All of you have probably heard from Social Democrats, that Sweden is the ultimate example that left ideas are in the best interest of your countries. That following the Swedish example will make your country prosperous and that Sweden has succeeded thanks to high taxes and a well built welfare state.
Truth is, this is not the case. In reality, the Swedish experience should rather be used to argue for free-market reforms and against big government. A big welfare state is not the only thing that sets Sweden apart from other countries. Our strong work ethics and high levels of trust might be some of the reasons that Sweden has succeeded even though we have a large welfare state. British Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) published a paper written by Swedish Nima Sanandaji on this issue.
Some of the highlights from it:
· Sweden did not become wealthy through social democracy, big government and a large welfare state. It developed economically by adopting free-market policies in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It also benefited from positive cultural norms, including a strong work ethic and high levels of trust.
· As late as 1950, Swedish tax revenues were still only around 21 per cent of GDP. The policy shift towards a big state and higher taxes occurred mainly during the next thirty years, as taxes increased by almost one per cent of GDP annually