"Tax-and-spend did not work: Sweden fell from being the fourth-richest country in the world in 1970 to the 14th in 1993.
Since then the Nordics have changed course—mainly to the right. Government’s share of GDP in Sweden, which has dropped by around 18 percentage points, is lower than France’s and could soon be lower than Britain’s. Taxes have been cut: the corporate rate is 22%. (...) Sweden has reformed its pension system. Its budget deficit is 0.3% of GDP.
On public services the Nordics have been similarly pragmatic. So long as public services work, they do not mind who provides them. Denmark and Norway allow private firms to run public hospitals. Sweden has a universal system of school vouchers, with private for-profit schools competing with public schools. (...)
They are stout free-traders who resist the temptation to intervene even to protect iconic companies (...)
Their levels of taxation still encourage entrepreneurs to move abroad: London is full of clever young Swedes. Too many people—especially immigrants—live off benefits."
Source : http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21571136-politicians-both-right-and-left-could-learn-nordic-countries-next-supermodel