Socialism did not work in Sweden and it will not work in America

Dr. Freida and Big Al opine on Socialism in America
Dr. Freida says, “Depression results from a lack of incentives.
Big Asks the question, “Where has socialism ever worked?

Socialism Didn’t Work In Sweden, And It Won’t Work In America

Bernie Sanders and AOC point to the brief window of Swedish socialism’s artificial success before Sweden crumbled under its reality.

JUNE 25, 2019 By Susanna Hoffman

Sweden stood as the world’s fourth wealthiest country nearly five decades ago. Its taxes were lower than most western countries, including the United States. The economy was deregulated, and public spending was hardly above 10 percent gross domestic product (GDP).

But Sweden was soon teetering on the brink of collapse from its experiment with socialism.

“Free markets and small government made Sweden rich,” said Swedish economist and Cato Institute fellow Johan Norberg. “The experiment with socialism crashed us.”

No one guessed the system would crash. The country was ripe for a socialist experiment in the early 1970s. The Swedes were hardworking, optimistic, wealthy, and trusting of their politicians. As programs were implemented in the ’70s and ’80s, public spending almost doubled and labor markets became regulated. The new welfare state, however, appeared to enhance Sweden’s already strong economy with large-scale redistribution and high taxes.

This brief period when socialism seemed to work is the model promoted by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Norberg said at a The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) event last week. Today, 36 percent of Americans are sympathetic to socialism compared to only 9 percent of Swedes. That’s because Sanders and AOC only point to the 30-year episode of socialism’s artificial success before Sweden crumbled under its reality.

[Related Post: How ‘Democratic Socialism’ Wreaked Havoc On My Native Sweden]

“The problem with these policies is that they began to erode the foundations for a successful society,” Norberg said.

Reversing Sweden’s traditions of small government and an open economy disintegrated its successful business climate. Big companies like IKEA either evaded taxes or left the country. Athletes like Björn Borg and entrepreneurs fled the country. High inflation raged and not a single net job was created in the private sector.

The new generation raised in socialism had no incentives to work. The once healthy population began calling in sick because of the generous benefits for sick days. They shamelessly accepted the public benefits that their hardworking parents once despised.

Sweden not only fell from being the 4th richest country to the 14th richest country, but its very nature as a country changed. An authoritarian-like government was necessary to ensure the population did not abuse its welfare system. Sweden’s democracy was sliding into a dictatorship, and the Swedish people were not pleased.

The system began crashing after debt-fueled inflation in the ’80s. The ’90s were stained with a massive economic crisis. Banks were on the brink of collapse and, for a brief moment, the Central Bank had 500 percent interest rates to defend the Swedish currency.

Sweden agreed that socialism was not working. In fact, it was a disaster.

“Some of the government’s programs were unsustainable, some of the policies were absurd, and the tax system was perverse,” Norberg said quoting a Swedish Social Democratic finance minister.

The 30-year experiment “was a brief interlude of failure,” Norberg said. To reform and save its economy, Sweden reverted back to its capitalist structure. It reduced public spending by a third, demolished taxes on property and inheritance, and reduced taxes in other areas. Defined benefits were cut and only defined contributions were permitted.

The system became partially privatized with privately-owned accounts. The markets became opened to private providers and private companies who contributed to institutions like healthcare and schools. Sweden also deregulated markets to cause a surge in entrepreneurship.

Swedish healthcare became regionally run and funded by local state tax. Overconsumption had created long hospital lines depriving those with urgent needs of immediate attention. These kinds of inefficiencies of the universal programs caused Sweden to open to more private companies.

“Swedish Socialism is the longest way from Swedish capitalism to Swedish capitalism,” Norberg said.

Americans have a vital lesson to learn from Sweden’s experiment. We are similar to 1970 Sweden with our wealth and optimism. However it is imperative to acknowledge that our wealth is not ensured, Norberg warned.

“We always want more, but it’s never enough,” Norberg said.

As Gunnar Myrdal, a social economist who inspired the building of the welfare state, said, “If it doesn’t work in Sweden, it won’t work anywhere.” The distribution of wealth is unsustainable. The Sweden that Americans ought to study exemplifies an open economy and free market. Our model must be Swedish capitalism and not the forever failing model of socialism.

Susanna Hoffman is an intern for The Federalist and a student at Patrick Henry College where she studies journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @_SusannaHoffman.

  1. On February 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm,
    cfs says:

    The advantage of socialism is that it makes a more equal division of the pie; a more equal division of OUTCOMES.

    The disadvantage is that socialism DESTROYS the rate of GROWTH of the pie.
    (It happens because of destruction of incentive, because of excessive taxation needed.

    TRUE FAIRNESS is EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY, not equality of outcome.

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:20 pm,
      Big Al says:

      Of course you are correct about “equality of opportunity”

    • On February 11, 2020 at 7:02 am,
      Rufust445 says:

      The pie has been shrinking since the Oil Embargo of 1974, and the subsequent recession.

      • On February 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm,
        Big Al says:

        Adjusted for inflation, Rufus?

  2. On February 10, 2020 at 5:27 pm,
    cfs says:

    History has shown that the growth rate of an economy decreases significantly once taxation increases above 10% to 15%, with our average taxation, we are already in a highly socialist mode. Millennials realize that taxation is simply too high to easily acquire much capital.
    Thus the high taxation has already destroyed their incentives.

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:21 pm,
      Big Al says:

      I would have to respond by saying “not completely”

  3. On February 10, 2020 at 5:32 pm,
    larry says:

    You know that someone is a shill for the system when they pretend that Medicine is about health…Al you now know the difference between allopathic medicine Rockefeller health degeneration and health care…Very devious lier..sad

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:24 pm,
      Big Al says:

      Hi Larry,

      With all the medical problems that we have encountered since March of 2015, I have to say that I have not noticed a degeneration of health care. (That is definitely assuming that a person is able to pay for it.)

      • On February 11, 2020 at 4:39 am,
        larry says:

        Rockefeller medical allopathic medicine patient related degeneration is intended to never restore homeostasis to the customer, as you now know….It has always been degenerate usury of the masses…..Guests saying that medical care is health care is a shill lying straight to your face …disgusting

        • On February 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm,
          Big Al says:

          Not always, Larry, but probably sometimes!

  4. On February 10, 2020 at 5:34 pm,
    larry says:

    What about the enormous Muslim migration aspect of Scandinavian collapse?…Tearing the culture apart…

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:27 pm,
      Big Al says:

      I am not conversant of the specific numbers, but I would speculate (and probably very accurately that the increase in the population of those folks is quite probably detrimental to the region.

  5. On February 10, 2020 at 5:37 pm,
    cfs says:

    Even in the average economy, Dr. Frieda, it is possible to find a job. BUT you have to start, perhaps at a level of income below what you would wish. You have to build up a track record of desire to work; of reliability, etc.

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:28 pm,
      Big Al says:

      I would guess that Dr. Freida is aware of that.

  6. On February 10, 2020 at 5:46 pm,
    cfs says:

    How many times does the world have to try socialism ?
    Politicians ALWAYS seem to want more taxation because it gives then more power.
    They use the higher taxation to buy more votes (using the taxpayers money, of course.)
    With higher taxation the economy slows, so taxation is raised to pay the promised benefits.
    This continues until the economy fails.

    Every time socialism is tried, whether it turns into full-blown communism or not, IT FAILS.

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:36 pm,
      Big Al says:


  7. On February 10, 2020 at 6:15 pm,
    cfs says:

    It is very sad that modern man desires the comforts and pleasures of the wealthy, without being prepared to work for them. Is that the result of the fiction of TV or the movies ? I don’t know, but suspect they play a part. I certainly suspect much of the violence on the street, we now see, is a direct result of exposure to violence portrayed by the entertainment industry. Or is entertainment merely a reflection of life ?
    Cart….horse………cart…..which came first?

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:40 pm,
      Big Al says:

      Very interesting observation. The chart on Wolf Street shows just how negative (bad) that trend has turned out to be. Terrifying actually when you do any projections.

  8. On February 10, 2020 at 6:25 pm,
    cfs says:

    As stated, as the socialist regime deteriorates, those with get up and go literally get up and go….

    Please Note: California and New York.

    • On February 10, 2020 at 8:43 pm,
      Big Al says:

      Where do you find these sites. My remarks are not meant to be disparaging, but they do seem to be all over. This one was kind of interesting.

  9. On February 10, 2020 at 11:09 pm,
    CFS says:

    Despite my limit vision, I read an immense amount of material. There are always links to click on. I go through about 500 bookmarked sites per day, when I’m home, as well as some news summaries and aggregator sites, as well as listening to talk radio and doing searches on topics I hear on the radio.
    I also sometimes save a reference for a few days, so it is more relevant topic-wise.
    I notice I am getting forgetful though.

    • On February 11, 2020 at 7:17 am,
      Alkorelin says:

      You too!

  10. On February 10, 2020 at 11:47 pm,
    Miklo says:

    I am living in Sweden and without have listened to the interview I can concur.
    The state is so big that it controls every aspect of your life. But what’s worse is that the crazy unhinged leftist are the ones in power ruining it for everyone. With leftist I also refer to the so called moderates that are supposed to be in opposition. What a crap show it is.
    If you oppose the invasion of Muslim hordes you risk being sent to jail. If you oppose the mental ill HBTQ you risk go to jail. It’s a political correctness hell we are living in but the majority of the people are so damn brainwashed that they think YOU are the one who is wrong and bad = hater!

    The state and the taxes are so big which lead to even bigger state and inefficiency. The Police can’t do their jobs properly. Even if they do the laws created by demon leftist stop the police from doing its job. The criminals goes to Hawaiian like prisons and gets a salary and luxuries food that our pensioners can’t afford and only dream of. The state and the left media sympathizes more with the criminals than the victims. Pure evil! They always find a reason in the criminals childhood that lowers the penalties.

    I have been in the emergency room with my children and brother and let me tell you this: waiting 8-10hours to see a doctor is the norm! It’s absurd.
    The teachers can’t tell the bad students to calm down, if they do they risk their jobs. It’s racist to tell the foreign kids to calm down.

    After all the taxes (direct and indirect) you maybe have 10-15% left of your income.
    The incompetent finance minister said they would take money from the disabled to give it to the invaders. PURE FU**ING EVIL!!

    I could write 100 times more than this about absurd and surreal thing that’s occurring in Sweden but I think you guys get it. Until the swines are removed nothing is going to change, except for a total collapse situation where “other people’s money run out” as Thatcher so famously said about what the problem with communism is.

    • On February 11, 2020 at 4:46 am,
      larry says:

      I am aware of the mentally ill political structure that has emerged….Do write more..The importation of muslim military aged single men?…The muslim rape gang problem ?…Is it a wish for terminating the once great nation?….
      What is it psychologically among the government policy leaders?…something taught in college?…what?

      • On February 11, 2020 at 5:22 am,
        Miklo says:

        It’s so sad that a once great country is ruined by these demons.
        However, all of Europe and the west is going the same path, all because of Talmudist Masonic Coudenhove-Kalergi plan. EU is founded based on those principles. Pure evil.

        Note that Merkel received The Kalergi-award after she let 2.000.000 jihadi fighters in to Germany to ruin the country.

        • On February 11, 2020 at 8:26 am,
          Matthew says:

          And they ARE demons with their hypocrisy and promotion of all things unsound.

          Possibly the best thing to ever come from Winston Churchill is the following, truer words were never spoken…
          “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”
          — — —
          As I’ve pointed out before, it’s no accident that socialism is “left.”

          • On February 11, 2020 at 8:54 am,
            Miklo says:

            Agree totally.
            When it’s coming to Churchill there is an unsettling fact everyone must know about him.
            At first, he was one of the good guys. Then he seemed to been introduced to the cult and he went ape crazy. A matter of fact HE declared war on Hitler, not the other way around.

            As soon as Hitler got his loans from Kuhn&Loeb, Warburg, Schiff and Rothschild he was given the marching orders from the banking cabal. And as soon as he did that Churchill got his marching orders and declared war on Germany. As planned by the shylocks.
            “If my sons didn’t want war there would be none.” – Madame Rothschild

            Among his least admirable things he did was that in order to fight the Germans he made a naval blockade against the Greeks not letting anyone/anything in/out. What happened was that over 600.000 innocent Greek died from starvation. He couldn’t care less of a human life as he was an Masonic elitist, just crazy as other crazy cult-dictators.

          • On February 11, 2020 at 9:42 am,
            Matthew says:

            Exactly. That’s why the quote above was probably his best achievement. The fact that he, FDR, and Stalin were allies speaks volumes. To this day, academia as well as pop culture makes little of Stalin’s atrocities despite the fact that they absolutely dwarfed Hitler’s in every way (death toll; horror/brutality). No one has ever been jailed for denying HIS genocide.

            “We may have been fighting the wrong enemy (Germany) all along.”— General Patton

            General George S. Patton was assassinated to silence his criticism of allied war leaders claims new book

            The purpose of communism is total control/enslavement of the masses, and, as Vladimir Lenin stated, the goal of socialism is communism.

        • On February 11, 2020 at 9:22 am,
          Miklo says:

          I loathe that bastard. He and his predecessors betrayed the christians (who they had an aloiance with) to fight the turks and later the arabs. In order to secure lucrative oil deals with the arabs, they came with bombers from behind and eliminated the assyrians while they were protecting themselfs from the arab hordes.

          I sure hope their souls went to the right lord.

          • On February 11, 2020 at 9:50 am,
            larry says:

            OK Miklo…I feel that and thanks

      • On February 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm,
        Big Al says:

        I have the same questions as Larry.

    • On February 11, 2020 at 1:52 pm,
      Big Al says:

      Many thanks for this comment, MIklo!

  11. On February 11, 2020 at 5:39 am,
    larry says:

    Can you post your favorite link regarding that new thing to me called…Talmudist Masonic coudenhove-Kalgeri plan?…How bad is it for young Swedish beautiful women regarding Muslim rape gang threats?..Why do they not blog world wide about this?…PC? suppression?, hate crime? thing?

    • On February 11, 2020 at 8:27 am,
      Matthew says:

      The victors write the history books so the history that matters most is always hidden from the masses.

      • On February 11, 2020 at 8:38 am,
        larry says:

        Simple but cutting obvious great truth from Matthew as per….

        • On February 11, 2020 at 12:32 pm,
          bonzo barzini says:

          Miklo, where in Sverige do you abide? I am glad I traveled all over Sweden in 1973, 1974, 1977, and 1978 before it was overrun with Moors. I loved Stockholm, Uppsala, Lund, Umea, Lulea, the island of Soderora, and Abisko national park in Lappland. It would make me sad to see what has become of Sweden today so I may not return.

  12. On February 11, 2020 at 6:23 am,
    Miklo says:

    I have a lot of links but not on my phone.
    I suggest you start with duckduck Kalergi, Soros various NGO:s, Barbara Specter eg (((The usual suspects))).

    Here’s just one link:

    • On February 11, 2020 at 7:09 am,
      larry says:

      Thank you Miklo…I will study from European viewpoint at the link you sent….Millenium etc….

  13. On February 11, 2020 at 9:29 am,
    larry says:
    • On February 11, 2020 at 9:51 am,
      Matthew says:

      Mercola has made disappointing remarks concerning the safety of distilled water (it IS safe as well as superior).

      • On February 11, 2020 at 10:19 am,
        larry says:

        I am doing a rebuild of my kitchen…Myself and it is taking forever….But, once done I will be getting a distiller in there and also a sauna for the main bath…..Cannot happen soon enough!
        right, distilled water is rain water…yummy

      • On February 11, 2020 at 10:57 am,
        OOTB Jerry says:

        Ditto on distilled water……… I have my own distilled water machine……..and it is great.
        I use to buy distilled water in plastic bottles……really stupid. Clearly a savings of over $1000 per yr. ,,,,in addition the plastic is known to leach into the water.
        You should see the amount of crap left in bottom of the container after distilling a gallon of city tap water…it, is a joke…..plastic , brown crap etc….
        I have distilled in Indianapolis and Naples Fl.,,,,,,,crap in water both areas of the country.

      • On February 11, 2020 at 12:11 pm,
        larry says:

        That distiller unit is what I am looking for…Small and apparently durable…I really thank you…It gives me a known quantity to decide from…I do not want a large one because it is overkill for me…thank you Matthew!

        • On February 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm,
          larry says:

          Ok Matthew- Just ordered that 300 S.S. countertop unit on sale…i will plug it out in a room other than the kitchen…Many thanks…That company, H2o labs has been around a long time …they have been selling the same unit forever…That is exactly why I purchase Honda civics or Toyota Corollas…You will not be surprised and you know what you will get…no bells and whistles…my 8 monitor trading computer is enough bells and whistles for me!

          • On February 11, 2020 at 12:45 pm,
            Matthew says:

            I wonder if you got your trading computer where I did:

          • On February 11, 2020 at 12:48 pm,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            Just a note……… careful with the glass container……..I just replaced mine after dropping it on the counter…..only , dropped it about three inches , ….the glass is very thin……cost to replace was about $69.00….I was thinking of replacing it with a stainless steal container…..

          • On February 11, 2020 at 12:48 pm,
            Matthew says:

            Goldman Sachs and many others from all over the world use these computers from Laramie Wyoming.
            You can see the list of customers here:

          • On February 11, 2020 at 12:49 pm,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            Just a note……… careful with the glass container……..I just replaced mine after dropping it on the counter…..only , dropped it about three inches , ….the glass is very thin……cost to replace was about $69.00….I was thinking of replacing it with a stainless steel container…..

          • On February 11, 2020 at 12:50 pm,
            Matthew says:

            That’s tempered glass, Jerry. You don’t want to tap it with a spoon either.
            I haven’t broken one yet!

          • On February 11, 2020 at 1:01 pm,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            I will be more careful , now that I know the cost of replacement….. 🙂

          • On February 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm,
            bonzo says:

            I shattered my glass container while strumming my Taylor 810 guitar and singing the high note at the end of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” I buy my distilled water from the machine at Whole Foods for 45 cents a gallon. I use 3 gallons a week or about $70 a year.

          • On February 11, 2020 at 2:12 pm,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            If, you are buying from Whole CHECK…….you are paying toooooooooomuch….
            Plus, I would not trust buying anything out of a machine, that has to be cleaned once in awhile… someone with sticky fingers…….. 🙂
            Plus, I will never give one more cent to BLOWZO……

        • On February 11, 2020 at 4:46 pm,
          larry says:

          Matthew originally about 7 years ago I did get a Viper from Trading…no complaints…just sold it and now have HP 840Z workstation and it is a beast beyond belief….They have a newer model of Z workstations but I found a refurbished Z with full warranty ect…and could not be more satisfied….It has a quattro video card with, are you ready,128GB ram plus the regular memory RAM is 64 GB…So it is beyond fast loading the screens..pop pop pop

  14. On February 11, 2020 at 10:20 am,
    SilverDollar says:

    Not advocating ‘socialism’ but one of the coolest quotes I ever read is this one from John Steinbeck: “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” He was a man of words that few attain. Let’s remember though the context of when he said it. A lot of his books were written and influenced by the depression years.
    So let me ask a question: If national debt doesn’t matter anymore, just like Chaney stated and we can print or create unlimited amounts as we seem to be doing, (trillions upon trillions) maybe the question should be more along the lines of spending more of those created dollars on education and healthcare instead of weapons and the war industry??? I think that’s what many of the young people are asking as they listen to Bernie.
    Oh and before I post, here’s another quote from a respected person: “They call it the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” George Carlin.

    • On February 11, 2020 at 11:20 am,
      Matthew says:

      Here’s another remark Churchill got right:
      “The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

      But I would much rather quote Mises:
      “If Capitalism improves the economic position all round, it is of secondary importance that it does not raise all to the same level. A social order is not bad simply because it helps one more than the other.” ― Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

      Clever Steinbeck didn’t understand that socialism is worse for the poor and that, morally, ends don’t justify the means.

      Cheney and the neocons are socialists since they feed by force at the public trough just like the big Ds. Printing “money” and deficit spending are both schemes to transfer (steal) wealth from the unsuspecting public and are therefore functions of socialism, not capitalism/free markets.
      Central Banking is the 5th plank of Marx’s communist manifesto.

      Those who plunder the individual/ignore individual rights for the benefit of some group are socialists. The war makers should have to rely on donations (remember war bonds?) not theft for their causes just like individuals who need help. Btw, commies like Wilson and FDR were huge warmongers and leftists were responsible for virtually all of the few hundred million deaths of the last century.

      Carlin was right and that’s because leftists took over a long time ago. Senator McCarthy was also right but the captured media was successful in making the masses believe otherwise.

      The bottom line is that socialists operate under the assumption that some people have more rights than others but none will admit it much less make a reasonable, logical defense of it.

      • On February 11, 2020 at 2:34 pm,
        Matthew says:

        Mises nailed it:

        A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.

  15. On February 11, 2020 at 10:30 am,
    larry says:

    I agree with that totally…If you are younger than 30 years old…It is normal to know about money printing and Fed policy and monetary easings and quantitative easing etc…And so it would be consistent to say…hey! print me some money so I can pay off my college debt and house mortgage and car payment…A new normal and really, can you argue against that reasoning?…why ONLY print for guns and bankers but print for me also!…I want some of that money for nothing

  16. On February 11, 2020 at 10:37 am,
    larry says:

    All fortunes(almost) are gained through many angles of treachery and deceit…..That is why the medical monopoly cartel is so so disgusting…..They sell out the hapless sucker patients all day long every day for ever….But, to deceive someone regarding their most precious asset of health and energy for wealth transfer is sickening to me….In too too many ways for typing into the tiny box….

    • On February 11, 2020 at 10:52 am,
      SilverDollar says:

      Check out this novel attempt to skirt high drug prices.
      One comment: Humira is one of the most heavily advertised drugs I know of. More adds than the politicians (all of them) throw at us!

      • On February 11, 2020 at 11:10 am,
        larry says:

        Ok Silverdollar….As health ranger says…Medical reform is always offered as a shell game for transferring costs from one column to another…But never about the simple cheap free stuff that actually forever sets the person toward healthy non medical cartel dependent status…That could actually shrink national medical care costs back 80% or more if done well….But right now we are starring into the ugly face of the medical monopoly cartel non-health care method…ugly yes…

  17. On February 11, 2020 at 1:51 pm,
    Peter Endres says:

    This article is complete LIBERAL PROPAGANDA CONCEPT!

  18. On February 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm,
    Peter Endres says:

    Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark have a Wellfare State Socialist regime, and they are all fine.

    • On February 11, 2020 at 11:49 pm,
      Miklo says:

      My point exactly:
      Here is a hopelessly brainwashed guy from one of the countries he listed.
      Can’t it bee Moore clear than this, guys?

      He seem to be A OK with his sister/daughter get harassed by Moors and see his taxes for to Somalians so they can outbreed him and later take over the country and introduced State Sharia.
      The whites are going to be outlawed in their own countries. Mark my words!

      • On February 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm,
        Big Al says:

        I am convinced that this trend you are referring to will be stopped before anything like you predict will happen.