The Ulf Nilson column, July 2010

I feel compelled to say a few other things as well. Such as: We might still be in a crisis, but there is no doubt we'll come out of it and that―important point here―the great majority of Americans (and Europeans) hardly noticed. Yes, many had to leave their homes, having over-borrowed. Yes, thousands lost their jobs, but most were reemployed after a time of (usually moderate) hardship and even more found new jobs. In other words, the system worked, if not perfectly, remarkably well. And, to state another often forgotten truth, many of those who were left behind for a while got saved with plenty of time to fight another day.
This is being written in Sweden, where the summer is glorious―in fact, it's the best I can (at the age of 77!) remember. Well, 1967 was truly great, I recall, and maybe one or two more in the 1970s. To remember exactly is beyond me. Suffice it to say, right now we are in a stretch of endlessly sunny days; the ocean is at 21 degree Celsius and a good time is being had by all.
Well, except the politicians, who have, as usual, gathered on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, to make speeches, mingle with the media elite and eat good dinners (with not too much wine, thank you, this is Sweden). Since we have an election coming up in the fall the temperature of debate is somewhat hotter than usual. So far, the government seems to have the upper hand. It is accepted as a fact (almost) that Sweden has weathered the crisis better than most, in fact maybe best of all. About the Finance Minister, Anders Borg, my friend Peter Wolodarski wrote in Dagens Nyheter, “One is not supposed to understand all he says, one should only understand that Borg himself understands."
Both Peter and many others, however, take care to add that things can change rather abruptly. Meaning that one day we might find that Borg didn't understand, either.
As a matter of fact, I myself, understand very little, except that Sweden, a rather small country indeed, tries very hard to become the best pupil in the class but it matters little whether or not we succeed. Well, a little, perhaps, but in the end what happens in other places is more important, in fact hugely and much more. Let me just give you a handful of figures, taken from the Economist, still the best newspaper in any language:
In the 10 years up to 2008, China's energy consumption (and pollution) grew by 70 percent.
44 million people move from country side to cities every year―that is about 5 Swedens!
20,000 new dwellings arise EVERY DAY.
In other words: tremendous change. As The Economist concludes:
“You wonder how Asia can change its habits … before it is too late for all of us.…”
Heavy words, indeed. More than ever it is clear―or should be―that we are all in this together. The U.S. in all its might, Sweden in all its unmight and China in the eternal chaos where it floats ... none of us is in control.
In spite of this: Have a wonderful continued summer.…