What defines the Swedish soul?

This article, from Prospect, is interesting throughout.  Excerpt:

Inevitably, the subject turns to sex and marriage. I'll never forget
asking one group what they thought of marriage in a country where most
educated young people (and half go to university) don't get married or
bear children until they are well over 30. A young woman gave me a
thoughtful answer and so I asked her, "What are you looking for in a
husband?" Without batting an eye or pausing for thought, she answered:
"Three things. One, he must be good in bed. Two, he must be a good
father. Three, when we divorce, he mustn't be bitter."

Robin Hanson comments on the USA.  Here is my earlier post on what I think of Sweden, one of my favorite MR posts.

Comments

"the Swedish soul" - singular?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzLECtFT4aU&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fullanoertoftthomsen.blogspot.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

In your earlier post you say
"Sweden........ remains one of the best places in the history of the world to date ."
Is this a Freudian slip?

David J. Balan,

Sweden's birth rate, at about 1.7 per woman, is not the lowest in Europe but is nevertheless hardly sustainable. Extolling the virtues of Sweden is like extolling the virtues of a fossil-fuel based economy. Like peak oil, we have peak Sweden.

There is also some question whether the Swedish lifestyle in some sense freeloads off the technological innovation and entrepreneurial dynamism of other countries. It's hard to think of one major company that has formed in Sweden in the last 30 years or more.

Historically, patriarchal and fundamentalist societies have tended to outbreed, outpopulate and displace more egalitarian societies. There is no reason to think it will be any different this century.

Maybe because Sweden gets good outcomes despite its' socialism because it's full of Swedes. There's no managerial secret formula they have that would transform the screwed-up countries of the world into Scandinavia.

As for your first para, it only holds true if you assume human societies and cultures are malleable into one mould, ignoring their millenia of distinct historical development .

How is her condition 2 possibly compatible with 3? [At least in ex ante expectation.]

"IKEA? Ericsson? Volvo?"
Founded 1946, 1876, 1915 respectively (although there's a little debate on the latter two, depending on incorporation dates, rollout of first product, etc.).

Honestly, the only company of note founded later than the 1950s that I found on the list below was MySQL, but I'm not familiar with enough of the fields covered to be able to say:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_of_Sweden

I think the more impressive standouts, honestly, are entities like Husqvarna (founded 1655!).

Especially in the context of the rest of Europe, I don't think Sweden is especially retarded as far as new-company formation goes. A number of countries (IKEA was ahead of the curve, apparently) rode the wave of post-WWII, post-Depression investment and innovation, and then kind of ossified in the 1950s or 1960s. Whether that's a matter of being forced out by existing corporations, or all the easy pickings already being picked up, is out of my range of expertise.

The Scandifiles should visit Fargo ND. I go their for business. Most of the people there descended from Norwegian immigrants. There seems to be no visible poverty there. It is interesting and you can get some ludafisk (sp?) of course I would rather the relative chaos of a place with lots of Italians but with much better food.

Office Depot

Being a Swede (no pun intended) makes me qualified to present some thought on Sweden, I think:

Firstly, socialism is bad for us. The reason Sweden still works relatively well are things economists usually don't care about, nor measure. Economist have similar problems explaining the success of Jews or the failing success of gypsies. Sweden works because of the Swedish culture. What is the Swedish culture? Well, lets say it's the opposite of Italian culture.

Sweden is a high trust, high context, ultra developed society. When I talk about development I'm talking about the culture. Jews, Italians, Americans, Vietnamese, will all reach our cultural level eventually, but we are at least 50 years ahead of them, probably much more.

Why is this so? Well it's all about history. Sweden has been a unified state for about a millennium. We have had no wars on our territory since the Kalmar Union broke up, five centuries ago. Everything has been well organized, without interruption, ever since. It is by living together in a civilized society, ruled by law, that creates a high trust, high context society.

Secondly, the socialism of contemporary Sweden is a product of the high level of militarization, Sweden has maintained since the 16th century. This required exceptional tax, propaganda and control from the state. The state was hijacked by the socialists in the 1930ies, and they have been using it to win elections ever since. Hopefully it will end soon.

Ahhh the Swedes, mmm IKEA, that font of boring furniture widgets. Cookie cutter suburbia meets cookie cutter manufacturer.

But wait, there's more to Swedish history and IKEA...

"But not many will know about the founder's past: As a teenager, he attended Nazi Party meetings in Sweden in the three years after the end of World War II."

"Ingvar Kamprad, 73, owned up to his old Nazi leanings 5-1/2 years ago after a Swedish newspaper exposed him."

"He issued a letter of apology to Ikea employees worldwide, calling himself a "naive" youth who was driven by a fascination with his family's German roots."

"I've apologized. I've apologized to my staff and to everyone," the reclusive Kamprad said in a Reuters interview two years ago. "It was terrible, but now I want to put it all behind me."

Sure... nice to "put it all behind you" Komrade.

I wonder how much supplies did Sweden send to Hitler during the war? I forget. How much iron ore and other supplies had they cut them off would have ended Hitler's reign of terror.

Truth is, like Switzerland, they're no better than any other nation. They've benefitted by doing business with the devil in many instances.

Today, their population dwindles and leaves as Muslims swell into cities like Malmo, where young Swedish girls are raped for wearing short skirts.

The Swedish nation is about 3-4, maybe 5 decades from falling apart into a civil war or completely under the influence of Islamic aggression.

Unless they try some very aggressive Swedish only Family encouragement, they will lose everything they have built.

You cannot build an immoral society and last. History shows this again and again. You tear down the family, you lose.

"They have just about none of it and they're way more excellent to each other (and to everyone else) than are the godliest of the godly."

I'm not remotely a religious person (nor am I someone who obsesses over it), but this is a profoundly bizarre assertion. And I think there might be some "non-domestics" in Sweden who might beg to differ with you as well.

Since when is the free encyclopedia a company? The other two are unheard of here in Europe, and I only know of Home Depot because i visit the States/Canada regularly.

Well, the inquiry/challenge was "major" company, not "well-known."

According to Wikipedia (see links above) -
PSS World Medical "also ranked number 965 on the 2008 Fortune 1000 list of largest businesses, up from 980 the prior year." They had almost $2 billion in revenue in 2008.

OSI Restaurant Partners has 100,000+ employees, owns something like 5-10 restaurant chains, and had over a billion dollars in revenue in 2007.

Office Depot...well, whether they are well known in Sweden or not, they had $15 billion in revenue in 2008 and have 43,000 employees.

I'll spot you Wikipedia, I guess.

They all seem like large, major companies, and all were founded in Florida in the last 30 years.

Can a country that's produced ABBA and Ace of Base really have soul?

@Bob:

Swedish companies founded after 1978:
1). Tele2 (1993): actually known outside of Sweden with yearly revenue of about 5 bilion euro (what's that, 10 bilion American?)
2). Metro International (1995): The free news paper. Again, a multinational. Can't find their figures.
3). MySQL AB (1988): Founder of MySQL. Bought for 1 bilion by Sun Microsystems in 2008.

Oh, I love it when someone with a name that means "Swede" in Swedish
denounces Sweden for its coddling of Hitler over 60 years ago, and then
unburdens himself with a frankly racist outburst against Muslim immigrants.

Of course, the real reason Tyler is hot for Sweden is that he has long
lusted after the Swedish bikini team, :-).

Tom,

And the data on these claimed attacks is what? And, no, the comparison
is not the Muslim immigrants to Nazis, but the Muslim immigrants to the
Jews that the Nazis denounced in terms not unlike this clown used (did
you never read all that Nazi propaganda about Jews seducing nice shiksa
women?). Get it together.

"Jews, Italians, Americans, Vietnamese, will all reach our cultural level eventually, but we are at least 50 years ahead of them, probably much more." If I said that about the US, I would be instantly labeled as a lunatic nationalistic "USA, USA" chanting right winger.

Sweden unified for a Millenia?? Sweden as the Last Man? I hate to go all Godwinesque on you, but Sweden (just like Switzerland), was one of the most opportunistic free-loaders of Europe during WWII. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_during_World_War_II

That being said, Nordic countries, Sweden especially are nice places.

I posted a comment on Krugman's blog about the new Swedish President of the EU defending hedge funds and investors, citing it as the ultimate case of cognitive dissonance, lo and behold, Krugman didn't approve the comment!

Tom,

Maybe Malmo in particular has a problem, but immigrants are 12% of Sweden's population and 8.4% of Denmark's. Your fjordman is a notorious hysteric over Muslim immigration, a pal of the neo-Nazi Bjorn. You might as well quote Hoppe or Sailer or Tancredo or Lou Dobbs on immigration into the US. Gag.

Sweden despite everything that is "great" about it couldn't protect itself from an arm of ants. Therefore like most liberals it hides behind the protection of countries and people who actually have the guts to stand up for themselves. I have no idea about their military but the probably spend pennies on it and then they rely on other so called less developed cultures to protect them.... lol.

Comments for this post are closed