Sweden. Home to IKEA, the Swedish Chef, those tasty meatballs … and the most comprehensive cradle-to-grave welfare system in the Western world. Touted as a "third way," the socialist/capitalist hybrid was meant to have been compatible with free markets while offering an unparalleled social safety net. The idea of Sweden, and indeed all Nordic countries, as a kind of utopia lives on.
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada wanted to examine the effects of too much big government on families in Sweden. We found the problem isn't daycare, per se, but rather the fact that the Swedish government prioritizes government daycare by paying for it, while not paying for any other option.
What happens when choices are skewed in this way--and everyone begins "choosing" something they might not otherwise? Author Jonas Himmelstrand, who was forced to leave Sweden because he wanted to homeschool, has some of the answers. He has written extensively on family matters there and provides a great alternate view to the mythology that lives on in the hearts of many North Americans--that Sweden is a utopia on all things family related.
Click below for the various parts of our Swedish series. Skål!