Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A poignant Mises.org Daily Article

How the Welfare State Corrupted Sweden
by Per Bylund

[Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2006]


Old people in Sweden say that to be Swedish means to supply for your own, to take care of your self, and never be a burden on anyone else's shoulders. Independence and hard work was the common perception of a decent life, and the common perception of morality. That was less than one hundred years ago.

My late grandmother used to say something had gone wrong with the world. She was proud to never have asked for help, to have always been able to rely on herself and her husband, proud that they could throughout their lives care for their family. I'm happy that when she passed away at the respectable age of 85, she did so with that dignity still intact. She was never a burden.

My grandmother, born in 1920, was of the last generation to have that special personal pride, of having a firm and deeply rooted morality, of being a sovereign in life no matter what — to be the sole master of one's fate. The people of her generation experienced and endured one or two world wars (though Sweden never took part) and were raised by poor Swedish farmers and industrial workers. They witnessed and were the driving force behind the Swedish "wonder."

Their morality assured they could survive any condition. If they found themselves not being able to live off their wages, they would only work harder and longer. They were the architects and construction workers in building their own lives, even though it often meant hard work and enduring seemingly hopeless situations.

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