05/16/2018

Look At What's Going To Happen To Sweden's Fabled Welfare State

Amanda Billner, Bloomberg

Sweden’s got a major supply and demand problem.

By 2025, its entire workforce is expected to grow by 207,000 people—yet it needs more than that number just to staff its fabled welfare state. The worker shortfall could crimp services and raise labor costs, especially in a political environment less hospitable to immigration.

The mismatch is one of the biggest headaches facing Sweden’s next government. Past precedents don’t bode well. The workforce rose by 488,000 between 2007 and 2017, with less than a third of that increase absorbed by the public sector.

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In Search Of History

4,000 Years Of Price Control

Tablets, said to be 200 years older than the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi ... show that the ancient kingdom of Eshnunna had wage control and price control. The news ought not to have come as a surprise. For the code of Hammurabi itself (unearthed in 1902), which was promulgated earlier than 2000 B.C., fixed prices, wages, interest rates, and fees. This makes price control at least about 4,000 years old. ...

 

Ironically, it is those who now wish to return to this ancient totalitarian device who are fondest of calling themselves “progressives.” They are also fond of saying that those who believe in economic liberty “are living in the nineteenth century.” These controlists have yet to learn that they themselves are still living, as the discoveries in Babylonia attest, in the nineteenth century—B.C.!

-- Henry Hazlitt,

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  • Unemployment:
    FreeMarket Central BLS: 4.05%
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 21.5%
  • Inflation:
    FreeMarket Central September Year-to-Year: 2.87% (CPI-U*)
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 9.9%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]

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