Two and a half year blogging in International Politics

As I said in the end of July when I took a little vacation, my computer screen was almost devoid of information on the usual search history that I perform daily. During the last two years I have learned that what comes on the screen from journals that you don't pay for vary a lot. There is the regular stuff and also falsariums of all kinds. I have enjoyed The Economist that remains a solid information source which I have subscribed to.

I have thus learned that it is not possible any longer to search journals that deliver free service fuelled by advertisements on the net. After a while I find nothing that interests me. Probably, based on my search profile, such articles are filtered to entice me to pay. The problem is of course that I don't know for sure if this is the case.

What I do know is that my top picks of quality journalism The Financial Times, The Times, and Wall Street Journal are now closed for non-subscribers. They apparently know their value and I have begun now to subscribe to these journals on the net which cost me less that adding a Swedish top journal. I have subscribed to DN.se for a year but will change to SvD.se which I like better. Interestingly, The Times website lost 90% of its traffic after they introduced subscription only this spring. It would be interesting to know if the profit from subscriptions outweighed the loss of advertisement revenue?

I see this as an investment in my long term education in International Politics and Economy that I started part time already around 1995. I will continue blogging but now with a better source of information than before. I'm still learning so I hope the blog will improve with time.

It has been a frustrating two and a half years which includes the financial crisis and loss of the unipolarity earlier given by the dominance of the US. The good news here in Sweden is, however, at least that the center-right Alliance will get a new mandate for another four years if the polls are correct. There is just one snag. The so called Sweden Democrats might pass the 4% barrier to enter parliament and thus become kingmakers if the Alliance does not get a majority of the votes.

The Sweden Democrats are in principle a one question party. They want to keep Sweden Swedish and thus are hostile to foreigners and to immigration. None of the two voting alliances, the Alliance or the Red-Greens says they want to have anything to do with the Sweden Democrats. And several of their rallies have had to be cancelled, because of hostile demonstrators. Forming a functional government might become tricky if they would enter without a majority for one of the voting alliances. The minister of foreign affairs Carl Bildt and the minister of finance Anders Borg today said in Landskrona, a town where 23% voted for the Sweden Democrats, that "if you like Sweden you should not vote for the Sweden Democrats", paradoxically.

However, the trend is that Sweden is becoming more hostile to immigration but has so far been less so than its two neighbors Denmark and Norway with the parties Dansk Folkeparti and Fremskrittspartiet, respectively. Dansk Folkeparti got 14% of the votes in 2007 and Fremskrittspartiet got 22% in 2005, their best result so far. The latter party doesn't think it is possible with extensive immigration in a welfare state. In Germany there has recently been a wild discussion concerning a book published by Thilo Sarrazin, a former central bank board member, he just resigned because of the debacle, and SPD member, where immigration is thought to emasculate society. The conclusion that can be drawn from this debate so far is that he probably got more support than people initially thought. Immigration is unfortunately becoming a problem in Europe where it is necessary for future prosperity.

Another problem that surfaced among minarets and burkas where the expulsion of Roma from France. It is possible to conclude from the debate after this event that Europe is polarized on this issue as well. The debt crisis in the EU recently has perhaps given people the gitters and people start to worry that the welfare state is at stake. The Swedish election is focused on jobs or, like the Red-Greens do, emphasis on the importance of welfare. They don't seem to get that message across, however. Perhaps the Red-Greens has made a miscalculation and that the Swedes, in the back of their heads, also are beginning to wonder if the welfare state is economically viable.

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