We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
1850-1950, the essay discusses. Hmm. Starting around 1865, Swedes emigrated to North America at a clip of 25,000 a year, and ultimately totalled well over a million. This is agains a background population of 4 million Swedes in the 19th C. Those who emigrated were mostly drawn from the lower class (though seldom the absolutely destitute.)
So you send most of your poor people off somewhere else - 25% of your population - and then around 1930 start getting these socialist ideas about everyone caring for all Swedes. So generous. Not shelling out the big bucks to fight Hitler helps set up your logging, automotive, and shipping industries, too.
Can you imagine how flipping inexpensive it would be for America to go totally socialist today if we could export most of our lower class to some magical land where they would have jobs and be fed? And/or did not have to have much military spending because others were doing it for us as well? We've never done that, of course, nor anything like it. We have received the poor for centuries, they haven't gone elsewhere. Yet in the popular mind it is we who are thieving oppressors and the Scandinavians who are virtuous.
Note: I am of signifcant Swedish descent and grew up with the common myth, only unlearning it as an adult.
Assistant Village Idiot
What? You don't think we have enough rapes and mob violence?
Besides, we already have the part where the establishment totally ignores the wishes of the citizens.
Sweden is one of the most developed economies in the world; a mixed economy, with a significant government sector, a strong social welfare system, and robust markets. A third of the working population has tertiary education, which is free for citizens. There is universal healthcare through a mixed system. They provide paid parental leave, as well as support for the poor. Seventy percent of the workforce is unionized.
To support these programs, they have the 2nd highest tax burden in the world, including a progressive income tax, payroll tax, and significant capital gains and corporate taxes.