PRINT March 1994


Lars O. Ericsson

FOUR YEARS INTO THE ’90s, Sweden is in the middle of a painful metamorphosis. Of course we blame the recession, which merely triggered the trauma, and the bourgeois coalition government that took office in 1991 (after half a century of almost unbroken Social Democratic rule), which merely speeded it up. In fact this change, a transition from a welfare to a postwelfare society, has been underway since the ’70s. Not only does it mean a long goodbye to the collective social-security system we had come to take for granted, it also affects the entire social and cultural climate, deflating our self-image as the most advanced welfare state in the world.

The famous “Swedish Model,” that mixture of socialist central-planning and capitalism that in the ’60s replaced the older and slightly idyllic Social Democratic notion of society as a folkhem (a “home for the people”), was meant to “humanize”

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