Sweden: Let's Loosen Those Belts

Let's Loosen Those Belts

When Ingvar Carlsson, Sweden's Social Democratic Prime Minister, entered the chambers of parliament last week, he was convinced that he brought with him the cure to the country's economic woes, which are many. Banks had been closed for almost three weeks in a bitter strike and lockout; wages have risen 28% since 1986; and inflation gallops ahead at an estimated 9%. Carlsson's plan was painful: a two-year freeze on rents, wages and prices and arbitration to prevent strikes. After several hours of heated debate, the five opposition parties united to defeat Carlsson's bill. The final vote: 190 to 153. The Prime...

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