Jul 19, 11
Read from July 16 to 18, 2011
I found this book at a Scandinavian festival, at the publisher's booth. Given that Sweden has been used by politicians and pundits in the USA as a great example of how a country should be, I decided to educate myself!
This was a fascinating look at two countries. America rose while inward-looking policies meant Sweden lost a lot of its prestige. Nilson, who has spent time in both countries, takes time to compare them at various points in time, and points out how Sweden hides behind lies and hidden truths.
Nilson believes that Sweden's 'neutrality' is false, and uses political quotes to support that. The country appears to be based on bureaucracy and equality, which means there isn't a big opportunity for individual success. Companies that were once forward-thinking have been left behind as they only seek to improve current products. Innovation has been stifled. The majority of Swedes live on some form of government handout, hence the high taxes, yet America's poor is still comparitively well off. Sweden's aim appears to be to maintain the status quo.
The book was written in 2007, before the USA election. I found some of the passages extremely 'telling' as a sample of what could happen here if we're not careful.