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The Social Programs of Sweden

The Social Programs of Sweden: A Search for Security in a Free Society

Albert H. Rosenthal
Copyright Date: 1967
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Social Programs of Sweden
    Book Description:

    In his forward to this book, Marquis Childs, author of the classic work Sweden: The Middle Way, comments: “There has been a great deal of emotional writing about the effort of the labor government in Stockholm to regulate capitalism and provide a decent standard of living for every citizen. Much of this emotional writing has come from those who for one reason or another have sought to discredit the Swedish experiment ... The net result of much of this highly colored writing has been to ignore the real contribution that Sweden has made in a half dozen fields and particularly in the fields of social security and health. But now comes an author ideally equipped to appraise this contribution by reason of his background. This is the great virtue of this book. It is a careful and thorough examination of Sweden’s achievement by a specialist familiar with our own social security, public health and welfare systems ... No subsequent appraisal of what Sweden has done can be made henceforth without this basic work.” The author traces the development of the Swedish programs and provides detailed descriptions of the social security, health insurance, public health, and welfare programs, with case examples. He evaluates and compares the programs with their American counterparts, and, in conclusion, considers the effects of the Swedish system on personal freedom. The work is based on extensive research done in Sweden.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6429-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xvi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xvii-2)
  3. I Growth of the Social Programs
    (pp. 3-11)

    In Sweden, the individual is protected from almost every social hazard by some form of legislation. The emphasis in Swedish social policy to-day is on the prevention of dependency, by means of full employment and extensive insurance plans, but public assistance is also available for those who are unable to provide adequately for their own needs or who are ineligible for insurance. Governmental programs have been developed to meet the problems an individual may encounter because of serious illness, disability, death of the family breadwinner, old age, substandard income, or unemployment. Public agencies have assumed responsibility for a wide range...

  4. II The Social Security Programs
    (pp. 12-35)

    The term “social security,” although not commonly used in Sweden to designate the retirement, disability, and survivor’s insurance program, is descriptive of its broad coverage and objectives. Use of this term here will facilitate comparison with the similar program in the United States.

    To provide means of meeting the financial hazards of loss of regular income because of age, disability, or death of the breadwinner Sweden has developed — as noted in Chapter I — an insurance system consisting of two closely related programs: the Basic Pension of flat-rate benefits, with a complex of supplements and allowances, and the income-related...

  5. III Health Insurance
    (pp. 36-51)

    There are two reliable objective measurements that allow public health officials to assess the effectiveness of health care in any nation.¹ One, commonly called infant mortality, is the rate at which infants die immediately after birth and during the first year of life. The second is the life expectancy for males and females at the time of their birth. If we apply these measures to Sweden we find that its citizens are receiving health care superior to that provided by most countries of the world, including the United States.

    According to 1962 statistics issued by the Children’s Bureau of the...

  6. IV Public Health
    (pp. 52-68)

    In Sweden, all activities in the field of public health and care of the sick are either operated or controlled by public authorities. The sophisticated and advanced Swedish programs for public health, hospitals, and preventive health service have developed from the historically effective role of the government in the field of medicine. Governmental activities in medicine have long been widely accepted. This is probably a major factor in explaining the ease with which the health insurance funds were placed under government control in 1955.

    In September 1963, Sweden celebrated the 300th anniversary of the public health program in that country....

  7. V Welfare and Related Programs
    (pp. 69-91)

    As in most other countries, including the United States, the development of public welfare programs in Sweden has been characterized by frequent controversies reflecting at least two distinct philosophies.¹

    One philosophy emphasizes that poverty is a result of an unwillingness to work and to save and can be controlled by the individual. It implies that poverty results from immorality and a lack of incentives and proper conduct. In earlier times, this philosophy incorporated religious concepts and asserted that people in need or suffering from the death of the family breadwinner, disease, or disability were paying for their sins. The old...

  8. VI The Government and the Individual
    (pp. 92-134)

    An understanding of the administration of the social programs in Sweden requires some knowledge of the basic concepts, structure, and operation of the government. Most important, this understanding must include a comprehension of the confidence the citizen has in, and his relationship to, the government.

    The average Swedish citizen is not afraid of his government. He has what might be called a public philosophy that defines the appropriate role of government in his society and in his life. In this philosophy, which has developed over many years and is deeply woven into the fabric of Swedish tradition and custom, the...

  9. VII Program Comparisons: Sweden and the United States
    (pp. 135-153)

    As indicated in the Preface, this study represents an endeavor to provide a relatively brief survey of the social programs of Sweden and of the philosophy, structure, and dynamics of the government through which they operate. Some American observers who have traveled briefly abroad return to their own country enthusiastically supporting adoption of one or more Swedish programs in the United States. No drastic or dramatic transplants are proposed here. The system of government in Sweden and the social programs of that country have developed from the traditions, interests, needs, resources, and, possibly, politics of that country. While the observer...

  10. VIII Freedom in the Secure Society
    (pp. 154-172)

    Sweden has established an extensive system of social programs, administered at all levels of government, to meet the needs of its citizens from prenatal care through survivor’s benefits. Even though there are some relatively minor gaps in the network of programs it may be said that the Swedish citizen is quite thoroughly protected against the major known hazards of life. In contrast to the United States where there is a vast complex of private charitable organizations, almost all of the funds and services for the Swedish health, hospital, and social programs are provided through public agencies. However, there are a...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 175-182)
  12. Index
    (pp. 183-193)