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For the Swedish track and field athlete, see Gustav Möller (athlete); for the American painter, see Gustave Moeller.
Gustav Möller
Gustav Möller

Gustav Möller (born 1884 in Malmö, Scania - dead 1970 in Bromma, Stockholm) was a prominent Swedish Social democratic politician, MP 1918-1954 and member of the Government 1924-26. 1932-36 and 1936-51.

Life and career

Gustav Möller was born in an extremely poor family, but was discovered by his employer and given an education as an office accountant; however he used it in the service of the labour movement, initially as a leader of its publishing house.

Minister of Social Affairs 1936-38 and 1939-51 he is credited as the creator of the Swedish social security system and the Welfare state called Folkhemmet.

There were two specifics about Möller's welfare policy, coloured by his experiences in childhood:

1. There should be no stigmatization of the poor, no sorting out of those in need. Rich families as well as poor should have their children's allowance, old age pension and free medical treatment.

2. There should be as little bureaucratic paternalism and arbitrariness as possible. Preferably, the welfare assignments should be administered by the recipients themselves, as when unemployment allowances were administered by the trade unions. And allowances should always be cash.

Although a defender of high taxing (and losing the election to the leadership of his party after Per Albin Hansson because of this), he was also a strict master, credited with the quote "Each penny taxed which is not spent properly is theft from the tax-payers".

Möller considered the welfare state a temporary stopgap rather than a goal in itself. A radical Socialist, he resigned from government in 1951 rather than following his party into post-war compromises with private business.

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