“”You'd think the cold would keep all the idiots out.
|—Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino|
Sweden is (for Europe) both a large and cold country, located in Scandinavia, which becomes livable via slow-onset fast-exit summers that actually regularly achieve Mediterranean temperatures.[note 1]
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. As of 2023, the Swedish prime minister is Ulf Kristersson. This welfare state is usually considered a stronghold of social democracy and the Nordic model. Sweden consistently ranks in the top 10 in the UN Human Development Index, among equally competitive placements in a variety of other rating systems as well. Sweden, being a chummy country, borders other chummy countries as well. Norway (to the west and the north), Finland (to the east), and Denmark (to the south, across the Öresund bridge).
Being a Swede on the internet has to be a pretty wild ride, what with both the left and right using your country as the go-to example of being either a flawless utopia (it's not) or a failed state brimming with rapefugees (it's not). [note 2]
To quote directly from Wikipedia's article on Sweden;
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. It has the world's eighth-highest per capita income and ranks highly in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity and human development.
Something, something, they're not doing too bad. Something, something; time will tell how Donald Trump's Pleasure Paradise is going to toss and turn America in those same rating systems cited above... Eep.
Fiscal policy – what both the left and the right got wrong about Sweden
So, part of the right believes that Sweden is on the verge of collapse due to their social expenditure, and part of the left believes that Sweden shows that the government can spend any amount on the welfare state without deleterious effects. Which group is right? Neither. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, very few countries had a surplus on their government budget surplus (i.e. Spending less than it collects). One of them was Sweden. Even during 2020, the Swedish deficit was only 6% of the country'a GDP, with projections of a surplus as early as 2023. For comparison, the US fiscal deficit for the same year was almost 20% of the GDP, and the deficit will remain higher than 5% in the foreseeable future. According to the credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings, Sweden also has a maximum AAA credit rating since 2004. Only Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, Denmark, and Canada have had this rating for longer, so investors don’t think (and probably don’t need to worry) about a default, as the right believes.
It has not always been this way though. During the 1990s, Sweden's economy was indeed on the edge, with banks collapsing, a sharp drop in the GDP, the devaluation of their currency and unemployment. As a result, the Swedish Social Democratic Party was forced to liberalize the economy, severely cut spending (including cuts in social security and pensions), and consolidate a harsh fiscal policy which, though painful, didn’t destroy Sweden's welfare state as the left had feared, but actually made it sustainable. Since then, Sweden's social democrats have gradually moved all the way toward Third Way centrism, and arguably, over time the contrast between the Swedish model and other European models has shrunk, this also being a larger trend for Nordic countries.
make made Saabs and Volvos and sell sold them to safety-conscious Americans.[note 3]
IKEA, the furniture chain/restaurant, is based in Sweden. Famous for having a floor layout that amounts to a giant maze and people commonly getting lost in the stores.
The town of Husqvarna (now spelled Huskvarna) produced the following, among other things (all built by separate companies named after the town):
- Chainsaws, lawnmowers and gardening equipment
- Sewing machines
Ingmar Bergman made some fine movies. So did Ingrid Bergman. You won't find much sex in any of their movies. At least not much pleasurable sex. For instance, in Cries and Whispers, a woman took the drastic step of masturbating with a glass shard so that her husband would lose interest in her. (!!!!!)
In 1967, as an answer to Bergman's highly symbolic and stylized films, director Vilgot Sjöman made a film titled Jag är nyfiken (English title, I am Curious). The 3½ hour film was in the style of French New Wave films from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sjöman later recut the film into two films -- I am Curious (Yellow) and I am Curious (Blue). In Yellow, the lead actress is shown kissing her boyfriend's penis, which led to censorship in many places around the world, including in Massachusetts. It also led to a dramatic uptick in the number of porno films produced in Sweden. As John Candy would later say in the 1984 movie Splash, some of the world's finest nudie films had come from Sweden.
Snus -- those stamp-sized pouches filled with dried snuff that help nicotine addicts get through long stretches in no-smoking areas -- originated in Sweden in the early 19th century. (Pronounced snoos, not snooze or snuss.)
Other exports include:
- Pop groups
Saab DongfengNational Electric Vehicle Sweden[note 4]
- Swedish meatballs
- JAS-39 Gripen
- Absolut Vodka
- Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time
- Nazi YouTubers
- Heavy Metal and tons of other metal genres[note 5]
- And yeah, the meatballs are not as good as you might've heard before, you know the foods suck when a food that represents the whole country is meatball.
Sweden claimed to be neutral during World War II. For the Swedish government, this meant doing everything to stay out of war, like selling iron ore to Germany and allowing German troops to travel to occupied Norway in preparation for operation Barbarossa. It also meant pleasing the allies, by providing information on the axis and allowing Norwegian partisans to train in Sweden. Later throughout the Cold War era, Sweden spied for the USA and secretly regarded them as their true ally, while officially remaining neutral and fairly friendly toward communist leaders.
Stockholm syndrome is a supposed psychological phenomenon in which the victim of prolonged abuse/crime displays support for or sympathy with the perpetrator(s). The original term was coined in an analysis of behavior exhibited by hostages (kept for five days during a [failed] bank robbery in Stockholm in 1973) and referred to the square where the bank was located; since most of the rest of the world has never heard of Norrmalmstorg, it was formalized and popularized as 'Stockholm' syndrome.
Göteborg, Gothenburg or Goteborg, is the second largest city in Sweden and a notable producer of angst driven pop music, spinny things, herring and bad puns. It's located on the west coast in Sweden, it's also the front side of Sweden. North Europe's biggest amusement park Liseberg and biggest shopping mall Femman lies in Göteborg.
Malmö is the third biggest city in Sweden. The Öresund bridge runs between Malmö and Danish capital Copenhagen.
Almost everything north of Stockholm, roughly half the country. Save for a few cities along the coast there aren't many people, but there is an abundance of timber, iron ore and hydroelectricity. The far north is also the home of Sweden's indigenous population, the Sami people.
It is also quite interesting to note that this part of the region which gave us those great pirates, pillagers, rapists and looters — the Vikings — managed to turn itself into one of the great liberal democracies of the world. This is because Swedish Vikings contented themselves with peaceful exploration and trade in Eastern Europe, plus statebuilding in what's now Russia and Ukraine. They called themselves Rus' rather than Vikings and gave their name to Russia.
It's a woman's life in the modern Sweden
Sweden is also often ranked as the country that is the most hospitable to women, despite the bleak imagery of Stieg Larsson's immensely popular Millennium Trilogy.[note 8] Among the advantages for women:
- Swedish men do more housework than anywhere else in the world -- 24 hours per week.
- Swedish society does not frown on women who are sexually assertive.
- Sweden was the first nation to pass a parental leave law, which now allows up to a one-year leave.
- The Lutheran Church in Sweden was one of the first organized religions to permit female priests.
- One-third of all Swedish police officers are women.
So, about that far-right smear campaign...
“”What has he been smoking?
|—Carl Bildt on Trump's false depiction of Sweden|
The irony being that: actually, Alex and co., Sweden is not exactly doing badly compared to Texas (or to the US, generally). In fact, Sweden is doing pretty OK compared to just about the entire planet, by most metrics no less. You're welcome, Alex.
The fictional Swedish collapse is generally attributed to something like: Sweden being ravaged by a tsunami of Middle-Eastern/African islamist rapefugees, swarming in day and night — by the boatload — on an open invitation from some vaguely defined bleeding heart liberal/"anti-racist"/SJW majority.
The highly respected Sveriges Radio (something akin to the BBC of Sweden) has adressed this phenomenon in short:
- 'Sweden bashing' peaked during 2015 migration wave
- Police: There are no 'no-go zones' in Sweden
- Life in one of Sweden's 'particularly vulnerable areas'
No, Sweden is not the rape capital of Europe
Wingnuts commonly point out that Sweden's rape statistics are the highest in Europe and the second highest in the world, and assert that Sweden accepting higher numbers of immigrants is clearly the cause of this. However, the real reason Sweden's rape statistics are so high is because the Swedish police are required to classify all reported rapes even if later investigation is unable to provide sufficient evidence for prosecution.
Furthermore, a case involving multiple instances of rape count each incidence rather than the single case, so the total number is "bloated" in comparison to other countries. Then factor in that police actually investigate the claims without going out of their way to humiliate victims any further, and a higher percentage of rapes will be reported in the first place. Also Sweden has a very broad definition of rape and so actions which may not be considered rape in other countries get classified as such, and this legal change happened relatively recently.
Rape is prosecuted regardless of whether the victim presses charges.
- A Swedish spruce tree has lived at peace for nearly 10,000 years. This spruce is the oldest known tree in the world.[note 9] It has been alive since before the creation of the world in 4004 BCE and even survived Noah's flood!
- Fred Phelps hated Sweden and claimed God did too.[note 10]
- Sweden was the first country to outlaw spanking and other forms of physical child abuse disguised as child rearing. Depending on your definition of outlawing, this happened in 1957, 1966 or 1979.
- Oh yeah! Sweden also legalized same-sex marriage in May 2009. Woohoo!!
- Sweden Democrats
- Nils Heribert Nilsson
- Olof Palme
- Thirty Years War, the conflict that temporarily turned Sweden into
a regional poweran empire.
- Greta Thunberg
- Counting from Uppsala, which is a pretty good, central measuring spot - not too far north in the mountains, not too far south, but kinda sorta in the middle you see
- They must be talking about Sweden, New York
- We're specifically talking about the car divisions, both companies remain very well alive.
- It's complicated to say the least.
- Along with Norway and Finland, Sweden enjoys its own metal scene, as part of the Scandinavian scene, widely considered to be one of the world's greatest metal scenes.
- To be accurate, ABBA was only 75% Swedish. One member was half-Norwegian and half-German. But, that's not her fault.
- Although you have to wonder if they would've gained the same level of fame if they had been as drunk in concert as they were when they made their 1970 TV debut as a group. (And how the hell did the get Reuben Kincaid from The Partridge Family and Frank Gorshin to play the sheriff and his deputy?)
- It's original Swedish title translates as "Men Who Hate Women," and involves a fair amount of characters that do just that.
- It's actually a clonal tree; the oldest individual tree is still a bristlecone pine in California. If we are counting clonal colonies, there's a 500,000 year old clonal colony of aspen trees in Utah.
- But let's be fair. Ask anybody in Sweden about Fred Phelps and they'll say what most Americans would say: "Fred who?"
- Wikipedia's nice summary of said report.
- See the Wikipedia article on Importance of religion by country.
- See the Wikipedia article on List of U.S. states by religiosity.
- Davidson, Kavitha A. (21 March 2013). "Democracy Index 2013: Global Democracy At A Standstill, The Economist Intelligence Unit's Annual Report Shows". The Huffington Post.
- "2013 Human Development Report". United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- "OECD Better Life Index". OECD Publishing. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "2013 Legatum Prosperity Index™: Global prosperity rising while US and UK economies decline". Legatum. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "Global Competitiveness Report 2012–2013". World Economic Forum. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- See the Wikipedia article on List of countries by credit rating.
- An account of fiscal and monetary policy in the 1990s
- Lessons for today from Sweden's crisis in the 1990s
- Then and Now
- Wladyslaw Duczko. Viking Rus: Studies on the Presence of Scandinavians in Eastern Europe
- The World's Best Country for Women, Marie Claire
- Daniel Marans, Donald Trump Appears To Make Up Sweden Terror Attack, Huffington Post
- "swedish prof: Hot weather, not rapey migrants driving Sweden's place as the rape capital of the world" on Breitbart
- Swedes find 'world's oldest tree', BBC News
- Durrant, Joan E. (1996). "The Swedish Ban on Corporal Punishment: Its History and Effects". Family Violence Against Children: A Challenge for Society. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 20. ISBN 978-3-11-014996-8.
- Sweden allows same-sex marriage, BBC News