New Totalitarians by Roland Huntford

By Roland Huntford

This ebook is a caution. it's a terrifying portrait of an "ideal" society that has destroyed democracy within the identify of "progress." Roland Huntford demonstrates through truth after surprising truth how an it appears democratic, wealthy, peaceable utopia is completely managed by way of a forms which actively discourages all indicators of individuality.

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This is as true of the figure of St Erik in the twelfth, as of King Charles XII in the eighteenth century; or in the nineteenth century Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite and founded the most famous of literary prizes. They had singularly undeveloped characters, and their chroniclers did not help. It is in a long tradition when today a Swedish educational official can say that, 'We are not interested in a man's personality, only in his actions'. The Renaissance in its completed form had within it the seeds of conflict, almost by definition.

The trade unions, even if their leaders spoke with the tongue of intransigence and class warfare on ceremonial occasions, saw the futility of strikes. Impelled by the tradition of loyalty and understanding nurtured in the bruks, they sought to negotiate with the employers. And the employers, heirs to the same tradition, shrank in their turn from sustained confrontation. Devotion to corporate thought had ensured the early birth of collective bargaining. The first Swedish wage agreement was negotiated in 1869, between Stockholm masons and builders, acting as two groups.

When the lean years arrive, the money may be withdrawn for investment and expansion. The government decides when this is to happen, and what schemes are to be financed. Then, the Labour Market Directorate, the official body supervising questions of employment, has contingency plans for road building and other public works which are started when a recession appears. Furthermore, the Directorate has a device to mop up surplus labour when the country goes through a bad patch. This is a scheme for vocational retraining, partly financed by an industrial levy, and always in readiness.

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