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Swedish vs UK Economy?

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  • Swedish vs UK Economy?

    Sorry if i post this here, but i thought Mike might be interested due to his short stay in my country. As well as a contrast to the UK.

    Link: www.monbiot.com

    I do disagree with some of the 'facts' though.

    As why are so many young swedish people moving to the UK.
    But i also wonder why most of them that i've met travel back home again after a time? Is it home sickness, or something else?

    Sweden proves neoliberals wrong about how to slash poverty.
    But Brown isn’t listening.

    by George Monbiot

    ’Does not already the response to the massive tidal wave in south-east
    Asia,� Gordon Brown asked on Thursday, �show just how closely and
    irrevocably bound together... are the fortunes of the richest persons in
    the richest country to the fate of the poorest persons in the poorest
    country?�

    The answer is no. It is true that the very rich might feel sorry for the
    very poor, and that some of them have responded generously to the latest
    catastrophe. But it is hard to imagine how the fate and fortunes of the
    richest and poorest could be further removed. The 10 richest people on
    earth have a combined net worth of $255bn - roughly 60% of the income of sub-Saharan Africa. The world’s 500 richest people have more money than the total annual earnings of the poorest 3 billion.

    This issue - of global inequality - was not mentioned in either Brown’s
    speech or Tony Blair’s simultaneous press conference. Indeed, I have so far failed to find a reference to it in the recent speeches of any leader of a G8 nation. I believe that the concern evinced by Blair and Brown for the
    world’s poor is genuine. I believe that they mean it when they say they
    will put the poor at the top of the agenda for the G8 summit in July. The
    problem is that their concern for the poor ends where their concern for the rich begins.

    There is, at the moment, a furious debate among economists about whether global inequality is rising or falling. No one disputes that there is a staggering gulf between rich and poor, which has survived decades of global economic growth. But what the neoliberals - who promote unregulated global capitalism - tell us is that there is no conflict between the whims of the wealthy and the needs of the wretched. The Economist magazine, for example, argues that the more freedom you give the rich, the better off the poor will be. Without restraints, the rich have a more powerful incentive to generate global growth, and this growth becomes �the rising tide that lifts all boats�. Countries which intervene in the market with �punitive taxes, grandiose programmes of public spending, and all the other apparatus of applied economic justice� condemn their people to remain poor. A zeal for
    justice does �nothing but harm�.

    Now it may be true that global growth, however poorly distributed, is
    slowly lifting everyone off the mud. Unfortunately we have no way of
    telling, as the only current set of comprehensive figures on global poverty
    is - as researchers at Columbia University have shown - so methodologically flawed as to be useless.

    But there is another means of testing the neoliberals’ hypothesis, which is
    to compare the performance of nations which have taken different routes to development. The neoliberals dismiss the problems faced by developing countries as �growing pains�, so let’s look at the closest thing we have to a final result. Let’s take two countries which have gone all the way through the development process and arrived in the promised land of
    prosperity. Let’s compare the United Kingdom - a pioneer of neoliberalism - and Sweden, one of the last outposts of distributionism. And let’s make use
    of a set of statistics the Economist is unlikely to dispute: those
    contained within its own publication, the 2005 World in Figures.

    The first surprise, for anyone who has swallowed the stories about our
    unrivalled economic dynamism, is that, in terms of gross domestic product,
    Sweden has done as well as we have. In 2002 its GDP per capita was $27,310,
    and the UK’s was $26,240. This is no blip. In only seven years between 1960
    and 2001 did Sweden’s per capita GDP fall behind the UK’s.

    More surprisingly still, Sweden has a current account surplus of $10bn and
    the UK a deficit of $26bn. Even by the neoliberals’ favourite measures,
    Sweden wins: it has a lower inflation rate than ours, higher �global
    competitiveness� and a higher ranking for �business creativity and research�.

    In terms of human welfare, there is no competition. According to the
    quality of life measure published by the Economist (the �human development
    index�) Sweden ranks third in the world, the UK 11th. Sweden has the
    world’s third highest life expectancy, the UK the 29th. In Sweden, there
    are 74 telephone lines and 62 computers per hundred people; in the UK just
    59 and 41.

    The contrast between the averaged figures is stark enough, but it’s far
    greater for the people at the bottom of the social heap. Perhaps
    unsurprisingly, the Economist does not publish this data, but the UN does.
    Its Human Development Report for 2004 shows that in Sweden 6.3% of the
    population lives below the absolute poverty line for developed nations ($11
    a day). In the UK the figure is 15.7%. Seven and a half per cent of Swedish
    adults are functionally illiterate - just over one-third of the UK’s figure
    of 21.8%. In the UK, according to a separate study, you are more than three
    times as likely to stay in the economic class into which you were born as
    you are in Sweden. So much for the deregulated market creating opportunity.

    The reason for these differences is straightforward. During most of the
    20th century, Sweden has pursued, in the words of a recent pamphlet
    published by the Catalyst Forum, �policies designed to narrow the
    inequality of condition between social classes�. These include what the
    Economist calls �punitive taxes� and �grandiose programmes of public
    spending�, which, remember, do �nothing but harm�. These policies in fact
    appear to have enhanced the country’s economic competitiveness, while
    ensuring that the poor obtain a higher proportion of total national income.
    In Sweden, according to the UN, the richest 10% earn 6.2 times as much
    money as the poorest 10%. In the UK the ratio is 13.8.

    So for countries hoping to reach the promised land, there is a choice. They
    could seek to replicate the Swedish model of development - in which the
    benefits of growth are widely distributed - or the UK’s, in which they are
    concentrated in the hands of the rich. That’s the theory. In practice they
    have no choice. Through the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade
    Organisation, the G8 governments force them to follow a model closer to the
    UK’s, but even harsher and less distributive. Of the two kinds of
    capitalism, Blair, Brown and the other G8 leaders have chosen for
    developing countries the one less likely to help the poor.

    Unless this changes, their �Marshall plan for the developing world� is
    useless. Brown fulminates about the fact that, five years after �almost
    every single country� signed up to new pledges on eliminating global
    poverty, scarcely any progress has been made. But the very policies he
    implements as a governor of the IMF make this progress impossible. Despite
    everything we have been told over the past 25 years, it is still true that
    helping the poor means restraining the rich.

  • #2
    There are many ways of measuring economic performance. New Labour are very selective in the ones they use. We had a seminar by John Edmonds (ex GMB general sec) who is currently studying at LSE and has exposed the smoke and mirrors used to demonstrate the UK deregulated version of capitalism is superior to the 'European Social Model'. He said that he was very excited to discover this, but when he spoke to other academics was startled to find that it was common knowledge.

    The question is, then a) why does a Labour government doggedly continue to pursue such a destructive path and b) why are countries such as Sweden under increasing pressure to change their ways? 'Convergence' to the 'Anglo-American' path is becoming reality. Does this just show the power of ideology, or is there a real material basis?
    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mikey_C
      There are many ways of measuring economic performance. New Labour are very selective in the ones they use. We had a seminar by John Edmonds (ex GMB general sec) who is currently studying at LSE and has exposed the smoke and mirrors used to demonstrate the UK deregulated version of capitalism is superior to the 'European Social Model'. He said that he was very excited to discover this, but when he spoke to other academics was startled to find that it was common knowledge.

      The question is, then a) why does a Labour government doggedly continue to pursue such a destructive path and b) why are countries such as Sweden under increasing pressure to change their ways? 'Convergence' to the 'Anglo-American' path is becoming reality. Does this just show the power of ideology, or is there a real material basis?
      Well the pressure might be from the western idea of globalism itself.
      I wonder if the EU is becoming more involved in this twisted 'ism.
      I was wondering about what's going on in other (3rd world countries alias cheap labour countries) being used by multinational corporations.
      Aren't they somehow getting more unionized. Whats happening in countries, like india now for instance?

      Comment


      • #4
        Interesting - if you have a look at this: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/d...NSTATS2002.pdf union density in India has risen from 16.7% to 26.2% from 1980-97, whereas it has declined by almost half to 29.5% in the UK in the same period. Sweden is a staggering 114% (!) - presumably the number of members exceeds those in employment. However - there is no shortage of ever-cheaper locations for capital to exploit - the rising density in India probably means that this country is moving into better quality employment.

        A key argument for the 'european social model' is that we can't possibly hope to compete on the basis of low pay and labour standards, but need to develop the cooperative work practices associated world class production. One hears plenty of lip service from new labour about the 'knowledge economy' but the reality is that they are following a 'low road' route to destructive competition. Blair seems to want to drag the whole of Europe down the neoliberal path.

        Is the European Union a force for neoliberal globalisation or the defender of the social model? It's a contested question - but if the the proposed Constitution is adopted in its present form, I'm afraid it will be answered very much in favour of the first alternative.
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mikey_C
          Is the European Union a force for neoliberal globalisation or the defender of the social model? It's a contested question - but if the the proposed Constitution is adopted in its present form, I'm afraid it will be answered very much in favour of the first alternative.
          What new "Constitution"? Any link or info?

          I wonder if in the end.. more wars will arise. Maybe even at a global level if this keeps going on.

          I get really annoyed about people at work who show no sense of belonging to a work'force'. Some are totally duped by 'Kaizen'
          (There's a black belt whos last name is "Kaiser". So some of us has dubed it the "Kaiser Method"). without knowing what's 'really' going on.! (As i've said..). I'm a loaned worker to a place i used to work at a year ago. And i try talk to those who work at the workstation and the issues everyone at the station has with it. That the person assigned 'the' job' gets more and more labour pushed on him by the others at the workplace. They exclaim whiningly that "It's just hard times, and everybody has to pitch in and help..". When i'm stating that "It's we who determine the stress levels necessary to be able to do the job right, in the first place. Give them quality problems and soon they'll crawl to the cross, or rather their 'white board'. Complain about the stress. But don't be contriving in the process". And they say in response :0 "You can't do that!", afraid of conflicts etc.. I understand that they are afraid, and i don't want to scare people off, even though most agree to it. And they are the hardworking stand up guys.

          A new younger guy i'm training, has percieved the method going on.
          And even told me scarier stories, of girls having to wear "red hats" when they have their period, so that the workforce knows that she'll have to take more bathroom breaks and fill in more often for her.
          Discriminated youthworkers? I guess it's every parents fault if they keep saying "YOU should feel very, VERY lucky that you have a JOB!".
          "A nice future lies in wait!" according to the 'neo-liberals' at a community server here in sweden.

          Huh! "Neo-liberal".. W.T.F. does that mean anyway?

          Comment


          • #6
            As far as investment and economic interests are concerned the UK and US (USUK, as I've called it in the past) are the same nation -- the major US foreign investment is in the UK, major UK foreign investment is in the US. That's why Blair is less of Bush's poodle than he is, say, Murdoch's.
            They are both poodles. The major capital in USUK gives it identical interests. The forces in, say, France and Germany, which are most similar to those in USUK are those most interested in pushing the 'Anglo Saxon' model. I'd say we have to identify them, expose them and resist them.

            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
              As far as investment and economic interests are concerned the UK and US (USUK, as I've called it in the past) are the same nation -- the major US foreign investment is in the UK, major UK foreign investment is in the US. That's why Blair is less of Bush's poodle than he is, say, Murdoch's.
              They are both poodles. The major capital in USUK gives it identical interests. The forces in, say, France and Germany, which are most similar to those in USUK are those most interested in pushing the 'Anglo Saxon' model. I'd say we have to identify them, expose them and resist them.
              Similar to arguments in King of the City? Where is Denny Dover? Or Rosie?

              I agree that the USUK is more beholden to corporate interests than national ones. It boggles my mind that so many people are, in turn, trading their own personal interests for corporate ones.

              As a tangential issue, I remember the American cultural paranoia about Japanese business in the late 80's. (If I had to suffer through another television show or film about the evil Japanese corporations taking over America during my high school years...) Anyway, I always found it interesting that Japanese corporations' influence of American markets and capital was always dwarfed by British influence (and still is). Paranoia over British interests apparently wouldn't (and doesn't) sell movie tickets and magazines in the US...

              Comment


              • #8
                I think I heard that France owns a massive amount of Midwest
                agribiz, too, but I suppose it's fossil fuels we're talking about mostly here.
                And I suspect there's some serious racism at work -- Japs and Arabs taking over the country. Didn't it used to be Jews ? Or is it still Jews ?
                And Chinese ? So the country's being taken over by Japs, Arabs, Jews,
                Chinese...
                Most US and UK investment remains in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa -- you name it, if it was white-run and part of the
                Empire, that's where our money is (or comes from).

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Theocrat
                  What new "Constitution"? Any link or info?
                  Here we go: http://europa.eu.int/constitution/index_en.htm

                  All 300-odd pages of it! Who's going to have time to read and understand all of this stuff when it comes to voting on it? The Spanish have just accepted it, largely on the grounds that "if it's European, it must be good..." (hearing Spanish people interviewed on the radio about the way they intended to vote - it seemed that practically noone had read it beforehand). In the UK, people will make the opposite assumption!
                  \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mikey_C
                    Originally posted by Theocrat
                    What new "Constitution"? Any link or info?
                    Here we go: http://europa.eu.int/constitution/index_en.htm

                    All 300-odd pages of it! Who's going to have time to read and understand all of this stuff when it comes to voting on it? The Spanish have just accepted it, largely on the grounds that "if it's European, it must be good..." (hearing Spanish people interviewed on the radio about the way they intended to vote - it seemed that practically noone had read it beforehand). In the UK, people will make the opposite assumption!
                    I've read many conclusions. But is the constitution a way to extort market share's from europe.. I'm a little tired from work and over-reading. :(

                    My brother seems to fall for this venture at the factory.
                    Himself being also a worker at the factory and not willing to risk joining up with union-based activity, or willing to understand whats happening.
                    He can feel the pains at work though. He also fears for me losing my job
                    speaking about this with other employees. I don't really need to either because they are all talking amongst themselves about this.

                    A sidenote... I can't help but wonder why so many people are DL'ing "Hitler: The Rise Of Evil" movie i have on my computer?

                    Thanks for listening Mikey_C! And thanks for helping out making things a bit clearer! I hope we can talk more of this?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Theocrat
                      I'm a little tired from work and over-reading. :(
                      This is the effect of the European Constitution! And me, I'm trying to complete an essay on Company law right now (zzzzzzzz). But I would love to discuss this matter more - I'll be back!
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm fundamentally a supporter of a European Constitution (though I also support the idea of an unwritten constitution a la England -- but since we don't have common common law -- Napoleonic vs English, just for instance -- we might as well have a common Constitution). However, I'd like to see lots of debate about this before we vote for it. I suspect the Spanish, who still have a lot of Franco's old laws on the books, see it as a definite step forward! Those of us who have had to deal with existing Spanish law would welcome ANY improvement! Paternal superiority is one thing we should be glad to see the back of, for instance.

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Constitution could be an opportunity to enshrine the 'european social model'. Instead, it commits member states to monetarism and ever-increasing militarisation. There's a battle being fought here. Admittedly, the likes of UKIP aren't helping, but neither is uncritical acceptance. Debate is essential, but I rather fear that this won't be centred around the really important issues.

                          On the one hand we have the right-wing xenophobes. On the other, people who travel much on the continent, see things are better and therefore assume that 'Europe' must be good. The British media don't report on European politics as though they matter, so there is poor understanding of what is going on. As the left has imploded, we don't hear any sense from that quarter, so I rather fear that the British public will be ill equipped to deal with the real issues. The vote on the Constitution will be seen as a vote 'for' or 'against' Europe per se, unfortunately.
                          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mikey_C
                            The Constitution could be an opportunity to enshrine the 'european social model'. Instead, it commits member states to monetarism and ever-increasing militarisation. There's a battle being fought here. Admittedly, the likes of UKIP aren't helping, but neither is uncritical acceptance. Debate is essential, but I rather fear that this won't be centred around the really important issues.

                            On the one hand we have the right-wing xenophobes. On the other, people who travel much on the continent, see things are better and therefore assume that 'Europe' must be good. The British media don't report on European politics as though they matter, so there is poor understanding of what is going on. As the left has imploded, we don't hear any sense from that quarter, so I rather fear that the British public will be ill equipped to deal with the real issues. The vote on the Constitution will be seen as a vote 'for' or 'against' Europe per se, unfortunately.
                            It sounds like the US & Friends are pushing us, saying.
                            "Become like 'US' or die with US!". The deficit of the dollar being the main motive for this issue. It would be great to see the US Government fall on their own ass and let the american public understand that ferocious capitalism doesn't solve domestic problems.

                            We gotta get the media to work against these shitty tactics on the public sectors of our countries. I hope that will reinvigourate social moral and solidarity. Not spark a communist revolution. But more socialist reform.
                            The bottom line is, that this has to do with the US throwing 'decency' and 'respect' out the window.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Theocrat
                              My brother seems to fall for this venture at the factory.
                              Himself being also a worker at the factory and not willing to risk joining up with union-based activity, or willing to understand whats happening.
                              He can feel the pains at work though. He also fears for me losing my job
                              speaking about this with other employees. I don't really need to either because they are all talking amongst themselves about this.

                              Thanks for listening Mikey_C! And thanks for helping out making things a bit clearer! I hope we can talk more of this?
                              They can't fire you for talking about union activity in the workplace as long as it doesn't interfere with your work, can they? "Fأ¶reningsfrihet", you know.

                              Do you have union officials (well, facklig representant, you know) at the factory?

                              I hope you're ok and that you don't give up the fight. Sometimes someone has got to draw the line.
                              You can't spell "politically correct" without "correct".

                              Comment

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