Can Poland Afford the Swedish Model?

Can Poland Afford the Swedish Model?

During the last three years, the ruling elites in the countries of Eastern Europe, especially Poland, have clearly aimed to limit or even liquidate entirely the welfare state. They have introduced various forms of commercialization and privatization into the sphere of social services and they have made direct cuts in budgetary expenditure. Not so long ago the democratic opposition was complaining about the government’s deliberate low-wage policy; now it complains that we are all living above our means. This complaint is accompanied by attacks on the “dictatorship of the trade unions.” At the same time, many people argue that the economic difficulties of the Western countries are a direct result of the excesses of the welfare state. Rejection of the welfare state has become the basic goal of leading conservative politicians. Sweden is taken as the ideal model of the welfare state, although it is well known that the “welfare state” is a phenomenon that encompasses much more than this one—in many respects unique—Scandinavian country.

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