electricity networks, Swedish government, austerity measures, civil service employment, national budget
Sweden has an urban industrialized economy based primarily on extensive forests, rich iron-ore deposits, and abundant waterpower resources. Although more than 90 percent of Swedish industry is privately owned, the government exercises substantial control over the economy to moderate economic fluctuations. The national budget in 1999 included revenues of $95.6 billion and expenditures of $95.4 billion. Although Sweden enjoys one of the world’s highest standards of living, the country has experienced a serious recession since 1991. The Swedish government has responded with austerity measures and a reassessment of its traditional commitment to full employment and the welfare state. Steps taken include a 10 percent reduction in civil service employment, cuts in social-welfare programs, and partial privatization of the state sector, including the telecommunications and electricity networks. In early 1991 the tax system was reformed, with income-tax reductions for all but the most highly paid, and an increase in taxes on goods and services. By the mid-1990s, both the budget deficit and unemployment increased again. More tax increases and cuts in government spending were implemented to reduce the deficit.
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