While the European elites applaud the “Scandinavian model” Fredrik Segerfeldt of the Swedish think-tank Timbro writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that the praise for the Swedish model (this one, not these ones) is misguided. Sweden, a country of “safety junkies,” has the EU’s smallest business investment as a share of GDP, is among only 12 countries in the world with a net outflow of investments, has a high rate of unemployment and a low level of entrepreneurship, with the number of self-employed halved since the early 1960s and fewer private employees today than in 1965, and a “public health-care system [that] is coming apart at the seams.”
Where do Swedish business investors go? Undoubtedly to Ireland, which has the lowest corporate tax rate in Europe. Even the French leftist newspaper Le Monde, which last October was still admiring Sweden, has now discovered “the Celtic Tiger.” In 2005, GDP grew by 4.8% (the best rate in the eurozone). Ireland has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, at 4.3%, despite the fact that a third of new workers are immigrants, mainly from the new EU member states in Eastern Europe – energetic people, like Polish plumbers and nurses, that the French do not admit.