Leif Pagrotsky
Member of Parliament, Sweden
01:46

Leif Pagrotsky on Swedish Social Benefits

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Broad-based social support greatly reduces fear and uncertainty in the Swedish economy, Leif Pagrotsky says.

Leif Pagrotsky

Leif Pagrotsky is a Swedish Social Democratic politician, who had various posts in the government of Göran Persson between 1996 and 2006. In 1997 Prime Minister Göran Persson made Pagrotsky Minister of Trade and in 2002 Minister for Industry and Trade. One of his most publicly known activities during this period was his efforts to promote Swedish popular music export. In 2004, he switched posts with former Minister of Education Thomas Östros. At the same time, the responsibility for cultural matters, previously belonging to a separate ministry, was added to Pagrotsky’s portfolio. Pagrotsky has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in economics from Gothenburg University. Before joining the Cabinet, Pagrotsky worked at the Central Bank of Sweden and in the Ministry of Finance.
Transcript

Pagrotsky: Most countries have various programs in place for retirement, for what happens when you get sick, what happens when you get unemployed, but what is different in our system is that all of these are extremely broad based. That means that if you become unemployed, you leave one company and you take a job in another one. You do not lose your retirement benefits. In contrast, for instance, to the autoworkers in America today. If your company goes bankrupt, you can still rely on a steady stream of income to finance your food on the table, your medical bills, also when you become 80 years old. That provides a security, a safety net. That means that the fear of unemployment is not that violent. The fear of change is not that strong. And in my experience is that that makes our economy more flexible or adaptable and that there is a general sense that globalization works for the benefit of most people and for the country as a whole in spite of the fact that it brings change for many people. The burden of change is shared by all. It’s not put entirely on the shoulders of the few individuals that are affected by closures.


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