What Can a World in Crisis Learn from Scandinavia?

k.kovacs Radio evolve

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Tomas Björkman

A conversation with Tomas Björkman

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden created a miracle in the last century. Why? In only a few decades, they went from poor feudal agricultural societies to rich, progressive, post-industrial democracies.

Tomas Björkman thinks there is a secret to the miracle. Together with Lene Rachel Andersen, he wrote The Nordic Secret. They claim that this surprising developmental leap happened thanks to the German educational concept of Bildung.

In the 19th century, the Nordic countries developed in a unique program for free consciousness development for people in rural Scandinavia. At times more than 10% of the population went through these programs, which laid the foundation for a mature, self-responsible democratic society. They also explore the close relationship between Bildung and contemporary developmental psychology, such as the similar concepts of “ego-development” and “transformative learning.” Their book raises the question: Can we use newer developmental models to create change in societies that are under stress today?

In this week’s Radio evolve, Thomas Steininger speaks with Tomas Björkmann about what we can learn from this positive transformation and how to apply it to our current global crises.