Some things seem obvious to me. And then I realize that what is obvious to me is most definitely not obvious to the average Swede. So much of that has to do with having grown up in the US. Maybe a little has to do with me being somewhat conservative and somewhat stubborn. Some might argue that those two are one and the same. Those people would be wrong though. Because I am always right.
The current Swedish administration, Moderaterna, the Moderates, are one of the more conservative parties in Sweden. During their run they have begun selling off certain previously state-owned assets (as a quick aside, privatization has been going on under all kinds of administrations since about the 1980s). The reaction to this seems to have been a mixed bag. Plenty of people don’t really mind. And plenty of people are quite opposed to this. I don’t mind at all, for whatever that is worth.
A recent study looked into the profitability of companies that were once state-run and then privatized. The results, to someone who grew up in the US and studied business, weren’t all that surprising. These companies became more profitable when they were privatized.
As I said, this seemed obvious to me. Privatization, in my mind, always seems to be a better idea in terms of profitability than the government running things. There is so much more incentive to succeed. And people respond to incentives. Especially monetary ones. In the end I would just prefer not having the government running businesses.
What caught my eye about this study was not so much the opportunity to claim that privatization is good or that government owned organizations are bad or even the article itself. Instead it was a subsequent article. “Increase state bank ownership: Left Party.”
So, a study comes out saying that privatization is beneficial in terms of profitability and competition and the Left Party says that the banks should go in the opposite direction and be bought up by the state. Lars Ohly is stating that the current economic crisis is the result of an “unregulated capitalist market.” Despite the obvious fact that the markets are far from being unregulated. In the face of evidence the Left Party stands pat. I suppose there is something to be said for that.
It seems that the average Swede doesn’t really mind the government owned enterprises. It is a system that they have grown accustomed to. A system that they believe in. But it is a system that I just can’t support wholeheartedly. Even if I am living in Sweden.
Welcome to Sweden. Where privatization works.
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