Business: Sweden's English Disease

Bumping into potholes on the road to utopia

Once, its very name was synonymous with the good life. No longer. Today Sweden, the postwar living example of the affluent materialistic paradise, is caught in a raging economic crisis, the like of which few industrial countries have seen since the 1930s. Workers who used to boast of their high living standards and womb-to-tomb social welfare system nowadays demonstrate in the streets to demand speedy government action to stop soaring prices and booming unemployment.

"We have caught the English disease," admits one economic ministry official. "It has been a numbing, demoralizing experience." Adds Swedish Nobel-prizewinning...

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