Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg has seen the result up close and says it's not pretty for the economy or investors.He undercuts that by saying,
Anders Borg has a message for those who look to government to take over health care, rescue the financial system and run troubled corporations: I have seen the future--and it doesn't work.
As the finance minister of Sweden, Borg is the chief financial officer of a country long known as a walking billboard for a social welfare state. In Borg's view, the 1970s and 1980s were lost decades for Sweden. Left-leaning politicians pushed government spending, excluding investment outlays, from 22% of gross domestic product in 1970 to 30% in 1980. Real growth fell from an average of 4.4% annually in the 1960s to 2.4% in the 1970s and remained low for the next two decades.
"Like many societies, we went too far in our welfare-state ambitions," say Borg (pronounced "Bor-ee").
Borg's idols were free marketeers Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
[I]t's quite possible to combine "a flexible, market-oriented system with the traditional values of Sweden." By "traditional" he means valuing social cohesion [and] a publicly financed safety net of some sort...Even this mixed message is a big step forward for a soft-socialist state like Sweden. Best of luck to Mr. Borg.