The medieval assembly is known as Diet, a diet is made up of 4 estates: nobles, clergy, burgesses and peasants. However, the nobility hold the power in the diet, they were able to rule, govern offices and the higher ranks of the civil services were reserved only for them. The corruption continues as the nobles were selected by the king despite its aim was to have separation of power. Estate of burgesses required members to join guilds for professions (similar to the councils we have nowadays), while it was oppressive, agrarians emerged in 1865 after its abolishment. The guild were called “bruk” (meaning forges), indentured servants were used to stimulate low cost while nepotism with the law makers were used to provide welfare for themselves (as tribes with chieftain) Strip farming was a special system used (as most communists have done so), it involves the farmer instead of working a continues holding, had his land distributed over a maze of disconnected narrow strips. Thus under such condition, farming was inefficient and famine were commons.
As Sweden became modernized, the totalitarianist method changed. Different to USSR, instead of using despotic rule, Swedes used constitution to continue its socialization via indoctrination. The instance was when Ernst Wigforss, minister of finance from social democrats used Keynesian expansionist ideas to expand the state control. Fecundity was first established in Sweden based on Crisis in Population by Gunnar Myrdal and Alva Myrdal of the Nazi ideology. The expansion continued when private benevolent fund existed in unions were taken over the by the state in the 50s by transference. Credits were rigorously controlled by the central authorities, taxation was designed that companies find it increasingly difficult to finance themselves and as a result, investment and expansion depended on state loans. The government had the absolute power to decide what to impose and how to impose the direction of each company as they see fit. For instance, Volvo, a motor car manufacturer expanded their plant in 1970 but the only way they were able to do so was to transfer some means of production to Umea in Northern Sweden, 800 miles from their headquarters in Gothenburg. It was economically detrimental due the inability for supervision and insight into company affairs but it was the only way under the fascist economic control. In 1971, all the major banks in Sweden had government directors on their boards, then shipyards were targeted next followed by all other major institutions. Such control seemed harmless but it was a way to exert control through spying. In a sense, you could say Sweden was stuck in merchantilism in the 20th century when the Latin and Anglo-Saxon countries have moved on.
Even the socialist functions and groups were under its attack (very similar to Mussolini or Hitler’s New Left). In 1969, a high official of the Employers’ Confederation was told by a Landsorganisationen (Central organisation of Worker’s Union) acquaintance that certain firm was paying its employees more than the central agreement prescribed thus they had to be shut down because they were introducing competition! Child Welfare authorities have been in contact with every citizen at some point or another. By law, every birth must first be reported to local child welfare centre, then a representative would visit the home to assess conditions and report findings to the doctors at the child welfare centre. People were scared to resist entry (into their private property) because that would have arouse suspicions of maltreatment; all citizens were to report to the child welfare centre if there were “suspicions” of maltreatment (undefined by the law), essentially it was a witch hunt as the accusation were always anonymous without the supplement of any proof. In 1970, 2500 were removed from their home, that is 1/3000 child were removed!
The sin in 1984 was to think, the sin in Brave New World was to be different. Debates in the assembly is generally in agreement and the principles of issues were rarely discussed, rather, oppositions appeared to have accepted the principle but was focusing on different realization. Even the conservative party was restrained by the Employers’ Confederation from attacking fiscal policies due to parliamentary aggression would jeopardize its influence. The law and courts were incredibly collective. In 1968, a young man accused of a crime was dissatisfied with the legal aid and desired to get another, but the judge declared “young man, if you persist in your demand, do you know what will happen? It’s not an easy matter to change lawyers in the middle of the case. I’ll have to adjourn the court and you’ll have to wait a few days, then the new lawyer will have to spend time reading up the case. Have you thought about what that’s going to cost society? It’ll be a lot of money.” Unsurprisingly, the young man retracted his demand because the indoctrination of the collective over the individual (we will discuss the indoctrination in the next blog).
Acquittal was rare in Sweden because it undermines the police, judge and laws. Almost all trials took the form of a plea of guilt for leniency. Police were able to conduct their own examination without even have a proper trial. A man could be held in custody for months while the police prepare their case. The only time they would bring an accused to the court is when they have infallible evidence that the accused will be convicted. In another case, a man named Hoglund in 1970 was accused of murdering his wife. Police made a mistake and the evidence was shaky and unconvincing. The public prosecutor was reduced to bullying the accused (whereas in Western countries Hoglund would have been acquitted). What happened however was that the prosecution abruptly stopped the trial. The national police chief was interviewed the newspapers and he said “If the case had carried on, it would have an unfortunate result and we would have lost the confidence of the public. Our work would have been handicapped. We depend on cooperation for our effectiveness and our system works on confessions… I don’t know what we’d do if our prisoners started defending themselves and refusing to cooperate under interrogation. And one case like this would be enough to destroy our reputation. But I think we managed to stop the case before it could do us any lasting damage.”
Swedish Judiciary works in public as a registry of guilt, it stands or falls by the absence of the concept of acquittal. In one more case, the public prosecutor of Gothenburg once castigated a certain lawyer for using the loop hole to export foreign currency. He did not deny the law was badly drafted but he accused the man for daring to take advantage of the loophole! In the newspaper interview he said “He has broken the spirit of the law, he is a traitor to his country. The duty of a good citizen is to follow the general intentions of the legislators and not to get around the law by playing tricks with the details.”
If you didn’t think Sweden was corrupt, you really should think so now.
*Above post is a summary of The New Totalitarians by Roland Huntford (1971), you can find the book here: http://eindtijdinbeeld.nl/EiB-Bibliotheek/Boeken/The_New_Totalitarians__Brave_New_Sweden___1980_.pdf