Danish programs, agriculture, farming communities


“We are not Denmark.” This assertion by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a national debate in early 2016 as a retort to Senator Bernie Sanders’ calls to learn from Denmark evoked little surprise. The greater surprise was, in fact, that the discussions of Denmark had gone this far. It certainly seemed remarkable when Sanders, shortly aft er announcing his presidential candidacy, praised Scandinavian social programs in areas such as childcare and education, and encouraged Americans to learn from these policies. Such a pronouncement ran counter to traditional path-dependent explanations for American domestic policy, according to which government programs developed as solutions to national issues unique to the United States. By advocating the adoption of policies implemented abroad, Sanders was recognizing the commonality of American problems with global conditions. As his unlikely model, Bernie Sanders chose Denmark, even though the size and homogeneity of the nation radically demarcated it from the United States. Press reports have made these distinctions even clearer, emphasizing the political distance of radical “socialist Scandinavia” from the orthodoxy of capitalist America.