The Swedish Welfare State Leads to Poor Immigrant Assimilation, by José Niño

They’re finally figuring it out in Sweden: open borders and open-handed welfare states are not compatible. Many migrants come not for the opportunities but for the handouts, especially in nations as generous as Sweden. From José Niño at mises.org:

Are cracks emerging in the Swedish welfare state?

Leftist experts routinely praise the country for its generous welfare state, and cast shame on countries in the Anglo sphere, such as the United States, for not adopting Nordic style welfare systems.

Although Scandinavian countries feature sizeable welfare states, they are far from socialist. However, the presence of welfare mechanisms in an economy can still be problematic.

At the moment, Sweden is experiencing trouble in assimilating its immigrant population. Recent reports reveal a rising number of violent crimes in immigrant suburbs. Although Sweden’s overall crime rates are low, the country is experiencing increasing levels of gang violence and shootings, and the emergence of immigrant ghettoes.

This is not exclusive to Sweden, as other European countries like France, have had numerous issues with immigrant assimilation. Such troubles from new arrivals has spurred a populist uprising across Europe, with Sweden joining in the mix. In Sweden, the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party, has gained steam campaigning on immigration.

The topic of immigration is nuanced, and both sides of the debate (closed vs. open borders) raise valid concerns. But there might be something more to this immigration assimilation conundrum than meets the eye.

Sweden Is not so Exceptional

Sweden’s vaunted welfare state could be the very culprit behind the recent wave of immigrant unrest. Since the publication of Nina Sanandaji’s Scandinavian Unexceptionalism, a growing number of intellectuals have started to remove the magical aura of the Scandinavian welfare model.

Scandinavian Unexceptionalism sheds light, however, on one overlooked development — immigration and assimilation. Sanandaji argues that the welfare state has impaired immigrants’ when it comes to integrating into, and contributing to, the Swedish economy.

Providing a balanced approach to the topic, Sanandaji offers a positive portrayal of immigration trends in the mid-twentieth century, highlighting how “the rate of employment for foreign-born residents was 20 per cent higher than that for the average citizen” in 1950s.

To continue reading: The Swedish Welfare State Leads to Poor Immigrant Assimilation

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