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GlobLog - November 2008
A direct link to each entry is obtained by using the button below the entry.


Friday, 28/11/2008:

11:46 - HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET: 

This is not the 1930´s, according to Fredrik Erixon and Razeen Sally, but it´s the 1970´s, and that´s bad enough. In Wall Street Journal they warn that bailouts and subsidies for companies in one country lead other countries´ companies to demand help and protection against the international market, and this will prolong the crisis.



11:06 - OILY GOVERNMENTS: 

If you think that the present crisis shows that private ownership and free markets result in shady deals and incompetence the look at OPEC´s problems in the Financial Times today is a helpful reminder of how state-control of a sector often work:

"Knowing how much [oil] each country produces is mired in politically motivated dishonesty, secrecy and, in many cases, incompetence.

The most reliable data, used even by Opec countries themselves, come not from the cartel member´s energy ministries, but from so-called secondary sources - a network of spies watching, binoculars in hand, the movement of tankers in and out of the world´s biggest export terminals."

Often they are their own worst enemy:

"Venezuela is so unsure about how much it pumps that from time to time the central bank calls the oil ministry to correct the numbers because there are too few dollars in the vaults to support their inflated oilproduction claims, industry insiders say."



Thursday, 27/11/2008:

15:16 - MAN BLIR NY POLITISK REDAKTÖR PÅ DN: 

Jo, i konsekvensens namn borde DN ha den rubriken när tidningen nu visar att exceptionell begåvning och liberala åsikter inte är ett så stort handikapp att det utesluter Peter Wolodarski från redaktörsstolen.



13:13 - SOMETHING TO BE GRATEFUL FOR: 

Today is the American Thanksgiving holiday, and some of us in other countries celebrate it as well. Why?

Because it is probably the only holiday that celebrates economic incentives and property rights.

Thanksgiving is really about how the Pilgrims in Plymouth Plantation, faced with starvation in 1623, changed the collective ownership to land into a system where families got to keep everything they produced themselves. The result was that the pilgrims learned new production, worked harder and increased productivity, and so ended hunger.

(Thanks Eva)

UPDATE 2008-12-01: Pro libertate nostra tells me I am wrong.



Wednesday, 26/11/2008:

11:24 - GEMENSAMMA NÄMNARE: 

När jag läser på Neobloggen om hur kulturvänstern upptäcker konservatismen - igen - kommer jag att tänka på några rader av den gamle whiggen Friedrich Hayek:

"Liksom socialisten bekymrar han [den konservative] sig mindre om problemet om hur statsmaktens befogenheter skall begränsas än som vem som utövar dem, och liksom socialisten anser han sig ha rätt att påtvinga andra människor sina egna värderingar. [...]

Jag tycker ibland att det mest framträdande draget hos liberalismen, vilket skiljer den i lika hög grad från konservatismen som från socialismen, är åsikten att moraliska övertygelser i beteendefrågor som inte direkt inkräktar på andra människors skyddande sfär inte berättigar till tvångsmedel. Detta kan också förklara varför det tycks så mycket lättare för den ångerfulle socialisten att finna ett nytt andligt hem i den konservativa fållan än i den liberala."

- Frihetens grundvalar, 1983 års översättning, sid 371f

Det här är väl förklaringen till att konservativa och socialister ofta känner igen varandra och någonstans gillar vad de ser. Men jag tror att det finns en till förklaring till dagens vurm. Vänstern inser naturligtvis att en borgerlighet som överger liberalism och modernitet för reaktion och moralism är en enkel motståndare, så det kan ju vara kul att önskedrömma om en sån.



Tuesday, 25/11/2008:

12:33 - OBAMA´S SHOCK DOCTRINE: 

What would Naomi Klein have said if a classical liberal economist or a free market-politician just said something like this?

"[The economic crisis is] an opportunity to do things you could not do before. You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Probably she would say that this is the final proof that she was right in diagnosing the "shock doctrine" - the deceitful way in which free market-people take advantage of crises to implement an agenda that did not have support under normal circumstances.

But this if the words of Rahm Emanuel, Obama´s Chief of Staff, when he advocates a more interventionist industrial policy.

Where is Klein now? Is it ok to use the shock doctrine to expand government? Perhaps it was not the "shock" she opposed, but just the "doctrine"?

(Via David Boaz)



12:27 - ERIK WIJK I ROCKY IV: 

Som den 80-talsnostalgiker jag är kan jag liksom Mattias Svensson inte undvika ett visst igenkännandets bitterljuva nöje i Erik Wijks tro på att datorerna ska kunna styra samhällsekonomin.



11:01 - SENIOR PARTNERS IN CRIME: 

Jag uttryckte ju stor överraskning. Hur i hela världen kan rektorn för Handelshögskolan i Göteborg kräva att staten tar över Volvo? Då skickade en vän mig denna länk.

Det kanske inte bara är Volvo som skattebetalarnas miljarder ska rädda.

UPPDATERING 13.03: Jag och mitt snabba tangentbord. Marcus påpekar att Volvo Group är det solida lastbilsbolaget och inte personbilstillverkaren. Jag beklagar den dumma sammanblandningen!

UPPDATERING 13.27: Det är så himla bra att ha alerta läsare som gör research medan man äter lunch och betalar räkningar. Martin meddelar mig att även Volco Car Corporation, personbilstillverkaren som Handelshögskolan Göteborg vill att skattebetalarna ska ta över, är Senior Partner till Handelshögskolan Göteborg.



Monday, 24/11/2008:

15:29 - GODA NYHETER: 

Och som om det inte var tillräckligt överraskande så meddelar SvD:s Idagsida att världen är bättre än vi tror - baserat på Bosse Angelöws upplyftade bok Glädjerapporten, som har koll på fotnoterna.



13:40 - BIZARRO-SVERIGE: 

Jag har just kommit hem till Sverige efter tre veckor på vift och var så ur slag efter tre flygresor i rad på totalt 22 timmar med en tvååring att jag generöst nog fick permission från P1 granskar i går. Flygbolagen kanske borde erbjuda flygdagis?

När jag bläddrar igenom dagens tidningar undrar jag emellertid om planet råkade bryta igenom en dimensionsvall och jag har hamnat i ett slags parallellt spegeluniversum, där det finns ett Bizarro-Sverige.

Rolf Wolff, rektor för Handelshögskolan i Göteborg, kräver socialism i Dagens Industri:

"Staten måste köpa Volvo ... Kan staten äga och säkra finansbolag, kan den väl göra detsamma med biltillverkare."

Samtidigt tycks den fria marknadens främsta försvarare just nu vara LO:s nya chefsekonom Lena Westerlund, som intervjuas i SvD:

"Regeringens avsikt är att en statlig garanti för vissa lån ska få igång finansmarknaden. Då kan den uppdrivna räntenivån bli lägre vilket gynnar både hushåll och företag.

Många har ropat på tvång – att regeringen ska tvinga alla banker att gå med. Men Lena Westerlund är tveksam.

–Jag vill inte säga att ett obligatorium är rätt sätt. En total statlig bank-garanti kan föranleda stora kostnader.

Hon tycker också att debatten om bankernas bonussystem är populistisk.

–Politiker kan inte bestämma över bonussystem i privata bolag. Det är upp till ägarna."



Tuesday, 18/11/2008:

13:22 - A CAR ACCIDENT: 

I am still in Florida, and here most people talk about the coming bailout of the auto industry. So when is the right time to close down loss-making companies with bad business models?

In good times? No, it would be cynical and unfair to do that when the economy is doing well and other workers are getting a raise. We can afford to help them.

In bad times? No, then the economy is fragile and cannot absorb the closures and layoffs. We can´t afford a bankruptcy.

As I understand the general sentiment, it is always wrong to close down a bad business, so we should continue to take resources from households, healthy companies and startups that could grow to give to big, bad business in all eternity. And then people will complain that the economy is not recovering.

In Dagens Industri I write about why this is bad policy (and that if you have to bail them out you should at least fire management, restructure all contracts with the unions and car dealers, and take preferred shares in return).



Friday, 14/11/2008:

04:14 - DET DÅNAR AV TYSTNAD OM MAN VÄGRAR LYSSNA: 

Ibland är Mattias Svensson så ful i mun att jag och hans förtjusande hustru är överens om att den borde tvättas med tvål. Då riskerar det att stå i vägen för hans sakliga argumentation. Som nu när Bo Rothstein på ett ovanligt fräckt sätt utnyttjar det till att låtsas som att Mattias i sak förödande kritik mot hans felläsning av finanskrisen och "nyliberalernas" tystnad om den inte bestod av något annat än runda ord.

Mattias svarar här.



Thursday, 13/11/2008:

15:35 - BUT HE´LL KEEP THE MONEY: 

Isn´t it interesting that Hank Paulson´s idea to buy bad mortgage assets from banks at more than the market price - an idea supported by almost everyone as absolutely essential to avoid another great depression - has now been abandoned by Paulson himself?



Tuesday, 11/11/2008:

04:34 - A MUST READ: 

If you are the least interested in American politics you have to get Newsweek´s almost 100-page special on what happened behind the scenes during the election campaign, told by embedded reporters in all the campaigns.

You´ll learn that John McCain was always the maverick, and was never comfortable as a front-runner and favourite:

"What the f--- would I want to lead this party for?"

It turns out that Hillary Clinton´s staff hated each other more than they hated Obama or the Republicans. As a top adviser explains:

"It was a terribly unpleasant place to work. You had seven people on a morning call, all of whom had tried to get someone else on the call fired, or knew someone on the call tried to get them fired."

And Barack Obama really somes across as a decent, cautious and self-disciplined person, but who does not dare to be quite as independent as his role model - John McCain. And worse, Obama thinks that the dilithium crystals that are needed for the starships´ warp cores in Star Trek are nothing but "lithium crystals".

And we thought that America finally elected a smart and knowledgeable president...

(Thanks Ulf)



Friday, 7/11/2008:

14:30 - MY NEXT PROJECT: 

A book on the causes and consequences of the world´s first truly global financial crisis, published in Swedish by Hydra Förlag in March.



Thursday, 6/11/2008:

23:29 - BEST TAKE ON THE ELECTION: 

Black man given nation´s worst job.



19:13 - LÄSNING TILL DRINKEN: 

I tidskriften Voltaire kan man frossa i sprit och politik: Jag skriver om hur vinlobbyister, nykterister och antisemiter tog livet av absinthen och Mattias Svensson skriver om hur man drack i DDR-Sverige - den sanna historien om varför en fyllerist ertappades med tio ägg...



Wednesday, 5/11/2008:

08:10 - YES HE COULD: 

There is a party in the streets of Washington DC tonight, and a symphony of car horns. It took me an hour just to find a taxi. And when we had to stop for students who ran around in the streets and shouted with joy, a young man leaned in through the window of the cab to shake hands with my son and tell him to remember this historic day when Barack Obama triumphed.

It is historic indeed. An African-American whose parents married while mixed marriages were still banned in half of all American states, and who was born while blacks were still denied the right to vote in many southern states, and who was denied a floor pass to the Democratic convention just eight years ago, is now the leader of the free world.

It  must be difficult to find a believer in democracy and human freedom who is not a little bit proud and moved on such a day, no matter what we may think of Obama´s policies.

Does the election mean that America is turning left? Yes it does, but I don’t think that it means that it’s impossible for a tax-cutting, self-described ”pro-growth, free-market guy” to win a presidential election. A person who opposes mandatory health insurance, wants to double the funding for charter schools and introduce performance-based salaries for teachers. Someone who wants to increase the size of the army and marine corps by 100,000, wants a “surge” in Afghanistan, defends the right to own guns, supports the death penalty and blame crime in black communities on the breakdown of the family and traditional values.

How do I know that it would not be impossible?

Because that candidate was just elected president of the United States.



Tuesday, 4/11/2008:

19:05 - BAGEL AND CIRCUS: 

It seems like you can get through the day in DC wihtout paying for food and drinks. At the Starbucks here in Dupont Circle they offer a free coffee to every voter and across the street the café gives you a bagel.



14:33 - BEST LINE OF THE CAMPAIGN: 

"They´re [the Republicans] asking for another four years -- in a just world, they´d get 10 to 20."

- Congressman Dennis Kucinich in a line in his speech at the Democratic convention that Obama´s people censored.



14:09 - MY PREDICITON: 

Keeping in mind that making predictions is neither science nor art, but just good fun, here we go:

Barack Obama will win, but the race will be closer than polls predicts, partly because it´s so easy to say "Obama" to the pollster when everybody loves him. I would guess 52-53% vs 47-48% nationally. Obama will govern as a centrist and a lot of people will be disappointed when they see him in action because expectations are so exaggerated and because he is too smart to give in to the anti-trade, anti-business bunch.

But Obama will win again in 2012, because a Republican civil war will rage as diverse forces like the religious right, the national security conservatives and the free-marketeers fight bitterly over the soul of the party. The Republicans will still win the mid-term elections because of discontent with the Democratic Congress, but they won´t be able to unite behind and be enthusiastic about one presidential candidate. Sarah Palin will be crushed in the primaries by some young, urban and modern Republican who makes "change" the center of his campaign.

And the saddest person in the world tonight will be Hillary Clinton.



03:51 - SAMTIDIGT I SVERIGE: 

Medan jag är i Washington och räknar Obamadekaler är jag inblandad i detta där hemma:

- I Dagens Industri hyllar jag den amerikanska demokratin, där det inte är en tidigare presidenthustru och en etablissemangskandidat som gör upp om presidentposten i dag, utan två uträknade outsiders.

- Jag deltar i ett e-rundabordssamtal om liberalismens kris i Sydsvenskan med Isobel Haldey-Kamptz och Per Svensson. Men huvudpersonerna var egentligen våra söner.

- Fredrik Segerfeldt visar återigen prov på sitt goda omdöme genom att låta sig övertygas av min kritik av hans agnosticism.



 

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