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The Swedish Secret by Earl Gustafson

March 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 149

Published in 2006, this book is about what the United States can learn from a seemingly socialist country in Scandinavia.

The author is an American attorney, judge and politician with Swedish roots and a strong admiration for how the policymakers of Sweden have shaped their modern society. Mr. Gustafson is a dedicated patriot and believes in American ideals. He does, however, see some very interesting political solutions in the land of his forefathers.

A Guiding Star Among Modern Societies?

Sweden, the largest of the Scandinavian countries, was ranked as the second most competitive country (after Switzerland) by the World Economic Forum in 2010. It also has the most equal distribution of wealth of any country on earth.

To uncover the Swedish "Secret", Earl Gustafson looks into how both the US and Sweden have developed socio-economically. He describes the guiding principles of democracy and how they are followed in both countries, respectively.

Comparing Two Distinctly Different Histories

The book also gives the reader a thorough historical review of both countries. Before the mid-2oth century, large parts of Sweden were underdeveloped. Hundreds of thousands left conditions of poverty in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to find a better life in America.

America on the other hand, has seen steady economic growth and technological development, but also a long history of wars. After WWII, when the rest of Europe lay in ruins, Sweden's commercial and industrial sectors were in tact.

Later 20th Century Developments

This was a golden age in Sweden when politicians had the means to build a better society for their highly homogeneous population with a strong Lutheran work ethic. The pure logic of investing in education and technology could not be disputed. This was clearly a way to bring modern living standards to the entire country and a basic standard of living to all.

As Mr. Gustafson clearly points out, the key to the Swedish "Secret" is a combination of many factors. They include the country's efficient and free market economy, and a high percentage of women in positions of leadership and authority.

Similar Modern Cultures - With Different Values

Differences in American and Swedish mentality are also discussed. Whereas Americans have dreams of great wealth: "the sky's the limit," Swedes have a more modest perspective, rooted in Viking times. Traditionally in Sweden, everyone in the group should have enough for a good life, but the accumulation of vastwealth is almost looked upon with suspicion.

This traditional way of thinking in Sweden probably contributes today, to careful government budgeting. The country has managed to achieve not only a balanced budget, but also a buffer in case there are leaner economic times ahead.

A Cautious and Skillful Balancing Act

Perhaps part of the Swedish "Secret" is their down-to-earth way of planning for periods of slower economic growth, while at the same time investing in the future as soundly as possible. It's a continual balancing act, made all the more precarious because of the size of the country.

So, can the United States learn anything from the Swedish model?

This book was written by a very concerned American citizen, hoping just that.

Perhaps his most important message is: the US is struggling with several, critical socio-economic problems today, but those issues are not unique to America, and have been successfully addressed elsewhere for the good of the people.

http://www.sweden.se/

Lund, Sweden

March, 2012

About the Author: Janet Boynton Runeson is a freelance web copywriter and director of Entrepreneurial Copy. She specializes in cultural awareness.

Source: EzineArticles
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