Those lovely honest Swedes September 25, 2009 13:30

Generalisations about nations and it’s peoples are dangerous things that sew the seeds of xenophobia, that said however, the psyche of a nation is a fascinating thing and as a person living in a country not of my birth, it’s important to have an understanding of it’s peoples. This particular set of general observances is mostly positive so I don’t feel like too much of a ratbag for speaking about them.
An aspect which fascinates me greatly is the fundamental honesty of the Swedish populace. Now, I’m not naive, I know there are crooks and con artists everywhere, but as a general rule, the Swedes are unbelievably honest. The whole system in Sweden is set up to encourage honesty and discourage deception. For example; selling your house in England has the ‘buyer beware’ onus on the buyer to carry out a survey and discover any problems before the sale goes through and must cope with whatever is subsequently discovered afterwards. In Sweden, the previous owner is responsible for up to 10 years after the property is sold so that any problems subsequently discovered and not declared by the sellers survey remain the old sellers responsibility. Therefore, there is no incentive to lie, brush over any flaws or problems with the house.
The Swedish government is very interconnected and what you tell one department better be the same as you tell another or you’ll probably be caught out. This discourages benefit fraud and abuses of the system and again, encourages honesty.

I’m not pointing these things out as a back handed way of shaming the UK. There are many ways in which the UK has superior systems and aspects, like the national health system (really, you guys don’t know how lucky you are!) and also the support and benefits for small business’s in the UK is excellent and actively encourages entrepreneurs. Not so in Sweden. Having your own business here is an excercise in frustration on a daily basis.
But the point of this blog is not to list all the pros and cons of each country. It is merely to highlight and celebrate a wonderful aspect of the Swedish folk. It is a balm to my somewhat jaded heart.

Of course, one must ask the big question… are the people honest because there are so many rules to keep things that way or are the rules and systems merely a reflection of the natural way people think here…?