Dead Wrong® with Johan Norberg – Sweden: Socialism or Free Markets?

Sweden…huh? A bunch of socialists. Like Cuba, without the sun. We hate it. Or well, we love it if we’re Socialists. But both the Left and the Right are Dead Wrong. If you think my country, Sweden, is Socialist, you don’t understand the meaning of socialism. Socialist means having the government owning the means of production, like in Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea. But Swedish Social Democrats understood early on that they needed free enterprise to make Sweden prosper. And in fact, they even gave special privileges to big businesses. Instead they tried to socialize consumption with tax and spend policies. But since the 1990s, public spending in Sweden as a percentage of GDP has declined by almost a third, and it’s now lower than in countries like Belgium and France, Finland and Denmark. And we combine this model with relatively free markets, with free trade, with pension reforms, school vouchers and no taxes on property, wealth and inheritance. A recent Index of Economic Freedom even showed that Sweden is more economically free market than the United States. So it’s not Cuba without the sun. It’s more like the United States without the sun, except in summertime, when the sun never sets in northern Sweden.

  1. Thank you , Johan. You are excellent !
    Someone says, it's more like robbing the poor to helping the rich in Sweden . However, more famous companies moving out of Sweden, and very less new big enterprise birth in Sweden during the past 40 years.
    How do you think about all this happening?

  2. The Swedish model is a mixed bag. In some respects, they're more capitalistic than we are in that it's easier to start and run a business, and licencing requirements and regulations are lesser. But they're more socialistic than us in that they have a bigger public sector and tax more heavily.

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