Swedish meatballs ain’t worth what they used to be
Dear Editor:Paul Andersen seems to agree with the idea of the Swedish welfare model as opposed to what he called the “libertarian anarchist” concept. He proves his point with the silly example of “rich countries” restricting trade with poor countries. Surely trade restrictions are not an example of free markets? The whole point that Smith made is not that self-interest inevitably leads to trade relationships beneficial to all. It was ONLY true when left free of political interference.When you create a political marketplace, where force can be used to prevent or mandate one action or another, the same self-interest can, and usually does, have the opposite effect. Trade restrictions are clearly not economic freedom.Worse yet Mr. Andersen seems to know nothing about the actual results of the Swedish model he is extolling. Sweden had one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world between the late 1800s and 1950. But that was before the welfare state. And Swedish public sector spending was lower than average for a developed nation up until 1960. The high tax redistributive Swedish system only came into it’s own in the 1970s.When the welfare state really got started Swedes had an average income 6 percent above the OECD average, the fourth highest. By 1990 they fell to ninth at 5 percent below average. By 1997 they were in 15th, 14 percent below average. The Swedish krona went through five massive devaluations in this period. By the end of 1990s Sweden’s median income was $26,800 compared to $39,400 in the U.S. And one report in Sweden showed that African-Americans had an average income higher than the typical Swede.James PeronPhoenix
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