The Swedish Model

The Scandinavian and especially the Swedish Welfare System

Term Paper, 2011

12 Pages, Grade: sehr gut


Table of Content

1: Just name: Which are in your opinion the most important stages in the creation of the Social Welfare State in Sweden?

2: Just name: Which are the principal goals of social policy in Sweden?

3: If you compare the Swedish Welfare System with some other countries, which differences and similarities do you find?

4: According to Roland Huntford (p. 305) Swedes love their servitude. What do you think of that statement?

5: What kind of criticism has been offered of the Scandinavian Welfare States? What is your opinion about this criticism? Do you find it relevant and fair?

6: Is decentralisation a way of making the Social Welfare more effective?

7: Is the Scandinavian Welfare model threatened? What kind of future problems can you imagine?


When we talk about Scandinavia the author includes the countries Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. This paper is about the Scandinavian and especially the Swedish Welfare System. For me it is important that we all have the same idea about social welfare. We are going to use the following definition from Einhorn | Logue (p.198 |2003): “Social welfare ( … ) means a range of programs that protect the entire population from material poverty as a result of sickness, old age, or other involuntary loss of income. ” Social Welfare is about greater social equality in all daily belongings. It does not matter if they are tangible or not.

The first three questions are going to be mainly answered with the help of the literature from chapter eight. Especially the examples from the typical families (page 206 et. seqq.) depict the historical theory.

1: Just name: Which are in your opinion the most important stages in the creation of the Social Welfare State in Sweden?

Like Einhorn | Logue (2003) described on page 212, “ Scandinavia ’ s evolutionary history reminds us that one generation ’ s social policy can affect the next generation ’ s policy ”. Based on this idea, “ a generation stepped in the solidaristic values of the popular movements laid the foundations of the welfare state in Scandinavia ” (p. 330 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).

The following chart shows the most important stages in the creation of the Social Welfare State in Sweden:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Chart 1 - the four most important stages in the creation of the Swedish Social Welfare State

The consequences of the creation of the Swedish Social Welfare State can be summarized with the general quotation about Scandinavian Welfare States:

“ The result is that the Scandinavian welfare states redistribute more income between the healthy and the sick, the economically active and the elderly, the childless and the fertile within economic classes than between classes “ (p. 205 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003). It is important to know, that the redistribution is not between economic classes. Instead it is between clusters, respectively groups.

2: Just name: Which are the principal goals of social policy in Sweden?

Einhorn and Logue (2003) name a bunch of principal goals of the social policy in Sweden.

The essential principal goal:

“ The principal goal of social policy during the past forty years has been to protect the living standard of the average family from loss of income due to age, illness, child care, or unemployment ” (p. 205 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).

Two main goals:

1.) “… was to protect society from consequences of industrialization and urbanization ” (p. 212 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).
2.) “… was to cement an increasingly mobile and class-conscious population to the state ” (p. 212 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).

Based on these huge targets, I am going to list the supporting goals, which were named:

- A goal from the radical democrats:
- Social change and democracy as well as to some “ extend equality of results “ (p.192 | Grundtvig in Einhorn, Logue | 2003).
- Equality of opportunity to develop his or her own potential. It should be independent from the success of the development; everybody (including his | her family) should receive the physical and cultural needs.

Living in the “ same social and economic world “ (p.192 | Grundtvig in Einhorn, Logue | 2003)

“ Few have too much and fewer too little “ (p.192 | Grundtvig in Einhorn, Logue | 2003)

“ Secure a lifelong, middle-class standard of living for all, and to increase economic equality in society ” (p. 197 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003) and a “ solidaristic wage policy ” (p. 209 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).
- Everybody should have access to the vital services like “ education and health care ”

Education with a mixture of “ religious, cultural and practical subjects … (with) organizational and political skills ” (p. 213 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).

A Goal in all personal belongings “ greater social equality ” (p. 197 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).

- Tangible or not tangible, the focus is on fighting against poverty in the Scandinavian human population. It is not about controlling the weakest. It is about treating the people with respect in a humanitarian way. It is about the inhabitants and their circumstances. It is about social welfare and social democracy. Citizens should not be just seen as a victim anymore. (p. 198 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003)
- Supplementary pensions up to 60 per cent after they were designed, which were funded by the employer as well as the employee (p. 199 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).
- Building a “ folkhemmet (a home for all the people) ” (p.330 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).

3: If you compare the Swedish Welfare System with some other countries, which differences and similarities do you find?

The second task describes the principal goals of the Swedish social policy. This current task concentrates on the outcomes of the goals briefly compared with the United States of America and Germany.

You cannot exactly weigh against the single countries. Every country has its own origin, traditions and values. Build on these different features each country tries to create its own welfare state.

Learning from the best, can sometimes mean learning from the neighbour country. In the 1880s Sweden has started learning from the more advanced industrial society Germany about a number of comprehensive social-insurance laws like sickness insurance, workers comprehension and old age pensions. The motivation of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was to “ lessen the attraction of socialism and militant labour unions ” (p. 194 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003). Even though, the result to the end was similar, Sweden’s motivation was to broaden the general political support. 1906, Britain has been starting to learn from the established Swedish idea.

Again, in 1998 Germany and also the US were role models for the privatization of the pension. The Swedish system was definitely too costly, when a significant amount of social factors like demography and economic factors were changing. Young employees have started caring for their retirement accounts. It was mostly an intrinsic motivation of the inhabitants. Sweden and the Swedes care more about the overall package of social benefits, while in Germany it was an extrinsic motivation when politicians expressed promises.

Page 203 (p. 203 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003) describes, what Scandinavian countries as a whole spend on social welfare. It is the same amount on money like the US spends in all levels of government in social security, debt service and national defence. Sweden’s main ambition is to “protect the living standard of the average family ” (p. 205 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003). The high tax rates were systematically used for social welfare (p. 217 | Einhorn, Logue | 2003).


Excerpt out of 12 pages


The Swedish Model
The Scandinavian and especially the Swedish Welfare System
Linköping University
sehr gut
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
3796 KB
Sweden, Lagom, Law, Social Welfare
Quote paper
Susanne Handorf (Author), 2011, The Swedish Model, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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