Publikation Soziale Bewegungen / Organisierung The Swedish Experience; the Decline of the ”People´s Home”

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Oktober 2003

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The Swedish welfare state stood at the end of the 1970s at its highest point. It was considered as an admireable example from the perspective of many other countries round the world. Since then the ”Swedish Model” has changed in many respects and it is now put under severe pressure. It seems resonable to put it like the ”People´s home” is beginning to dissolve.

Building the Peoples´Home: 1930s´to 1970s´

In Sweden the Socialdemocratic Party, SAP, held governmental power for more than four decades, from 1932 to 1976. This long-time solid power base made it possible to implement a whole range of social reforms, to build what is often called the ”people´s home”. From a more theoretical point of view, the Swedish welfare system is perhaps the best example of what social theorist Esping-Andersen labels ”the Socialdemocratic general welfare model”. Fundamental part of this Socialdemocratic welfare regime, according to Esping-Andersen specificly developed in the Nordic countries, was a redistributing tax system which was able to finance a large public sector with universal welfare programs. Swedish Socialdemocracy, supported and pushed by the Communist party, implemented a sofisticated social insurance system which included more or less the whole population, in order to gain support for the system by the whole population and over-bridge gaps between different classes and segments. The model guaranted almost full income compensation for child-care, unemployment and sickness. The socialdemocrats built up hospitals and health care, care of the elderly, schools, child-care, new houses etc. In the late 1950s´the labour movement in Sweden also succeded to implement a beneficiary pension system, after long and hard struggle against the united bourgieous forces. ...

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