Contemporary Economic Systems: A Regional and Country Approach

By Nicholas V. Gianaris | Go to book overview

8 Swedish Democratic Socialism

A BRIEF HISTORICAL REVIEW

Prior to the ninth century, details of Swedish history are obscure. Before and during the Roman period, the eastern part of the Scandinavian peninsula was inhabited by Germanic tribes, mainly the Suiones or Swedes and the Gothones or Goths, which were fighting each other. Olaf Skutkonung and Eric IX, who ruled for the periods 933-1024 and 1150-60, respectively, were the first kings who accepted and expanded Christianity, which was introduced by Frankish missionaries.

Via wars with Denmark and Poland or voluntary adherence ( Estonia in 1561), Sweden entered a period of expansion in the Baltic area.

Under the rule of Bernadotte, who succeeded the throne as Charles XIV, John ( 1818-44), and his successors, Oscar I, Charles XV, and Oscar II ( 1872- 1907), Gustavus V ( 1907-50), and Gustavus VI later, Sweden achieved significant progress politically, materially, and culturally.

Thereafter, the introduction of extensive social legislation, including the 8- hour working day, protection of working women and children, and other factory and labor laws made Sweden an exceptional welfare state. Other democratic and socialist measures taken primarily by the Social Democratic Party, which remained in power for decades, and the policy of neutrality, during World War I, World War II, and the cold war, made Sweden a respected democratic Socialist country. 1 The neutrality of the country for a long period allowed it to devote large amounts of resources away from military expenditures, to its rapid economic and social development. As a result, Sweden is among the first nations in per capita income and medical services. It follows an efficient middle way system between exploitative capitalism and repressive communism, maintaining democracy, liberty, and a free market.

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