Is Sweden Superior?An American friend of mine once noted that Swedes actually seem to believe their own propaganda about being the world's model nation. She's right. Here are a couple of comments on my blog from a Swedish reader who is puzzled about why I write so many critical posts about the situation in Sweden. His conclusion is that I do this because I suffer from an inferiority complex vis-a-vis Swedes. Notice that there isn't even a hint of irony in this thinking:
Reading your comments on Sweden it's pretty obvious that you have a serious inferiority issue vis-a-vis Sweden. I though most Norwegians had put this behind them. Proof that not only many Norwegians, but also many Danes, seem to have a serious complex of some kind vis-a-vis Sweden. Here in Stockholm no one cares one iota about Norway on Denmark. And if we have something to say about either of them, it's mostly nice neighbourly things.
First of all: I decided from the outset of this blog that Fjordman would be a Scandinavian blog, not a Norwegian one. I did this beacuse Scandinavia encompasses both one of the strongest anti-dhimmi nations in Western Europe, Denmark, and perhaps the most pathetic dhimmi nation of the Western world, Sweden. This makes it more interesting for outsiders to read my blog. Besides, being Norwegian, I can easily read Swedish and Danish newspapers as well as my own. I won't bother my international readers with Scandinavian family fights. They date back centuries, as is usually the case in Europe. I could for instance point out that Norway's national savings now exceed Sweden's national debt. Put in simple terms, Norwegians can buy Sweden, one hundred years after our independence. Not that we would want to, of course. Who wants to buy Malmö, anyway? You guys can keep it. Sweden is the largest of the Scandinavian countries, and usually the one that outsiders know best. That is true. Unfortunately, I suspect that the days of Sweden being a model for the rest of the world are long gone. Today, it is more an example of dhimmitude, immigration insanity and politically correct repression of free speech. The "Swedish Model" has become something negative, not something positive. That doesn't prevent leading leftists from clinging on to their now collapsing system:
“Sweden is fantastic!”
“When will Swedish business and the Swedish right feel proud of Sweden?” - Helle Klein, writing on her Aftonbladet-hosted blog under the headline “Sweden is fantastic!” It is, I have always maintained, the Fox News of Swedish print journalism. This is the second time in just over a week that Klein has accused the Swedish right of not possessing sufficient ‘pride.’
Some visitors may still believe the propaganda, too:
Nordic welfare states working just fine
Sweden is home to one of the world's most generous social-welfare states. Here, each parent will get eight months off from work per child, at 80 percent of salary. That's just one of the gold-plated social benefits available to Swedes, who pay some of the world's highest taxes in return. The Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland are thriving, despite having even more generous government benefits and higher taxes than their European peers. This is not to say that the Nordic systems are problem-free. Sweden, for example, is grappling with huge abuse of its generous sick-leave policy. In recent years, it also has admitted large populations of poor, uneducated immigrants, many of whom are failing to assimilate and living on public aid.
But even the official numbers show that the Swedish economic model is in serious trouble:
New Study: 80’s Generation Worse Off
Young adults born in the 1980’s have an appreciably lower standard of living in Sweden than older generations. That’s according to a report published by Statistics Sweden. The report suggests that main reasons behind the gap in living standards are a general demand for higher qualifications, a lack of cheap available housing and mass unemployment during the 90s and early 2000s when the number of available jobs shrunk some 10%. The statistics show that fewer young adults can afford to own a car or take overseas holidays compared to previous generations. More of them are in debt and suffer from symptoms of stress - brought on by low job security.
“Official figures do not tell the whole story”
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.
I believe what triggered the tirade about an inferiority complex was my suggestion that Norway should impose stricter control over our shared border with Sweden, to prevent that country's problems from dragging us down, too:
Swedish Welfare State Cracking?
Are we seeing some major cracks in the Swedish welfare state, with its 25% real unemployment rate? If so, what happens when it collapses? Isn't it likely that this will trigger a flood of "welfare tourists" to neighboring countries? Given that Finland is beyond political correctness and hardly accepts any immigration at all, and that Denmark is increasingly fed up, the weakest link among Sweden's neighbors is Norway. We share a very long border with Sweden, which is among the least protected borders in the world. Our significant oil wealth and naive politics make us an attractive destination. How are we going to respond to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people suddenly moving here? This question hasn't even been asked, much less debated, by a single political leader in this country.
This isn't just something I made up. In Denmark, right-wing politicians are already debating the problem of immigrant "welfare tourists" from Sweden. Some even claim that Sweden poses a threat to Denmark as large as that of a possible Turkish EU membership:
DF wants to fence Sweden out
The Danish People's Party (DF) wants to downsize the expansive cooperation between the Nordic countries in order to protect the Danish welfare system, national broadcaster DR reported. DF MP and spokesman on foreign affairs Søren Espersen said Danish emigration to Sweden was pressing the Swedish welfare system, just as many Swedes had moved to Denmark to receive social benefits there. Espersen said DF should work towards having Denmark withdraw from Nordic cooperation, which allows any citizen of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland or Iceland to move to any of the other countries and gain full access of their social security systems. Espersen said he would take the matter up in the Nordic Council, a government-level organ supervising the nations' cooperation. The Liberal Party' representative in the Nordic Council, MP Kristian Pihl Lorentsen, said he agreed with Espersen. 'It's obvious that if Sweden runs a much more lax refugee and foreigner policy than Denmark, we can't live with foreigners moving to Denmark after an obligatory stint in Sweden,' he said.
I hope Swedes enjoy your superiority. Something tells me you are going to need it soon.