On Friday, YouTube channel We The Internet TV released a mini-documentary (approximately 17 minutes long) titled, “5 Reasons Why We Need Sweden’s Democratic Socialism.”
Don’t worry – the title is somewhat ironic, and the documentary is not pro-socialism. Instead, it features host Lou Perez traveling to Sweden and speaking with a variety of individuals about the Swedish system of government, both the way it operates currently and how there was a period of time in which the country dabbled in socialist ideology.
During the introduction, Perez shows clips of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) comparing their policies to those of the Nordic countries.
“My policies most closely resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden,” Ocasio-Cortez states in a clip from CBS.
A clip then shows Sanders speaking during a debate: “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden, and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.”
Perez first speaks with Johan Norberg, a Swedish author and historian of ideas, who replies firmly when asked if Sweden is socialist or even democratically socialist.
“No,” he says.
“I’d say it’s a free market, capitalist economy based on open trade, and with a fair amount of government redistribution of the proceeds,” Norberg states.
Norberg then explains the history behind the “Nordic model” mythos used by Democratic politicians in the United States, noting that there was a “20-year period when we experimented with the socialism to see whether it worked or not, and it didn’t. It ended in spectacular failure.”
“But for some reason, this is the 20-year period that all of you remember,” Norberg adds, going on to explain what really happened when the nation dabbled in socialistic policies.
Perez then speaks with Andreas Bergh, an economist and associate professor at the department of economics at Lund University, who explains to Perez that Sweden’s welfare state isn’t a “system that taxes the rich and gives to the poor,” rather, it’s a system that redistributes “most of your [own] taxes … over your lifecycle,” and the money is “not handed to the lazy or the poor.”
Bergh then speaks about the incredibly high marginal income taxes that were in place around 1980, and the “tax planning” problems that came with such a system.
Next, Perez talk about Sweden’s contribution to high-value startups, as well as the way in which the nation’s health care system works.
“Public health care had problems. It didn’t function as good as it should have,” states Anders Manell, press chief for the Association of Private Care Providers. “We had long queues, we had waiting time to get access to health care, patients didn’t get their operations on time, and you couldn’t reach your doctor.”
After pressure from Swedes, politicians “opened up the entire sector,” says Manell, meaning one can now choose private or public care.
The documentary goes on to address allegedly “free” college in Sweden, as well as climate change and how the country has embraced nuclear energy.
The end of the documentary returns to Norberg. When Perez asks the historian of ideas what his message would be to “American politicians who continue to call Sweden the beacon of Democratic socialism,” Norberg lays it all out in clear terms – deregulation, free trade, reformation of social security, implementation of school choice, etc.
This min-documentary from We The Internet TV is an excellent briefing for anyone interested in the claims that self-proclaimed “Democratic socialists” in America make about supposedly “socialist” Nordic nations.
Check it out below: