Los tres modelos suecos

Con frecuencia se representa el sistema económico y social de Suecia, a veces llamado el "modelo sueco", ora como un ideal ora como una anormalidad, pero se trata de un sistema que ha variado considerablemente. De hecho, hablando en términos generales, ha habido tres "modelos" suecos diferentes desde el final del siglo XIX.

El primer modelo duró desde 1870, aproximadamente, hasta el decenio de 1960. Durante ese período "liberal", el Estado se ocupaba básicamente de la legislación en apoyo del mercado, la educación, la atención de salud y las infraestructuras. En fecha tan avanzada como 1960, tanto el gasto total del Estado (como porcentaje del PIB) como la distribución de los ingresos eran similares a los predominantes en los Estados Unidos. Durante ese período de un siglo, Suecia pasó de ser uno de los países occidentales más pobres a ser el tercer país en riqueza con su PIB por habitante. Dicho de otro modo, Suecia pasó a ser un país rico antes de que se formularan sus disposiciones, sumamente generosas, relativas al Estado del bienestar.

Una segunda época duró desde 1960 a 1985. Durante este período se mantuvo el régimen de libre comercio del período liberal –y de hecho, se intensificó con las diversas rondas de liberalización del comercio mundial–, pero la tendencia predominante era a la creación de un generoso Estado del bienestar. A finales del decenio de 1980, el gasto público total oscilaba entre el 60 y el 65 por ciento del PIB, frente al 30 por ciento, aproximadamente, en 1960. Además, los tipos impositivos marginales oscilaban entre el 65 y el 75 por ciento en el caso de la mayoría de los empleados con jornada completa, frente al 40 por ciento en 1960 (incluidos todos los impuestos correspondientes a los hogares).

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