Sweden’s «Middle Way»

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While Norway and Denmark struck oil in the late 1960s and early 70s, Sweden was deprived of any share of the North Sea bonanza.

Sweden’s “Middle Way” is a compromise between capitalism and socialism, and showed signs of turning into a cul-de-sac.

On 3 September 1967, Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right. The result was chaos in the streets.
On 3 September 1967, Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right. The result was chaos in the streets
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Volvo assembly line in Kalmar

Industry had long been pampered with low taxes while individual taxpayers were bled white, but it is still complained loudly about its employees’ national insurance contributions, shorter working weeks and longer holidays.

By the 1990s, just as Norway was becoming rich as Croesus, recession hit Sweden hard. Swedes were astonished and dismayed when Saab was swallowed by General Motors, Volvo by Ford, and a regiment of other prestigious companies decamped abroad.

Sweden's Permanent Representation to the European Union. Photo by Per Sandström /Regeringskansliet
Sweden’s Permanent Representation to the European Union.
Photo by Per Sandström /Regeringskansliet

The government introduced austerity measures, designed to stave off the worst; but interest rates rocketed. Huge public expenditure cuts followed, and in 1994 the Swedish people voted to throw in their lot with the European Union.

Sweden’s «Middle Way»,  written by Tor Kjolberg