Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Scandinavian Welfare State: “Official figures do not tell the whole story”

Via Finland for Thought:

“Official figures do not tell the whole story”

You seem to believe that the Scandinavian social model is tantamount to stopping growth and progress. Why is this? Sweden had the second highest growth rate in the world from 1890 to 1950, but since the tax rate rose from 20 % in 1950 to 50 % in 1980 we have fallen behind. For example, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Sweden was the fourth richest country per capita in the world in 1970 whereas now it is down to number 14. It is no coincidence that an increase in taxes and the size of the state has resulted in a slowing down of economic growth, both in Scandinavia and the rest of Western Europe. We do not have the highest living standards in Europe. True, we still live off the successes that took place before the state and taxes grew, but we are falling behind. Only one of the 50 largest Swedish companies came into existence after 1970, for example. And the low growth rate is apparent in everyday life; you have to wait for years to have treatment under the national health system. If we look at employment, which is important for people's welfare, it has decreased for four years in a row in Sweden. Only 3 million of our population of 9 million go to work on an average working day.


At July 29, 2005 1:49 PM, Blogger Thomas Bolding Hansen said...

The huge taxes are indeed a part of the problem, but so is the sometimes strangling bureacracy and tangled web of rights, government should be kept small, taxes low, law and priveleges on a basic level.
We need a much smoother operation of the welfare system, That is to imply, that the welfare system has something good also which should be preserved. But all within limits and where it serves people right.


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