Sweden's welfare state; myths and realities: a Marxist analysis of the 'Nordic Model'


  • Madeleine Johansson


In the midst of the global economic crisis and the age of austerity, you sometimes hear comments about how the ‘Nordic Model' is different and Sweden is staving off a crisis that seems to be spreading fast throughout the rest of Europe. In October 2011, the Irish progressive economic think-tank, TASC, organised a seminar entitled 'The Nordic Models: Resilience in Changing Times' where prominent speakers discussed the Scandinavian way and how it could be implemented in Ireland. This 'Nordic model' conjures up a vision of a harmonious capitalist state, where the market madness can be tamed and a welfare state can foster a more equal society. Many of those advocating this model are genuinely looking for reforms and a better society. But the terminology and rhetoric can also be used, especially by Labour Party Government Ministers, in an attempt to delude people that their cutbacks are in reality progressive reforms.