The Legatum Institute, in partnership with the Swedish Embassy, hosted a panel discussion which looked at the Swedish and Nordic region's economic, political, and social success.
With opening remarks from Nicola Clase
, Swedish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the livestreamed discussion included panel members Henrik Berggren
(Historian and Author), Klas Eklund
(Senior Economist at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken & Adjunct Professor at Lund University), Graeme Leach
(Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors). The conversation was moderated by Legatum Institute President and CEO Jeffrey Gedmin
The discussions centred on a wide array of topics which ranged from how the Nordic countries are critical players in the global economy, to the preservation of strong social welfare states. The discussants agreed that the small and nimble nature of these countries, such as Sweden, allows them to more easily meet the challenges of an increasingly globalised world. More than that, Sweden has economically grown as the result of limited corruption levels, eradication of clientelism, an emphasis on entrepreneurship, and a high trust of government by citizens.
Historically, the economic turmoil that Sweden experienced in the early 90s, meant implementing a path of practical fiscal policy, which saw a decrease in the size of government – and subsequently debt burdens – which has allowed the country to weather the storm of the most recent global crisis. The panel members emphasised that the pragmatic pruning of government spending did not mean a deterioration of the social welfare policies, but rather the creation of a more efficient government.
In part, this is the result of Swedes, and other Nordic countries, seeing the state as “one of us”, and belief that the government has a role to play in helping citizens be more competitive in the global economy. This also speaks to the socially-cohesive nature of Sweden's citizenry. Swedes trust each other, business, and governments, which has resulted in a society more willing to help each other through redistribution programmes and trusting that the government will deliver.
The discussion was supported by findings from the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index, available for download here
. Livestream Recording
For more information about this event, click here