I would just like to say that I am basing this article on the fact that Sweden has a reasonably good welfare system. But just what consequences does that have…? Can there be disadvantages with a system like this?
There are plenty of good things that come from having a country with good welfare, which I’m sure people have written a lot about.
In a lot of countries there is a strong “community feeling” where people do a lot of volunteer work in schools, for individual families, a lot of good deeds by churches or other religious groups. A huge amount of work is done by individuals, parents making school lunches, baking for sports/school events et.c All in all adults do a lot for their society to work.
What does this show their children? I think it sends the message that “we take responsibility for seeing things through, finishing our projects” and “we help each other, through the bad times and share the good ones”. From a very young age, children in these countries take part in after-school activities and clubs, join the student council, or prep groups for the yearly school festival. There is no teacher standing over these kids, forcing them to do anything. It is volunteering.
Well, in Sweden of course there are parents who buy/bake cookies or sandwiches for their kids football team and people do donate a lot of money to charities, but in general I have never thought of Sweden or experienced Sweden as a country where a lot of volunteer work is done. We do not have after-school clubs, and all activities at school are led by teachers (and often when the teachers are not there there is total chaos).
I think the reason is that in Sweden we have such a well-functioning welfare system that we have rarely have to volunteer for any causes and that for a very long time it has just not been a central part of the Swedish culture. We have reached a point where we take for granted, expect, our welfare system to do things for us, and maybe rightly so since we pay such high taxes. But we are then unable to solve problems, not having experience taking problems into our own hands.
We have created a society that enables everybody to live very individualistically, without really having to depend on your community, without having to ask for help and have the opportunity to help others. Volunteering gives such a great feeling and I’m afraid many Swedes are missing out on that feeling.