Rich and poor. Swedish socialism.




The extremely rich shall always be with us. That's not what the bible says. It says that the poor shall always be with us. But the economist say, we can't have one without the other.


The early church practiced charity because it was able to tap the rich and provide charity for the poor.

After Martin Lutheran broke away from the traditional church, countries like Sweden exchanged Catholicism for Protestantism.


The Catholic church operated many of the charities so that when the Swedish Government adopted Lutheranism it turned over the charities and hospitals services to the provinces or to the counties to operate. So charity was released by the church and taken over by local governments.


Today most of the socialized health programs are run by counties and regional systems in Sweden. Their health programs have evolved from the church. Socialists parties have over time instituted what are referred to as socialists program through the national government.


Of course, conservatives have opposed these programs. Today, observation of these programs show that they have been based on a strong market economy and are supported mostly through taxes on private businesses.


Today the Moderate party is pushing toward more market oriented services and reduction in taxes. Of course, those programs heavily steeped in traditions of the past cannot be easily altered.


The culture that has developed has a strong predilection which is not easily moved, even though the party of moderation is working toward improving market conditions and increasing business opportunities.


Therefore, the country that is referred to as the most typical of socialists countries is primarily capitalistic based but containing within it a strong social welfare strain.


Over 1000 American companies operate in Sweden as do others from many other countries from all over world. Sweden is known for its Saab, Ikea and the once more famous of ball bearing manufactures SKF and Bofors. And yes it is a parliamentary democracy with a symbolic monarchy.


University students are subsidized. Workers are covered by unemployment insurance. Until recently, before heavy immigration there were no street people nor any homelessness. The elderly are taken good care of as are mothers who are about to or are giving birth. Mothers have long paid leaves from their jobs. Many pensioners go to warmer climates of Europe to spend their later years.


These are examples of some of their most popular welfare programs. Although a significant aspect of their welfare programs originated within the church centuries ago, few Swedes are church goers or very religious.


As one who believed that Sweden was a highly socialized country, I was quite surprised when seeing this country from this perspective. And although there are extremely rich families in Sweden, there was no sector of the population that could be considered to be in poverty.


Today however, there are appearances of poverty among the new immigrants, although their conditions would not be classified as such in the countries from which they came. So although the rich shall always be with us, we are not so sure that the poor will be in countries like Sweden.



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