STOCKHOLM, Sweden (FR) – For years the nations of Scandinavia have been considered the most socialist of all Western democracies. They have the highest levels of taxation in the world – Denmark’s highest marginal income tax rate is 68 percent. But the failure of socialist ideas, along with a growing Christian revival, is causing Scandinavian leaders to reconsider their economic philosophy.
The ruling Social Democratic parties of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark recently recommended the adoption of new ideas on the role of the state in the lives of its citizens. As the movement toward privatization of services and publicly owned industries is becoming popular in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, the Social Democrats are suggesting that Scandinavian countries follow suit by lowering taxes, decentralizing government-controlled business and industry, and privatizing state-controlled services.
“The greatest misconception,” one Social Democrat told Insight magazine, “is that if only the rich are taxed more heavily, that would solve all problems. That is simply not true.” Bringing about such major reforms in these nations will certainly not come without controversy. Opposition to the suggestions of party officials has already been sounded by the powerful Swedish Trade Union Confederation.