How well Sweden’s non-lockdown approach to herd immunity is working out:
Thank you, thank you, thank you…Barry Ritholtz
How well Sweden’s non-lockdown approach to herd immunity is working out:
Thank you, thank you, thank you…Barry Ritholtz
That’s the recipe for success in a globalized world, according to Magdalena Andersson, the Social Democratic economist who’s also Sweden’s finance minister.
The 50-year-old has been raising taxes and spending more on welfare since winning power in 2014. She’s also overseen an economic boom, with Swedish growth rates topping 4 percent early last year, that has turned budget deficits into surpluses.
❝ In a world still flinching from the financial crisis that hit a decade ago and the populist wave that followed, Sweden’s economic stewardship holds lessons that challenge the conventional wisdom in the U.S. on how taxes work, according to the Harvard-educated minister. Speaking in an interview in Stockholm, Andersson says success comes down to “three things: It’s the jobs, it’s our welfare and it’s our redistribution.”
❝ It’s the polar opposite of the policy being developed across the Atlantic, where U.S. President Donald Trump is hoping tax cuts, less regulation and new trade deals will produce 3 percent growth within two years. Meanwhile, in Europe, the Nordic model is attracting attention. Emmanuel Macron, who on Sunday defeated Front National’s Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, has urged his country to look north for ideas on how to organize a society.
❝ Andersson, who lists health care and education, “regardless of how much you earn,” as key to running a successful economy, points to income redistribution as the shield that can keep populist shocks at bay…
The numbers are compelling. Sweden has one of the world’s highest tax burdens, with tax revenue about 43 percent of GDP, according to OECD data. The equivalent figure for the U.S. is about 26 percent. Sweden’s economy has grown almost twice as fast as America’s, expanding 3.1 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in the U.S….
Sweden has the highest labor force participation in the European Union. Andersson attributes this to tax-funded parental leave and affordable daycare, which make it easier for both parents to work.
In contrast to most of its European peers, Sweden has budget surpluses. The EU average will be a shortfall of 1.6 percent in 2018, while the estimated deficit in the U.S. of 5.7 percent of GDP…
Taxes are always negative for the folks required to pay the most taxes. Especially if you aren’t allowed loopholes by bought-and-paid-for politicians. Running a nation’s economy to benefit the whole population is nothing that would ever occur to most American politicians – regardless of how often they lie and say that’s exactly what they’re doing. Perish the fact that so-called trickle-down economics have never produced anything other than more wealth for fewer people. And screwed the rest of us.
❝ Saturday night, President Donald Trump held a rally in Melbourne, Florida, where he attempted to defend his controversial “Muslim ban” executive order by pointing to the consequences of migration in Europe. He focused on an unspecified event that took place “last night in Sweden:”
“When you look at what’s happening in Germany, when you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden — Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers, they’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
❝ The only problem is that nothing happened the prior night in Sweden. The Swedish daily Aftonbladet quickly compiled a list of of noteworthy things that happened on Friday; they included a drunken-driving arrest and “some technical problems” during 87-year-old crooner Owe Thörnqvist’s rehearsal prior to the Melodifestivalen song competition.
❝ …Trump, in the grand tradition of the Bowling Green Massacre, simply invented a terrorist attack allegedly committed by immigrants out of whole cloth.
❝ …Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?” Ikea and Abba jokes flew fast and furious using the hashtag #SwedenIncident
❝ Jokes aside, though, there’s a very real question going on here: What on Earth was the president of the United States talking about? What does he think is going on in Sweden?…
If you spend any time in the conservative media, particularly alt-right or anti-Islam sites, there’s a clear narrative about Sweden: Muslim migrants are raping Swedish women at unprecedented numbers.
❝ Breitbart…Virginia Dare, an alt-right site focusing on immigration…Pamela Geller, a widely-read anti-Muslim blogger who once published a piece alleging that Barack Obama was the love child of Malcolm X, wrote a piece titled “Sweden Crumbling: Demands for military intervention as thugs turn Malmo into ‘no-go zone.’”…
❝ …The odds are, given the consistency of the narrative about Sweden in the right-wing mediasphere, that Trump heard…claims about a Swedish refugee rape epidemic somewhere — and appropriated them to justify his travel ban.
The problem, though, is that this “rape epidemic” is as fake as the Bowling Green Massacre.
It all fits within the filthy state of mind that is characteristic of American racism. Anyone less white than a bar of Ivory soap must be slavering over our white wives and daughters. If they’re furriners – all the more reason to suspect them of planning mass rape. And if you accept lies as racial characteristics, well, then, they must be happening. Only the mainstream ain’t reporting it.
The paranoia that afflicts a populace that can’t decide which lifestyle it prefers – ignorance or stupidity – will continue to accept both as gospel.
Does this look like an innocent man to you?
❝ A Swedish footballer has hit out after being sent off for breaking wind during a match – with the referee accusing him of “deliberate provocation” and “unsportsmanlike behaviour”.
❝ Adam Lindin Ljungkvist, who was playing at left-back in the match between Järna SK’s reserve team and Pershagen SK, was shown a second yellow card late on in what local media called “bizarre circumstances”.
“I had a bad stomach, so I simply let go,” the 25-year-old told Länstidningen Södertälje…”Yes, I was shocked, it’s the strangest thing I have ever experienced in football.
“I asked the referee, ‘What, am I not allowed to break wind a little?’ ‘No,’ he replied … I don’t get it but maybe he thought I farted in my hand and threw the fart at him. But I did not.”…
❝ The referee, Dany Kako, confirmed that Ljungkvist had received the second yellow card for breaking wind, explaining: “I perceived it as deliberate provocation. He did it on purpose and it was inappropriate. Therefore, he received a yellow card.”
Ljungkvist told Aftonbladet: “To provoke anyone with a fart is not particularly smart or normal. It’s nonsense – I just broke wind and got a red card. I spoke to the referee afterwards, I was annoyed, but there were no bad words. I just said he was a buffoon.”
Some referees might consider being called a buffoon serious dissent. Especially, I guess, if the player is correct.
The lone protest of a woman defying a march of 300 uniformed neo-Nazis is set to become an iconic image of resistance to the rise of the far-right in Scandinavia…A photograph of Tess Asplund, 42, with fist raised against the leadership of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) in Borlänge, central Sweden, on Sunday, May Day, has gone viral in the country.
“It was an impulse. I was so angry, I just went out into the street,” Asplund told the Guardian. “I was thinking: hell no, they can’t march here! I had this adrenaline. No Nazi is going to march here, it’s not okay.”
It’s not always clear or easy; but, the core existential value I have always tried to live by is that responsibility automatically, indelibly, irrevocably accrues to someone who recognizes a need. Sometimes, you need to stand up and risk everything for justice.
Tess Asplund is my kind of hero.
❝‘A million times‘ is a kinetic sculpture that uses hundreds of small wall clocks to create a ‘meta-clock’ that displays the time using the hours and minutes hands of each clock in a digital-like display. The installation project was created by Humans Since 1982, a design studio based in Stockholm, Sweden.
❝The original version consisted of 288 clocks however the studio has designed smaller versions in various shapes and sizes as well as a portrait version. Here’s the home site of ‘A Million Times’ in action.
Human beings are at least as interesting as the stuff they think up. Nice touch this.
Fanciful – but, you get the idea
Wood pulp-derived nanocellulose is turning out to be pretty useful stuff. Previously, we’d heard how it could be used in things like high-strength lightweight composites, oil-absorbing sponges and biodegradable computer chips. Now, researchers from Sweden and the US have used the material to build soft-bodied batteries that are more shock- and stress-resistant than their traditional hard counterparts.
Nanocellulose is also known as nanofibrillated cellulose or Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF). In a nutshell, it’s typically made using wood waste from sources such as lumber or paper mills, which has been added to water and then mechanically ripped apart to the point that the wood fibers are rendered into much smaller cellulose nanofibers. The resulting gel is subsequently freeze-dried, thus removing the water and leaving behind the long and interconnected nanofibers.
In the case of the latest research, scientists from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and California’s Stanford University used CNF to create a lightweight porous aerogel-like material. “The material resembles foam in a mattress, though it is a little harder, lighter and more porous,” says KTH researcher Max Hamedi…
It is now hoped that once developed further, the batteries could be used in applications such as flexible electronics, smart fabrics and safer electric cars.
Any commercial use up to and including space vehicles can use extra shock-resistance.
Using a recyclable material like cellulose is a win-win. The fact that source material is something we can grow rather than acquire through extractive processes like mining is another plus AFAIC.
The virtues of a simple, low-cost and sustainable lifestyle have driven the growth of the tiny house movement. Jonas Wagell’s Mini Houses embody these values. Having initially been designed as a weekend cabin or guest house, the Mini House is now in its second iteration.
Gizmag first featured the Mini House in 2012, when the first prototypes were already in use in Sweden. It was designed to be quick to construct, and built using recyclable prefabricated modules. Due to its size, the Mini House also didn’t need a building permit in Sweden.
The Mini House 2.0, which was being designed when we featured the original version, is based on the same goals and principles, but is slightly more developed and has more configuration options available from which to choose. A model covering an area of 161 sq ft is still available, but is now joined by a longer version. The Mini House 2.0 is also modular, allowing multiple units to be joined together for more space…
The houses are designed to be delivered to their planned sites on a lorry in prefabricated sections. “In theory, only a plinth foundation needs to be prepared, unless the houses are equipped with kitchen or bath which require further work with sewage etcetera,” explains designer Jonas Wagell to Gizmag. “We have amended the dimensions to be optimized for shipping pre-build.”
The Mini House 2.0 is currently only available in Sweden…Prices start from $29,550, or $41,860 for a model with a kitchen fitted.
As I’ve said before – smaller is better – and OK with me.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance.
Snowden, who is in exile in Russia, addressed the parliament by video from Moscow. In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person.
His father, Lon, who was in the chamber for what was an emotional ceremony, said: “I am thankful for the support of the Right Livelihood award and the Swedish parliament. The award will remain here in expectation that some time – sooner or later – he will come to Stockholm to accept the award.”
Snowden is wanted by the US on charges under the Espionage Act. His chances of a deal with the US justice department that would allow him to return home are slim and he may end up spending the rest of his days in Russia.
His supporters hope that a west European country such as Sweden might grant him asylum. Members of the Green party called for him to be given sanctuary in Sweden…
The awards jury, in its citation, said Snowden was being honoured “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”.
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian also was a recipient. He was celebrated for “building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenge of exposing corporate and government malpractices”.
I don’t think the Swedes invited anyone from the White House.