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Working Paper No. 34. Dignity and the Burden of the Welfare State

PublicationWorking paper
Effektivitet, Företagandets villkor, Nils Karlson, Skatter, Välfärd, Värdighet
Working Paper No. 34.
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Abstract

The burden of the welfare state may be analysed from an economic as well as a more normative perspective. This paper attempts to do both things. By the use of the case of Sweden the expansion and the costs of the welfare state is described, partly in international comparison, and explained, largely in terms of unintended consequences. Special attention is given to the effects of taxes. Next, the concept of dignity is explicated and used to evaluate the Swedish welfare state. The overall conclusion is that the burden of the welfare state is high indeed, both in economic terms and from the perspective of human dignity. Consequently, if we want to promote economic efficiency, growth and dignity the size of the state should be radically decreased.

Karlson, N. (2004). Dignity and the Burden of the Welfare State. Ratio Working Paper No. 34.

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Ratio Working Paper No. 349: Industrial conflict in essential services in a new era – Swedish rules in a comparative perspective
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N.
Publication year

2021

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

This paper examines whether the Swedish regulatory system of dealing with industrial conflicts that affect essential services need an update or reform. Are the existing rules effective in a world where many essential services are upheld by many interdependent agents in complex systems where every single node becomes critical for the functioning of the system, and where the essential service activities could be either private or public? A comparative study is conducted with the corresponding regulatory systems of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark.
The conclusion is that Sweden is a special case. The Swedish protection against and readiness in dealing with societally harmful industrial conflicts in essential services is weaker than in the countries of comparison. Just as in relation to other threats to essential services, it is not sustainable to claim that just because such a threat is not currently present, there would be no need for preparedness.
There are many alternative ways to handle this. Desirable methods should both prevent harmful conflicts from erupting and end conflicts that have grown harmful to society at a later stage. The labour market organisations should have a mutual interest in reforming the rules.

Ratio Working Paper No. 349: Industrial conflict in essential services in a new era – Swedish rules in a comparative perspective
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N.
Publication year

2021

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

This paper examines whether the Swedish regulatory system of dealing with industrial conflicts that affect essential services need an update or reform. Are the existing rules effective in a world where many essential services are upheld by many interdependent agents in complex systems where every single node becomes critical for the functioning of the system, and where the essential service activities could be either private or public? A comparative study is conducted with the corresponding regulatory systems of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark.
The conclusion is that Sweden is a special case. The Swedish protection against and readiness in dealing with societally harmful industrial conflicts in essential services is weaker than in the countries of comparison. Just as in relation to other threats to essential services, it is not sustainable to claim that just because such a threat is not currently present, there would be no need for preparedness.
There are many alternative ways to handle this. Desirable methods should both prevent harmful conflicts from erupting and end conflicts that have grown harmful to society at a later stage. The labour market organisations should have a mutual interest in reforming the rules.

Ratio Working Paper No 343: Populism, Liberalism and the Quest for Meaning and Community
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N.
Publication year

2020

Abstract

Liberalism is losing ground, while populist or even authoritarian nationalist regimes are on the rise. This paper argues that the causes of the decline are, at least partly, endogenous, that a narrow focus on economic efficiency and the successful critique of socialism and the welfare state have created an idea vacuum that has opened up for these illiberal tendencies. The conclusion is that a central challenge for liberalism is to offer a comprehensive idea and narrative about meaning and community that is not socialistic, conservative or nationalistic, but distinctly liberal, to counter these developments.

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