Lessons From Sweden: Money Isn’t Everything — Except To Socialists

Writes Johan Norberg at the Spectator on Why Sweden has riots:

Low poverty and inequality, generous welfare benefits, and schools, universities and health care for free. A society in which you are not poor just because you don’t work.

All of them should have been very happy.

Obviously they are not. A welfare check is not a sign of self-esteem. The price of “free” money is giving up your political freedom.

The result? Young men with nothing to do and nothing to lose, standing on the outside, looking in, with a sense of worthlessness, humiliation and boredom. It’s not the first time that such a situation has ended in violence. When this happens in Sweden it shocks the left, because it shows that money isn’t everything. A government can supply you with goods and services, but not with self-worth and the respect of others. A government can fulfil all your material needs, but it can’t give you the sense that you accomplished this yourself.

  • Fredrik Lindholm

    There’s actually deeper and structural problems with Stockholm that
    Norberg doesn’t even mention. The city is planned for getting into the center
    and back to your neighborhood and nothing else. If the subway is like spokes on a wheel, then every district around the station is like a perfect pearl that can’t be improved upon, because it doesn’t need an outside world.

    Consider Tensta and Rinkeby. Two neighboring districts. You can’t go by car between them, but have to go via the E18 highway. And in the 90s there was an initiative from the tennants in Skärholmen or Bredäng (I don’t recall the exact district) to paint their houses in some other color than grey. They even offered to fund the paintjob themselves. But instead of lauding this initiative the elite scourged them for not unterstanding how beautiful it is to see these blocks of grey in the distance while riding on the highway, or something. And in case someone thinks that this was just a lark, it’s actually part of the southern cultures to take care of your tenures. It’s easy to spot a shop run by an immigrant in Stockholm. The sidewalks are always clean and sometimes they even repaint the downpipes in nicer colors.

    So one could say that the swedish society in general simply failed at Multiculturalism 101 when the houses didn’t get repainted.

    Of course this doesn’t excuse anything. But all this adds up to the fact that YOU doesn’t matter. When YOU want to change something, YOU will not get a dignified response, but will be treated as a child.

  • ColonelNeville

    It’s the JIHAD, stupid. No, really.