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.

Economic inequality has always been with us, and when you observe a dramatic market compression you can always link it to a disastrous event. These events come in four flavors: intense popular military mobilization, violent and …

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 …

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 …

A Nation Jolted by Terrorism Redefines Its Sense of Self

The End of Sweden’s “Naïve Slumber” Lays Bare Its Competing Truths

The woman in the audience is among those who will stay for a while to ask a question. I have just been giving a lecture at the Foreign Policy Association …

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Isn’t Just Fiction Anymore

Today's Sweden Has Come to Resemble the Dark World Stieg Larsson Created for His Hacker Heroine

We are standing in front of a magnificent building at Fiskargatan 9 in Södermalm, Stockholm’s bohemian southern island. The penthouse once belonged to a controversial businessman, Percy Barnevik, the former …

When 82 Percent Voter Turnout Isn’t Good Enough

Election Participation in My Swedish City Could Crush Any Town in America. But We Decided There Was More to Be Done.

I did not receive the warmest welcome from my colleagues four years ago, at my very first meeting of the Falun Election Commission. In fact, most members of the authority …