Kjell-Olof Feldt

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Person.png Kjell-Olof Feldt  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Kjell-Olof Feldt in 2016.jpg
In 2016
Born18 August 1931
Alma materUppsala University, Lund University
SpouseBirgitta von Otter
Social Democrat Minister of Finance who attended Bilderberg and initiated large neoliberal changes.

Employment.png Sweden/Minister of Finance

In office
1 January 1983 - 16 February 1990
Appointed byOlof Palme

Employment.png Sweden/Minister of Trade

In office
9 October 1970 - 27 October 1975

Kjell-Olof Feldt is a Swedish Social Democratic politician. Feldt was Minister of Trade 1970–1975, and assistant Minister of Finance 1975–1976. In 1982, Feldt was appointed Minister of Finance by Prime Minister Olof Palme. He was seen as a part of a neoliberal faction, Kanslihushögern, during his time in office.

Early Life and Career

Feldt was the son of a single mother, Irma, née Jonsson, who had to send young Kjell-Olof to live with his grandfather's sister because of his father's alcoholic problems. Though he came from a working-class family, Kjell-Olof managed to gain admission to Uppsala University where he received a Politices Magister (extended BA in political science) degree in 1956. He received a Masters degree at Lund University in 1967. [1]

After finishing his education in 1967, He started as a budget secretary at the Ministry of Finance 1962–1964, bureau chief there 1964–1965, budget director 1965–1967 and state secretary 1967–1970. The relationship between the young Prime Minister Olof Palme and the then elderly Minister of Finance Gunnar Sträng had started to diverge. As an public servant, Feldt emerged as one of Palme's confidants.

In other words, when he took over as Minister of Trade on 9 October 1970, he had both good insight into the work at the Government Offices and good relations with the leadership. He was not recruited from among the members of parliament, as the party normally preferred. Feldt has described the years 1964–1970 as the happiest in his political life[2]. During this time, he was an official in the Ministry of Finance and as Prime Minister and Head of the Ministry of Trade Sweden's representative in the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the OECD and the G10.

The promotion in 1970 was presumably connected to him attending the 1969 Bilderberg conference. And in 1974, Feldt and Volvo CEO P.G. Gyllenhammar as the only Swedes on Time's list of the future 150 leaders in the world. Feldt was then predicted to become Sweden's Minister of Finance. [3] The two future leaders would also become personal friends.

Finance Minister

When the Social Democrats won the parliamentary election in 1982, Feldt was, as expected, appointed Minister of Finance in Palme's second ministry, which he was until 1990 during Ingvar Carlsson's first government, when he resigned. As Minister of Finance, he started an austerity and financial liberalization program. Feldt's economic program was later mainly remembered his credit policy, with a huge increase in lending to households. Net lending increased by SEK 260 billion over two years, 1986–1988. Carl Bildt later called this policy "casino economy".[4]

Liberalization had the support of the bourgeois parties, but led directly to the financial crisis in Sweden in 1990–1994.

The deregulation was one of the largest monetary policy decisions taken after the Second World War. and it was part of an international trend within the then neoliberal order. Noticeably in this context is that Feldt attended the 1983 Bilderberg conference.

In a Playboy Scandinavia interview, Feldt reminisced upon his own legacy within the Social Democratic Party,

"The negative inheritance I received from my predecessor Gunnar Sträng (Minister of Finance 1955–1976) was a strongly progressive tax system with high marginal taxes. This was supposed to bring about a just and equal society. But I eventually came to the opinion that it simply didn't work out that way he concluded. Progressive taxes created instead a society of wranglers, cheaters, peculiar manipulations, false ambitions and new injustices. It took me at least a decade to get a part of the party to see this."[5]

In the late 1980s Feldt and was heavily criticised from within his own party: he and others at the Ministry of Finance (Swedish: "kanslihushögern") were perceived to be promoting right-wing politics and to be failing to live up to the traditional ideals of the social democrats. When economic problems mounted in 1990, the rift was highlighted, and Feldt left office after a fall-out with Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson on 16 February. Feldt had been in favour of a more austerity-directed economic policy in response to the crisis, and when his ideas met resistance, he decided to leave office. Feldt subsequently left party politics, though he remains a member of the Social Democratic Party. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Feldt has heavily criticised Social Democratic economic policy, both past and present.

Since 1970, he has been married to Birgitta von Otter.


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/19699 May 196911 May 1969Denmark
Hotel Marienlyst
The 18th Bilderberg meeting, with 85 participants
Bilderberg/198313 May 198315 May 1983Canada
Château Montebello
The 31st Bilderberg, held in Canada


  1. http://www.uu.se/en/about-uu/traditions/prizes/honorary-doctorates/ |title=Honorary doctorates
  2. Feldt, Kjell-Olof (1991), Alla dessa dagar... I regeringen 1982–1990, Stockholm: Norstedts förlag, page 55
  3. Borgström, Henric; Haag, Martin (1988), Gyllenhammar, Stockholm: Bonniers, page 50
  4. Elmbrant, Björn (1993), Så föll den svenska modellen, Stockholm: Bokförlaget T. Fischer & Co, page 193
  5. Sjöberg, T. (1999). Intervjun: Kjell-Olof Feldt [Interview: Kjell-Olof Feldt]." Playboy Skandinavia(5): 37-44.