A Non Love Letter to System Bolaget (The Swedish Alcohol Monopoly)

thanks to mindrepanda.com for this image.

Dear System Bolaget,

Your whole ‘system’ is a joke.  The guise of being a responsible seller without profit motive is just an attempt to gain moral authority and powertrip.  After more than 100 years of being abolished and the far majority of the OECD countries eliminating an alcohol monopoly (except for Canada, Norway, Finland and Iceland), you still see the need to control people to help make “better decisions.”  The excuse for not having an alcohol monopoly?  These far fetched facts conducted by left wing researches from unknown institutes in the United States and elsewhere. If the alcohol monopoly was eliminated, supposedly this would happen…

In approximate numbers it would entail:

  • And an increase of 16 millions days of sick leave.
  • An increase of 1,600 deaths per year.
  • An increase of 14,000 in reported cases of physical abuse.

After working in Sweden for sometime now, I know that there are plenty of Fridays where people stay at home and “work.” Because instead of taking the sick day, it can be easier to take a work from home day. I wonder if you, System Bolaget, recognize all those “work from home” days as time wasted as well.

And what about the restrictions? So by telling me, an adult, what I can buy, where I can buy, when I can buy, that makes a more responsible drinker? I don’t feel more responsible, in fact, I feel the opposite: that the Swedish government has taken control of what I can and cannot do when it comes to alcohol. Although I guess it’s okay that grown adults are treated like little children while given the right to a “healthy drinking culture.” Wow! I feel special, I can participate in a healthy drinking culture because the government controls it.

But what about free market? And monopolies? And asymmetric information? Everyone who studied economics knows that monopolies, no matter what industry, is bad for free market. Of course, since System Bolaget is here to protect us, having a monopoly is okay. Controlling information is okay. What information you ask? Pricing, profits, research studies: it’s ALL done by bolaget, there’s no third party to get the information from.

Why yes, who wouldn’t trust an authoritative, controlling body that decides what alcohol to buy, how to sell the alcohol, where to sell the alcohol, what hours to sell the alcohol, what information to be released regarding the research studies it undertakes, what financial information to disclose to the public, and most importantly, WHY it is the authority. Sounds like a church to me, specifically the churches that claim all rights and authority over its citizens because it’s doing it for their safety and security. And being not so religious, I am weary of church propaganda.

I am lucky to have not lived in Sweden all my life and be tied to a controlling store where I can:

…enjoy Systembolaget’s drinks without harming either ourselves or other people. (source)

Really, if I drink the magic potions from Systembolaget, I won’t harm other people? Wow, an even better miracle!

Thanks you Swedish alcohol monopoly, you managed to seduce me and strip my rights away while on your power trip. I am so proud to live in a free country.

PS- I’m tired of seeing those stupid blue or purple bolaget bags. You couldn’t get any more conspicuous than that.

9 thoughts on “A Non Love Letter to System Bolaget (The Swedish Alcohol Monopoly)”

  1. Here in Canada, one of the countries you had mentioned, yes we have the Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions. Here in Canada as for what we can buy, you buy what you want selection is good and where you buy it well there are plenty of stores and its no big deal to go where its sold. So I am not so upset with the system here that has a simular statment on what they are trying to accomplish. I can however understand your distain for the when you can buy because i had looked up the hours and it was 4 hours a day shorter then what Canadian stores are open and 10 hours shorter on saturday and not open sunday. So I can understand the frustration there and I suppose it has to be one of those things that you have to plan ahead for, last minute is going to mean a mad dash.

  2. uhm . … a hot topic dear. Here in Italy we do not have this kind of regularization. To be more precise, I have to say that only recently a law regarding the alcohol consume has been issued.
    The centric idea is to stop selling strong liquor (high proof spirits) after a given hour.
    We don’t have any restriction regarding where to buy alcohol, what to sell and age needed to purchase it. All this lack of rules does not make us a drunk population, on the contrary, our “alcohol deaths” are minor than Swedish ones and on Friday we do not “work” at home (I found it upsetting and depressing, honestly) .
    I think that the alcohol consume is heavily tied to social behavior issue.
    Anyway have you received any reply ?

  3. Jen – Definitely! If Bolaget had better hours and selection, I would not be such a hater. I lived in North Carolina where a state monopoly does exist, but it is open everyday till late, has a large selection, and has reasonable prices.

    puntino – A reply from Bolaget? No, they won’t give shit about my opinion because no matter what I still have to shop there.

    abby – hahahaha!

  4. I had a vote in the local elections. I wanted to know which party to vote for to get rid of Systembolaget. The response I got from a Swede, “Oh, but all parties agree with it,”


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