Monday, November 5, 2012

Sweden--To be Socialist, or not to be Socialist, It is a question of cultural mores and attitude/trust towards govt. Could we use a little (a lot?) of it ourselves???

Here is an interesting (and easy to read) paper on the reasons Sweden, thought by most to be a "Socialist" country, is actually (perhaps) more market-orientated than some countries thought to be "Free Market" (not going to mention any names).

My take away from this: Cultural mores in regards to the use/abuse of social programs and trust towards government. Both of which we lack in the un-named country suggested above.
(HT: Newmarks Door)

The whole thing is worth a read, but here is some of the conclusion I excerpted:

Scandinavian societies have developed a unique culture with a strong work ethic and strong ethical

attitudes regarding the claiming of welfare benefits. There are also high levels of trust and social

cohesion. This social capital, which was built up before the advent of the modern welfare state, has

played an important role in the success of Scandinavian countries.

For many decades, this pre-existing culture, allowed countries such as Sweden to have extensive

welfare systems without the social difficulties, rise in worklessness and other effects that many

would have predicted. Scandinavian countries have also reaped the rewards of relatively free market

policies in some areas of economic life to reach impressive levels of wealth creation.

To characterise the Swedish model either as a social democratic utopia or a failed socialist

experiment is a mistake. Sweden is a successful country in terms of having a low poverty rate

and long life expectancy. However, these factors have much to do with non-government facets of

Swedish society that pre-existed the welfare state.


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