Goodbye Sweden

  

This is the last post on this blog. I am leaving Sweden for good shortly, and will no longer be following its descent from what was once the third most prosperous country in the world. Frankly, it’s just too damn depressing. 

I was born and raised in Sweden, which leaves a cultural mark even though I moved to USA in the 1990s and have spent the better part of my adult life as an American. Coming back for a few years has been a shocking experience.

When I was a child, Sweden was a dull yet very safe place to live. Yes, there was a heavy blanket of socialism and collectivist values covering everything, but there was a core of pragmatism beneath the redness. The intention and goal was always to benefit the citizens, even though they went about things in a backwards manner. 

 

Prime minister Löfven 
Today, it’s as if the inmates are running the asylum. The politicians are participating in a chicken race of “goodness” where everybody tries to one-up each other in caring for the citizens of OTHER countries while Swedish retirees, school children, handicapped and other vulnerable categories of people are thorougly ignored. Violence is exploding. Jihadist Trojan horses are flowing through the porous border along with the tens of thousands ID-less refugees. 

But what makes me the most pessimistic about Sweden’s future is how the social fabric itself has been undermined. 

Now, to be clear, it is my opinion that modest immigration is healthy for society and beneficial for trade, cultural development and so forth. Protectionism as a concept is counter-productive, while free trade and the ability for skilled labor to go where they’re in demand is beneficial for everyone.

Having said that, what Sweden is doing is something completely different. The once homogenous population has been forever altered by a rapid and massive addition of people from vastly different cultures and value-systems. 26,8% of the population is now foreign-born or with at least one foreign-born parent, and the national census bureau estimates that some 150 000 per year will arrive to the country of just 9,8 million residents.

There simply is no possible way to absorb and assimilate such volumes of people, period. Then you are merely creating ethnic enclaves, which due to incompatible language, culture and job skills become ghettos, which in turns brews crime, misery and extremism. Once the inflow has exceeded the capacity for absorbtion, further immigration only makes the problem worse. 

It’s like someone having read that a cup of green tea per day is healthy, so they make it a policy to chug four gallons per day, every day. It’s a good thing overdone to the extreme until it becomes toxic.

Then you have the Swedish school system. There really is no nice way to put it; it’s a complete disaster. The minister of education is a man-boy who spends his time making Youtube-videos showing heart-signs with his hands to boost school results, while university-level students can’t read and comprehend the course literature. 

  
Education minister Gustav Fridolin
Since there is a delay in the changes in the school system, it is only in recent years the full impact of the knowledge-averse “progressive” school system is starting to be felt. Hard facts are largely irrelevant; the important thing is to sit in a group and discuss things until a consensus is reached. But with no hard facts to base the conclusions on, it becomes an exercise in futility because it’s all random assumptions and opinions. As a university-level history student (!) was quoted as saying in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet the other day: “Why would all these dates matter? Who cares in what order things happened?”

That’s not exactly fertile soil for creating the researchers and engineers of the future.

Financially, Sweden is an oddity in that it never had its real estate correction when Lehman Bros went belly-up and the housing market everywhere in the West crashed. Sweden just kept steaming ahead, which means housing is ridiculously overinflated. In Stockholm, the real estate prices increased 19% and in Gothenburg 24% in the last 12 months alone — from an already sky-high level. 

  
Tear-down abandoned house from 1932 with small, unremarkable lot in the outskirts of Stockholm. Current bid: 7,5 million SEK, or close to $900,000.

As a result, personal debt of the Swedish population is at an all-time high. To keep all this afloat the normal mortgage interest rates are at 2% with central bank Riksbanken at -0,25%, and yet a significant portion of the borrowers are hanging by a thread. If and when foreign banks and investors decide it’s time to turn their backs on Sweden (as happened in the early 1990s) there’s going to be a lot of pain.

Then you have the financial obligations going forward. Like much of the western world, there is a demographic change where fewer tax-paying adults are to support a glut of retirees. What makes it especially dire for Sweden is that in addition to the old Swedes, there’s also a ton of elderly immigrants that are granted “family visas” based on younger relatives having been granted asylum. They’ve never paid a dime in taxes, yet enter the system with full benefits from day one. In theory, this would be made up for by the younger relatives working and paying taxes. Sadly, this is not the case; while ethnical Swedes have a 82% employment rate, immigrants only have 57% with non-Europeans coming in at just 51%.

If Sweden was a person, it’d be like the guy with three mortgages, seven maxed-out credit cards and four collection agencies chasing him that just signed a lease for a brand new BMW X6. Simply put, there’s a lot of red ink in the future; it just hasn’t been fully realized yet.

Finally, there’s the sorry state of the Swedish defense. After decades of constant slashing of the defense budget, the extent of Swedish ambition is to stall an invader for a week in a limited area. This with war raging in Europe, Russian missiles pointed at Sweden in Kaliningrad, and Russian submarines and bomber jets openly thumbing their nose at Sweden as they intrude on Swedish territory on a regular basis. The power vacuum in Scandinavia is so tangible you can almost hear a sucking sound as you fly over it. This, too, will require massive investments when the penny finally drops amongst Swedish politicians.

So while I can’t claim to be any kind of authority on macroeconomics or social predictive models, I see red lights across the board. 

In some ways, I’d compare the country to a farm. Previously, Sweden acted like a sensible farmer and planted wheat here, carrots there, potatoes over there et cetera, by implementing free schooling, sound infrastructure investments, state-financed research and so forth. A few decades later, they reaped the rewards and climbed the prosperity ladder.

In the late 1960s, this pragmatic line was abandoned as leftist idealist Olof Palme took over. But there was plenty to harvest from previous years, so Sweden continued to be the land of milk and honey for a good long while. Then things started drying up, and the process has been one of gradual erosion and decline since the 1990s. 

The famous Swedish health care system is a good example. 120 000 hospital beds in the late 1960s became 20 000 today. Cancer patients are put on waiting lists for months. Entire emergency wards shut down for summer. The crumbling Swedish railroad system is another symptom I examined in-depth last year. The aforementioned defense that now consist of about three fat generals and a rusty rifle (bullets withheld for budgetary reasons).

A sensible farmer would see the problems for what they are and hurry to plant new seeds, so as to return to bountiful harvests of wheat, carrots, potatoes etc. Instead, the Swedish politicians goes by dogma and plants what they think SHOULD grow. So they plant M & Ms, hot dogs and pretzels. The results won’t be fully evident for a few years yet, but as the last reserves of the old harvests are depleted, things will get… Interesting.

From what I can see, there simply is no plausible scenario where these social tensions and future financial committments will not lead to a downward spiral of hardship and strife. I hope I’m wrong. I really do, because I have friends and family I care about that will remain here to see it all play out. 

But I won’t. I’ll be back in the US being mad at Obama for being a lying scumbag. And if Trump manages to get elected in 2016? Whoo boy. A racist ignoramus who takes pride in the worst qualities of a cranky eight-year old should make George “Dumbo” Bush seem like Abe Lincoln by comparison. So every country has its problems. USA has its corrupt yokel in office, just as Sweden has Stefan Löfven. 

I’d like to thank you for having followed this blog and your many insightful comments. It’s been a wild ride at times with heated debates, but it’s been fun — even when I got hatemail from both left-wingers and right-wingers over the same article. 🙂

So thank you, and good luck whereever you are.

  

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Police: Yes, there ARE No-Go Zones in Sweden

 
The issue of whether there are No-Go Zones in Europe or not has been somewhat controversial, mainly because the term has not had a clear-cut definition when applied to civilian cities. 

The original term is military lingo for hot areas controlled by the enemy, where it is suicidal to venture without sufficient firepower to match that of the enemy. This describes the situation of police officers pretty well; you have to enter the area in force or stay out, since a lone patrol car WILL be attacked.

Jacob Ekström is a police officer working in these areas. He has this to say in the latest issue of Forsking & Framsteg, the premier scientific journal in Sweden:

“The situation is slipping from our grasp,” he says about infamous enclaves Tensta and Rinkeby. “If we’re in pursuit of a vehicle, it can evade us by driving to certain neighborhoods where a lone patrol car simply cannot follow, because we’ll get pelted by rocks and even face riots. These are No-Go Zones. We simply can’t go there.” [My bold]

The article goes on to chronicle the rapid rise in gun-related violence in a country that was essentially unarmed up until just 15 years ago, the evolution of criminal gangs and clans from the middle east as an alternative societal structure, and how the “exclusion areas” (i.e. ghettos) have grown from 3 in 1990 to 156 in 2006.

The reporter brought the status report by Ekström to Lars Korsell, researcher and head of the organized crime unit att the national crime prevention bureau.

“Yes, it is pretty sensational that there are enclaves where Swedish law no longer applies,” Korsell replied slowly and ponderously.

I encourage you to read the article in full using Google Translate or similar; it is sobering to get a comprehensive overview based on hard, solid facts and statistics.

Then there’s the religious interpretation of No-Go Zones. It is my understanding that parts of London, Paris and other major European cities with large muslim populations have a shadow justice system based on Shariah Law. Posted signs prohibiting alcohol, music, revealing women’s clothes etc. enforced by volunteers patrolling the streets, sometimes even wearing vests bearing the name “Shariah Police”.

   
 

When I wrote about the police report of 55 No-Go Zones last year, I was referring to the former. To the best of my knowledge, there are no Shariah patrols in Sweden. But there are several essentially lawless areas where the police concedes that they have indeed lost control. There are also a few areas that I’m not certain why they made the list, to be honest. Such as Täby; a well-to-do white enclave outside Stockholm that is hardly known for drive-by shootings. Still, the bulk of the list is accurate in my opinion.

But what has been most striking is that there have been literally hundreds of Swedes popping up in various places claiming it’s all made up. The emails I have received and the forum posts have been so similar in wording it’s tempting to put on the tinfoil hat and suspect some kind of concerted effort. But by whom? And to what end?

Things really kicked off in January, when there was a guy on Fox News that made the ludicrus claim the entire city of Birmingham, the second largest in the UK, was a shariah-controlled No-Go Zone for non-muslims. He has since issued a public retraction and apology. 

This, the horde of leftist trolls decided, meant EVERYTHING was a figment of the imagination. Suddenly there were no clan-controlled areas, no sharp increase of arson, no need for ambulance drivers to wear bulletproof vest and riot helmets, or anything else mentioned in any of the articles that have been published on the matter… All because one guy made a dumb claim.

The well-documented incident in Landskrona last year where two police officers were cornered by a mob of 50+ thugs and the fellow officers were ordered NOT to enter the area due to the risk of riots… Suddenly didn’t happen. Neither did the inofficial courts of Södertälje. Or the spike in rapes that now puts Sweden at #2 in the world. Or the #1 spot in the world for school arsons. All of it, poof, gone.

Anyway. To deflect yet another storm of leftist trolls howling about the fictious nature of No-Go Zones, I’ll round off by adding the list of sources I usually copy & paste in my response. The trolls invariably go quiet or get even more belligerent. The number of factual responses to date: Zero. 

Most sources are in Swedish but can easily be run through Google Translate by anyone.

 

Typical leftist Internet troll 

  • National newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, explicitly using the term “no-go zones”:

http://www.svd.se/opinion/ledarsidan/55-no-go-zoner-i-sverige-minner-om-parallellsamhallen_4051399.svd

  • National newspaper Aftonbladet on the rampant ISIS recruitment taking place in these areas:

http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article20427940.ab

  • Dr Magnus Ranstorp on the rapid growth of radicalized Islamists (in English):

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/23/from_the_welfare_state_to_the_caliphate_sweden_islamic_state_syria_iraq_foreign_fighters/

  • An article about the police incident deserting their own and ceding control to criminals in Landskrona. They literally use the term in the headline, adding that the police are now pulling out of the area:

http://hd.se/landskrona/2014/07/28/kriminella-far-fritt-spelrum-i/

  • The local police chief explaining why the officers are not to exit their vehicles and make arrests:

http://www.hd.se/lokalt/landskrona/2014/07/28/brottslighet-kan-lagforas-inifran-polisbilarna/

  • More from the police chief on how they now deal with the area:

http://hd.se/landskrona/2014/08/01/polischef-svarar-om-prioriteringar/

  • Also, if these areas do not exist, why is the ambulance union demanding military-grade protection gear to enter them?

http://mobil.svd.se/nyheter/ambulansfacket-kraver-skyddsutrustning_svd-4094045

  • Another article interviewing the ambulance union chief on why they need bulletproof vests, helmets and similar gear:

http://magasinetneo.se/artiklar/det-ar-definitivt-ett-nytt-fenomen-att-vi-ar-sa-utsatta/

As for the police report, it clearly states that there are indeed informal courts and parallel justice systems (page 12, third paragraph (3.4.3)). Anyone who has read about Södertäljenätverket knows how broad the extent of this clan-based influence can be.

http://polisen.se/Aktuellt/Rapporter-och-publikationer/Rapporter/Publicerat—Nationellt/Ovriga-rapporterutredningar/Kriminella-natverk-med-stor-paverkan-i-lokalsamhallet/

The vehicle checkpoints are mentioned on page 15, fourth paragraph (3.5.3). 

On page 13, second paragraph (3.4.4) you find the frequent attacks on police. Here is just one of many news stories on how police have to install shatterproof glass on their vehicles because they get rocks hurled at them whenever entering these areas: 

http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/abc/nya-super-rutor-ska-skydda-polisen-fran-stenkastande-gang

There are numerous newspaper articles, police reports and even Youtube videos by the gangs themselves bragging about how they’re chasing off the cops from “their” area, but I think this list should be enough. 

But of course, the trolls are free to believe all this is made up. My humble suggestion is merely putting that stance to the test by wrapping yourself in an Israeli flag and taking a walk through Rosengård, Husby or Biskopsgården a nice saturday evening and see what happens. Any takers?

Sweden used as warning example by Norway police

  
As a current resident of Sweden, I sometimes find myself questioning my own sanity. All these problems I blog about are right there in the open for anyone to see and getting worse by the year, yet media and politicians act as if everything is hunky-dory. Most people on the street also appears to be completely oblivious to details like the enormous increase of burning cars in the ghettos, the 1472% increase in rapes and the ever bolder gangs choking their enclaves with drugs and violence. 

So I find myself wondering, am I missing something? Why aren’t people reacting? Is it really reasonable that so many are in a state of denial? Or am I somehow misinterpreting all this?

That’s why it’s oddly reassuring that the neighboring Nordic countries are in the same boat. Denmark has voiced concerns about the utterly weak background check of immigrants from the middle east, fearing radical Islamists entering Sweden as asylum seekers with the intent of building Scandinavian terror cells. My very first post on this blog was about a Danish politician openly pleading for Sweden to come to its senses.

Norway isn’t too pleased either, and they dare speak openly about the problems brewing in the cities of their neighbor.

In a new report called “Oslo 2022,” the Norwegian police explicitly use Sweden in general and the town of Södertälje as a warning example. This prompted Aftonposten, one of the major Norwegian newspapers, to do two articles on Sweden’s out-of-control immigration.

In the first part, Norwegian reporters traveled to Södertälje outside Stockholm. Entitled “We all live in the same town, but not in the same world,” the article chronicles a town in complete segregation where the immigrants gain ground every year and everyone who can escapes. Violence, drugs, lawlessness and decay eats away at the town like a cancer. 

“Why is this allowed to happen?” the reporter asks.

“Because the Swedes are weak,” says 36-year old Simon Melkemichel. “The Swedish identity will be wiped out in 20-30 years.”

The second part is called “Sweden has lost control over their immigration” and has representatives for the Norwegian government comment on the fact that, well, Sweden has lost control over their immigration. What makes it noteworthy is the difference in tone compared to the Swedish political debate.

As in Denmark, the Norwegian leftist worker’s party have a very different view on immigration than the Swedish sister party Socialdemokraterna (currently in power). In Norway and Denmark, they make a point of restricting the inflow and checking the backgrounds carefully. 

In Sweden, there are literally no limits, and any background check beyond scratching the surface is considered racist and shut down by management as has been repeatedly revealed by bloggers like Merit Wager

Not surprisingly, the police report and the articles have ruffled quite a few feathers in Sweden’s political and medial elite. But equally predictably, the Swedish response is not to acknowledge the problems, but to whine about the mean Norwegian pseudo-fascists having the gall to criticize Sweden’s enlightened stance.

While it doesn’t do squat to fix anything, it’s at least reassuring that I’m not the one losing my mind.

Swedish vice PM: Fortune seekers equal to holocaust victims

  
Åsa Romson, vice prime minister and leader of extremist party Miljöpartiet

Last week I wrote about the estimated million Africans attempting to cross the mediterranean in search of a better life. There are pockets of unrest, but not all-out war as is the case in Syria. And regardless, it’s questionable if you’re still “fleeing for your life” when you’ve traveled through 3 peaceful countries and choose to get on a rickety boat to reach Europe. At that point you’re an economic immigrant, not a refugee. 

Official Swedish policy doesn’t agree with my assessment. Pretty much everything counts as grounds for asylum these days including poverty (77% approval rate of all asylum applications), which is incredibly costly and has thus forced the Swedes to make dramatic cuts to the foreign aid to the REAL refugees of war. 

To summarize: Sweden is decreasing support for the people literally dying in miserable refugee camps in the desert, to take in an ever-increasing number of economic fortune seeker from non-warring places that merely wants to get a free ride on Sweden’s generous welfare system. This makes Sweden a “humanitarian superpower,” according to the ruling class.

Their problem with the current system is twofold: The inflow of fortune seekers is too slow (!), and the boats crossing the mediterranean occasionally sink. Both problems are solved by letting the poor people apply for asylum at the embassies and consulates around the world. Then they can simply fly directly to Sweden and settle into their cozy new life the same day their application is approved. This is called “Opening legal ways into Europe,” in political Newspeak.

Sweden has less than 10 million citizens. There are literally billions of poor people in the world. It’s like a rowboat that seats 3 being commandeered out to save everyone aboard a cruise ship with 5000 passengers.

Despite the mainstream media and some political parties beating this “legal ways” drum relentlessly, there is resistance. Fortunately, there seems to be just enough people that recognize how absurd the idea is to prevent it from becoming reality. So far. 

As the topic surfaced in a live TV political debate last night, the vice prime minister from extremist green party Miljöpartiet, which advocates entirely open borders, made a remarkable statement

“We are turning the mediterranean into a new Auschwitz!”

Say what? Is she really comparing the infamous Nazi death machine to Africans that voluntarily hop on boats in the hope of getting a better standard of living? I mean… Really?

Yup. When pressed by the media after the debate, she stubbornly refused to back off her statement

Somehow, it feels like not much needs to be added when a person in all seriousness is arguing that the two are perfectly comparable and on par with one another. Nor is anything need to be said about what kind of person would use the holocaust as an argument to support their own hubris and misguided humanitarianism.

Not surprisingly, the Jewish communities in Sweden don’t share the vice prime ministers sentiment. 

Sweden’s solution to mediterranean deaths

  

This scene is from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. A summer’s breeze compared to what is now coming from Africa.

Imagine a Danish person who is unhappy with his current life. Then he hears about Canada being this swell place to live. So he sets out in a rowboat from the Danish coast to start a new life. To everyone’s surprise, he doesn’t get very far before he runs into trouble. 

Now, imagine a world where Canada has an absolute responsibility to come and rescue the Dane, no matter how much closer to European shore he is than North American. And after he is brought safely to Canada, he is owed automatic permanent asylum as well as his entire extended family, which is also entitled to lifetime welfare on the Canadian taxpayer’s dime. If Canada refuses any of the above, it is proof that Canada is a fascist country.

Welcome to Leftist logic 101; we have merely substituted the Mediterranean with the Atlantic.

The past few weeks have been filled with debate about the deaths of migrants crossing over from Africa in search of a better life. Since the coast guard off the European countries are obligated to rescue ships in danger, the smugglers pack people onto unsafe wrecks and send them off to be rescued. Inevitably, some sink before the coast guard reaches them. It’s tragic. But is it Europe’s fault?

Yes and no. For the no-side, you have to accept some personal responsibility when you deliberately endanger yourself. The Dane trying to reach Canada in a rowboat is obviously an idiot. When you hit your thumb with the hammer, not even a lawyer would sue the manufacturer. 

Some argue that these are desperate people fleeing war. Yes, there’s a few pockets of unrest in Africa. Nobody can argue the need to run when bullets are flying around you. But when the person has reached safe haven in a peaceful country and yet continues to travel, the argument no longer holds water. For example, the number of people fleeing Gambia is on the rise. So they cross the border to Senegal, a democratic country at relative peace. But instead of stopping there, they choose to travel through Senegal, Mauritania, Algeria, and then get on a dinky boat to reach Europe. Are they still fleeing for their lives at that point?

  

Starving refugees?

For the yes-side of the European fault discussion, we have the honey pot aspect. Here is where Sweden plays a major role. Two years ago it became official policy that anyone claiming to be Syrian or Eritrean was owed automatic permanent residency with all welfare perks that come with it. ID is not required; you merely have to make the claim and present a semi-plausible story. It would be hard to come up with a better incentive to the world’s poor seeking a better life. All you have to do is get to Swedish soil, and you’re set for life at a with a standard of living previously unimagined. 

  

Contrast this with Australia’s approach. “No Way: You will not make Australia home” is the policy wherein they simply refuse anybody to set foot on Australian soil. Instead, anyone attempting to migrate gets transferred to Nauru or Manus island. Those who have legit cause for seeking asylum get their due process, while the fortune seekers are unceremoneously turned away.

The number of confirmed deaths on the mediterranean has quadrupled since 2008. This year is predicted to be a record-breaker, with an estimated million migrants waiting to cross on the African side. The first few months of 2015 has already clocked in 30 times (!) the deaths of the same period in 2014. Meanwhile, as far as I’ve been able to find by Googling the news, Australia has decreased the death toll into single digits — primarily by people sabotaging their own boats in the hope of avoiding being escorted away.

So Europe has a problem, and the Australian approach holds great appeal for solving that problem. That means increased coast guard presence in the mediterranian to turn back boats to Africa, while removing the incentives for attempting the journey to begin with. Makes perfect sense to 28 of the 29 EU members.

But of course, the world’s Humanitarian Superpower don’t want anything to do with that approach. “Sweden shall fight for establishing legal ways into Europe!” said prime minister Löfven in the parliament EU committee. In other words, the Swedish government want to open up for asylum application at the embassies and consulates around the world. 

Now, combine this with that Sweden now considers poverty a de facto grounds for asylum. Bascially anybody worse off than a Swede in any way is to be let in, period. This can be clearly seen in the percentage of approved applications for asylum; from hovering in the 20-30% approval range in previous years, to suddenly hitting a whopping 77% percent. Ponder this for a second. The criteria for being granted asylum is now so watered down that more than three out of four that make it to Sweden are granted asylum.

To summarize: The rest of Europe wants to shut the door and remove the incentives for risking life and limb to cross the mediterranean. Meanwhile, Sweden wants to open up for everybody in the whole world to apply for asylum, based on their generous criteria where almost everybody gets approved.

There is an estimated 2,5 billion people living in poverty in the world. India alone has a few hundred million living in absolute squalor. Perhaps Löfven should use India as a test balloon and start an airlift of, say 100 Boeing 747s at 500 each per day. That’s 50 000 poor but happy Indians arriving at Arlanda airport every day to be absorbed by the country of less than 10 million. 

Let’s give it a month. If everything works out, he can go global with this inspiring initiative to end the world’s ills by bringing them all to Sweden.

Tino Sanandaji: Things are not going well for Sweden

  

Tino Sanandaji is a Kurdish-Swedish economist with a solid list of credentials including a PhD from University of Chicago. He has made a name for himself in Sweden by doing the unthinkable: Speaking the truth about the devastating financial impact of Sweden’s bizarre mass-immigration experiment. 

Unfortunately, most of his exquisite skewering of the official line on Sweden’s supposedly excellent financial health is in Swedish. That’s why I’m pleased to have been granted permission to translate his latest analysis, which may provide a bit of counterweight to the generally accepted, rose-tinted version being pushed in Europe and elsewhere. 

Things are not going well for Sweden

  

The Director General of the Employment Office recently warned that welfare funding requires a net immigration of about 100,000 per year going forward. Around the same time the new health budget was released. It is interesting to contrast the Employment Office’s image with how [Swedish Finance Minister] Magdalena Andersson’s own budget describes the Swedish economy.

Firstly, we note that instead of catching up with the native-born, the immigrants have lost further ground in terms of income:

“The position of the foreign-born in the income distribution has worsened between 1995 and 2013 (see Table 2.3). One reason for this is that the immigration structure has changed over time. From being almost totally dominated by labor migration, the refugee and family immigration has come to represent an increasing share of immigration since the 1990s.”

Another piece of exciting news is that migrants’ income mobility has fallen slightly, while other people’s income mobility has increased. Normally, lower incomes tend to have greater potential for income upward mobility. Instead of the higher mobility as the group has integrated immigrants income mobility decreased.

“The results suggest that the movement may have increased marginally for several groups over the period 1995-2013. For foreign-born, however, the mobility slightly lower during the latter part. The shift towards increased refugee immigration during the 2000s has probably contributed to this. The employment rate in this group is lower and the income development worse than average within the group of foreign-born.”

Economists measure the growth in prosperity with GDP per capita. A few months ago I pointed out that [former Finance Minister] Anders Borg had taken the unorthodox decision to simply not recognize the standard measure of GDP per capita in his budget. Data on per capita GDP can not be found in the government report for the period 2006-2014 that the Alliance [the allegedly conservative government coalition previously in power] went to the polls on. Ander Borg must have been ashamed to show that growth in per capita GDP between 2006-2014 was an unimpressive 0.3%. Measured from 2007, the growth was negative. Magdalena Andersson’s budget is to her virtue is not quite as disreputable that Anders Borgs, and GDP per capita is omce again displayed. 

“Per capita GDP is a measure of the economic standard of living that better illustrates how increased production is allocated on a per capita average. Despite some recovery after the financial crisis, GDP per capita was no higher in 2014 than in 2007.”

 

[Text above: The most common measure of economic growth is GDP growth. However, simple GDP growth over time is no guarantee that the citizens enjoy a higher standard of living. GDP growth also has to be related to the population growth. GDP per capita shows the production divided by the number of citizens and can thus be used to measure economic standard of living. 

The growth of GDP per capita has stagnated. 

Real GDP per capita increased by 1 percent on average per year from 1980 to 2007. In conjunction with the beginning to the financial crisis, when the GDP growth dipped considerably, the GDP per capita also fell (see graph 3.2). Despite some recovery, the GDP per capita was not higher 2014 than 2007, despite a GDP growth of 6 percent. By this measurement, the standard of living has not increased during this period.

Productivity is important for GDP per capita to increase

Long term, the productivity development is the determinant for the GDP growth and thus also GDP per capita. Then productivity is mostly determined by technological advances such as digitalization. The technological development is usually driven by investments, material as well as immaterial. Political decisions may impact the long term productivity levels, for example through taxation, the education system, research and patent laws.

The growth of GDP per capita usually move in tandem with productivity (see graph 3.3). The poor development of GDP per capita since 2007 is thus caused by weak productivity devlopment coupled with strong population growth. The increase in population has not been matched by an increase in hours worked.]

The world economic crisis is of course an important reason for the weak growth. But contrary to the often repeated claim that Sweden has the strongest economy in Europe, or even of all comparable countries, growth per capita below the OECD average. Half of the OECD countries grew faster per capita than Sweden.

Seven years of negative GDP growth is unparalleled in the Swedish post-war period. Likewise, there is no eight-year period with lower GDP growth than 2006-2014. It is a fascinating sign of our times that [former Prime Minister] Reinfeldt and Borg were allowed to portray the worst period in living memory as some sort of golden era of growth. After all, checking this is not more complicated than clicking on a table on the SCB website and see how real GDP inflation-adjusted prices has evolved.

  

An important explanation for the negative growth in GDP per capita is a disastrous development of productivity. The Spring budget states: “Productivity growth in business (calendar-adjusted) averaged 0.2 percent per year from 2007 to 2014.”

Again, there is no seven-year period with such weak productivity growth in the Swedish post-war period. Like the GDP per capita, overall productivity has been weaker in Sweden than the OECD average. The explanation for the per capita GDP being even worse than productivity per hour worked is that the recent population growth has not led to a proportional increase in hours worked:

“The weak growth in GDP per capita since 2007 thus depends on productivity has been weak, while population growth has been strong. Population growth has not been matched by an equal increase in the number of hours worked. “

Meanwhile, some good news in the budget is that refugee migration costs, er, investment in welfare funding continues to soar. Costs for initial reception of asylum seekers are recognized in the budget posts “Migration” and “Integration and Equality”. These asylum-related items increased from a historical level of around just under 10 billion per year to an estimated 49 billion in 2018.

By the way, don’t let yourselves be fooled by the name of the line “Integration and Equality”. Only about one percent of the cost are actually gender-related expenditures, while the rest consists of expenditure items such as municipal compensation and that in everyday language called “welfare”. A novelty in the budget is that the government intends to change the name of the category of “Equality and newly arrived immigrants establishment”.

  

Post 8: Migration

Post 13: Integration and Equality

In Magdalena Andersson’s budget proposal six months ago, the estimated costs of asylum reception between the years 2015-2018 was set to 153 billion SEK. In the spring budget, costs have been revised upwards and is now estimated to end up at 172 billion from 2015 to 2018.

While on the topic, we may note the just-concluded intense defense funding negotiations. Fredrik Reinfeldt often pointed out that we live in a more uncertain environment than we have in a long time, and consequently underfunded the Swedish defense. Now the defense appropriations have increased by 10.2 billion over five years, ie about 2 billion per year. The upward revision alone for the costs of asylum reception the past six months is twice as large as the increase in funding for the repository to 2020.

The past few years have been the worst Sweden experienced in the postwar period in term of productivity and growth of GDP per capita. This has coincided with the fastest immigration in Sweden’s history. This does not prove itself to record immigration caused the poor economic development, post hoc ergo propter hoc. It is possible to indirectly deduce that immigration is probably only a contributing explanation for the poor growth. Other explanations include the crisis in the business environment, weak export growth and a restrictive monetary policy related to unhealthy signs in the housing market. Time will tell whether a more expansionary monetary policy and the recovery of economic activity will lift GDP growth again.

It is also important to know how bad things have actually turned in Sweden. One reason is that variations on the myth that Sweden has the strongest economy in Europe is used to argue that the immigration policy can’t have any negative economic consequences.

One example is the member of parliament Fredrik Schulte of New Moderates [formerly the ruling party led by Fredrik Reinfeldt]. In an article four months ago he wrote: “Sweden has since 2006 had the strongest economic growth among comparable countries. Excepting commodity-driven economies such as Norway and Australia, we’ve had among the strongest growth rate and the highest productivity. Similarly, we have among the highest employment growth (and the highest employment rate in the EU), had a significant reduction of societal exclusion, increased resources for the welfare and as one of few countries have reduced our debt. Sweden has not only performed better than comparable countries, but is also a richer and more prosperous country than we were eight years ago – also in relation to the population increase. Whether this is independent of, thanks to, or in spite of immigration is the subject of discussion, but there is no doubt that Sweden is one of the world’s most welcoming countries, and also the most successful.”

The image of reality as the New Moderates are using to defend its immigration policy is mostly untethered fantasy. For example, Shulte speaking of “high productivity” among comparable countries despite the pathetically low productivity increase of 0.2% and below the OECD average.

The Employment Office report is similarly based on the idea that integration is significantly improved. The Employment Office withholds that the increase in employment in the already modest 2 percent, in practice corresponds with more people simply being put into labor market policy measures. The Employment Office are not talking about and perhaps are not even aware of the already soaring income gap between immigrants and native-born. Welfare and public services are financed with real revenue and taxes, not more politically created measures to occupy people.

Arguing that “we will be more people working,” or that Sweden will “have more taxpayers” by population growth does not increase wealth. The reason is taught at secondary school level: The wealth of nations is not determined by the size of their population, but by its average productivity. Sweden has in recent years experienced a large increase in population, a phenomenon that many developing countries are well familiar with. Instead of focusing on increasing productivity, the Alliance put its efforts into increasing the population; something they pretended was synonymous with “growth”. Having Bangladesh and Nigeria as role models in economic policy did not, however, make Sweden a richer country.

As I said, recent years have been the worst Sweden ever experienced in the postwar period in terms of growth in prosperity and productivity. This did not stand in the way of the concocted image of the Reinfeldt years as some sort of golden age of economic growth. Instead of examining the rulers’ claims, the journalists helped to uncritically spread the Alliance fantasies all the way into the 2014 election. For example, as far as I know, not a single journalist asked Anders Borg why the state budget no longer used the standard measure of GDP per capita.

Magdalena Andersson however, has no interest in hiding Reinfeldt and Borg’s fiasco, which meant that the Treasury has again started to report GDP per capita. Nevertheless, there are still many who stubbornly cling to the image that things are going well for Sweden. Anyone with skills sufficient enough to click on a link to SCB or OECD have long been able to reveal that it is not true that Sweden would have the best growth and strongest economy. Yet the myth was repeated as a mantra in an echo chamber, because everyone else also repeated it. “It is known” that Dothrakis would have said.

Many journalists and politicians seem to sincerely believe that recent years has been characterized by rapid growth in GDP per capita and productivity. One possible explanation is that the Swedish government finances fared better than many continental countries after the 1990s crisis, primarily due to the consolidation of public finances. It is possible journalists confuse the public debt with what had happened to the economy at large. Another explanation may be that those in leadership positions tend to be high earners and have seen their incomes grow. All this is somewhat humorous and would be easy to mock. That these delusions survived in the debate also shows that many rulers themselves are ill informed and do not know what they are doing. Sweden has embarked on a radical migration experiment that no other developed state has ever done, and it appears they have done so blindly.

Tino Sanandaji

Editor’s notes in [brackets]. Also note that these numbers and much more is publicly available at ekonomifakta.se and scb.se for verification for anyone interested to read more.

“Terrorists are people too”

  

The headline above is the verbatim headline of today’s editorial in Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s major national newspapers. 

I could stop right there. But let’s take a look at the arguments presented. The Swedish article is based heavily on the ideas of French prefect Pierre N’Gahane, originally from Congo. 

According to N’Gahane, the main reason for young muslims “going Jihad” is that they’re utter failures at life. Not having a father figure coupled with failures at petty crime make them vulnerable for recruitment to ISIS. Of course, poverty and social handicaps can be a contributing factor, but is not the main reason. Neither is religion (!) apparently. 

Thus, the proper way to combat Jihadism is by assembling civil society to divert young men just starting out down the dark path, similar to how families can join forces to break impressionable youth away from loon cults. And in all fairness, this probably works in many cases. Half-hearted Jihadists-to-be mostly looking for attention just may pull back from the chasm if shown ample compassion and support.

The problem is when the soft approach is presented as the ONLY solution, as is being done here. It’s all silk gloves, with no iron fist to back it up when the soft approach has failed. Furthermore, recent acts of terror doesn’t jive with any of this. The Boston marathon bombing, the most lethal terrorist attack since 9/11, was carried out by a scholarship medical student with a bright future as a brain surgeon ahead of him for example. I doubt a “Jihadist defection hotline” would have done much good there.

“We must make these people a better offer than the Jihadists can.”

This article, being fed to a sizable percentage of the Swedish population, talks exclusively about the benefits of providing support and making a better offer than ISIS. It also praises the merits of giving preferential treatment to “reintegrated” ISIS fighters returning from the Syrian battlefields. Which is of course morally unpalatable (replace “fanatical ISIS butchers” with “fanatical Nazi SS butchers” and try it on for size) and directly counterproductive, since it merely makes a stint of ISIS-service a shrewd fast-track strategy for skipping to the front of the line for jobs and housing upon return.

Imagine being a member of the Christian minority having fled the massacres of Syria, made it to Sweden, and then seeing your brother’s killer not only being let back into the country, but getting rewarded for services rendered. This has been real in Sweden since 2013.

Giving radical islamists a blanket excuse with only pampering as the appropriate response is just as dumb as those who declare islam a “death cult” arguing they should all be executed for safety’s sake. All 1,6 billion of them. Yes, these fine specimens pop up occasionally in both the Twitter-flow and the comments inbox. Delete/Block. Kapow.

But seriously, is it really that difficult to grasp that extremism can’t be coddled into submission?