Economy and Industry

 

Sweden has a high-tech economy, export-oriented and one of the most competitive in the world. Out of the basic industry, grounded on natural resources like forest and mining industry, there have in the course of the 20th century developed robust processing industries which were successfully introducing Swedish innovations. Towards the end of the century the Swedish information technology developed, which was followed by a large growth of the service sector. The latter has today a two thirds’ share of the GDP of Sweden.

 

Up to the second half of the nineteenth century, a large majority of the Swedes lived in an impoverished peasant community. With the industrialization and an open commercial climate there came a rapid growth of export, job positions, public welfare and the education level of the population. Following the record decades in the shadow of the Second World War, Sweden developed the so called ‘’Swedish social model’’ with goals of full employment, a high living standard in combination with a rapid growth of the GDP and a reduction of differences between earnings. The service sector, which was supposed to protect this general welfare, has at the expense of the taxpayers’ money grown out of proportions, so that the inhabitants of Sweden are presently among the most heavily taxed in the world.

 

In the seventies the economic growth began to slow down, also due to the rapid rise in work and energy expenses. There was a decrease in job positions, while the public sector continued to grow. Two decades later Sweden experienced a period of crisis with a substantial fall of the GDP and a mass indebtedness, a high inflation and a devaluation of the Swedish crown. Following long decades of social-democratic government the new bourgeois government could now begin a privatization of public institutions and state companies, it implemented a strict savings plan with a goal of a balanced state budget.

The restoration of the budget led to lower interest rates, higher real income and a lowering of inflation. The economy experienced a new growth, mostly due to a rapid development of technological companies in the field of information and communication technology. After a number of years many over-estimated companies in these lines of business lost vitality or went bankrupt, without a major impact on the economy on the whole. The companies which survived the crisis, grew stronger, some of them establishing themselves on the global market. The company Ericsson is one of the largest manufacturers of telecommunication systems in the world with a 40% world market share. Skype and Spotify have developed innovative ways of global communication and music transmission. The economy continued to grow and strengthen itself, as the government announced a lowering of taxes and a tightening of measures for different social transfers, while it continued to sell state companies and privatize public institutions.

 

The processing industry continues to be a firm pillar of the Swedish economy. Some of the large companies in the automobile industry have for some time been faced with problems and have during the financial crisis experienced many challenges. Volvo, which sold the production of its private vehicles first to the American company Ford, was in 2010 bought by the Chinese automobile industry Geely. Scania, which manufactures freight vehicles, was sold to the German Volkswagen, whereas SAAB with its factory in Trollhättan went bankrupt. Other large global Swedish companies are Electrolux, SKF in Atlas Copco. The Swedish company Asea and the Swiss company Brown Bover (ABB) have for decades been owned by people and institutions from both countries. World renowned are also Swedish companies in the chemical and medical industry. Astra and Pharmacia, which produce medications, have for quite some time been owned by the British company Zeneca and the American company Pfizer, and the globally recognized producer of gases AGA by the German Linde Group.

 

Forests and its products have a great importance for the Swedish economy. The industry of cellulose, paper and other wood products, which is presently co-owned by other Skandinavian producers, is among the leading ones in Europe.

 

The world financial crisis, which surfaced in 2008, had inded a short-term effect on the Swedish economy, but the state managed to succesfully intervene with the adequate financial instruments. A powerful tool was a strict savings policy and the managing of the budgetary surplus, which was in force ever since the 90s. However, the crisis in the European countries has lately managed to slow down the economic growth also in Sweden.

 

Gospodarstvo in industrija

 

Švedska ima visokotehnološko gospodarstvo, usmerjeno v izvoz in je med najkonkurenčnejšimi na svetu. Iz bazične industrije temelječe na naravnih virih, kot so gozd in rudarstvo, so se v teku dvajsetega stoletja razvile robustne predelovalne industrije, ki so uspešno uvajale švedske inovacije. Proti koncu stoletja se je razvila informacijska tehnologija, kateri je sledila velika rast storitvenega sektorja. Le ta ima danes dve tretjinski delež v bruto domačem produktu (BDP) Švedske.

 

Še v drugi polovici devetnajstega stoletja je velika večina Švedov živela v obubožani kmečki skupnosti. Z industrializacijo in odprto trgovsko klimo je hitro rastel izvoz, delovna mesta, blaginja in izobrazba prebivalstva. Po rekordnih desetletjih v senci druge svetovne vojne je Švedska razvila t.i. »švedski družbeni model« s cilji kot so polna zaposlitev, visok življenjski standard v kombinaciji z hitro rastjo BDP in zmanjšanje razlik v dohodkih. Javni sektor, ki naj bi ščitil to splošno blaginjo, se je na račun davkoplačevalskega denarja močno razbohotil, tako da so švedski prebivalci postali eni od najbolj obdavčenih na svetu.

 

V sedemdesetih letih tega stoletja se je gospodarska rast upočasnila, tudi zaradi hitrega višanja stroškov dela in energije. Delovna mesta so izginjala, javni sektor pa je še naprej rastel. Švedska je dve desetletji kasneje doživljala kritične čase z velikim padcem BDP in z množičnim zadolževanjem, visoko inflacijo in devalvacijo švedske krone. Po dolgih desetletjih socialdemokratskega vladanja je sedaj nova meščanska vlada lahko začela s privatizacijo javnih ustanov in državnih podjetij, uveljavila je strogo varčevanje s ciljem uravnovešenega državnega proračuna.

Sanacija proračuna je vodila v nižje obrestne mere, višje realne dohodke in nizko inflacijo. Ekonomija je spet rastla. K temu je prispeval hiter razvoj tehnoloških podjetij na področju informacijske in komunikacijske tehnologije. Mnoga precenjena podjetja v teh branžah so le nekaj let kasneje opešala ali pa bankrotirala brez večjega vpliva na celotno gospodarstvo. Podjetja, ki so preživela to krizo, so se okrepila, nekatera so se uveljavila v globalnem svetu. Podjetje Ericsson je eden največjih svetovnih proizvajalcev telekomunikacijskih sistemov s 40 % svetovnim tržnim deležem. Skype in Spotify sta razvila inovativne načine globalnega komuniciranja in posredovanja glasbe. Gospodarstvo je še naprej rastlo in se še okrepilo, ko je vlada najavila nižje davke in ostrejše ukrepe pri različnih socialnih transferjih, ko je nadaljevala s prodajo državnih podjetij in privatizacijo javnih ustanov.

 

Predelovalna industrija je še vedno močan steber švedskega gospodarstva. Nekatera velika podjetja v avtomobilski industriji imajo že nekaj časa težave in so bila v času finančne krize zelo izpostavljena. Volvo, ki je proizvodnjo osebnih avtomobilov prodal najprej ameriškemu Fordu, je leta 2010 pristal v rokah kitajske avtomobilske industrije Geely. Scania, ki izdeluje tovorna vozila, je bila prodana nemškemu Volkswagnu, SAAB pa je s svojo tovarno v Trollhättanu bankrotiral.

 

Druga velika globalna švedska podjetja so Electrolux, SKF in Atlas Copco. Švedska Asea in švicarska Brown Boveri (ABB) sta že desetletja združena v lastništvu ljudi in inštitucij iz obeh držav.

 

Svetovna imena so med drugimi tudi podjetja v kemični in medicinski industriji. Astra in Pharmacija, ki proizvajata zdravila, sta že dalj časa v lasti britanske družbe Zeneca in ameriškega Pfizerja, svetovno priznani proizvajalec plinov AGA pa nemške Linde Group.

 

Za švedsko gospodarstvo ima velik pomen gozd in izdelki, ki izhajajo iz tega naravnega bogastva. Industrija celuloze, papirja in drugih izdelkov iz lesa je med vodilnimi v Evropi, danes v solastniški navezi z drugimi skandinavskimi proizvajalci.

Svetovna finančna kriza, ki je nastopila leta 2008, je sicer kratkoročno prizadela tudi švedsko gospodarstvo, vendar je država s pravimi finančnimi inštrumenti uspešno posredovala. Močno orodje je bila politika ostrega varčevanja in proračunskih presežkov ki je veljala že od devetdesetih let naprej. Kriza v evropskih državah pa je rast švedskega gospodarstva v zadnjem času spet nekoliko upočasnila.