.(128) As a private citizen Howe had a reputation of a champion of progressive causes. In 1911 he was one of the founders of the National Progressive Republican League. In the Roosevelt years he was consumer's counsel in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and special adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture. He left the government in 1937 but because of his earlier activities and his social position the book published in 1936 under the title 'Denmark: The Coöperative Way' was very likely to become an influential and inspiring piece of reading. Again the concern about the survival of democracy in the world which had just experienced the Great Depression turned out to refresh his interest in the country which successfully applied the democratic principles. Howe's earlier appreciation of Denmark did not fade away. Just the opposite, there were new aspects which, according to him, should make everybody even more interested in this little country. Already in 1921 he wrote:

Denmark seems to me to be quite the most valuable political exhibit in the modern world. It should be studied by statesmen. It should be visited by commissions, especially by commissions from agricultural states of the American West. Denmark is one of the few countries in the world that is using its political agencies in an intelligent, conscious way for the promotion of the economic well-being, the comfort and the cultural life of its people.(129)

At that time, however, the image presented by Howe seems to have had only a limited influence in the USA. The reason was twofold. First, the co-operative movement was underdeveloped in the US then and, what was probably more decisive, the American democratic tradition exhibited some traits which were incompatible with the Danish style of co-operative thinking. Secondly, the book could hardly be received with great interest because at the time it was published the USA was just entering the 'roaring twenties' and most people were much more attracted by pursuing the 'American Dream' rather than listening about co-operatives and rural civilisation of peaceful people of Northern Europe.

However, the book published in 1936 is far more than only an appreciation of the co-operative movement. Visiting Denmark and learning about its institutions seemed for Howe to be the imperative of the day. He regretted that so little was being done to propagate the Danish achievements and, as a result, there was very little information on this country in the USA.

In the present bewildered world, with so many of our institutions being questioned, exhibit of successful democracy, of how it came to be and what it has come to mean, is important. [...] Denmark is an exhibit of this sort; an exhibit which should not be passed by lightly, even though Denmark is a little country. For Denmark teaches us that democracy is possible, that it need not be a discredited thing.(130)

In the light of the discussion in the previous chapter concerning the active role of the Swedish scholars in creating the image of Sweden as a social laboratory it is interesting to hear Howe complain about too small engagement on the part of the rich American foundations in generating research dedicated to the Danish achievements. He was surprised why the world did not find it practical to learn from the country which had been successful in combating the problems which others found irresolvable.

One cannot help wondering why it is that in a world in which unemployment has been continuous for half a dozen years, in which billions of dollars are being expended annually for relief, that statesmen, scientists and those who search the earth to add to human knowledge, do not make a study of a country like Denmark which has done so many things to offer a solution to these problems.[...] Especially one wonders why the core of rich foundations of America, with tens of millions of funds, are not searching the face of the earth to learn how other countries are meeting these problems and solving them. For the last forty years, Denmark has been known as an outstanding exhibit of something not to be found elsewhere in the world. There have been some books on the subject, educators and experts have visited the country; yet we have less information as to Denmark than to Central Africa.(131)

For Howe Denmark was a country whose solutions were to be followed. Apart from the co-operative housing, in which the priority was given to Sweden, Denmark should be appreciated in all other categories of societal organisation. Denmark was shown as a model of democratic organisation of society while American democracy was heavily criticised. No matter how much Howe intended to deliver a critique of the American political system, his appraisal of Denmark was remarkable. His disappointment with the USA seems to have been just as great as was his admiration of this small Scandinavian country.

As compared to Denmark, democracy is a land into which we have not been permitted to enter. [...] Democracy in America is reversed of that of Denmark. With us democracy has been built on distrust; distrust of the executive, distrust of the legislature, distrust of the people. [...] I know no country in which government has to work under as many handicaps and with as many obstacles to be overcome as does America. Denmark is free from all these things; so free that it seems almost incredible that a people could trust themselves so completely. There are no inhibitions as to the things people may do. There is apparently but one rule. That is, that when the people act, by their votes [...].(132)

Despite the praise, admiration and attention which, according to Howe, Denmark deserved, he was well aware of the Swedish achievements. This is particularly visible in the chapter on housing, where a few pages from Marquis Childs' publication are quoted. Here, like in few other domains, he recognises Swedish accomplishments but hardly Sweden's supremacy. Only hesitantly would he then mention Sweden as a pattern for Denmark to follow.

The inter-Scandinavian reference made by Frederic Howe, i.e. referring to Sweden when writing on Denmark, was a similar technique like the one applied by Marquis Childs with reference to Denmark. Yet, also in other aspects both books bear a great deal of resemblance to each other. Probably the most spectacular one is the notion of the middle way which, having been used cunningly by Childs in the title of his book, was accepted almost immediately as a political slogan and echoed by hundreds of writers, journalists and politicians. Looking at the essence of this phrase and having read both books in question it is conspicuous that the notion which the term 'middle way' conveys is actually more elaborated and better expressed in the book on Denmark. While Childs almost exclusively focused on the concept of the middle way as a solution for economic development, i.e. as a successful compromise between capitalist individualism and communist collectivism in economy, Howe included also the political aspect by pointing at the Danish successful 'middle way' democracy.

Denmark should be widely known about. It should be known about in America, to strengthen confidence in our institutions and in the possibility of working out our problems in our own, traditional way. For Denmark is a justification of democracy. It stands out from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, as it stands out from Communist Russia and capitalist America.(133)

It is remarkable that the notion of the middle way as used in post-World War Two political discourses, and especially during the Cold War, almost always included political aspects. Yet, either Sweden or Marquis Childs would undoubtedly be pointed at as sources of the concept. Nobody would pay tribute to Frederic Howe who, although not explicitly using the same wording, was much closer to defining the prevailing concept of the middle way when giving the pre-war Denmark as an example.

This example alone signifies how great a difference there was between the two books as far as their reception was concerned. Still, it is difficult to state with great certainty why this happened. In their books both Childs and Howe expressed their disappointment in the way America was run. Their critique of American contemporary society was connected with the possible reforms which should be implemented. The examples from the Scandinavian countries which they gave were in many respects quite similar and might have been equally convincing. At the time when the books were published they both could be regarded as equally significant. Yet, only the Swedish solutions described by Marquis Childs came to be accepted as arguments in political debates and were portrayed as examples to follow.

There is a number of possible explanations as to why this happened. Firstly, although both books were published in 1936, 'Sweden: the Middle Way' appeared in January whereas Howe's book on Denmark saw the light of the day at the end of the year. Then the book on Sweden had already been in circulation and had had a few printings. Secondly, at the time when there was a great need for positive examples to legitimise the introduction of the Second New Deal measures Childs' image of the extraordinary Swedish achievements was immediately accepted as an argument. Thirdly, Childs wrote a more popular, journalistic account of Swedish achievements. There are no footnotes or any other academic references which would indicate the scholarly character of the publication. By doing so he probably seemed more accessible for the general public as well and was able to reach broad strata of the society. His positive approach was not likely to produce dispute and as there came no critique of the book, the presented image of Sweden stuck. By contrast, Howe's book seems to have been more challenging for American readers and it questioned the way some American core values were implemented. By launching the critique of the US system of government Howe could be accused of manipulating the public opinion and presenting too ideal a picture of a country which perhaps was an agricultural wonder in Europe but otherwise, because of its size and population, generally unknown and incompatible with the main stream discourse in the highly industrialised countries.

Apart from the above listed various technical reasons which made one book more popular than the other it is possible to formulate a more comprehensive conclusion as to why the reception and validity of the two publications was so different. It is highly probable that their fate was determined by the general knowledge, or respectively ignorance, of the American public as to the life and institutions of the two Scandinavian countries. While Denmark was only known to a limited number of people who either dealt with the educational issues or were active in the co-operative movement, Sweden was also propagated by its own scholars who had already prepared the ground and presented their country as a very interesting case to study in the 1920s. As a result, quite automatically first the American academic community, then politicians and eventually the general public would turn their attention to Sweden whenever Scandinavia was in question. The Swedish success story seemed more original and more appealing. It epitomised the American dream as the country seemed to have gone all the way from rags to riches. The social laboratory was seen as producing wonderful results and its success story was published just in time when there was a great demand to support the New Deal programme and to discourage the critique of Roosevelt's interventionist policies.

The story of the books discussed above, or to be correct, of the book on Sweden did not come to an end together with the end of the Great Depression. The notion of crisis connected with the so-called 'fall of the Swedish model' seems to provide an epilogue to the question about such a different reception of the two books discussed above. The crisis of the Swedish welfare state was acknowledged in the late 1970s and 1980s. The rationally diagnosed crisis made the Swedes turn to the past saved in the collective memory, but it was the past of a different kind than that of their Scandinavian neighbours. They started referring more intensely to the xenostereotypes of the Swedish in order to strengthen the earlier appropriated feeling of superiority and exemplariness. These phenomena came to be regarded as the cornerstones of the national identity. It is in this period that the discussion of the Scandinavian model intensified and the Swedish model was portrayed as having provided the pattern for Scandinavian modernisation.

When a notion of crisis in the Swedish welfare state spread there were authors who spoke of the 'fall of the Swedish model'. There were economists who by means of statistics and indicators of economic performance proved the inevitability of changes. At the same time there was a growing number of people who by means of foreign texts and discourses referring to the golden years of the Swedish welfare state attempted to defend and strengthen the withering image of the Swedish societal and economic model. Just like the Swedish model was, to a great extent, a cultural construction based on the reflection of an old belief in the Swedish superiority, the efforts to convince others and oneself about its validity grew stronger along with the growing uncertainty about whether the model has ever existed as more than just a myth. The xenostereotypes which could be used to support the Swedish autostereotypes and which would justify the feeling of being superior were not difficult to find. Especially after World War Two many authors in many countries took great interest in Sweden and wrote very positively about her. What was needed here, though, were publications and sources which would be able to provide a longer historical perspective. Since at the time of crisis it is rather the belief in continuity of certain structures and institutions that matters, it was necessary to find constructs proving such continuity. They should preferably come from a source which could appear objective and thus guarantee their credibility.(134) In this respect the USA was again the country which constituted a point of reference for Sweden. It was the USA that after World War Two competed with Sweden as to which of them was the most ideal embodiment of modernity. It was also the USA that already admired the Swedish achievements before the war. At that time the manifestation of change produced the xenostereotypical notion of Swedish progressiveness. This time, it was believed, the notion of long lasting progress was to manifest the continuity and strengthen the national identity.

Among the American publications which ideally matched the Swedish needs was the book by Marquis Childs from 1936. Not only was the book interpreted as already praising Sweden as an avant-garde of modernity, but it also constructed an image of the Swedish long lasting democratic tradition and referred to Swedish superiority in solving social questions. The book was summoned to enter the discourse in order to serve as a proof of the Swedish long lasting progressive development while at the same time it was an ideal means to support the autostereotype if anybody wanted to question it. Consequently, numerous publications which got to grips with Sweden and Scandinavia in the 1980s and in the 1990s would almost unequivocally point to Marquis Childs as the author who already in the 1930s was inquisitive and prophetic enough to identify the origins of the Scandinavian/Swedish model.(135)

By comparison, in Denmark such a shift in the direction of xenostereotypes which could confirm Danish core values has never taken place. It was disregarded that in the USA the years before World War Two witnessed quite a number of publications about Denmark. It went unnoticed that American educators and academics were very diligent in describing the ingenuity of the Danish solutions in all possible areas with main focus on the co-operative movement and education. Frederic Howe's book which glorified all aspects of Danish life and institutions was the ultimate example of this attitude. However, Danes have never rediscovered this book, nor for that matter any other foreign publications of the kind which could possibly support their own autostereotype and boost their ego. The constructors of modern Denmark seemingly saw no need for it.

Post-War Constructs of the Danish Identity and Future of the Scandinavian Model

A possible explanation as to why Denmark and Sweden gained such a different attention may be arrived at by studying the different approach of these countries to the process of modernisation. While in this century the notion of the Swedish national identity has been based on the image of Sweden as a modernising country with constant, well engineered progress, the Danish autostereotype has only grudgingly made use of the rationally founded modernisation process as a framework of the identity construction. Modernisation the Swedish way was often used as a bogey in the Danish debate in the inter-war period. Only after World War Two, when the industrial capacity started prevailing over agriculture, does Denmark seem to have joined the mainstream Western route to modernisation. When this direction was accepted in Denmark the image of Sweden's modernistic exemplariness and progressiveness was already well founded. Sweden had already started enjoying her reputation as a model to be appreciated and possibly followed. It became apparent that if Denmark ever wanted to be seen as equally modern, it had to appropriate similar solutions or at least, on the discursive level, appeal to similar notions and values. This meant to stress change rather than continuity, similar to what happened in Sweden in the inter-war period. Because of this some elements of the collective memory were to be lapsed from consciousness. The agrarian past based on continuity, even when portrayed as an example of Danish highly elaborated skills and efficiency, conflicted with the desired image of a modern society which was chiefly based on industrial development.

Nonetheless, it soon became apparent that a quick, socially engineered reorientation and a radical change of identity were hardly possible to realise. It would require substituting old values with new ones. Such a change could have only been legitimised if the old patterns were felt not to meet the challenges of the post-war development. This was not the case. On the contrary, the economic boom, which Denmark experienced from the end of the 1950s until the early 1970s, directed the whole process on the track of a more gradual change. Unlike earlier in Sweden, it was generally not felt that the change was steered by rational calculations of some social engineers. The modernistic development was perceived as having a more evolutionary character. The development was constructed as a continuous process which 'naturally' transformed peasant society (bondesamfund) into an industrial society (industrisamfund). The alleged continuity of this process seemed to provide a credible pattern of development to be included as a component of the Danish autostereotype. The compartments of the Danish collective memory, which in the late 1940s and 1950s were put aside as hindering the rapid modernisation, started to enter the discourse again. Again it was the continuity and not the change that was to be proved.

When in the late 1970s the term 'Danish model' saw the light of the day a longer time span had to be taken into consideration to legitimise it. The Social Democratic version of history which declared the 1930s as the beginning of the modern Danish national project was well suited for this purpose. The story of continuous progress with the welfare state development as one of its main components was sufficient proof. Because of this the agrarian past did not become a legitimising construct. Modern identity legitimised by the achievements of the industrial society as well as the welfare state, which developed parallel to ever growing industrial capacity, could only use the agrarian past as a point of departure. The standard Western route to modernisation did not take account of agriculture as a possible primary agent of development. Thus, what in the 1970s and 1980s was reconstructed from the old Danish peasant society was its democratic tradition and highly developed political culture. These features, together with the welfare state came to constitute the Danish model and modern Danish autostereotype. Such a stereotype was not only fully compatible with the modernisation processes in Europe but also in these fields the Danes could actually present themselves as having always been progressive. Consequently, as soon as the image of the Scandinavian model as dominated by Sweden started to wear off, there was a chance to reinstate the Danes' belief in their exemplariness in Scandinavia.

For the Danes history seems to have made a big circle. Like at the beginning of the twentieth century, when they regarded themselves, and were also regarded by many, as champions of progress in Scandinavia, also today, when taking the xeno- and autostereotypical images into account, Danes have reached the status of Scandinavian leader. Still, the Danish model will probably never become as popular and inspiring as the Swedish model did in the past. In the post-modern world when nothing seems to be certain and stealing the show has become a much less spectacular phenomenon, the Danish model has a chance to serve as a pattern for some national and regional policies rather than the global ones. Nevertheless, in the Scandinavian context the very fact that present Danish solutions are regarded as more successful in meeting the post-modern societal challenges is worth discussing.

The Danish national project understood as an imagined community has always made very strong references to the past. Accordingly, whenever Danes make use of their national history, they refer to its continuity rather than to its changing character. On the contrary, for the Swedes the past seems to have constituted a burden for a long time, an obstacle which hindered the way towards the ideal of the most modern society in the world. Being poor at the beginning of the twentieth century and not being active in World War Two, were the elements which did not quite suit the picture of the most progressive model nation. In Sweden the rapid modernistic change became an element of the national pride and gave a new identity. The past was to play a symbolic role only as a frame of reference if the society were to be seen as a model of an ultra modern project. The process of constructing the national identity in the twentieth century was founded on the paradigm of inevitable progress leading to a modernistic change.

In Denmark the past rooted in the tradition based on Grundtvig's nineteenth century ideas remained to be the foundation of the national identity. As the feeling of any profound national crisis in the twentieth century was absent in Denmark the speedy modernisation which suggested breaking with this tradition seemed repulsive. In this situation the process of constructing the national identity was founded on the notion of historical continuity.

From this perspective the foundation myth of the Danish national identity as based on continuity of the historical tradition offers an alternative to the standard Western route to modernisation. Since the nineteenth century the Danish autostereotype has included an image of a small, peace-loving democratic national community founded on the ideas planted by N.F.S. Grundtvig. This community was recommended not to seek notoriety or distinction but rather to 'keep its feet on the ground' ( er ikke skabte til højhed og blæst, ved jorden at blive, det tjener os bedst.)(136) This was a result of dreadful experiences made in 1815 when Norway ceased to be a part of the Danish state as well as in 1864 when the Prussian army eventually shattered the Danish view of itself as a superpower in the Baltic region. As a result the Danish national community was thereafter built upon the slogan: 'Outward loss, inward gain' (Hvad udad tabes, det skal indad vindes).(137) This later resulted in a peculiar Danish self-understanding. On the one hand, as Uffe Østergård underlined, the typical component of the Danish autostereotype was 'that gentle and understated kind of unshakeable superiority'.(138) On the other hand, as noticed by Steven Borish, 'pompous expressions of national pride are seen as hilariously stupid and strongly discouraged'.(139) Thus, the Danish national character in the twentieth century has been based on the paradigm that Danes, even though they live in a small state, know they are the best but they do not necessarily need to or are not able to talk about it to the world outside Denmark. The inferiority complex stemming from the notion of being reduced to a country of a very small size has been compensated by the internal feeling of superiority. Some selected elements of the Danish historical experience produced a collective memory which now and again made the Danes reject the world outside, and Europe in particular. Thus, a Dane in the street is very likely to come up with utterances like: 'It does not really matter what we do; after all we are so little'.(140) As a result, it did not matter so much what the outer world thought about Denmark. Even if the xenostereotypes of the Danish existed, they were not so badly needed for the construction of the Danish identity. The spirit of the Danish world view was probably best conveyed ironically by Poul Sørensen:

As every Dane knows, Denmark is the centre of the universe. Should anyone doubt this, let him stand in the middle of Town Hall Square in Copenhagen. Here, with his own eyes, he will be able to confirm that the world revolves around this square. The further from this spot anything lies, the more insignificant it appears. The many things beyond the horizon will therefore pass quite unnoticed.(141)

In the 1970s and 1980s, having joined the EEC, Danes had less problems accommodating different crises, be it the 'oil crisis' in 1973/74 or the state budget financial problems in the 1980s. It was possible to claim that the crises were a result of mischief inflicted on the Danes from outside, e.g. by the OPEC countries or by the necessity to adjust the national economic policy to the EEC standards. The Middle East countries or the EEC could be used as scapegoats, the bad 'others' who threatened the cosy little Denmark.

However, the notion which spread in the 1970s of 'something being rotten' in the Danish welfare state also had its internal dimensions. The notion of a severe political crisis unfolded in 1973 when the Progress Party (Fremskridtspartiet), a typical anti-welfare state protest party, riding the wave of dissatisfaction with the overburdening taxation system, was elected to the Danish Parliament (Folketing) along with a few other, so far not represented, protest parties. The successful entry of the Progress Party, which with 28 seats became the second biggest grouping in the Folketing, made it clear for the governing Social Democrats that the time had come to start reforming the welfare state and revise the policies. There was not much chance for any radical action due to the nature of the minority governments which dominated the Danish political scene in the 1970s and the 1980s. However, the very notion of a crisis lead to the debate on the tax-burdens and overgrown bureaucracy starting much earlier in Denmark than in Sweden. Fremskridtspartiet was a warning signal for the Danish politicians that there was a crisis and that there was a need to reform.

This event in Danish politics prepared the ground for a gradual reform which started early in the 1980s. In comparison with their Swedish neighbours the Danes were the first to embark on reforming the welfare state. In Sweden only the financial crisis connected with the state's inability to pay for the extensive welfare programmes legitimised the rapid change in the late 1980s and the 1990s. It has now become painful to come to terms with the fact that the Swedish model has been falling apart as it was once regarded as an object of pride and an element of national identity.

This situation changed the contents of the foundation myth of the Scandinavian model. While its notion was originally based on the Swedish success story, later the focus was changed to encompass the Scandinavian/Nordic dimension and now the Danish model has become its main component. Danes now have the chance to be viewed as successful survivors in comparison with the crippling Swedish welfare state. Thus, the Scandinavian model could still be seen as a successful solution to the societal problems but the actors as well as structures associated with it have changed.

Such a redefinition of the contents of the Scandinavian model is obvious in the Scandinavian countries. Abroad, and especially in the USA, the old patterns and national/regional categories seem to be long lived and accepting Denmark rather than Sweden as the leader in Scandinavia has not yet become evident. It is perhaps easier to understand if the long historical perspective is taken into account. In the English-speaking world favouring Sweden happened partly because of, as Steven Borish put it, a broader 'knowledge gap' which constituted the lack of awareness and interest in Denmark(142), and partly because, especially in the post-war period, the Swedish political stability and economic success attracted significantly more attention for a long time. Eventually, Swedes were more skilful in promoting their country and both they and the foreigners in numerous publications proved the Swedish lived up to their reputation.(143)


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1. Jerzy Topolski: Jak sie pisze i rozumie historie, Tajemnice narracji historycznej. [On Writing and Understanding History, Mysteries of Historical Narratives]. Warsaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza Rytm, 1996, 362. 

2. Gestur Guðmundsson: Den nordiske model. Aalborg: Skrifter fra Nordisk Sommeruniversitet, 1993, 25--58. Further quoted as Guðmundsson, 1993 (b).

3. Cf. Hennig Christoffersen; Bjarne Hastrup: "Grundtræk i den skandinaviske model". In: Økonomi og politik, Vol. 57, 1983, 3.

4. Cf. Øystein Sørensen; Bo Stråth (ed.): The Cultural Construction of Norden. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1997, 21. During the Cold War the interest in the Scandinavian model did not only exist on the 'western' side of the Iron Curtain. In Poland, which was the least 'communist' country in the Soviet dominated part of Europe, the Swedish model was carefully studied as the least evil model of capitalistic development. Cf. Stanislaw Rudolf: Szwedzka "Polityka Dobrobytu" [Swedish "Welfare Politics"]. Warsaw: PWN, 1978.

5. Ernest Darwin Simon: The Smaller Democracies. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1939, 175.

6. In 1932 British 'The Times' wrote that democracy was bound to perish as a form of government and it was bound to be replaced by the more efficient forms of government which would be able to mobilise the masses. Cf. Terje Steen Edvardsen; Bernt Hagtved: Nordycki model demokracji i panstwa dobrobytu. Warsaw: PWN, 1994, 10.

7. Here I mean Marquis Childs: Sweden: The Middle Way. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1936; which became a frequently quoted typical footnote reference in many books and articles describing the progressive character of the Swedish society.

8. Tord Ekström; Gunnar Myrdal; Roland Palsson: Vi och Västeuropa : uppfordran till eftertanke och debatt. Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1962. Cited in Klaus Misgeld: "Den svenska socialdemokratin och Europa -- från slutet av 1920-talet til början av 1970-talet". In: Bo Huldt; Klaus Misgeld (eds.): Social demokratin och Svensk utrikespolitik: från Branting till Palme. Stockholm: Utrikespolitiska Institutet/MH Publishing, 1990, 202.

9. Probably one of the first and the most spectacular examples of this tendency was a series of articles in the German magazine Stern dated 31. October 1971. On the cover page, under a picture in which the Swedish monarch, a blond model and the Prime Minister hold a huge Swedish national flag, the block letters announce: 'Krise in Wohlfahrtsstaat: Ist Schweden noch ein Vorbild?'

10.Peter Baldwin: The Politics of Social Solidarity. Class Bases of the European Welfare State 1875--1975. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, 62 and 134.

11. In Bo Stråth: "Den nordiska modellen". In: Nordisk Tidskrift, Vol. 69, 1993, 57, the author mentions the notion of Sweden as 'the middle way' which spread in the USA after Marquis Childs' publication. Childs' book was meant to convince American readers about the harmlessness of the policies similar to the New Deal for the freedom of individuals. In Poland, for example, the Scandinavian countries evoked interest because of their successful 'practical socialism' as opposed to the failure of the 'idealistic socialism' in other countries of continental Europe. Cf. Ksawery Pruszynski: "Wachlarz wspólczesnych socjalizmów". In: Ksawery Pruszynski: Niezadowoleni i entuzjasci. Publicystyka tom I 1931--1939. Warsaw: Panstwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1990, 317--319.

12. Tim Knudsen: "State-building in Scandinavia: Denmark in a Nordic context". In: Tim Knudsen (ed.): Welfare Administration in Denmark. Copenhagen: DJØF-forlaget, 1991, 76.

13. Cf. Guðmundsson, 1993 (b), 9.

14. "Problemformuleringsprivilegiet" can be translated as a privilege to set up goals, but also as a privilege to establish what the problem is and how it should be interpreted. Further applications of the term as well as its validity for a modern society can be found in: Lars Gustafsson: För liberalismen -- En stridsskrift, Stockholm: Norstedts, 1981, 47--50.

15. Cf. Guðmundsson, 1993 (b), 11.

16. As noticed by Eric J. Hobsbawm in his book Nations and Nationalism since 1780, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, 108, 'Nordic race' was coined as a term in anthropology about 1900. For a German ideologised application of the term 'Nordic' see Hans Jürgen Lutzhöft: Der Nordische Gedanke in Deutschland 1920--1940. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag, 1971.

17. In Scandinavia an alternative to the Social Democratic mainstream existed as far as the evaluation of the role of Germany was concerned. As illustrated by the Swedish examples many academics as well as high-ranking officers and officials were very much in favour of the German ideas of destroying the Jewish and Bolshevik enemies. Cf. Karl N. A. Nilsson: Svensk överklassnazism 1930--1945. Stockholm: Carlsson, 1997; as well as Sverker Oredsson: Lunds universitet under andra världskriget. Motsätninger, debatter och hjälpinsatser. Lund: Lunds universitetshistoriska sällskap, Årsbok 1996.

18. Nilsson, 1997, 42.

19. For an example see Henry Aaron: "Social Security: International Comparisons". In: Otto Eckstein (ed.): Studies in the Economics of Income Maintenance. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1967.

20. Cf. Stråth, 1996, 238.

21. For an example of such an approach see Erik Jørgen Hansen et al.: Welfare Trends in the Scandinavian Countries. New York; London: M.E. Sherpe, 1993. In the book four eminent scholars Erik Jørgen Hansen, Stein Ringen, Hannu Uusitalo and Robert Erikson take existence of the Scandinavian model for granted, but after having described it in the first half of the book as a single unit, in the following chapters they start pointing at exceptions to the model in different Nordic countries. The conclusion analysing the period between 1960s and 1980s seems to point at differences rather than common elements of welfare solutions in Scandinavia. Among the Scandinavian countries the only exception was Sweden which for quite a long time enjoyed the position of the leader in the region and, as a result, it was often treated separately.

22. Bo Stråth: Folkhemmet mot Europa. Stockholm: Tiden, 1993, 205. The author points at Jean-Jacque Servan-Schreiber who in 1967 in his Le défi américain on page 312 wrote: 'le modèle suédois n'est ni américain, ni japonais'. He was most likely the first person to use the term 'the Swedish model'.

23. Stråth, 1996, 240.

24. To present only a few examples of the Scandinavian model concept being effectively used in the Scandinavian research I would recommend looking at the following: Bruno Amoroso; Ole Winckler Andersen: Reconsidering the Scandinavian Model. Roskilde: Annals 1991, Dept. of Economy and Planning Roskilde University, 1991.; Tage Bild; Flemming Ibsen; Henning Jørgensen: The Scandinavian Model (Incomes Policy and Instabilities in Industrial Relations During the Period of Stagflation). Aalborg; Copenhagen: Paper for the 6th. IIRA-World Congress, 1982.; Erikson et al., 1987.

25. On modernisation and world-system theories see for example an entry in Frank N. Magill: International Encyclopaedia of Sociology. London; Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers 1995, 849­858.

26. Works on the welfare state development in Denmark after World War Two are numerous. One of the most recent which corroborates with my impression presented here is Klaus Petersen: Fra legitimitet til legitimitetskrise. Velfærdsstatens udvikling i Danmark i perioden 1945­1973. Copenhagen: unpublished manuscript, 1995.

27. Danish economic capacity during World War Two suffered not only because of strikes and sabotages but also because the Nazis exploited the Danish budget to build bunkers and other defence constructions on the Danish territory.

28. It is important to note that not only more popular media, i.e. magazines and newspapers, conveyed an image of the Swedish exemplariness and progressiveness, but the country also became an object of interest for the scholars and scientists. In this respect see, for example, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science for May 1938, which was devoted to a series of essays on social problems and policies in Sweden, commemorating the tercentenary of the first settlement of Swedes in America. Among the contributors in this issue were Ernst Wigforss, Minister of Finance, and Gustav Möller, Minister of Social Affairs, both explaining what had happened in Sweden and what the principles behind Sweden's recovery had been.

29. Quoted from Simon, 1939, 51.

30. Apart from the Swedish economists and government officials, who published both in Sweden and abroad, there were also American and English authors who on scientific grounds hailed the Swedish recovery and the art of combating unemployment. See, for example, Brinley Thomas: Monetary Policy and Crises. London: G. Routledge, 1936. On page x. in the preface a Mr. Hugh Dalton, in other sources referred to as a high authority on the issue of unemployment, gave the following recommendation for the book and for studying the Swedish development. 'This book is a record and an explanation of what must seem, to dwellers in less happy lands, [to be] an economic miracle. In these last years Swedish Recovery, from trade depression and mass unemployment, has been sensational. External factors, such as the rise in certain export prices, have helped a little. But primarily the Recovery is due to internal action, based largely on the theories of Professor Myrdal, and executed with great political skill and economic insight by Ernst Wigforss, the brilliant Finance Minister in the Swedish Socialist Government.'

31. Cf. Erik Lundberg: "The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model". In: Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. XXIII (March 1985), 1985, 4. In the article the author presents a good contemporary view of the 'rise and fall' of the Swedish model. It is characteristic that, especially when referring to its early development, he also makes use of the xenostereotypes which supported the uniqueness of the Swedish solutions.

32. Anders Linde-Laursen; Jan Olof Nilsson (ed.): Nationella identiteter i Norden ­ ett fullbordat projekt? Nord 1991:26, Nordic Council, 1991, 41.

33. Even at present this image of Sweden as a model is very deeply rooted abroad. When the Danish Prime Minister visited Poland a few years ago, during a TV interview one of the journalists who tried to explain the organisation of the Danish labour marked implied that Denmark actually followed the Swedish model. In this way he wanted to make the Danish solutions more comprehensible to the viewers. The Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen took time to explain that Denmark in fact realised the Danish model.

34. The terms quoted here describing the Swedish development often served as catch words in newspaper articles or as titles of books.

35. Cf. for example John Wagner (ed.): Den danske model ­ en bog med Palle Simonsen. Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk Forlag Arnold Busck, 1986.

36. I wrote about the political attitudes and the arguments which were used in the Danish EEC and EU debates until the early 1990s in my M.A. thesis Danmark og EF. Historisk baggrund og analyse af faktorer bestemmende for dansk stillingtagen til EF-samarbejde. Poznan: Unpublished, Adam Mickiewicz University, 1992.

37. Cf. Bruno Amoroso: Udvikling og krise i den skandinaviske model. Roskilde: Forlaget Samfundsøkonomi og Planlægning, 1986, 14. Amoroso noted that the term Danish model was only defined theoretically in the late 1970s by the Danish researchers and economists.

38. Bent Rold Andersen: Kan vi bevare velfærdsstaten? Copenhagen: AKF's Forlag, 1984, 34. The Scandinavian model is called here 'et rent nordisk system' [a pure Nordic system].

39. Jesper Due; Jørgen Steen Madsen; Carsten Strøby Jensen: Den danske Model. En historisk sociologisk analyse af det kollektive aftalesystem. Copenhagen: Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, 1993. It is also worth noting that the English translation of the title of this book reads "The Survival of the Danish Model. A historical sociological analysis of the Danish system of collective bargaining.", published by DJØF in Copenhagen in 1994. The head-phrase applied 'The survival of ...' suggests continuity of the model, regardless of economic and political changes. In contrast, when translating titles including the Swedish model, Swedes usually make use of the cliche 'The Rise and Fall of the Swedish model', thus implying that the model does not exist any longer. Cf. e.g. Erik Lundberg: "The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model". In: Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. XXIII (March 1985, and Bo Rothstein: "Den svenska modellens uppgång och fall -- en essä". In: Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, Årgang 101, Vol. 1, 1998.

40. Jørn Henrik Petersen: Vandringer i velfærdsstaten: 11 bidrag om velfærdsstatens legitimitet. Odense: Odense Universitetsforlag, 1996.

41. Søren Kolstrup: Velfærdsstatens rødder. Fra kommune-socialisme til folkepension. Copenhagen: SFAH skriftserie nr. 38, 1996, 336­340.

42. Cf. "Erfolgsmodell Dänemark". In: Der Spiegel 16/1998, 94--96;. For a discussion on the origin of the Danish success in cutting the unemployment figures see Kazimierz Musial: "Er en ny velfærdsstat på vej i Danmark?" In: Folia Scandinavica Posnaniensia. Vol. 4, Poznan: Adam Mickiewicz University Press, 1997, 241--247.

43. See e.g. Carsten Germis: "Chancen und Risiken des Wandels der Arbeit" In: Der Tagesspiegel. 29.11.97, 4. The article discusses a possible future of services in the German welfare state and quite naturally a comparison is made with the USA, France, Japan and Great Britain and, by definition, Sweden. It is characteristic that Denmark is not presented, even though for the sake of this particular analysis the Danish example would be equally or even more spectacular.

44. Ben Albert Arneson: The democratic monarchies of Scandinavia. 2nd. ed. Toronto; New York; London: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1949, 18.

45. Donald S. Connery: The Scandinavians. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966, 63.

46. Gestur Guðmundsson: Den nordiske model ­ en afklaring av begreber. Nordiske Seminar- og Arbejdsrapporter, 1993:646, 6. Guðmundsson mentions such terms as the 'Swedish model', the 'Nordic model' and the 'Scandinavian model' as the third way, i.e. as a debated alternative to the American capitalist model and the Soviet communist model. The 'third way' concept, which originally was used to describe Sweden, seems now to have broadened its meaning as it is being used to indicate the desirable model solution to overcome contemporary European problems with the welfare state. Recently the British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke of a 'third way' between Anglo-American unregulated free market capitalism and continental European corporatist, welfare capitalism, as a solution to the growing EU's unemployment problems. For details see Timothy Garton Ash: "First in Europe?". In: Prospect, January 1998, 21.

47. Klaus von Beyme: "The Significance of the Nordic Model". In: Svenolof Karlsson (ed.): The Source of Liberty, The Nordic Contribution to Europe. Stockholm: The Nordic Council, 1992, 196.

48. Cf. Bernd Henningsen; Bo Stråth: "Die Transformation des schwedischen Wohlfahrtsstaates. Ende des 'Models'?". In: Jahrbuch für Politik [= Yearbook of Politics 5] (1995:2).

49. This kind of argument is not very wide-spread yet, nevertheless, Roman Herzog, the German President, made the following statement in April 1997: 'In Schweden hat man den überbordenden Sozialstaat erfolgreich modernisiert'. See also other comments on the new role of Sweden as a model in Walther Stüzle: "Schweden ­ ein Modell?". In: Der Tagesspiegel, 11.01.1998, 1.

50. Cf. Nils Elvander: Skandinavisk arbetarrörelse. Stockholm: Liber/Publica, 1980, 51­100.

51. Agnes Rothery: Denmark: Kingdom of Reason. London: Faber and Faber, 1937, 18.

52. For example it became a pronounced goal of Swedish social legislation in the 1930s to diminish social stigma. This effort was given a solid legal basis right after World War Two, for instance as far as old age pensions were concerned. Means-testing was abolished and a universal national pension scheme provided for all citizens in 1946. On the contrary, in Denmark as late as the 1960s beneficiaries of public assistance were excluded from pension benefits and public assistance resulted in loss of political rights and restrictions on marriage. See Peter Flora (ed.): Growth to Limits (The Western European Welfare States Since World War II). Vol. 4, Appendix; Berlin; New York: W. de Gruyter, 1987, 200 and 213.

53. Cf. Nilsson, 1991, 91­92.

54. It is debatable to what extent the image of 'poor Sweden' in the 18th and 19th centuries is real. There are authors who challenge the alleged 'from poverty to affluence' foundation myth of the Swedish welfare state, and they argue that by international standards such elements as low infant mortality, high degree of literacy and a very high university student/population ratio are features hardly possible to have occurred in a country with a very low standard of living for the majority of its inhabitants. Cf. Carl-Johan Gadd: "How Poor Was Sweden? On the Agrarian Revolution in Sweden and Its Conditions". In: Edmund Cieslak; Henryk Olszewski (eds.): Changes in Two Baltic Countries. Poland and Sweden in the XVIIIth Century. Seria Historia nr. 164, Poznan: Adam Mickiewicz University Press, 1990.

55. Cf. Otto Brunner; Werner Konze; Reinhart Koselleck (ed.): Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland. Vol. 4, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1993, 122­123.

56. Simon, 1939, 73.

57. Ibid., 73.

58. For details of Warming's original and innovatory thinking about the role of wages in stabilising the economic cycle see Jens Warming: "En Krispjece". In: Polyteknisk Tidskrift, 1927, 186--190. Also in his later articles he demonstrated a more sound insight than many of his Swedish colleagues into how to manage the wage policy so that it would not counteract the stabilising policies. Jens Warming: "A Theory of Prices and Wages". In: International Labour Review, Vol. 24, 1931, 24--54; as well as Jens Warming: "Den økonomiske Usikkerhed og Likvid Kapital". In: Nationaløkonomisk Tidsskrift, Vol. 71, 1933, 89--126; 221--251; 337--358.

59. Niels-Henrik Topp: Warming om Ohlin og Ohlin om Warming. Arbejdspapir 1992/10, Copenhagen: Institute of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, 1992, 10. Cf. also Jens Warming: "Tilpasning". In: Gads danske Magasin, Vol. 25, 1931, 481--505.

60. Cf. Bertil Ohlin: Bertil Ohlin memoarer. Ung man blir politiker. Stockholm: Bonnier, 1972, 203f

61. Cf. Simon, 1939, 135--143.

62. Cf., for example, the image of Denmark conveyed by Rothery, 1937. On over 240 pages she draws the most favourable picture of this country, however, without a single sentence or a name which could indicate the participation of the Danish social scientists in achieving the frequently praised high living standard and welfare. Engineers built modern engines, ships, roads and bridges, peasants are literate and reasonably educated in the folk high schools, the principles of democracy permeate every layer of the society and every civic action, but the academics are absent from the picture. On page 139 Danes are called 'a rational and happy nation' but the overall conclusion which can be drawn after reading the book shows the Danish achievements as natural rather than rational.

63. Topp, 1992, 12. Lack of interest in Warming's research and unwillingness even to quote his articles is explained as a result of his plain personality and, in consequence, his inability to attract younger economists. Additionally, Warming is said to have failed to present his research in connection with the international debate, which, as the example of Keynes and the Swedish economists showed, was indispensable to gain international recognition.

64. For the role of the social sciences in the USA and their influence on the institutionalisation in a comparative perspective see, for example, Björn Wittrock; Peter Wagner: "Social Science and the Building of the Early Welfare State." In: Dietrich Rueschemeyer; Theda Skocpol (ed.): States, Social Knowledge, and the Origins of Modern Social Policies. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996, 91--107.

65. See, for example, different measures suggested by Bertil Ohlin in 1920s and 1930s as a means to generate demand and make the economy recover. The eventually accepted strategy of unbalancing the budget was by no means the only suggested solution where the state should intervene. Like Warming, the Danish economist, Ohlin developed the so called 'Keynesian policy' measures before Keynes' The General Theory saw the light of the day in 1936. Though, because of the post-World War Two dominance of Anglo-American scholarship today we talk rather about 'Keynesian economics' and not 'Ohlinian' or 'Warmingian'.

66. Cf. a very positive image of the Danish, highly efficient, rural civilisation included in Frederic Howe: Denmark: A Coöperative Commonwealth. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1921.

67. During the first decades of the 20th century one of the main concerns in Sweden was the huge wave of emigrants who left the country. As a side effect of the attempts to diagnose and counteract the phenomenon negative images of the Swedish were constructed. Swedes were said to be uncultivated, many were poor and they lacked a psychological sense. Cf. Gustav Sundbärg: Det svenska folklynnet--Aforismer. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1911. Because the publication also included a critique of the Danish who were said to exploit the Swedish weaknesses it provoked a counterclaim from the Danish side. It was noted that Swedes understood they were lagging behind and were actually backward as far as the political development in the two countries was concerned. Cf. Harald Nielsen: Svensk og dansk. Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1912.

68. In this respect it is interesting to read about the Danish approach towards the process of Swedish modernisation. The topic is profoundly studied by Anders Linde-Laursen in his article "Er Sverige interessant....? Om modernitet og hundrede års danskhed". In: Linde-Laursen; Nilsson (ed.), 1991, 39­57. See also Anders Linde-Laursen: Det nationales natur. Studier i dansk-svenske relationer. Ph.D. dissertation, Lund University, 1995.

69. Cf. Childs, 1936, 133­144. It is remarkable that in this book which is almost entirely devoted to praising Swedish achievements Childs included a whole chapter on agriculture entitled 'Denmark Organizes the Farm'.

70. Cf. Linde-Laursen, 1995, 122. See also Søren Kolstrup: Velfærdsstatens rødder. Fra kommune-socialisme til folkepension. Copenhagen: SFAH skriftserie nr. 38, 1996, 377.

71. Max Kjær Hansen: "Økonomi og Erhvervsliv". In: Hakon Stangerup (ed.): Det moderne Sverige, Evne, Indsats, Vilje. Copenhagen: Forlaget af 1939, 1941, 76f. Danish original: 'Det moderne Sverige, saadan som det har formet sig i Perioden fra 1905 til Dato, er fra at være en ligegyldig Udmark i Europa blevet til en Kraftcentral med afgørende Indflydelse paa hele vor Tids økonomiske Verdensbillede. [...] Vi ved, at Sverige nu ogsaa økonomisk er den førende Stat i Norden. [...] Udgangspunktet for Forstaaelsen af det moderne Sverige er [...] Industrialisering af det svenske Erhvervsliv.'

72. Linde-Laursen, 1995, 123.

73. Cf. Flemming Bergsøe: Mellem halvbrødre. Skitser fra en rejse i Sverige. Copenhagen: Thaning & Appels Forlag, 1946, 106.

74. Linde-Laursen, 1995, 125.

75. After seeing the newly screened Poul Henningsen's "Danmarksfilm" in 1935 K.K. Steincke said that the picture was 'for moderne for hans hjerne' [too modern for his brain]. The film was an attempt to promote the image of Denmark as a country which despite its large agricultural sector, or rather thanks to its highly efficient agricultural production, modern technology and its industrious people, could be seen as being highly modern.

76. Linde-Laursen, 1995, 125.

77. By the end of the 1930s the Danes were willing to recognise that the Swedish nation possessed qualities like technical inclination and inventiveness, as well as initiative and will to go forward. These qualities which were believed to have let the Swedes win wars in the past were now said to be ideal to conquer the world ruled by the industry-based economics. See Kjær Hansen, 1941, 83.

78. The term 'new rational approach' has been used by Carl-Axel Gemzell in his research concerning the welfare state development in the England of the 1930s. Carl-Axel Gemzell: Om politikens förvetanskapligande och vetenskapens politisering. Kring välfärdsstatens uppkomst i England. Vol. 1. Teoretisk innledning. Copenhagen: Institut for Samtidshistorie, 1989, Vol. 2. Föreningen av motsatser. Copenhagen: Institut for Samtidshistorie, 1989, Vol. 3. Ställföreträdarne. Copenhagen: Institut for Samtidshistorie, 1993. See also Petersen, 1995, 33­35; as well as Anne-Lise Seip: "Politikkens vitenskapeliggjøring". In: Nyt Norsk Tidsskrift, Vol. 6, 1989. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1989.

79. About different perception of the word 'modern' among Danish and Swedish public opinion cf. Linde-Laursen, 1995, 123. In addition to this, Yvonne Hirdman claims that one of the reasons why modernisation in general was not questioned or obstructed in Sweden in the 1930s, was the congenial use of the traditionally conservative issue concerning the falling birth rate by Alva and Gunnar Myrdals. Their Kris i befolkningsfrågan from 1934 addressed the issue which seemed universal and it would be deadly for any political grouping to fight the designed common good. Yvonne Hirdman: "Social Planning under Rational Control ­ Social Engineering in Sweden in the 1930s and 1940s." In: Pauli Kettunen; Hanna Eskola (ed.): Models, Modernity and the Myrdals. Helsinki: Renvall Institute University of Helsinki, 1997, 23. The idea of the Myrdals stealing a conservative issue for radical purposes had already been underlined earlier by Tim Tilton. Tilton, 1991, 157­161.

80. Cf. Linde-Laursen, 1995, 137.

81. Seip, 1989, 210.

82. Ibid., 219­220.

83. Ragnar Björk: "Social Change, Scholarship, and Gunnar Myrdal. Reflection on the 1920s". In: Ragnar Björk; Karl Molin (eds.): Societies made up of history. Edsbruk: Akademitryck AB, 1996, 96.

84. Cf. ibid., 100.

85. Lars Jonung (ed.): The Stockholm School of Economics Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, 9.

86. RAC, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Series III, Subseries 6, Box 77, Folder 804; here quoted from Björk, 1996, 100-101.

87. Gösta Bagge: Memorandum. Submitted with the letter dated September 20, 1924. Here quoted from Earlene Craver: "Gösta Bagge, the Rockefeller Foundation, and empirical social science research in Sweden, 1924--40. In: Lars Jonung (ed.): The Stockholm School of Economics Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, 81.

88. Ibid., 81.

89. Ibid., 82.

90. The three other institutions in Europe which received higher research grants were the LSE ($1,145,000), Cambridge University ($150,000) and the Institute for International Studies in Geneva ($100,000).

91. Pruszynski, 1990, 317--319.

92. Simon, 1939.

93. Ibid., 175.

94. Quoted from T.K. Derry: A History of Scandinavia. London: Georg Allen & Unwin, 1979, 325.

95. Simon, 1939, 166.

96. In this respect see also Marquis Childs: This is Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938.

97. Simon, 1939, 6.

98. See Jan Olof Nilsson: "Modernt, allt för modernt". In: Linde-Laursen; Nilsson (eds.), 1991, 59.

99. Still in 1936 when Marquis Childs wrote his famous book on Sweden he regretted that there was 'a considerable literature on Denmark in English' while there were very few books which would also give due credit to the Swedish achievements. Childs mentioned actually only two works on Sweden, out of which he found Agnes Rothery's Sweden, the Land and the People from 1934 'bright and informative'. Childs, 1936, Acknowledgements.

100. Ben A. Arneson: The Democratic Monarchies of Scandinavia. New York; London: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1939.

101. From preface to the first edition included in Arneson, 2nd Edition, 1949, ix.

102. Simon, 1939, 167.

103. In 1940 there were 955,333 persons born in Norway, Denmark or Sweden in the USA. In the same year the foreign-white stock in the USA, i.e. foreign-born whites and native whites of mixed or foreign parentage, included 443,815 of Danish decent, 924,688 of Norwegian, and 1,301,390 of Swedish. Arneson, 1949, 15.

104. Arneson, 1949, 16-18.

105. Simon, 1939, 167--168.

106. Arneson, 1949, 18.

107. Ibid., 177.

108. Ibid., 217.

109. Ibid., vii.

110. Ibid., 18.

111. The Northern Countries in World Economy. Delegation for the Promotion of Economic Co-operation Between the Northern Countries, 1937.

112. Ibid., 1.

113. Ibid., 6.

114. Ibid., 7f.

115. The two books in question are Childs, 1936; and Frederic Howe: Denmark: The Coöperative Way. New York: Coward-Mc Cann, 1936.

116. Compare also other sources in the English language which popularised Sweden in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. Agnes Rothery: Sweden, The Land and the People. New York: The Viking Press, 1934. Dankwart A. Rustow: The Politics of Compromise. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955. Fritiof O. Ander: The Building of Modern Sweden: The Reign of Gustav V, 1907­1950. Rock Island: III, 1958; Kathleen Nott: A Clean Well-lighted Place: a private view of Sweden. London: Heinemann, 1961.

117. Indeed, the book by Childs seems to have been one of the few larger publications on Sweden in the USA before World War Two. Prior to its printing only Agnes Rothery and her 'Sweden: The Land and the People' from 1934 could count as a serious attempt to popularise Sweden. When Rothery's book was published one of the reviewers complained that 'There seems to be less written about Sweden than about other countries of Europe; but Agnes Rothery's book proves that there is plenty to be said. No one could have said it better. ... Her eye is keen and her comments keener.' Excerpt from Agnes Repplier's review included on the cover of Rothery, 1934.

118. Simon, 1939, 52. As a matter of fact the unemployment rate in Sweden was still 9 percent in 1939.

119. Stewart Oakley: The Story of Sweden. London: Faber and Faber, 1966, 243.

120. Childs, 1936, xi.

121. Ibid., xv-xvi.

122. Ibid., xi.

123. Ibid., 133.

124. Ibid., 142.

125. Connery, 1966, 66­67.

126. A contemporary exemption to this rule is Steven M. Borish: The Land of the Living. The Danish folk high schools and Denmark's non-violent path to modernization. Grass Valley: Blue Dolphin, 1991.

127. See for an example Edgar Wallace Knight: Among the Danes. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press; London: H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1927.; and Olive Campbell; Arnold Dame: The Danish folk school; its influence in the life of Denmark and the North. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1928.; as well as the previously mentioned Rothery, 1937.

128. Howe, 1921.

129. From preface to Howe, 1921. Here quoted from Borish, 1991, 73.

130. Howe, 1936, 16.

131. Ibid., 44f.

132. Howe, 1936, 227-228.

133. Ibid., 6.

134. In this respect books like for example Kurt Heinig: Der schwedische Mittelweg -- soziale Sicherheit. Hamburg: Verlag für Wirtschaft und Sozialpolitik, 1947; were of no value for the construction of the Swedish autostereotype. Even though the book presented Sweden as an example which post-war Germany could follow, the place and year of the publication did not seem to guarantee its trustworthiness and objectivity.

135. In this context it is remarkable that other publications by Childs, and particularly his book from 1980 entitled Sweden: the Middle Way on Trial, never gained the same popularity as the book from 1936.

136. These are two final lines in the first stanza of the Danish national anthem written by Grundtvig in 1820. A good translation of the whole verse was provided by Uffe Østergård in "Danish Identity: European, Nordic or Peasant?" In: Lise Lyck (ed.): Denmark and EC Membership Evaluated. London: Pinters Publishers, 1992, 169.
'Far whiter mountains shine splendidly forth
Than the hills of our native islands,
But we Danish rejoice in the quiet North
For our lowlands and rolling highlands.
No towering peaks thundered over our birth:
It suits us best to remain on earth.'

137. The slogan was coined by a Danish poet H. P. Holst in the 1860s and promoted by the Danish Heath Society (Det danske Hedeselskab) founded in 1866. The message of the slogan was that inward progressive change must provide positive compensation for what has been lost externally. Steven Borish has claimed that the term 'inward' refers both to the country (within Danish borders) and to the heart and mind of the individual Dane. Borish, 1991, 14.

138. Uffe Østergård: "Hvad er det 'danske' ved Danmark? Tanker om den 'danske vej' til kapitalismen, grundtvigianismen og 'dansk' mentalitet" [What is the 'Danish' about Denmark? Thoughts on the Danish way to capitalism, Grundtvigianism and the 'Danish' mentality]. In: Den Jyske Historiker, Nr. 29-30, 1984, 94-95.

139. Borish, 1991, 244.

140. Danish original: 'Hvad betyder det, hvad vi gør, vi er jo så små.' Uffe Østergård quotes this statement as an example of contemporary Danish cocksureness in disguise of obsequiousness or humility. Uffe Østergård: "Hvad er Norden". In: Kulturbrev 8, Copenhagen: Undervisningsministeriet, 1994, 109.

141. Poul Sørensen in Introduction to Bo Bøjesen: Dagligliv i Danmark. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzel, 1960. The English translation stems from Borish, 1991, 244.

142. Borish, 1991, 54.

143. Even these days if you browse through the library databases of American or German universities on the Internet it is very likely that you will find twice as many publications in English and German on Sweden than on Denmark, not to mention Norway or Finland. Many of the publications concerning Sweden or the Swedish model are translations of books originally published in Sweden.