Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 118: Between Warfare and Welfare - scientific credence in the Swedish agricultural policies 1940-1970

Hans Jörgensen ()
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Hans Jörgensen: Umeå University

Abstract: Previous studies of Post-War Sweden’s agricultural development have e.g. focused on the effects of structural change, agricultural price policies, or the peculiarities of the regulative environment. While these studies have been most valuable here, this study cannot provide any such in-dept account. This paper will instead explain how the Swedish agricultural policy — in the light of the Cold War’s specific environment up to the mid 1970s — can be related to the concepts of warfare and welfare. Even though Sweden was not a belligerent country, the adaptation and reconstruction policies necessitated profound state actions. Both the objectives of maintaining a high level of national preparedness in case of a war or crisis and the focus on scientific and technological renewal relate to warfare. With regards to the post-war welfare development in most parts of the Western world, welfare was also to a high degree linked with experiences from the depression and World War II. In Swedish agriculture the ambition was to achieve income parity between farmers and industry workers. Thus, in the context of the Post-War period’s scientific and expert technological development, the regulations and planning ambitions can be seen as means for applying rationality and efficiency in a time when state intervention was regarded as social engineering.

Keywords: Agricultural policy; scientific credence

JEL-codes: N00

25 pages, April 2, 2008

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