Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Even Sweden Gets It?

RealClearPolitics - The Brighter Europe

I've heard snippets of this elsewhere, but one can imagine that the MSM would be awfully quiet on it. Sweden has been the poster child for "socialism that works" for as long as I can remember -- to have that be a myth would be nearly as painful for the MSM and left in this country as the fall of the Berlin Wall. How can it be?? It just seems so cruel for our leftward elite to learn such harsh lessons as "there is no free lunch", "working hard and being responsible is the way to a good life", and "socialism only works until you run out of other people's money".

Man, if it keeps going this way, the next thing the liberals are going to have to find out is that Santa is a myth!


  1. How about Germany? There's a semi-socialist government that exports about as much as China does. Some say that Germany does socialism AND capitalism better than anyone else does. Here's an article about it:

  2. Dave, I've been to Germany -- it is sort of like a country of low to moderate income housing, both our homes would be "beyond the pale" in luxury there. It is a very austere, cleanly society -- however I really do like their beer and food.

    Google has an interesting site -- it is easy to see the effects of Sweden going more free market, but consider how well the US does as a country of 300 million vs those much smaller countries!

    In 2005, Germany's unemployment rate was 12% and ours was 6% ... historically they have had a much higher rate than here. Right now they are forcing shorter work weeks ... that may keep the number better for a bit, but not a long term strategy.

    The idea that Germany is "doing great" is even farther out than the '80s myth that Japan was "doing great" ... take a look at this sobering chart:

    Note where Japan now is at, notice where Germany and most of the European countries are, then go find China (start from the bottom).

    "Wishes are not fishes" and "there is no free lunch". The "entitlement economies" of Europe, Japan, and increasingly us, are built on mountains of debt -- that debt will be paid ... in Japan, in Germany, and here. Entitlements WILL drop to do that, the issue is just "how much and how bad does the rest of our life style suffer".

  3. Very interesting. I like their beer too. Not sure about the food, though. Brats & sauerkraut are pretty good, but I can't think of anything else.

    I didn't know that Germany was carrying so much debt per capita, or so many other first world countries were as well. (I heard that Germany was probably going to end up bailing out Greece, though, to the tune of half a trillion $$$. How can they afford to do that I wonder.)

    Don't forget that the whole world is just coming out of the worst recession since the 30's, which explains the dip in 2008 in the first graph. I don't know this, but it could be that other countries like Germany have borrowed big money recently in order to invest in infrastructure, to stimulate their economies and to make them more efficient when the recession is over. We'll have to see where everyone stands in a few years from now.

    Maybe this is the fate of us all when we have to compete with countries like China, which treat their people like slaves. Do we have to become China in order to compete with the Chinese? I hope that someone can figure out another way.

  4. While I completely disagree with China's repressive government, their development ideas are often better than ours. TRUE poverty -- the less than a dollar or two a day kind that something like 3/4 of the planets people have lived in for a long time, can be more cruel than slavery. Starving people will sell themselves to slavery to eat.

    I've worked with a lot of folks from China, I've run into a number of them at meetings, educated at US universities, speaking english better than you and I. They are a LONG way from slaves, and their middle class is now larger than our whole population -- growing entirely on market based principles operating (amazingly) in a strange sort of repressive government. That it works is the enigma of our times to my mind.

    While I certainly DO consider their lack of freedom to border on "slavery" of the spiritual sort, their economic conditions are in constant improvement, while ours are currently in managed decline -- freedom of economic activity without freedom of speech? I would have thought it a false choice, but we seem to be squandering our economic freedom, while maintaining the right to complain, the Chinese seem to be expanding their economic freedom and lifestyle while lacking the freedom to complain.

    Would one rather have less to complain about, and not be free to do so, or more to complain about, and a lot of freedom to do so? It is a very strange question, but one worthy of some thought in looking at China vs the US.

    Perhaps if more people understood the level of debt that the wishful "entitlement economy" of Europe and now ours to an increasing extent has engendered, we could start to see that without economic growth, none of our futures is bright. There are no entitlements -- each and every one of them must be paid for, either now or in the future, and barring a return to actual slavery, the people that create that wealth will have to be MOTIVATED to pay!! Thus, the extreme problem with the fantasy that "all it takes is more taxes on the rich".

  5. Higher taxes on the rich isn't the answer to solving the debt problem, but it will help keep it from getting much worse to some extent. I think that the only way to get out from under it is to grow out of it. Investments in infrastructure (education, transportation, communication, etc) and R&D would help that.

    Entitlements aren't the only reason that the country is in so much debt. I believe that the defense budget is around $700 billion per year now. Not sure why it needs to be so huge now that the arms race is over. Probably a lot of corruption in the appropriations process inflates the budget.