With Sweden’s refusal to shut-down due to Coronavirus, economists are wondering if Sweden’s controversial decision to remain open will give the country a major advantage.
There’s no doubt. All eyes are on Sweden.
With nearly every major country suffering from self- induced “economic comas” to save lives from the vicious COVID-19 killer, Sweden has shocked the global community by leaving its stores, restaurants, schools, gyms and bars open throughout the spread of this deadly virus.
Instead of mandating all non-essential businesses to shut down, the Swedish government has allowed its citizens to live on the “honor code” and practice reasonable precautions while business remains usual.
So why is everyone so interested in what Sweden is doing?
Because if Sweden’s Coronavirus death toll isn’t drastically more than countries of similar density and population, many world leaders — and more importantly, citizens — will wonder if social distancing ever mattered at all.
According to a recent Bloomberg news article, Sweden reported 1,540 deaths tied to COVID-19 as of April 19, 2020. That’s considerably more than in the rest of Scandinavia, but much less than other countries such as Spain, Italy, England, and of course, the United States.
Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven
At first, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was not entirely convinced his decision to remain open was the right one. But as small business owners around the world permanently close their doors, Lofven’s policy has become very popular among his constituents.
“While Sweden’s unwillingness to lock down the country could ultimately prove to be ill-judged, for now, if the infection curve flattens out soon, the economy could be better placed to rebound,” he said.
Sweden may have been set up better than most countries to withstand such a pandemic. For example, many Swedes take a preventative approach to health given their universal health coverage through mandated insurance, and are generally healthier than many other populations as a result.
In addition, a large percentage of the Swedish workforce was already telecommuting from home, and is the reason why Sweden has an outstanding technology infrastructure to support this emerging trend.
But what’s really interesting is that by not suffering the severe economic ills that are all but guaranteed to plague every other nation, Sweden may be in the unique position of leapfrogging other countries in the global economy.
How much of an advantage Sweden will have is what economists will be watching closely.
But if Sweden suffers massive death tolls, and the population turns against Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as a result, any economic advantage — no matter how significant — will quickly dissipate and be nothing more than a footnote in the history books.
Therefore, only time will tell if Sweden’s controversial decision to let Darwinism take its course and rely on “herd immunity” to protect the majority of its people, will be the right choice for the country.
And finally, with anti-shutdown protests popping up all over the United States, Sweden is definitely the country to watch as the Coronavirus claims national, state and local economies as some of its most notable victims.
Article written by Jett James Pruitt
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