Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1971

Abstract

Ever since the publication of Marquis Childs' The Middle Way, Americans of liberal persuasion have tended to point to Sweden as a model, a nation which simultaneously has achieved rapid economic growth, eliminated poverty, and maintained individual and political freedom. Swedish cities, and especially Stockholm, are reputed to be among the best planned in the world. Yet, for all the admiration that has been expressed, there has been surprisingly little investigation by Americans of the legal and governmental framework within which the Swedes have accomplished so much. The modest aim of this paper is to report the major outlines of Swedish law relating to local government and, at least in a preliminary way, the means by which Sweden has attempted to strengthen its local governments and to accommodate national and local objectives. In Sweden, as in other modern nations, the centralizing tendencies of an industrial society have enhanced the power of the national government vis-A-vis local government. Nevertheless, the tradition of strong local government is a long one and local governments continue to play an important role, sharing with the national government responsibility for many of the programs which bear most directly upon the lives of their residents. The study of local government, accordingly, may significantly contribute to an understanding of the Swedish governmental system and the means by which Sweden has attempted to meet the needs of its citizens.


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