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The Price of Life In Sweden

In a few news reports I have seen, when a company through negligence causes an accident and kills people, they don't seem to have to pay very much for their crimes.

Example 1: A few years ago, a nightclub burned down with kids trapped inside. After several years, they determined that the life of each kid was work about 50,000 Swedish Krona (approximately US$7000 - 8000). In another instance, when Anna Lindh (the former Swedish Prime Minister) died, her estate only managed to receive a very small sum, relative to her age, and her present and potential earning power.

It is in sharp contract to the multi-millions that US families and estates can receive when companies or even private individuals are found to be negligent.

Now whilst I woluldn't call the US legal system an absolute model to be followed, it seems like Sweden is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Going back to the club example, assume that 20 kids died. 20 kids at 50,000 Swedish Krona a piece is still only 1 million Swedish Krona (US$140,000 - US$150,000). Something that their insurance can probably cover, or by simply having a few months of belt tightening can correct.

At the end of the day, it's hard to feel like Sweden has any given any real value to life. I agree that life is not measured in monetary terms, but when you lose a loved one, it's also fair to say that one ought to be compensated appropriately for that loss. What is the person killed was the breadwinner and the survivor a stay-at-home parent? Are they expected to increase their skill level and then re-enter the workforce?

Or maybe I just misunderstand something...

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