One thing I noted during my time in Sweden is that there is a tendency to see the period between 1960 and 1980 as the Golden Age of the welfare state and to argue that the big welfare project somehow lost its direction since then. It is true that Sweden, like the other Nordic countries, saw high growth levels during the 1960s, and that the country in relative terms has dropped in the international wealth tables.
But has the welfare state been hit?
Again, there is a tendency to assume that this is the case (as in 8 out of 10) but as the Swedish Association of Local and Regional Authorities points out, welfare services have in fact been expanded significantly since 1980.
So, why do perception and reality diverge so dramatically? (I don’t have an answer but I’m not surprised by the result).
HT: Gissur Erlingsson who also can’t offer a good explanation.