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Sweden second most expensive EU country

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 24 Jun 2012, 11:12

Published: 24 Jun 2012 11:12 GMT+02:00

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Goods and services in Sweden are some 28 percent above the union average, making it the second most expensive country to live in the EU's 27 member countries.

The most expensive country is neighbouring Denmark, where prices come in some 42 percent higher than the EU average.

The cheapest shopping in the EU is in Bulgaria where a visit to a store will cost around half as much as the union average, according to Eurostat's price index.

Sweden comes out top with regard to prices for clothes, shoes and transport services, coming in between 30 and 40 percent above the average.

Sweden is also among the most expensive when it comes to alcohol and tobacco prices, coming in at 147 percent of the EU average.

Ireland however tops the list in this category, at 163 percent of the union average, while Hungary is the cheapest with 63 percent. The wild variations are mostly to do with the relative levels of taxation.

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Sweden furthermore has some of the most expensive restaurants and hotels in the EU, with prices at an average of 147 percent of the union average, trailing only Denmark.

Some solace is provided for Swedish consumers however, with communications services among the cheapest in the European Union.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:21 June 24, 2012 by McChatter
That does it. I'm off.
11:40 June 24, 2012 by spongepaddy
And in return, all we get is a safe, clean, healthy, functioning country with free health care, job security, fantastic summers, and beautiful winters. What a swindle.
11:50 June 24, 2012 by leontan
Healthcare in Sweden is not 'free,' unlike in UK with the NHS... they actually charge top ups for visiting the doctor in Sweden whereas I never paid a penny to see the doctor in UK, and the UK has a lower tax rate than Sweden. It is one of the most expensive countries I've lived in, and hasn't got much to offer in return besides highly inefficient centralized bureaucracies. Transport is also extremely expensive, e.g. SJ, and hardly efficient. The majority of my trips with SJ have always had delays of some sort or other. The winters can be beautiful for polar bears perhaps... but I don't think its really habitable for humans during the winters here...
11:56 June 24, 2012 by Rebel
Sweden ranks pretty low in regards to education, not sure it is as healthy as any other industrial nation, the health care is not free as you pay for it in your high taxes, the summers are great (both weeks) and the winter is fantastic if you love darkness and Siberian temperatures.
12:02 June 24, 2012 by towns
Anybody complaining how expensive Sweden is hasn't been to Switzerland or Norway!! (Not in the EU, but still). Actually in the EU I'm surprised Luxembourg hasn't beaten Sweden, that little country is crazy expensive!

"free health care, job security, fantastic summers, and beautiful winters."

Health care isn't free, job security you can technically have almost anywhere and the summers up in Norrland aren't so fantastic if you've ever experienced the mosquitoes ;). The winters are beautiful though!
12:06 June 24, 2012 by Rishonim
Healthcare is far from free and going to the doctor for anything bellow a heart attack is a waste of time as the doctors will suggest you go home a take a couple alvedons. Eating out is over expensive and no matter what you order it is always cooked in cream and a side of béarnaise sauce. Did someone say fantastic summers? Where? In the Riviera or the Maldives cause I am looking through my window and all I see are rain clouds.
12:19 June 24, 2012 by Svealander
Yay! Another news article for all the ex-pats to complain about Sweden! Let us all know how you REALLY feel, guys!
12:20 June 24, 2012 by spongepaddy
High taxes? My taxes aren't high. I pay 30% income tax in Sweden. Why is that "high"? What would I pay in the UK? In Ireland? In Germany? Look it up for yourself, then come back to me and tell me again about "high" taxes.

Also (and this can be applied to 90% of the comments on The Local) if you all hate it so much in Sweden, then just leave and go back to your perfect countries. Or else shut the hell up.
12:34 June 24, 2012 by wolfmanofkorea
it seems many of you are spoiled. i am an american. i work in korea (and have worked in japan), and will work in sweden next year for at least 3 years.

here in the far east working conditions are feudalistic (must obey boss or else). salary is good, taxes are low, but get me out of here. i cant wait for the more humanistic/humane working in sweden (and, compared to usa, safety, health care, etc etc) (no, i dont mind cloudy weather, in fact, i look forward to it, i write and cloudy days are best).
12:49 June 24, 2012 by cogito
The "free healthcare" is not free and there is little care.
13:19 June 24, 2012 by DrMartin
I'm glad to see people correcting the mistake about free health care. There are both up-front costs and hidden costs. Health care is only truly free after spending a certain amount of money on it. In the end this only means that the poor and people living on a limited income are forced to avoid seeking care, as most other people can afford the fees without problem. Once receiving care, the standard of service is extremely low and doctors have limits on how long they are allowed to spend with a patient (before passing them off to someone else and needing an additional fee paid). It is, of course, not comparable to private care costs in the USA - but compared to neighboring countries who have free health care and competently educated doctors we are in an appalling situation.
13:26 June 24, 2012 by soultraveler3
Comment #2, sorry but this "And in return, all we get is a safe, clean, healthy, functioning country with free health care, job security, fantastic summers, and beautiful winters. What a swindle." is bull.

Safe? There is a ton of petty crime and vandalism and there are bombings, shootings, a large mafia presence in multiple areas which is unsettling when you consider how small Sweden is. On top of that, getting police or an ambulance to show up to help a victim is next to impossible a lot of the time.

Clean? Have you ever actually walked in Sweden? There's snus, cigarettes, trash, urine, cans and bottles covering the streets and sidewalks. It doesn't matter if you're in Östermalm or some tiny town out in the sticks, it's the same. Even out at the different sites in the forest, that you can only get to by boat often have a bunch of litter thrown around them. The stores, hospitals and other public areas are often nasty looking as well.

Healthy? Rampant alcoholism, binge drinking, smoking and anorexia don't seem very healthy, neither does the kiosks and pizza places on every corner.

Functioning? Really? There's too many issues to get into here lol.

Free health care? It's not free and actually costs more than almost anywhere else in the EU. It costs about the same as a person in the states with decent insurance would pay but lacks the quality of care.

Job security? Sure, if you can get a job, it's next to impossible to be fired, even if you constantly show up late, can't perform the tasks assigned to you or don't even bother coming in. Is that really a good thing though? There are a ton of people here that can't find work and because of that stay on social bidrag or "study" for years to get the benefits. Do you honestly think it's a good system?

Fantastic summers and beautiful winters I can give you, but I don't like heat and try to stay out of the sun so Sweden is pretty perfect there.
13:36 June 24, 2012 by kgrannug
Overall, Sweden is wonderful, although it has growing vandalism and trash (environmental) problems that eventually will have to be addressed. Its health care has an excellent reputation internationally/medical research is also at a very high level, although this does not always translate into user friendly care at all levels.
13:42 June 24, 2012 by skogsbo
transport is cheap and efficient, compared to many countries is Europe. I've personally found health care, free for kids and not expensive for adults, but everyone luck varies. The weather, I don't believe it's affected by the cost of living, Sweden could be the cheapest place to live and the weather would not change! Plus Sweden has seasons still, which is more than some places as they are average out a little in places like the UK.

Clean, Safe, crime.... it's again better than many parts of Europe.

Rampant alcoholism - compared to where? - Vatican City?

If it's so bad in Sweden try out one of the other Euro countries for a year or two, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland... wonder how easy it is to get work and keep a decent job there for an immigrant? The grass may appear greener and lusher elsewhere, but at least Sweden has grass that grows every year still.
13:53 June 24, 2012 by Svealander
"Transport is cheap?" Where in Sweden and compared to where? The train in Stockholm is certainly not cheap compared to some other EU capitals I've visited!
14:09 June 24, 2012 by skogsbo
London/UK, if you compare journey distance or duration to Sweden, i'd say it is quicker, cheaper, plus the stations are cleaner and nicer in general than 90% of the UK. In the UK you can pay full price and not even get a seat on many trains.

Ever tried to connect between say Heathrow and Kings Cross via the tube, or the express then tube? Or just the London underground, anytime between 8am and 8pm on a warm summers day?

Having travalled by train in France, Belguim, Switzerland, Austria and Spain in recent years, I wouldn't say they are any better than Sweden in any department either.
14:17 June 24, 2012 by Daho
Well, at least it's the cheapest Scandinavian country!
14:44 June 24, 2012 by towns
@ skogsbo

I was thinking specifically of price. Based on my experience close to Sweden I would argue that Finland is cheaper for public transportation. Not by much, though.
14:46 June 24, 2012 by Svealander
@ skogsbo

Well yeah, quality wise I have no complaints.
14:50 June 24, 2012 by towns
@ My previous post (#18)

Oops, sorry skogsbo. Ignore that first sentence, that was not directed at you. My mistake. :)
14:58 June 24, 2012 by skogsbo
I'm not saying Sweden is cheap, but when the survey is bench marked against the average, clearly those countries which are currently or have been very cheap (which lower the average), many of them also have economies on the bring of collapse, are sustained by EU grants, or are generally not sustainable in the long run and like many of the newer EU countries price will keep on rising. None of them, unlike any of the Scandanavian countries will come anywhere near the top of places with high standards of living, child welfare and low poverty.. see a pattern developing, sometimes you have to pay for the good things in life??
15:52 June 24, 2012 by spongepaddy
soultraveler3: So you're off then, I take it. Have a good life in your other perfect country.
17:13 June 24, 2012 by libertarianism
Hell will be filled up with Socialstyrelsen and FK employees. I hope.
17:58 June 24, 2012 by icedearth
Oh people just love complaining and complaining
20:11 June 24, 2012 by Mib
Agree with everything you say Skogsbo......statistics can be twisted in a number of ways and this report is only focusing on one aspect. I would say the UK is more expensive in many areas, especially when you take into account property prices and childcare. So nonsense really!!
20:40 June 24, 2012 by cupidcub
Leave everything.. medical services in Sweden is a nothing but a joke! People queuing up emergencies waiting for 7-8 hours to see a doctor.. the word 'emergency' does not exist in Swedish Medical Service Directory.
22:27 June 24, 2012 by Localer
in Germany or Denmark or Ireland, you pay Full income tax which include social security tax by yourself, but in Sweden, employer pays for your social security tax, which is around 31% !

so income + social tax = 30+31 = 61% !
00:01 June 25, 2012 by muscle
hmmm... the country gave me free masters education and with high standards in living conditions (yes they we were required to pay for housing, but still it was much better than student accommodations in many other countries, including UK). Also, the research areas were quite competitive as well (perhaps i speak only for the technology sector).

and no body is actually forcing any of us to stay here. So either shut up and work quietly or get out if you guys feel its such a hell to work here!

Respect the place that is giving you livelihood.
08:04 June 25, 2012 by Keith #5083
#skogsbo #21

Right on!

My english relatives have just returned to the UK from Sweden.It was interesting to learn from them just how many things are cheaper here than in UK.

#28 muscle

I just love your last line: "Respect the place that is giving you (your) livelihood".So interesting to see someone use the word 'respect', I thought this word had disappeared from language!,hehehehe. I also agree with all that you say.

Of course, comments boards in online newspapers, worldwide, are often a 'lightning rod' for the disaffected, disenchanted,disapppointed,or those who would like to live in a dreamed world as opposed to those who simply make the best of the reality as it is - and are thankful for a reality that allows for so much opportunities.
08:22 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
Localer, just because other nations pay lower tax, doesn't make them better, perhaps they need to charge more tax? Because many are running out of money and can't afford to fund the public sector and services they aspire to have? Do you want a list of EU nations who are currently making savage losses from their receipts and payments - we can then compare them to their tax rates? :) You might find a direction correlation here, also compare their employment levels and inflation and interest rates?

I haven't noticed any of the nations at the top of table going to the EU monetary fund or the IMF for financial backing or a bail out yet? ;)
08:58 June 25, 2012 by libertarianism
Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Jesus, MLK Jr, Chief Seattle, abolitionists, etc. were ALL complainers who should have accepted the superiority of the infallible status quo. F*cking losers, how dare they site abuses and work to improve society. They should have just made the best of things or moved elsewhere. Genetically inferior people deserve to suffer and die in poverty, duh. What good is a woman without breasts, anyway? Cancer smancer. The Swedish state is perfect, and if you aren't perfect, you don't deserve to live.
09:07 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
lib, no idea what you point is? Sweden is far from perfect, but I think most people would prefer to live and work in Sweden that at least 50-75% of other European countries, no matter where it comes out in any league table. Most league table stats tend to lean towards the people who funded the research in the first place!!
09:28 June 25, 2012 by rubble
Notice that all of the places that are more expensive than Sweden are also non-Eurozone as well. Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark are completely unaffordable if you make less than 350,000 SEK equivalent per year. Luxembourg is about the same, with food cheaper, rent higher, but salaries there are wonderful. Same goes for the other 3 nations. If you are in the 150,000 to 250,000 SEK income range, then Sweden is about the only top-notch country in Europe that you can have a decent life in. Germany as well, in certain parts, especially East Berlin. Central London, Paris, forget it, you will never afford rental rates. The climate in Sweden is not so good, but if it was similar to say, Belgium, or Paris, then there would be 30,000,000 plus people here, and the quality of life from that alone would take a huge hit. Bottom line, the economic system punishes EU countries not in the Euro with extremely high costs of goods and services, and it is up to each person to decide trade-offs in terms of climate, culture, etc.

There are no perfect places on earth. If Sweden had a lot more high-achieving, vibrancy/vitality-enriching immigrants from the native ethnic groups of the UK, Spain, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, France, Belgium, etc (instead of broken-culture/broken lives refugees from war and poverty horrow-show nations), if it's wage scales were similar to Luxembourg and Norway, and if its weather was like Aix en Provence, then yes, it would be as close to perfect as one could hope for in this temporal world, but none of those 3 are going to happen.
10:10 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
The higher prices are not due to the Euro economic system, it's the strength of their economies that drives costs up. The fact that those European and EU member countries like the UK, Nor, Den, Switz and Sweden didn't join the Euro is because they didn't need to, or want to, they have nothing to gain. Germany didn't either, but it wants to rule Europe by one method or another.. France could have gone alone too, but it's like the little sibling to Germany and keeps running after it. All the other nations are and were desperate for a slice of EU/Euro cake and the funding that goes with it, but now the funding pot is running out and their economies are starting to show their true foundations. The bigger richer nations don't want to fund the poor and small ones, the poorer ones will collapse shortly without it, it's just a matter of time now...

Sweden does have a lot of high achieive immigrants, as a percentage of population more immigrants start businesses than Swedes, you just need to wait for the 2nd generation immigrants to mature, who don't know of any life beyond Swedens shores.
10:15 June 25, 2012 by EP
Wish it was cheaper, perhaps more Swedes would then go out on a regular basis and improve their social habits (which they call "shyness") and as a result be less socially inept. One more year and I'm outta here ... can't wait to return to planet earth!
10:34 June 25, 2012 by libertarianism
Re 32, my point is that you don't get what you pay for. You pay a sh*tload for grossly, horrifically poor quality, especially in the case of healthcare which routinely maims and kills people. Heartless state employees decide who lives and dies. It's absolutely horrifying. Little-to-no accountability. Life, very often, is worthless garbage in Sweden...

If the state raised taxes bc everyone "has the right to" a sportscar, the Swedish state would start a waiting list for people to share broken brooms. And then there would be hoards of citizens daydreaming (and many slaving away) for 70 years, bootlicking and thanking the state and feeling smug cause everyone has a "sportscar". Calling a broom a sportscar does not make a broom a sportscar, but so many people have no clue what a real sportscar (real healthcare) is that they will vehemently defend and bully anyone who dares to point out that a broom is not even a real form of transportation.

It doesn't matter. Apathy rules. Empathy is dead. The Swedish state will continue to maim and murder. A small group of Swedes will protest, will fight, will love and try to save people. But the bulk of humans could care less. They are in love with an idea, and they love that idea more than they love living, breathing humans. No different than religious fanaticism. They all have a storyline to push, and anyone who notices a glitch in the plot is attacked by a band of screaming chimps.

And just bc other places are worse, does not mean that we in Sweden should not demand and work for real quality, or lower taxes to reflect the worth of what we're actually receiving. Otherwise, it's like a prostitute who's so thankful bc her pimp only kicks her instead of knocking out her teeth like her friend's English/Italien/whatever pimp.

We create reality, so let's create a better one.
11:01 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
liberta.... you don't live in Sweden do you? Nor have you probably ever been, don't base your thoughts on Sweden on the VERY limited news Yhe Local publishes or bulletin boards, try and live there!
12:07 June 25, 2012 by Opinionfool
@neotan #3

"I never paid a penny to see the doctor in UK, and the UK has a lower tax rate than Sweden"

Unless you are unemployed then everyone in the UK pays for health care just not up front. The National Insuruance Contribution is an additional tax (separate from Income Tax) that funds the NHS. Just because you don't hand over money when you use the system doesn't mean you haven't paid for it. And for the rest of your tirade about Swedish transport you clearly never lived in the UK and certainly not in London with its constant delays, cancelled trains, busses that only run on alternate days-of-the-week-with-a-z-in-their-name.
13:07 June 25, 2012 by Beef
Stop comparing London please.. So common on these discussions.. .. It's a metropolis of 8M people! It's got its faults but just coming back from a weekend there, being able to eat any food of my choice pretty much anytime in the evening for around 30% cheaper than in Stockholm with infinitely more choice, it's silly to compare.. So of course there are delays and issues etc..

I live in Stockholm and love it but it is expensive.. My wife only keeps about 30% of what she earns as a consultant, supermarket prices are off the planet. My wife couldn't believe when in a Tesco metro that we could by products for some times 4 times cheaper or up to 10 times when buying over the counter medicine for example.
13:11 June 25, 2012 by soultraveler3
Skogsbo, I'm pretty sure liber lives in Sweden since he seems to know the system and society and says "we in Sweden." I've lived here for years now and agree 100%. His entire comment 36 is spot on.

We pay a ton of taxes, which would be okay if we actually received anything in exchange for that. The health system, education, job situation, etc. here isn't any better (and in many cases is much worse) than what you get in many other countries even though we pay so much more. On top of that the cost of many things here is outrageous, especially when you consider the poor quality and variety.

Lib's third paragraph is especially true. Most Swedes will defend the idea that Sweden is the perfect, enlightened society even though reality shows something entirely different. It honestly feels like they're brainwashed or at least in willful denial of their world.

Stating that there are problems that need fixing or that things aren't as wonderful as some are determined to believe shouldn't be considered a horrible, blasphemous thing, but it is considered just that by many on these boards and in Sweden. The punishment for this considered appropriate by many on these boards is even excommunication. Lib's reference to religious fanaticism is again, spot on. Lol, it's sick.
14:14 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
Soultraveler; Education it might not be the best in Europe (what is?), but it's pretty close and free. Dagis is state funded, which must be worth the equivalent of 10-15% tax, we were paying the equiv of 330kr, per child per day, in the UK. About 13500kr per month for both kids, now we pay less than 2000kr, or what ever the upper ceiling is.

Healthcare, again not the best, but along way from the worst. I've used the doctors and emergency and got great service. No drama with kids at the doctor and nurse either. Dental care is't cheap, but again where is?

Jobs, it's not the state job, to give you a job. You make yourself employable in a field that needs people.

Cost, if something is poor quality, buy something else. I would love to know what people buy in shops that cost 4 times as much, or is it a case of want their home country brands or specifics when abroad. Like Brits wanting heinz beans on a the Costa where ever?

Sweden isn't top of any league, but on average I would say Transport(rail and roads), Employment, Health, Education etc.. when lumped together are better than most of Europe, they might not excel individually, but it's the sum of all factors that makes life better.

Curious where is best for employment at the moment, best for education, transport, health etc.. and what are their individual tax rates in the given countries for these services?
14:31 June 25, 2012 by Beef
Hi Skogsbo,

The costs that turned my wife pale yesterday, were for example.

Her favourite Clipper teabags, 38Kr for 40 in Coop, 4 quid for 160 in Tesco,

paracetamol, 19p for 16, again 38 kr for 20 in Sweden, similar with ibuprofen, clarity n, etc..

Couldn't believe that salad cream costed only 62p. We were only in the 5 minutes.. She commented, not me.. Had never really thought about it..

Yes, daycare is subsidised and I appreciated that, but again, if I didn't have kids?? Also, kids here in Sweden are in daycare for 5 long years!!!!

I'm happy with my healthcare but it does cost.. My migraine prescription costs me 465Kr!! Kids prescriptions are not free either...

But strangely enough I do feel better off in Sweden, but with the pound as it is now and the house price boom in Sweden, I probably wouldn't have moved here now. I got a better deal moving here when I did 11 years ago.
14:57 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
just buy another brand of tea? loose tea? Yeah paracetamol, but I've never understood why something so potential hazardous is so cheap? Salad cream, don't buy it so wouldn't know, I would say stuff here is 10%-15% more on average. Kids, I prefer the Swedish system, rather than thrusting them into school in their 5th year.

House prices, it just depends on where you lived before really, it's hard to compare like with like on property to the UK when building land is so expensive and the rental market is just a different kettle of fish.

I think if you are very materialistic then Sweden would be hell to many Brits, but it depends on what you value in life, if you even notice the expense of Sweden.
15:15 June 25, 2012 by Beef
Skogsbo, you're very very happy here. I get it.. Me too believe it or not.. The article is just stating facts. I also just stated facts.. I also said I think I feel better off here too.

Some things are ridiculously expensive in Sweden. I as a consumer like to understand why? I understand that daycare is expensive and that my taxes fund the subsidies for example. But I don't understand why OTC drugs can be charged at silly prices. There is no policy around it as far as I know. They do it because they can, and 99% of the Swedish people I have spoken have absolutely no idea that they're being ripped off! Why is that?? Brits, yes, the moan more than complain about things like childcare, transport costs but at least they're aware that this can't be right...
16:21 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
OTC drugs, I imagine it is either price fixing by the retailer or manufacturer. Never looked to closely at it, does ICA prices differ much from the chain pharmacies? If they don't then i suspect the manufacturers are control price etc, or taking a bigger margin. If they do then clearly it is just the shop taking a bigger margin.

Some Swedes are aware because my sister in law stocked up in the UK when she visited us there, prior to us moving. When we were in the UK in May, we bought 2 packs of kids calpol with us back, we weren't allowed to buy more than 2 paracetamol products though, that included the kids level stuff, not 500mg tablets!

ps. I didn't suggest you weren't happy. I just think it depends what products you pick, to decide which country is most expensive, it then needs to pitched against average salary (net and gross), disposable income, etc.. you can just look at prices as it is all relative. I know larger surveys looking globally, use some special benchmarking methods to try and standardise this, but nothing is fool proof.

The UK has a right to moan on transport, it subsidises a share holder owned rail company, that provides a shocking service.
20:35 June 25, 2012 by smilingjack
stockholm is expensive and has little choice when compared to australia. we are hard pushed to get people from home to come here because its described as the land of the bland. even with big salaries which are double what the swedes are getting paid and tax free they still wont come. stupidly expensive and aussies expect cafes and restaurants to have variety and be cheap. not a baguette and a herring. yes our major cities are all much bigger then stockholm but still. fresh fruit and veg. a proper butcher that sells actual cuts of beef not chunks. fresh seafood not rock hard chunks of ice. we think our fuel is exe but its half of what swedes pay.

what is it with the swedes work attitude? maybe I'll turn up maybe I wont. its hard work spoon feeding them and holding their hands.

I would have thought that such an old civilisation would have been a little more advanced. whats the attitude with getting an apartment or house or having a decent webpage for selling cars real estate etc.

apirin back home is a supermarket thing. it seems to me like the swedes go out of their way to complicate things and stuff it up. like saab. heres a perfectly good gps system. stick it in. no we will re engineer the whole thing. go millions over budget and it doesnt work. company bankrupt.

I would highly recommend swedes get to oz and see how a modern vibrant civilisation works - for half the price.
20:46 June 25, 2012 by libertarianism
Skogsbo, I do live in Sweden, and base my statements on my own experience and those of others who I've spoken with and/or read of.... förenings, blogs, etc.

That said, I am glad that you and your family have had a positive experience regarding healthcare. It's not the case for a number of us though. But again, I'm glad that the system worked the way it is supposed to for you. I want people to be safe. There are a lot of people with hard stories though, and the system doesn't treat everyone fairly... Many people deserve a lot better than how they've been treated. It's actually quite stressful and even traumatic for many who don't get proper care. I don't think sick people have such a strong voice in Swedish society...
21:37 June 25, 2012 by cattie
Comments from Skogsbo...

I have a difficulty thinking of any other commentator who is such a unwavering apologist for every Swedish institution and such a true believer.

While I believe they live and work in Sweden, my question is WHO do they work for? It seems to me to be a public relations consulting contract for the Swedish state. Or perhaps they even work for the Local itself, to offer a provocative minority viewpoint to keep these comments lively.

Healthy skepticism and the ability to see advantages as well as disadvantages is the hallmark of critical thinking. I think many people can use a does of it in Sweden.
21:51 June 25, 2012 by Roffe
Look outside. Its miserable.
22:20 June 25, 2012 by skogsbo
Cartier, if you re-read, you'll see I said that I don't think Sweden has the best of any of the factor, but when combined together, the average is higher than pretty much anywhere I know, you? I think some people are too quick to pick out swedens weaknesses, whilst recalling their homeland with rose tinted memories.

I'm still young-ish but I've lived, worked or travelled to about 40 or 50 countries, some were and still are great, NZ, Switzerland, Canada... some were pretty grim in places, Albania, Bolivia, Tanzania.... But whilst the nice are nice, personally I've no reason not to be 100% content with Sweden.

Work the Swedish state or the local, you've got to be joking. This article wouldn't be hiding down the bottom, whilst month old articles from their contributors stayed higher up. Good idea though, internet and viral pr, I'm sure there is market for it even in Sweden.
09:43 June 26, 2012 by cogito
"...if you are very materialistic then Sweden would be hell..." (43).

"Materialistic" was the epithet favored by the old corruptocrats in the Iron Curtain countries for citizens complaining that they could not get consumer goods.

How "materialistic" of these running dogs of capitalism at TL to want affordable food and medicine.

Recently I had to see a doc (specialist) 350sek ($50), in order to get a prescription that cost 550 sek ($77) at Apoteket. That's a total of $125 for a med that you can be bought over-the-counter in any New York drugstore for $6 )or €4 in Paris.)

Seems to me it is Swedish medicine (or at least Apoteket AB) that is "materialistic"--if not out-and-out corrupt.
14:55 June 26, 2012 by skogsbo
I would suggest that apoteket is price fixing, but as I said to beef, not really compared their price to others. Materialistic hell yes, you got your drugs, I guess you could afford them, even if you have to forgo buying something else. But, will you starve? probably not. my point was that it you value the free quality of life things or factors, then Sweden is cheap as chips!

Neither captialism or communism are proven working models, they all collapse in time. So no system is fool proof, or politician proof for more than a century or two. History and the collapse of many ancient civilisations have proven this already.
18:51 June 26, 2012 by cogito
"Quality of life" is one of those nebulous terms favored by organizations like the state or the U.N., in order to further their social engineering objectives.

It should be up to the individual to define "quality" for her/himself and their family.
08:06 June 27, 2012 by libertarianism
Agree with 53.
09:13 June 27, 2012 by skogsbo
but some peoples quality would buying a new sports car every year or having a TV screen as wide as their room or buy every new addition of the ipad or iphone. Not having their own home, being able to afford to heat it, eat well and enjoy a few holidays. Yes each to their own, but if you are complaining about the price of Luxury Item X when you still have an older working version, you have little grounds to grumble?
13:21 June 27, 2012 by libertarianism
Re 55, I'm not concerned with luxury items. I think the phrase luxury items is dangerous anyway. Maybe people with poor eyesight enjoy life better with a giant TV. I've known individuals who live very modestly but have a phat car/bike/piano/etc. that they love. Different people have different loves. Balance is the key...

Swedish policy has destroyed my life quality though, and thus affected my family and friends as well. I am a victim/survivor of rationed medicine.

The Swedish state tortures and kills sick people in order to save money and finance other social engineering projects.

The state dictates a certain life, and those that don't fulfill that role are punished, even killed. It's sick.

This is about life and death. Health, more than anything else, determines quality of life. You're talking about tvs and vacations. I'm talking about whether people live or die. I'm talking about if survivors can feed themselves or shop for their own food even...
07:09 June 28, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
The article is just stating facts: Sweden IS an extremely expensive place to live in - but the expense is secondary to the quality of products/services here (which I personally find to be very poor compared to every other country I've lived in)

A problem about living here is that if you are in any way critical, you will soon find yourself unpopular. It's strange that in many surveys carried out along the lines of 'are you happy where you live?' the Swedes often come out on top. Now having been able to study them at close range, it's NOT about being generally satisfied, but about not criticising. I have a fair sized circle of non-Swedish friends and the consensus of opinion among them is that the state has become the religion here. There is no vibrant living religion here (apart from Catholic and Muslim immigrants). Sweden spends millions of Euros on the upkeep of Lutheran churches around the country which are generally empty on Sunday mornings!

I don't think the Swedes themselves can stand criticising their own country, so woe betide any foreigner who does! One example: I used to be an active member of an ornithological group (nearly all Swedes) and enjoyed going out birdwatching with them. However, as soon as I began to criticise their farming methods (ultramodern) for reducing the countryside into a barren monoculture, saying for example that their fields were as barren as their carparks, people stopped phoning me and I found myself ostricised totally.

And therein lies the problem - folk here just accept whats offered and don't criticise poor practices, service and high prices
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