|GlobLog - April 2005
A direct link to each entry is obtained by using the button below the entry.|
19:09 - THE 2005 GLOBALIZATION INDEX:
The world couldn´t agree on free trade reforms at the WTO, and the Iraq war created deep fissures between countries. What does that matter, as long as globalisation is created from below, by people who travel, communicate, buy, sell, and invest across borders? The fifth edition of the Globalization Index from A T Kerney/Foreign Policy shows that globalisation is just fine, and has survived what Stiglitz called "a disaster for globalisation".
Singapore is the most globalised country in the world right now, just ahead of Ireland, Switzerland, United States and the Netherlands. Sweden is in eight place and Iran in last place as usual.
Most interesting is to compare this interesting index with other factors. Foreign Policy writes:
"Comparing the index with Freedom House’s annual rankings of political rights and civil liberties in countries worldwide, we found that they work together quite nicely: There is a strong positive relationship between globalization and political freedom. Globalization may also be one of the best ways of keeping politicians honest, as more globalized countries have far lower levels of perceived corruption, as measured by Transparency International."
11:13 - CRIME - WE´RE AN EXPORTER:
Many expected that EU expansion one year ago would result in a wave of crime when poor eastern Europeans came to Sweden and other countries to steal. But according to the Swedish police that didn´t happened. Instead imported crime has actually been reduced since then. Criminals already knew their way here, and didn´t benefit from open borders. The exception to the rule goes in the other direction - Swedish criminal MC-gangs are right now expanding among our Eastern neighbours.
00:29 - RISKY?:
Today president Bush explained the case for private pension accounts. The cartoonists Cox & Forkum do it more forcefully here.
00:11 - DAGENS INTELLEKTUELLA MIGRATION:
"Jag startade den här bloggen som någon sorts socialdemokrat. Jag kallade mig ´höger´ men ansåg nog att (s) hade rätt i själva systemfrågan. Den som följde min USA-rapportering minns kanske att jag ganska entusiastiskt stödde John Kerry. George W. Bush var huvudsakligen ond. Jag var i själva verket beroende av ett ganska provinsiellt vänsterperspektiv.Men det sätt på vilket USA-valet skildrades i Sverige fick mig att undra över en del saker. Man kan nog säga att min världsbild ruckades. Hur kunde det komma sig att ingen fattade vad valet handlade om? Varför inplacerades allt i myter? Jag började söka efter motbilder."
- Bloggaren Oskar Lidåker beskriver sin pågående intellektuella resa.
00:01 - IT´S NOT THE IMMIGRATION, STUPID:
"Conservative hopes of a good result on Thursday rest heavily on the hope that their stand on the issue of immigration, which has been one of the dominant themes of the election, will connect with swing voters in key marginals. The evidence of the polls is that this is unlikely.
To start with the Tories have had a big lead on the issue for a long time - and yet have trailed Labour on voting intention. In other words many people were already of the view, before the campaign started, that the Conservatives had the best approach to immigration, but nonetheless intended to vote Labour. This is simply because immigration is not an important enough issue in the minds of most voters to be the decisive factor in determining how they vote. During the campaign, polls have continued to bear this out - despite Conservative efforts to make the issue more salient by making it such a prominent part of their message. Only 12% of voters say the issue is a significant factor in deciding how they will vote and they are already heavily disproportionately Tory voters."
- The UK research institute Populus
explains why Tories will lose - again.
23:44 - IF YOU COULD VOTE FOR ELECTION ADS:
The British might have strange political parties, but they do have great election ads (via Sullivan).
11:46 - THE SATELLITE DISH REVOLUTION:
Yesterday I presented my briefing paper on the Arab Spring (only in Swedish). I write about why the obstacles to development in the region are not religious beliefs, but authoritarian governments and a lack of economic freedom, and I write about how this might be changing as we speak - with elections in Palestine and Iraq, the cedar revolution in Lebanon, protests in Egypt and other places. And I also explain how this development has been dependent on the change in American policies, and the globalisation of communication and information - above all, the revolution of the satellite dish, which spreads the word about elections, protests and the other things the government media would like to keep hidden from the people.
It is too early to say how things will turn out, but it is not too early to conclude that those were wrong who said that Arabs are not interested in freedom. Those who said that it is arrogant to export our western system of democracy to the Middle East were arrogant in believing that democracy is a western system.
Claes Arvidsson reviews my paper approvingly in Svenska Dagbladet today.
23:58 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SADDAM:
"For years before 2003, a day like this (the 28th of April) was one of the worst days of the year. We were forced to watch disgusting theatrical celebrations showing Iraqis happily and cheerfully celebrating Saddam´s birthday. While today I was following Iraq´s birth with true joy and hope and instead of trying to avoid facing the TV screen like I used to do in the past, today I was flipping channels like crazy trying to find more and more details about this great event.
May Iraqis enjoy their emerging democracy and may the world see the fruits of Iraqi freedom."
at Iraq the model.
16:06 - IRAQ HAS A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT:
17 Shiites, 8 Kurds, 6 Sunnis and one Christian. That´s the new democratic Iraqi government, which was approved by the national assembly today. And it´s a fantastic step towards a democratic and peaceful Iraq.
Don´t forget that few expected this. Important commentators expected that Iraq´s population wouldn´t be interested in democracy, and would let their country slip into a civil war. New York Times wrote that the election looks like the beginning of a "worst-case scenario", and in Dagens Nyheter, Mohammad Reza Ashouri wrote that the election was the beginning of "the Iraqis´ nightmare".
Even though things begin to look better now, it is too early to say that they were wrong. But that´s not the point. The point is that they were certainly too quick in spreading their nightmare scenarios.
10:57 - JOACHIM VOGEL DECEIVES THE AUDIENCE:
One of the difficulties with live debates is that you have to trust your opponent. You don´t have the time to check figures and statistics, so if they say "believe me", you have to take their word for it and continue the debate with these figures as a background. But that also means that someone who abuses that trust completely undermines his credibility in the future.
According to a very interesting article by Maria Rankka in smedjan.com, Professor Joachim Vogel at SCB seems to do that. At the debate I wrote about here he showed a graph of child poverty in several countries to prove that the US is a bad country (US had the highest proportion). Someone in the audience said that this didn´t prove much, because it is a relative poverty measure, and a rich but unequal country would show more poverty than a country in which everybody are equally poor.
Vogel replied that the person didn´t understand the graph, and said several times in a very arrogant tone that he should read what it says on the graph - that poverty is 50 percent of the "common median", and he assured us that the median was common for all the countries - therefore an absolute measure. Well, Rankka checked the study and it turns out that common median was the median for all the households in the country - therefore a relative measure.
There are two alternatives: Either the tax-funded Professor Vogel has no idea what his graphs are about, but pretends to by raising his voice when he is challenged - or he is lying. I don´t know what is worse.
01:30 - AT LAST I UNDERSTAND ESBATI:
Sometimes a word like "neo-liberalism" is used just as an invective by the opponents, synonymous with "horrors". Sometimes it says a little bit more than that, and then it might reveal the thinking of the person who says it. Swedish communist blogger Ali Esbati writes that Iran under former (and future?) Rafsanjani has experienced "neo-liberal reforms" and "economic liberalisation", and that this causes misery.
"Neo-liberal"? Since when? According to the Index of Economic Freedom, Iran is one of only 12 countries with a "repressed" economy, just behind Uzbekistan, just ahead of Cuba. It gets the lowest possible score on for example property rights protection, regulation and government intervention. It is ok for Ebasti to characterise Iran as a neo-liberal economy - provided that he also thinks that Cuba and North Korea are laissez-faire economies.
But in Esbati´s text, you see what he´s getting at. He writes that many of the new businesses that were allowed "are controlled by Rafsanjani himself and by his family and friends". I see - someone grants himself a government-protected monopoly and makes a lot of money by stealing from the people, that´s what Esbati thinks of as "neo-liberalism". If he thinks that this is what we are proposing, at last I understand why he fights us so vigorously.
15:46 - SKANDALFOKUS:
Testa din kunskap om socialdemokratins skandaler. (Själv fick jag 15 rätt av 17 möjliga.)
15:26 - VÄLLJUD FRÅN SVENSKT NÄRINGSLIV:
"Vår beredskap att ha goda relationer med alla partier, alla regeringar har sina gränser. Vi har inget intresse av att göras till gisslan i ett politiskt spel utan seriösa avsikter. Kraften i vårt långsiktiga, grundläggande budskap får inte bli ställt på undantag i något läge. ´Fördel Sverige´ gäller i alla lägen. Jag har som regeringstjänsteman och riksbankschef sett detta politiska spel. Jag vet vad det handlar om. Jag kan skilja på det seriösa och det demagogiska. Jag låter mig inte skrämmas av buller från den politiska maktens män och kvinnor."- Kommentar från Svenskt Näringslivs nye VD Urban Bäckström.
13:21 - SYRIA DRAGS ITS FEET:
I rejoiced too soon. The 14 000 Syrian troops have left Lebanon, but according to a UN report, covert Syrian intelligence operatives still remain. They have closed official buildings, but have taken over headquarters of parties affiliated with Syria and privately rented apartments. This is very troubling since the Syrian government is interested in provoking sectarian conflicts in Lebanon, for example via terrorist attacks, and apparently they still have the means to do so.
There is also reason to be disappointed with the UN report, since it omitted an assessment that Syrian military intelligence share responsibility for the assasination of former prime minister Hariri. (Thanks Peter)
10:01 - STILL TRUE TO HIS OLD PARTY:
”- When did you leave the communist party?
- I didn´t leave it at all. The Soviet Communist Party ceased to exist. I took my party card and put it in the drawer.”
- Russia´s President Putin, quoted in DN
09:39 - POLITICS AT ITS WORST:
As I have written before, France thinks the invasion of Chinese textiles is worse than the threats of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. No wonder, in the first three months of this year, after the quotas were abolished, the imports grew 50 percent, and the prices came down by 19 percent.
Nothing new there. French protectionists always hate low prices for the consumers, what´s new is that the EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, is on their side and proposes new quotas against China - not because he believes in them, but because he wants to save Chirac from losing the referendum on the EU constitution in the end of May.
09:47 - SYRIA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING:
The unthinkable has happened. Syrian forces have left Lebanon. For almost three decades, Syria controlled Lebanon’s politics, put their own candidates in important places, assassinated threats and tortured opponents. But now they have been forced out by street protests by one million Lebanese (almost a quarter of the population), and the unity of the international community. For once, France stood up to a dictatorship, probably partly because Chirac was a personal friend of Hariri, the former prime minister who was assassinated by Syria, which started the protests. In a world of instant communications and satellite television, despots no longer get away with murder. And one thing that sets Lebanon apart from its neighbours is that the media is not government controlled.
And now Syria’s rulers should be a bit concerned. Suddenly the neighbourhood is being rearranged dramatically. Syria is surrounded by the democracies Turkey, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq, and by Jordan, which is being reformed. And protests suddenly appear on the streets of Damascus as well...
11:02 - THE POPE AND THE STATE:
Sometimes, the new Pope can be interpreted in liberal ways:
”[The Christian faith] was the first to break the identification of state and religion and thus to remove from the state its claim to totality; by differentiating faith from the sphere of the state it gave man the right to keep secluded and reserved his or her own being with God...”
- Benedict XVI
But when you listen a bit more, you realise that this is just a way of saying that the government shouldn´t interfer with religion. This is not separation between church and state - this is a one-way street:
"The Church must make claims and demands on public law and cannot simply retreat into the private sphere."
- Benedict XVI
09:19 - DEFENDING TOLERANCE AND OPENNESS - IT TAKES A GREEDY PROFITEER:
"Confederation of British Industry director general Sir Digby Jones said a limit [on immigration] would damage flexibility as skills needs constantly changed...
´If we have a cap of any sort it will tie businesses´ hands from the flexibility which is, after all, the hallmark of the British labour market. So we are not in favour of a cap.´
´To say we are going to cap them at a certain figure, then, frankly, unless that figure was so enormous we would say ´you are tying our hands when you don´t need to´.´
Sir Digby said every 1% increase in immigration brought a 1.5% increase in national wealth and that 97% of immigrants found work straight away.
´If it was not for immigrant labour, especially in leisure, in tourism, in agriculture, in construction, then frankly many of our businesses would not have the workers we need,´ he added."
- BBC News
09:11 - FLAT TAXES VS STRING THEORIES:
"Hey, folks, let´s take a stand on taxes. The tax code has become harder to understand than Ozzy Osbourne and Bob Dylan debating string theory in Aramaic."
- Comedian Dennis Miller - via the new Danish free-market group blog Punditokraterne
23:15 - NYA (S)LAGORD:
I dag fattade jag äntligen. Det stod till slut klart för mig vilket sossarnas nya slagord är.
De har ju haft problem ett tag. "Solidaritet" funkar inte riktigt med nästan 20 procents arbetslöshet. "Jämlikhet" är lite svårt att ta i sin mun när man kämpat för övergångsregler och kastar ut byggjobbare från fattiga grannländer. "Rättvisa" är knappast att tänka på när varje arbetande svensk tvingas betala 30 000 kronor om året för alla som är sjuka respektive "sjuka".
Men de har ett alternativ: "Ordning och reda". Jag förstod det först i dag, när på en och samma dag Wanja Lundby-Wedin förklarade att ordning och reda på arbetsmarknaden förutsätter att vi hindrar lettiska arbetare från att komma hit, och migrationsminister Barbro Holmberg förklarade att ordning och reda i asylsystemet förutsätter att vi kastar ut apatiska flyktingbarn.
"Ordning och reda" - så enkelt och genialiskt för ett parti som har tappat bort värderingarna och bara har maktbegäret kvar. Det säger inget om vilken typ av ordning som är god, rättvis eller produktiv, utan det säger helt enkelt att stabilitet är bra. Stopp och belägg, inga yttre hot, inga experiment, ingen utveckling och inte för mycket frihet - ordning och reda kan man ju som bekant ha även i ett fängelse.
För egen del kan jag bara associera till Thoreau: "De som verkligen älskar lag och ordning är de som iakttar den även när staten bryter mot den."
14:43 - STOCKHOLM SPECTACLE:
Last Thursday, Stefan Jonsson wrote an incomprehensbile article about Stockholm Spectator in DN, accusing them of "verbal violence", and questioning if they are really interested in checking facts and news stories, because they seem so angry and right-wing. He never mentioned the embarassing fact Spectator became famous when exposing plagiarism at...DN. And he never presents any quotes to substantiate his sweeping accusations. The only example he gives is that they criticised him for praising Sartre without mentioning Sartre´s totalitarian views. But that was a very relevant piece without personal attacks (compare Jonsson´s misrepresentation with the real post).
Today Stockholm Spectator responds in Expressen. And they go straight to the point - people like Jonsson, who control the old media is terrified by the fact that blogs begin to challenge and criticise them.
18:26 - PUH!:
HAX rapporterar att de liberala tryckte tillbaka de rasistiska kuppmakarna vid Skattebetalarnas stämma i Malmö. Bra jobbat alla som åkte dit, och särskilt Tobias Sjö, som organiserade motkrafter, förtjänar mångas varma tack.
12:05 - FAIR GRADES:
A couple of days ago, Swedish private schools were strongly criticised for giving their students better grades. Unfair, said the critics. After having looked at the results from standardised tests, Skolverket - the Swedish National Agency for Education - explains why: Students in private schools simply perform better.
Now we´re just waiting for the school minister, Ibrahim Baylan, to do his old trick: explain that these facts shouldn´t have been released, and force the agency to classify them.
10:52 - FRANCE ONLY APPROVES OF SOME CHINESE INVASIONS:
"The anti-secession law is completely compatible with the position of France"
- France´s prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
backs China´s threat of invading Taiwan. (Thanks Pär)
"There was clearly a brutal and unacceptable invasion of the European market and of the American market by Chinese textiles"
- France´s president Jacques Chirac
condemns China´s cheap clothes.
18:30 - TILL MALMÖ!:
Om du är medlem i Skattebetalarnas förening och står i valet och kvalet om du ska orka åka till stämman i Malmö i morgon: åk! Det handlar inte bara om att rädda en av Sveriges få liberala organisationer. Det handlar också om att hindra att några av Sveriges vidrigaste rasistiska organisationer lägger beslag på 100 miljoner kronor att sprida hat för.
Läs Marie Söderqvist i Expressen och Ulf Laurin i Svenska Dagbladet om detta.
16:48 - WHAT THE UK ELECTION IS NOT ABOUT - UNFORTUNATELY:
”Michael Howard´s Tories profess to disagree with this Labour-Lib Dem agenda but it is a disagreement only at the margins: they would increase public spending by 4% a year rather than Labour´s 5%, which is hardly life-transforming for the British economy (or voter); and the tax burden would rise under them too, from 38.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004/5 to 40.1% in 2007/8 - which is only 0.3 percentage points less than Labour plans…
The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) now expects total government spending in Britain to reach a massive 45% of GDP this year, 45.2% next year. The speed and scale of this transformation from market economy to social democracy can be seen from the fact that in 2000 public spending was only 37.5% of GDP…
There was a time when Mr Blair sounded as if he might champion a credible post-Thatcher strategy which built on her successes and mitigated her excesses; but that was quickly ditched once tax-and-spend Mr Brown got his way. It should be the natural agenda for a radical Liberal party; but the Lib Dems under Scottish social democrat Charles Kennedy have swallowed the collectivist agenda hook, line and sinker. Thus does Britain sleep walk to social democracy, failed European-style, without voters even being offered an alternative by any of the major parties.”
- Fraser Nelson, The Business
15:49 - THE NEW ANTI-GLOBALISATION POPE:
“’The world economy is totally dominated by materialist principles,’ according to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in an interview with the Italian Catholic agency SIR, said that world economic affairs are driven by a form of economic liberalism which ‘specifically excludes the heart.’ More important, he continued, this outlook also excludes ‘the highest faculty of human intelligence,’ which is ‘the possibility of seeing God, of introducing the light of moral responsibility, love, and justice into the worlds of work, of commerce, and of politics.’
- Catholic World News
Wait a minute? The system that has liberated more people than ever from poverty and hunger “excludes the heart”? Says the guy who tries to convince African countries, plagued by AIDS, to stop using condoms.
By the way, he looks suspiciously like the Emperor.
13:14 - PROPHECY:
Today I discussed the social democrats on morning television. I was asked why prime minister Persson recently suggested that he might step down, since he didn´t mean anything by it. Obviously because he didn´t want us to discuss other matters: For example, the fact that it was about to be revealed that his preferred successor, Pär Nuder, created thousands of fake members in the young social democrats in the 80´s, to get more government funding.
Ursula Berge, whom I discussed with, wondered why the media don´t report about how the opposition party leades probably did the same thing during their days in the youth organisations. I agree, that´s strange. But perhaps it´s too soon. Janne Josefsson will probably do a documentary about it two days ahead of the next election...
10:57 - INTRODUCTION:
On his blog, Johnny Munkhammar has published his excellent introduction from the debate yesterday.
08:42 - HAPPINESS AND THE WELFARE STATE:
Yesterday I visited this interesting debate about ideology production at SCB, Swedish statistics (something I wrote about here). In their introductions, Munkhammar and Fölster strongly documented the pro-government bias in SCB´s articles. The rest was a pretty traditional political debate between two camps, which really proved the point.
In focus this time around were studies of happiness and well-being. The argument from Joachim Vogel and his colleagues at SCB is that happiness does not seem to have increased much in the western world since 1950, despite economic growth. Therefore, we should not be too interested in growth, and instead build a stronger welfare state. The obvious problem for Vogel is that you can also say that happiness does not seem to have increased much in the western world since 1950, despite a rapid expansion of the welfare state.
Fölster did that at the debate. The first time around Vogel avoided the question. Then the moderator repeated it, and Vogel said that he didn´t understand the question. The third time the moderator raised it, Vogel responded to something else (about the relationship between equality and happiness). So either he doesn´t understand such a basic problem to his case, or he understood it all too well, and had to avoid it.
17:46 - FIGHT THE POWER:
Tax is a way for politicians to steal from the people. Therefore we should introduce a flat tax of 15 percent, and abolish all other taxes. Says who? Sweden´s smartest and most libertarian Marxist, Boris Benulic
, who says that the demand for a flat tax would be the only thing that could make him demonstrate on May 1 this year.
16:56 - SWEDEN´S MOST POPULAR BLOG:
I just returned from a debate in Lund, and found that the winner of the reader´s choice of best blog has been revealed by the magazine Internet World. According to this, I have the most popular blog in Sweden. Considering the competition, I am very honoured, and I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to you - those of my readers who voted in this competition. I am especially happy that many of the voters appreciate that I try to avoid hot air and empty rhetoric and instead focus on facts and try be fair to the opponents. Something I appreciate in other blogs.
Here is the list and here is an interview with me about it.
11:38 - 22 780 FLATS PUT TO BAD USE:
How do we know that we have too many public authorities in Sweden? Because the government lost count a few years ago. They have actually given Statskontoret – the Swedish Agency for Public Management – the task to count them!
Fredrick Federley doesn’t wait, he makes a heroic attempt to count them right now. According to him we’ve got 238 authorities with 240 000 employees. If we include the regional ones as well we have 1-2 public officials per 20 citizens. The auhorities use 1 139 000 square meters of office space in central Stockholm. That roughly amounts to 22 780 flats (50 square meters each). In a place where the rent is 66 percent higher than the average in Sweden.
10:00 - NORTH KOREAN FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS:
Pyongyangites fight with police over the outcome of a soccer match. Perhaps a sign that not even the world´s worst terror regime is immune to popular resentment... (Thanks Fredrik)
11:09 - DAGENS SURREALISM:
"Är det inte långsökt att sätta likhetstecken mellan glassen 88 och Heil Hitler? - Det tycker jag inte alls, säger Elisabeth Kaleebi [från Antidiskrimineringsbyrån i Malmö]. Namnvalen kan knappast vara en slump. - 88 står för Heil Hitler, säger Kristina Larsson. GB avvisar alla anklagelser om dolda budskap i glassnamnen. - 88:an kom 1964, säger Petronella Warg, pressansvarig på GB. Mig veterligen föregicks inte namnvalet av några rasistiska diskussioner.Tänker ni byta namn på glassarna? - Knappast. Vi kan inte backa för vad som helst. Vissa hävdar ju att vår isglass Igloo Cola anspelar på kokainmissbrukande eskimåer... "- Aftonbladet berättar om Noggerdebattens fortsatta urspårning.
10:01 - WHEN HATRED TOWARD MEN MASQUERADES AS IDEOLOGY:
Since she died, radical feminist Andrea Dworkin has been portrayed by the Swedish media as someone who fought violence against women, and thought that there was a link between pornography and rape. But that´s not what made her special, it was that she thought that sex and pornography IS rape. Here are some interesting descriptions:
"Whatever her defenders may say, [Andrea] Dworkin was a relentless preacher of hatred toward men (´Under patriarchy, every woman´s son is her betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman´ -- Our Blood, 1976, p. 20), masculinity, and male sexuality -- which she described as ´intrinsically drunk on its contempt for all life, but especially for women´s lives´ (Letters from a War Zone, 1989, p. 14)…
In the 1976 book, Our Blood (p. 13), Dworkin had this to say about a feminist transformation of sexuality: ´For men I suspect that this transformation begins in the place they most dread -- that is, in a limp penis. I think that men will have to give up their precious erections and begin to make love as women do together.´"
- Cathy Young
at Reason´s blog.
"I´m not surprised that so many on the social right liked Andrea Dworkin. Like Dworkin, their essential impulse when they see human beings living freely is to try and control or stop them - for their own good. Like Dworkin, they are horrified by male sexuality, and see men as such as a problem to be tamed. Like Dowkin, they believe in the power of the state to censor and coerce sexual feedom. Like Dworkin, they view the enormous new freedom that women and gay people have acquired since the 1960s as a terrible development for human culture."
- Andrew Sullivan
01:03 - IT´S EXPENSIVE TO BE HEALTHY:
Every day 14 percent of all Swedes of working age are not working because they are sick, ”off sick” or on early retirement. For the first time I´ve seen a figure on how much this sickness costs the average worker: 30 000 SEK a year (€ 3 260). This is about 1,5 times the average monthly wage. (Thanks Fredrik)
00:33 - NORTON TIERRA:
One of the best Swedish bloggers just revealed his true identity...
18:11 - OBSERVING BLOGS:
The business intelligence company Observer has published a report on blogs in the next Swedish election. Their conclusion is that blogs will matter a lot.
The report is based on interviews with a lot of people, including bloggers, including me. My basic message was that bloggers will create a healthy division of labour. When traditional media has too little time and resources to prepare and to check facts, thousands of bloggers will contribute their knowledge and fact-checking to the election debates. And in that case, it is not safe to use lies and distortions to win votes any more. Politicians beware.
(Here is Observer’s list of the ten most important Swedish blogs.)
17:44 - THE EXTENT OF IRANIAN DISCONTENT:
While reading on the situation in Iran, I stumbled across an official poll from June 2003, published by the daily Iranian newspaper "Yas-i No". Only 13 percent of the respondents were happy with the current political system. No less than 45 percent wanted changes in the system - even if this came about through foreign intervention!
17:11 - DAGENS SVT-MYT:
”Följande påstod man: [i Kulturnyheternas inslag om bibliotekskrisen i USA, 11 april] - Att det är bibliotekskris i USA - Att de tre biblioteken i staden Salinas ska läggas ner. - Att mer än 250 bibliotek har lagts ner i USA de senaste två åren. - Att ovanstående är att vänta sig i ett land där presidenten skryter med att inte läsa. Reportern Lisa Carlsson belägger inte något av påståendena, den enda källan är en förfördelad bibliotekarie vid Steinbeckmuseet i Salinas – det går inte att vara mera partisk. Så hur ligger det egentligen till? I USA finns det 118 000 bibliotek, vilket skulle motsvara fyratusen i Sverige. Av dessa är drygt sextontusen folkbibliotek, vilket innebär att USA per capita har nästan dubbelt så många som Sverige… Av de amerikanska folkbiblioteken har dock bara två stycken lagts ned de senaste två åren… Inslaget i Kulturnyheterna meddelade kategoriskt att alla tre biblioteken [i Salinas] ska stängas i en sändning fem dagar efter att alla inblandade visste att motsatsen gällde… Presidenten har i och för sig knappast något med biblioteken att göra, men George W Bush tycker om att läsa. Han pratar vitt och brett om de böcker han läser och är rena propagandamaskinen för bok- och biblioteksväsendet. Presidenten är dessutom gift med en mycket aktiv före detta bibliotekarie. (Varifrån kommer Kulturnyheternas påstående att han skryter med att inte läsa? Fikarummet på SVT? Källa, please.)… Av de fyra påståenden som Kulturnyheterna levererade är alltså tre falska och det fjärde lögn.” - Roland Poirier Martinsson avslöjar den antiamerikanska kampanjjournalistiken i SVT:s Kulturnyheterna, Expressen.
07:41 - NYT ON EUROPE, TIMBRO AND ME:
In an interesting article in New York Times, Bruce Bawer quotes the work of me and Timbro to show that the European countries aren´t as rich as our politicians would like us to believe.
"After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and slightly ahead of Connecticut. The next European country on the list was Ireland, down at 41st place out of 66; Sweden was 14th from the bottom (after Alabama)...
Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi."
The Timbro study Bawer refers to is EU vs USA (pdf), by Fredrik Bergström and Robert Gidehag.
The paper by me is From an Unholy Alliance to a Concert of Powers (pdf).
And here is a shorter article by me on the rise and relative fall of the Swedish economy.
12:29 - DAGENS CITAT:
"Någon gång i framtiden, när vår egen politiska epok skall utvärderas, framstår möjligen detta som borgerlighetens viktigaste insats:Att genom valsegrar då och då hindra socialdemokratin från att bli fullkomligt galen." - Per T Ohlsson slår huvudet på spiken.
11:32 - TEN YEARS WITH WTO:
The Sunday radio program Godmorgon, världen! asked me to evaulate the World Trade Organization´s first ten years. My conclusion is that if WTO was a Shakespeare play, it would be Much Ado about Nothing. Despite progress in some areas (some rule of law in trade policies and the Chinese membership) WTO has failed in its overriding task - to liberalise trade. The big free trade reforms were implemented before WTO, under the GATT. Here you can read my comments (in Swedish).
16:03 - THE ECONOMIST HAS SEEN THE FUTURE OF TAXES - AND IT WORKS:
15:55 - KONSTEN ATT MISSFÖRSTÅ EN TEXT:
Det har blivit mycket svårare att syssla med slagkraftig polemik mot andras kolumner, sen texterna börjat publiceras på nätet, och man tydligt ser hur skribenter medvetet förvränger motståndarnas argument för att de ska bli lättare att välta över ända. På Expressens ledarsida i dag skriver Linna Johansson så här:
”häromdagen tog Sofia Nerbrand över stafettpinnen på [Svenska Dagbladets ledarsida] genom att förklara varför världen ser ut som den gör genom att åter babbla mäns genialitet och kvinnors medelmåttighet: ’Författarinnan Camille Paglia har fångat detta genom att påstå att det inte finns några kvinnliga Jack the Ripper, men inte heller några kvinnliga Mozart.’…
Sofia, säg hej till Jane Toppan, samtida med Jack the Ripper och med över hundra förgiftade patienter på sitt samvete”
Låt oss jämföra detta med vad Nerbrand egentligen skrev, men som Johansson avstår från att citera. Nerbrand skrev om att ”standardavvikelsen är större bland män - det finns fler män som är låg- och högpresterande på en rad områden.” Linna sammanfattar det som att ”åter babbla mäns genialitet och kvinnors medelmåttighet”. Notera att hon därmed inte bara döljer att Nerbrand skriver om en statistisk skillnad mellan grupperna, inte mellan varje individ i grupperna, utan att hon också döljer att det inte bara är fler hög- utan också fler lågpresterande bland männen.
Och hur var det med Johanssons geniala framdragande av en kvinnlig massmördare, som grundskott mot Nerbrands text? Jo, det hade knappast varit lika verkningsfullt om hon hade citerat vad Nerbrand skrev sen:
”Författarinnan Camille Paglia har fångat detta genom att påstå att det inte finns några kvinnliga Jack the Ripper, men inte heller några kvinnliga Mozart. Detta påstående innebär inte att det inte finns några kvinnor som är mördare eller musikaliska underbarn, för det gör det givetvis.”
13:30 - A SECOND OPINION:
Nicklas Lundblad thinks I´ve got a point in my last post on file sharing, and he writes interestingly on how companies and owners of films and music would be able to compete efficiently with the new networks if they decide to.
15:40 - I AM BEING SHARED:
For a long time, people have asked me where they can get hold of my film Globalisation is good. My response has always been that you can´t. We have been negotiating with the company that owns it, but it seems very complicated to clear all the rights, and so far we have been unsuccessful.
But now I just learned that someone hat put a bootleg of the film on the web, both on UKNova and on Pirate Bay. So I thought that this is an excellent opportunity to explain what I think about file sharing.
On principle I think it is wrong to distribute someone´s film without their permission. In this case, I don´t mind, I am only interested in getting my message out there, but there are others involved, musicians and so on, who won´t be paid for their work.
On the other hand: This is a new technology that exists, and it would be unjust to outlaw or control the use of it because some people abuse it. Instead the companies will have to make their own distribution as smooth and efficient as possible, in order to compete. If they don´t, they will lose.
Just take my film as an example. It was shown on UK television almost two years ago, and ever since then we have tried to obtain the permission to distribute it. And we have failed. In that case I think it is our own fault that someone gets fed up and takes care of the distribution the underground way.
11:02 - BRÅKET I FP:
Jo, jag tillhör också dem som hyser skepsis till förslaget om automatisk utvisning för utländska medborgare som begår grova brott, som folkpartiets integrationsgrupp har föreslagit. Inte för att det skulle vara så principvidrigt i sig - i jämförelse med verkliga förgripligheter som fp:s övergångsregler eller socialdemokraternas och moderaternas utvisning av apatiska flyktingbarn tycker jag att detta är lappri. Men vissa formuleringar ("gästfrihet") och placeringen av kravet i just ett integrationsprogram ger ett olämpligt intryck. Det är lite som om ett familjepolitiskt program skulle betona de straff som ska utdömas för pedofili och för barn som spårar ur. Det hör väl mer hemma i det kriminalpolitiska programmet, annars skickar det ut konstiga signaler om vad man tycker är viktigast på familjeområdet. Dessutom tar det uppmärksamheten från ett program (pdf) som i övrigt är spännande och bra.
Men det är något jag inte förstår: När en rad fp-politiker kritiserar förslaget för att det svajjar i principfrågan vill jag instinktivt hålla med dem. Men när man läser vidare ser man att de också är emot integrationsgruppens förslag att luckra upp las, eftersom las diskriminerar mot invandrare, och så här beskriver DN deras argument:
"Erik Ullenhag och de knappt trettio som skrivit under motionen till landsmötet kan hålla med om att las gör det ännu svårare för invandrare att komma in på arbetsmarknaden. Men om alla under femtio år måste acceptera ett sämre anställningsskydd riskerar det i stället att göda invandrarfientliga strömningar, menar motionärerna."
Vänta lite nu. Var tog principerna vägen? Efter att först stolt och principiellt ha avvisat ett förslag för att det skickar "fel signaler", ska de i nästa andetag behålla diskriminering mot invandrare därför att det annars kan skapa rasistiska motreaktioner? Kan inte exakt samma argument användas för att förespråka övergångsregler, automatisk utvisning, ja, rent av minskad invandring? Riskerar inte öppenhet "att göda invandrarfientliga strömningar"? Där förlorade kritikerna i alla fall mig.
23:21 - A WORD OF CAUTION:
Why hasn´t there been any big terrorist attacks in the US since 11 September 2001? Thomas Friedman has a disturbing but realistic theory. The overriding concern for the Islamist terrorists in the last years has been to defeat America in the heart of their world - in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now it seems like they are failing. Especially since Iraqi voters have defied the terrorists, a democratically elected governmens is being formed and the casualty numbers keep coming down. Great news for Iraq. Bad news for the Jihadists. And that might make them desperate, and turn their attention back to the US:
"they may want to launch a spectacular, headline-grabbing act of terrorism in America that tries to mask, and compensate for, just how defeated they have become at home."
21:41 - A SEMINAR ON THREE OF MY FAVOURITE COUNTRIES:
Earlier today I visited an interesting SNS seminar on the Baltic states - three post-Soviet states that have implemented liberal economic policies, deregulated and cut taxes, and have since experienced very rapid growth rates. Here are some of the interesting things the experts explained:
- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are more economically fit for the euro, than many of the euro countries.
- Joining the euro is a mixed blessing - it´s good for the rest of Europe, since it might be influenced by Baltic policies, but might be bad for the Baltic countries since they might be inspired by the irresponsible policies of Germany and France.
- Swedish multinationals have more employees in the three Baltic states than in China.
- There is no sign of Baltic "social tourism", (people moving to Sweden to get our welfare benefits). People prefer staying in a poorer country where things get better every day, than in a rich country where it´s difficult to improve your life.
- The number of people who emigrate from Latvia has decreased from 15 000 in 1995 to 2 700 last year.
- But some try to get them to move. Two Finnish regions arrange tax-funded cocktail parties to attract Estonian doctors...
23:35 - HOTET FRÅN RINGPÄRMSMEKANISMERNA:
"En antikringgåendeundersökning har inletts av de antidumpningsåtgärder som gäller mot import av ringpärmsmekanismer från Kina, för att avgöra om åtgärderna kringgås genom handel via Laos."
- Kommerskollegium rapporterar om vad protektionismen egentligen skyddar oss mot.
22:54 - ADVISING SOCIAL DEMOCRATS:
Today I have given three lecture on three completely different subjects in Linköping. That´s the kind of day that almost ruins my voice.
In one of the lectures I talked about how I think that Sweden´s creativity and potential is being destroyed by the near monopoly the social democrats have on power, not because of their policies as such, but because institutions that should be independent begin to adapt to one mindset - media, universities, public administration, local politics, and so on. The room for independence and dissidents grow smaller. And therefore, we need a new government, just to change this suffocating climate.
A social democrat in the audience said that I had a point, but wanted to know what he was supposed to do about that. He couldn´t vote against his political convictions, could he? I reassured him that judging by the policies of the opposition - unfortunately - not much would change if they got power. So he could take that small risk...
16:50 - QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Asked last week how long he planned to remain in office, Zimbabwe´s President Robert Mugabe smiled and said he would hang on until he was 100. Fair enough. He has been in power for only 25 years, and he still looks sprightly for a man of 81. Zimbabweans have grown only twice as poor under his stewardship, so there is much work left to do. If the trend in life expectancy of the past decade were to continue for two more, then by the time the old despot retired, the average Zimbabwean would be dying before leaving high school.
It is unfair, of course, to extrapolate Zimbabwe´s future so crudely from its past. But it is not nearly so unfair as the parliamentary election that Mr Mugabe´s party, ZANU-PF, ´won´ last week."
- The Economist
10:02 - MAKE MONEY - NOT WAR:
The old rivals China and India have decided to resolve old border conflicts that led to war in 1962. For example, China has never recognised that Sikkim is a part of India, but yesterday their joint statement refers to "the Sikkim State of the Republic of India". This is because they want more trade and economic exchange. In 2000 Indian-Chinese trade was worth $3 billion, today it is almost $14 billion, and now they want to double it by 2010. Killing your customers is bad for business.
09:08 - WHAT TO PRINT:
Now that Spring is in the air, it is nice to print a couple of articles and go down to a café and do some reading. Here are some things worthy of being printed (but make sure to always cover up with an Economist):
– As one of my readers, Stefan, pointed out, since I quoted The Economist’s negative review
of Thomas Friedman’s new book, it is only fair that I also point to an excerpt
from the book as well. It is good as usual, but we get the point, and I am not sure if I want to read this for 496 pages.
– In Sydsvenskan, Per Svensson
recently wrote a wonderful article (in Swedish) on why it is not politically correct to admit that you are educated.
– Here is a reading-list
for the next Pope. (via I Chydenius fotspår
– Iran is now the biggest problem in a Middle East that is rapidly being transformed. Syria is on the defensive, and surrounded by democracies or soon-to-be-democracies – Turkey, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. But oil-rich Iran continue supporting Syria’s hardliners, financing terrorists, imprisoning dissidents, and developing nuclear weapons. Here are reports from Human Rights Watch
, the Student Movement
on-line, and here is a good, new Swedish blog on the subject, Fria Iranvänner
, worth following.
– And in these days of Feministiskt Initiativ, it is time to re-read Tage Danielsson’s Sagan om den rättvisa Gudrun
. (Thanks Per)
08:46 - LEADING BY EXAMPLE:
Recently we have seen large Chinese demonstrations against Japan´s reluctance to admit their brutal colonial deeds (for example 250 000 civilians murdered in Nanjing in 1937). That´s good. A country that does not face the facts about past atrocities cannot learn from them.
But why stop at demonstrations? It would be much more powerful if China led by example. Perhaps Japan would be inspired to admit what it did to the Chinese 68 years ago if China admits what it did to the Chinese 16 years ago?
01:51 - KNAPPAST ELITFEMINISTER:
Globaljuggler har sammanställt några av de fantastiska replikskiften Feministiskt initiativ har haft med journalister den senaste tiden. Tänk på att detta är de bästa och mest mediatränade statsfeministerna i landet. Hur är de som inte fick vara med?
00:03 - BJÖRK ON TREES:
Sometimes an article is completely useless because the author hasn´t bothered to check if the prejudices it is based upon have anything to do with reality or not. That is the case with Nina Björk´s article on environmentally destructive cardboard boxes for washing powder in DN today (not on-line). She ridicules the idea that it is "freedom" to have the freedom to buy such boxes, because they consume 18 000 trees annually, and if we keep buying them we´ll all die.
Björk spent more time polishing her formulations, than checking facts. As a matter of fact, in high income-countries there is no deforestation. On the contrary, the forest area has increased by 0,1 percent annually 1990-2000. Trees actually...er...well...grow on trees, as long as you replant them. Cardboard boxes don´t create deforestation - poverty, lack of property rights and inefficient agricultural methods do.
23:25 - PERSSON & RINGHOLM 29 KR:
Nicklas Lundblad cyklade förbi en snabbmatsrestaurang i Vaxholm, och hittade denna skylt:
Beställer man en Persson & Ringholm får man numera alltså en tjock grillad med bröd och en stor pucko...
10:46 - THE RISE OF RADICAL CENTRISM:
If you doubt my kind words about Fredrick Federley, take a look at the proposals from him and the rest of the board of the center youth, to be discussed at their assembly 12-15 May:
- Introduce a 20 percent flat tax.
- Replace social security as we know it with a system of no more than basic coverage.
- Abolish conscription.
- Don´t abolish nuclear power.
- Human rights are more important than national soverignity.
And remember that centern until recently was a green, rural, environmentalist-conservative party, united in its opposition to principles and nuclear energy and in favour of more regional subsidies. Now it seems like they are moving towards radical centrism. Wonderful.
16:37 - HOW NOT TO COLLAPSE: Yesterday, Nicklas Lundblad wrote an excellent article ((in Swedish) about Jared Dimanond´s book Collapse - about the collapse of societies and ecological systems in the past. The central point is this: Diamond argues in favour of more centralisation and control, for the simple reason that he only writes about bad examples. Of course it is easy to show how problems could have been avoided now that we know all facts, but the problem is that we rarely do when we have to make the decisions, and giving more power to someone at the top is a way to minimise the amount of information used for decision-making. So why don´t we look at the societies that survived, and what made that possible? The answer is often freedom - political, personal, economic.
(By the way, Diamond is an excellent author, and I loved his Guns, Germs and Steel.)
09:40 - EN SOM INTE KAN OCH EN SOM NÄSTAN KAN:
”Jag har aldrig velat bli politiker, det skulle jag aldrig klara av. Jag säger ju vad jag tycker.”
- Liza Marklund förklarar varför hon inte låtit sig lockas in i Feministiskt Initiativ, SvD 8 april. ”De lösningar som jag har funderat på passar inte att säga i tv, därför att jag kan tänka mig ganska, ganska så drastiska lösningar. Jag tycker att ni ska vara väldigt, väldigt nyfikna på det hela […] Men om vi ska hålla oss till demokratiska metoder så [fniss]… - Feministiskt Initiativs Tiina Rosenberg i SVT morgon 5 april (via Wolodarski)
01:48 - FEMINIST FANTASIES :
In the next Swedish election, a new feminist party will participate. And judging from their first appearences, they don’t really understand their own rhetoric about collective guilt and impersonal structures enforcing gender discrimination. In that case, why don’t make something up? Here is an interesting example, brought to you by my friend Mats:
The new party has said that they want to fight discrimination against women in health care. At first they mentioned that women had to wait a longer time for ambulances than men. But they could only refer to a preliminary study, and that one had already been refuted by a bigger study from Socialstyrelsen. So they had to quietly drop that.
In that case, they needed another example of discrimination in health care, to prove that there is structural discrimination, and therefore they said that women get less access to modern and expensive drugs than men. What they don’t mention is that there is a fairly reasonable explanation for this. When new drugs are tested fewer women participate in the tests, because of the risk that they are pregnant. Therefore, doctors are sometimes more cautious to prescribe new drugs to women, until they know that there are no side effects in clinical practice.
Despite this, the difference between access to the new drugs according to the study they refer to is marginal: 51.5 percent of the men vs 48.5 percent of the women.
Here is a bigger difference: The cost of the drugs women get is on average 20 percent higher than for men. The cost of health care for women is 20 percent higher than for men. And women live 4.5 years longer than men.
Imagine what they would have said that this proved if the figures had been the opposite…
16:16 - CLARIFICATION:
is right, Federely is not moved down from a place where the party members had put him, this was the result of their election. What I meant is that he is moved down from the place where he belongs. And the problem is that the opportunity to vote for our own candidates is limited by the absurd 8-percent barrier a candidate has to cross in order to make the votes count. In Stockholm, that takes a lot of votes. But I hope Federley gets them.
12:23 - CENTERN´S MISTAKE:
It’s difficult to find a party to vote for in the Swedish election next year. I can’t vote for moderaterna’s combination of cultural conservatism and less and less economic liberalism (pro-labour market regulation and pro-welfare state). Folkpartiet’s economic policy gets better, but at the same time they are becoming too populist, too much in favour of ”harsh measures” and actually voted in favour of some temporary restrictions for workers from new EU countries.
So this makes me want to vote for centern – the old rural party, which is being transformed into something resembling a liberal party, opposed to big government and in favour of open borders. They like agricultural subsidies, but that is now a matter for the EU, and doesn’t rule out a national vote for them.
But on Saturday, centern will end that temptation. Their best candidate by far, the young charismatic liberal Fredrick Federley is about to be moved down to second place on the Stockholm list for parliament (where they won’t get more than one seat). Who is the person they prefer to this brilliant man? Solveig Ternström. Because she has a "strong interest" in health care issues, and wants to “increase Stockholm’s popularity in the rest of the country”. And, oh, because she is a famous actor…
Does one have to start a party of one’s own to get the opportunity to vote for something serious in this country?
20:51 - ARAB HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT II:
Jean, one of my readers, points out that the Report also blames a lot of the problems in the region on Israel. That´s correct, Israel is mentioned as the first example of a "constraining regional and international environement", and that´s a recurrent theme in these reports. And it´s absurd. In what way does Israel´s occupation of Palestinian territory force Arab governments to abuse human rights and destroy economic freedom?
I think that Israel should withdraw from the occupied territories, but that´s beside the point in this context. The point here is that the region´s dictatorships always try to avoid criticism by talking about other things - and the UNDP helps them to get away with it.
The real problem in the Middle East, of course, is not the only democracy in the region, it´s the fact that it has been the only democracy. Don´t take my word for it. The Palestinians agree. According to the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, 59 percent of the Palestinians think that their biggest problem is poverty/unemployment or the corruption and lack of reform of the Palestinian authority. Only 31 percent think that Israel´s occupation is the biggest problem.
(And once more: This is a pity, since the AHDR-reports are important reading otherwise.)
16:40 - ARAB HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT:
Now the third edition of UNDP´s Arab Human Development Report has been published. Read it, this is a very good series of critical studies of the lack of freedom, human rights and economic development in the region, written by Arab scholars. At the same time, it´s worth noticing that it heavily criticies the war on Iraq: "the Iraqi people have emerged from the grip of a despotic regime that violated their basic rights and freedoms, only to fall under a foreign occupation that increased human suffering."
"Increased human suffering?" Excuse me? Compared to Saddam Hussein´s bloodthirsty regime? This is an unbelieavably ungenerous description, that I can´t believe that the authors believe in themselves, especially not after the succesful elections (even though it doesn´t cover that). A possible reason is that the authors know that they have to be critical to the West to be taken seriously in the region. In that case it is unserious tactics. Or perhaps they really believe this. In that case they just lost some of their credibility.
15:51 - CHINA´S LABOUR SHORTAGE:
A lot of people think that China has a constant over-supply of poor and willing workers, which means that wages won´t rise and that working conditions won´t improve. Here is a reality-check from New York Times:
"The world´s most populous nation, which has powered its stunning economic rise with a cheap and supposedly bottomless pool of migrant labor, is experiencing shortages of about two million workers in Guangdong and Fujian, the two provinces at the heart of China´s export-driven economy…
´It´s not the end of the great China manufacturing story,´ said Jonathan Anderson, the chief Asia-Pacific economist for UBS. ´But you´re no longer going to be talking about China having labor so radically cheap that it will capture all the investment flows. This is an opening for Vietnam, it´s an opening for India and Cambodia.´…
No one thinks China is running out of workers. But young migrant workers coveted by factories are gaining bargaining power and many are choosing to leave the low pay and often miserable conditions in Guangdong. In a nondemocratic China, it is the equivalent of ´voting with their feet.´"
As usual, liberation has come in the form of technology:
"In the past, these workers were largely cut off from the outside world, but now they use text messages or e-mail to check with friends at other factories about wages and treatment.
´I checked the Internet and learned that the pay level in Shanghai is better than here,´ Ms. Sheng said. Of the 30 workers who arrived with her three years ago, only 7 or 8 remain at the factory."
11:52 - DET TVÄRPOLITISKA FEMINISTPARTIET:
"Det skiljer inte så värst mycket från vänsterpartiets politik."- Gudrun Schyman om vad som skiljer plattformen för Feministiskt initiativ från hennes gamla parti."Då... [lång tvekan] ...röstade jag på vänsterpartiet"- Susanne Linde, som av Schyman lyfts fram som en person med borgerligt förflutet, om vad hon röstade på i senaste valet. (Från haja)
08:06 - HITTAT PÅ NÄTET:
Efter Johannes Paulus, vem blir Guds ställföreträdare på jorden? Det behövs alltså någon som inte drar sig för att försvara sin chef med vilka övernaturliga argument som helst, vad han än ställer till med. Marita Ulvskog?(smedjan.com har seriösare förslag.)
00:03 - OK, I´LL SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT THE POPE TODAY: So, Pope John Paul II is dead. Many think of him as a conservative opponent of sexual freedom and economic globalisation – and that is partly true, and a good reason not to approve of him.
But that perspective is too simple. He also happened to be one of the persons who brought communism down. And his other accomplishments must be seen in the context of the Catholic Church. And despite the fact that some Catholics have been of tremendous importance for Western civilisation (Aquinas springs to mind) it also has a tradition of murdering those who think differently and those who think more (scientists and "witches").
Here is one assessment of John Paul II by a sympathetic classical liberal, Gregory Gronbacher at the Acton Institute:
”[W]orldwide, Catholics find themselves in a dynamic, effective, and revitalized institution that, according to some, now ranks among the world’s foremost defenders of basic human rights. That our time has witnessed the amazing transformation of the Catholic Church from a staunch defender of the old-world political order to a democratic sympathizer is due in no small measure to the visionary leadership of John Paul II…
In Veritatis Splendor (’the splendor of truth’)…John Paul offers a vision of freedom rooted in the truth about human nature… the ground-breaking encyclical Centesimus Annus (‘one hundred years’) is the pinnacle of John Paul’s contributions to Catholic social teaching. The pope movingly addresses the colossal wreck of collectivism and socialism in former communist countries of Eastern Europe and attributes the failure of socialism to a fallacious anthropology that denies the liberty of man. In this way, the restraint of economic liberty leads to social disarray of all kinds. Most significantly, the pope, for the first time in the history of the modern Church, gives a limited endorsement of free markets.”
17:28 - NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE: Wow, that was close, but now my diary has been found (in my wardrobe actually, but don´t tell anyone, it´s too embarassing). So now I am in control of my life again and I know what I have to do. And the next thing is to go to the Utopian World Championship Gala and tell them why I don´t believe in utopias. Now.
15:48 - IRONY: Just two nights ago (or was it three? I can´t remember without my diary) I teased a friend who use a palm pilot, syncronised with his computer, and suggested that palm pilots never really took off because it´s actually much more nice to have a normal, classical diary. Now I have been proven wrong: Technological progress is even better than I thought. (Or did he steal my diary to make a point...?)
14:50 - LOSING MY RELIGION: Oh dear. It seems like I just lost my diary somewhere. And here is my horrible, little secret: I am good at remembering Vietnamese poverty statistics and the differences between Rothbard´s and Nozick´s views on intellectual property, but I have no idea what I am supposed to do next week - where I give lectures, whom to meet, and with whom to have dinner.
So please, please, please, don´t call or email me right now with questions on whether I am free to do something on some specific date. Because I have no idea until I have found the diary again.
13:38 - THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE TAKEN SERIOUSLY:
"From MICHAEL LEAEuropean Correspondent, in Brussels
BARMY Brussels bureaucrats want to BAN April Fools’ Day — because they think it is too dangerous.
Lawmakers decided the ancient fun day should be struck off the calendar following a string of lawsuits taken out by victims of pranks."
- The Sun
, today (Thanks Fredrik)
12:48 - DAGENS UNICITET:
”Man ska ju komma ihåg att vi är unika i Sverige” – Invandrarminister Barbro Holmberg förklarar varför avvisningshotade irakiern Imad Sadeq förbjuds från att fortsätta med sitt lönearbete i Sverige, och i stället hänvisas till ett bidragsfinansierat praktikarbete på en pizzeria, P1-morgon, 7.21.
10:13 - MASTERS OF NIT-PICKING: Stockholm Spectator is indispensible for those of us who are interested how parts of the Swedish media plagiarises and distorts news from around the world. Just read this wonderful little piece on how ETC magazine rewrites a news dispatch on how women in Iraq are worse off today than under Saddam, but leaves out everything that doesn´t fit their perspective, and adds what does...
Tierra´s Specatator piece ends with an interesting quote, worth quoting:
“Nearly one-third of the 140 winning candidates on the Shiite parliamentary list are women. Moreover, those 45 women from the list supported by Ayatollah Ali Sistani tend to be more educated, better informed and more committed to change than are their male counterparts.”
09:47 - A WAY OUT: A very smooth way of making the transition from an overgrown welfare state to a more liberal system where people control their own resources, would be to freeze public expenses at today´s levels. That would mean that the government upholds the minimum levels people are used to, but that all future economic growth goes into the pockets of the citizens who are at liberty to choose, add and save for their own welfare as they want to. That would mean that government control of our economy would be reduced step by step. With 2.5 percent per capita growth annually in an economy, public spending would be reduced from 50 to 25 percent of GDP in less than 30 years.
Today, my colleague Johnny Munkhammar and the chairman of centerns ungdomsförbund, Fredrick Federly (one of the most interesting persons in Swedish politics today) propose a reform that could speed such a transition - making insurances and private payments for education, health care and elderly care deductible. This is basically about justice. Why should those people be forced to pay for these services twice?