When Capitalism Saved Sweden

Sweden’s economic history encapsulated:

  • Sweden was once capitalist, and it grew rich.
  • Then Sweden turned socialist, and it grew poor.
  • Then Sweden turned capitalist again, and it was saved!

If you think Sweden is socialist, then you know something that just ain’t so. As has been documented repeatedly by popular treatments and more scholarly discussions, any use of the actual measures of economic freedom that constitute capitalism show Sweden is solidly in the camp of fully market-oriented economies. As Andreas Bergh points out in his 2016 book, Sweden and the Revival of the Capitalist Welfare State, it is inconceivable to think of the Sweden of the current decade as being anything other than a capitalist, and in fact libertarian, country.

… Fortunately for its citizens, but unfortunately for those who think Sweden is still socialist, the Swedish government, more or less by universal consensus, turned sharply back toward capitalism beginning in about 1995. It deregulated domestic industry, privatized its education and pension systems, and opened the economy to international trade and competition. The reason it did this is precisely because capitalism, wherever it is practiced seriously in a system with rule of law and protection for property rights, always creates prosperity. __ https://www.aier.org/article/capitalism-saved-sweden

Sweden was once a very wealthy capitalist country — but then socialism happened, and over the decades Sweden sank into dysfunction and increasing poverty. Only with the revocation of Swedish socialism in the 1990s did Sweden once again become prosperous

What is socialism?

Socialism is “collective ownership” of the means of production. In practical terms, “collective ownership” actually means “state ownership,” or government ownership of all the corporations and companies that get things done in a society. Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea come closest to the ideal among modern nations.

Any concept of “collective ownership” other than government ownership is most often an exercise in fantasy utopianism, which is typical of the modern trend of thinking in “democratic socialism.”

By socialism, I mean a system that relies on state ownership and control of the means of production, state direction of production decisions, and direct state control of education and employment decisions of individuals. If one does not mean those things, then that would require a little more thinking about what “socialism” means. If by “socialism” you mean prosperity and rule of law, then you are confused. __ https://www.aier.org/article/capitalism-saved-sweden

Sweden’s Capitalist Revolution Started in 1995

In capitalism, ownership is (largely) private; under socialism, the state owns and controls the major productive resources of the society.

Between 1999 and 2001, Sweden deregulated most of its economy, sold off most of its dinosaur-slow state-owned enterprises, and converted substantial parts of its welfare commitments into private systems.

  • Sweden fully privatized its pension system, moving from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution.” Yes, there is a means-tested add-on guaranteed pension top-up for the least well off, but the first-line system is personal pension accounts, invested in one of 700 private index funds, managed by private fund managers. It is the most privatized pension system, by far, in all of Europe.
  • Sweden has a 100 percent universal voucher system for education. There are questions about whether Sweden’s educational system works as well as it should, but it is one of the most private (and not socialist) education systems in the world.

Sweden is not alone in rejecting socialism and embracing capitalism. If you look at the general trend in the countries of Northern Europe, it has become much more capitalist in the past 25 years, after its own failed experiments with socialism. In particular, on the measures I have discussed, Denmark, Finland, and Norway are all three even more capitalist than Sweden. __ https://www.aier.org/article/capitalism-saved-sweden

In the 2016 US presidential primaries, supporters of Bernie Sanders held up Denmark as an example of the kind of socialism they were proposing. But Denmark is even less socialist than the US, going by the Fraser Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom. It seems that one can expect neither honesty nor accuracy from the political zealots who are promoting modern “socialism.”

Al Fin was once a socialist, from his teenage years into his very early twenties. But that is typical for young minds at that stage of mental and educational development. But just as “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy,” so “no political ideology survives contact with the real world” — at least within intelligent, honest, and experienced minds.

In his early twenties, Al Fin finally settled on a libertarian ideology. But like all political ideologies, libertarianism could never survive intact when set against the real world turbulence of societies of real human beings. As a political philosophy, libertarianism does well, but as an ideology it stumbles, just like all other ideologies.

Sweden Facing Another Crisis

Today, Sweden faces an immigration crisis. Sweden’s government is importing large numbers of violence-prone, largely untrainable immigrants from the third world. As a result, real crime numbers (not the phony “official crime rates”) are rising in immigrant strongholds. And unless the people of Sweden rise up to change this suicidal policy, Sweden will soon once again be in a world of hurt.

Low IQ immigrants and citizens typically fall for socialist propaganda, and due to differential birthrates leading to more low IQ children, eventually nations who promote low IQ immigration swing toward socialist dysfunction and decay.

Unless Sweden changes course, that sad eventuality is inevitable.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood ©, not even for Swedes.

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