Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hey, Conservatives: Visit This Swedish Website and Have Your Heads Explode

Paternity leave in Sweden: It's up to 260 days at 80% pay, with money bonuses
if the total leave ( approximately 500 days) is split equally between parents.

I visited Sweden for the first time last fall and found a progressive, modern country with what appears on the surface to be a very contented society. My ex-pat friends that hosted me found the Swedes a bit too taciturn, to put it mildly. They're not alone. While I was there I read The Xenophobe's Guide to the Swedes, which was funny as hell and, I'm told, spot on, if a bit dated. It described the Swedes as dedicated to undfallenhet, or, in English, appeasement. Yes, they want to get along with the least amount of friction. Neville Chamberlain tried it in 1938. See how well that worked out. It's been 66 years, and every demagogue in the world still cries "Munich!" at the drop of a hat.

In any event, I liked Sweden and if I lived there I suspect that I'd find the twelve people in the entire country who are really fun, open, and a little bit crazy within a few weeks and be completely content, or I like to think I would.

But I drift. What prompted me to post about the Swedes is this link I found on a Matthew Yglesias Tweet called The Swedish Part Model. Though I didn't get the "Part" part -- I googled the term and only found the Swedish Labour Model or Nordic Model as related terms -- I found it to be a quick primer on Swedish labor relations. Read this FT article to get an historical perspective. Visit this website on Swedish gender equality and this website about maternity and paternity leave.

Yes, Sweden, as with all of the Scandinavian countries, is highly progressive. I like the way they do business, though I prefer Denmark as a society (I was able to visit it for the second time this past fall, as well). Still, I suspect -- or even hope! -- that conservatives or libertarians who happened by the Swedish Part Model website would experience a decided spike in blood pressure, which is as it should be.

Rand Paul might benefit if someone kidnapped him and made him live in Copenhagen for a while.

"And if elected president, I would introduce a bill in the
first 100 days making both Sweden and Denmark illegal."

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