Read Sweden Scandinavia’s slim socialist or whatever economy. Sweden and now France under macron are trying to liberalize economy why? Hint does not have to do with success ofsocialist model
So, anyone still impressed by “Swedish socialism?” Cuz Sweden’s leaders ain’t…
Sweden 'slimmest Nordic welfare state ’
High taxes, high social security, such has been the identity of the “Nordic Model”, yet hard times and ideological bents have propelled Europe’s northern politicians to reform the cradle-to-the-grave system, argues AFP. The Nordic model, known for high taxes and its cradle-to-grave welfare system, is getting a radical makeover as nations find themselves cash-strapped. During the post-war period, the Scandinavian economies became famous for a “softer” version of capitalism that placed more importance on social equality than other western nations, such as Britain and the United States, did.
Then came globalization and an ideological shift to the right has led to a scaling back of the public sector.
In Sweden, visitors are sometimes surprised to learn about year-long waiting times for cancer patients, rioting in low-income neighbourhoods and train derailments amid lagging infrastructure investment.
READ ALSO: French ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix on myth-busting the image of “leftwing Sweden”
“The generosity of the system has declined,” said Gothenburg University politics professor Jonas Hinnfors. “Much of this already started changing in the 1980s and especially in the 1990s.”
In the wake of a banking crisis in the early nineties, Stockholm scrapped housing subsidies, reformed the pension system and slashed the healthcare budget. A voucher-based system that allows publicly funded, privately managed free schools to compete with state schools was introduced, and has drawn attention from right-wing politicians elsewhere, including Britain’s Conservative Party.
In 2006, conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s government accelerated the pace of reform, tightening the criteria for unemployment benefits and sick pay while lowering taxes. Income tax in Sweden is now lower than in France, Belgium and Denmark, and public spending as a share of GDP has declined from a record 71.0 percent in 1993 to 53.3 percent last year.
Once the darling of progressives, Sweden has become a model for free-market-leaning thinkers including British weekly The Economist, which last year hailed the scaled-down Nordic model as “the next supermodel.”
“They offer a blueprint of how to reform the public sector, making the state far more efficient,” it wrote.
This month, the Wall Street Journal praised tax cuts and entitlement reforms in Sweden and Denmark that “are now discomfiting their big-government admirers overseas.”
Although polls show strong support among Swedes for the income tax cuts of the past few years, the leftist opposition looks set to win this year’s general election. The Social Democrats, in power for much of last century, have been boosted by a string of scandals in private elderly care homes involving degrading treatment of their residents, and by plummeting school results in international rankings.
Critics wonder, however, how the workers party will inance an improvement of public services, having already pledged to keep the popular income tax cuts.
If Sweden is the Nordic country to have gone the furthest in shrinking its welfare state, Denmark has moved the fastest. When her Social Democratic government took power in 2011, there was little to suggest Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt would make any dramatic changes to the country’s cherished welfare state – funded by the world’s highest tax burden.
After a centre-right government had raised the retirement age and reduced the unemployment benefits period from four to two years, “Gucci Helle” – as she is known among her detractors – went on to cut corporate taxes to 22 percent from 25 percent.
Other reforms have included requiring young people on benefits to undertake training, and withdrawing student aid to those taking too long to finish their studies.
It has left her deeply unpopular in some quarters. At last year’s May Day speeches, she was met by jeers as audience members sprayed her with a water pistol, threw tomatoes at her, and even flashed their buttocks.
For some of Thorning-Schmidt’s allies – notably the leftist Red Green Alliance – the reforms have been too much to stomach, and in November her minority government had to seek support from the main opposition parties to pass this year’s budget. Denmark has been spurred into action by a persistently sluggish economy since a housing bubble imploded in 2007, leading to anaemic household spending.
Among Danes there is also a sense that the welfare state was ballooning out of control. In 2011, a TV report aiming to show what life was like for the poor in Denmark visited the home of a single mother on benefits, whose disposable income turned out to be 15,728 kroner (2,107 euros, $2,860) per month.
“Poor Carina”, as she was later nicknamed, sparked a national debate on the level of unemployment benefits, with one pollster crediting her with fuelling a rise in the number of people who felt benefits were too high.
The next Nordic country to reform its welfare state is likely to be Finland, battered by a downturn in the two pillars of its economy: the forest industry and information technology. Helsinki responded to the crisis by announcing in August a slew of measures to put more Finns to work. Under the controversial plan, the retirement age is to go up, time spent at university will go down, and incentives to enter the job market will be boosted for the unemployed and young mothers.
Only Norway looks unlikely to reform entitlements anytime soon, bolstered by its oil wealth. The country is home to the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Worth some 5,116 billion kroner (610 billion euros, $830 billion), each of the country’s 5,096,000 inhabitants is – at least on paper – a millionaire.
Well, back to Venezuela for a few hard truths about socialism and its successful implementation… why does no one EVER learn…
Not so long ago Venezuela, which stumbles along as if on a national breadline, was the wealthiest country in Latin America. And why not? It has the world’s largest proven oil reserves and abundant fertile farmland. Its governmental institutions were once efficient and largely free of corruption. With a few good funerals, times could be good again. > But things look rather different now. The country’s GDP has collapsed; it’s only 60 percent of what it was only four years ago. By contrast, the Gross Domestic Product declined by 28 percent during the Great Depression in the United States. The poverty rate is north of 82 percent; it was 48 percent in 2014. Three quarters of Venezuelans have lost weight in recent years, by an average of almost 20 pounds per person.
Usually it takes a war, an earthquake or a tidal wave of immense and historic proportions to cause a collapse so calamitous. The collapse of Venezuela is wholly man-made. President Nicolas Maduro and his late predecessor Hugo Chavez are the authors of the ruin in their land. Mr. Chavez, who was in power for 15 years before his death in 2013, pledged to build a Venezuela where everyone would share everything equally. In a sense he succeeded. Venezuelans now share equally in misery, as in Cuba, where the government bequeathed by Fidel Castro, the mentor of Messrs. Castro and Maduro, produce misery for all.
Hugo Chavez nationalized various industries only to plunder them, and the baleful results were utterly predictable. Industries collapsed, and Venezuela became “the poor man of Latin America.” He raised interest rates far beyond usury, further devastating the economy. He spent lavishly on social programs, destroying the nation’s rainy day fund. When oil prices dropped, as they always do, there was no way to get in out of the rain.
Nicolas Maduro has succeeded in making things worse. Coming off a stellar career as a bus driver, Mr. Maduro has turned to printing money, and the government can hardly find money to buy the paper to print the currency on. It might turn to printing the currency on toilet paper, but there’s a severe shortage of that, too. With the fall in oil prices, there’s hyper inflation: last year, consumer prices rose 800 percent. Because the government is running out of dollars it can no longer import goods. Hence the shortages of food, medicine and everything but misery.
Mr. Maduro has turned, as despots will, increasingly authoritarian. Opposition leaders are thrown in jail. A sham election this summer packed the government with his cronies. Torture of prisoners is widespread. The only good news is that this suggests he’s afraid his regime can’t last. He’s trying to persuade Beijing and Moscow to throw him a lifeline. If it’s true that it’s darkest before the dawn, President Maduro’s end is in sight.
Scandinavia still outperforms the US on most quality of life indexes. No cause and effect relationship between “desocialization” and higher scores demonstrated.
Ah but you forgot to add the benefits of largely uneducated immigration to the tune of 70 million and you have failed to ask the important question of why said socialist paradise feels the need to reform and in ways that lessen said paradisical socialism eh?
True. We’ve been over this before.
He raised interest rates far beyond usury, further devastating the economy.
@jotham’s head must be spinning!
He spent lavishly on social programs
Um, not sure what the definition of lavish is here. But he did start some new programs.
Coming off a stellar career as a bus driver, Mr. Maduro has turned to printing money
The rest is just paragraph after paragraph of Venezuela is crappy, like we didn’t already know that.
To sum up, what the article actually tells us about the causes of all this crappiness is really just the following:
- state-owned enterprises
- high interest rates
- social spending
- printing money
This is apparently the new definition of socialism. Good thing it never happens in rich countries!
Comparison between pre-Chavez and Chavez Venezuela health care spending (from Wikipedia):
Shouldn’t you be praising Hugo for stabilizing and eventually lowering health care spending?
As for the last one, I think in polite circles it’s called quantitative easing…
If you have an actual explanation of how these four pillars of Smithian Socialism have caused failure in Venezuela yet fail to cause failure in most of the countries where they occur, I’m all ears.
Oh and one more thing, what exactly does this mean?
Which year, and what measure of wealth?
You’re still not making a coherent argument here.
- Quality of life indexes don’t include immigrants?
- The US doesn’t have immigrants?
- The US would outperform the rest of the OECD if all OECD countries lost all their immigrants (however that’s defined)?
Pick one or more (or at least something coherent) and show us some evidence to support your claim.
and you have failed to ask the important question of why said socialist paradise feels the need to reform and in ways that lessen said paradisical socialism eh?
You have failed to ask the important question of why said capitalist paradise feels the need to reform and in ways that lessen said paradisical capitalism eh?
The mysteries of politics, man.
Why did the US go Republican last year? Why did it go Dem eight years before that? And Rep eight years before that? And Dem eight years before that? And – 老天！ Does this mean a two party system is the One True Form of Government?
- Why did the SOC feel the need to reform itself into the KOC?
- Why did the PRK feel the need to reform itself into the SOC?
- Why did DK feel the need to reform itself into the PRK?
- Why did the KR feel the need to reform itself into DK?
- Why did the KOC feel the need to reform itself into the KR?
- Why has the KOC died and been reborn? Does this mean monarchy is the One True Form of Government? @discobot fortune
Cannot predict now
Okay God-Emperor, whatever you say!
Wow. You are like totally on your own planet. Bye now.
Damn it yyy, you scared him away again!
Hopefully he’ll be back to gloat once the International Covfefist Conspiracy takes over the world.
He’ll be back when a mob is marching through Caracas with Maduro’s head on a stick. Should be any time now.
“Fred” is probably parachuting into the jungles of the PRV right now with a box of exploding Cuban cigars.
I thought Vietnam was a Socialist Republic not a People’s Republic.
Or do you mean the airport near Olomouc, Czechia (not sure how jungly it is there) or the Pearl River Valley, Mississippi (wet pine savannah)?
Sorry. I keep forgetting we’re in different time zones.
Is that before or after the Castrilos?
Reference the Film , “IF”.
I always found this film rather disturbing as it is, supposedly, set at a “traditional” English Public School. It is incredibly accurate in many ways ,however I felt that there was a false portrayal of the views towards homosexuality. If anything there was a bigoted, discriminating, viewpoint on the issue.
I suppose having 500 boys, living together for months on end created frustrations, but the life of anyone thought to be gay would have been awful.
Institutional system that had been the same for 500 years.
The advantage of sending your offspring to these Schools being obvious, in terms of further education. I recall a large percentage gaining entry to Oxbridge, at a far lower academic threshold than would be the case today.
Looking back at the teaching staff, over 90% came from Oxford or Cambridge Universities.
Sadly, this “advantage?” did not help me much in life.
Oh wait, it taught me to stand on my own two feet and the art of survival, when isolated , away from home, I suppose.
You mean in the film or in the actual schools?
Gavin Lambert’s memoir Mainly About Lindsay Anderson is quite revealing, not just of Anderson’s career but also of the kind of environment they grew up in.
Apologies, i was referencing my experience at a British Public school
That ain’t right. It is Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela.
They have it like that in letterheads. Along with “un saludo patriotico y revolucionario” - a patriotic and revolutionary greeting.