Out of Control Policy Blog

Swedish Supermodel?

Not anymore, says Johan Norberg:

    Long the paragon of social democracy, the Swedish model is rotting from within. Ironically, the unique social and economic foundation that first allowed Sweden to construct its political edifice--and which makes it such a difficult model for other countries to emulate--has been critically weakened by the system it helped create. Far from a being a solution for the new sick men of Europe, Sweden must face serious and fundamental challenges at the heart of its social model.

Recently, Sweden has adopted some market reforms:

    In the early 1990s a deep recession forced Sweden to abandon a lot of the excesses from the 1970s and 1980s. Marginal tax rates were cut, the central bank was made independent, public pensions were cut and partially privatized, school vouchers were introduced, and private providers were welcomed in health care. Several markets were deregulated, like energy, the post office, transportation, television and, most importantly, telecom, which opened the way for the success of companies like Ericsson.

Well worth reading the whole thing.

No doubt attitude plays a role in this too. A Swedish friend of mine speaks about how Swedes regard financial success with suspicion, rather than admiration. According to her, even the founder of IKEA is seen as a scoundrel.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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