|GlobLog - April 2006
A direct link to each entry is obtained by using the button below the entry.|
17:26 - BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT IS WRONG:
"What both [Left and Right] have in common is a lack of curiosity for what life is really like in countries like Iran ...
People say that the sharia is Islamic culture. But women in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan do not want to be flogged in public. They do not say: ´This is my culture so I will accept my flogging.´ They are just as deserving of human rights as anyone else. People have forgotten these truths because they are too busy making generalisations - it doesn´t seem to make much difference whether they are condemning the Islamic world or paying it exaggerated respect. It amounts to the same thing. They are dealing with uninformative caricatures."
-Azar Nafisi, who was sacked from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the veil and because she taught her students to read classical Western literature. In FT.
00:03 - MARGINAL UTILITY:
"If you believe that the ultra rich capitalist overlords wanted war to increase their profits, you have to believe they were willing to kill hundreds of thousands of people to get it ... I have a theory that only people who have never been rich would believe that the rich are routinely willing to kill enormous amounts of people to get richer. Personally, I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. And I can speak from first hand experience about how it changes you. I’m far less bloodthirsty than before.
When you don’t have money, you might well be willing to kill a few innocent people to make a million dollars. The payoff in terms of your lifestyle is huge. But once you have your riches, you somewhat automatically start thinking about the bigger picture. It’s the Bill Gates effect. Your thoughts naturally drift toward helping the less fortunate, not killing them. Sure, you still want to shaft your competitors, but that´s sport."
- Scott "Dilbert" Adams (Thanks Jakob)
15:56 - ONLY 5 850 TO GO:
There were only 150 Polish plumbers in France, when "the Polish plumber" became the French protectionists´ symbol of destructive competition. As if that wasn´t absurd in itself, yesterday I heard Kjell-Albin Abrahamsson on the radio saying that even the French plumbers´ association claim that France lacks about 6 000 plumbers.
15:29 - I OVÄNTAT SÄLLSKAP:
Via Katrine Kielos får jag reda på att s-studenternas tidskrift Libertas avslöjar att jag tillhör nymoderaternas hemliga kampanjledning. Bortsett från att jag inte är solbränd, aldrig har hört om någon kapitalism i Murmansk, bara har tre växlar på cykeln, har slutat på Timbro och inte är moderat så tycker jag att det är en rätt träffande beskrivning. (Tack Mattias)
17:42 - POVERTY - THE ONLY WAY IS DOWN:
At a lecture yesterday someone asked me if the era of rapid global poverty reduction isn´t over. It´s not. According to the Global Economic Prospects 2006 the Millennium Goal on reducing extreme poverty by half until 2015 will be met.
On current trends, the number of people living on less than $1 a day will be reduced from more than 1 billion today to around 620 million in 2015. This means that the proportion in absolute poverty - 40 percent in 1980 and 21 percent today - will be reduced to 10.2 percent in 2015.
The big exception is Sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of poor will increase, in contrast to all other regions. But even there, the proportion of poor will begin to decline at last.
16:49 - MY LOGO:
Here I am, enjoying capitalism.
12:39 - "– HAR DU SETT WAG THE DOG?" "– NEJ, MEN JAG HAR LÄST BRÄNNPUNKTSVERSIONEN":
Näst efter Jan Berglin är dagens Brännpunktsartikel nog det roligaste jag har läst i Svenska Dagbladet. Det är riksdagsledamöterna Håkan Juholt och Arne Kjörnsberg (s) som försöker få bort uppmärksamheten från banden mellan LO och (s) genom att kräva att Svenskt Näringsliv redovisar hur de använder opinionsmiljonerna till att vinna valet - och så spekulerar de om hur den liberala konspirationen hänger ihop. Och det är som om någon timbroit har skrivit en elak parodi på (s)-strategin "desperat utfall är bästa försvar".
De låtsas (eller kanske t o m tror) att Svenskt Näringslivs engångsavsättning till Fritt Näringsliv (som Timbro är en del av) på 320 miljoner kronor är ett årligt anslag till Timbro, att bloggare som jag och ett par ungdomsförbundsordföranden fungerar som underavdelningar till Timbro, och Stureakademin påminner genom sitt hemlighetsmakeri om den gamla östtyska partiskolan i Bad Doberan. Osv. Ni fattar.
Läs mer om det hos Håkan Jacobson och Jonas Morian.
För upplysnings skull: Jag är inte en underavdelning till Timbro. Sedan årsskiftet är jag inte ens anställd av Timbro. Jag får inte ett öre av TImbro för att driva denna blogg. Jag samlar ihop till mina inkomster genom att jobba för ett tjugotal olika arbetsgivare. Jag bedriver heller inte någon valkampanj. Medan LO har bestämt att alla medlemmar ska rösta på (s) har jag inte ens bestämt mig för vilket parti jag ska rösta på.
Och Stureakademin, där jag ofta föreläser, är inte mer hemlig än att vem som helst kan ansöka till den här, och för den nyfikne finns det bilder och referat från mötena här. Undrar om Bad Doberan-skolan hade sånt online.
Men nu gör jag precis vad Juholt och Kjörnsberg vill - ägnar tid åt att bemöta deras fantasier och bitterhet över att det finns liberal opinionsbildning utanför partierna i stället för att tala om det högst reella problemet med att LO köper sig makt av ett politiskt parti. ”Den här kvinnan är en viktig orsak till segern" som Göran Persson sade om LO-ordföranden Wanja Lundby-Wedin på valnatten 2002.
Den som är satt i tacksamhetsskuld är inte fri.
00:30 - POOR RESULTS IN SWEDEN:
Interesting and disturbing figures on poverty for Sweden from Johnny Munkhammar and Lorraine Mullally. Here is the proportion of households with an annual net income below $20 000:
| || 1990 || 2004 || |
| Ireland || 42.5% || 14% || -28.5 |
| Britain || 39% || 19% || -20 |
| Sweden || 18% || 19.5% || +1.5 |
| EU-15 || 29% || 16% || -13 |
23:35 - DEN ÄRLIGA VARIANTEN:
16:01 - DECREASINGLY MOBILE SOCIETY:
The Left thought so and the Right thought so - and I thought so. But we were all wrong. Americans don´t move more than they used to, as Alison Stein Wellner explains in Reason.
In 2004 less than 14 percent of all Americans moved, the lowest figure since 1948, the first year we have data from (when the rate was 20 percent). And they don´t go far: Almost 60 percent just move within their county. Just 3 percent of all Americans moved to another state in 2004.
One reason is the automobile. Sure, it increases mobility, but that is precisely why we don´t have to move to get to the new job.
10:03 - DON´T BOMB IRAN - YET:
33°43’24.43” N, 51°43’37.55”E
Should we begin to bomb at those coordinates or should we let the Iranian dictatorship acquire nuclear weapons?
In the debate we hear two unsatisfying answers. The first one says that we should bomb now. But that would come at a terrible price. It would end the hope for regime change in Iran, rally the country around the extremists, and the Mullahs would openly begin to destroy the region, Iraq and the oil industry.
The second answer is often heard in the Swedish debate. They say that Bush is stupid (they tend to make up their minds based on what Bush thinks) and that they don’t understand why Iran can’t have the bomb when Britain has it. There is some merit to this argument – if Tony Blair was a blood-thirsty fundamentalist dictator who said that he planned to eradicate Ireland.
They think that Iran is like the Soviets, and that mutual deterrence will do the trick. I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how deterrence works against people who believe in the return of the twelfth imam, the end of the world, and – this is when it becomes really interesting – believe that they can provoke such a positive outcome with a nuclear catastrophe?
So I don’t know. But Edward Luttwak sums up what we know in a very informative article in Commentary. (Thanks Stefan) His conclusion is that we must be prepared to strike, but that we should wait as long as possible, not to alienate the basically pro-American and secular Iranian people and give the dictatorship the excuse to go berserk.
And he says that we’ve still got time before enough fissile material has been produced for one bomb. Iran has chased away its talent, and the state oil company still cannot drill or refine oil without foreign assistance. It takes time for such a place to make bombs. Luttwak says that we have at least three years to search for better solutions.
Let’s hope he is right.
08:31 - THEY MUST HAVE FORGOTTEN THE "ANTI-":
"In Vietnam, however, even anti-corruption investigators have been accused of corruption."
Financial Times on the problems of modernising without democracy, checks and balances.
18:17 - ENGLISH SPOKEN THERE:
Oh yes, the Chinese are serious about globalisation. The Economist reports that China spends $60 billion a year on English-language services, like teachers and textbooks. And Gordon Brown has pointed out that in two decades China´s English speakers will outnumber the world´s native English speakers.
10:12 - MED RÖDGRÖNA GLASÖGON:
Innan jag har sett själva rapporten är det svårt att uttala sig, men Kent Asps DN Debatt visar att ca två tredjedelar av de svenska journalisterna fortfarande stöder de rödgröna - men nu är säskilt miljöpartiet överrepresenterat.
Moderaterna har ökat med 3 procentenheter till 13 procent, men med tanke på partiets omsvängning är det väl snarare (m) som har närmat sig journalisterna än journalisterna som har närmat sig (m).
Asp och framför allt DN:s rubriksättare betonar att (m) är nästan lika stort bland "samhällsjournalister" i Stockholm - som anses vara en särskilt inflytelserik grupp - som bland folket (däremot väldigt underrepresenterade i förhållande till stockholmare förstås). Men för att få den effekten har Asp på ett finurligt sätt slagit ihop politikreportrar med ekonomireprortrar, och jag skulle gärna se separat redovisning eftersom jag är övertygad om att partiet är kraftigt underrepresenterat bland de förra, som väl får anses vara särskilt inflytelserika när det gäller politisk journalistik...
19:26 - DAGENS BÄSTA FELSTAVNING:
"Ebba Witt-Brattström pläderar för en förstärkt svenskundervisning. Men hon använder forskningen för att stödja sina örutfattade meningar, skriver professor Kenneth Hyltenstam."
- Ingress på dn.se just nu.
Uppdatering 23:11: Stavfelet finns även i pappersupplagan.
09:47 - SPEAKING OF TRANSITION:
"I oppose anyone who promises reforms that aren´t painful."
- Socialist Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who promises reforms to embrace globalisation and modernisation, wins a second term against the protectionist and nationalist Right. (via SvD)
00:56 - A TRANSITION HERO AWARDED:
This year´s Milton Friedman Prize - the liberal Nobel Prize - will be given to the former Estonian prime minister Mart Laar. In 1992, just 32 years old, he got power in the newly independent country, abolished all tariffs, deregulated the economy and introduced a flat tax. And Estonia became one of the most successful economies of modern times.
Not just Laar´s accomplishments, but also his explanation of his influences makes him the perfect winner of this particular prize:
"I had read only one book on economics—Milton Friedman´s Free to Choose. I was so ignorant at the time that I thought that what Friedman wrote about the benefits of privatization, the flat tax and the abolition of all customs rights, was the result of economic reforms that had been put into practice in the West. It seemed common sense to me and, as I thought it had already been done everywhere, I simply introduced it in Estonia, despite warnings from Estonian economists that it could not be done. They said it was as impossible as walking on water. We did it: we just walked on the water because we did not know that it was impossible."
18:49 - TRANSITION ACCOMPLISHED:
I just got back from a very nice Norway-Belgium-Czech Republic trip. In Oslo, everyone talked about how to distribute the oil money, in Brussels everyone talked about EU regulation, but in Prague everyone talked about how to create wealth and innovation.
I was invited to Prague by the dynamic think tank Liberální Institut, to launch the Czech translation of In Defense. I was there more than ten years ago as well, and it´s a very different city now, much more open, commercial and cosmopolitan, and the beautiful, old art nouveau buildings have been renovated to superb quality, including the Municipal House, with its interior decorations by the brilliant Alphonse Mucha. Back to the future.
Since 1990, Czech exports have increased from 45 to 72 percent of GDP, GDP per capita has almost doubled and life expectancy has increased by 5 years. Western Europe needs inspiration to get out of despair and stagnation. Why go all the way to China and India?
16:45 - PLAYING AHMADINEJAD:
"You know what´s great fun to do if you´re on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you´re getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I´ve got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It´s OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn´t got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it´s highly unlikely he´d ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That´s just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it´s entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the´ cabin crew."
- Mark Steyn, via VamPus
11:47 - SÅ SJUKVÅRDEN SKA OCKSÅ FREDAS FRÅN OMVÄRLDENS UTVECKLING:
"De är som nationalparker ... de ska fredas."
- Pär Nuder förklarar varför sjukhus inte ska få ägas av vinstdrivande företag.
11:34 - FREUD OCH NUDER:
"Orättvisor, oförrätter - det är precis där vi socialdemokrater är experter."
- Finansminister Pär Nuder i budgetdebatten just nu.
14:52 - IT´S ALL IN THE SWING:
This seems like a most entertaining book on how the character of American politicians are revealed by their golf style. Apparently, Bill Clinton is notorious for cheating and George W Bush takes risks without thinking of the consequences, for example when he tries to hit a ball 250 yards over a lake.
13:02 - VARFÖR FINNS DET INGA ANARKISTER LÄNGRE?:
På lördagar brukar Expressen fråga vem jag vill ställa i veckans skamvrå. Denna gång var det självskrivet:
"Syndikalister och anarkister som hatar stat och kapital - men ändå demonstrerar för att staten ska ge dem trygga anställningar hos kapitalet..."
18:58 - AGENT PIANKA:
I thought that there was something vaguely familiar about Eric Pianka´s "Mankind is like bacteria, and 90 percent should be exterminated"-speech. And in an email, Knud reminds me. Pianka is Agent Smith, from Matrix:
"I´d like to share a revelation that I´ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you´re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure."
12:14 - NOW WE KNOW THE ANSWER:
"Will television executives fight for free speech? Or will Comedy central puss out again?"
- The cliffhanger question on South Park, "Cartoon wars part 1", last week.
"Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network."
- Sign, instead of cartoon of Mohammed, on South Park, "Cartoon Wars part 2", yesterday.
11:09 - ECONOMICS 101:
"I´m not one of those people like, ´Well, we must renounce ourselves.´ No, I have a closet full of shoes and it´s a good thing. ...
´I was coming back from Africa on one of my trips,´ she said. ´I had taken one of my wealthy friends with me. She said, ´Don´t you just feel guilty? Don´t you just feel terrible?´ I said, ´No, I don´t. I do not know how me being destitute is going to help them.´"
- Oprah Winfrey understands that one person´s gain is not another one´s loss. (Thanks Michael)
11:53 - COMBINATION OF THE DAY:
"[Italiani Radicali] was recently defined as ´a combination of Johan Norberg and Ghandi´"
"I guess that I am a combination of Johan Norberg and Gengis Kahn then."
10:22 - SAVE THE PLANET - KILL 90 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION:
What is the final, logical conclusion if you are a radical environmentalist or a deep ecologist who doesn´t think that mankind has any particular value, but threatens nature with "overpopulation"?
Via Stephen Hicks, I learn about the conclusion of Eric Pianka, recently celebrated as Distinguished Texas Scientist of 2006. In a speech for the Texas Academy of Science, he recently explained that man is "no better than bacteria", and about 90 percent of mankind has to disappear to save the planet. But war, famine and AIDS is not enough to kill off people rapidly, so instead, Pianka´s favourite environmental solution is airborne Ebola, which is highly lethal and kills the affected in a torturous way in a few days.
Well, there are nuts everywhere. But what shocked me the most was that after this advocacy of killing 5 billion people, the audience - a few hundred Texan scientists - rose to their feet and gave Pianka a long, standing ovation.
This makes me scared. Because of the Islamist terrorists´ inherent hostility to innovative thinking and science, we will always be one step ahead of them. But what if a few young, western scientists, with knowledge of and access to all kinds of biological threats, take their professors seriously and conclude that they can only save the world by killing people? Ideas have consequences.
(By the way, did you ever see Twelve Monkeys?)
19:16 - ON THE ITALIAN ELECTION:
It´s always good for the division of powers that a country´s wealthiest man is not also its most powerful politician. But for a classical liberal, opposed to both conservatives and socialists, both blocs in Italy´s election were very unsatisfactory. “In Italy, to be liberal is somewhere between a sin and a crime", Italian radical Emma Bonino says, and The Economist suggests that the long struggle between Catholics and Communists left no room for a third, pro-freedom force.
And that is also why I am most happy about the 2.6 percent that Italiani Radicali´s union got. It is part of Prodi´s bloc, but defines itself as Italy´s "liberal, liberist and libertarian movement", an anti-clerical party in favour of both social freedoms and free markets. It was recently defined as "a combination of Johan Norberg and Ghandi".
Sounds like something Italy needs more of.
15:24 - HIV: THE BEGINNING OF THE END?:
A piece of good news from Hans Rosling that I have not heard about anywhere else: New data shows that the rate of HIV infection is stable in China and is decreasing in India. And apparently, the proportion of newly infected started to fall many years ago in Africa. (Thanks Stefan)
14:06 - VARFÖR VI ÄR DYSTERKVISTAR:
I DN Kultur skriver Lars Linder välvilligt om min Neoartikel om varför människan främst ser det negativa och farliga i tillvaron. Min artikel hittar du på Neos hemsida, där du också kan testa dig själv: Är du orolig?
11:56 - DANCES WITH DESPOTS:
In European Voice, Liberal MP Cecilia Wikström - one of few Swedish politicians who take free speech seriously - explains why EU´s talk about legal measures against criticism of religion is a betrayal of the democratic opposition in the Arab world, women’s advocacy groups and other activists who risk their lives for an open society in the Middle East.
11:38 - ELECTION YEAR IS DECEPTION YEAR:
An old public choice truth is that voters should make up their mind based on anything except the economy in an election year, since the government´s expansionist policies to gain votes make that the least representative year in an election cycle.
That goes for Sweden as well. Skandia shows that average GDP growth in Sweden 1970-2004 was 2.1 percent. In an election year it was 2.7 and the year after the election it was only 1.7.
08:41 - FÖRVIRRANDE TIDER:
Hur var det nu:
Man vet att världen är upp och ned när världens bästa rappare är vit, världens bästa golfare är svart, moderaterna blir feminister och Linda Skugge slutar vara det.
00:15 - SARKOZY´S PYRRHIC VICTORY:
The French government just scrapped the reform of the youth labour contract, after weeks of protest. Partly this is a triumph for Nicolas Sarkozy, who strengthened his chances of becoming president by distansing himself from the reform.
But at the same time, he has made sure that he will not be able to get much done when he´s president, since he just gave unions and other groups stronger incentives to take to the streets - and stay on the streets - when they oppose something. Once again, they have learned that in France, it always works.
11:12 - SPACE ROMANTICS ABUSED:
Why do people still believe in the good old days, despite the overwhelming evidence against it? Evidence like this music video, for example.
00:10 - CARTMAN UNDERSTANDS IT BETTER THAN THE EU:
The latest episode of South Park, "Cartoon Wars", was extremely timely and intelligent. It´s about another show, Family Guy, that is about to show a cartoon of the Profet Mohammed, and millions of Americans want to stop the episode to avoid offending Muslims, and Cartman is more eager than anyone else.
[WARNING SPOILER] But of course, it turns out that Cartman does this for two reasons - because he understands perfectly that free speech is destroyed if you begin to make exceptions, and because he just hates Family Guy. As Cartman says:
"It´s simple television economics Kyle, all it takes to kill a show forever is to get one episode pulled. If we convince the network to pull this episode for the sake of Muslims, the Catholics can demand that a show that they don´t like get pulled, then people with disabilities can demand that a show that they don´t like get pulled, and so on and so on, until Family Guy is no more."
00:01 - EN BELYSANDE JÄMFÖRELSE:
Får du ibland för dig att den politiska debatten är rationell? Ta en titt på Globaljugglers tabell över centerns ungdomsavtal (som vänstern hävdar leder till inbördeskrig) vs plusjobb (som vänstern inför) så blir du snabbt botad från den vanföreställningen.
13:10 - JULIAN SIMON IS STILL RIGHT:
Julian Simon´s bet with Paul Ehrlich 1980-1990 is a classic episode in the debate on natural resources. Ehrlich got to chose five resources, and Simon bet on their prices to go down. And he won, giving credibility to his theory that more and freer people means better ideas and technologies that solves resource problems. But he never said that this would happen over every period: “not in every single place, not in every single time span, but on the average” (during the whole 20th century their price was reduced by 53%).
In Asia Times, Aruni Mukherjee, checks what would have happened if the bet had been extended until today. It turns out that Simon is still right. And the trend continues for other resources as well:
"For example, if we were to calculate crude-oil prices in 2005 dollars, then the figure for 1980 would be $85.61 a barrel and the 2005 counterpart about $55 a barrel. It needs to be kept in mind that 1970 oil prices would be even higher. Similarly, the price of rice has plummeted from $1,039 a tonne in 1980 to $288 a tonne in 2005, whereas wheat has sunk from $414.19 a tonne in 1980 to $151.34 in 2005."
13:05 - APROPÅ SJÖDIN:
För en vecka sedan besökte jag Crazy Horse med anledning av en svensexa för en av landets bästa hälsoekonomer. Eftersom han gillar experimentell ekonomi ville vi se hur mycket vi behövde dricka för att bli nekade att handla i baren. Och hur mycket vi än ansträngde oss lyckades vi aldrig nå ett sådant tillstånd...
09:52 - FÖRLÅT, JAN MYRDAL:
Som Stefan påpekar för mig i ett mail är jag skyldig Jan Myrdal en ursäkt. Där Svenning bara hatar liberala arbetsmarknader och därför drar till med de grövsta jämförelser han kommer på (Auschwitz) i någon typ av missriktad retorik så kommer Myrdal till bordet från andra hållet och har under flera decennier systematiskt försvarat totalitära stater. Senast när han i Aftonbladet förklarade att det bästa för Kambojda hade varit om det "kunnat fortsätta och fullfölja Pol Pots planer".
Naturligtvis är det Jan ("Jag såg inget massmord") Myrdal som är svensk mästare i att relativisera 1900-talets förbrytelser och ingen annan.
01:28 - OLLES ASSOCIATIONER:
I Studio Ett i november argumenterade jag för att Frankrike måste liberalisera arbetsmarknaden för att ge folk arbete. Min motdebattör, Olle Svenning, förklarade då att det lät som "Arbeit macht frei".
Jag trodde att det var en förlöpning i stridens hetta. Men efter gårdagens Svenning-artikel är jag inte lika säker. Där skriver han att demonstrationerna mot en blygsam arbetsrättsliberalisering i Frankrike är "bland det mest hoppfulla som hänt Europa sedan Muren föll". (Tack Pär)
Med andra ord: Liberala arbetsmarknader är som koncentrationsläger och Berlinmurar.
Tänker ni någonsin utse en svensk mästare i att relativisera 1900-talets värsta brott vet ni var ni ska börja leta.
17:15 - AND THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT VR WORKS:
"Jihadists are strapping on suicide bombs today, in the hope of attaining the kind of environment that virtual reality will deliver in 20 years."
- Glenn Reynolds on the Singularity.
17:03 - FÅR EN FÖRETAGARE FÖRSVARA SIG PÅ SAMMA VIS?:
"Jag borde känna till allt men man är också människa och det är inte omöjligt att man missar ett och annat."
- Göran Persson efter att han missat att göra en arbetsmiljöplan till herrgårdsbygget, vlket betyder att han medvetet administrerar ett regelverk som bara övermänniskor klarar av.
08:55 - WHAT THEY DID TO V:
At last I saw V for Vendetta. It´s worth seeing. Its portrayal of a future totalitarian Britain is a warning against how the government uses fear - and needs fear - to expand its powers with censorship, control and surveillance and how these powers are easily abused. And as V points out, people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.
But it´s disturbing to see how they have changed the story from the comic book. The book also poses difficult questions about V and his use of violence to bring the government down. He is not a traditional hero, he is a psychotic terrorist, who uses people as means for his goals, and doesn´t hesitate to use the same methods as the government. Even though we see elements of that in the film, he is more of a traditional movie hero there, and we don´t get to hear much of his theories about anarchism.
But most bizarrely, the film seems very eager not to offend religion these days. V´s explicit atheism is hidden, and Islam and Muslims are mentioned as victims of the government. And in an important scence, an incomprehensible religious message is added: "- God is in the rain"???
Well, he might be in the rain, but he is definitely not in the comic book.
00:03 - CYBERPROTESTER:
- Ge Hans Karlsson en näsknäpp genom att skriva under centerns upprop för arbetslösa ungdomar.
- Håll koll på Lukasjenkos förtryck genom vitryssland.blogspot.com.
- Dawit Isaak är Sveriges enda journalist som är inspärrad för sina åsikter. Skriv på för hans frigivande.
15:43 - NO, SWEDES DON´T KILL THEMSELVES ALL THE TIME:
One of my readers asks me if it´s also a myth that there is more suicide in Sweden than in other countries.
Yes, it is. Sweden is an average country when it comes to suicide. We find most in Central- and Eastern European countries (of those reporting) and more people kill themselves in countries like France, Finland, Belgium and Japan than in Sweden.
The old myth was probably started because secular Sweden (always obsessed with population statistics), started to measure suicide openly before other countries did. And from the high numbers President Eisenhower concluded that Sweden was the country of "free love, high taxes and suicide".
And actually at that time, not even "high taxes" was really correct. In 1950, taxes in Sweden were 21% of GDP, less than in the US.
And I am not even sure that he was right about free love.
10:56 - IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS:
The last week we´ve heard reports from Socialstyrelsen (The National Board of Health and Welfare) about more suicide attempts among young Swedish women, and I am sure that most people who heard the news got the impression that there is more suicide in Sweden than it used to be.
So it´s interesting to check the statistics (p 193) from Socialstyrelsen that didn´t make the news. Since 1987, suicide has been continuosly reduced, by a total of 28 percent for men and 37 percent for women, despite a bigger population. This is an international trend, where the anti-depressant drugs have been essential.
When Socialstyrelsen presented its latest report, it explained that this encouraging trend continues, but it also said that there has been a slight increase in the attempts among young women. Of course, that exception to the rule grabbed all the attention and the headlines. (Thanks Mattias)
13:53 - DEN SEGA TUGGUMMIDIMMANS FRIHETSBEGREPP:
"Det negativa liberala frihetsbegreppet är enkelt och handfast för att kunna fungera som kompass, ett värde som vägleder praktiska politiska beslut. Så fungerar inte den Reinfeldtska friheten. Fredrik Reinfeldt använder sitt frihetsbegrepp ungefär som tuggummi - något som kan hålla igång ett malande käkparti, men vars enda kvalitet, när all smak tuggats bort, är att det kan kletas fast på precis vad som helst."
- Mattias Svensson om Fredrik Reinfeldt i Captus Tidning.
09:20 - DREAMING OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS:
Blackadder: "Now, listen, Frou Frou ... Would you like to earn some money?"
Frou Frou: "No, I wouldn´t. I would like other people to earn it and then give it to me, just like in France in the good old days."
As I explain in my DI column today, this dialogue from Blackadder the Third sounds very much like the dominant French attitude today. And when you lose your belief in entrepreneurship and capitalism it is only logical to lose your belief in progress and development. And here, from The Economist, you can see how far this has gone in France:
18:53 - WHILE WE READ THE ECONOMIST:
"World population increased by more than 18% during the period, but world GDP per head—a proxy for living standards—rose by nearly 40% on a PPP basis, at an annual average rate of 2.5%...
By the reckoning of Freedom House, a think-tank, 20% of the world´s population in 1993 lived in countries that were fully free, in terms of political rights and civil liberties ... By last year the fully free had risen to 46% of global population. "
- Bill Emmott about how the world changed while he was editor of The Economist 1993-2006.
13:46 - THE DOCTOR IS OUT:
Researchers from Harvard and the World Bank have made unannounced visits to primary schools and health clinics in Bangladesh, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Peru and Uganda, and it turns out that 35 percent of health workers and 19 percent of teachers failed to show up for work, and they are almost never fired.
How would they act if there were no monopolies and their salaries were dependent on students and patients chosing their school or health clinic?