Friday, August 26, 2005

"Why Sweden Works" part 2

Members of the Parliament in discussion after a vote in the Chamber, spring 2003.
Photo: The Information Department, Swedish Parliament

A comment on the comment on “Why Sweden Works” from Jersey Perspective.

At present seven political parties are represented in the Swedish Parliament. Members of the Riksdag who belong to the same party make up a parliamentary party group. All important issues are discussed in the party groups before final decisions are reached in committees and in the Chamber. (more info here)

Except for the minor Left Party and the Green Party, the rest are in reality not very far from each other. Political battles are always won in the middle, not in the political extremes. Therefore all major political parties have a similar kind of policy.

Concerning economic policy I definitely support the opposition, but concerning innovation policy there are also a few well-informed persons on the (not so) far left side.

But frankly “innovation” and “entrepreneur”, which I think are key in growth policy, are terms seldom used in Swedish political debates, except in broad outlines. The party program of the ruling Social Democratic Party does not mention “innovation” at all. And “entrepreneur” is mentioned only once – “New entrepreneurs and businesses must be promoted and co-operative enterprises must be stimulated.” That’s it.

In the Strategy Report (in Swedish) from the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO), a 112 pages thick tome, “entrepreneur” is mentioned three times and “innovation” three times.
As a comparison:
“co-operate” (samverka) is mentioned 71 times
“fairness” (rättvisa) 67 times
“distribution” (fördelning) 45 times
“equality” (jämlikhet) 28 times
“solidarity” (solidaritet) 24 times
“capital” (kapitalet) 21 times.

The whole economic policy strategy is about a fairer distribution of income among different groups in society. (LO is the largest and organizes workers within both the private and the public sectors and has about 1.918.800 members.)

The Swedish “right-wing alliance” - “borgerlig allians” – formed by the four largest opposition parties, haven’t really cared either. But things could change rather quickly. The party secretary of the Moderate Party (moderaterna), Swedens leading non-socialistic party, was for example quite impressed by the Innovation Journalism program.


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