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5 Ways Denmark Does it Better

Updated on April 16, 2017
Welcome to Denmark, the happiest country on earth. I'm so sorry you live elsewhere.
Welcome to Denmark, the happiest country on earth. I'm so sorry you live elsewhere.

Regulate Bad and Reward Good like Denmark

USA USA USA, I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. Don't tread on me. Yes, I love my country... "but". But nothing. I love my country, and I love some things about Denmark. I love some things about every country, just as I'm disappointed by aspects of my own USA. But I am a proud American no matter what. I love my neighbor, my family and myself, imperfections and all. I don't accept some things, especially things that can change. I've spent a lot of time studying and working in Europe, and have a challenge for my own Beloved USA; if little 'ol Denmark does it better, why can't we?

Denmark has some freedoms we don't have. They have some regulations we don't have. There are 5 of them I think are brilliant. Upon further examination they are much more than brilliant ideas, they are proven effective by metrics including the so-called "happiness" studies that typically have Denmark as #1.

Denmark's smarter government looks about the same at first observation. But these cats earn A LOT more than our politicians. That makes the pool of canidates more qualified and less likely to take bribes.
Denmark's smarter government looks about the same at first observation. But these cats earn A LOT more than our politicians. That makes the pool of canidates more qualified and less likely to take bribes.

1. Politicians Don't Feel Hatred Like in the US.

Bribery, Dirty Money, Favors, and Polititians don't always have to hold hands.

I thought about running for State Office here in the great State of Ohio. I looked up the pay of our State Rep.s and Senators. They only make 60k a year. Appauling. Worse, the comments under the article publishing . Even more appauling is the troll-like vitriol of the real people who deeply despise their elected representatives pay rate, many saying they should be paid the median income which is about 20 grand less. It's so penny-wise pound foolish.

Here I am reading these comments moments after ruling out a bid myself mainly because it would not be financially smart. I'm very well educated, cultured, handsome, bi-lingual, traveled, worked abroad and brought dozens of jobs to Toledo. Did I mention I'm dashing? I'd be a great person to be governing. I know efficiency. I know why kids aren't so interested in Engineering majors. I also know how much business leaders earn. But I'm not rich, certainly not wealthy enough to throw money and time into something that would send my family backwards financially even after being elected.

I leaned back in my chair and folded my arms as the realization hit me, only "self"-sacrificial idealogues (they must have no family?) or rich people can run for office without strings attached.

Not super high, but for all the benefits and time off, plus much less campaigning than the US, with free health care and education, it's enough to spin your windmill or whatever.
Not super high, but for all the benefits and time off, plus much less campaigning than the US, with free health care and education, it's enough to spin your windmill or whatever.

People are sexy and happy in Copenhagen

2. High Minimum Wage

In 2014 Denmark's minimum wage is about 20 USD per hour. It seems about right if you think of a person either being a human deserving a proper wage for work well done, or someone who needs more education or just to get out of the way of the better workers. You don't see people slaving away for wages that barely reward them. Such low wages discourage automation, efficiency, and even humanity as it becomes more economical to have people working like robots than to have them build and design robots. Low/no minimum wage resembles slavery after a certain point. It's degrading to pay someone so little, each human has a talent of some kind that is worth 20 USD / hr. If not, educate them, Still not, then why have them out there making bad widgets, providing bad service and getting in the way? Give them a coloring book and some crayons, tell them to sit in the corner where they won't be stepped on and get things done smarter. To me, that's better than paying them next to nothing for a boss to get headaches yelling at them.

Denmark- a better place to be poor.

Clean waterways, small living quarters, high unemployment but nobody's starving or turned away from health care. All in all, the slums of Denmark are the envy of some nations.
Clean waterways, small living quarters, high unemployment but nobody's starving or turned away from health care. All in all, the slums of Denmark are the envy of some nations.

3. Even Educated Hard Private Industry Workers Get Vacation

On average, Danish workers put in 1,522 hours per year. In fact, it's the law that they don't work like Americans, who put in at least 2,000 hours among private sector jobs. That's 500 hours of guilt-free, plannable, guaranteed time off per year that each person can use to have a life. Remember Life, Liberty, and that other thing? In Denmark and most European countries, society doesn't punish the working class with 10 days of vacation or less per year. They are actually guaranteed time off to pursue happiness. No wonder their happiness rankings are above just about every other country on earth, every single year, however it's measured.

It's not uncommon to take a month or two, and truly get away from it all in Spain or Morocco, where they are likely to feel great by taking advantage of the benefits of living near the equator. Besides, in terms of productivity, there's not much difference made in those extra 500+ hours of effort. I mean really, if you can't get the job done in 35 hours per week, or 10 months of the year, then you're probably working harder and not smarter.

From one vacations spot to another. Does anyone in Denmark ever have a bad day?
From one vacations spot to another. Does anyone in Denmark ever have a bad day?

4. Regulations on Chemical Additives

Denmark, along with most of the EU doesn't allow food producers to lace food with petroleum-based dyes like in the U.S. They do allow kids to be tricked by artificial colors, but only if they are vegetable-based, and have therefore some potential nutrition. This means they don't have red dye #40, so they don't worry about the worrisome effects, and they don't have ADHD rates like countries that allow red 40. It may be a conicidence, but some reputable studies have established a strong enough link, that they decided not to take a chance on feeding themselves synthetic dyes that are only cosmetic at best. At worst, these chemicals have proven toxic to small percentages of just about every population studied.

Obesity and type-2 diabetes are not epidemic problems in Denmark, in fact they are practically non-existent compared the US. Denmark is, of course, no stranger to organic, non-GMO foods. Fast food, drive-throughs, and cupholders in cars are strange to the Danish and their European neighbors.

In the EU, this Opel interior is much less likely to tote a huge sugary soda-pop, or get grease stains that leaked through a paper bag of french-fries.
In the EU, this Opel interior is much less likely to tote a huge sugary soda-pop, or get grease stains that leaked through a paper bag of french-fries.

5. Nation of Incarceraton? Not Denmark.

Former Nazi Germany is 166. The northern neighbor Canada is 133. But the USA is #1

Attention: SARCASM ALERT!

  • In the USA we rehabilitate THE BEST. This is why we incarcerate as many of our citizens as we can afford, and then some more!
  • Prisons are institutions where prostitutes, pimps, and johns learn wholesome sexual purity.
  • Deadbeat dads learn the value of monogamy, marriage and proper family values.
  • Druggies, junkies and their dealers learn healthy-living tips from elder prisoners as they:
  1. Share recipes for hollandaise sauce, cordon-bleu, smashed potatoes, and even tossed salad.
  2. Go in chain-gangs to farmer's markets where guards with shotguns help them identify only the ripest, most flavorful, organic vegetables.
  3. Hone their willpower while voluntarily abstaining from smoking and drinking. Cellmates often offer moral support, their patience and emotional IQ can inspire new, young inmates.
  4. These young inmates are affectionately referred to as "fresh meat". The vegan context of the term indicates that the "fresh meat" individuals have a special status that will protect their innocence, boost optimism, and renew their spirit.
  5. The arrival of "fresh meat" excites inmates, they enjoy new opportunities to inspire troubled youth to love their life.

Wait a minute, in Denmark, do criminals just roam free?

We beat Russia, Cuba, and everybody! We're number 1! In your face Denmark!
We beat Russia, Cuba, and everybody! We're number 1! In your face Denmark!

The Danish Prison System

Denmark focuses on rehabilitation instead of retribution. Prison there is not a fun place to be, and people want out, no question. But it is nothing like most prisons, it's not just punishment or a living hell. It has a recidivism rate of 27% while the US has one of 52%. Why? because humans adapt. In Denmark, you don't get so used to life in prison that you get comfortable.

Danish justice relies in part on handing out short sentences. The average sentence is around six months, while only two percent of stints are over two years. More than 50% of sentences are three months or less. The criminals get out before they learn to cope, making them not want to go back in, the awfulness of being sent in is still fresh in their mind. They still have their life outside of the prison to return to, no starting from square one. They didn't make connections in prison. They didn't have time to become hardened criminals or join gangs for self-defense. They get out before they get worse.

Incarceration rate map. Which is safer, yellow or red?
Incarceration rate map. Which is safer, yellow or red?

Comments

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  • starlightreflex profile image
    Author

    Doug DeWalt 3 years ago from Ohio USA

    Thanks. I haven't any personal experience in either prison, but the numbers are stark in contrast in almost every category. The biggest issue is better follow up and trying something new based on sound psychological advice from today's researchers. It's not an expense but an investment in society if you care to see it. Small countries are kinda forced into it. People like you and I can thanks to free media. Hopefully more people take the time with an open mind. Cheers!

  • TolovajWordsmith profile image

    Tolovaj Publishing House 3 years ago from Ljubljana

    Denmark is definitely a country where we all can learn few good things. Not to mention it is a home of LEGO and birthplace of H. C. Andersen ... I especially like the comparison of prisons in USA and Denmark. Every state is partly constituted by repression and this is the area where the difference really becomes obvious.

  • starlightreflex profile image
    Author

    Doug DeWalt 3 years ago from Ohio USA

    Having spent a few years over "there" (other EU countries as well) I'm just starting to see a few of the things I noticed way back in the 90's being adopted today... ideas like re-using your own bags to get groceries, dining outdoors streetside when the weather is nice, on streets where traffic has been reduced or eliminated to encourage walking. I wish I blogged about it in 1991, especially that we should use 4-cyl turbo diesel engines. I could go on and on...

  • Goodpal profile image

    Goodpal 3 years ago

    Thanks for highlighting the importance of "human development" without saying so. The UNDP's Human Development Index (HDI) gives the same relative picture of countries as you did. In the US, economic growth alone is "development." But Danes and their neighbors focus on people development which is different from maximizing corporate profits alone. Human life has several important dimensions that make it worthwhile, money can at best help achieve it if realized what they are.