I was reading a commentary by typical establishment left wing academic about how apparently we should fix the economic problems in Spain. The solution that he puts forward is for the government to massively increase its size, and increase taxes. The justification that he uses for this massive enlargement of the bureaucracy, is that Sweden has bigger government than Spain, and therefore if Spain wants to be more like Sweden, it needs to expand its public sector.
How people on the left love Sweden. It is their talisman in everything. What this professor doesn’t seem to realize is that Sweden is not Spain. The people are different. The mentality is different. The cultures are different. And the way the government works is also very different. One cannot compare two totally different cultures and expect them to be the same. Although, I do understand that for good Marxist leftists the belief is very deeply ingrained that we’re all the same, and therefore if you want to have similarly successful economies all you have to do is create the same external conditions.
The reality is that Spain will never have the economy that Sweden has, simply because Spain has a different way of doing things. A government can’t make a country modernize just because it copies the laws of a more advanced society. The only way ultimately to move society forward is to change the way people behave at the most fundamental level. This has been a problem with our current Socialist government in Spain in that they have been cutting and pasting rules and norms and regulations from places like Sweden without understanding that Spain will never be like Sweden unless it changes at the most fundamental level of how people think and act. The government can make all the rules it wants but until they change their mentality and their behavior, nothing will really change.
In Sweden it’s not common for people to litter and write graffiti all over the place. Sweden has a tradition of clean and generally responsible government, with a population that generally respects the rules and norms of society. Spain has none of that. In Spain — like most countries — the government is pretty much a giant patronage system for jobs and money which are handed out to buy the necessary support to win elections. The purpose of the government is not to serve the nation and the people, but to reward those who helped get the politicians into office.
The reality is that Sweden is strong, not because of socialism, but in spite of it. The Swedish culture and way of doing things are sufficiently organized, focused, smart and responsible, that they can engage in heavy socialism and not pay too much of a price. It’s like the person who may drink too much and smoke, but still manages to basically be a pretty fit person, due to good genes or other factors. Thinking that the recipe for success is more and more government, is like saying that the recipe for a sick person to become healthy is to drink in excess and smoke, because you know someone who does these things and manages to be relatively healthy. From that it is concluded that drinking and smoking is the key to being healthy. It is basically just confusing causation and correlation. Socialism has worked reasonably well in Sweden, because the Swedish have strong tradition of good governance and a strong sense of civic responsibility. Therefore, having more government is not the end of the world in a country which actually has a fairly efficient and effective government, and a populace that generally follows and respects the rules. But, most governments in the world are not efficient and effective or responsible, and they exist to play the political game to enrich themselves.
Furthermore, despite Sweden’s success, I believe that Sweden today would be a much wealthier and stronger country if it had never been so socialist. It’s just like the relatively healthy individual who drinks too much and smokes. If he didn’t do either, he would be even healthier. And, despite Sweden’s relative success, the fact is that the country has gone down in the rankings over the years, and I believe that in the long-term, it’s heavy socialism is corrosive to Swedish society. It just is going to take a long time for the rot set in. Furthermore, socialism in Sweden only seems to really work with Swedes. The reality is that the vaunted Scandinavian social welfare system has done an abominable job of dealing with their violent and dysfunctional immigrant population which is swimming in a simmering stew of criminality and resentment. One would think that with their wonderful social welfare system, that new immigrants would be doing wonderfully, but the opposite is truth. The Muslim immigrants are also much more likely to abuse the socialist system, whereas native Scandinavians tend to be more responsible. People immigrate team from the Middle East, where lying and trickery is just a way of life, soon realized realize that they can make out like bandits in the socialist welfare state if they just lie and deceive enough. And, since they come from a culture where this is normal, busy nothing much wrong in manipulating the system. It is Scandinavians are much less likely to take advantage of the situation. Yes, it seems that Scandinavian socialism only works with real Scandinavians.
I I wish that leftists and Marxists would leave Sweden alone. The Scandinavian countries represent a singular example in human society. Trying to generalize from the Swedes to the rest of humanity just creates incorrect assumptions. The 1960s so many leftists felt the solution to Africa’s problems was massive socialism, because-hey-if socialism works in Sweden, it must work in Africa. The reality is that it has generally worked in Sweden, and it has been an absolute disaster in the Third World, mainly because Third World governments are pretty much dysfunctional, so why would anyone want to expand the power of an abusive, corrupt and dysfunctional organization? Africa governments are usually so irresponsibly run that they do nothing for the nation. Governments exist essentially to steal and pad their bank accounts.
I was watching commentary on the Wall Street Journal channel of all places, and they were making a pitch to the fact that we need to massively increase government spending so as to “invest” in the country. They use the analogy of Apple which a few years ago took on debt, and then used that to successfully to build an empire. I guess we`re supposed to assume that the US government is like Apple, or has the potential to be. The reality is that Apple is nothing like the US government. Apple is a lean mean company which has been forged out of Darwinian competition for survival. The US government is a totally different creature. It can be pretty much be as corrupt and dysfunctional and incompetent as it wants, sense it’s not going out of business. The US government does not exist principally to serve the nation, but to keep the patronage machine going forward to be able to win votes and campaign contributions to be able to win elections. Public funds represent essentially a giant slush fund to be channeled to whatever party will help the politicians. That is why no one is able to make serious reductions in spending, and deactivate the debt bomb, because any reduction in spending would mean a reduction in the quid pro quo system that keeps our elected leaders in office. I continue to be astounded by the naïveté of people who, even today, say with a straight face that all we need is more government to solve all of our problems. I can only imagine that they are corrupt individuals who’ve been paid off by the system to say these things.