Refugees Are Changing the Land of Ikea and Abba
The Reshaping of Sweden's Social and Political Model
“Which color?” asked the officer, who sat on the other side of the solid table.
“What?” I answered cautiously.
The state representative, whom I met on a gray February day in early 1990 at the Swedish consulate in Zurich, where I studied at that time, became louder: “What color does the toothbrush have?”
I was surprised and a little bit intimidated by this question and responded, whispering, “The color of my toothbrush?”
“No sir,” he screamed back, “the one of …
How Deprivation and the Threat of Violence Made Sweden Equal
War and the Great Depression Spurred Its Embrace of the Welfare State
Sweden is almost universally regarded as a bastion of sensible people, temperate social policies, and steady, evenly distributed economic growth. So it surprises many to learn that the Scandinavian country only got to be this way in the last century, and that the catalyst was violent upheaval: two world wars and the Great Depression. …
The Radical Paradox of Sweden’s Consensus Culture
Our Inclination to Agree Pushes Political and Social Policies to Extremes
In the 1930s, the American journalist Marquis Childs, after spending time in Sweden, wrote the bestselling book Sweden: The Middle Way. Childs described a country without major social conflicts between the upper and lower classes. He was fascinated by the Swedish economic system, which he described as a perfect compromise between free and controlled markets. In the …