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120 Int'l Lab. Rev. 319 (1981)
Collective Wage-Earner Funds in Sweden: A Road to Socialism and the End of Freedom of Association

handle is hein.journals/intlr120 and id is 333 raw text is: International Labour Review, Vol. 120, No. 3, May-June 1981

Collective wage-earner funds in Sweden
A road to socialism
and the end of freedom of association
Hans-G6ran MYRDAL°
The idea of wage-earner funds broke on Sweden in August 1975
with the publication of a report that had been commissioned by the 1971
congress of the Confederation of Swedish Trade Unions (LO). The content
of the report, which was prepared by a working party under the guidance
of Rudolf Meidner, came as a surprise to all except the initiated few.
Nobody had expected a proposal for an entirely new social system.
To some extent the report itself played down this aspect, presenting its
arguments in terms of the unions' solidaristic pay policy, redistribution
of wealth, greater wage-earner influence and so on. In contrast, the
President of the LO, Gunnar Nilsson, declared roundly that the proposals
aimed at the abolition of capitalism and private ownership. The labour
movement had rejected the state socialist model and was searching for a
specifically Swedish form of socialism such as that proposed in the report.
The LO was willing to shoulder the new responsibilities involved, he said.
The origins of the Meidner proposals were not in fact especially
Swedish. What differentiated them from similar proposals which had been
put forward under various names in other West European countries was
that they were throughout more radical, unambiguous and-some would
The purpose of this article is not to describe and compare the
proposals for wage-earner funds that have been made in various countries.
Instead I shall analyse the likely consequences if a system of the more
extreme type were to be fully implemented. What would the resulting
economic system be like? What would be the effect on labour relations?
What sort of society would emerge?
The system suggested for Sweden in the Meidner report is eminently
suitable for this purpose. Not only is it the most forthright and uncompro-
mising proposal for a fund system but also the one that has attracted most
* Swedish Employers' Confederation (SAF).

Copyright © international Labour Organisation 1981

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