FIVE: Recasting the Swedish Model in Crisis Mode


There has hardly ever been so much focus on Sweden in such a limited period of time. The Swedish model has for a long time been a source of interest around the world, attracting more positive views from the Centre-Left, and more negative ones from the critics of egalitarian and redistributive policies. With ongoing public sector and welfare reforms since the 1990s, Sweden has gained unexpected new supporters from the economically liberal Right. This crisis seems to have turned the classical lines of support upside down, with a new coalition of libertarians and populist right-wingers now much more prone to praise the Swedish defence of civil liberties and of business interests, the responsibility of citizens in respecting health recommendations, whereas traditional supporters have been more critical of the failure of an advanced welfare state to protect its vulnerable elderly population and to reduce the mortality rate on a par with its Nordic neighbours. The crisis and resulting commissions of inquiry also modified the parameters of stated intervention while reframing the debate on welfare and elderly care reforms and on the structure of crisis management.

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