|GlobLog - March 2005
A direct link to each entry is obtained by using the button below the entry.|
21:46 - FALLING FLAT?: Wow. I thought I was looking forward to Thomas Friedman´s new book The World is Flat. After all, he is one of the best commentators on global politics and economics. But I am not sure anymore, now that I have read the review in The Economist. Here is an excerpt:
"Mr Friedman´s book is subtitled ´A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century´, but it is not brief, it is not any recognisable form of history—except perhaps of Mr Friedman´s own wanderings around the world—and the reference to our new, baby century is just gratuitous... Mr Friedman´s problem is not a lack of detail. It is that he has so little to say. Over and over again he makes the same few familiar points: the world is getting smaller, this process seems inexorable, many things are changing, and we should not fear this. Rarely has so much information been collected to so little effect."
11:17 - ARAB REFORM : I have finished a first draft of my new book on creativity and entrepreurship, and it is now being read by a couple of friends with good judgement. It will probably be published in Swedish after summer. So right now I am writing a paper on the Arab countries and reform/globalisation/liberalisation. One of my convictions is that the lack of a free media and a rational education stifles the entire region. Here are a few relevant facts:
The number of frequently cited academic papers per million inhabitants is 0.02 in Egypt and 0.07 in Saudiarabia, compared to 36.6 in Israel and 79.9 in Switzerland. The Arab countries translates about 330 books a year – just one-fifth of the number published in Greece. Spain translates almost as many books in one single year as has been translated into Arabic in the last one thousand years.
16:58 - BERT DEMENTERAR: Och nu dementerade Bert Karlsson tydligen nyss i P1 att han gått med i folkpartiet. Han ska bara ha tagit emot medlemsansökan på skämt. Festlig snubbe. (Tack Patrik)
13:37 - (S) MER BERT ÄN (FP): Den gamle nydemokraten Bert Karlsson har gått med i folkpartiet. Sossarna gnuggar händerna, för nu kan de fortsätta smutskastningskampanjen om att fp skulle vara rasistiskt.
Sakta i backarna. Bert säger att han går med i fp främst pga skolpolitiken. Vad gäller flyktingpolitiken valde Ny demokrati att tona ned den i förra valet eftersom, ”de andra partierna har gått längre än vad Ny demokrati föreslog” (partiledaren Ulf C Eriksson). Det parti som drivit fram denna skärpning har varit socialdemokraterna, medan folkpartiet konsekvent har kämpat för liberalare regler.
Jag delar inte alla folkpartiets åsikter om integration, men det är direkt osmakligt när socialdemokrater härjar med rasiststämpeln. Folkpartiet vill utvisa mördare och våldtäktsmän – socialdemokraterna utvisar i stället apatiska barn, och utvisar homosexuella till förföljelse i Iran.
11:39 - A METAPHOR THAT DOES NOT FLY: On my articles/lectures page I just added a lecture I gave in Switzerland late last year. It starts with president Chirac´s metaphor:
"Globalization means that the ´butterfly effect´ is everywhere at work. The mistakes of a stockbroker in Singapore or the collapse of the Baht in Bangkok, the decisions of a Finnish industrial concern, or what the Governor of Minas Gerais in Brazil decides to do about his State´s debt, have had consequences for the world as a whole."
And goes on to explain why Chirac has neither understood globalisation nor butterflies.
11:10 - ADVISE TO BERLUSCONI: Recently Swedish public service television produced a series of commercials saying that this is "free television", in contrast to Italian television, controlled by Berlusconi. Italian authorities heavily criticised this. Now it could be payback time. Why not produce a series of Italian commercials demonising the socialist control of the Swedish television monopoly?
A monopoly that just got a new chairman. An old social democratic minister of government (Allan Larsson) was replaced by - surprise - another old social democratic minister (Lars Engqvist). And then they could add the spicy fact that the opposition do not oppose this, since this is part of a grand bargain where it gets to control the radio monopoly as compensation. An offer they can´t refuse.
21:59 - EN KONFERENS JAG MISSADE:
"Vi har platser kvar till konferensen om EU:s grannskapspolitik i Haparanda/Torneå den 7-8 April och har därför förlängt anmälningstiden till den 21 mars."
– EU-kommissionen bjuder till och erbjuder de motsträviga fri logi.
13:37 - QUOTES OF THE DAY:
Communism in theory:
”In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: Who does not work does not eat, has been replaced by a new one: Who does not obey shall not eat.”
– Leon Trotsky, 1937.
Communism in practice:
”President Robert Mugabe has been accused of deliberately starving opposition supporters.
It is alleged to be a tactic designed to force them to back him in Thursday´s election.
The Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube told Sky News´ David Chater that emergency food stations were turning away those who did not support the government.
He alleged that President Mugabe´s Zanu PF party members told those backing the opposition NDC party they would starve to death.”
– Report from the Zimbabwean ”election”.
11:24 - 1989, PART II: I am on Eastern holidays now, and will be back early next week. But even though I don´t follow the news much it´s impossible not to notice the "tulip revolution" in Kyrgyzstan. Despite uncertainties and violent clashes, it is beginning to look like the revolutions of 1989 is finally coming home to the former Soviet Union. Then the Soviet empire collapsed, but the former Soviet republics remained in the hands of auhoritarians. At last the time has come for them as well: Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004, Kyrgyzstan 2005. Lukasjenko, the dictator of Belarus has reasons to be worried.
As usual, globalisation of technology and communications has had an enormous impact in energising the opposition. Information about other countries have shown what is possible. People have seen the rose revolution in Georgia, and now want their own tulip revolution. The same inspiration is visible in the Middle East. The opposition in Egypt wears orange, the protesters in Lebanon have built a tent camp - Ukraine-style. And the banners are not in Arabic, telling the Syrian forces to leave, but in English, telling the international community to tell the Syrian forces to leave.
10:38 - GUIDING HIS PEOPLE TO PRISON: That Egypt’s president Mubarak is seriously affected by the changes in the Middle East was obvious when I saw one of his speeches on state television when I was in Cairo. He said all the things the Americans wanted to hear about democratisation, that people should chose their leaders, rule of law, free trade and more freedom for the private sector.
But that this is just a way for Mubarak to survive politically in changing circumstances was equally obvious. The TV show was called “The vision of a wise leader guides his people”... And that the change of rhetoric does not signal a change of heart is obvious now that the new Egyptian opposition leader, Ayman Nour (with the party colour orange), will stand trial in a criminal court, based on phony charges.
23:35 - DAGENS SIDBYTE:
”Sjukvården är den sista planekonomin och vänsterns politiker inbillar sig att de själva fortfarande måste detaljplanera medborgarnas vårdskonsumtion.
Det gör de lika dåligt som på andra områden där politiker försökt detaljstyra och trott sig veta medborgarnas behov. Dagens system är en effektiv broms för ett nytt och samtidsanpassat utbud av vårdtjänster…
De företag som kan utvecklas och växa är de som går med vinst."
– Vänsterdebattören Åsa Moberg förklarar varför hon troligen röstar borgerligt, på fjärde sidan i Expressens – Sverige bästa debattsida, nu äntligen på webben.
13:59 - RUSSIA´S HOPE?:
”Victory in Ukraine and the reshaping of the Middle East are only the latest symbols of how democracy is dominant in the world today economically, militarily, and morally. We must leverage this ascendancy to set a global agenda and end the era of complacency and concession that is embodied by the United Nations. In politics as in chess, or in the military or in business, when you have the advantage you must press it quickly--or lose it. For the first time in history, we are in a position to checkmate tyranny. Momentum is largely on the side of democracy.
This is not yet the case, alas, in my home. Russia is in a moment of crisis and every decent person must stand up and resist the rise of the Putin dictatorship. Russia boasts too many generals and colonels in politics and too few thinkers. (Even Russia´s chess players are in decline, a symptom of the larger malady.) I hope my vision and ability to think strategically can be of help to my native land. We must act now to unite and to create real democratic opposition to the Putin regime. I can now offer not only my name and my advice, but my active participation.”
– The former Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov, now a liberal politician, in Wall Street Journal.
10:30 - EU: (Once again) I explain why I am opposed to the proposed EU constitution, on Europaportalen. It makes decision-making easier, say the advocates. Exactly, I respond.
21:42 - A FEW THINGS WHILE I WAS AWAY:
– LO admitted that Sweden’s unemployment rate is not 5.5, but 20-25 percent, if we include early retirements and long-term sick leave.
– Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish employment office, in Nyköping, threatened unemployed with cancelled benefits unless they joined a trade union demonstration in Stockholm for collective bargaining!
– News kept coming on how systematically the social democratic youth has stolen from public funds.
– Once more, the Chinese communists threatened to invade Taiwan – and the Swedish moderate party wants to arm them.
– At last, Dagens Nyheter apologised for publishing an obituary based on a text from a neo-nazi site.
– The best band in the world right now, the Swedish goth-pop band Kent, released what might be their best album so far, the melancholy Du och jag döden.
10:57 - IN MEMORIAM: Earlier this year, my intellectual hero Sven Rydenfelt died. In the latest Svensk Linje I write about how I remember him (in Swedish).
00:48 - DAGENS LÄSTIPS:
"Den borgerliga dominansen i medierna är [Marita Ulvskogs] hjärnspöke, jag och många med mig har andra.
Och just detta är det främsta argumentet för att socialdemokraterna bör satsa på opinionsbildning i pressen, för att något enda större svenskt tv-bolag, snälla, bör ta efter Fox News succé och profilera sig som höger, för att landets tidningsägare bör vårda sina ideologiska profiler med största omsorg, för att Johan Norbergs blogg bör läsas i Ekots tidningskrönika och för att den politiska pluralismen är det enda säkra tillståndet."
– P M Nilsson, Expressen.
23:55 - GENERAL IMPRESSION: Now I am back from a fascinating week – and eight lectures – in the Middle East. A week when I’ve met liberals, revolutionaries, students, teachers, businessmen, politicians and advisors to ministers and queens.
The three countries I visited are very different. Egypt is a country where president Mubarak is pushed by the US to some tiny reforms, against his will. At the same time Jordan is reformed politically and economically from above by Abdullah II, but he is reluctant to open a democratic process that might benefit Islamists. It is difficult to encourage the silent, moderate majority to speak up, when they have been told to shut up for decades.
Lebanon is the most encouraging example, where the people have shown what they are capable of, with mass demonstrations that might end the Syrian occupation. Lebanon also has the most cosmopolitan and liberal population. If they succeed in building a stable democracy, it won’t take a long time until this beautiful, open country is booming, and attract people and investments from around the world.
The positive surprise is that opposition exists everywhere, and that authoritarian rulers are a lot less safe than I had imagined. Positive examples like the elections in Iraq and Palestine and the Lebanese revolution are spread across the region by satellite television (for example al-Jazeera).
The negative surprise is that authoritarian rulers have influenced the culture deeply. Creativity and critical thinking has been discouraged by a government media monopoly, and schools that tell students to listen and memorise, rather than think and learn how to check facts and theories. Political change might be possible sooner than we think, but people in the region tell me that it will take a long time until the destructive results of authoritarianism go away.
16:55 - DAGENS INBJUDAN:
Så här stärks demokratirörelsen i Libanon
Frukostseminarium tisdagen den 22 mars med Johan Norberg (Timbro) och riksdagsledamoten Henrik von Sydow (m) som berättar om sina intryck från sin resa i Libanon och Jordanien.
Det säkerhetspolitiska läget i Libanon står och väger. Libanons suveränitet och demokratiska utveckling hänger på att Syrien lämnar landet och att Hizbollah avväpnas. Frågan är vad Sverige och andra länder måste och kan göra för att stärka de demokratiska krafterna och reformivrarna i landet.
Arr: Jarl Hjalmarson Stiftelsen och Moderaterna
Tid: tisdagen den 22 mars, kl. 08:00-09.00
Plats: Café Kladdkakan, Stora Nygatan 32, Gamla Stan
Tacksam för svar till Charlotta Sjölund per e-mail email@example.com
18:03 - CEDAR REVOLUTION IN THE MAKING: I have just been to Martyr´s square in Beirut and met freedom fighters - Druze, Christians and Muslims - who have built a tent city, to keep this central place in the hands of the people until the Syrian occupation forces have left. Everywhere you can see the Lebanese flag, taking the place of all the secterian symbols. And everywhere in Beirut, in shops, homes and cars, there are pictures of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was probably assassinated by the Syrians. This stuggle and this unity is extremely moving.
And furthermore, their amazing revolution is really about to succeed. This monday, almost one million Lebanese blocked the streets of Beirut to demand freedom and independence for their country. Almost one quarter of the entire country´s population!
It seems like the Syrian government can´t resist such a massive show of people power, and the demands from the international community. The Syrian forces is leaving as we speak - even though most people here think that they will do their best to destabilise Lebanon afterwards, perhaps with terrorist attacks to try to provoke domestic conflicts. But the Lebanese understand this, and will probably blame any sort of unrest on the Syrians. Now the people know what they are capable of, and they will probably never forget it.
16:37 - A COFFEE BREAK IN AMMAN: Jordan is a land of contrasts. Despite the obvious problems in a country bordering to Iraq and the West Bank, here we find one of the region´s more ambitious attempts to liberalise and globalise, and I´ve met a lot of impressive young entrepreneurs, full of energy and ideas. But at the same time, resistance is strong.
Yesterday at an overcrowded lecture at the university in Amman, I got a lot of interested responses and questions from the students, until the moderator, a teatcher and supervisor, intervened and said that my book was offensive, and that it was an attempt to force western concepts of human rights and free markets on Arab countries, that the girls here were perfectly happy with the traditions and the arranged marriages and that I should really stay at home.
This made the students a bit more hesitant to express their interest at the session, but after the lecture, over coffee and tea, a lot of them came up to me and told me that they really found this extremely interesting and wanted further contacts and discussion. That´s one of the most promising aspects I´ve seen during this journey - mutual curiosity and an interest to learn more - below the radar of the supervisors.
20:10 - CARS IN CAIRO: Here is a Middle Eastern problem: Average tariffs up to 20 percent is not uncommon, and non-tariff barriers are 10 times more common than in East Asia. Behind these tariffs, old and unbelievable inefficient industries have thrived - on the backs of poor consumers and at the cost of diminishing shares of the global market.
For example, here in Egypt, the "car industry" is a nice word for about 14 companies that import all the parts to cars from foreign car companies and assemble them inside the country, to avoid the extortionary car tariffs. An extermely costly and wasteful use of human resources, when people could have bought cheaper cars abroad, and instead specialised in some part of industrial production instead, for large-scale exports.
When trade liberalisation now is taking place, this means that these old and inefficient companies cannot compete. So what people see at first (apart from the fact that more families can now buy a car) is failed companies and unemployment - the destructive part of the creative destruction that is capitalism. But we should remember that it wouldn´t have had to be that destructive if it hadn´t been for generations of protectionism.
By the way, did I mention that this is an exciting time to be in the Middle East? Almost one million Lebanese protested against Syria in Beirut today. After a quick stop in Jordan tomorrow, I will go there.
08:20 - REPORT FROM CAIRO: Right now I am in Cairo, lecturing and meeting people. It´s an exciting time to be in Egypt. Preident Mubarak has said that he will allow some sort of challenge in the preidential election. It i unclear how serious this is, but it is clear evidence that there is a growing pressure. Talk of change is in the air, and reforms are discussed. Recently a nominally liberal party, "Tomorrow" was founded, the founder Ayman Nour was imprisoned, this however turned him into a hero, and yeterday he was set free.
Yesterday I also found out, to my surprise, that I have been translated into Arabic. A booklet I wrote about poverty for the Naumann Foundation has been published here in a nice Arabic edition.
11:36 - ONE SIMPLE FACT THAT UNDERMINES A WORLDVIEW: Tonight I will debate Wal-Mart and the loss of manufacturing jobs on Dokument utifrån in Swedish television. A documentary will make the case that China steals manufacturing jobs from rich counties. I will make the case that this is a natural process in a healthy economy. When we are able to produce more with fewer people, resources and workers move to new jobs in modern sectors. Just like we did when the majority left agriculture. Since 1975 the G7-countries have lost 20 percent of the manufacturing jobs – but the factories produce about 200 percent more industrial goods today. That’s what I call creative destruction.
Do you want proof that this is natural, that this is not the result of someone “stealing” “our” jobs?
I mean the ultimate proof.
Are you ready?
Here it comes:
Everyone “loses” manufacturing jobs, even China. In 1995-2002, China lost 15 percent of its manufacturing jobs.
16:53 - FEEDING THE HAND THAT BITES:
”The 15,000 lobbyists established in Brussels and the 2,600 interest groups with a permanent office in the capital of Europe will be better monitored, [EU Commissioner Siim Kallas] announced.
’Lobbying activities are estimated to produce 60 to 90 million euro in annual revenues. But transparency is lacking’, said Mr Kallas…
’Some of the NGO’s receiving funds from the Commission describe on their website one of their main tasks as: ‘lobbying the Commission’’, he pointed out: ’The Commission is paying lobbies, in order to be lobbied´."
– EUobserver via Nicklas Lundblad.
02:52 - RECLAIMING THE STREETS: Yes, I am also one of the iPod people, reclaiming the commons from noises and boredom. And Andrew Sullivan is incomprehensibly pessimistic when he thinks that iPods get you to listen only to your own favourite music and that blogs mean that you only read opinions you already share. On the contrary, I have never been so much exposed to contrary opinions as I have been since I started reading blogs with their multitude of links to friends and foes, and I have never had the opportunity to meet as many strange new tunes as I have since friends started sending me mp3 teasers, to get me to share their latest tastes.
16:08 - STRANGE TEACUPS: Now Kerstin Vinterhed at Dagens Nyheter admits that she used formulations from a neo-nazi site in an obituary in Sweden’s biggest morning daily, but says that the criticism is a storm in a teacup.
04:51 - RACE FROM THE BOTTOM:
"Capital is a coward. It flees war. It flees disease. It won´t go near corruption."
– Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell (Via Global Growth)
03:38 - ENERGISER: The Swedish moderate party has moved to the left and abandoned liberal labour market policies and tax-cutting plans. The result is that the social democrats moved further to the left and began to suggest that the world’s highest taxes should be increased even further. Not because they want it, but because they have to find a way to portray the moderates as dangerous “neo-liberals”, and if the moderates are in favour of the status quo, status quo must be portrayed as dangerous neo-liberalism.
It’s called energising your base. The social democrats know how to do it, the moderates don’t. They should learn from American politics, as Anders Kempe and Anders Lindberg propose.
02:08 - TOP TEN DICTATORS: There are too many lists about irrelevant stuff. My favourite list is Parade Magazine’s annual The world’s 10 worst dictators. This year, because of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan’s dictator Omar al-Bashir knocked North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il down to second place, and Burma’s Than Shwe to third. And then we find the usual suspects, China, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Turkmenistan and so on. The competition was so heated this year that Fidel Castro of Cuba and King Mswati III of Swaziland didn’t make top ten, despite being just as brutal as last year.
Have a look at this list of tyranny, terror and torture, and meanwhile, try to figure out why so many people think that the worst problem in the world is excessive capitalism, neo-liberalism and democratic imperialism.
03:04 - IN DEFENCE OF FREE LINKING: Bill O’Reilly’s syndicators think that you are guilty of ”unauthorized linking” when you link to his column. As Lawrence Lessig says, there is no such concept as unauthorized linking outside China, and to show our opposition to it, we should all link to O’Reilly’s column. (via Kommenterat)
12:59 - TAX REVOLUTION OF THE DAY :
”One of the more bizarre events on the Brussels calendar is the annual capitalist ball, staged by the Centre for the New Europe, a free-market think-tank with an appropriately Rumsfeld-like title. This year´s event was dedicated to the memory of Ayn Rand...
It would be easy to dismiss the whole thing as a fringe event. Who could be less relevant to the business of the European Union than a bunch of American conservatives and their wild-eyed fellow travellers from central Europe or Sweden?
But the free-marketeers may now have the last laugh. One of their most cherished policy ideas—the flat tax—is fast gaining ground in Europe…
If old Europe cannot beat the flat-taxers of new Europe, it may have to join them."
– The Economist: ”Flat is beautiful”
03:53 - COMEBACK-GUDRUN: In a few days she will start Sweden´s first feminist party, the former left party boss, Gudrun Schyman. And once again she will be the darling of the media. They won´t refresh your memory on how she cheated the taxman, plagiarised her first article as a freelancer and publicly condemned the employment of maids - while she hired a maid illegally. So you have to read the best of-list at Stockholm Spectator.
01:33 - FEAR ITSELF IS STILL WORSE: I am not an expert on pandemics, but I do know something about human psychology, and our tendency to overestimate abstract risks. And I am quite familiar with public choice, and how the media sells and the doctors increase their budgets.
Therefore I was happy to read Wendy Orent´s calm and moderate voice about avian flue – the epidemic that everybody suddenly seems convinced will kill us all soon (via Framtidstanken):
“H5N1 has evolved great virulence among chickens only because of the conditions under which the animals are kept — crammed together in cages, packed into giant warehouses. H5N1 was originally a mild virus found in migrating ducks; if it killed its host immediately, it too would die. But when its next host´s beak is just an inch away, the virus can evolve to kill quickly and still survive.
As evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald of the University of Louisville has pointed out, the same process ‘cooked’ the virulence of the 1918 flu, though instead of chickens in cages it was soldiers in World War I´s trenches, hospitals and transports who fell victim to a virus that became increasingly deadly as it cycled among them.
It is faulty logic to expect that, in the absence of trench warfare or other human ‘disease factories,’ flu will evolve to be a pandemic terror. And no one has identified such conditions near the chicken farms of Southeast Asia. In other words, if avian flu ever does adapt enough to spread easily to humans, its lethality will have to drop. It may well cause another pandemic, as we indeed have no resistance to it, but it cannot be a pandemic as lethal as the 1918 flu.”
16:10 - NARCISSIST QUOTE OF THE DAY:
”I have titled this foreword ’In Defence of this book’. But this book needs no defence. It stands on its own. As a coherent, logical and reader-friendly defence of global capitalism… Johan Norberg´s book is an amazingly good read."
– The famous Indian economist Bibek Debroy in his generous foreword to the Indian edition of my In Defence of Global Capitalism. Out now.
08:59 - THE ARAB STREET: One of them looks like this (via Alicio)
13:06 - INTERESTING SITES: Captus summarises free-market news and studies in Swedish. Now they have a newsletter. Sign up!
Centre for the New Europe has composed a Liberty Library, where you can browse and purchase more than 1 000 liberal books.
I am a fan of The Lord of the Rings, and some time ago I spent a whole day wit a couple of friends watching the three films with all the extra material. For those of you who don’t think it’s worth the time to read the book or think the films are far, far too long, this is what it would look like in a really, really short version. (Thanks David)
00:51 - REVOLT ON THE ARAB STREET: In two weeks’ time I will go to Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt for lectures. And I will go there in interesting times. I agree with Thomas Friedman that it is beginning to look like some sort of tipping point has been reached in the Middle East. The voters’ defiance of the terrorists in Iraq seems to have changed the dynamics in the whole region. We have seen the rebirth of the peace process in Israel/Palestine, and the people’s amazing revolt in Lebanon, which has overthrown the government and might force Syria out. In this context, Saudi Arabia’s local elections and Mubarak’s commitment to accept some political opposition in Egypt seem like parts of a bigger trend.
As Michael Barone has documented, this is changing minds on the Middle East even in the most resistant group, Western intellectuals. Perhaps democracy knows no borders. (Thanks Peter)
Of course things might still go terribly wrong, but just imagine – what if we have reached 1989 of the Middle East? Everybody said that nothing could be changed in Eastern Europe, that the system was stable. And then suddenly, the whole oppressive machinery was completely swept away, just because some people dared to say no, and that gave others the courage to speak their minds, and then suddenly everybody dared to. Looking back, it all seem so logical, all the signs were evident before the collapse. Perhaps we see those signs in the Middle East right now. Just imagine.
21:23 - DESTROYING AN INDUSTRY: When industries leave Sweden for Eastern Europe or China a lot of people ask what Swedes are going to do in the future. We don’t know of course. About three quarters of all the goods and services we use today didn’t exist in any form 100 years ago. And the jobs of the future will be to produce and sell things that don’t exist today.
But we know one thing for sure: Health care will be one of the absolutely most important growth industries of the future, as long as we open up the industry for profit-driven companies and private investments. And that’s why one of the most stupid and ignorant decisions of the present Swedish government is the so called “stop law”, which forbids Swedish regions from buying health care from pro-profit hospitals. They just got support from the greens – who are faithful to their traditional vision of a zero-growth economy. Perhaps they should expand the slogan to “zero growth and lousy health care”.
11:43 - MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS: Can money buy happiness? No, say some researchers who see that happiness has not grown in most Western countries in the last 50 years, despite growing wealth. Yes, I say, since one cause of happiness is the belief in a better future – something people regained after the war, and the growth that ensued. Every country that has jumped to a high and constant rate of growth has seen happiness level rise simultaneously. That material improvements since then does not led to substantially more happiness does not make them worthless – they are one of the reasons why happiness remain at that high level. I write briefly on this in Dagens Handel, a theme I will develop in my forthcoming book.