Bad news for Sweden as the social model slowly unravels…

One of the big challenges for all the Scandinavian countries (or at least those without oil reserves to fall back on) has been how to cope with waves of immigration. It’s particularly challenging for what has been remarkable homogenous societies like Sweden. Now it seems a politically unwatched pot is boiling over. Really, not good.

After decades of practising the Swedish model of generous welfare benefits, Stockholm has reduced the role of the state since the 1990s, spurring the fastest growth in inequality of any advanced OECD economy.

While average living standards are still among the highest in Europe, successive governments have failed to substantially reduce long-term youth unemployment and poverty, which have affected immigrant communities worst.

Around 15% of the population is foreign-born, and unemployment among these stands at 16%, compared with 6% for native Swedes, according to OECD data.

Youth unemployment in Husby, at 6%, is twice the overall average across the capital.

The left-leaning tabloid Aftonbladet said the riots represented a “gigantic failure” of government policies, which had underpinned the rise of ghettos in the suburbs.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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