Sweden:"The Highest Standard of Living Anywhere"
The beautiful nation of Sweden has the highest standard of living
in the world. Its blossoming industry ranks far higher than the United States in most measurements
. Life in Socialist Sweden is free of homeless, reckless, crazy people
. In spite of the 55% income tax
, Sweden has a history of strong family values
, the most progressive education system in the world
and extremely low unemployment
Sweden boasts a new Third Way
between Capitalism and Socialism, making it a great example of new age Collectivism. It's superior unionization
and strong economy
will ensure that it will be a Socialistic success story
for years to come.
If you say Sweden, I say "Socialism WORKS!"
But does it really work?
« Go back to Socialism WORKS!
- the highest standard of living:
- Sweden's most affront claim, that it has the world's highest standard of living, is often based on the measure of equality in wealth redistribution, and not on the status of the national economy, the buying power of the Swedish crown (Krona), the amount of people working for productive aims or creating innovations, nor it's Gross National Product. Claims based on these other properties of the Swedish economy, in support of their "highest standard of living" claim, are mysteriously non-existent.
- blossoming industry:
- Sweden is a great place to start a new business - if you don't plan on being successful. A more lax economic policy in the '90s has increased new startups by 25%, but the economic attitude towards business hasn't changed much since the '70s, where entrepreneurs were treated like pariahs. Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad told Forbes magazine that the Swedish tax bureaucrats would frequently accuse him of using people and "only wanting profits".
- ranks far higher than the United States in most measurements:
- The Swedish Institute of Trade reported in 2002 that "the median household income in Sweden at the end of the 1990s was the equivalent of $26,800, compared with a median of $39,400 for U.S. households". If Sweden were introduced to the U.S. as a new state, it would rank as the poorest according to these standards. This is in light of the fact that these numbers are gross values - before taxes - and Sweden has the highest taxes in the world. The same report also shows that Swedes fare lower than the lowest American socio-economic class, working-class black males.
- free of homeless, reckless, crazy people:
- The unfortunate in Sweden often don't roam the streets aimlessly, in fact, few are often found. That's because the state subsidizes them to live in optimal conditions and to provide little work - and if they are put into labor, it's in a public enterprise run by the government, to help reduce the official share of unemployed people. Workers can earn up to 570 paid days off a year (that's no typo - we know there are only 365 days a year - Swedes can earn more paid days off than days they actually work). So where are the poor, crazy, reckless people of Sweden? Living off Swedish tax money and taking up their inequitable residence in Swedish neighborhoods, and growing in numbers since the financial prosperity of the cradle-to-grave system doesn't discourage their lacklazy habits. They are often joined by productive Swedish citizens who simply take time off, after "earning" years of unemployment benefits. These categories, since they are subsidized, are not officially considered "unemployed" in most Swedish statistics, even though both demographics do no actual work. After making the observation that loons don't wander the streets of Sweden, P.J. O'Rourke commented in his book "Eat the Rich" - "The last time I walked through Gamla Stan, I didn't wonder where the crazy people were. In Sweden the craziness is redistributed fairly. They're all a little crazy."
- 55% income tax:
- This income tax, 55% of the Gross National Product, the highest income tax in the world, is also coupled with sales taxes, property taxes, and other excise taxes and tariffs. The Swedish sales tax, a "value added tax", ranges to 22.5% of items sold, on various goods including most foods. The total ownership of public goods by the Swedish government is roughly 64%, closing in on 70%, once you include all these other forms of taxation. That is not including government-owned means of production, which control about a full quarter of Swedish productivity.
- history of strong family values:
- The history of Swedish domestic relations is chock full of civil rights abuses. 62,000 Swedes were forcibly sterilized by the Swedish government over a 40 year period, until 1974, by government researchers who judged families as being "racially inferior". These sterilizations included both the parents and their children. During this time period, a Swedish Television documentary revealed that Sweden lobotomized at least 500 "undesirables", in some cases without the consent of their families, and that lobotomizations may have numbered up to 4,500 people. These practices predated and surpassed the era of Nazi Germany.
- the most progressive education system in the world:
- Education is universally free in Sweden, and like other free government-sponsored systems, it's on the verge of financial collapse and decay. Per student Sweden pays an average of $7,000 a year, while the 9 years of elementary schooling is required, high school and further education is not. Students receive financial benefits for continuing to high school, in the form of about $100 a month, although by college most people have got weaned on the Swedish unemployment system. Some High School students teach Elementary school, while Colleges teach what Swedish High Schools did 15 years ago, showing the recent decline in the quality of Swedish education. To solve unemployment figures, many unemployed people are forced into menial courses to change their status from "unemployed" to "student", illustrating the general sense of misuse of the Swedish education system.
- extremely low unemployment:
- Sweden, like other Socialist nations, use methods to "hide" unemployment figures from staticians, reflecting a "strong economy". Most people on the government dole are changed in status to not be considered "unemployed", for instance, out of work citizens are often considered "on paid leave", or given a menial class and considered "students", or simply conscripted into public works programs funded by the government and given menial labor there. The government's ability to fund the unemployed hides unemployment numbers, giving Sweden years of having unemployment numbers like 2%. This, like other Socialist nations of it's ilk, does not reflect the real life numbers of regularly working people.
- Third Way:
- Swedes often argue that their system is not Socialism, since only a fourth of the Swedish main lines of production are owned by the government. However, this is in light of the government owning 70% of the Swedish Gross National Product, and controlling the direction of industry through heavy regulation. By mandating who can provide what products and services, and controlling media, education and public utilities, Sweden definitely has found a "Third Way" between Capitalism and Socialism - that way, of course, being to fake Capitalism, where the Socialist goals of redistribution of wealth and products are realized without calling most industry "publicly owned". This same trick of a "Mixed Economy" is used by Socialist economists all around the world to help give government progressive control over trade.
The lesson of the Third Way? Free trade is not free just because someone calls it "free".
- superior unionization:
- Unions in Sweden have become hyper organized, and government involvement is obscure and questionable. Super-union organizations like the LO have official affiliations with the Social Democratic Party, and work closely with the authorities to push domestic reform provisions they feel are "in the interest of the workers".
- strong economy:
- While the government spent 70% of the Swedish Gross National Product in the '90s, for 4 years the national debt doubled and for 3 years the nation experienced negative financial growth.
- Socialistic success story:
- Whether the massive welfare state of Sweden with it's cradle-to-grave public aid, ultra-high taxation, and dishonest economic policies is considered a success is something we'll leave entirely up to the reader.
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