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Is Sweden a False Utopia?

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by The Brandon Five, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Is Sweden a False Utopia? | Newgeography.com

    So, does policy determine all outcomes alone, or does culture play as large (or a larger) part?

    Discuss.
  2. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Culture can't be discussed honestly, openly and realistically on this forum because sooner or later somebody will be accused of Bigotry and Racism for Telling It Like It Is.

    :bricks:
  3. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think culture plays a very big part, but we have to look at our history, right from the start when black families were torn apart by slave owners and, indeed, slave owners took people from different tribes so that slaves could not communicate with each other. As a result, blacks tend to have no ancestry (they don't know from which country or culture they came), and some of that cultural damage exists to this day. While investments have certainly improved things, blacks remain very poor, with very little established wealth, all part of the legacy of racism in our country. It's rare to see a black person on antique roadshow, for instance, bring in a family heirloom that worth thousands of dollars.

    I think to some degree you can align discrimination with social problems, whether we're talking about blacks, Hispanics, gays, Irish, Italians or others. Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, and British were always accepted as equals within our culture. There is very little history of prejudice directed towards any of the Germanic groups, and as a result these groups seem to do well.

    I think overall the US has done better than any other nation is fighting discrimination and racism, but it still plays a big role in our social problems. We need to continue to invest in educating people about what our country stands for. I have long believed that schools should teach civics and ethics as part of the standard curriculum. Otherwise, how else does one learn to abide by American mores?

    It's difficult to compare Sweden and the US because Sweden is very different, but the fact is that their social system has resulted in negligible crime, long life spans, low infant mortality, and a high standard of living. We can learn from the Swedish model, but it can't be applied directly because our nation is a melting pot of cultures and any social programs we introduce need to navigate our differences as much as what we have in common.
  4. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    Damn, Patters. Nice post.

    Germans here got some guff during the first world war, but that's a minor point.

    One thing I have found about Sweden though, was that they really did a great job of absorbing immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa into their society.

    However, I've heard from some of my friends in Sweden that there are growing problems with the newer wave of poorer immigrants that have been coming from predominantly Muslim countries. I don't have a lot of insight on the interaction between those immigrants and the rest of Sweden. It was after my brief time there.

    Interestingly, Sweden is starting to feel some pressure to analyze their immigration policy, as are many Nordic countries.
  5. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Put a monkey, a dog, a cat, a chicken, a racoon, a bear, a moose and a human being in the same room then watch the fight.

    Mother Nature and Reality, the Do-Gooders two biggest enemies.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, can you?

    :bricks:
  6. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks Nikolai. When I lived in Sweden in the early 1990s, I learned that there was quite a bit of segregation, and the immigration policy was far more restrictive than ours. Of course, one difference is that Sweden really did invest heavily in each immigrant in order to give them a decent start. Our country could do more, but we have so many immigrants it's likely we could ever provide for them the way the Swedes did.
  7. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    OT: and the 2nd, too -- albeit infinitely less than the Japanese
  8. PatsFanInVa

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    So Freidmann's response indicates that he believes national stats are misleading, because we should be measuring by ethnic background.

    Good thing they're not "hyphenated Americans" who believe that their allegiance to their nation coexists with their ethnic identity, right?

    It's amusing that the same guys who lambaste that point of view in one breath, turn around and demand analysis by ethnic and racial background as a measure of whether a system has worked.

    The United States' outcomes include poverty, in this anecdote. Sweden's outcomes do not include poverty.

    Friedmann's response is worse than a deflection from the issues the U.S. has long faced. It is an argument that a system that demands (for example) structural unemployment would not demand that feature were the system homogeneously peopled by Swedes.

    Were someone to say "Sweden never had slavery" it would not be a legit defense to say "How interesting. In the United States, there were no Swedish slaves. Therefore slavery is the fault of the non-Swedes, some of whom were enslaved, not the fact that we chose to adopt this peculiar institution. Swedes and slavery just don't go together, and everything would be fine if we were all just Swedish."

    Obviously, being a non-Swede himself, Friedmann has a broader idea of who can be held blameless for poverty, but it is defined racially and ethnically.

    To wit, Friedmann's premise here is that those who are poor in the U.S. are poor because they are non-northern-Europeans, based on a notion of people being poor because they are just the kind of people who are always poor.

    You need only look at the poverty stats in such a world, determine the prevalence of poverty among different racial and ethnic groups, and declare that those who are poor are just from a "poverty prone" culture or gene pool.

    So is it coincidental that many wealthy nations are from northern Europe, and many immigrant groups from northern Europe enjoyed advantages in the United States as well?

    I think that's got a lot to do with Friedmann's smug response.

    So, is the conclusion that U.S. poverty is okay, because it only hits "those people," or is the conclusion that U.S. poverty is the fault of "those people?"

    Exactly what is Friedmann's prescription for eliminating povery among Americans, as opposed to Americans of Swedish descent? Or is his point that there's no reason to worry about it, since poverty rates are genetically or culturally determined?

    PFnV
  9. PatsFanInVa

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    By the way, I'd really like to know the provenance of their income inequality (Gini index) figure, where Sweden's is more skewed than ours.

    The CIA factbook gives us this Gini coefficient-derived ranking, where the US ranks 40th in income inequality among families, at a score of 45 (read the note at the top of the page to get an idea of what the score indicates,) and Sweden ranks dead last in family inequality at 136th, with a score of 23.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2172rank.html

    Everywhere else I poke around on the web yields similar results; it appears the OP's article is the only place where Sweden's utopia is not only false, but also a place of horrible unevenness of outcomes.

    By the way, if you think about it, since Sweden has no poverty (according to the lead-in), great inequality would just yield wealth and more wealth -- though this is clearly not the case by anybody else's analysis.

    PFnV
  10. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    addendum - I see the OP's source refers to a Gini ownership index, whereas the Gini index is usually applied to incomes rather than assets and household debt (for whatever reason.)
  11. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I think that it indicates that he thinks that not everything is explained by policy (i.e. there is no such thing as "all other things being equal" in the real world).

    Who is demanding anything?

    Really?

    Sweden
    Stop it. It's not about race or ethnicity. It's about culture. In a mono-cultural society, social cohesion is much easier to accomplish. We have a larger challenge in bringing many cultures together (and have been largely successful in doing so).

    I have no idea what you are trying to say. Sweden had slavery like every other part of civilization.

    No he has a different idea about the roots of poverty. You think it is because wealthy people are "allowed" to keep and invest their money.

    No, I think that he is saying that the cultural values in the Swedish community are not universal.

    I give up.

    As opposed to the smug statement to which he responded?

    I would put forth the proposition that it is because of different values.

    Why don't you ask the man himself?

    YouTube - Milton Friedman - Poverty and Equality
  12. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

  13. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Sweden was involved in the slave trade and had slavery in their colonies until they outlawed the trade in 1813. They outlawed slavery in all Swedish territories (including colonies) in 1847.

    Swedish slave trade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    But yeah, they don't have a large population of people descended from slaves. Point taken.

    Hard to know since he is dead.

    I'd guess that he would have thought that their government is a big part of the blame. It appears they were too much like us. From your link:

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  14. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    I was there in 2000, and it seemed like things had really progressed by that point, but your point about the differences between what we face here and the situation in Sweden is well made.

    I lived in Malmö, which I found to be a pretty tolerant city. Where were you?
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  15. State

    State Rookie

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    #70 Jersey

  16. tehmackdaddy

    tehmackdaddy Rookie

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    • The poverty rate among Swedes in the U.S. and Sweden are practically identical.
    • Smaller, culturally homogenous societies such as Sweden's have higher levels of trust and less government corruption, which leads to better efficiency. (These attributes cannot be replicated in the States.)
    • The average income for a Swede in Sweden is $36,600; The average income for an American is $45,500; the average income for a Swede in the U.S. is $56,900 - 55% higher than the Swedish average.
    • In 1970 Sweden had the 4th highest income in the world. In 2000 Sweden dropped to 14th place.
    • 16% of the national government's expenditures go towards subsidizing worker's sick days.
    • 10% of all Swedes of working age are in early retirement and 20% are receiving some form of unemployment benefit.
    • The difference between Sweden's life expectancy advantage over the U.S. when comparing pre and post Socialist state (60 years) is 0.1 years.
    • In 1980 Sweden's per capita GDP was 20% higher than that of the U.S. By 2001 the U.S. per capital GDP was 56% higher than Sweden's.

    Sweden' socialist utopia is collapsing.
  17. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    The transformation from Socialist Utopia to hellhole continues apace:

    Sverige toppar internationell våldtäktsstatistik - Fria Tider

    Data for South Africa is no longer available, but Sweden was second to only Botswana in 2010. Source:

    http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/statistics/crime/CTS12_Sexual_violence.xls
  18. Hamar

    Hamar Rookie

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    Black families were torn apart by blacks. You do know that people (slaves) were the currency in Africa, yes? Oh, and the idea of mixing up slaves from different tribes was not something that those evil southern rednecks thought up. It was an established practice in slavery in Africa.

    Here is something that will blow your mind... Are you ready? Slavery is still alive and well in Africa today!! OMG! But, you do not care. It is like the whole gun violence thing. If it does not feed your political outrage then it is not happening.
  19. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    As a 1st generation Lithuanian-American, I have to say........today's 'indigenous people' in the states are pretty pathetic as a whole......but as long as they have someone making excuses for them, they will abide by making excuses for themselves.

    sorry to sound uppity......not my intent at all, but even today, it is so easy to make something of yourself professionally, academically, and financially.....it really is.

    probably easier than anywhere else
  20. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    I think his point is quite clear. He's not trying to ordain a prescription for eliminating poverty, he's just saying a system that works in one country would not necessarily translate to success in other countries due to differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

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