Facts about Sweden

1. No new net jobs have been produced in the Swedish private sector since 1950.

2. “None of top 50 companies on the Stockholm stock exchange has been started since 1970.”

3. “…well over 1 million people out of a work force of around four million did not work in 2003 but lived on various kinds of public welfare programs, such as, pre-pension schemes, unemployment benefits, sick-leave programs, etc.”

4. “Sweden has dropped from fourth to 14th place in 2002 among the OECD countries (i.e., affluent industrialized countries) in terms of GDP per capita since 1970.”

Here is a more complete summary. Here is the paper itself. Here is Nils Karlson, the author of the relevant essay. Here is some debate on whether Sweden is richer than Mississippi and Alabama. Admittedly Sweden has a higher quality of public goods and offers more leisure time.

My take: I’m willing to take the Swedish model seriously. I’ve been to Stockholm several times and loved it. That being said, how attractive will this model remain when it offers only half of the per capita income of the United States?

This is a real question, not a rhetorical one. On one hand, freer societies will reap especially high benefits in an era of rapid technological change. On the other hand, the innovations of the United States, and other countries, indirectly subsidize Swedish government spending.


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