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?
It is important that privatization is performed only in sectors where private companies could –or should – run the services in a better and more cost-efficient way. During the recent economic crisis, the Social Democrats discussed state ownership of the private car manufacturing company SAAB; and they defend state-owned companies such as Vin & Sprit — the producer of Absolut Vodka — among others. The state should not produce liquor and run car factories in a modern Sweden where tax payers’ money not should be risked. Besides, politicians cannot manage to run car factories better than private interests and companies.
Sweden was the only country in the world besides North Korea that had a state monopoly on selling pharmacy products. The Alliance government changed that. We should be very careful about privatizing public services and state-owned companies, but the focus must be to strengthen the core of the public services. That is why the Alliance government doesn’t have any further plans for a large amount of privatization the coming four years.