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Gap widening between rich and poor: study

TT/The Local · 8 Dec 2009, 08:00

Published: 08 Dec 2009 08:00 GMT+01:00

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Between 1991 and 2007, Sweden’s richest 10 percent saw their disposable incomes shoot up by 88 percent, while the spending power of the country’s poorest 10 percent only increased by 15 percent, a new study by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) finds.

According to the report, real incomes for gainfully employed Swedes have increased by an average of 3.3 percent a year during the last six years. The report also found that there were no significant differences between income increases for blue collar and white collar workers.

But those who are ill, out of work, or living on sickness compensation (sjukersättning) have only seen their incomes increase by an average of 0.86 percent a year over the same period.

Incomes for students have increased by an average of 1.26 percent.

“Developments over the years gone by have to a large extent seen a redistribution from those who can’t work and from those who want to study to those who are gainfully employed,” write LO researcher Anna Fransson and LO working life division head Irene Wennemo in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Among the ill, unemployed, and retired, the risk of slipping into poverty has doubled from 8 to 16 percent between 2002 and 2007.

The study defines people living in poverty as those with incomes less than 60 percent of Sweden’s median income.

“The explicit goal of the centre-right government has been to increase the economic incentives to work by making things worse in these groups. A similar development occurred during the previous Social Democratic government through a reduction in compensation levels,” write Fransson and Wennemo.

Story continues below…

The wider income disparities are the result of a political choice, according to the authors, who add that all signs indicate that the trend has increased even more since 2007.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:30 December 8, 2009 by Weekend_warrior
So basically what you are iterating here is that those who are intelligent and highly educated have worked hard to acquire their wealth. They know how to make money, have their money make money, and hold on to it. This is not to say the lower classes cannot earn money, as you can see in the first paragraph the lower classes income rose also, just by not as much.

Because guess what? If you have 10,000sek in your bank account and in a year turn it into 30,000sek, well you have a 200% return or increase on your savings. Someone with 10 million sek could bring in 3 million sek a by no means small 30% return and it is still 100 times larger.
09:52 December 8, 2009 by skatty
The gap is growing for sure in the whole world; however, the article focuses on ills, retired, unemployed, and they who live on compensation. In general ills, retired, and they who live on compensation can be considered as unemployed; which means the article try to compare employed with unemployed! The conclusion is they, who are employed are rich and unemployed are poor!! Did it really need a research to reach to such a kind of conclusion?
10:39 December 8, 2009 by Lea

I guess the research was needed in order to "apprehend" the budget. The money was there, so why not write up some obvious conclusions, accompanied with numbers?
11:10 December 8, 2009 by just a question
Sweden has all the disadvantages and vices of the capitalist system, but none of the advantages.

It will get worse.
11:15 December 8, 2009 by Kronaboy
Welcome to Thatcherism (No such thing as society), another decade or so and Sweden will be just as S***y as the UK
11:39 December 8, 2009 by determined
"Gap widening between rich and poor", you mean between Swede and non-Swede.
11:53 December 8, 2009 by bocale1
Some of the people commenting this article seem to forget that we are talking about Sweden, not U.S.; Sweden used to be famous for its model where there were not very rich people and not very poor ones... a good middle average that guaranteed for years some of the highest quality of life standards in the world. After several years spent attempting to introduce the full flavored capitalism model here, the original toy has finally broken and "just a question" may have a point here. the risk is exactly to end up in a model inheriting just the worst from the old social democracy and the capitalism. It is becoming a sort of caricature of U.S. what the Swedish people really want? Are we really prepared to see people in red Ferrari´s drive their beautiful cars across streets full of homeless? I have my doubts!
11:55 December 8, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
And the lesson is: "If you get an education, work hard and are successful, you are part of the problem."

Here is the farce: To level the playing field, one does not need to raze the hills but raise the valleys.
12:18 December 8, 2009 by just a question
It is nothing to do with education. A lot of young educated Swedes emigrate to Norway or another European countries to find a job.

bocale1, that's what I mean. Sweden is a living contradiction: inheriting the vices of the socialdemocracy and the worst of the capitalism. This combination will never work and Sweden will go bankrupt.
12:21 December 8, 2009 by RoyceD
To me it is obvious that the gap is increasing. And it will always increase as long as you can not control population growth.

Am I the only one who thinks that is is strange that we as a race impose poverty on people for no reason?

PS I think it is hilarious that some people try to define rich people as "smart people who worked hard and become successful"... like that is a fair representation of all rich people.... blind to the truth I'd say
14:22 December 8, 2009 by jack sprat
Just more proof that Swedens Socialist dream is over.
15:12 December 8, 2009 by Osokin
That gap is growing elsewhere too, is not a local phenomena.

On the other hand, most posters in this forum, including US trolls, display very poor text comprehension, if these are representative of the kind of inmigration sweden is getting ... tough times lay ahead.
15:21 December 8, 2009 by Random Guy
It always happens that, over time, the costly safety net of socialism turns into a hammock for many beneficiaries.
16:35 December 8, 2009 by travels
The socialist dream, redistribute from those who have so all can have it all. My father in-law, from a Swedish family that had no money, worked extremely hard, after many years managed to open a factory, provided many jobs around his community in central Sweden... and was paying upwards of 75% of his income in taxes. Had 3 kids and provided well for them. Died at an early age, partly from having worked so hard. It would have been easier to not have worked so hard and to not have created so many jobs in his comunity, after all somebody else's taxes and the governmet would have provided for him and his family and he would enjoyed more free time and probably better health. Seems like working hard and striving for more is almost a sin in Sweden, might as well kick back and do just enough, after all "Lagom är bäst".
19:21 December 8, 2009 by 2394040
There is nothing new under the sun. The goal of the wealthy is to make certain that most of the world's wealth remains in their hands. That way they can exert power over those less-financially secure to do their bidding. Money is power, and power is money. The lust for power is the prime motivator in all of human history. Maybe in the days of the caveman, the power resided in the hands of the meanest individual in the cave who had the largest club and used it often. We are far more sophisticated than that now. Money is the club now.

You wouldn't want to be alive in a few more generations. You have no idea who bad the world will become before it destroys itself. And it will destroy itself if mankind continues on its present path. I'm not just talking about climate change. I'm talking about the way humans mistreat other humans. Very, very sad.
21:37 December 8, 2009 by lingonberrie
Bocale I could have not said this better.

Sweden must return to their original model and allow the corrupt vicious capitalist model of the United States to remain with the corrupt Wall Street and Corporate America systems--of which when broke and dying their deprived citizens allowed to be bailed out with their tax dollars, whereas they have no jobs or homes, and almost 50 millions have no health care plan, and those who do pay through their noses for their less than adequate care, and yet of whom staunchly resist the so-called "socialism" that would give them all almost free health care. Their logic has earned them their capitalistic system.

Sweden deserves better.
01:18 December 9, 2009 by anticommie
Socialism is the equal sharing of misery!
22:27 July 6, 2010 by globalpublic
Do we need a Referendum For A New Democracy?

Are you concerned about the future of democracy? Do you feel democracy is under attack by extreme greed in countries around the world? Are you sick and tired of: living in fear, corporate greed, growing police state, government for the rich, working more but having less?

Can we use both elections and random selection (in the way we select government officials) to rid democracy of undue influence by extreme wealth and wealth-dominated mass media campaigns?

The world's first democracy (Athenian democracy, 600 B.C.) used both elections and random selection. Even Aristotle (the cofounder of Western thought) promoted the use random selection as the best way to protect democracy. The idea of randomly selecting (after screening) juries remains from Athenian democracy, but not randomly selecting (after screening) government officials. Why is it used only for individual justice and not also for social justice? Who wins from that? ...the extremely wealthy?

What is the best way to combine elections and random selection to protect democracy in today's world? Can we use elections as the way to screen candidates, and random selection as the way to do the final selection? Who wins from that? ...the people?
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