The culture that is Sweden

by on October 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm in Law | Permalink

When a professor at Sweden's Umea University had his computer stolen, he was devastated by the loss of his data more than anything. But a week after the theft, he got a package in the mail: A USB drive.

The thief had backed up his data and mailed it to him.

Here is more and for the pointer I thank Michael Clemens on Twitter.

1 Jim October 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

Pretty easy to make socialism work in a culture like that, eh?

2 Silas Barta October 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

Challenge for economists: How do you get more computer thieves to give the data to the owners without increasing the incidence of computer theif? Or without increasing the net harm of computer theft?

3 Steve October 18, 2010 at 10:45 am

I see what you did there, Nylund.

4 subdee October 18, 2010 at 11:04 am
5 Linux October 18, 2010 at 11:14 am

Wayne, you should learn about encryption and backups. There are lots of ways to do this for free in Linux. I have no idea about those proprietary operating systems but there's no way to know if any encryption is at all meaningful on a system whose kernel you can't audit so there's no point really to investigating the issue on any proprietary operating system.

6 Nylund October 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

What I mean by the above:

You could argue that an altruistic culture allows for an effective form of socialism. Or, you could argue that an effective form of socialism creates an altruistic culture.

If an economic system promotes individualism and promotes the idea that selfishness is actually a virtue people may be more inclined to act selfishly. If an economic system is predicated on the belief that we should give assistance to those that need help, people may be willing to do something to ease the troubles of someone else, even if they are the source of those troubles (as in the case of this criminal).

It could very well go the other way, but I'm just trying to make the point that the direction of causation is hardly clear (if causation even exists at all).

I'm also very uncomfortable with the racial/genetic aspect implied by some of the people who make claims as to why it can work in Sweden but not in America. Its very rarely stated publicly, but behind closed doors I've heard too many people make arguments that verge on arianism.

7 Aaron W October 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

Are the Swedes really all that socialist? Sure, they have pretty generous social welfare programs, but their schools are fully voucherized and most of their roads are privatized.

8 Vehicle Driver October 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Are the Swedes really all that socialist? Sure, they have pretty generous social welfare programs, but their schools are fully voucherized and most of their roads are privatized.

Swedes scores 72.4 on the index of economic freedom. U.S. scores 78.0 on the index of economic freedom.

9 tomslee October 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

It is nice to see the data didn't end up as part of a "Markets in Everything" post.

10 BPO October 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Given that you can easily find examples of criminals doing their victims some sort of "favor" like this in the United States, how does this say anything about Sweden that it doesn't say about the U.S, or vice versa? (And I'm sure these types of acts happen elsewhere as well.) I get the impression we're supposed to marvel at what a kind and gentle place is Sweden, where even the criminals have hearts of gold.

11 Jay October 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Don't beat around the bush. There is a strong correlation between the countries lefties aspire to be like and the whiteness of those countries.

Scandinavia is 95% Caucasian. Sounds like a KKK paradise (or Utah).

12 Hans October 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Aaron W: there are no toll-roads in Sweden other than bridges to other countries (the Svinesund bridge to Norway and the Öresund bridge to Denmark). In Stockholm there are congestion charges (like in London) which means that you have to pay to drive your car into the central parts of the city, but that money is not used to finance the roads, and the prices are set to discourage driving at peak hours.

13 Hillary October 18, 2010 at 6:41 pm

A couple years a wheel was stolen off my car overnight (it was parked off the alley behind the duplex I lived in in a marginal neighborhood). The thieves must have really needed that size of wheel (99 sunfire) because they were very considerate. They dropped my axle on a couple bags of cement instead of the ground and left the hubcap.

I took it as a sign and sold the car that weekend. I bought locking lugnuts for my new one.

14 David Curran October 19, 2010 at 12:18 am

Here Trojans its a horse for you to bring into your city. I would be going through the autorun.inf and disabling all macros.

15 åse October 19, 2010 at 4:02 am

It is pretty weird (I live in Sweden). There has been other computers stolen (yes, sweden is small, we scrape the barrel to report crimes – sometimes we even import them). Usually there doesn't seem to come anything back.

I have lost stuff and gotten it back though, which I never expected when I lived in LA for example.

So, I'm not sure the behavior can be attributed to…sweden.

16 Yan October 19, 2010 at 7:46 am

Love the story. The time spent recovering the lost data during that week before the USB drive arrived is the professor's net loss from this event.

17 Swanson October 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

Scandinavians have selected for COOPERATIVE PARTNERS for the past 1000 years. This has led to a polite society completely unlike America. Socialism works in Scandinavian countries due to the evolutionary path of the people in Scandinavia. Lest you politically correct fools remember WE ARE ANIMALS.

18 zbicyclist October 20, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Have the Swedes never heard of Carbonite?
http://www.carbonite.com/en-us/default.aspx?re=1

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