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Swedish Welfare: Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Swedishguy, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. I'm Cleo!

    I'm Cleo! Deity

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    But are social programs more inefficient when applied to large countries? Rather than simply compare the relative populations of the United States and Sweden, wouldn't it be more helpful to show that Germany's healthcare system is less efficient than Sweden's because Germany's population and GDP are larger? Can the inefficiency be shown with the data we have now?

    Maybe so, but I haven't seen it. (I haven't looked hard, either.) I know you're an economist, Jericho, so maybe you could clue me in to the stuff that I'm certain you've read and I haven't.

    Additionally (and as an aside -- ignore it without bad feelings from me), is the U.S. / Sweden comparison even relevant? Shouldn't the comparison be between a potentially more-inefficient-than-Sweden U.S. system and the current U.S. system? It's possible that the U.S. system wouldn't be as efficient as Sweden's, but would it be more efficient than the system we have now?

    Cleo
     
  2. Ecofarm

    Ecofarm Deity

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    I think the key here is "Swedish" Welfare.

    You see, they've had great success with it. Most do not.

    I would say that it needs to be toned back, and it is being toned back. The 100 year dominaion of parliament by social democrats and kommunists is over, and I think that is a good thing.

    Sweden was very successful with its welfare. The country is is a great one, and a democracy, and has equal opportunity.

    That does not mean, however, that welfare will work in large heterogeneous populations, where it has proven time and again to be a disaster.
     
  3. crabapple

    crabapple I am watching

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    Social democrats will return next election, current goverment is very unpopular for some reason
     
  4. Ecofarm

    Ecofarm Deity

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    But will they return with the kommunists as their coalition?

    I think the safety net in Sweden is sufficient (best in the world), and they can afford to move towards competition and individual financial incentive, as well as privitization.

    For instance, the government owned alcohol industry is out-dated. Anyone who has been to the ferry between Helsingborg and Helsingor has seen how silly it is. I expect it will be changed soon. Having 1000s of people bringing cheap Danish beer, wine, and liquor into the country everyday (Denmark has much lower taxes on alcohol) demonstrates the system is failing and (considering the bizarre scene at the ferry) verging on an embarrassment. Do you think this will be changed?
     
  5. crabapple

    crabapple I am watching

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    well i doubt they will get a majority without them( and the greens). And there is no other partner i can see they can cooperate with
     
  6. Gabryel Karolin

    Gabryel Karolin Gammelgädda

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    I think you somewhat overestimate the influence the former communist party has on the social-democrats when they co-rule. It's nearly nonexistant.

    The goverment monopoly on liquor actually works pretty well, imo. Being the sole provider of such a basic commodity should allow them to keep very low prices as well as a very wide sortiment of goods. As well as stopping minors from getting access to alchohol, which is always a big argument for the monopoly. The problem is that they are too expensive, not the means of distribution, the Systembolaget could easily lower the prices to match that of neighboring countries and still justify its existance economically.
     
  7. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    Just FYI, to give you an idea of how Communists and Social Democrats have regarded each other in Sweden.

    The Soc. Dems. and the Communists severed all political ties in the 1920's when the Communists joined the Soviet controlled Komintern. During WWII the country had a coalition govt. of Soc.Dems-Liberals-Conservatives, leaving the Communists out (the Nazis never got enough votes to enter parliament), and the more high-profile Communist activists locked up in logging-camps around the Arctic for most of the war years, just to be safe...

    Through the 1960's the Soc.Dem. govt. were in cahoots with military intelligence to create a political spy organisation, the "Information Bureau" (IB), outside normal channels to keep tabs on the Swedish public specifically in order to ferret out Communists.

    It's like insanely unconstitutional and illegal, and when that scandal broke (the "IB-affaire") it's the biggest Swedish political scandal of the 20th c.

    Traditionally to the Communists the Soc.Dems were always traitors who had chosen the nation over international revolution (read the Soviet Union), and vice versa. They hated each other!
     
  8. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    Smaller yes, more homegenous? Depends a bit on what we are talking about.

    These days roughly 1 Swede out of 8 was born elsewhere. Afaik that's a higher proportion than for the US, no?
     
  9. Endim_Analys

    Endim_Analys Chieftain

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    I can't see the SocDems in a coalition with the Left part. More probable is what we had before 2006, a cabinet composed of only SocDems with parliament support from the Left and the Greens. I can't see why they would choose another five years of Moderate rule over at least having some influence over the cabinet.

    About Swedish welfare. This concept is similar to the use of the words freedom in the USA or Endsieg in the Third Reich, it's a Big_Lie. Something that is necessary to give moral backing to the socio-economic system of the country. Sure it is a comprehensive system relatively compared to the public sector of the USA, but it isn't that much bigger or better than various other European, Nordic or Canadian equivalents. Probably it's not even either of those in an international comparison.

    Is it good? According to our negative rights libertarians, a very silent minority, no. To them it's practically the same as genocide. Our social liberals are mostly for it, as are the socialists. I'm also for it. Is it inefficient? This is often answered with an argument based on standing in line. Well of course you have to stand in line! Almost the entire population can afford whatever they need in medical support. Contrary in a commersially based system only those who can afford it apply, of course the lines are shorter then.

    But I find it's use in english debates to be quite idyllic, much like the worship of Al Gore coming from many american Liberals. Don't forget that it is financed by high taxes, and that taxes are NEVER good. All they do is to strangle the flow of capital between market actors. A very destructive form of income. Therefore I prefer more state owned businesses. But overall I believe that the country and the great mass of population are best gained by a big public sector, mostly since it prevents crime by eliminating the big underclass and transforming them into a poor middle class.
     
  10. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    The analysis that I performed demonstrated one facet of many that could be analyzed. It is considerably more expensive to adminstrate a program over a much larger area with population that is more geographically dispersed than one where these issues do not exist.

    Add to that the differing cultural history, and that explains even more why systems that work in one country don't necessarily translate perfectly to the other.

    As for the counterfactual you requested, I don't see how I could perform that since there is no US counterpart. Counterfactual analysis is often rife with problems, especially in the macroeconomics world, so I tend to avoid doing those, for said reasons
     
  11. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    No, that's not true. The US is most likely around 13-15% foreign born according to the US Census data's latest 2007 ACS survey. (its difficult to estimate the exact size of the illegal immigrant population).

    The US is also much more hetergenous when we think in terms of racial groups. A larger proportion of those minorities in Sweden are caucasian than those in the US. The US, in terms of racial groups, is much more diverse. Different racial groups have different cultures, and different needs / etc, and they're not distribution uniformly across the US either.
     
  12. I'm Cleo!

    I'm Cleo! Deity

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    JerichoHill,

    Thanks for the reply. You had asserted that "Social support programs are more efficient and less prone to waste when they're done in smaller units." I was basically wondering if that statement was based on review of data, or a priori reasoning.

    I suggested Germany only as an example. I mean, if there were data suggesting that the larger your population, the less efficient your social programs, I would imagine that you could at least try to compare countries with social programs of varying efficiency and see if it correlates in any way to size. Hey, you can look at Canada, which is huge and extraordinarily sparsely-populated. I was just wondering if there's any actual data suggesting that size of the country really is that important.

    By the way, the United States actually has a higher population density than Sweden, by about 50%, and that's counting Alaska.

    Your point about cultural history, though, is spot on. There's quite a bit of literature that suggests that the reason the United States doesn't have a welfare state is because of our unique history of race. As ethnically-diverse immigrants make their way into Europe, it'll be interesting to see if and how their welfare states change.

    Cleo
     
  13. Desmond Hawkins

    Desmond Hawkins Deity

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    @JerichoHill

    You have a federal system of government. The federal government could produce legislating that mandate states to carry out certain social programs in a certain way (minimum standards, constraints), and then allow each state to administer the program.

    Similar to the Canada Health Act in Canada. The provinces deliver health care services, but within the constraints and requirements of the Canada Health Act. The federal government also provides transfer and equalization payments, but almost all of teh evil bureaucracy is done at the provincial level.

    Not to open a debate about the merits of the Canada Health Act - which I support. Rather, I just think that the "USA is just SO big" argument is a cop out.
     
  14. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    @@I'm Cleo!

    Thanks for the reply. You had asserted that "Social support programs are more efficient and less prone to waste when they're done in smaller units." I was basically wondering if that statement was based on review of data, or a priori reasoning.
    This is based on both economic research and on logical reasoning.

    I suggested Germany only as an example. I mean, if there were data suggesting that the larger your population, the less efficient your social programs, I would imagine that you could at least try to compare countries with social programs of varying efficiency and see if it correlates in any way to size. Hey, you can look at Canada, which is huge and extraordinarily sparsely-populated. I was just wondering if there's any actual data suggesting that size of the country really is that important.
    Please note 90% of Canada's population lives within 100 miles of the US border. Not so sparse now, eh? Economic theory and practice already has shown that smaller groups avoid free-rider problems and "the problem of the commons" and other terms easily wiki'ed.

    By the way, the United States actually has a higher population density than Sweden, by about 50%, and that's counting Alaska.
    What does this show as a counter argument? Surely my point that the US is geographically and demographically distinct most European countries is not contested.

    Your point about cultural history, though, is spot on. There's quite a bit of literature that suggests that the reason the United States doesn't have a welfare state is because of our unique history of race. As ethnically-diverse immigrants make their way into Europe, it'll be interesting to see if and how their welfare states change.
    I think you mean its frontier status for 200 years and how it developed, vs. Europe's development.
     
  15. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    Sobieski,

    I think we are just now seeing with Bloomberg and Ahnold's Governor and Mayoral alliance the first attempt at re-establishing federalism in a long time. As per your first point, healthcare is a debate currently occuring on a national scale and for a national solution. When that dialogue changes to talk about a states led solution, we may have a practical point to talk about
     
  16. I'm Cleo!

    I'm Cleo! Deity

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    JerichoHill,

    I'm no economist, but I'm familiar with some economic theory like the Tragedy of the Commons. You mention that theory and practice show that social services programs work more efficiently in smaller groups . . . I was curious about the "practice" part. (After all, economic theory isn't inerrant, is it?) Are there data that show that? How big a problem is it?

    I'm just curious. If you don't feel like responding in detail, I'm fine taking "go look it up yourself" as your answer.

    Cleo
     
  17. Desmond Hawkins

    Desmond Hawkins Deity

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    I am not talking state-led, I am talking state-administered. Those are slightly different.
     
  18. AL_DA_GREAT

    AL_DA_GREAT amour absinthe révolution

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    The Swedish government owns pretty much all housing. I was put in line when I was born 1991. It takes 23 years in line to get an appartment ina decent neighborhood. I still have to pay rent though. The rent is baisically the same as in north america.

    The government has to buy everyone's house there for only upperclass people can afford a house pretty much everyone lives in a small state owned appartment. 6 months to a year is standard waiting time to get surgery. My mom is lucky and works as a doctor 200 meters from the or so she will probably get her surgery when someone makes a late cancellation. My grandmother waited 1 month for a hip operation. People asked her if my mom got the time slot through contacts.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
    The socialists broke every rule in every book on national economics. the result was a disaster. Luckily the center right where in power and made the disaster milder. Since the socialists had created a recession the right had to borrow to solve the crisis.

    Jobs would come anyways with 73% employment we need all the jobs we can get. 20% of swedes between 18 and 65 live off the government.

    Taxes have been cut. Counting in % the working poor are the winners. besides I don't see that it is fair that someone who makes 100 000kr a month pays 70000kr in taxes and maybe gets 10 000 back, while the welfare crowed pay 0 in taxes and spend more.

    Why should bus cards and union fees be paid by the government?
     
  19. Ecofarm

    Ecofarm Deity

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    Wow. That's not sustainable.
     
  20. AL_DA_GREAT

    AL_DA_GREAT amour absinthe révolution

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