En utlännings syn på Sverige
Jag fick ett mail angående min essä om den svenska välfärdsstaten som publicerats av Ludwig von Mises Institute. Det är från en amerikansk [social]demokrat, som upplevt Sverige. Han säger det bäst själv, och mycket träffsäkert, så jag citerar hela mailet:
I was just sent a link to your article "How the Welfare State Corrupted Sweden" and wanted to drop you a note.
I am American and just returned after 2 years in Stockholm with my family. My wife is Swedish and we have two children, one was in daggis and then went into grade 0.
I was surprised to see many 1 year old children in daggis. My daughter was 4 when we arrived and was in school for half the time that most much younger children there. I really wonder how many hours a day most people spend with their kids.
I consider myself quite liberal by American standards and live in San Francisco. After two years in Sweden, I felt like the most right-wing, American Republican. I found myself incredibly frustrated with the lack of responsibility people were taking for their lives, actions and children.
There was a pervasive child rearing "technique" where people let their kids do whatever they want so they could "live." I saw a girl spit in her mother's face and call her a whore in Kungsträdgården and the mother had almost no reaction. I was shocked.
Another big surprise for me was the rampant materialism and its resulting conformity. Everyone had to have the same Canadian Goose jacket or wide headband or whatever. Anyone who expressed individuality was "weird." And I'm from commercial, retail-driven America!
We had problems with every single contractor we had working on our apartment and later house. The workers overcharged (they couldn't even lie or cheat well) and showed up when it was convenient to them. There was very little recourse other then endless discussion. I fired most of the them and did the work myself in the end. Oddly, after getting fired must just shrugged. They obviously couldn't care less if they were doing a good job and getting paid for it or not.
We had a small business in Stockholm and due to the labor laws had no ability to hire extra workers. We just couldn't take the financial risk. We ended up turning away business and stunting what could have becoming a much larger enterprise due to the worker protection laws.
Some things I just found downright laughable. For instance, in sink garbage disposals are common place here. I found out in Sweden they are banned for safety reasons. Similarly I found that Sweden has recently banned power adapter (from US to Swedish outlets) for safety reasons. For me it was just more of the "The government knows best, you are too stupid to take care of yourself" mentality.
The level of hypocrisy was also evident in the state institutions like Systembolaget. They say they need to have high prices to help defray the cost of alcoholism, but they didn't seem to have problems selling single beer cans to the guys panhandling in front of my daughters daggis, across the street from Systembolaget. The recent discussion to lower alcohol taxes in souther Sweden due to Denmark's lower taxes just underscores that the real issue is making money.
After two years, my wife came to the conclusion that she didn't want our children to grow up Swedish. It was a very depressing realization.
We have since moved back to San Francisco. I don't mean to compare countries and say which is better or worse. America has more problems than most countries to be sure. I hope there is some middle ground between some of the protections Sweden has for the most needy and the near lack of any protection here in the US. For us, Sweden didn't give us many options to raise our children in the way we wish.
Nice job on the essay,
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