The Movie Avatar--An Interpretation

The number of matches I have found in various reading frames in the Avatar movie to my life suggests that is has to do with my life and that it is quite aggressive and mildly informative. There is less giving than taking. It confirms several important issues discussing my Ödessymfoni—A New Type of Concentration Camp and the Reinvention of the Guillotine that was written before I saw the movie. Had I seen the movie prior to writing my life story someone would proably have used it to block such a tale. If I do not find all subtle symbolic references in Avatar to my life, such issues could be used to formulate so called “snedskjutningar”, usually erroneous stories made up from things that actually have happened and thus making them harder to fight, that I am told to avoid due to bad conscience.

After having concluded this, it could be of interest to consider the point that it would be a little megalomaniac to think a $237m movie was made to ‘shoot’ myself, although it made the producers a small fortune since it brought in $2,750m at the box office. In such a case it would be necessary to introduce another motive a friendship to a global socialistic authoritarian network or similar. Such a motive could be deduced from the use of this kind of films to arouse a certain brand of adventure prone indivuals to become political assassins as detailed above. To give people you wiped out yourself in some fashion a seemingly meaningful suicide mission.

To make a movie where nearly all comments are interpretable as code and perhaps half of the scenes similarly interpretable demands that you start out with a blue print for this code and build plot dialoge and filming totally on this scheme with lots of face similarities. Totally destroying a life from 14 to 15 years and following this up with continuous destruction of course might be a way to create an endearing story that turns out to be an all time box office success. That such life fates might be more common these days than people can imagine would be one possible conclusion due to abuse of power with the technology. It would also explain the success Mel Gibson had with his movie The Passion of the Christ that cost only $30m to make and which brought in $650m at the box office.

In terms of identification the movie plot offers a choice between pest and cholera. On the one hand a Nazi style personality who uses gas and incineraries to wipe out a culture on the other cave men type neurotoxin wielding savages busy in a new type of sex cult. Jakesully the Toruk Mak Tau however cries out “they are not going to take everthing they want from us” when he rallies the clans for a counter attack. Having had the Na’vi in my ‘ears’ for 12.5 years now, this is however what they do for a living. They steal immaterial property right out of your brain and from your computer and this might be a global menance by now, calculating from the box office numbers. The irony is that people might not realize that Jakesully in actuality is shooting himself in the foot with his accusation. I can say this after having seen the movie 16 times but a person that sees it only once hears what Jakesully says when he unifies the clans and does not perhaps understand what the Na’vi in actuality is out “hunting”.



Ödessymfonin—A New Type of Concentration Camp and the Reinvention of the Guillotine, a description of my life so far and a cavalcade of movies, ‘All Movies Considered’, below, seemingly demonstrating the world that I have been forced to live in makes it possible to conclude what the current world situation seem to be right now. It is not multipolarity but rather the choice between two principles: bottom up or top down. You can use the independence declaration of the US and the psychology of man to create a political system of function or you can take a tempting idea and try to work the down by controlling people with it like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao tried. Currently individuality in the whole of society is threatened by a soldier life in a family, a system possibly resulting in system wars, like those in Syria right now. The movie cavalcade describes how the recruitment of this new system warrior is taking place. Will it be possible to avoid outright system wars and instead solve the situation diplomatically by discussions rather than a new type of warfare?

If you look at the prognosis for this battle of choices, it is interesting to note that the control freaks actually quite substantially inhibit their social science and psychology research. The US should definitely pull ahead faster and should be farther on the right path right now.

I have one problem with the Swedish election system, because, I don’t think the Swedish voter can make this choice with his ballot. He is simply not allowed to discuss the matter. Sweden Inc is in the process of joining Germany although Germany has not openly made this choice either.

All these movies have given significant revenue. Suffering from technology abuse is interesting to people. In all variants.

Preschool         Contact with child psychologist in north Kortedala. Result: will be able to complete university studies. Tests on aggression by war games in sand box—no idea who paid for this

Early school     Contact with hypnotist for supposed problem with sleep—no idea who paid for this but it would come in useful to make sleepless nights and such complaints in the future “natural”.

1973 (1965)      English class Gymnasium--IPCRESS File, fascism, Providence, how to kill a mockingbird—assassination by hand of hero after psychological torture of the same. What happens to me if I’m interested in the AngloAmerican?

1984-93             The Wistar—they try to make me look like a computer literate person although I am not. Building in the special report I did in the Gymnasium on computer programming?

1997                    The Devil’s Advocate—The Wistar does something else, clear assignment of me to future Neo, Keanu Reeves.

1997                    Conspiracy Theory—production of political assassins by human experimentation. Passionate love—not passion-free relations! Introduction of relations between the buried alive and the living? Koprowski, or Dr Jonas, shoots Mel Gibson to a buried alive state.

1998                    Sexual Harassment and other effects begin on my person in Bergsjön with technology. My technology awakening—born again—awakenings create a spiritual interest in people in general probably.

1999                    The Matrix—DeHio floatglass, liquid metal/Wistar Philadelphia railroad bridge, the red pill looking like the vitamin pills I bought in Phila. Eczema--human experimentation. Chalmers Nazism? Human subjects committee at the Wistar to contaminate me with non-seriousness in such matters?

1999                    Girl Interrupted—Red grave                                                           $48m ($24m)

1999                    Eyes Wide Shut—red/black religious sex cult                          $162m ($65m)

1999                    Deep Blue Sea                             --human experimentation                                  $165m ($60m)

2000                    Kristall Nacht abduction and imprisonment at Lillhagsparken during my stay in Bergsjön. The erroneous use of the word Zion in the Matrix Trilogy?

2000                    What Women Want—The Wistar does something else      $374m ($70m)

2000                    The Patriot—revenge after humiliation of death of two children, system revolutions, concentration camps

2002                    Mel Gibson, Morgan Freeman does their Independence Declaration YouTube video. Gibson takes a long break from acting, divorces, has a fling loses a child but directs movies in original lost languages, non-English.

2002                    Signs—revenge on alien after death of child?

2002                    Placement at Gunnar Hansson’s laboratory (Nebudcanezzar or Morpheus’ German ship) for destruction of science competence and to introduce Trinity (Julia). Morpheus is the name of the god of dreams—the creation of programmed mental environments.

2003                    The Matrix Reloaded—The trio: “we are in this for our affinity to obedience”, Chinese-catholic clothing, Nazi clothing, strong interest in the sexual. Obey your ‘ears’ blindly is what I hear all the time in my ‘ears’ over 12.5 years, but never do.

2003                    The Matrix Revolutions—passionate love loses by sacrifice, system revolution, meaningless fighting

2004                    The Passion of the Christ—agape means death. System gods killed by the establishment—an army of Mr Smiths? Suffering by abuse of power?

2004                    National Treasure                                                   $378m ($100m)

Recruitment protocol for a new type of warrior. Trying to make Americans believe this is a new type of law enforcement operator, ie misinformation?

2004/5               Second imprisonment at Lillhagsparken representing the end of the Bergsjön era

2005                    My father Erik I Thurin dies. Starts my own economy leaves welfare. However, marginalization--all people I know are successively estranged systematically because I begin here on an economy that will take me into retirement not making economic control possible.

2006                    Apocalypto—hero almost sacrificed returns to rebuild community that was raided

2007                    National Treasure 2                                                $457m ($130m)

2008                    My mother starts to try to train me with verbal karate. I interpret this as an attempt to make it impossible for me to live on Hönö that culminated during Christmas 2011. Wilkinson? Turns out to be taming her Ikran from the mountain initiation rite?

2009                    Avatar                                                                          $2,750m ($237m)

A description of the Na’vi ‘fulsosse’ clans in Sweden and their system rules and ways of life. Data mining by the establishment for unobtainium, data that does not exist. The movie offers a choice between pest and cholera in terms of moral of acting system.

2010                    Edge of Darkness—temptation for revenge by assassination after humiliation by death of child. Political correction of illicit functionaries in society. The bullets used might very well be regarded as shootings rather. Magic Bullets? Darius Jedburgh? Persian assassin? Jedi Borg? That looks like Hans Johansson who was with me at DeHio’s Walpurgis Nacht cocktail party? Loop back to Neo’s initiation? The initiation of a Social Democrat Neo—a red bull.


Where is Sweden Heading?

I have tried to follow the development in Europe in relation to the plans of Sweden for some time. Lately there was a redevelopment of the federal European idea with the Europact that Angela Merkel got together with Nicholas Sarkozy and that Great Britain turned down.

The conclusion so far from available data in the media is that the Swedish elite is fairly Germany directed, the bulk of Swedish trade goes to Germany which also involves the business community, and EU directed whereas the population at large in Sweden is not. The people of Sweden seems to be more Swedish than European.

On the other hand, English is the first foreign language taught in Swedish schools and according to an article in Svenska Dagbladet today Great Britain and the United states takes most Swedish students of all countries in the world, 5068 and 5035, respectively. Europe as a whole takes 16,337 students, North America takes 5542. Only 948 go to Germany which could be compared with Australia with 1554. China and Japan receives 484 and 655, respectively. Insignificant amounts go to South American and Africa.

Language orientation wise Sweden is heading to AngloAmerica but in sheer numbers the Swedes visit the different European countries which should comfort the Swedish elite even if. It is a pity that the major European countries Germany and France are resistant about the English language. If not we could have formed a true Western civilization with this language. One question is if Europe is going to shift to German as a second language? My guess is that an invisible hand might actually accomplish this via the elite as well as a unification and political integration of Europe. However, this will have to happen against the intentions of the so called people.


Monetary Expansion/”Liquidity Injection”

Why is monetary expansion performed at all when it is neutral in the medium run for unemployment and output but generates inflation in the medium run?

Are the short run effects so important for expectations that it is worth it? Olivier Blanchard says among other things: “Today, most economists recognize that there is substantial uncertainty about the effects of policy. They also accept the implication that this uncertainty should lead to less active policy.”

The Central Bank should be independent since politicians would want short sighted increases in output and decreases in unemployment and don’t care so much about the inflation. The Central Banker should be conservative, ie, he or she should care more about inflation than unemployment. The ECB is only concerned with inflation and foreign exchange though in contrast to the Fed.

One reason for the use of monetary policy is to even out fluctuations. However, it seems to be an unfortunate battle between politicians that wants to run the printing press and the conservative independent Central Bank when in reality it should be the business sector that creates job and wealth. Politicians should instead of “creating jobs” secure positive vibrations, lead, as Romney puts it. There is too much talk from government in Sweden to create jobs. However, according to the Eurobarometer, the economy and jobs is what concerns people the most.

Reinfeldt says that he listens, ie, he is the psychologist of the people, rather than the leader of the business community that he should be if he wants to “create jobs”. Obama seems to have the same problem with alienating himself with the business community. Reinfeldt had called ’Svenskt Näringsliv’ a “särintresse” or special interest. The fürer concept is of course a little peculiar in Europe and carries a stigma. The other problem is that it is considered non-solidary with a current account surplus like that of Sweden, a small export oriented country.

When it comes to fiscal tools, decrease of government spending and tax reform rather than tax increase seems to be valuable as in Ireland in the 1980s where Ireland worked itself out of a budget deficit of 13%. This hike also benefitted from an increase in expectations for the future, the leadership variable again. Mario Draghi has now made a move that will aid private banks which could qualify as leadership for the business community and which seems to have created positive expectations for the future—at least temporarily.

The problem of not having a leader of the business community in the West right now is in all probability serious if you don’t trust the Hayekian individuality concept. At least, there does not seem to be a known leader—if the Central Banker has not taken over the helm.


The Arab Spring--Revisited

I have not dealt with the Middle East problems for a while. Two years ago when I read The New York Times they wrote about this all the time but the world of The Financial Times is different. But I started to think a little about it again after Gideon Rachman’s column today.

I was never for bombing Iran to shut down their nuclear effort because I could never find enough arguments to support such a tremendous risk entering such a hornet’s nest. But as Binyamin Netanyahu said, would you want a neighbor that shouts “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” constantly with nuclear weapons? As a Swede it is difficult to select either the perspective of Israel or the US since Netanyahu and Obama did not really get along on the details. Here in Sweden you run into less problems if you support the US position rather than Israel’s. However, I don’t think Israel has occupied the West Bank. They were attacked and managed to turn this into a victory and was therefore entitled to this territory for protecting themselves. It is not possible to protect Israel without this territory. I find this very easy to defend morally.

The problem with Iran is that they might just be waiting for their bomb to start something in the area. The fact that Syria’s Alawites are taking a beating and that this is enticing the Sunni Saudi Arabia to venture into this direction might also be a trigger. But Iran has 80m inhabitants and striking them out without serious problems in the area seems like a fairy tale. In this sense the world has evolved from the situation 2003 when the 20m inhabitant Iraq was taken down because of its hopeless dictator leader that fought Iran for 8 years and then attacked Kuwait. It seems highly likely that a new debacle would possibly destroy what has been achieved in Iraq.

Egypt turned out as I suspected after the Coup against Mubarak that Amir Taheri discussed in The Times at the time. He loosened the reins on some people and then told them to go back to work when they were finished it seemed. The Army in Egypt that runs 10% of the people and everything that moves is in complete control. What I learned from watching this phenomenon was that all these states down there basically work in such a fashion. What also seems to have happened is that they shut out Western journalists with their aggressions which the two Swedes in Ethiopia demonstrate. The Arab League should probably be in charge as much as possible in the area for things to work out optimally in some new form of Islamic political organization. With the large power relations in the area, it seems more and more likely that a new Cold War situation is building up, more than before even.

The Libyan “experiment”, I’m not sure I like calling it such, but in a way it is because there were no ground troops like in Iraq. Initially I thought more people might die if Gadhafi would go, and this might indeed have been the case, 25,000 died, but with the support of the Arab League the Libyan rebels got their war of liberation. We don’t know yet if they country will grow together but let’s hope so. Using Libya as a yard stick, as well as the experience with Iraq, making a move on Iran would be an absolutely last choice in my view.

A Lot Happened During the 1970s

Inequality went up in both the US and Europe. This was followed by a rise in unemployment in Europe from the 1980s. Russia crashed 10 years later. In the US unemployment went up a little initially but then rather was on a falling trend. In Japan the unemployment went up after the 1990 stock crash and the following slump. Pre-crisis the inequality in the US was at least followed by a lowering of the unemployment.

In psychology we saw the demise of the behaviorism paradigm and in macroeconomics Lucas and Sargent introduced rational expectations. The original Phillips curve where inflation is inversely proportional to unemployment did not work anymore and had to be changed to the new version that correlated change of inflation with unemployment. Nixon and Kissinger ended the Vietnam War. Did the psychology of man change during the 1970s?

The question is if the financial crisis together with the rise of China and state capitalism has changed human psychology again? In the US they start talking about merging with European welfare lore at the same time as this paradigm seems to become unaffordable. Europe seems unable to put people back into something constructive with its high unemployment whereas the US has turned the tide and if unemployment data from 1948 is consulted it is evident that all surges in unemployment are short lived so far.

It is therefore reassuring to see that Mitt Romney, to optimal republican presidential candidate is gaining some momentum again after being challenged by the more social conservative Rick Santorum. It seems like the positive data from the economy that surfaced not long ago led to the surge of Santorum which weakened Romney. Possibly a repeat of the earlier surges performed by almost all other candidates.

Romney’s motto is “Believe in America” and this is what seems to be the best bet for the West right now when a reignition under the same regime is necessary rather than going left ward as also seems to be a trend in Sweden and France, although Sarkozy is also regaining momentum recently.

So, I don’t think we are in for a second change in psychology. We just have to believe in the most dynamic survivor from the paradigm of the 1970s.


Neuro Research in Sweden?

PJ Anders Linder writes an interesting editorial today in Svenska Dagbladet concerning the dismantling of Astra Zeneca’s activity in Stockholm. He cites Martin Ingvar who claims it is unrealistic to expect that international pharmaceutical companies would build from scratch research in Sweden. They would want to come to a flourishing environment and join that. The question then is how do you create that?

I spent ten years at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. It was built up from scratch as a private research unit on the campus of a private University, The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League University, by Dr. Hilary Koprowski from 1955 to a modern facility that was the second after Stanford University to create patents from medical research in the US. The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology was an old anatomical museum that was turned into a modern research institute in Virology and Cancer. How about some Schumpeterian “creative destruction” in Stockholm that takes the strongest ten percent of the scientists at the dismantled unit of Astra Zeneca and set up a private research unit on the campus of Karolinska Institute?

The question arises if this would only be possible in a five times larger city in a private/private setting or if it would be possible to do in a private/public setting in Stockholm? Is it time to start up private universities in Sweden? The Wistar Institute had a staff of about 120 scientists and 500 in total and was supported by Federal grants to 75% and by companies to 25%. Stockholm lost 2.5 Wistar Institutes. Can one new one emerge?

One problem arises in that Astra Zeneca does not want their research necessarily to reappear in a competitive setting. Just like GM and Saab there might be analogous problems. It is therefore only realistic to think that some ten percent of the scientist would have significantly unique ideas to build on from scratch to not infringe too much on work already performed elsewhere. It would be hard to compete head on with such strong resources.

In this context I would also like to raise the question if the Anglo-American research unit is dismantled because of safety concerns. To prevent leakage to Russia, China, and Germany. One of the reasons for Sweden to decide on which side they want to be on is the long term security interest of Sweden. Who do you trust in this world? Where can you do front-line neuro research these days?


Northern Future Forum Stockholm 2012

”Den nordiska modellen är löst definierad men kan kort beskrivas som en ekonomiskt framgångsrik välfärdsstat med omfattande trygghetssystem, höga skatter och starka fackföreningar. Vissa lägger till jämställdhet mellan könen och ambitiös miljöpolitik.

Modellen har alltid förknippats med socialdemokratin och särskilt Stockholm betraktades av internationell vänster länge som ett nytt Jerusalem. Men den tiden kan vara på väg att rinna ut.”

Göran Eriksson writes this in Svenska Dagbladet today. I find a problem with such a definition since “ekonomiskt framgångsrik”, or economically successful, is what pays for all this security. So, what in reality is interesting is how the Nordics can pay for all this, if you exclude Norway with its oil and gas. Why are they economically successful? Civil society not the state is the key. I think my generation grew up with the idea that the state does everything and it still sounds like this. This will probably have to change.

A key issue then is whether this “model” is interesting for Germany and Britain or if we should move in either of their directions instead. Assuming that it will be possible in the future to be friends with both sides, as Reinfeldt suggests. Reinfeldt has brought up the issue of whether there will be money for the Nordic welfare state in the future but this ultimately depends on the business sector performance rather than on the state performance.

PJ Anders Linder at Svenska Dagbladet writes today that the journal Expressen had polled only 2% in favor of Reinfeldt’s 75 year retirement initiative. I guess Reinfeldt wanted to see what the response is to this economic problem. It seem like the message is not taken in properly. Daniel Alling at the Swedish Radio said that Germans had calculated that today 3 people work for one retired person and in a not too distant future 1 person would work for two retired persons. Such examples amount to catastrophe for the welfare model in general. The question then arises if the age of the Nordic model, as it is described above, isn’t at its end?

From The Nordic Way report from Davos 2011 that was distributed at the Northern Future Forum in Stockholm 2012:

“Many people see the Nordic countries as some kind of compromise between socialism and capitalism. This is not at all the case, according to Berggren-Trägårdh. Instead, it is the combination of extreme individualism and a strong state that has shaped the fertile ground for an efficient market economy: Less tied down by legal, practical or moral obligations within families, individuals of both sexes become more flexible and available for productive work in a market economy. Gender equality has resulted in both higher fertility rates and higher female participation on the labor market than in other parts of Europe”.

This report can be taken as evidence for the benefit for Swedes to align to Anglo-America rather than Germany and the Eurozone. However, I am not sure how the authors combine individualism and equality. This seems to be the magic in what they call the Nordic Model, although the economist does not think there is anything to export in this model. The historians talk about trust being important. In Fukuyama’s book, Trust, there seems to be a relatively weak argument for trust being important for economic progress. The historians say that individuality does not have to lead to social fragmentation and it is interesting to note that Hayek used the same argument in 1944 in The Road to Serfdom. Nordic individualism differs from the American by being more friendly to the state. If this report is authentic, there must be some factor that makes individualism coexist with equality in spite of the Law of Jante which would work against it. Milton Friedman said: if you put equality before freedom, you will get neither one. The question is if this rule is valid in the Nordic countries?


Reinfeldt's Point

A while ago the Swedish prime minister took up the problem of the projected increases in eldercare and pension costs in a speech. Yesterday he went out prime time with the message that we should start thinking of working to an age of 75. This message comes when the Northern States of Europe including Great Britain is convening in Stockholm for discussions. He is probably saying that it should be possible to work that long, not something all people have to do. The current average retirement age in Sweden is 63 years and that is high in Europe.

Swedish TV gave Reinfeldt a critical response with the selection of interviews down town. He took a little beating but it was a brave move. Most interesting is the comparison with Southern Europe and a large country like France which have a 35 hour week and early retirements with riots occurring when talk about raising the retirement age a couple of years. Reinfeldt is talking 10 years and speaks from a position of having among the best government finances in Europe. He is also quite tough with the comment that if you have had a heavy job, physical or psychological, you should aim to reeducating to a lighter one instead of retiring in a burnt out position.

On top of this Anders Borg, the Swedish finance minister lectured banks on not taking profit from people with mortgages when the interest rate had been lowered by the Central Bank. The question is how much profit is needed to increase growth and if private consumption or jobs in the banking sector is what is most important. Borg threatened with tax increases on the banks if the margins were not lowered. I am not sure but it seems like the government is creating a conflict with business also in Sweden. The prime minster has called business for a “särintresse” as if business doesn’t seem to have a responsibility for the country.

The mood is rapidly changing. Mario Monti, the non-elected prime minister of Italy, is talking about increasing growth after two years of austerity. The problem is that macroeconomically this is straight forward problem. Germany has to increase consumption to boost foreign demand in the Southern European countries for growth to establish itself. However, Germany is split between those who want to integrate the Eurozone, and perhaps all of Europe with the new 25 country pact, and those who want to opt out of the Euro while there is time. They are against transfers like those made in the US between rich and poor states and they don’t believe in monetary expansion due to the risk for inflation although the ECB just printed some money for banks that were not called quantitative easing. A round sum of some €500bn.


Mitt Romney Won Again!

The American presidential election selects for both personal character and track record. It is amazing what an ordeal the candidates are going through. Their character is tested over and over again on all kinds of questions. Take the question on the Florida CNN debate on how they would describe their wife. Quite different answers!

So, Mitt Romney won comfortably last night. What irritates me is that most pundits describe him as dull and as the default candidate. I have heard him speak on some six 1hour 50min effective time debates by now. Personally, I think he stands a good chance of beating Obama and that he stands for the right America, the one I like and the one that makes me agree with Romney: “Believe in America”. America is indeed still the hope for mankind as I know it. Romney actually says this himself now and then.

Interestingly, Romney with his whole being stands for an economic system that is currently under “siege”, as someone just said. It is liberal capitalism on a religious basis. China is state capitalism, autocracy and non-religion. Romney actually stands tall and says he does not like autocracy when even the liberal The Economist is wavering. That is not dull. Rather quite exiting! This is a top 5% graduate from Harvard Business School and former governor that wants to change how Washington operates and he might just do that.

The Economist is running a debate on liberal capitalism versus state capitalism and they are getting a frightenly even result, 40/60 for the proposition that state capitalism is a viable alternative to liberal capitalism, respectively. Someone at the journal said that they find it easier to do business with the Chinese than with the Germans so the position would be understandable in this light. Yes, the City of London could benefit. However, this is important for the future if Romney wins.

Ian Bremmer who argues for liberal capitalism says that state capitalism is not viable because it is a politically governed adventure that uses the economy for its purpose. The rules of the game would change completely and they operate currently without transparence unlike Norway. I would worry for the R&D in such an economic system that is less natural.



The insight of Adam Smith was to find a path running the economy that aligned itself with human character but he had indeed first written a book that was published prior to 1776 that involved morals. Already in this age it was clear that human character is important for capitalism to work. Smith’s first book The Theory of Moral Sentiments from 1759 was considered by himself to be his magnum opus.

Greed and corruption is a problem in all economic systems and would not be a reason for dismissing the most natural way of driving an economy. One important issue is how meritocratic societies allocate their talent—in civil society or in the state. It will be very difficult to cooperate between the US and China if they differ in this way. The reason for allocating differently might be the degree to which people are willing to risk their wellbeing. The state or the party offers a more secure job.

Another important issue is the dignity involved in earning your keep and receiving redistributions. It is linked with where you find most of the competence in society. The Chinese might actually think that the state should establish companies and run the economy whereas this is most efficiently performed by civil society in the West. Could redistribution turn the need for human dignity around in China against the grain of normal psychology?

In Scandinavia redistributions are popular, relatively speaking. Part of the reason for this might be the Law of Jante which says that you should not try to stand out, stay in line, don’t think you are something from a society described by Aksel Sandemose in a book called En flykting korsar sitt spår. Inequality is bad, something that is making a splash internationally currently. The fact is that you say that Anglo-America with its relatively higher inequality is much worse than Scandinavia in this fashion. You would then claim that the culture of Anglo-America is worse than that if Scandinavia and that all British and Americans should become like the Swedes, Norwegians and the Danes. I’m not so sure.


The Tax Thing?

When they attack Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet for not paying enough taxes because they are taxed around 15-20%, I began thinking about what Obama said tonight: it is common sense that everyone should pay the same percentage? Many tax systems are even progressive and require higher income earner to pay proportionally more. I realize that what I’m going to write is like swearing in the church in Sweden but I don’t agree with the common sensicality with such progressive tax systems. A wealthy person does not cost society more than a less wealthy. Thus lack of common sense in same tax rates because the total amount paid by a wealthy person on a lower percentage could very well be higher than that for a less wealthy person. Rather they provide vital investments with their fortunes that benefit society apart from costing society the same per capita. They often sit on more information that society benefits from as well.

So what is going on in Scandinavia where people think you should pay more if you are richer. Does a rich person get anything for this, like for example power and influence? In this case people that have other talents than becoming rich should in some fashion be rewarded likewise for justice to reign? SCB.se has data on where tax money comes from. The bulk does not come from the richest fraction but from the middle classes. However, in the US the top 1%, earning more than $500,000 per year, control 40% of the wealth. The bulk of the tax probably still comes from the middle classes in the US. The question then is if it is fair that the richer pay a higher percentage? Milton Friedman advocated a flat tax rate as did some of the Republican presidential candidates lately. Such a tax system has the advantage of being simpler and supposedly bringing in more money per tax rate per person. In other words it is supposedly more efficient. It is possible to think that lower income takers can have less tax but higher income takers the same as the middle class or less? The US has, according to Wikipedia, the most progressive tax system among OECD countries but on a lower average level. Progressivity is derived from the “ability to pay” and as I suggested that is good at the lower incomes but does not necessarily make sense in the higher range. Why should rich and successful individuals give their money to the state instead of managing them themselves? As Lincoln said: government should only do what the individuals cannot do themselves. What is flying around right now in the debate is the notion that it is necessary to tax the rich higher percentages for the state finance s to function. What would this mean? It would mean that we could not live without the rich—an interesting thought.

State of the Union Address 2012

It is a nice tradition to participate in the dissemination of US intent for the year. Obamas talk was focused on the issues of the presidential election and he covered the majority of Republican concerns and tried to sound as a Republican. He still talks heartedly about joining across the aisle. He quoted Lincoln, the GOP president, that government should only do what the citizens can’t do by themselves, thus seemingly taking initiative from the Republicans. Since the military is very popular, he used the military as an example of nonpartisan work.

He did not speak about balancing the budget though and aggressively lowering the debt as the Republicans. He paraphrased Romney and Santorum on bringing the jobs back, however. It was clear from the response of the audience that this is a very important issue. Globalization is dead and fragmentation is here, as I argued earlier. There was clear fighting spirit from the audience on this issue. “With a level playing field, nobody beats the US”. He said that the coming boom in shale gas was due to government research. This is a major issue too but he raised a caveat for disclosure of the chemicals used for environmental safety.

The talk and the response from the audience gave a clear impression of a unified US on the move again. In the Financial Times today there is an article describing that the Davos conference has been placed during the celebration of the Chinese New Year which makes China not sending high level people. Obama almost sounded like Romney in claiming following the rules for trade he also said he had passed less regulatory law than George W Bush. He almost sounded Republican for the sense of unity.


Swedish Opposition Politics?

The Swedish prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said the other day that there is no relevant opposition and Dick Erixon, a blogger, suggested that the opposition should fuse the Left Party and the Social Democrats under the new leader of the Left Party. The reason is that Håkan Juholt, the former leader of the Social Democrats, resigned today and left the Party in shambles. One of his last public statements was “It is not me, it is the Party”. The Social Democratic Party is in some kind of funk, everybody agrees, but no one talks about what the problem might be. Not long ago they rid themselves of the competent Mona Sahlin, who was better than Juholt, and now who.

So what ails Swedish Social Democracy? The Danes just elected a coalition led by Social Democracy and in France it is very likely that Francois Hollande of the Partie Socialiste will take over after Nicholas Sarkozy. SPD in Germany might be a strong contender in the next election against Merkel and her CDU.

Welfare might be in trouble that is making Social Democrats wonder if the good years of the West will be replaced by leaner years where it will be more difficult to afford the level of welfare people have gotten used to? Another problem might be the neo-fascism some people have established in Sweden and that there should be problems accepting the continuous development of the guiding control state that massacre individualism that otherwise is more and more important for entrepreneurism and innovation on all levels of society. Then I don’t know if Social Democrats are worse than other politicians to use this sort of techniques.

Social Democrats then seem to hold on to the equality parameter which is talked about even in liberal environments like the US. Belief in capitalism is down to 60% from 80% in the US and this country was known for not demonstrating envy of wealth but rather admire those that do well. Not so really in Sweden. The Financial Times is running a series of articles on the “Crisis of Capitalism”. The consensus seems to be that there is no other system and that we have to endure the downsides. There is also a sense that honor should reenter the game—less greed. The political opposition in Sweden doesn’t seem to discuss this however. Most people agree on equality of opportunity but the crucial question that separates Europe from the US is equality of outcome. Together with security it anchors Europe at a lower GDP growth and higher unemployment.

Using partly the same welfare idea as the Social Democrats the Alliance parties, The Moderates, The People’s Party, The Center Party and the Swedish CDU, have annihilated the idea of Social Democratic opposition. My humble question is, however, if it would not be better leaving focus on the welfare state on the opposition and advocating a more American republican line that would address problems in the future with focus on individuality, liberation of labor laws, and freedom. It seems like Europe is suffocating itself compared to North America. Europe has a great advantage though. It pays less than half for comparative health care but the US economy still seems to be more alert, adaptive and dynamic.


The Road to Serfdom

I have been reading Hayek’s best-selling cult book The Road to Serfdom and the problem is that I don’t know if it is the 1930s again. According to my experience the last 13 years a new type of fascism is back to haunt us. The problem is I don’t know how spread these practices are. In Sweden they could be, as Hayek suggests, the result of years of social democracy that has formed the nation of Sweden.

Behavior wise this might be derived from the need from societal guidance rather than individualism where more people have things to say about each person’s behavior and thus there would be more occasions for punishment which could act over the years. People that are more orderly could suffer from greater risk of cyclically develop fascism. There is a problem with political violence currently.

According to Hayek individualism promotes a social process of super-individual forces that drives the growth of reason. I must say I buy into this principle all the way. It is the same principle that makes basic science work to the benefit of mankind. Hayek said that tending a civilization as a gardener tends a plant by understanding its structure and function is the best approach. Only one civilization bloomed so far in the 1500s to 1600s and this has fertilized all others.

Another point Hayek might have made is that freedom is more important than security, what is called “trygghet” in Swedish. The US is less secure than Europe and risk taking is something that the Americans are fond of. They lie closer to the edge and try more things and it is possible to come back after a bankruptcy. What would be interesting to know if this attitude difference has anything to do with the proficiency and creativity in science as well as in business? Business pays in a way for science so there is definitely an indirect effect. American freedom has lured many a scientist and innovator to the US though, despite of less security.

A person like Hayek is not throwing people on the street though. He says in 1944: “but there can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity for work, can be assured to everybody”. This sounds like an ordinary Swedish “försörjningsstöd”. What is becoming more of an issue these days, and which is more readily state by Americans, is that the European welfare model could turn out to be too expensive when four times as many people from China and India is joining the race. The Italian welfare minister cried in public when the new technocrat prime minister laid down his new budget.

Individualism breeds tolerance the lack of which is an increasing problem in Europe the last years. Right wing populism is back and in Hungary Victor Orban is trying to make his country more autocratic which luckily the EU is trying to prevent and is reacting on. Well, how serious is the situation? What bothers me is that everyone is trying to tell me that I should not complain and that I exaggerate. However, if I can’t complain on what I have encountered, there is real trouble in Europe.