“The United States from its inception has been a nation blind to itself – its past, its present and, its future. Intellectually underdeveloped … no industrialised people confronts reality so ill-prepared in terms of ideas and insights to cope with the problems before it.” – Gabriel Kolko The great leftist historian wrote these words in his 1976 masterpiece, Main Currents in Modern American History . They are truer today than ever. (Incidentally, if you want to know how industrial policy and federal regulatory regimes – the bete noire of American conservatives – helped propel the US into the front rank of industrialised nations, study this book.) The US has been among industrialised states of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that score the lowest in terms of the global human development index – Hong Kong was fourth last year and the US 15th. That may be why its current leadership is so obsessed – and obsessively defames – our city and another country that usually ranks high – Denmark (11th). US to reopen Greenland consulate to check China, Russia influence in Arctic From President Donald Trump’s offer to buy Greenland from Denmark to his government’s latest package of US$12 million in economic subsidies to the island ( something I wrote about yesterday ), this policy, which enrages and amuses many Danes, is coloured by what may be called the Fox News world view. Remember, Trump is on record as Fox’s biggest fan. Fox has compared Demark to Venezuela; and claimed that no one wants to work in Denmark because of its welfare state; “nobody” graduates from university because it’s free; and high-schoolers aspire to no more than starting a shop selling cupcakes. Sure enough, a recent report released by the Trump White House criticises the “Nordic socialism” of Denmark, and claims US living standards are 15 per cent higher than the Danes because of their high taxes. Really! “This myopia,” wrote Kolko following the quote above, “is the consequence of the pervasive self-satisfied chauvinism which characterised the United States”. It’s particularly glaring that Trump and Fox picked on Denmark. In 2002, two World Bank social scientists, Michael Woolcock and Lant Pritchett, published an influential paper titled, “Getting to Denmark”, which tries to explain how political and economic institutions achieve and maintain peace, stability, freedom, prosperity and inclusiveness “like Denmark”. Ever since, at least according to Francis Fukuyama in The Origins of Political Order , social scientists have been calling it the problem of “Getting to Demark”, or the Copenhagen Consensus. They don’t call it “getting to the US”, or the Washington Consensus any more.