Denmark : Globalization and the Welfare State Essay

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DENMARK : Globalization and the Welfare State

Today Denmark is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Unemployment rates are low. Denmark also has low inflation and a surplus on both balance of payments and public expenditure. The World Economic Forum’s 2008 competitiveness index ranks Denmark in its Top Three world-wide. And the World Transparency Index ranks it as the world champion in non-corruption. Furthermore it should be noted that other international comparisons nominate the Danes as the happiest people in the world! Denmark’s success is so impressive.

However, in the 80s and 90s, as the globalization intensified, some economists were skeptical of the ability of small states like Denmark to navigate world
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This is due to its relatively homogeneous population of 5.4 million, a strong sense of national identity, and the fact that, until recently, immigration flows were moderate. Most immigrants in Denmark came from other Nordic or Western countries, and the country experienced more emigration than immigration. The problems the Danish welfare state faces in terms of integrating immigrants are rooted in two interconnected phenomena. One is that the government and the public believe the continued success of Denmark depends on cultural homogeneity. The second is that policies of entry and integration have been inadequately geared to distinguishing between different "categories" of immigrants (e.g. economic migrants versus refugees, male versus female immigrants, Muslim versus non-Muslim), and have also been unprepared for the increase in the number of refugees and family dependents. However, since politicians and the public are beginning to realize that Denmark will need more immigrants in order to cope with the an ageing population and to ensure a sufficient supply of skilled as well as unskilled workers to a booming economy, there are a number of concrete changes in immigration policies. They include automatic citizenship for children born and raised in Denmark, regardless of their parents’ citizenship; equal welfare rights for immigrants and Danes; vast reductions in application fees and cash securities; expanded work benefits
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