Sweden: Just a Bunch of Welfare Layabouts
Actually, no, that’s not true. But this is one stereotype that just won’t die. One of the favorite conservative warnings is “we’ll turn into one of those cradle-to-grave welfare states, just like Sweden.”
It’s popular to portray Swedes as too lazy, too complacent; they don’t have any incentive to work or be inventive since everything is handed to them. Etc.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Sweden has one of the most competitive economies in the world. Swedes have the world’s highest per capita ownership rate of second homes and pleasure boats.
They have one of the world’s best education systems, and they have cradle-to-grave health care.
So there. You can have a booming economy and quality healthcare and education for everyone. Take that! A British newspaper recently called Sweden the most successful society the world has ever known.
And for people who still insist on condemning the rest of Scandinavia as a bunch of zombie conformists — Sorry! Finland’s education system is considered the world’s finest. Norway, which shares Sweden’s cradle-to-grave-everything, is considered Europe’s most business-friendly country. Iceland has one of Europe’s highest growth rates.
A British economist said Sweden and the other Nordic countries are among “the most efficient, affluent and equitable countries in the world.”
These countries have their problems, of course. They’re not utopias. But it’s gonna have a hollow ring to it the next time a rightwing politician warns that a certain social program will make us “just like Sweden.” Cool. There are worse things that could happen.