Free Minds & Free Markets

America Should be More Like Sweden. But Not for the Reasons You Think: Podcast

Johan Norberg's new documentary shows how the Nordic nation traded stagnant socialism for a modern mixed economy

Should America be more like Sweden? Have the Swedes figured out how to combine a cradle-to-grave welfare state with a prosperous, modern economy? Swedish author Johan Norberg stars in a new documentary that debunks outdated myths about the Scandinavian nation, arguing that the country that gave us Ingmar Bergman and IKEA has a lot to teach the U.S.—but not for the reasons that most people think.

Norberg's grand tour of his homeland reveals a country steeped in classical liberalism. Americans may be surprised to learn that Sweden's experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform.

Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it's also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws.

Sweden: Lessons for America can be seen on public television stations starting tomorrow. A listing of airtimes is here.

Interview by Todd Krainin.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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  • Don't look at me.||

    Yes, we need more hot chicks.

  • NoVaNick||

    And more ABBA

  • DiegoF||

    Here is one practically trembling in ecstasy.

  • Rich||

    a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws.

    It's the "open immigration" that brought Sweden around, isn't it?

  • Just Say'n||

    I don't know where the "open immigration" component comes from

  • Just Say'n||

    This shit sounds Trump-esque

  • ||

    Almost like they went through a bit of a socialist nightmare, sorted their shit out, and they're worried that the people who weren't there at the time won't have learned the same lessons and will fuck shit up.

    That or the color of their skin.

  • Rich||

  • loveconstitution1789||

    To quote Admiral Akbar, "Its a trap"!

  • Reardon||

    The Wiki page of the country of Sweden needs to be updated to reflect this information. Many parts differ.

  • DiegoF||

    Fuck Sweden and I stand by that. Did you know the Swedish bikini team was just a bunch of American actresses in cheap blond wigs in the sole employ of a New York advertising agency working for a beverage company? Sweden is built on LIES.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    a New York advertising agency

    Sounds more like New York is built on LIES.

  • Conchfritters||

    I agree.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    open immigration

    *clearing throat*

    Sweden's "right wing" democrats just won some elections over there, and the Dalai fucking Lama gave a speech saying "Europe belongs to the Europeans" shocking chai tea sucking yoga practitioners in every blue city in America.

    But honestly, I don't know why people (especially those on the left) were shocked and dismayed.

    If there's ONE person I can think of that casts a skeptical eye towards porous borders and believes that Tibet belongs to the Tibetans, it'd be the Dalai Lama.

  • DiegoF||

    That dude just says whatever the fuck he wants more and more the older he gets. It's like Bullworth if Bullworth wasn't idiotic.

  • SIV||

    I bet the Dalai Lama would like to enact his own Chinese Exclusion Act

  • Robert||

    Who'd you say is fucking llamas?

  • Shirley Knott||


  • Ska||

    That mustache was known as the TIbetan Tickler in lesser known circles.

  • dchang0||

    After watching "Divorce Corp.," the documentary on US family courts as a giant meat grinder of a racket, we also need to copy Sweden's marriage and family law system, especially in regards to child custody and child support. (The documentary refers to all of Scandinavia, but at least some of the interviewees are Swedish.)

    Until we do, more men will go MGTOW and more women will bitch about MGTOW.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Do tell, what's unique about Sweden's marriage and family law system? A happily divorced dude wants to know.

  • dew||

    No idea what's unique, but Sweden has no-fault, strong presumption of joint custody, and only alimony in exceptional circumstances - they assume after a short "transition period" most people should be able to figure out how to support themselves. Apparently lawyers are rarely used/needed. I don't know about child support.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Wholly owned
    Akademiska Hus
    Green Cargo
    Göta Kanalbolag; see Göta Canal
    Svenska Spel
    Casino Cosmopol
    Swedish Space Corporation
    Boxer TV Access

    Shared ownership
    Further information: Government-linked companies

    PostNord (60%)
    SAS Group (21,4%)
    Telia Company (37,3%)

    Sweden is Socialist for the state owning some companies.

  • Conchfritters||

    And they run all the liquor stores. And their beer sucks, unless it's Lapin kulta, because those reindeer herders know how to brew some beer (might be Finnish, not sure). Also, when I used to live in southern Sweden in 1992, everyone would go to Denmark to load up on booze before they came home.

  • DJF||

    Reason won't even talk about China being a Communist Dictatorship with large parts of its economy directly owned by the Communist Party. Why would they notiice Sweden socialism. They like to pretend that its a free trade success story

  • buybuydandavis||

    Too bad they're busy importing a replacement population.

  • Conchfritters||

    Sweden is bigger than California and has a population the size of Chicago. And the Swedish people do very little fucking. They have like 1.3 children per family. It's too bad for them their population can't increase with Roman Catholic immigrants like here in the US, although then again the Lutherans and the Catholics haven't always mixed very well.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, let's not. Unless you want to talk about the Sweden of about 70 or 80 years ago.

  • SIV||

    80 years ago the founder of IKEA was a fascist.

  • No Longer Amused||

    We need to have our own version of the Swedish Bikini Team.

  • JStrummer||

    Sweden has a very generous welfare state with single payer health care and free college, . It has an extremely high GDP per capita of about $53k a year, compared to US at $59k per year.

    It has extremely high labor union rates - nearly 90 percent - which negotiate contracts with businesses that generate equitable distribution of the profits between labor and capital.

    Obviously there can be bad implementation of policies which Norberg recounts. But otherwise he paints an excellent picture of a robust social democratic system that has a substantial welfare system, high wages, more equitable distribution of wealth throughout the country. Everyone should listen to this podcast and ask why we can't more like the Nordics.

  • gphx||

    Fuck you. America should be more like America.

  • Thomas Sowell-cleaver||

    "America should be more like Sweden."

    No. It shouldn't.


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