8 The Nordic welfare model In Sweden, social security remains an issue constantly praised and held up for public worship…. It is celebrated without end in the mass media as if it were some hallowed religious dogma that it was vital to assimilate for peace of mind. It is taught at school like a religion. Above all, it is presented as a vital possession that, ever threatened, must constantly be defended, for its loss is the worst of all possible dangers. (Huntford 1975: 190) Where there is a reputation, there are invariably detractors and, as the opening
This book analyses the contemporary politics of the nation states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and the Home Rule territories of Greenland, Faeroes and Åland that together make up the Nordic region. It covers Scandinavia past and present, parties in developmental perspective, the Scandinavian party system model, the Nordic model of government, the Nordic welfare model, legislative-executive relations in the region, and the changing security environment. The Nordic states have a shared history, common linguistic bonds and a common state Lutheran religion. Of the six Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are mutually intelligible, whilst Swedish is an official national language in Finland. Turning to a brief overview of nation-building and state-building in the Nordic region, an obvious distinction can be drawn between those 'stateless nations' which went on to achieve statehood and the territories that have not achieved independence. The book presents a brief chronology of events in Norden up to 1922, when Åland achieved autonomy. In Sweden the historic phase of party-building produced a basic two-plus-three configuration and a party system based on five 'isms': communism, social democracy, agrarianism, liberalism and conservatism. By 1930 there was a bifurcated parliamentary left and a fragmented nonsocialist bloc consisting of essentially town-based Liberal and Conservative parties and a farmer-based Agrarian Party. Whilst acknowledging the limitations inherent in the periodisation of party system change, the book focuses on the extent of party system change since the 'earthquake elections' of 1970-73.
distinction is drawn between an ideal-type model of government, which refers to the political institutions, structures and policy processes, and an ideal-type welfare model, the latter representing in large part the legislative product of the former. The Nordic welfare model will be described and analysed in chapter 8. Sweden – the anatomy of a ‘harmonious democracy’ Sweden’s international reputation as a ‘harmonious democracy’ (den lyckliga demokratien) in Herbert Tingsten’s (1966) phrase – successful at resolving political conflict and stimulating a high economic growth
Neoliberalism45 employability of the unemployed. Thus, this new regime of truth seemed only to testify to the validity of the social investment strategy and the viability of the so-called Nordic Model. Thus, from around 2000 and onwards, social concerns were no longer about the right to be economically compensated but about being the target of investments seeking to develop the human potential of each and every person. By latching on to Rawls’s principle of justice, it became possible to envisage the so-called Nordic welfare model as a desirable approach due to its