Today I start my trip to Denmark and Sweden.  I’ll be lecturing at CEPOS in Copenhagen, and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics and Mont Pelerin Society meetings in Stockholm. 

Since I’ve never visited either of these paragons of the Third Way, it’s a good chance to test the rationality of my expectations.  My plan: I’m write down my expectations before I go, then see how they compare to my observations when I return.  Here goes:

1. Denmark and Sweden will be more aesthetically pleasing than most of the U.S., but markedly less so than Alpine Switzerland.

2. Middle-class Danes and Swedes will be noticeably poorer than middle-class Americans, especially on the vital dimensions of living space, car ownership, and meat consumption.

3. There will be 75% fewer beggars per block than in major U.S. cities, but somehow even in “the People’s Home,” they’ll be there.

4. I will perceive the Danish and Swedish systems to be extremely oppressive of high-ability and materialistic people.  In fact, all things considered, I will deem Singapore a freer country.

5. However, aside from a few indigenous libertarians, these oppressed classes will suffer from false consciousness – just like the Singaporeans who laughed in unison when I denounced conscription as state slavery.