Gustav Möller

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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 delivering a speech.

Gustav Möller (1884–1970) was a prominent Swedish Social democratic politician, credited as the father of the social security system and the Welfare state, also called Folkhemmet. He was a Member of Parliament in 1918-1954 and Member of the Government in 1924-26, 1932–36 and 1936-51.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Gustav Möller was born in 1884 to a poor family in Malmö, Sweden, 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. He was influenced by Alva Myrdal and Gunnar Myrdal's ideas about policies which could help families.

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.

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

He lived in Stockholm at the time of his death in 1970, his wife Else having died un 1968.


  1. ^ David Wilsford, ed. Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) pp 332-39.

Further reading[edit]

  • Wilsford, David, ed. Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) pp. 332-39.