In Sweden military service looks good on one’s cv

Would you really die for your country?

Military conscription is on the agenda in the rich world

At the start of the 20th century around 80% of countries had some form of conscription; by the mid-2010s it was just under 40%. 

The practice reached its peak during the world wars, and many countries continued to rely on it throughout the cold war. 

Thereafter the West’s focus turned to high-tech counterinsurgency campaigns such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mass-conscript armies were mostly replaced by smaller, professional volunteer forces. 

Since 1995, 13 members of the oecd, a club of mostly rich countries, have scrapped conscription. 

All but eight of nato’s 32 members have done away with it

Recruiters try to counter with the rhetoric of patriotism, self-fulfilment and shared values; the emphatic slogan of Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, is Wir. Dienen. Deutschland. (We. Serve. Germany.) 

They also run campaigns with influencers on TikTok and Instagram. But it does not seem to be enough to hit their targets.

The Economist 17 April 2024


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