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Scandinavia Today / Sweden


The Nordic politico- economic approach to modern governance could lead over hard toned capitalistic models 

Saturday, 02 February 2013
The Nordic countries could lead the world in producing progressive economic ideology that would help strengthen governments and improve the quality of life of people if democracy really means what it is said.

At this moment, things are not really going well in Sweden and most of the Scandinavian economies. Growth is slow and unemployment is rising. However, political and economic vision in these countries that make up the Scandinavia -  Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway is very clear - policies are driven largely by the people and the feelings of the electorates are real.

According to the British economic magazine, The Economist, the Nordic countries are likely to assume a role of leadership is showing the way in which countries can transform their systems for a more progressive vision. One reason for that, according to the economist is that these four Nordics—Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland—are doing rather well. But these countries have always been doing well depending on who is looking at them, what time and what is being looked at.

In the past 5 years for example, the Nordics countries have clustered at the top of the league tables of everything from economic competitiveness to social health to happiness. They have avoided both southern Europe’s economic sclerosis and the American extreme inequality, the economist observes.

Today the pain of having a smaller economy reliant on the EU and the international market is hitting the Swedish and the other Nordic countries. In Sweden, the current rightwing coalition government has been in several instances tempted to shift toward a more American style economic system where by Socialist model will gradually be pushed out in favour of a more aggressive capitalist market system. They have faced intense resistance and scrutiny from the leftist Social Democrats and its allies and surprisingly from the far right Sweden Democrats, which is currently getting stronger.

According to the economist, the Nordics also offer something for the progressive left by proving that it is possible to combine competitive capitalism with a large state. Public sector employs about 30 percent of the workforce, compared with an OECD average of 15 percent.  However, there too, the idea of the part played by the private sector and competition is paramount - for example, Sweden let go of iconic companies such as Saab to bankruptcy and Volvo is now owned by China’s Geeley. Looking for the long term Norway has its massive $600 billion sovereign-wealth fund, something the so-called leaders such the UK could not boast during their own ear of oil boom

In the 1990s one of the harshest criticism heaped on the Nordic model was that due to the generous welfare system, public spending as a proportion of GDP was higher than many cutthroat capitalist would want. Even today, such spending is still high but looking at the state public finances and debt to GDP, Sweden and most Nordic countries have very low debts. Taxation and as the Economist noted, "their levels of taxation still encourage entrepreneurs to move abroad: London is full of clever young Swedes."
Continue to the Economist

Also hear what Princeton University Professor of Economics, Paul Krugman had t say about Sweden speaking on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart."
by Team

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