Social Democrats: Selling what’s paying for our welfare is unwise

A number of public services and state-owned companies have been privatized in Sweden during the last ten years – telephone operator Telia and liquor retailer Vin & Sprit to name just two. How far should Sweden go when it comes to privatization?

When it comes to privatization we are pragmatic and not ideologically driven. Sweden as a country can in many cases be a successful company owner and contribute to a positive development for the people. The jobs within state-owned companies are important for our country. It’s worth remembering that state-owned companies have profited by over SEK 20 billion per year. That’s equivalent to the entire annual child benefit costs. Thus, selling what’s paying for our welfare is not wise politics.

  • gabriel

    Totally agree Jytte. Sweden is trying to move more towards America in the sense that private is always better. With oil disasters, lack of hurricane control and financial crises, we see that it’s not!

  • Pol – Croatia

    Interesting. The ideollogically driven privatisation was almost exactly what happened in Croatia, which started to privatise companies right in middle of the war (?!), during early 1990′s, as not to loose to much time. It was considered a part of a transition to a “better” and more “prosperous” future, but this never came. It mostly enabled domestic and foreign subjects to become proprietaries of companies for very little money and sometimes even to get them for nothing, which also brought heavy corruption problems.

    The strategic companies had somewhat different path, but with similar results. First the state promised to keep 51% of ownership, after that it was 25% + 1 golden share, and today it has even less, claiming it would be better to sell even that, because it doesn’t enabling state any more to influence strategic decisions. Most of these companies are bringing billions of profits today, mostly to foreign owners. Some of them even so large that the new owner were returning its investments just in a couple of years.

    However, what is even more problematic is that privatisation policy was actively promoted at european and global level too, even if i am not sure who was really responsible for that: big market players, individual (european) states or even EU or some other global institution, as a whole (?). Of course, maybe we were all a bit victims of this new ideollogy.

    At the other hand, the problem of the state run enterprises is that sometimes it can be too much involved in “cheap” politics, or even run by incompetent people. The workers or citizens can question and debate every decision, which can slow down or cancel needed reforms. Of course, these doesn’t justify the privatisation, it only means there has to be some rules developed how this can be solved out, how the people will participate, negotiate and be acuratelly informed about what is really happening and how it will shape our common future. It also means people will have to start learning and involve themselves. …

  • Danclads Lins de Andrade (Brazil)

    In Brazil, the neoliberal policy, located in the 1990s, did the privatisation of several state companies, but was not able to lead the nation to well-being desired. I have observed this, too, in other countries, to what I see it, Sweden is also the same experience. Politicians have observed that the State cannot leave the greater part of the services and undertakings in the hands of private initiative, if not they will be repeating past mistakes, as in 1929, the fall in New York stock exchange.

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