Globalization, the Rise of Neo-liberalism, and the Demise of the Swedish Model: An Analysis of Class Struggle

  • Andreas Bieler


Throughout the post-war era, Sweden was praised for its progressive economic-political model successfully combining international economic competitiveness with generous compensatory mechanisms at the national level to soften the impact of constant structural adjustment (Katzenstein, 1985). It was based on a corporatist policy-making system ensuring the close involvement of trade unions and employers’ associations in economic and social policy decision-making with the main goal of full employment (Heclo, 1987). The core feature was a sophisticated economic model, developed by the trade union theorists Gösta Rehn and Rudolf Meidner at the beginning of the 1950s, which allowed the combination of full employment with low inflation. Based on an equal, solidaristic wage across all industrial sectors, it forced the constant shift of resources, investment, and labor from declining to expanding sectors (Ryner, 1994, 400–1).


Full Employment Class Struggle Wage Bargaining Political Economy Approach Swedish Model 
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© Andreas Bieler 2005

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  • Andreas Bieler

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