Friday, September 7, 2012

Socialist Sweden STILL more competitive than the USA

According to the recently released World Competitive Report from the World Economic Forum Sweden is still several spots ahead of the US when it comes to global competitiveness. The news wasn’t all good for Sweden, as they slipped a spot, from 3rd to 4th, giving up a place on the top podium to Finland, they still maintain a solid lead against the US.

In fact two Nordic social welfare states lead the US in global competitiveness, in first place there is in third place is Finland and fourth is Sweden. Number two is Singapore. First place goes to Switzerland

The Competitiveness reports a huge variety of different elements to calculate the overall competitiveness of countries. They look at health care, institutions, higher education, goods and labor market efficiency, innovation and many many other combinations of factors.

On a closer look at the report, Sweden dominates the US in basic requirements, which isn’t surprising given this involves basic health care and access to services. But Sweden also outshines the US in innovation and sophistication factors. Where Sweden falls behind is efficiency enhancers, which includes Goods and labor market efficiency as well as market size.

The report pointed out that Sweden is top in its technological readiness, taking first place and is also highly sophisticated in business. It also has a strong and stable macroeconomic environment. The cause for Sweden’s drop? An ongoing deterioration of the institutional framework – a result of the current government’s politics.

This should serve as a bit of evidence that governments with a strong social welfare system can also be innovative and competitive, but with all of the negative attention Europe has been getting lately, this type of info gets swept under the rug. 


  1. Interesting. Such reports are always fun to take part of but I also think that you must always have that in mind that it's difficult, if not impossible, to present such a complex system as a whole society in some few "factors". However, it gives a hint and an overview of how different countries deal with different issues and also what factors that people seem to value more (i.e what is important to people?) since these factors are the ones that are brought up in such studies.

  2. Good point, I agree - it provides interesting data, but how important the actual numbers are in the longterm is really unclear. Denmark continues to win Happiest Country in the world, but what does that really mean?