The most advanced countries in the world - Metamoderna (2023)

PublishedApril 28, 2017Vonhanzi free night

What does a political revolution look like today? Violent riots and burned car tires? Bloody blows and heads rolling? Or millions of people gathered in the streets? No, in the most culturally and economically developed parts of the world system a truly transformative political revolution is taking place, very much in the spirit of Marx's ideas. And development has progressed by a wide margin in a rather quiet corner of the world: Scandinavia. The golden conditions for a revolution are where everything works and runs smoothly. The Nordic countries are extremely orderly societies, still today under the pressure of globalization and immigration. and is in itextreme degree of orderand the long progression of the dynamic inherent in modern society: that transformative political revolutions are taking place. Profound changes in social, economic, political, and behavioral structures are occurring rapidly because this is one of the few places on earth that works well enough to make it possible.

The following is a lightly edited excerpt from Hanzi Freinacht's book"The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One".This is the first book in a series on Metamodern Thought, a work of popular philosophy that examines the nature of psychological development and its political implications. What you will read next comes from the chapter on how politics changed, the rise of post-materialist values, and how a new meta-ideology has already conquered the political spectrum in the Nordic countries.

In the Nordic countries we are beginning to see clear patterns of metamodern politics in action. The metamodern political revolution goes unnoticed by the global media, and academia, because it is happening so quietly and gradually. Furthermore, the Scandinavians themselves are completely unaware of the profound global changes that are taking place in their own backyards. Still, it has not escaped the attention of people inside and outside of Scandinavia that the Nordic countries are arguably the most advanced societies on earth.

But political "progressivism" is a rather strange term. The idea posits that there may be some form of 'historical progression', a goal or at least a direction in which humanity can and should evolve. It also assumes that there is a "backspace" with predefined measures and markers denoting both the direction and distance of social development.

Before continuing, a few different possible meanings of "progressive" should be mentioned. When people use the word in different contexts, progressivity can mean:

  • As a result, newly created securities are preferred over securities that have been around for a long time.
  • The former is invested in the political ideas and opinions that people will ratify in the future, so the future "proves you right."
  • Someone who is passionate about changes in society and therefore willing to take risks and experiment with new forms of society.
  • It is simply left, and the more left, the more progressive.
  • This is just good and not bad (conservative) or bad (regressive, reactionary).

Neither of these meanings captures the idea that the Nordic countries are "progressive". Actually, we are not talking about a progression through historical time, let alone a specific progression.

“Sweden is by no means the socialist semi-utopia that is sometimes portrayed and never was, but overall the country has some qualities that make it a good example of what general cultural progress could look like. "

What makes Sweden progressive?

So what do we mean? Let's see some examples. Sustainability issues are discussed much more frequently in Sweden by all parties than anywhere else in the world. This country also hosts more refugees than other European countries (at least until it reaches an administrative threshold in 2015), has lower levels of overt xenophobia in surveys, spends more money on foreign development aid, is more digitized, has Less crime and corruption. , lower income inequality (at least until recently), higher living standards, higher levels of reported happiness, and greater gender equality (Sweden has the world's only major feminist party and an explicitly feminist foreign policy). The country generally supports free trade and manages to have a relatively small corporate bureaucracy, despite high taxes and strong labor rights. People are living longer, in better health, with better teeth, and with greater trust in other people and authorities. The people are more secular than in almost any other country. Young people growing up there today often don't start serious work until they are in their late 30s, after traveling the world, studying (state-funded), playing computer games, and attending music festivals. Gender equality is much better, leading to liberal and permissive expressions of sexuality. When girls choose boys, they lag less behind the hypermasculine and socioeconomically dominant than in other countries.

Sweden is by no means the socialist semi-utopia it is sometimes portrayed to be, and it never was. There is unemployment, social tensions of all kinds and much human and animal misery. Issues like racism, exclusion and poverty are on every corner. Police officers, nurses and teachers feel underappreciated and protest against falling real wages, sometimes to the point of being fired. But overall, the country has some qualities that make it a good example for understanding what general cultural advancement might look like.

Sweden is a small part of the economic system with around seven billion people that today spans the entire world and accounts for around 1/700ºThe world population. It occupies a favorable position within that system, having managed to combine relative prosperity with relative equality and stability for a considerable period of time. There is nothing in the "Swedish soul", nothing inherent in its "Swedish model"home of the people(“La Casa del Pueblo”, a welfare system that is actually much more similar to that of other European countries than is commonly thought) or about the country's natural resources that explain this development. When Mary Wollstonecraft, the English mother of the first wave of feminism, was traveling through Sweden in 1796, she wrote in her famousLetters from Sweden, Norway and Denmarkabout the shockingly low status of women in these societies, how barbaric it all seemed. Until the beginning of the 18th century, the Swedes were probably the most bloodthirsty and bellicose people in Europe. It was not until 1865 that the country transitioned from a status system of nobility, church, bourgeoisie and peasantry to a bicameral parliamentary system (which has since been replaced by a single chamber).

Sweden had relatively few industries and a poor population, with large migrations to America in the 19th century.ºCentury and widespread poverty until the early 1920sºCentury. The comparatively small bourgeois class did not gain the same political influence as in France and Germany, and the labor parties established social democracy, an alliance between poor and relatively conservative workers and progressive intellectuals (supported by the Peasant Party). In exchange for representing their economic interests, the intellectuals imposed their more cosmopolitan values ​​on the workers through the institutions of the industrial nation-state: the school, the media, and the bureaucracy. This system was superseded by some "popular movements" (Swedish:popular movement) where a broad participation gathered – Pentecostalism, labor movements, anti-alcohol and later anti-nuclear movement. Accounts of these popular movements tend to be highly romanticized, but they have played a role in popularizing "modern" and "progressive" values.

Since the country was not involved in the world wars, its relative economic position strengthened and it was able to experience impressive growth in the 'golden age' of the decades after World War II.

What makes Sweden unique is that it has developed relatively stably in a relatively favorable part of the world economic system for trade, growth and exploration, within a relatively short geographical, cultural and linguistic distance from the centre. And the.

“Even if the values ​​of countries change over time, the general trajectory is clear: we are moving towards a world with more cosmopolitan values”

progressive values

Society in most of the world tends to be much more turbulent, especially in times of rapid change and technological expansion. But for various reasons, this particular part of the world, not just Sweden but also the rest of Scandinavia, has managed to develop in relatively stable conditions a fully developed post-industrial economy with more or less the entire population on board. . This caused the cultural values ​​of the population to change in the second half of the 20th century.ºcentury, and the political landscape changed subtly but radically accordingly.

You may be familiar with the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural World Map (see image below). Drawing on by far the most comprehensive sociological research in the world, it asks people in most countries of the world a series of survey questions, with a total of more than a thousand variables (although not all participants answer all of them). the questions). It has amassed millions of entries over the decades, exploring cultural differences and trends over time. In the scientific literature there is almost a whole genre of work aimed at criticizing various aspects of its methodology. However, while criticism can be leveled at several aspects of the World Values ​​Survey, one of its main findings seems quite solid: the big picture of the Cultural Map of the World. As you can see in the figure, Protestant Europe (and in particular the Nordic countries) occupies the upper right corner of the two-dimensional cultural map of the world. This means that people here tend, on average, much more towards rational-secular values ​​(versus traditional values) and self-expression values ​​(versus survival values) than anywhere else in the world. Here people believe in abortion and gay rights instead of the kingdom of God, and where they go to India to 'find themselves' on a spiritual journey instead of graduating on time. .

Source: Inglehart-Welzel culture map Well, 2015.

It cannot be a coincidence that the most stable parts of the world, the parts that have long had rich and fair economies, also have the most "modern" worldview among their populations. In fact, the Nordic countries have accelerated in this direction over the last two decades, at the same time that they have become countries of immigration, absorbing large numbers of people from more traditional societies. In a way, the numbers hide an even stronger and clearer trend: late modernist values ​​are rapidly eclipsing traditional values. Even immigrants to Sweden tend to be more “hip” than, for example, the average Polish resident. If you go back a few hundred years and look globally, the trend becomes clear. The Swedes and Danes would have been conservative farmers then, perhaps comparable to Afghans today. Even if countries' values ​​change over time, the overall progress is clear: we are moving towards a world with more cosmopolitan values; Values ​​that, according to Inglehardt and Welzel's own analysis, work better in modern society.

Think about it. The most secular people in Pakistan, for example, are the wealthiest and most educated, and these are the ranks to which most other Pakistanis aspire. Wealthy Pakistanis, on the other hand, happily come to the United States and adopt much of the American way of life and values. In the US, the liberal press has a consistent advantage over the conservative press, as TV hosts ridicule conservative rural folk, and the higher status people are liberal New Yorkers rather than rednecks and Christian fundamentalists. And among the liberal population of the US, Sweden and other Nordic countries have a very strong appeal, being considered 'clean' and 'fresh', or simply progressive. If you are a liberal lawyer in Boston, you will enjoy watching the Danish TV series.the castle, (where a divorced mother of two is the prime minister of Denmark, juggling a fictitious Green Party to outwit conservative, outspoken populists). And you're likely to listen to Nordic pop artists like Robyn, Elliphant, MØ, Röyksopp, or Björk because they subtly embody more forward-thinking values ​​in her artwork.

"SoyNOto say that the rest of the world is "destined" to become like the Nordic countries... but here there have been undeniably significant sociological developments over the last century; Changes that can help us understand future developments in other countries.”

The direction of social progress.

So the rapidly globalizing world economic system has created some niches where the values ​​and worldviews of a more global digitized civilization seem to have gained a stronger foothold, and they happen to be found in the Nordic countries. And these bags have a high symbolic value in the status chain of the world's cultures, as evidenced by the growing cultural exports of these countries and the strong “Nordic brand” in relation to the small size of the region.

None of this should be controversial. Some parts of the world appear to be 'developing' values ​​ahead of others, thus acquiring 'progressive' values ​​which in turn confer different advantages in the global marketplace. After all, why should we expect all seven billion of us to change our values ​​in perfect harmony with one another? And why should we expect all value systems to be equal on the global stage of cultural prestige?

SoyNOsay that the rest of the world is "destined" to become like the Nordic countries: technology and culture are evolving too fast for these silly flashbacks. There will never be 1960 or 1990 again. Each historical moment is unique. Of course, I'm also not saying that the world will be irrevocably "westernized" and "secularized" (certainly more goes on under the sun than that), but it is undeniable that important sociological developments have taken place here over the last century; Changes that can help us understand future developments in other countries.

We are likely to see new and unexpected forms of society emerge, for better or worse. In this sense, the Nordic countries offer an interesting case. If we really want to understand the development of the world economy and the emergence of its political, cultural and socio-psychological landscapes, we must not limit our analytical vision to the consequences of the Arab Spring or the struggling Kurdish state. In this coherent world system, we need to look for places where people have the ability to write new values ​​on new blackboards.

Social progress occurs when enduring conditions of stability and abundance allow changes in the games of daily life: at work, in dating, in groups of friends, at home (stop hitting the kids, for example), in the neighborhood, at school, in politics, in the market - and in the labor market.This makes everyday games smoother, more responsive, fairer, and more forgiving.

From this perspective, it becomes clear that the Nordic countries are by far the most advanced societies the world has ever seen. Here we are more likely to find the values ​​and worldviews that best correspond to a complex, digitized, global, transnational, post-industrial society. (Now don't get arrogant and patriotic with me you stupid Swedes, it's not about you being better than everyone else).

hanzi free nightis a political philosopher, historian and sociologist, author of"The Listening Society","Norse ideology" and upcoming books The 6 Hidden Patterns of History and Outcompeting Capitalism. You spend much of your time alone in the Swiss Alps. You can follow Hanzi on his Facebook profileHere, and you can speed up the process of bringing new metamodern content to the world by donating to HanziHere.


  • Published8 January 2023

    NEW EBOOK: 12 Commandments

  • Published31. August 2022

    A four-dimensional fractal approach to ethics

  • Published21. August 2022

    The economy of happiness

  • Published14. August 2022

    What does the next level of wellness look like?


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Last Updated: 09/30/2023

Views: 6103

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Birthday: 1992-06-28

Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

Phone: +6824704719725

Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.