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In all honesty, I did make that title a little hyperbolic to match the insanity of Teabaggers.  But it's true, the US has dropped two slots in world-wide economic competitiveness.  And just who replaced the US?  To the chagrin of the neo-liberal Anglo-American Atlanticists I am sure, Social Democratic Sweden now comes in at 2nd place.

Yep, Sweden: "socialists", high-tax rate, universal healthcare, Sweden beat out the US.  According to the World Economic Forum, not exactly the Internationale, Sweden now enjoys 2nd place in the most competitive countries in the world.  Why?

Sweden is the world’s second most competitive country, the World Economic Forum said in its annual ranking, hailing the Scandinavian country for its transparent institutions, efficient financial markets and the world’s strongest technological adoption.

Sweden overtakes the US in competitiveness

It is interesting how the Scandinavian countries enjoy high levels of and are rated the happiest in the world by lifestyle

1    Denmark    Europe    82    17    1    7.9
2    Finland    Europe    75    23    2    7.8
3    Norway    Europe    69    31    0    7.9
4    Sweden    Europe    68    30    2    7.9

and still pay high taxes.  How could that be, perhaps it has something to do with this?

Sweden benefits from the world’s most transparent and efficient public institutions, with very low levels of corruption and undue influence and a government that is considered to be one of the most efficient in the world, the report stated.

The "world's most transparent and efficient public institutions"!  I don't know, but I have a feeling that if people actually saw where their tax-dollars go, they wouldn't mind paying them.  If the system was transparent, and taxpayers had uncorrupted representation, maybe, perhaps, there would be more support for "medicare for all" and support for government programs.

It would be interesting to list all the taxpayer paid-for services offered to Swedish citizens and compare those taxes that pay for them with the equivalent services in the US and how much they cost with out-of-pocket prices.  I have the feeling that the privatized services costs way more that the socialized price tag.

Sweden, those "dirty socialists" just overtook the US in economic competitiveness.

Next time some Teabagger derides "socialism" as if they actually knew what they were talking about, we ask them why the "socialists" are beating us in the world economy.  Probably would do no good, cognitive dissonance being what it is and all

Originally posted to Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Global Expats.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Socialists are not just beating us in (14+ / 0-)

    competitiveness, they are beating us in per capita GDP if that number is calculated for just the bottom 90% of each countries population.

    In the US per capita GDP ( which is taken as the measure of a countries  Standard of Living ) is skewed very much to the high side by the fact that the top 10% of our citizens make 50% of the nations income.

    If the Per Capita GDP were recalculated to show what it really is just for the bottom 90% of each nations citizens you would find that the US ranks 19th with most of Socialized Europe ahead of us. ( not to mention that they also all have national Health Care and better educational systems ).

    30 years ago when America began its great experiment with "Trickle Down" Economics, all those nations were well behind us using this very same measure.

    What kind of evidence does it take to make a country change course.

    90% of the citizens of America have seen no actual increase in their standard of living in 30 years and yet this ill dressed, ill educated mass of boobs still runs around the country frothing at the mouth shouting over and over that we are the greatest country in the world.

    We are in fact the greatest joke in the World.

    •  To rontripp - You're right (9+ / 0-)

      The working class American social safety net has become an international laughing stock. While we can all be proud Americans, we sure don't have to be proud of the broken working class American social safety net. There we can do better! Just like the folks in the European union, working class Americans deserve a European style social safety net with universal medical at its center piece.

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:05:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  moved to Germany (8+ / 0-)

      in 2004 and I am enjoying some of that education - Friedrich Schiller University has no tuition and is an excellent school (Marx did his dissertation here, Hegel taught here, etc.) and I am paying 144 euro a semester mostly for student fees and a ticket that allows me to take municiple and regional public transportation for free.

      My health insurance is manditory but costs me 140 euro a month with a 10 euro quarterly co-pay for the first doctor visit and no co-pay after for the entire quarter.

      Looking in from the outside, yes, it is very sad to see the US in the situation it is currently in.

      •  Nice to know that I was right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeffersonian Democrat

        when I told you that you had to pay the co-pay for a doctor visit just once every quarter of the year. :)

        IIRC the student fees help (not pay for all of it) to pay for:
        - student dorms
        - subsidized meals in the student refectories / cafeterias
        - student tickets that allow you to use municipal and regional public transport for free.

    •  We put too much attention on average.,,, (4+ / 0-)

      rather than median. Average wage instead of median wage ect, we are even worse off than most understand and are going too fast in the wrong direction.

      "Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy" Hermann Goering (NRSC?)

      by irate on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:45:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just to help you out here. :) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffersonian Democrat

      A World Bank blog wrote a post in early 2010 comparing per capita GDP when the highest 1% of income are removed.

       Removing Oligarchs from Per-Capita GDP

      If per-capita GDP is used as a measure of comparison, much of Western Europe matches up to America's poorest states. France is slightly poorer than Arkansas; Spain and Italy barely edge out West Virginia and Mississippi, the poorest states in the Union. Washington, DC has a staggering per-capita GDP of $148,046, double that of Europe's richest nation per-capita, Luxembourg.

      Yet, this comparison seems equally deceptive. Washington is not twice as prosperous as Luxembourg. Likewise, the differences between Italy and Mississippi are manifest.
      ...
      The US has the largest gap between its top earners and everyone else. The Netherlands actually surpasses the US for GDP per-capita of the bottom 99%, and the difference between Germany and the US narrows considerably.

      I suspect that if you take out the top 10% - like you said - the results would be even more "surprising" to Americans.

      Or just add universal health care / insurance, free (or almost free) university education and you might find that middle class Americans are worse off than the European middle class.
      And that the social safety net in most of Europe still helps the European poor a lot more than the US one.
      Not for nothing is the GINI coefficient a lot higher in the USA than in Europe.

  •  Link to the full report (9+ / 0-)

    http://www.weforum.org/...

    The US dropped two places, to be replaced by Sweden and Singapore.  (Singapore???)

    But that's what rampant corporate corruption and a fucked up health care system will get you.

    Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

    by The Dead Man on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:45:50 AM PST

  •  ugh. depressing. (4+ / 0-)

    seriously I can't get out of here fast enough. emigrating to canada this year with my business (hopefully this year). started the process last year.

    JHC, we're not any closer today than we were years ago to coming to our senses. amazing.

    when are we going to wake up?

    ultimately I'll likely end up in France but Canada is easier for me under NAFTA since I own a US corporation. Still, I shouldn't HAVE to go anywhere. When is this country going to come to its senses?

    gawd.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

    by mdmslle on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:14:56 AM PST

  •  There's a variety of numbers (4+ / 0-)

    for HC comparison between the US and Sweden- somewhere between %150-%200 higher.

    But the issue is an interesting one for sure especially how people are taxed for HC and where the money goes, prevention within the culture and lifestyle, and at a political level. Still surprisingly, Swedes get quite a lot of time off for maternity leave and vacation.

    The striking thing though with regard to competitiveness is that, say in HC in Sweden, many parts are anything but efficient. As a positive feature, much more of the medical infrastructure is now connected and doctors can see a patient's history and are clued in when one comes to visit.

    However, Swedes are slow. In certain cases I've come across Americans working in the HC system here as there has been this drive to 'Americanize' and make efficient some aspects of the system. This may have more to do with the emergency services, which, in my opinion, seems to operate at an one energy level above sleep. Or perhaps the US system is too stressed... not sure, but one thing for sure is that the Swedish system is not exactly as service minded as what we get in the US, here and there.

    But I think there are a lot of factors to consider- here there is a rapidly retiring population, and in Stockholm a growing urban population- elsewhere-- even in the city may be a different story, and there is new hospital going up in the north connected to the medical university and the one we use will be getting an upgrade sometime soon- it's this one that has been crowded and has been having the most notable problems for some years, and was in the paper today as being in an unsustainable situation.

    Still, I think I prefer this system, and as we await our first due around mid May, I'm thinking it may be about time to turn my passport in. It should be an interesting time- my wife will get a huge amount of paid time off for maternity leave, not including a paid summer vacation, and I'll join her and take some time off as well to raise our... well, we'll know tomorrow if it's a boy or a girl. Everyone thinks it's a girl. The cost for the ultrasound is covered so we wont pay anything out of pocket.

    So, if things go according to plan, we'll be in that hospital in several weeks time delivering our child- in this interesting Swedish hospital, built on the south facing side of a hill on one of Stockholm's most populated islands, overlooking the water and set among about a hundred beautiful little community gardens.

    Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

    by borkitekt on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:15:16 AM PST

    •  borkitekt - good luck with the new baby (3+ / 0-)

      Being a parent is really a wonderful experience.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:12:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  an interesting observation (3+ / 0-)
      This may have more to do with the emergency services, which, in my opinion, seems to operate at an one energy level above sleep. Or perhaps the US system is too stressed... not sure, but one thing for sure is that the Swedish system is not exactly as service minded as what we get in the US, here and there.

      American emergency services are, indeed, more hyper, but maybe that comes in part from the underlying knowledge that the patient base is generally less well-served medically and therefore at greater risk.

      Plus, in the US, it's Malpractice Suits R Us, so there's probably a huge fear factor at work on the people doing everything from driving the ambulance to stitching up the patient.

      In the one or two times I've ever had to use so-called emergency services, they've been good and fast, but they also don't listen to anyone outside their closed circle. They have a system and bygod they're going to use it, no matter what, wrong or right.

      It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

      by Mnemosyne on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:52:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure about that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffersonian Democrat, borkitekt

      First of all, the most important thing.
      Good luck with the new baby!

      Followed by, I´m a small business owner in Germany. For example we do outside check in hospitals, hygienical conditions and all that.

      So we do have a lot of contacts with doctors and nurses in Germany.  Including emergency services. They are pretty busy and pretty dedicated. :)

      I´m just not sure what "service minded" is supposed to mean here?
      In a medical emergency they´ll send an ambulance,  an emergency services doctor with a faster special equipped car or a helicopter to you?

      If you just enter a hospital emergency room with a non life threatening wound I suspect you might have to wait for a bit depending on the day or time.

      Anything life-threatening gets priority. Anything else is "first come first served".

      •  Sorry, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Detlef, Jeffersonian Democrat

        I think I jumbled up two different things, and, well, since I never frequented the medical system in either the US or Sweden, especially the ER, I just think in terms of the entire experience and getting well with whatever.

        And, really, on that note I'm also wrong- I mentioned the other day that I almost cut the tip of my finger off and I was very quickly seen... and given a band aid.

        Really what I have in mind is a few instances where, lets see, once I was sick with a strep throat, and I knew it was pretty serious. I called the university hospital in a town north of here and got this generic 'wait a few days' response from what I assumed was one of these first tier secretary type of people. And what I mean by that is that, in Sweden, always or 99% of the time, the first person who speak do doesn't know or can really do anything, they simply redirect your call. So, for this person to do anything, you really have to push them.

        The ER system, however, I still do not fully understand, but there are different divisions of it, and even in the area we live in there are at least 3 places one can go to for different things, the first two including the one that bandaged my finger quickly. The third is the one in the article.

        Now while they are overworked, you are right, they do quickly asses whether or not something is life threatening quickly, sort of. I think that one complaint about the normal ER there is that there can be waits for the just under life threatening cases for hours on top of hours then they send people either home or to other hospitals, some of this has to do with them being understaffed.

        This same place has a maternity ER, which, I think in the time we had to go there recently, it took too long to see a doctor. Things were eventually fine, but I think we waited for over an hour, maybe about two, in the waiting room with my wife terrified that we lost a child- all the while, people are taking breaks, walking around like they have nothing to do, calmly, casually, etc. Maybe I'm not putting my finger on this properly, but I do think that outside of even the medical field, this sense permeates Swedish culture to some degree- it's perhaps a topic for another diary, and I could be probably more critical.

        At any rate, the ultrasound went fine, and it's a girl. The previous issue involved the placenta which is slowly working it's way up away from the cervix which was what was suspected of causing some sort of spontaneous bleeding. So, full steam ahead.

        Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

        by borkitekt on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:04:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Question about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeffersonian Democrat

    these new-fangled, gol-durned tags. This showed up in my list, and happy I am to see it (Hi, JeffDem! Glad to see you.), and I see Democrats Ramshield here.

    So, is this included under the Global Expats group, because I don't see anything to so identify it. If not, that might be a useful tag to add to get more eyes on it.

    It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

    by Mnemosyne on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:47:23 AM PST

    •  I published through (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne

      global expats earlier this morning, but I don't have a clue with tags... I'll add it

      "What's disgusting? Union busting!" 17.02.2011 Madison, WI

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:53:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't figure these things out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Detlef, Jeffersonian Democrat

        I recognized your name, so clicked through on the diary. But without something telling me it was from a group I'm interesting in following, I likely would have skipped over it.

        I think there needs to be some kind of identifier on the title, or the way it's listed, or something. Aaarrrgghhh!

        It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes. -- Oscar Wilde

        by Mnemosyne on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:55:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We're number 2! We're number 2! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeffersonian Democrat

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