Man Without Qualities

Monday, May 06, 2002

What Europe can Teach Uncle Sam III:
Whatever Happened To Sweden?

Instapundit points out this Yahoo! story reporting that Sweden is now poorer by many measures than Mississippi.

The Swedish study which is the subject of the Yahoo! article is interesting, although cross-border comparisions are notoriously difficult.

Separately, while the details are not clear from the Yahoo! summary, it is worth noting that the Swedish Research Institute of Trade that prepared the study and the Swedish newspaper article that reported the study seem to have broken out and emphasized the comparison of the relative economic positions of Swedes and African Americans. Why? The study and newspaper article were prepared in connection with an upcoming Swedish election. It's hard to believe that minor ironies arising from remembrances of Gunnar Myrdal can mean that much to a Swedish election. Does the comparision of Swedes and African Americans pack a political punch in Sweden that would be lacking in a non-racial, purely economic comparision?

The study says something about Swedish economic performance. The way the study has been reported and used may say something about some Swedes as human beings. That would be a larger and nastier Myrdal irony.

Comments: Post a Comment