Det gemensamma bästa kan inte förutsättas : En berättelse om Grupptalan mot Skandia
The subject for this paper is the Class Action against Skandia Association, a civil organization formed in 2003 with the aim of claiming compensation for some 1.2 million life insurance customers. The background to its formation was one of the largest financial scandals in Sweden in recent times, involving a number of questionable affairs within the insurance corporation Skandia and its subsidiaries, most notably the life insurance company Skandia Liv. The interests of both the stake- and stockholders of the company seem, in certain ways, to have been grossly misrepresented. The scandal, as well as the reaction it spawned, pose a number of questions. In this study, we focus on two: a possible, and in many ways apparent crisis in the representation of interests in Swedish society, and the role of civil society in upholding the balance between these interests.We argue that what is often held to be the ”greed” or ”immorality” of individuals in scandals such as Skandia is, to a great extent, a mere reflection of the ”rational” underpinnings of modern-day capitalism.We find that trust has been a key mechanism of control in the relationships between consumers and agents in pension and life insurance markets, and that ”the Swedish model” that distinguished post-WWII Swedish society was a model heavily based on trust towards existing models of bureaucratic governance. Furthermore, the increase in social and technical complexity of the systems and relationships necessary of our individual and collective welfare, as well as the growing anonymity of the people we depend on, seem to have resulted in a gap that cannot be bridged without resorting to trust.We also find that elements of the Skandia scandal mirror a larger societal development in which the balance between interests has been disrupted, causing severe breaches of trust. Over time, and as a result of a largely global interplay between power and discourse, the Swedish model has undergone a considerable transition, gradually transforming elements of the underlying institutional foundations of both the market and the state.Such transitions, and the herein observed inability of both market and state to cope with them while maintaining the balance between interests of society as a whole, make us believe that the importance of a vital civil society cannot be understated. The Class Action against Skandia Association is a testament to its potential.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:civil society financial scandal pension funds ownership structure institutionalism swedish model trust
Date of Publication:06/13/2008