According to the World Economic Forum’s 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Index, Sweden is the third most competitive nation in the world.
Sweden has not been involved in a war since 1814, and has officially practiced neutrality since World War I. Sweden pursues a policy of nonalignment in peacetime and neutrality during war.
Sweden is projected to run a budget surplus in 2011 and 2012. The U.S. is projected to run budget deficits of over $1 trillion in both years. Sweden’s government debt is projected at 31% of GDP in 2011 and 30% in 2012. U.S. gross federal debt as a percentage of GDP is likely to exceed 95% this year.
Sweden has a corporate tax rate of only 26.3%–a full 8.7 percentage points below the U.S. federal rate.
Sweden is the most innovative country in Europe. Sweden topped the most recent European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) index, beating Europe’s other advanced technological powerhouses Finland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The EIS index is based on factors like structural conditions, research funding, production of new products and services and the number of innovative companies. Sweden’s many high-tech multinational firms like Ericsson, ABB, AstraZeneca, Saab, Scania and Volvo led the way.
Sweden’s has 3rd highest percentage of households with broadband access in the world and the highest rate of 3G broadband coverage in the world.
Sweden has built strong national brand recognition, ranking 10th in the world in the Nation Brands Index 2010. Two Swedish brands, H&M and IKEA, rank in the top thirty brands in the world on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2011. Sweden is also home to three Fortune Global 500 companies, Volvo, L.M. Ericsson, and Vattenfall.
Sweden is a forest products powerhouse. In 2008 (the most recent data available), Sweden was the world’s second largest producer of pulp, paper and sawn timber. Sweden exported 85% of its pulp and paper production, and 70% of its sawn timber production. Even though Sweden contains only 1% of the world’s forest, the country produces 13% of the world’s sawn timber exports. Forest covers 58% of Sweden’s territory, and provides about 90% of Sweden’s bioenergy. Sweden’s Commission on Oil Independence predicts the country will more than double the amount of electricity it generates from bioenergy by 2050.