There have been a number of stories this week around the online rightwing about how Sweden and the Nordic countries have moved right, probably inspired by this Economist story. The story describes nations that seem hardcore Thatcherite:
- * Taxes have been cut: the corporate rate is 22%, far lower than America’s.
- * [Sweden’s] budget deficit is 0.3% of GDP; America’s is 7%.
- * Denmark and Norway allow private firms to run public hospitals.
- * Sweden has a universal system of school vouchers, with private for-profit schools competing with public schools.
“All rights and obligations are stipulated in the semi-dispositive Employment Codetermination in the Workplace Act (MBL 1976:580). The purpose of the statute is to give employees and their representatives the right to participate in and negotiate with their employers. The law also ensures freedom of association, the right for employees to receive information from employers as well as the rights and obligations of collective bargaining, strikes, mediation etc. Although the act ensures all these basic rights and obligations, the Swedish system relies on partners to self-regulate via collective bargaining. The self-regulation is made possible because collective agreements have the status of civil law agreements. This means that issues such as equality between the genders, wages, work environment policies and other issues that are specific to the sectors are regulated in the sectoral collective agreements without intervention from the state.”