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Swedish history: 1945-- (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
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Swedish history: 1945--

 

7.3.7 social security

1945-1960

During the 1940s the agrarian proletarians are transformed to tenant farmers, and house maids which now had gotten regulated working hours became a very rare sight. The Social Democrats continued to dominate the society - in the parliament, when neccessary, in cooperation with the Agrarians.

The industry expands. People leave the countryside for the towns. The urbanization leads to a new kind of social misery with shortage of housing and "wild" adolescent gangs in the towns. In the spirit of McCartyism communists, homosexual men and wild youths came to be seen as the prime threats against the good society. Communists were fought and hunted in the workers' unions, homosexuals were connected with a couple of justice scandals and the youth danced to "negro jazz" and rock'n'roll.


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Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Immigrants were welcomed by the industries: Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Finland-Swedes and Finns. From the start of world-war II to the end of the century Sweden receives far more than a million refugees and economic immigrants, of which the majority choose to remain in Sweden.

Yearly vacations are expanded. Mandatory health insurance is decided 1955, child allowance (introduced 1948) becomes an important contribution to the economy of families, the national pensions became increased in 1948 and then equalized ATP decided after a referendum in 1957.

After the war the Swedish national pride is inflated by the good deeds of Count Folke Bernadotte (the Red Cross) and the United Nation Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld (former minister in the Social Democratic Cabinet).

1960-1980

Women participate in the caring for children and elderly as employees by the municipalities. Taxes rise. A surge of immigrants are engaged in the industries. Vacations get limited to not less than 5 weeks yearly. 40 hours working week is enforced. Strong laws against arbitrary sacking of workers are decided and the unions get the right to participate in board meetings for companies.

The educational system is made uniform with 10 years of mandatory theoretical school, with minimized freedom to choose subjects, followed by 3 years of specializing ("Gymnasium"). Matriculation examination is abolished, as are apprentices. All secondary schools give access to higher studies, the mark system is debated and changed.

The king loses the last executive power. Princesses get equal rights with princes to inherit the throne.

Swedish politicians tend to start their careers in younger years, before having accomplished in any profession (Olof Palme is one of the first examples), and the reduced number of municipal politicians contribute to a growing alienation between politicians and the electorate.

The Swedish Social Democratic governments are eager to act in international politics. Preferably on the "anti-imperialist" side against the United States - and sometimes against the Soviet Union. Olof Palme belonged to the Swedes who were strongly engaged against the Vietnam war, which led to the US ambassador leaving Sweden for some years.

In Sweden communists were hunted in the unions and among the employees in governmental institutions (as hospitals!). In the 1970:ies Jan Guillou, an investigating journalist at a left-wing periodical, was imprisoned for revealing the close cooperation between the Social Democratic party and a secret organization registering people with leftist opinions. Jan Guillou became some 15 years later Sweden's most famous novel writer with his series about the super-hero baron Carl G Hamilton in the Swedish secret service.

In elections to the parliament 1973 the left block and the anti-Socialist block got 175 seats each. Olof Palme remained as prime minister. Many laws were decided after drawing of lots. The number of seats is made unequal.

1976-1994

The political majority in the parliament changes almost every 6:th year, and the Swedes get used to new non-Socialist Prime-Ministers every second year instead of a new Social-Democratic Prime-Minister every 20th year.

Waves of refugees arrive but fail to find employment.

Plans to force companies to give shares to the workers' unions every year are discussed, decided and abandoned.

The defense forces are successively reduced.

In 1976 the leader for the Center party, Thorbjörn Fälldin, becomes the first non-Social Democratic prime minister since 1936 after an intense campaign in favor of environment protection and against nuclear power.

In a referendum 1979 between three proposals to close the thirteen nuclear power plants the Social Democratic version wins a relative majority and is interpreted as use of all nuclear power is to be liquidated in thirty years. (It will last until February 1997 until the first power plant-closing is politically agreed.)

In the autumn 1981 a Russian submarine runs a-ground in what the military calls inner security zone of the navy base area in the Blekinge archipelago. After half a day an inhabitant on the island informs the military about the unexpected guest. A Russian navy gathers at the territorial border, but leaves after the Swedish prime minister Thorbjörn Fälldin publicly declared he had ordered the Swedish defense forces to use all means against further intruders on the sea or in the air. The Russians denied accusations of having brought atomic weapons to Sweden, as the US navy always had done when they had come on (announced) visits.

After this perturbing episode the Swedish navy hunted Russian mini- and macro-submarines intensely for the following ten years. Then it turned out that some, most or all of the hunted objects had been minks.

Big curency devaluations solve some problems and cause other. In the 1980s a lot of Swedish industrial profits are gambled away on continental real estates.

February 28th 1986, the Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, who had dominated Swedish politics in the 70s and 80s, is assassinated while returning from movies. A political heir of Tage Erlander (another influential Swedish prime minister, in power 1946-69), he had an international reputation as an architect of the Swedish welfare model and an outspoken advocate of disarmament. He was the first Swedish leader to be killed since king Gustav III. Despite feverish and almost tragicomic investigations, the motive and the killer still remain unknown.

At the beginning of the 1990:ies the employment drops drastically, as does the value of the currency, and the state budget deficit explodes. Subsidies are diminished for sick insurance, maternal and paternal leave, unemployment insurance... The bad times result in some changes on higher positions in the banks and industries, and it turns out that their boards (also state owned banks and companies) have granted the management fabulous pensions. The Social Democrats have propagandized much against the Bildt Cabinet policy, populistically claiming it to strike hard against the weakest among the people. The people got surprised when the Social Democrats, after the election of 1994 back at power, in the parliament do much harder cuts in the social security system.

The ferry Estonia en route between Tallin and Stockholm with over a thousand people on-board sank into the icy Baltic September 28th 1994; only circa 130 were saved. Of the drowned, the vast majority were Swedes, and the disaster shook the whole nation.

Latest news

In 1996 The Social Democratic party elected a new chairman, Göran Persson, namesake to the chancellor of Erik XIV, who becomes prime minister and the sixth leader of the party in 107 years. Persson's supporters have acted against Mona Sahlin, proposed by the retiring Ingvar Carlsson, spreading (true) rumors about her bad capability to take care of her own economy, and her purchase of diapers and chocolate with a government credit card. Mona Sahlin is made impossible and leaves the political life. Göran Persson is caught shop-lifting chocolate, and the former minister of Justice (in mr Bildt's Cabinet) is forgiven purchase of shoes and dresses with her government credit card. The strongest criticism comes from Per Uncle, another former minister of mr Bildt's, who turns out to be the one the prosecutor finds his greatest interest in.

Several municipal politicians and managers leave their positions after having been too self-indulgent with municipal credit cards on night clubs, brothels and holiday trips. The unveiling of this habit was introduced by a Scanian radio journalist, Janne Svensson, who soon got employed as secretary for the Social Democratic mayor of Malmö.

The former leader for the (Social) Liberal party leads an "independent" commission investigating espionage on a private TV station where a reporter had unveiled embarrassing facts about HSB, a national organization for housing societies, not without ties to the Social Democratic party. The espionage is ordered by the manager for a public relation firm with close ties to the Social Democratic party, but the commission declares that HSB could not be shown to have aimed at espionage - only at a vicious slander campaign. The HSB manager, who over a bottle of whiskey had commissioned the PR-firm manager, should not have acted on behalf of HSB.
- The commission worked on the behalf of HSB.

The European Union, which Sweden entered 1995, is among many perceived as the greatest threat against the Swedish democracy (except for wars).

The alienation between the electorate and the elected becomes worse.



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This page was last updated June the 15th in the year of 1998.

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