Theme: Can the Nordic region stay top of the trust league?
World Values Survey puts Nordic countries top of the league when it comes to trust between people. In China leaders are astonished at the level of trust shown by Swedish leaders to their workers. Co-operation between the parties to the labour market is one of the Nordic Model's cornerstones. You can see it every day in work places, in negotiations over salary levels and working agreements between the main organisations and in the tripartite co-operation with the authorities when shaping policies. What happens to this complicated construction if the trust is challenged? Some in Denmark now say the parties' co-operation is threatened by political dictates. We look at why people in Iceland in protest elected a comedian as mayor of Reykjavik, and we see how in Finland researchers claim the welfare society does not include everyone. How does migration and poor integration effect trust in society? In Södertälje 40 percent of the population has foreign heritage, and the challenge is to hold the local society together. The Nordic countries might be top of the trust league, but can they stay there?
The Nordic model is usually described as a social system with strong unions and employers' organisations, an active state and a generous welfare system. But one cultural trait makes the model hard to export. People in the Nordic region tend to invest a whole lot of trust in each other.
"What you absolutely must not do during wage negotiations is to lie. You don't have to put all your cards on the table, but if you lie you loose all trust."
More and more important decisions are being made by politicians away from the parties to the labour market. Now experts fear a crisis of trust which will undermine the basis of the Danish model, which is based on negotiated agreements between state, employers and employees.
Södertälje in Sweden has more than 40 percent immigrants of foreign heritage. For some years the municipality received more refugees from war-ravaged Iraq than the USA and Canada combined, so it's had its share of challenges when it comes to jobs, accommodation and traditional solutions. The result: extensive co-operation between municipality and businesses, with input from trade unions.
Reykjavik citizens demonstrated their level of distrust in traditional politics and politicians by voting in comedian Jón Gnarr as their new mayor in last spring's local elections. Mr Gnarr's party, The Best Party, entered a coalition with the social democratic party Alliansen (Samfylkingin).
The welfare state is based on a system of trust where citizens take a lot of things more or less for granted. But there are fundamental changes going on. Researchers in Finland, for instance, say the country is rejecting the idea of integrating immigrants.
Swedish leadership traditions are based on a great deal of trust in employees. Management presume people can work independently without the need for close supervision. But how do Swedish companies function abroad? How do you reconcile the Swedish Dala horse with the Chinese dragon?