Paper written 1991-92. To appear in Japanese in a book by Y Hosoi, K Kawasaki, Ohasi & H L Zetterberg
by Hans L Zetterberg
"Welfare" entails several recurrent problems found in every society. How are we to take care of children before they can look after themselves? How shall we take care of the elderly who can no longer look after themselves? And how are we to take care of the sick and disabled, who cannot work or do everything else that is normal for adults in their prime?
These are formidable problems. In Sweden, roughly one-fifth of the population are under 17 and one-fifth over 64. Accordingly, three-fifths are of "working" age. But only just over two-fifths -- almost the same number of men and women, a striking feature of the Swedish social structure -- are gainfully employed. The remaining one-fifth are those on parental or study leave, unemployed, chronically ill, on early retirement pensions, disabled and so on. Direct welfare responsibility, in the form of basic financial life support, thus encompasses some three-fifths of the population. In addition, there is temporary assistance in the event of illness and other emergencies.
Social welfare policy is not, as many believe, the invention of leftists or socialists. German social welfare, which was a model for the rudimentary Swedish efforts in modern social welfare, had a conservative flavor. Bismarck's idea was that social welfare should be both a national monument and a vaccine against socialism.
Folkhemmet, "the people's home," is a term that came to characterize Swedish welfare policy during the middle of the present century -- a period that coincided with Social Democratic rule. Before World War II the main concern of social policy was to secure minimum standards of living for families, the unemployed, and elderly; after the war it was mainly concerned with establishing guarantees against loss of regular income, as well as other measures as to ensure good housing, financial security, and subsidized health care and dental services.
The early Swedish welfare programs developed in the 1930s by Social Democratic politicians such as Per Albin Hansson, Gustav Möller and their associates were worked out against the background of these men's own experience during childhood and youth. They wished to create for every one of "their own people" what every successful family member wants to create for their close relatives: a promising future for the young, security in old age, and welfare for all. Their humanitarian ideas found expression in the social allowances to be provided at the most difficult junctures in an individual's life, with the state stepping in like a rich and powerful uncle to lend support when a family is founded and provide benefits in the event of maternity, unemployment, sickness, widowhood, or retirement. The benefits provided by law in such family crises were based neither on socialist or Marxist ideas, nor on social research. These politicians knew from personal experiences what was needed in a rapidly industrializing society, and when political democracy gave them the means it was natural for them to provide what they thought necessary. Their approach was "from the bottom up." They called their creation, not "a socialist paradise" or "the social-science society," but rather "the people's home," a fitting description of a society in which the state acts as a humanitarian extended family.
The concepts of social science underlying these welfare programs were developed mainly at the Stockholm School of Economics. One widely-discussed contribution came from Gunnar and Alva Myrdal in their book Kris i befolkningsfrågan (The Population Crisis). By combining the demand for welfare measures with the urgent need in the 1930s to stop the population decline, they provided legitimate reasons for the Social Democratic programs and, at the same time, obtained Liberal and Conservative support. Even the reactionaries could support measures to ensure a sufficiently large population for the needs of industry or the armed forces. This was one reason the Swedish welfare state was launched on a foundation of political unity.
With the Myrdals entered an increasing element of "social engineering" into the development of the welfare state. Experts were to find the rational and optimal solutions to the tribulation of modern living, and the government were to impose these solutions in standardized forms on the entire country. Thus the approach to welfare policy became "from the top down." And welfare policies became universal and uniform ("generell välfärdspolitik"), embracing all citizens on equal terms.
After World War II, when the work of creating the Swedish welfare state was resumed, the top-down approach gave applied social research a greater role in planning the new welfare programs. Welfare planning had by then become so specialized that only a few politicians now had firsthand knowledge of the needs to be met: for, how many members of parliament and government officials have personal knowledge of gypsies, the spread of venereal disease, youth gangs, or immigrants? The need for social research became obvious.
Toward the end of the 1950s, political agreement about welfare programs temporarily floundered on the pension issue. Continuing political unity behind social welfare policy was maintained by the non-socialist tripartite government that in 1976 succeeded the 44-year Social Democrat regime. No "social disarmament" occurred, as predicted by socialist propaganda. On the contrary, welfare expenditure rose in real terms in spite of economic stagnation. During 1976-1978 the Minister of Social Affairs in the three-party Government, Rune Gustavsson (Centre) was able to implement further pension increases, better compensation for the disabled, higher allowances for families with children, extended parental insurance, and a six-hour day for parents of small children. The non-socialists lost political power in 1982. By then the Swedes were paying taxes amounting to well over half the GNP, mostly for welfare purposes.
The consensus on policy in the area of welfare has naturally resulted in a calm and steady development of the social service system. The preconditions for such consensus was the enormous success of business in creating new wealth and the willingness of the electorate to accept ever higher taxes. The scope for social reforms thus has been continuously enlarged.
However, since the mid-1960s the expansion of the Swedish economy has been modest. Nevertheless, social welfare has expanded at almost the same rate as previously: in the 1970s by the minimal seven crown fee for a visit to a doctor and by subsidized dental care, and in the 1980s by daycare centers for children, to mention only a few examples. In 1991 the non-socialist parties returned to power. The Minister of Social Affairs, Bengt Westerberg (Liberal), is adamant about maintaining the level of public welfare to which the Swedes have grown accustomed. The poor performance of the economy and the need to reduce taxes to levels competitive with the European Community are obstacles in his path. Despite Mr. Westerberg's proclamations, Sweden has started the process of rethinking its welfare system. Young Swedes are in the vanguard of this process.
Welfare -- taking care of children, the elderly, sick people and social outcasts -- is fundamentally an ethical problem. It may be economically worthwhile to help the ill to regain their health, so that they may be useful again. But there are few purely economic reasons for looking after the chronically ill, the disabled, deformed infants or sufferers from senile dementia. We do so for ethical reasons, not economic ones. Human dignity is a treasure that lacks market price.
Special, independent institutions for ethics are scarce in European culture. In the history of the West, responsibility for social and health care has been assigned here, there and everywhere: to the extended family, the cooperative bodies of the local community, the church, the guild, the feudal lord's household and the charitable establishment run by the industrial magnate (or his wife). In many modern societies, responsibility has been transferred to the state; therefore the appellation "welfare state."
When the state assumes moral responsibility for children, elderly people and outcasts, the citizens' responsibility is reduced to financing such care -- paying taxes. Ethical responsibility is transformed into an obligation to pay. Tax evasion becomes the equivalent of sneaking away from the suffering victim at the roadside and not providing help as a compassionate Samaritan. As an unplanned consequence, a large measure of fiscal moralism therefore accompanies the welfare state. Welfare-state politicians also tend to equate advanced welfare with high taxes.
My long-term forecast for European society is that the ethical institutions responsible for children, the ill and the elderly will be liberated from the state roughly as industry, art and science have already freed themselves from both church and state. In the latter cases the state's role is to encourage, not to govern. The "welfare state" is so called because it governs welfare; in Sweden, the various institutions are public authorities, and their staff bear official responsibility. When the institutions of welfare are self-governing and the state's role is merely to facilitate their tasks -- as with industry, art and science -we no longer have a welfare state, but rather a welfare society.
The oldest and youngest members of society receive across-the-board cash benefits: pensions for the over-65s, child allowances for the under-16s and study support for those who pursue their education. These benefits are distributed automatically by post, and there is no need to apply for them; administration costs are low. But the amounts disbursed add up to a vast sum -- the largest item in the national budget. Services such as home help and geriatric care for the elderly and day nursery, play school and elementary school for the young are also available. The costs of such services are, of course, heavy.
Those of working age in the population must, as a rule, apply for their benefits, and for them means-testing is more frequent. Benefits are given not solely, or even mainly, in cash but also in the form of services such as health care, labor-market training, retraining, consultation and so on. In emergencies, citizens can turn to their local social-welfare office, which is obliged to disburse cash or otherwise help financially, with a view to maintaining tolerable living standards for the municipality's residents.
The employed/self-employed portion of the population can also obtain large benefits, such as municipal housing allowance. All citizens are entitled to subsidized medical and dental care and to medicines; direct prices are negligible, and rich and poor alike pay the same low price. The Swedish welfare state is a permanent feature of all citizens' lives, not a temporary feature of certain citizens' lives.
Massive administrative and service resources are required to run a welfare state. The social-welfare bureaucracy is the largest in Sweden. It is, of course, incredibly varied.
Swedes have acquired a tax-supported complex of services that two or three generations ago would have make functionaries pale. Today's civil service comprises not only lawyers, teachers, military officers, and the clergy of the established state church. A preponderance of public employees are a new breed of bureaucrats and their subordinates. These include the staff of the state employment service, communal day care supervisors, state recreation leaders, staff of the social-insurance system, ombudsmen to counteract discriminatory practices, promoters of cultural activities, school counselors, health care administrators, case workers, therapists of various stripes, youth workers, etc., etc. The list of tax-financed professions and occupations that have been created, or have found a home, in Swedish public services since the end of World War II could easily fill an entire newspaper page.
The tax-financed service complex consists of municipal and county councils that administer the vast machinery of the education, health and social services as well as public transport, many new public authorities, numerous new departments in old authorities, the huge National Labor Market Board (AMS) dealing with unemployment and job retraining, and the unions that represent the new-breed of civil servants.
Representatives of the tax-financed service complex now predominate at the Social Democratic Party congresses. They are also in an overwhelming majority at the congresses of the erstwhile Communist Party. They have a plurality at the national conference of the Liberal Party, and (perhaps surprisingly) at the general assembly of the Conservative Party. It has for some time been apparent to researchers and political journalists that Swedish legislatures are occupied by delegates from the arms of the service complex. What is new in the '80s and '90s is that those who derive their incomes from public funds predominate in the electorate as well.
As yet, there is no scholarly Swedish analysis of this service complex. The Danish counterpart was analyzed in 1973 by J C Rich in a book he -- without being facetious -- called The Ruling Class. The new ruling class consists of state employees in the social sector, higher education and the health services. Like all ruling classes they command a great deal of the resources of society. Their power is based, not on ownership, but on their capacity for creating a compelling social ideology with roots in a humanitarian culture of support to "all the weak," rejection of manual work, and fear of unemployment, illness, and death. It manifests itself in perfectionism and universal appeal ("we may all be weak one day"), and social criticism that protects the interests of the class through high salaries, limited work effort, and a prodigious expansion of the public sector. The author argues that in many areas this expansion oversteps the borderline where the cost exceeds the benefit to society. The result is both social disparagement and economic exploitation of the rest of the population.
The Swedish social bureaucrats in the 1990s seem much less confident and comfortable than their Danish colleagues of the 1970s. Interviews conducted by Greta Frankel and her coworkers in an ongoing project at the City University in Stockholm convey an image of a huge bureaucracy that has been assigned humanitarian tasks but is somehow also expected to keep the seamy side of life out of sight from polite society. Moreover, this bureaucracy appears abandoned by its political leadership.
Many among the front staff of the welfare state work in a no-man's-land between, on the one hand, the public they are supposed to help and, on the other, the official machinery they are obliged to use in performing their duties. This zone has fluid boundaries and no clear laws or guidelines how people located inside it are to behave toward, or relate to, one another.
In this amorphous zone, the social worker and the social-welfare "client" meet. What takes place or is achieved during this encounter, which may last several years, is theoretically laid down by law and specified in the ethical regulations of the social-work profession, in the training provided at schools of social work and public administration, and in job descriptions. In practice, the social worker's duties and sphere of responsibility are often unclear, and the scope for interpretation is broad. Practice may vary between social-welfare offices, and between social workers at the same office.
The elevated aims of the Social Service Act give social workers scanty support in the practical performance of their duties. Nor do politicians, social-service administrators and supervisors of social-welfare activities appear capable of issuing stringent directives and defining clear objectives for the work carried out by their front-line staff. Many Swedish social workers cannot even clearly state who their employer is, and mention politicians, taxpayers, local authorities and the "clients" as possible employers. When their perceptions of the demarcation of responsibility are unclear, it is not surprising that some social workers interviewed considered that the ultimate responsibility for clients' lives in fact lay in the social workers' own hands. The opportunity for satisfying one's own personal needs through casework may help to create the "resilience" that may be considered characteristic of social workers. Otherwise, the rewards are negligible in relation to the many disadvantages associated with the profession: low status, low pay, inadequate occupational identity, aspersions in the mass media, prejudices among the public, a lack of understanding by employers, and denigration of the work as typical women's work.
Researchers like to compare how much various welfare states do for their citizens. The European welfare state originated in Bismarck's Germany. After World War II, Denmark became the leading welfare state, but in around 1960 the lead was taken by Sweden. Nevertheless, in the 1980s Sweden was no longer top of the world welfare league: our neighbors' "people's homes" had evolved just as far.
In the report entitled Peninsula of Bliss: the Swedish Welfare Model and Europe (in Swedish), issued by the Secretariat for Futures Studies in 1987, Göran Therborn provided figures on welfare made available to citizens: "Holland and Belgium [were] clearly the two most socially committed states. Sweden and Denmark shared third place. West Germany and France are not far behind." But, in terms of costs the Swedish system of social welfare still comes top, owing to its more extensive care and administrative bureaucracy.
There are wide variations in the organization of Europe's various welfare states. Dutch welfare, for example, follows the "subsidiarity principle," It represents a systematic approach in social policy, from the bottom up. The microcosm (neighbors, friends and family) must first attempt to solve problems. If they fail, the parties on the labor market come in with their agreed arrangements, first at local level and subsequently at national level. Finally, the state's help is enlisted. This type of welfare state is no cheaper than the Scandinavian top-to-bottom approach -- but it may be more efficient.
People are generally found to secure their maintenance according to what openings are available. The idea of a "maintenance opening" is central in any evaluation of a welfare program.
Many studies of occupational choice show that, in local communities with a defined economic structure, most young people undergo training that enables them to fit into this particular structure, and not into another that may exist in another, remote local community. Jobs are, after all, the openings that provide maintenance.
We also know that, in a market economy, certain people learn to become entrepreneurs; this is not so in a command economy. Enterprise provides openings: it creates a "nation of shopkeepers," as England was described by Adam Smith and (derisively) by Napoleon I. long before it became a welfare state.
In the welfare state, people also adjust to the maintenance openings on offer. In Sweden there is not only employment and entrepreneurship, but also incomes unrelated to work, from the health and social insurance authorities. Most such incomes are temporary, but some are based on disability or work injury, and may be lifelong.
People are exceptionally interested in their maintenance sources. Employees talk about their work, the boss's mood and the scope for fringe benefits. For the self-employed, work is a magnet that draws in family and free time. Welfare recipients also take an exceptional interest in the payments they receive; they notice small differences in the way they are received by the social-welfare authorities, and observe changes in staff and regulations. "Living in the social-insurance office" (to borrow a phrase from Swedish law professor Anna Christenson) is often enough an anxious life and by no means a sinecure.
It has proved extremely difficult to devise maintenance openings in such a way that they are not overutilised. Social policy aimed at helping people to lead normal lives as employees or entrepreneurs is constantly losing ground to the non-workrelated maintenance openings. Losing Ground is the graphic title of a book by Charles Murray, describing the many social-policy programs in the USA between 1950 and 1980. Most programs made things worse for welfare recipients and society alike, not better. Welfare programs themselves shift the dividing-line between supporters and supported, so that the roughly two-thirds of the population that are responsible for supporting the rest steadily diminishes. In certain countries, including Sweden, this process has been obscured by because a rising proportion of women have sought gainful employment.
Welfare has not only unplanned consequences, but sometimes also undesired ones that conflict with the legislators' aims. This also applies to sophisticated programs such as Milton Friedman's proposed "negative income tax," with its explicit purpose of averting income traps for welfare recipients. In Sweden, we have seen some unplanned consequences in the utilization of maintenance openings that have turned up as a result of the 1990 reform of national health insurance, and we shall be seeing more of these owing to an imminent reform of occupational injury insurance. When illness no longer creates non-workrelated maintenance openings, it is in some sense "cured," "eliminated" or "suppressed."
Throughout the evolution of the welfare state in Sweden, there has been a debate concerning its costs. Within the framework of the broad policy consensus, it is plain that socialists and liberals generally demand larger and more rapid inputs, and that conservatives seek smaller inputs and a more cautious approach to change. In the past few years, the focus of this debate has shifted from the payment capacity of the state economy to the internal problems of the welfare system: closed or undermanned hospital wards; queues for cataract, hip and coronary operations, etc.; expanding geriatric care; the inadequacy of the home-help service; the modernization of old people's homes; the threat of an AIDS epidemic, and so on.
In particular, four subjects of contention have dominated the Swedish welfare-policy debate.
SUBJECT 1: the question of whether the welfare state's benefits should support individuals or families.
What surprises Germans, Frenchmen and Italians most about the Swedish welfare system is its extreme individualism. In general, the welfare states of central and southern Europe are based on support for the family, rather than the individual. The individual is helped through transfers to the family. The Swedish system strengthens the individual -- and, if necessary, does so at the cost of the family.
In Sweden, it is possible to take one's child, leave one's family and count on support from the welfare state. Nothing about Sweden has created more uproar in Germany than the fact that the Swedish social-welfare authorities can break up natural families and take children from parents that the authorities find unsuitable. Germans refer to the "children's Gulag" in Sweden. And this in turn greatly upsets the Swedes. A few years ago the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in its own indignation, tried to subdue foreign indignation -- and merely made everything worse. Here, we see a difference between welfare states that have evolved in a Protestant tradition and those that have evolved in a Catholic one. The Christian Democratic parties of the Continent whose welfare programs focus on the family unit diverge from welfare programs drawn up by Scandinavia's Social Democratic and Liberal Parties, in which the individual is the unit.
Research shows that the "natural networks" (of which the family is the most important), not individuals, are the foundation of welfare. Primary groups provide the cradle for human nature, and without them citizens' capacity for a law-abiding, democratic way of life cannot easily develop. (See the discussion of the "Chaotics" on page 23.)
The question of whether support should go to the individual or to the family has clear ideological overtones. Conservatives oppose liberals. As I see it, the Swedish welfare state has received an excessive dose of liberal individualism, and needs a corrective in the form of conservative family love.
Social Democratic voters in Scandinavia do not believe in radical theories that in order for socialism to be introduced, the family must be destroyed. Scandinavian liberals, who are often graduates, have such respect for what research has shown that they are well able to refrain from dogmatic individualism in the design of welfare programs. Swedish welfare therefore has a chance of developing along more conservative lines as on the Continent, while retaining a fair degree of political unity.
SUBJECT 2: how much emergency service should be included in the welfare system?
There are two opposed ways of thinking about welfare in the West: the emergency-help model and the basic-service model. In British research, they are termed -- in a terminology developed by R. Titmus -- the "residual welfare model" and the "institutional redistributive model" respectively.
The residual welfare model assumes that the markets for labor, housing, goods and services, and the nuclear and extended family, relatives, neighbors, colleagues and friends, are normal channels for satisfying citizens' needs. Here, the idea is that welfare policy should come into effect when, for any reason, these fail. Welfare should thus be a temporary feature of some citizens' lives.
The institutional redistribute model assumes that child care, education, health care, care of the elderly, free transport for the elderly and disabled, pensions, etc. are rights enjoyed by all. Thus, welfare policy is a permanent part of all citizens' lives.
The residual welfare model predominates in the USA, and the institutional redistributive model in Europe. It is noteworthy that the USA is somewhat isolated among the affluent countries in that it relies entirely on emergency assistance. Over the border in Canada, one finds more of a basic-service model.
Countries with the institutional redistribute model of social policy must also provide some emergency help. In our modern welfare state, what most resembles old-fashioned charity is means-tested benefits, such as housing and social allowances. Their selective aspect invites arbitrariness by the authorities, and the means-testing invites cheating by recipients. Threshold effects easily arise with this form of benefit, so that it is not worthwhile for certain family members to enter employment or apply for better-paid work. With means-tested benefits, people can become like invalids who, in time, succeed in adapting to their disability and, accordingly, are afraid of regaining their health.
SUBJECT 3: which forms of benefit work best?
Nowadays, welfare policy has an arsenal of forms of benefit that all differ from old-fashioned charity: universal benefits, guarantees against income loss, subsidized direct prices, citizens' vouchers, etc.
Old-fashioned private charity, like the residual welfare model, gave support only to those who needed it. National pension and child allowance, on the other hand, go to all those -- rich and poor, good and evil alike -- who meet the age criterion. Such universal benefits are the simplest version of social policy according to the institutional redistribute model.
Old-fashioned charity made use of benefit scales. People in need who were somewhat better off received less, while the most deprived received most. This is seldom the case in the Swedish welfare state. Several common forms of benefit relate the benefit to loss of income. Those who earn high incomes and consequently incur a greater loss of income when they fall ill or retire than the poor, receive more in sickness compensation and pension. With such guarantees against income loss, social policy deviates from income redistribution policy. A social policy with guarantees against income loss represents an attempt to maintain an accustomed standard of living for citizens during life's downswings, regardless of whether this level is high or low. Sweden has good experience of this form of benefit.
Old-fashioned charity was free of charge. The modern welfare state prefers to charge direct prices that are subsidized and standardized. The actual cost of an average medical consultation for an outpatient is seven to eight times higher than what the patient pays. The fact that a direct price exists prevents some over-utilization of the services of the welfare state.
Possible forms of benefit also include vouchers. In Sweden, this form exists at present only in the form of free transport for the elderly, who are given coupons with which to pay taxicabs. The idea of this form of support is that, voucher in hand, citizens can go to the establishments they themselves choose, and the various establishments must compete for their favor and, accordingly, steadily improve their services. This form of benefit would, for example, be appropriate for the home-help service, enabling private home-help companies to compete with the municipal ones.
SUBJECT 4: are we to have a welfare state or a welfare society?
Should the private or the public sector provide welfare services? In the 1980s, the Swedish Social Democratic Party sought to reduce the private sector to a matter of goods and material services, and reserve social services for the public sector. Thus private companies prompted by the profit motive could carry out refuse collection, but not tasks involving health or social care: this was the directive issued by party leader and prime minister Olof Palme. Nowadays, most Social Democrats accept that private companies, too, should be allowed to compete with the public sector in providing welfare services with people and for people.
However, in Sweden there is broad agreement that welfare should, in all essentials, be financed through taxes. This was originally the working class's idea, but the middle class has accepted it. Many studies show that middle-class people understand better than the working class how to make use of the benefits of the welfare state. Opinion polls show that a middle-class majority wish to retain welfare systems.
But should public monopolies also be in charge of producing and supplying welfare? One example often cited in this debate is City Akuten, a private clinic in Stockholm. In 1987, it treated 90,000 patients. The cost was 245 million kronor, of which 50m came from direct charges on patients and 195m from the social-insurance service. The corresponding cost of treating the same number of patients in the county council's outpatient care services is 450m kronor. The private alternative has conspicuously lower costs, more efficient administration, shorter waiting periods and even, perhaps, better personal treatment.
Economic realities such as these provide pressures for change in the Swedish welfare setup. The direction of change is from welfare bureaucracies to welfare markets. Changes in lifestyles and values drive Sweden in the same direction. The rest of this essay will deal with the interplay of values, lifestyles, and the welfare system.
Among sociologists worldwide, studying young people has become ever more common and a frequent feature of futures research. How does the first generation born in the fully developed welfare state feel about welfare?
With the advent of empirical sociology in the USSR after Stalin's death, the first projects included major youth surveys. The parental generation, which had sacrificed and suffered a great deal during the emergence of the new social order, was enormously curious as to what the new Soviet human being was like -- and they pondered the answers with a certain ambivalence.
In the USA, the situation is similar. In manifest confusion, resentment and reluctant admiration, the American parental generation has witnessed how its great, expensive investment in the educational system -- half of all young Americans in the northern states pursue college and university studies -- has yielded not only education and ample career opportunities but also, periodically, a drastically different youth culture at educational institutions. It was markedly distinctive in 1965-68, the years of the student revolts. It was also different in 1984: in that year, students booed Mondale, who had throughout his life stood for heavy federal and state investments in universities and welfare, and cheered Reagan, who had cut study support and research funding.
In Japan, youth research occupies a somewhat favored position. The government offices include, for example, a special agency whose tasks include monitoring the attitudes of Japanese young people toward their cultural heritage and the rapid transformation of Japanese society. Do Japanese youngsters, for example, feel the same duty to work as the older generation, or have they been "Europeanized" -- do they want to "live" instead?
In Sweden, such fundamental questions are seldom posed about the younger generation. The issues that interest us most -- judging from published material and the files of the Swedish Institute of Public Opinion Research (SIFO) -- are relatively trivial ones: how much alcohol young people drink, how many have experimented with drugs and how old they were when they first had sex. The popular movements have, of course, taken some interest in how their activities are viewed by new generations. The National Youth Council has sought to find out whether the young have adopted commercial lifestyles. But there has been no formulation of the major questions about the new generation, let alone an attempt to explore the answers. We have not even ventured to ask whether young people feel bound by the decision of the national supplementary pension (ATP) vote whereby they must, through their work, finance the pensions of the older generation; or whether young people agree to repay, by dint of their work, Sweden's foreign debt incurred by the older generation to retain its living standards and social benefits.
However, in view of the ground gained by conservatism among the young, it is time to ask whether young people support the main features of Swedish social welfare, as it has taken shape over half a century of Social Democratic domination.
There are four cornerstones in Swedish social welfare, or what is sometimes termed the "Swedish model" that future historians will presumably call the "Social Democratic model":
Jobs for everyone throughout adult life until retirement. Full employment is given priority over all other political objectives, including monetary stability, defense capability, environmental protection, etc. Do young people agree to this, or do they assign higher priority to values other than work?
A large tax-financed sector for what the Swedish parliament (the Riksdag) considers to be our common needs, and thoroughgoing regulations to protect what the Riksdag regards as best for society as a whole. Do young people embrace this approach, or do they wish in the name of freedom to demolish what the older generation has established?
A generous, overriding social policy by which state, county council and municipality assume responsibility for ensuring the optimum living standards and health for each and every citizen. Do young people support this policy, or would they prefer to achieve these goals on their own?
A strong trade-union movement. Do young people want this, or do they wish to make their way, unaided, in the employment sector?
There is undeniably an authoritarian, conformist element in the Swedish climate of opinion: those who seek respectability may not question the wisdom of their elders or those in authority. The tacit assumption is that young people should blooming well show gratitude for being allowed to join such a fine social model as the Swedish one! To request scope or financial support for documenting the opposite, if this exists, borders on treason and is invariably considered intolerable and disruptive. As a nation, Sweden is not as mature as the USA, the (former) USSR and Japan in posing questions about its own youth and seeking answers from research. When I, as an opinion pollster in 1986, asked 15- to 25-year-olds an indiscreet question, the answers remained unpublished in Sweden. The question was as follows:
"What kind of society do you really want:
one in which the representatives of society help you to decide over important matters in your life (schooling, housing, salary rate, health care, etc.)
one in which you receive no help from society and, instead, make your own decisions about important matters in your life?"
In every day speech in Sweden no distinction is made between "society" and "state". The question thus refers to assistance from the public sector. The outcome was that:
34% thought that the representatives of society should help them to make decisions
50% thought they should decide for themselves, without advice from society
16% did not know.
Where work for everyone is concerned, there is no doubt that young Swedes are strongly in favor. In comparison with other countries, Swedish youth would like to work even if they had so much money as not to need a job. The following percentages agreed with the statement "Even if I had enough money to live comfortably on, I would prefer to have a job anyway":
Source: SIFO 83478.
We do not know much about young people's support for a large public sector. They take the social services for granted. But nowadays their attention is focused much more on the private sector of the labor market than on the public sector. This is an unequivocal change compared with previous years when, in contrast, public-sector job opportunities were considered most attractive. The reasons are no doubt more practical than ideological: this interest in the private sector is clearly correlated with young people's understanding that this is where the jobs are.
Present-day Swedish youth belong to a generation that has learnt not to take care of its parents. One international youth survey included a question that clearly separated Swedish youth from the young people of other countries. It concerned responsibility for parents in their old age. The youngsters were presented with the following four statements:
"No matter what the circumstances, I will support my parents"
"To the extent my economic situation permits, I will support my parents"
"I would prefer that my parents support themselves, or use social welfare"
"No matter what the circumstanses, my parents will have to support themselves, or go on social welfare"
They were asked to choose the answer that best described their attitude to how their parents should be supported in their old age. The following summarizes the last two answers (italicized) in 1984, i.e., the attitude that, in their old age, parents should depend on their own resources or that of social welfare:
Clearly, personal responsibility for the older generation is weakest in Sweden.
This does not mean that young people approve of society's arrangements for the elderly. The most prevalent job in the world of youth is in long-stay hospital wards, where most of the patients are very old. Of young women aged between 16 and 24, 30 per cent have at some time worked in long-stay care; of the men, 9 per cent have done so. We asked them in 1984: "Would you like to live in a long-stay ward when you are old and have difficulty in looking after yourself?".Only 13 per cent (one in eight) answered in the affirmative. These are people who, at the outset of adult life, have had the opportunity of observing the most expensively and thoroughly organized portion of Swedish welfare; they have been on duty in shifts and pondered the meaning of life and human dignity; and they have decided "Not for me!" (Source: SIFO 84071.)
What, then, can the youth of today be proud over in Sweden? Social care has fallen from first place in 1976 to third in 1983. Topping the list in the latter survey is the Swedish countryside, followed by living standards, welfare and sport. Other ratings remain stable.
"Do you think Sweden has anything to be proud of?"
2. Living standard
3. Living standard
6. Science, technology
6. Science, technology
7. Social stability
7. Social stability
8. History, cultural heritage
8. History, cultural heritage
9. Art, cultural life
9, Art, cultural life
Source: SIFO 83478.
Young people in other countries are most proud of their countries' history and cultural heritage, natural science and technology, art and cultural life.
Young Swedes do not give such high priority to intellectual effort; instead, they concentrate on material values. Over just a few years, young people must learn to handle increasingly large sums of money. In 1985, the median income nationwide was 110 kronor a month among youngsters aged 12-15, 790 kronor a month in the 16-19 age group and 4,725 kronor a month among those aged 20-24. The housing situation for Swedish young people is relatively good: six out of ten in the 20-24 age group own homes in their own names. No age group in Sweden shows such inequality of income as those aged 18-20; some are affluent, while others have almost nothing. This inequality seems, however, to be accepted by those concerned and does not result in social unrest and revolution. People know that their circumstances will soon become more equal.
Of those aged 16-19, 5 per cent are cohabiting and 1 per cent are married; in the 20-24 age group, the proportions are 32 and 10 per cent respectively. Thirty-five per cent of 18-19-year-olds have a car, and 58 per cent of those aged 20-24 have a car. As they see it, they have some right to be proud of their living standards.
Throughout the twentieth century values of production have been in ascendancy, replacing the values of sustenance, i.e., survival, security, and faith in authorities. Values of production include an admiration for the entrepreneurial spirit, a desire for money and for degrees, titles, and status, also, the ready acceptance of technological advances, an emphasis on speed (with punctuality) and pragmatism, as well as confidence in authority and in the market economy. These values are outward-oriented. One central theme is the "standard of living." Such values fit in well with the idea of economic growth. The values of production and economic growth are allies that reinforce one another. Their alliance was notably robust during the 1950s.
Since then we have witnessed the emergence of another cluster of values. We call them values of reproduction. This cluster comprises values such as self-actualization, creativity, fellowship, a sense of harmony with nature, self-government, and an awareness of mental and physical health and environmental concerns. Here we also encounter a polysensualism, i.e., the use and enjoyment of all the senses; touch and smell are regarded just as important as sight and hearing. The central theme that runs through expressive success values is "quality of life." These new values -- and their novelty lies more in their wide impact than in their content -- are not the self-evident concomitants of economic growth that values of production are. Today, the climate of values and the economy may pull in different directions.
In a welfare state large groups of people can pursue experiences rather than necessities. The youth of Sweden has made bold strides toward the new values of reproduction, but their advances have at times also been followed by steps back into revitalized values of production. On balance, however, it may be said that the welfare state has been a fertile breeding-ground for values of reproduction.
"We see one young generation after the other step into the arena, like a bull that we know will be killed." This reflection of Francois Mauriac's is quoted in Lars Ahlin's first novel, Tåbb, with the manifesto, from 1943. (Ahlin is Sweden's foremost postwar novelist.) Tåbb belonged to the young Swedish generation of the 1940s that embraced Marxism, conforming to the spirit of the time. The Depression was a recent memory. The Soviet Union conquered Nazi Germany in the world war, and the Communists obtained 11.2 per cent of the vote in the 1946 election -- and an even higher proportion among the youngest voters.
But Tåbb the bull was defeated -- in reality, if not in the novel. In the 1950s, youth broke with both Communism and the rallying to nationalism that had prevailed in the war years of the 1940s, and embarked on a cosmopolitan period. The youngsters who put EU (European Union) stickers on their motorcycles were keen on expansion and interested in international affairs. They were slightly embarrassed about the limitations of their home ground, and loved the big wide world. Getting out of Sweden was the great event in life. They discovered the developing countries, and they approved of the USA, the second great victor of the war. They were delighted with their living standards, and thought it was important to market themselves, their country and its products. External forms meant a great deal. Miss Sweden beauty contests were actually regarded as important occasions. In this climate of ideas, the Social Democratic Party was able to govern only by showing its most liberal side, entering a coalition with the Center Party and relying on the electoral lag in the upper chamber of Parliament. The welfare state was still, at this time, taking shape.
The period 1958-66 has been termed (by Stefan Dagler) one of "trustee liberalism." Young students increasingly often chose natural sciences, and the status of liberal arts subjects declined. Innocuous musical groups, such as the Beatles and Hep Stars, were popular among teenagers. Trusteeship replaced adventure, and a certain indolence spread among young people. The leading Swedish publicist of those times, Herbert Tingsten, wrote a book for adults with the evocative title From Ideas to Idyll, propounding the thesis that politics had left ideology behind and become a matter of administering and selling.
But there was movement beneath the tranquil surface, and a youth revolt was brewing. An anarcho-liberal period followed among young people in 1966-68. The cultural pages of the press discussed infidelity. Copulation was depicted at the cinema. Now, people could make love without forming ties -- for friendship's sake or for pleasure. Pornography was countered with increased goodwill. Young women traveled to Poland for the abortions that were freely available there. The youth cult penetrated Sweden. Throughout the West, being young was now beginning to be thought better than being a mature adult -- a dangerous situation for a civilization. A mood of exhilaration began to prevail among young people.
The background was the record years of the boom and the war in Vietnam. Young people protested not only against superpower violence in a developing country, but also against the violence it was felt that schools and employers, police and social-welfare authorities exercised against those who dressed differently (in jeans!), smoked differently or went on strike at times other than those agreed upon. There was a reaction against big cities, big companies and big organizations, and a call for general decentralization.
Out of the youth revolt, two waves emerged: the "red" and the "green." The red wave, in 1968-71, made being a teenager political, and youngsters flocked to socially oriented university courses, such as sociology and government. Per Albin Hansson's and Tage Erlander's social democracy, with its support for the mixed economy, was regarded as a capitalist blunder and added to the targets of anti-capitalist protests: "Palme and Geijer, Lyndon's lackeys!" (Palme was head of government and Geijer head of the labor unions.) Young students, often from a middle-class background, joined the anti-capitalist wave and a massive generation gap arose. When the wave was at its height, more than 60 per cent of those under 25 who were entitled to vote supported a socialist party.
Thus, Tåbb's children turned red, and succeeded where Tåbb had failed -- in vitalizing the socialist elements in the Swedish climate of opinion. Among intellectuals, Marxism emerged from its ghetto and became respectable. In politics, socialist proposals gained more of a hearing. On the left, the Communists enlarged their share of young voters, while the Social Democrats' share diminished.
Then followed a green wave in 1971-76. Among the social concerns of youth, environmental issues came to the fore. The Center Party promoted the green cause and was supported by 31 per cent of young voters in 1972 and 30 per cent in 1973. The reassessment of the early 1960s continued. Now, the local community -- formerly so embarrassing that people preferred to avoid the subject -- was to be loved, and multinationals hated. International trade was no longer exciting; handicrafts and barter were in fashion. The greatest achievements of technology -- computers and nuclear-power plants -- were evil, and should be expelled from the community.
In the mid-1970s the first green wave began to die down and a "wave of coziness" -1976-80 -- followed. Young people now departed not to foreign countries, not to the revolution, not to nature, but to pads not far from their parents. They sought sweet partners, and embraced the thesis that small is beautiful. They extolled confidence, not protest. Their quest was for a small workplace, a small cottage, a small kitty to spend, a small vision, a small love, a small child and a small change in society. The security they sought was not small; security was thought to lie in smallness. The signals of the inner life became important, and people lost interest in the outer world's conventions and ideologies. The ego came to the fore. Jan Myrdal complained the even the left wing entered psychoanalysis. It became more important to understand deviants -- both ideological renegades and ordinary criminals -- than to judge them. Those who now set out to explore Europe by train did it mainly not to see other surroundings, as in the 1950s, but to explore their own psyche.
In the first half of the 1980s, many young people returned to cosmopolitanism and the values of the external world; there was a Fifties air to the world of youth. Entrepreneurship tempted many. No longer did half the school leavers seek public-sector jobs. Only one-sixth (17%) did so, while 77 per cent wished to enter the private sector -- 42 per cent as employees and as many as 35 per cent as entrepreneurs. This was the "blue wave." At its height, in 1984-85, the Conservative Party had swelled to the same size as the Social Democratic Party in the 18-24 age group: the former had 37 per cent and the latter 38 per cent.
Not all the children of the anarcho-liberal and red parents of the 1960s became blue; some turned green. The new greens in the young generation show a pronounced pessimism. Their consciousness is full of cosmic evil in the form of holes in the ozone and the transformation of the atmosphere into an international rubbish dump. May Earth's sinners be punished for this evil! Now they fight not for small-scale quality of life, like the first green wave; now it is the very conditions of life, the most global concerns conceivable, that are important.
The Swedes who attached EU stickers to their motorcycles when they were 18 in 1950 can now experience the real European Union of the 1990s as pensioners. Despite the rapid changes, the world is moving far too slowly for the young.
The main vocabularies of motives are the values delineated in our typology of values, i.e., those of sustenance, production, and reproduction. In a remarkable way they correspond to stages of personality development from psychological immaturity in infancy to a rich and full adult life. The inspiration to theories of personality development comes mainly from Erik H. Erikson, David McClelland, and, above all Abraham H. Maslow. This research tradition has been given an interesting elaboration by Arnold Mitchell.
The main contribution of Mitchell is the thesis that once you are beyond the satisfaction of basic needs, there are two separate paths to ego development, one Outer Directed and One Inner Directed. Figure 1 presents Mitchell's "double hierarchy" of personality development. The basic division is between three categories: the Need-Driven, the Outer-Directed, and the Inner-Directed. The first category acts because of needs rather than choice. The last two categories can choose between acting upon external cues or internal cues.
One brief and simple example: The Need-Driven person may lose weight because he or she is too poor to get enough nutrition. The Outer-Directed may loose weight because it makes him or her look better to others. The Inner-Directed may loose weight because it makes him or her feel better.
We relate Mitchell's types to our typology of values in the following way:
The Need-Driven person is very likely to embrace the values of sustenance that relate to the basic necessities for survival: food, clothing, lodging, and some security in the event of illness and in old age. In agrarian society this may have been the most common type.
The Outer-Directed person is very likely to embrace the values of production that relate to the requisite elements of growing prosperity, for example, order, punctuality, ambition, efficiency. In industrial society this may be the most common type, at least among the males.
The Inner-Directed person is very likely to embrace the values of reproduction that relate to what is necessary for personal inner growth and a genuine understanding of other people, e.g., self-exploration, empathy, sensitivity to others, and concern for others. In the welfare society this becomes a common type, particularly among females.
Figure 1. The Lifestyles double hierarchy. Source: Arnold Mitchell, The Nine American Lifestyles, New York, 1983, p. 32. The left arrow of psychological development is the traditional, outer-directed hierarchical path. The right arrow is a more recently popular inner-directed hierarchical path. Everyone starts his or her psychological development with a primacy of basic biological needs of physical security and of basic emotional needs of trust and belonging. Those retaining these priorities also in adulthood are called Need-Driven. Beyond the Need-Driven stage there are two other options. Those who give priority to their need of esteem are called Outer-Directed. The need for esteem, however, is divided into two levels by Mitchell Those whose adult priorities are found here are called "Emulators" and "Achievers." The other route concerns self-development. Those who put their priorities here are called Inner-Directed. The Mitchell team distinguishes between three levels of priorities here: "I-Am-Me," "Experiential," and "Societally Conscious." At the top of both paths, Mitchell places a small number of exceptionally mature individuals who are able to successfully balance all phases and priorities, the "Integrated."
Our arguments can thus be summed up as three major clusters that bring order to the study of values and personalities and societies:
Need-Driven personalities with values of sustenance, common in agrarian society;
Outer-Directed personalities with values of production, common in industrial society;
Inner-Directed personalities with values of reproduction, common in welfare society.
The delineations are approximate. There are, as we soon shall see, Need-Driven persons in the welfare society, and others that crosscut in different ways. But as a general drift we believe the above clusters are correct descriptions of a historical development of the modern character.
Let us now be more concrete.
A person has at least two names: a forename and a surname. But you can have more than two. The same applies to your lifestyle. A lifestyle is described in terms of two aspects: behavior and motivation. Finding out about lifestyle is a matter of asking: "What do you like doing, and do often?" and "Why do you do it?" A lifestyle comprises the praxis of interlocking activities that express a predominant motive.
We shall now present a roster of the commonest lifestyles of the later part of the twentieth century in Sweden, by giving forenames to our behaviors and surnames to our dominant motives. We can have many forenames, but we usually have only one surname. We begin with the surnames.
Old-Breed Subsistence-minded Hansson. The Hanssons are getting by. Many have continued to live as their parents did, in a small country cottage, provincial flat or city apartment They get along in a society that often regards them as on, or a trifle beyond, its periphery. Some "subsisters" have their own small companies-- pot-boilers, as it were: it is doubtful whether these companies will continue after they retire.
Subsisters bear within themselves much of what Carl Jonas Love Almqvist said 150 years ago in his Svenska fattigdomens betydelse ("The Significance of Swedish Poverty"): "Being poor means having to depend on oneself." Many are also unattached. But modern Sweden is very different from the Sweden of Almqvist's day, and "finding strength in poverty" is unusual. Some subsisters are social dropouts, and will get no further than a meager lodging, or a mere temporary kip for the night, their daily bread -- quite often their daily booze too -- and may be a temporary sexual partner. They are living proof that the welfare state is incomplete. Social issues do not interest them much, and they often ignore elections.
New-Breed Subsistence-minded Hassan. The Hassans are also getting by, but in a different way from the Old-Breed Hanssons. Urban environments and inefficiency in the welfare system have created a breeding ground for a new sustenance type. Here we encounter aimless urban youth whose past is characterized by poor education and unemployment and who are accustomed to a chaotic lifestyle. We call them "Chaotics," not because they create chaos -- they sometimes certainly do -- but because they have learned to live with chaos. They are the growing legions of aimless drifters in big cities; the unemployed, the rootless, the homeless. Many have immigrant parents. Lacking a sense of continuity in their view of themselves and the world around them, these lost individuals lead a life that is chaotic, rough, and marked by rising crime rates. Politics in the world of the Chaotics is anarchistic; it also may be a growing ground for fascism (as Adolf Hitler once proved). All subsisters, not only the Chaotics, tend to view the world as hostile and threatening. They are themselves fairly suspicious and have lost part of their belief in the future. They are vaguely drawn toward authoritarianism -- simple rules, law and order.
In the welfare society, both the old-breed and new-breed subsisters' meager incomes are supplemented by allowances. As consumers, they concentrate on their basic needs, but also make sudden impulse purchases. Price is, of course, of supreme importance -- they buy the cheapest of everything.
Security-minded Gustavssons are clearly different from the subsisters. Their life is more active and more secure. Such people strive for security. They live cautiously and tend the security they have succeeded in creating.
They are fairly satisfied with the social-security network that the Swedish welfare state has built up. As voters, they could not conceive of "voting away security,"
Security-minded people are dutiful and loyal; revolution couldn't be further from their minds. "You must" and "You mustn't" are often on their lips. They are, in general, a trifle scared of experiments; as consumers they are, above all, cautious. They pay attention to price, but they are also concerned about guarantees. "Buyer's security" ("köptrygghet," a slogan of the Swedish coop stores) is an idea they approve of.
Group-faithful Tillman wants, before all else, to fit in socially. Belongers or "group-faithfuls" like him dislike deviating from their peers. They are loath to move away from their home districts and anxious to keep their jobs. They become pillars of the organizations to which they belong. The Tillmans and their ilks form the core of the major popular movements, whether it is the temperance or free-church movement, the workers' movement or mass sports. For younger group-faithfuls, it may be the pop group or the gang. The belonging itself is the key to their motivation.
Group-faithfuls are often committed to equality and solidarity. They like reading indignant articles in the evening papers on how despicable the rich are, and they incarnate much of what is known as "Swedish envy".
Politically, group-faithfuls would never vote against their party, even if they disapproved of certain aspects of its policy.
Distrust of other groups' ways of life is sometimes included in group-faithfulness, and the group-faithfuls tend to keep their distance. They often find it difficult to accept immigrants, and they would like to convert dropouts into being more like themselves.
As consumers, they like standard products with well-known trade names.
Status-seeker Eriksson also seeks his identity among others, but in some admired group or idol rather than within his own group. As a youngster, Eriksson switched from one idol to another, and held American prototypes in high esteem. In later years, he often seeks models among those who are higher up on the social ladder. Status-seekers do not always have direct knowledge of the models' actual ideas, habits and tastes, in which case they go by what people or the mass media say about the idols. Status-seekers' purchases are therefore sometimes more extravagant than those of their idols, and their concern with emulating the idols' lifestyles is exaggerated. As emulators, they are highly aware of status and fashion, and fairly materialistic. They are also keen competitors. They may seem a little brusque, because they usually strive to emulate others rather than being themselves.
In politics, status-seekers vote with the class they aspire to enter. They are more interested in political personalities and their careers than in real political issues.
Mover Ullman is an extrovert individualist, an achiever who appreciates success and praise. Ullman is efficient and pushy, but also pushed and stressed by his ambition.
Ullman is self-confident and prepared to take certain risks. He is often appointed to, and willingly takes, leading positions in the company, public authority, sports club or wherever he is active. Movers are interested in innovations -- not only technical, but also organizational and political. Movers usually emphasize productivity, efficiency and economic growth. They are the pillars of industrialism and the market economy. They are conservative in the sense that they work within the framework of the existing system, seeking the rewards it offers.
As consumers, the Ullmans like quality and -- sometimes -- luxury, i.e., products that manifest one's success and achievements.
Self-faithful Sjölin's motto is "I am what I am". People who are faithful to themselves are flamboyant and like experimenting -- but, for the duration of their commitment, their consistency is absolute. As consumers, they tend to buy attention-getting clothes, but they also can create a stir in other ways.
In politics, the Sjölins are drawn to action groups rather than to parties. They want to pursue one issue at a time and to do on a large-scale, committed way.
Experience-seeker Samuelsson wishes to develop his inner self by means of experiences and intensive relationships with other people and/or nature. The Samuelssons want a rich inner life. Emotion and intuition are important words for experience-seekers. They do not scorn such approaches as astrology and Zen Buddhism, they are willing to try meditation -- they are, in short, open to everything that paves the way in the world of the spirit. Experience-seekers therefore are a fairly heterogeneous group. Some of them seek powerful sensations through excitement and adventure (sometimes, this may involve experiments with alcohol and drugs). Experience-seekers (like reformers) are keen on promoting equality between the regions, and often between the sexes too. They care about nature. But they often think national politics is superficial, and would rather be involved in local contexts.
Reformer Söderström is also seeking inner personal development, but his own self is not an end in itself. Reformers are more socially aware, creative and critical than self-faithfuls and experience-seekers: to them, living in a socially responsible way is fundamental. They are convinced of their values, and want to change society to bring it into line with their values, rather than changing themselves to fit better into society. In modern society, their buzz words are often simplicity and the environment.
The reformers' ideal is a high quality of life. They do not get caught up in the rat race: they live their lives at a sedate pace, and that's the way they like it.
As consumers, they are suspicious of advertising and critical of the affluent society In politics, they have emphasized global issues and manned many modern movements -- the anti-Vietnam War movement, environmentalism, women's lib and the peace movement.
We said that a lifestyle is described in terms of two aspects: behavior and motivation. A lifestyle comprises the praxis of interlocking activities that express a predominant motive. We have so far dealt with motives expressed in terms of values. We now go on with the activities. These we will designate by forenames. There are 11 common types in contemporary Sweden.
1. Sven and Sara, the do-it-yourselfers. In pre-industrial times, people were obliged to do a great deal for themselves. However, Sven and Sara have extended their home for pleasure and out of interest. Sven sees no harm in coming home spattered with oil after fixing the car's engine. Sara not only makes clothes but also prints fabrics and is sewing a bedspread. Needless to say, they wallpapered and painted their home themselves. They are typical do-it-yourselfers.
2. Tore and Tyra, the gourmets. This couple like treating themselves to good food, and they are also fairly well off. They have several cookbooks on the shelf. They like reading about and going to restaurants where they know the food is good, and they prefer travelling to France and Italy to eat well than to the Canaries or Britain. Both of them enjoy cooking. Tyra takes her time, and likes making special table arrangements, with candles and attractive tableware. When Tore is in charge, he likes to try something new that sounds tasty. They are not particularly interested in what the labels say about protein or riboflavin content: what matters is that the food should taste good. This is, perhaps, beginning to show in their figures: Tore and Tyra are, after all, gourmets.
3. Health-conscious Gunnar and Greta. Gunnar and Greta are a somewhat different pair. For them, nutritional value is more important than flavor. No non-organic vegetables here -- and preferably no alcohol, apart from Gunnar's odd lager. Smoking is out and so, of course, are all drugs. Greta is with him all the way. They pay particular attention to their health. If Greta gets a cold, she takes vitamin C and Gunnar has to go jogging alone. They are both keen readers of health articles in the daily and weekly press.
4. Keep-fit Åke and Åsa. Åke and Åsa regard the sedentary life of modern times as a curse. They like to spend their holidays cycling or rambling in the fells, and in the winter they go skiing -- not, like Gunnar and Greta, to stay healthy, although that may come into it, but because they find it enjoyable, and think it gives their life a richness they would otherwise lack. Åke and Åsa are not particularly fond of alcohol or cigarettes either, because these impair fitness -- the object of the exercise, as it were. And they think physical exercise makes them stronger mentally, too.
5. Family-minded Björn and Britta. Björns and Britta's main interest in life is elsewhere. As newlyweds, they lived only for each other and their new relatives; since the children came, the family and home have been their great interest. Being together, with each other and the children, is what gives them most satisfaction, but they still attach high value to the company of the older generation. They are very much family people. They discuss things together, they make joint plans, they take care of their home, and they want to spend their holidays together, preferably visiting relatives.
6. Sociable Alexander and Alexandra. Get-togethers are important for Alexander and Alexandra too, but not so much with each other as with other people. They are cheerful souls who like having people around them. They are friendly toward everyone, and popular. Their parties are something of a legend, but they also like sitting and chatting in peace and quiet with one or a few friends. They are highly sociable, kindly people who wish no one any evil; nor do they make any enemies. Quite simply, they like being with people. So does their friend Arne, but he has specialized in half the human race -- the female half. For him, it's not a matter of getting deeply involved, but to woo and win a beautiful woman is the summit of satisfaction, and he devotes a great deal of time to this activity. He often changes the object of his attention: he is something of a Don Juan. Another of Alexander's and Alexandra's many friends is Agneta. She concentrates on men: pleasing them, challenging them and encouraging them. They feel greatly encouraged in her company, and willingly become her lovers, at least briefly. The French would call her a femme fatale.
7. Lennart and Lena, the consumption-minded. Lennart and Lena are not so interested in friends and acquaintances. Rather, they find joy and satisfaction in things they have bought, or services they have paid for. They are what one might call conspicuous consumers. They like shopping. To them, being well dressed is important, and their wardrobes are large. Their home contains gadgets and amenities of many kinds. Their car is not only a means of transport: it signifies more, and gives them comfort and joy.
8. Politically active Harald and Harriet. In the Seventies, Harald let his hair and beard grow freely and abundantly. Harriet wore round steel-rimmed glasses and no make-up. Now they manifest their strong social convictions in other ways. They have participated in demonstrations and lobbying. They like having something to fight for, and think it's important to demonstrate their opinions and try to influence trends. They don't shrink from internal party work, joining committees and serving as chairman. Their associates are mainly like-minded people: politics are their great interests, and ordinary small talk easily bores them. They are interested in radio and tv-programs on social and political issues, and they read select leader-writers and columnists in the daily press.
9. Work-oriented Karl and Kristina. Karl and Kristina live for their jobs. Dedicated work gives them satisfaction and a sense of being useful to others; quite simply, doing a good job is important to them. They feel that they have found the right niche in working life. They both work outside the home, and put work first -- private interests come second. Even when they are on holiday, they find it difficult to banish work from their minds. They are happiest when working hard, since their work is often more interesting than their leisure. They sometimes have difficulty in handing over any part of it to anyone else-- then it won't be really well done -- and they gladly take work home. They can't stand colleagues who watch the clock. Their friend Anton is the same. Anton likes implementing new ideas: he's an entrepreneur, and the enterprising spirit of Småland is his ideal. He admires inventors and energetic types, and has little patience with inefficient people. He is his own boss.
10. Erik and Eva, the nature-lovers. For Erik and Eva, the nature-lovers, exercise and health are not the primary focus of interest, but communion with an experiencing nature. Only there does the true nature-lover feel at home-- in the forest or the mountains, on an island or at sea. For many such people, hunting and fishing are complementary interests, and if DIY appeals to them they often like pottering in the garden and looking after animals.
11. Religious Mattias and Maria. One couple remains to be mentioned: Mattias and Maria. To them, neither work, socializing nor politics is the most important thing in life, but rather their relationship with a superior power. They are spiritually minded and respect the customs and traditions of their religion. Meditation or prayer is part of their lives. They are moderate in all things, and their lives are not directed toward material things. Part of their income goes toward such charitable purposes as a mission or aid to developing countries.
There are other lifestyles too. There are, for example, the aesthetes, who live for art, and the lovers of wisdom, who live as seekers of knowledge. These are important lifestyles, but encompassed by only a few.
Few people have only one forename. The same applies to lifestyles: we are not merely family people or just nature-lovers. We manifest a spectrum of different lifestyles in which one or two are dominant. We may, for example, characterize a person as both sociable and a bit of a gourmet. Using our names, we could call him Tore Alexander.
We can combine our classifications of behavior and motivation. This gives us a complex table, which distinguishes between various kinds of people. Tell me your names, that is, where you are on this table, and I shall tell you whom you are!
One must not let appearances deceive one into thinking that, for example, all joggers are alike. Some run against the clock and count distances. They are "mover-joggers" (Åke Ullman). Others run and see how they feel. They are "seeker-joggers" (Åke Samuelsson). It's no good trying to sell sports shoes to the latter on the strength of achievement or quantitative arguments: they must be convinced that the shoes feel good.
All consumption-minded people (Lennart and Lena) like shopping. The security-minded among them (Lennart and Lena Gustavsson) want buyer's security and cheap goods when they buy. Consumption-minded group-faithfuls (Lennart and Lena Tillman) buy the products and brands that are "in" in the group they belong to; they buy largely what others buy. Consumption-minded status-seekers (Lennart and Lena Eriksson) follow the dictates of fashion and their own idols. Consumption-minded movers (Lennart and Lena Ullman) are consumers who seek quality and luxury. When the self-faithfuls go shopping (Lennart and Lena Sjölin), they tend to buy something flamboyant When an experience-seeker like young Samuelsson buys a motorbike, it is not to outshine his mates or be accepted by the gang, but because he wants his own free, fast wheels, the wind in his hair and the landscape whizzing past: he wants experience. Reformers (Lennart and Lena Söderström) like wearing jeans nearly always, and for them it's enough for the car to go -- it doesn't have to make a snob statement. Reformers and other inner-world people also, of course, devote large sums to consumption. They may, for example, have very expensive hi-fi equipment -- that they do not necessarily place in the living-room for all to see, but in the hobby or rumpus room if the acoustics are better there. To them, the essential thing is to experience the music, not the kind of status the music equipment displays.
Work-oriented people can also vary a great deal among themselves. As subsisters, they work assiduously for security (Karl and Kristina Gustavsson). As group-faithfuls, they are loyal co-workers who gladly don the sweater and overall bearing the employer's name. Karl Tillman would rather say "I work for Volvo" than "I'm a welder," when you ask him what he does. Needless to say, he's in the union. Karl and Kristina Eriksson are career-oriented status-seekers who aim to match the rapid promotion of the high flyers. Karl and Kristina Mossman are already successful movers, sure of themselves and highly ambitious. The self-faithfuls and the experience-seekers (the Sjölins and the Samuelssons) work hard only if they find their work meaningful, and are not always driven by the thought of promotion and a pay rise. The reformers, Karl and Kristina Söderström, would never take a job if they believed the products they were making would be harmful or useless. In general, subsisters and outer-world people (the Gustavssons, the Tillmans, the Erikssons and the Ullmans) seem attracted to jobs in production and trade, where they can work with things, while inner-world people (the Sjölins, the Samuelssons and the Söderströms) are drawn to jobs in the welfare system, where they can work with people in training or the caring professions.
Without much thought being given to the matter or planning it, Sweden has been transformed into a multi-lifestyle society. We have today an exceptional multiplicity of options or choices -- more than any previous generation.
The consequences are obvious: this type of society cannot easily be centrally planned. It better be some kind of market economy. The centrally planned, from-the-top-to-the-bottom, same-for-all welfare state no longer seem appropriate. When the values and lifestyles are far from uniform, why should daycare centers for children be uniform? Why should schools be uniform? Why should health care be uniform? Why should unemployment benefits be uniform? Why should pensions be uniform? Why should old-age care be uniform?
The Swedish welfare state with its uniform cradle-to-grave security has been a fertile ground for lifestyle differentiation. In the process, however, the traditional welfare state with universal and uniform service looses its appeal.
The following three sources in Swedish contain many of the above arguments and descriptions and also different attempts to quantify the various lifestyles and value currents: Hans L. Zetterberg, Arbete, livsstil och motivation, SAF, Stockholm, 1977, pp. 61--130; Hans L. Zetterberg and Greta Frankel, "Livsstilar 1980", Sifo-Safo Skriftserie, no. 1, 1980;. Hans L. Zetterberg et al., Det osynliga kontraktet, 2nd edition, Sifo förlag, Vällingby, 1983, pp. 33--68.