Riots, growing inequality, in …. Sweden?

The Guardian reports that

Despite Sweden’s reputation for equality, the rioting has exposed a faultline between a well-off majority and a minority, often young people with immigrant backgrounds, who cannot find work, lack education and feel marginalised.
…. The gap between rich and poor in Sweden is growing faster than in any other major nation, according to the OECD, although absolute poverty remains uncommon.

A possibly connected fact: Sweden has become one of the world’s few net exporters of intellectual property – one of the big ones along with the US, UK, and France. Thesis: an economy based on intellectual monopoly is one of the major drivers of inequality of income, and reduced social mobility.

p.s. Andrew Sullivan, trying as ever not quite to cut his ties with his conservative side, quotes one Samuel Goldman who cites one Christopher Caldwell to the effect that European nation states lack the cultural ability to assimilate immigrants. To which I must make my usual response to all disagreements: it’s the job market, stupid. If you’re creating a pool of dead end jobs, low paid with no ladders out of them, in a country where the natives are mostly prosperous and well educated, the bad jobs attract immigrants whose children are then grow up in a trap, and of course you get discontent. Intellectual property specialization is part of what creates a polarized labor market with one end of it a dead end. Another thing, in Sweden’s case (as in France’s) is an extremely centralized power structure: the private sector is dominated by a few big corporate groups, which makes it very hard for outsiders to get in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s