Monday, June 01, 2009

Swedish lessons

I've mentioned before that Europeans -- and the Swedes in particular -- are in a number of respects not as socialist as is commonly thought. The Cato Institute notes a Christian Science Monitor story highlighting further free market moves by the Scandinavian country:
Last week, the country’s center-right government began selling off state-owned pharmacies, one of the country’s few remaining nationalized companies, as part of an ambitious program of liberal economic reforms started in 2006. In the same week, a study by the Swedish Unemployment Insurance Board revealed that almost half of the country’s jobless lacked full unemployment benefits. Many opted out of the state scheme when the cost of membership was raised last year; others were ineligible.

State pensions, schools, healthcare, public transport, and post offices have been fully or partly privatized over the last decade, making Sweden one of the most free market orientated economies in the world, analysts say.
In addition to what Sweden has done, it is also useful to look at what they haven't done -- most notably refusing any government bailouts for troubled auto manufacturer Saab. As we move to replicate the European welfare state the most famous welfare state of them all is moving in the opposite direction.

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