By pitting people against each other, neoliberal capitalism promotes suspicion and animosity. This frequently maps onto social divisions and manifests as racism, sexism, xenophobia, and so on. But it also just makes people guarded and antisocial in general. People who live in social democracies are far from invulnerable to prejudice or misanthropy, but the social compact remains more likely to promote kindness, trust, and goodwill among people than neoliberal capitalism — and indeed the Danes are some of the most trusting people in the world, of friends and strangers alike.
One of these political-economic arrangements strengthens people’s connection to the fundamentals of happiness, and of hygge — time, company, and security — while the other severs it. The abundance or scarcity of these fundamentals forms the material basis of collective social life.
It's fair to say that the amount of socialism in a society is like the difficulty level of a video game - without any, it's survival mode. With too much it's like Animal Crossing. American capitalists like to think of themselves as winners in hard mode without recognizing that (A) they're a bunch of pussies compared to the average Somali warlord (B) with rare exception their mommies and daddies loaded their accounts up with DLC before they ever touched the controller. So yeah - it's a lot easier to relax around the scented candles when you aren't trying to pay a million dollars in medical bills. Ten points for Gryffendor.
One book on hyggelig design, written by two Americans, contained a series of interviews with American trendsetters. When asked how she created hygge at home, one responded, “Texture and color are, of course, key. I like the balance of sheepskins, velvet, and wood.” When asked what hygge meant to her, another answered with a laundry list of interior design motifs: record players, reclaimed wood, Edison bulbs, an old typewriter, kilim pillows.
The book nods to hygge being an ineffable feeling. But it doesn’t even gesture at the social conditions required for producing that feeling.
When asked how he created hygge at home, the other one said "a unionized workforce, single-payer medical care, free tuition through college matriculation and state controlled means of production, comrade." So the editors said "aren't you, like, an interior designer, man?" and he said
Drain the bodies
Slice the flesh
Add horsey sauce