Anu Partanen: The Nordic Theory of Everything

Anu PartanenSurvey after survey has shown that Nordic countries offer their citizens a higher quality of life than what Americans today are generally able to enjoy. Finnish journalist Anu Partanen joins us to discuss some surprising lessons the United States could learn from the successes of Nordic countries on education, health, gender equality, children’s well-being, and overall happiness. In her book, ‘The Nordic Theory of Everything,’ Partanen examines how Nordic nations have successfully implemented social benefits such as free college and universal health care—all while remaining wealthy, competitive countries.

Partanen dispels myths fueling the widespread American dismissal of Nordic methods as “socialism” that only works in small, homogeneous countries with a collectivist mindset and an altruistic tolerance for high taxes. Instead Partanen suggests that the United States could learn from the experience of Nordic countries—and offers concrete ways for our country to adapt elements of these successful strategies to strengthen our own values of independence, diversity, freedom, and opportunity.

Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and King County Executive, will introduce the event.

The event is presented by the Economic Opportunity Institute, University of Washington Department of Scandinavian Studies, and Town Hall as part of the Civics series.


January 10, 7 pm
Kane Hall, University of Washington
4069 Spokane Ln, Seattle, WA 98105

The event is free. Parking is available in the Red Square Garage.


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