Meeting Cecilia Stegö Chilò of the Timbro thinktank was an experience. A former journalist, she is a passionate believer in the future of Sweden as a liberalised economy. The problem, she says, is that in a globalised world, the Nordic “social model” of high taxation, expensive public services won’t work, and nor will it create the jobs Sweden’s young people will need in the next few years.
She is also the author of a book about how Sweden became the nation it is: “The Shift of Systems: a 19th century story”, written at the beginning of 1990s. It electrified the political world. However, she says, Sweden’s apparent dynamism is masked by a stultifying public sector which is dragging down innovation and driving people abroad to more dynamic and faster health services, among others.
For instance, there is the recent incident of a woman who went to Germany for a knee operation, who later said ” I didn’t realise how good it was in other countries. I could have lived without the TV set and nice nurses at home if I could just get the operation faster.”
And while Stockholm thrives, the north of the country is effectively “dead.” It looks like Sweden is in for a long and firey public debate about it’s future direction.