Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jayjay

Imitate Sweden - If You Can!

Recommended Posts

Everyone--on the right and the left--has been saying such good things about Sweden that I've come to hate the place. It's always puzzled me whether we should follow it in creating a better, more comprehensive welfare state, or follow it in introducing more room for private competition, lowering taxes, etc. I was therefore somewhat relieved to learn that we shouldn't even try to emulate Sweden. In the final paragraph of a glowing editorial concerning increased economic freedom in Scandinavia, the author (Adrian Wooldridge) indulges in a wonderful bit of cynicism:

 

The final caveat is about learning from the Nordic example, which other countries are rightly trying to do. Britain, for example, is introducing Swedish-style “free schools”. But transferring such lessons is fraught with problems. The Nordics’ success depends on their long tradition of good government, which emphasises not only honesty and transparency but also consensus and compromise.

 

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21570840-nordic-countries-are-reinventing-their-model-capitalism-says-adrian

 

Perhaps, if we could only get some honesty and transparency from our government, it wouldn't matter so much whether we drifted towards socialism or austerity.

 

I'd be curious about other first- or second-hand views about Scandinavia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree about your sentiment to create honest government and transparency. How we own or don't. Our voices or whose voice in the halls of congress, and with what aim. Like in war, what are we really fighting for, is never ever fully explained. The ethic of forming workers unions has been beaten down in the last forty years or so, and we can say honestly, much can be blamed on the giant unions, as well as a lot of other things --- like poor collaboration between owners of a company and it's workforce, and this includes federal workers as well. Now, not too many recall that some of the taxing bargained for government worker entitlements were done with slight of hand by --- you guessed it, politicians.

If you took all the social handouts your government makes and stacked them up, on the other side would be a larger stack raked in by corporations who invest in other places. Competition is good, but collaboration is genuine and also quite necessary for continual growth. We always think about growth in a corporate type sense --- the corp grows profit, but somehow investment in our own diminishes and it's cyclic. Greed by itself leads eventually to downfall. I think we see this in history.

 

Thanks and great post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should note that the comments section of the article was filled with blasts against government corruption in Sweden. Apparently some people don't appreciate the humor of an English economist complimenting Scandinavian governments to add fuel to a blast on his own. I'm going to have to do more digging to learn if the Swedes do in fact have long-time acquaintance with what I'd assumed was an impossibility: an honest and transparent government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a Swede I want to say that in fact the articles in the are grossly overstating the current situation over here, and sure there have been a lot privatizations largely due to the banking crisis in the early 90s and subsequent budget cuts. BUT, a significant majority of Swedes are still in favor of a strong public welfare system, while also wanting private alternatives. It's having a choice that's the issue here, not simply wanting private over public. And in fact, currently the main discussion around welfare is how to curb the profit interest in private healthcare and education enterprises, and just under 70% of Swedes are strongly in favor of completely banning private welfare operators from taking out any profit from the business.

 

But we certainly have a lot of economic freedom, within reason of course. We want both a strong private sector and a strong public sector, because we realize that having one without the other will just cause our economy and society to stagnate. But of course, while we have that economic freedom we also make sure that it is strongly regulated, and I can safely say that we will never take after America when it comes to regulation (or lack of such) of private business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps, if we could only get some honesty and transparency from our government,

 

Okay, now THAT was funny. Just keep that in the LO if you would please. I like to sort of keep that funny man title to myself out there in the sewer. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Hidden by lostphoenix, February 23, 2013 - Non liberal/ Troll
Hidden by lostphoenix, February 23, 2013 - Non liberal/ Troll

There's like no black people in Sweden. If we do all the universal health care, generous pensions, big government, etc can we get rid of the black people here???

Share this post


Link to post

Tharock220,

 

This is Liberal Only forum. Your profile says that you are a Libertarian.

 

LoreD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tharock220,

 

This is Liberal Only forum. Your profile says that you are a Libertarian.

 

LoreD

 

I'm pretty sure he's a liberal - he was offering Obama free food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited) · Hidden by lostphoenix, February 23, 2013 - Non liberal
Hidden by lostphoenix, February 23, 2013 - Non liberal

I tend to agree with the thought, that even though Socialism IN THEORY, ON PAPER, is a perfect Christian-like, Golden-Rule based-system, it is ONLY if you have HONEST, TOTALLY UNCORRUPTABLE LEADERS, POLITICIANS, RUNNING IT.

 

And seeing that I have said, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER, THAT

I have never seen a country yet, or EVEN A ROOMFUL OF PEOPLE, THAT IS TOTALLY UNCORRUPTED, THAT DOESN'T HAVE SOME GREEDY, WILLING-TO-STEAL-FROM THE-PEOPLE-TO-FEATHER-THEIR-NEST HYPOCRITE PHONIES, WHO GIVE SPEECHES ABOUT "SACRIFICE" AND "CONTRIBUTIONS", THE HYPOCRITE WORDS CERTAIN PEOPLE USE, WHEN THEY WANT TO TAKE MORE FROM EVERYBODY,

 

And these SAME HYPOCTITES, who use words like "SACRIFICE" AND "CONTRIBUTIONS", ARE THE SAME ONES ,WHO LEAVE OFFICE WITH TENS OF MILLIONS MORE, THAN WHAT THEY CAME IN WITH, IN A FEW SHORT YEARS.

 

So when someone shows me Mankind, or even a country, where EVERYONE has changed to the point of following Jesus' teachings like: "Do for the least among you, as you would do for me"

or his teachings on Hypocrisy, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." , THEN, maybe I'll go along with your "share and share alike".

And of course, I'll be going to the the houses of the first Liberals I find, with a Mercedes Sport Coupe, or better yet a 1959 Gibson Les Paul. I'm going to want to "share" his stuff!

THIS one happens to be my favorite:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."....

OH, IF THAT ONE WASN'T AHEAD OF IT'S TIME!

But please, Liberals, educate yourselves - Don't think you are following Christ's teaching, or are on the "side of the angels", JUST BECAUSE YOU FAVOR SOCIALISM.

Too many people armed only with scriptures written thousands of years ago claim to understand God's will and know "exactly" how we should behave socially and politically.

When the last books of the New Testament were written, slavery was acceptable and monarchy was the preferred form of government.

For instance, many socialists claim that Jesus, with his message of charity for the weak and needy, would have advocated programs such as social security, medicaid, and medicare.

Isn't it Christian to help the elderly, the poor, and the sick? YES, OF COURSE IT IS!

But social security, medicaid, and medicare all rely upon the violent, coercive powers of government to redistribute wealth involuntarily from the productive to the non-productive. Does love of one's neighbor come from the barrel of a gun?

Others, and I count myself among them, consider that Jesus' proclamations are calls to individual action.

I should help the elderly, the sick, those weaker than I am.

According to the socialist model, my property is forcibly taken from me and , (lacking major corruption, which is in virtually EVERY GOVT. "HELP" PROGRAM), delivered to those in need. The first caveat, of course, is that socialism breeds corruption and inefficiency. The formula for helping people in this way ends up hurting more. The second caveat is that a man who pays his taxes is not charitable. He does so in order to avoid being harmed.

Jesus did not say, "Blessed are the shirkers and those who cower before might, cower before the Power of Govt. to IMPRISON YOU."

There's simply no charity in the socialist system.

According to our alternate model, men can demonstrate their devotion to Jesus' teachings by acting according to their free will.

Should the old version of the story be true, when we die and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, which will be the more valid petition: "I paid my taxes" ? or , "I gave of my own free will"?

So the trick to Christian theology isn't to say "This and this happened and in ancient Judea would have resulted in that and that, therefore the same should be true for us."

The trick to Christian theology is to strike at the meaning of Jesus' teachings, God's will itself, if you're a believer.

If you're not a believer, (LIKE THE ATHIESM MANY LIBERALS PROUDLY PROCLAIM, THEN TRY TO BRAG THEY ARE "Following Jesus' teachings"), then you've already discounted this post.

Edited by jonstewart

Share this post


Link to post

Tharock220,

 

This is Liberal Only forum. Your profile says that you are a Libertarian.

 

LoreD

libertarian is a political party

 

liberal is a personality type...i doubt he is either

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a Swede I want to say that in fact the articles in the are grossly overstating the current situation over here, and sure there have been a lot privatizations largely due to the banking crisis in the early 90s and subsequent budget cuts. BUT, a significant majority of Swedes are still in favor of a strong public welfare system, while also wanting private alternatives. It's having a choice that's the issue here, not simply wanting private over public. And in fact, currently the main discussion around welfare is how to curb the profit interest in private healthcare and education enterprises, and just under 70% of Swedes are strongly in favor of completely banning private welfare operators from taking out any profit from the business.

 

But we certainly have a lot of economic freedom, within reason of course. We want both a strong private sector and a strong public sector, because we realize that having one without the other will just cause our economy and society to stagnate. But of course, while we have that economic freedom we also make sure that it is strongly regulated, and I can safely say that we will never take after America when it comes to regulation (or lack of such) of private business.

 

Thanks for your post, TheLordMarbury. This all sounds reasonable, though I'd like it better if it didn't make me even more envious of your excellent nation.

 

Incidentally, I've been reading about financial transaction taxes in Europe, and once again The Economist has presented me with some strangely conflicting information regarding the Swedish regulatory environment.

 

I was, you can imagine, quite impressed by the 60%-statistic in the following paragraph:

 

 

 

A Bank of Canada analysis of the effect of previous FTTs found that they tend to harm market quality, by increasing volatility, reducing volumes and raising the cost of capital. The early effect of a French equity FTT that was introduced last summer was to hit trading in the shares of smaller firms. Without a co-ordinated global approach, the taxes are also likely to be circumvented by savvier investors, leaving retail investors to pick up the bill. After Sweden levied an FTT in the 1980s, 60% of trading volume in the most actively traded share classes moved to London; the tax was repealed in 1991.

 

However, imagine my surprise when I turned to the "comments" section (as I'm afraid I do far too often). This authoritative-sounding though prudently anonymous individual says the following:

 

 

 

Just to clarify, the first Swedish tax on securities purchases and sales was introduced in 1983 and did NOT lead to trade fleeing abroad. On the contrary the stock market boomed during the mid-1980s. This led to the tax being raised with effect Jan 1988. Again it was hardly the tax that led trade in Swedish securities abroad, but rather the fear that the fixed exchange rate system would fail. The Swedish case is actually not a very good one for those arguing against the tax. Just to be clear.

 

I will look around for Swedish opinions about an FTT--which, oddly enough, is universally opposed within the financial sector in this country. I would really like to know that such a thing might be a good idea.

 

(Incidentally, I found the comments on this article in general to be quite useful and interesting.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...