Tell it to SunStar: Learning from the Scandinavians’ strong social order

SunStar Tell it
SunStar Tell it

By Peter Traenkner

I welcome Miss Kimberly Mae Tejano’s call for more social unity and support and would like to reflect on her well-written letter. (“A request for unity and support,” May 31, 2024 issue)

In my view, these noble goals could be best achieved with a strong “social order.” I refer to an example of a strong social order from the Scandinavian countries.

The “spirit of Janteloven”

Janteloven is deeply rooted in the social psyche of the Scandinavians. It is an egalitarian form of society with strong values:

1. Do not think you are anything special.

2. Do not think you are smarter than we are.

3. Do not think you are more important than us.

Janteloven starts at home and is a strong part of the Scandinavian education system. For Scandinavians, education is the way that the individual matures and takes upon himself or herself an ever bigger personal responsibility towards family, fellow citizens, society, humanity and the global heritage. That educational system seems to have a lasting influence on the culture.

All Nordic countries have the lowest rates of corruption in the world. They have a distinctive sense of the relationship between freedom and communal responsibility. High social trust doesn’t just happen. It results when people are spontaneously responsible for one another in the daily interaction of life, when institutions of society function well.

When you look at the Nordic educational system, you realize that the problem is not only to train people with the right skills. It’s that to have the right lifelong development model to instill the mode of consciousness people need to thrive in a complex pluralistic society.

“To eliminate the negative impact of unemployment” as Miss Tejano writes, all you need is a highly qualified education system and the eradication of red tape and corruption. The calculation formula is very simple: poor education and corruption = poverty.

GDP per capita for 2022:

Norway: US$106,177

Taiwan: US$32,679

South Korea: US$32,422

Philippines: US$3,498

That’s where we stand!


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