Carl-Johan Westholm’s personal blog
Time saving text: uncommon comments with common sense
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Booklets (PDF)
If you are state blind, you do not see that state power is about right and wrong. State blindness is a special case of moral blindness. A moral blind person cannot see that any choice has a moral dimension. It is difficult to discuss paintings with a colour blind person - and to discuss politics with a state blind person.
torsdag 30, oktober 2008. Posted at 20:05
Spread the money! ??? You spread dung, not money
"Spread the power" was a slogan in a Swedish election campaign in the late 60's. Sven Wedén, leader for liberal party Folkpartiet 1967-69, responded: "You don't spread power. You spread dung".

A propos the Obama only once used one-liner: "Spread the money".
måndag 27, oktober 2008. Posted at 14:51
The delusions of Euro-grandeur, Sweden 1992, Denmark 2008...
"It is hard to think of an example in which raising interest rates during a market crisis actually helped attract funds into a distressed country.

We certainly know that Iceland’s decision to hike rates above 15% earlier this year only worsened problems for the country, which on Friday hammered out a deal for loans from the IMF.

Hungary’s recent decision to tighten has not buttressed the Forint, which has fallen -2% since last Wednesday’s 3% increase in the lending rate to 11.5% (and the currency may have fallen further were it not for an IMF loan extension to the country).

Perhaps the most relevant historical example in this case is Sweden’s attempt in 1992 to keep the Krona fixed to the ECU by pushing up the key lending rate to as high as 500%. As we all know, the attempt failed and the Krona’s fixed exchange rate was abandoned, proving in retrospect that Sweden unnecessarily punished its own economy.

Indeed, Swedish citizens had to pay a very high price for the Bildt-government delusions of Euro-grandeur, and this may help to explain why very few Swedes today see any advantage of a potential Euro membership."

From GaveKal's comments, October 27, 2008
fredag 24, oktober 2008. Posted at 11:38
Sarkozy moves to set up parallel EU Presidency to 'circumvent the Czechs and Swedes'...
The following text from Open Europe (October 22) has not been observed in Sweden, what I can see:

Sarkozy moves to set up parallel EU Presidency to 'circumvent the Czechs and Swedes'; Sarkozy to be President of eurozone summits throughout 2009

Le Monde reports that Nicolas Sarkozy "wants to profit from the financial crisis by imposing his economic vision of Europe and continue to preside over the EU at the level of the eurozone, at least for an extra year." The paper reports that this plan was confirmed by several sources at the Elysée Palace.

Sarkozy is reportedly concerned that 2009 will not be conducive to action, because of the Czech EU Presidency in the first half, and the Swedish Presidency in the second - neither of which use the euro. There is also the fact that the Commission will come to the end of its current term during the year. According to a roadmap unveiled by Sarkozy, "If Irish ratification [of the Lisbon Treaty] does not take place, it will be impossible to act at the level of the 27. But it is possible to circumvent the Czechs, and then the Swedes, by meeting at the level of the 16 eurozone leaders, as was the case on 12 October, before the European Council." Eurozone finance ministers already have their own meetings, but Sarkozy said "the meeting of finance ministers alone is not commensurate with the seriousness of the crisis."

The plan is for Nicolas Sarkozy to be President of eurozone summit leaders' meetings until 1 January 2010, when Spain takes over the rotating EU Presidency. According to the article, the British Prime Minister would be invited to meetings, so that the City of London is on board. The paper also notes that Sarkozy did not warn Angela Merkel before his speech and is awaiting her reaction. Germany has long been reticent about an economic government.

My comment: If Sweden had been a member of the Eurozone, the imaginative French President had probably found another way to circumvent...
onsdag 22, oktober 2008. Posted at 09:13
Official minutes reveal EU plans to force Irish to vote again on Lisbon - Ireland accused of "intellectual mediocrity"
The Sunday Times reported (Open Europe October 20) on leaked minutes from a meeting in Paris on October 9 between the European Parliament's Committee for Constitutional Affairs and the European Affairs Committees of both the French Senate and National Assembly, and of a separate dinner with Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the French Minister for European Affairs.

The minutes record how politicians said that Ireland should be put in an "untenable position" by pressing Poland and the Czech Republic to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by December. According to the minutes, the meeting and dinner heard how Ireland's "intellectual mediocrity and lack of political courage" led to the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.

They included discussions of how to "cuddle and pamper" the Irish voters while at the same time "making pressures on them", ahead of a re-run referendum, telling them how the other 495m Europeans are watching and "will be really angry" if the answer is no again.

My comment: Well, this seems to be the way "Europe goes forward". It is likely that a referendum in all the EU member states would result in a clear No to Lisbon. Therefore, the poor Irelanders should be mobbed into the March to Europe´s Progress and Prosperity, or whatever words from the standard political vocabulary.

See more about this background at Free Europe, click at the button to the right.
söndag 12, oktober 2008. Posted at 17:19
Veckans Affärer desperat?
Sedan en tid prenumererar jag inte på VA. Jag undrade vilka pangerbjudanden jag skulle få för att göra det igen...

Idag ringde telefonen. En vänlig röst erbjöd mig för 499 kronor (eller ditåt) en 3.000 kronors övernattning för två på fint hotell plus 12 nummer - och att förbindelsen (prenumerationen) upphör automatiskt därefter ("det bästa av allt", sa den vänliga rösten).

Ja, vad svarar man på det?

lördag 11, oktober 2008. Posted at 18:29
Axel Oxenstierna om finanskrisen
I min månadskrönika (se Articles October 2008) tar jag upp några enkla trådar ur en debatt som redan börjat upprepa sig.
lördag 11, oktober 2008. Posted at 18:14
"Rå demokrati hotar välfärden"
"Vi är självklart anhängare av folkstyre. Men inte av en okontrollerad rå demokrati". Ja, så skriver två ledande kristdemokratiska statsråd i SvD Brännpunkt idag.

Dvs, nästan. Byt ut "folkstyre" mot marknadsekonomi och "demokrati" mot kapitalism, så blir citatet exakt.

Frågan är om artikeln är ett uttryck för rått, okontrollerat kristdemokratiskt tänkande.

Mycket i artikeln är tänkvärt och bra, inte minst betoningen på behovet av etisk övertygelse hos de som agerar i marknadsekonomin. Lagar kan inte klara allt.

Men genom att falla för det slappa och populära språkbruket om "rå kapitalism", visar man att något salt i politiken är man inte. Man hänger me', så där mittemellan borgerligt. Löskokt kapitalism, tackar som bjuder!

måndag 06, oktober 2008. Posted at 18:07
"A REPLAY OF 1929?" And my thoughts about "new tech-money" and its fatal role
Those who don't know history are destined to repeat its serious
mistakes. Today some have questioned whether we could have another 1929-style Depression. The answer is no - at least, it shouldn' happen, says the US-based Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

For example:

o Then we (US) had over 25 percent unemployment; now it's 6 percent and could move somewhat higher, which is typical for economic corrections.

o Then, by 1934 about one-half of mortgages were in default,
today it is only 6 percent; nearly 94 percent of homeowners
are still making their monthly payments.

America is far bigger today, more diversified, productive, innovative
and resilient and the government's rescue package will help stabilize
our banking credit system and economy for the benefit of all
Americans. The price of oil and other commodities has topped, so
interest rates can and should be lowered, helping all consumers, says IBD.

My humble comment:
Perspectives are necessary to understand what is going on. In any case, the standard monetary measure of quantity and velocity - the core in all theories of reliable inflation explanations - has been muddled by the new technologies and its developed instruments on the financial market. My guess is that real inflation has been much higher than the official CPI (Consumer Price Index) and real asset prices together (sic!)

This is so because between quantity and velocity of money, there have been SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles) and all other kinds of monetary means. When this increase of "new tech-money" has come to an end, there appears a brutal stop in the economy, like when a government or central bank tries to stop high traditional inflation.

This is what we now see. The recipe out of this is to, as soon as possible, reach a normal economy. Some will propose that it is unavoidable with a hard process, with much unemplyment and low consumption. However, if people work, invest and consume, and own their living and houses and can pay the rents, the solution is nearer, as this is the goal.

Therefore, the supply side of the economy is more important than ever just in a situation like this. Big relative price changes must be accepted as a part of the solution, higher nominal inflation will ease the process when the real "new tech-money" inflation implodes for a while.

lördag 04, oktober 2008. Posted at 20:56
Brist på definition (2): Girighet - dödssynd eller överlevnadsvillkor
Girigheten har orsakat finanskrisen - heter det. Underförstått: en överdriven lust att tjäna pengar. Eller gnidenhet, snålhet, materialism. Eller kortsiktiga, men i längden felaktiga ekonomiska beslut.

Girighet är bra - säger andra. Underförstått: en vilja att tjäna pengar, att öka sina tillgångar. Om girighet inte fanns, skulle vi vara kvar på stenåldern, och nöjda med det.

De allra flesta som yttrar sig offentligt om girighet, undviker att tala om vad de menar. Då kan kultursidesskribenter och finanskolumnister fortsätta att tala förbi varandra.

lördag 04, oktober 2008. Posted at 20:28
Brist på definition (1): Nyliberalism eller Fantomliberalism
Jag har aldrig kallat mig nyliberal, men så länge "nyliberalismen" attackerats, känt mig träffad eller baktalad.

För Olof Palme var det "nyliberalism" när en kommun minskade anslaget till knattefotbollen - och Chilejuntan var också ett tecken på samma sak.

Väldigt sällan har ett förslag presenterats av någon som själv kallar det för "ett nyliberalt förslag". Säger någon ordet "nyliberalt", kan man lugnt utgå ifrån att det är pejorativt använt.

Märkligt nog har en medarbetare på Timbro nyligen offentligt angripit "nyliberalismen" - utan att definiera den på annat sätt än som en fantombild. Det är som om han vore omedveten om hur termen använts; hade det författats av en medarbetare på t ex DNs kultursida hade det uppfattats som en favorit i repris. Nu förekommer istället det s k Assar Lindbeck-greppet, dvs en socialdemokrat angriper något socialdemokratiskt, och en Timbroit angriper något som förknippats med Timbro. Och den mediala framgången är garanterad.

Idéer behöver debatteras och deras verklighetsbilder och värderingar kritiskt granskas, både historiskt och i nutid. Det gäller även liberalism och konservatism. Men det är bra om idéer inte vantolkas.

(Själv är jag ärkeliberal; min ärkeliberalism definierar jag själv, men inte hur som helst).