It has historically been difficult to survive in the cold Scandinavian climate. The population therefore adopted a culture with a great emphasis on individual responsibilit .. these homogenous Nordic societies had strong social cohesion, high levels of trust and a strong work ethic – attributes which pre-date the welfare state. These Scandinavian norms allowed welfare states to be expanded and taxes to rise, with limited avoidance and shirking.
But things began to change as the welfare state became embedded. In the World Value Survey of 1981-84, almost 82 per cent of Swedes said that “claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled is never justifiable”. By the 1999-2004 survey, only 55 per cent held the same belief. In recent years, Sweden has debated the need to limit the misuse of the welfare system and to move towards less generous welfare benefits and lower taxes to encourage hard work.
.. Reforms have moved Sweden towards lower taxes and less generous welfare benefits. This has resulted in a reduction in government dependency – a remarkable feat during a period of global economic instability. The state in Sweden is back to about the same size – if measured by government spending as a proportion of national income – as that of the UK.
Not only Sweden, but other Scandinavian nations have gradually increased their economic freedom in recent years. Economic freedom rankings show that Nordic nations have moved considerably towards free markets, while the UK and US have reduced their levels of economic freedom ..
Sweden and other Nordic countries are moving tentatively back towards the free-market policies that served them so well in the past. The period of left-leaning radicalisation was made possible by the pre-existing strong social norms. It was not responsible for them. It was a failed experiment.