How Sweden and Norway broke the power of the ‘1 percent’

Income inequality continues to plague America. Currently, the top 1% of Americans earn an average of $1.3 million per year. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% of all Americans average $25,000 per year.

So how is it that “the wealthiest nation in the world,” continues to have some of the highest income inequality throughout the industrialized world?

And is there a way to lessen the grip of the 1% on the vast amount of wealth and resources they have hoarded?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the non-violent and economic and social revolution of Sweden and Norway in the 1930s that led to those countries having what is now called “an enviable standard of living.”

Almost a century ago, both countries were controlled by a “Conservative Party” which was the party of choice for the 1%. They funded an expansive police and military force which was often directed to squash organized resistance and general labor strikes.

The working class, after years of struggle, joined their efforts with trade unions and formed a social democratic party to push back against the plutocrats and their systems of control.

By 1935, the labor party grew, attracting unemployed workers, general labor, and the Agrarian Party, which represented farmers and those living outside the major cities.

It was that confluence of almost every social and political group joining together under the banner of the Labor Party that allowed the masses to wrest away control from the 1% through democratic elections.

Since then, both countries have had bouts of resurgence from the Conservative Party every few decades, but their system of Socialism and government regulation has been deeply layered within their economic and social identity.

Even in the last decade, as the 1% pushed for more control of resources through ownership of large banking institutions, the Swedish government stepped in and took control of all the major banks in their country after determining that they took exceptional risks with their customer’s money that led to the global economic crash in 2008.

In America, we bailed the banks out and jailed no one.

Perhaps it is time we learned from our history, and the history of others, to find a new solution to the systemic problems in America that start and end with the intersectionality of politicians and their wealthy financiers.



About Fred Hamble