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Sweden 'threatens the global economy': study

Vivian Tse · 12 Nov 2010, 10:30

Published: 12 Nov 2010 10:30 GMT+01:00

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"Sweden has not taken sufficient measures to reduce its current account surplus," non-profit New America Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan US-based think tank, wrote in a statement on Thursday.

"Its fiscal policy should be more expansionary; it should encourage currency appreciation; and it should open its domestic market to foreign goods."

Sweden was one of 11 countries with a manufacturing based economy that the New American Foundation has included on its newly launched "Current Account Surplus Watch". The list also includes 10 resource based economies.

Five of the countries considered to have excessively large surpluses are members of the G20, which is currently holding a summit in Seoul. The countries are China, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

In addition to stimulating domestic demand, the foundation also advised these countries to pursue other constructive policies, such as international development assistance.

"These economies are deemed to pose a threat to the functioning of the global economy because they subtract demand out of the world economy at a time of weak global aggregate demand and because they pose an obstacle to the adjustment policies deficit economies must undertake to avoid or to get out of financial crises," the foundation said in a statement.

A total of 21 countries are ranked on two lists, divided by manufacturing and resources economies. Sweden came in eighth out of 11 on the manufacturing economies list.

Manufacturing economies fulfilled three criteria: a 2009 GDP of at least $100 billion (686.08 million kronor), a three-year average current account surplus of at least 3 percent of GDP and exports">energy commodity exports of less than 50 percent of total exports.

Story continues below…

Among resource economies, or those whose energy commodity exports account for over 50 percent of total exports, neighbouring Norway came in seventh.

Countries received low scores for large current account surpluses and high scores for mitigating policies that either increase domestic demand or offset their surplus.

Those with the lowest scores rank highest on the list because they subtract the most from net global demand.

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Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:41 November 12, 2010 by McChatter
Thank you, New America Foundation for your views on the Swedish economy. I note that this Foundation is non-profit one. Doesn't surprise me if this is the best twaddle it can produce.

It asks Sweden "to open its domestic markets to foreign goods". Shows how much they know about the Swedish domestic markets! Where do you think our bananas come from? Kiruna? The foundation also "advises" Sweden to "stimulate domestic demand". See today's article about Stefan Yngve's concern about household debt. Seems like we have been spending too much and not too little!

The Americans are in the economic sh*t because they imported too much for too long. Everybody warned them; but, as long as the Arabs and the Cinese bought American gilts, there was no problem. The dollar was weak but that was OK for American exports. Now they've suddenly woken up and start blaming other countries who have been careful to get their numbers right. Childish. Grow up, America!
11:43 November 12, 2010 by miss79
america dollar is getting weaker
11:48 November 12, 2010 by marianne667
..and the Yanks give us financial advice!!!!
12:16 November 12, 2010 by krrodman
Yes, the economy in the USA is in the crapper, no doubt about it. But so are the economies of Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Greece.

As a Swedish member of the EU, would you rather help out the PIGS by purchasing their manufactured goods, or by having the Swedish government purchase the sovereign debt of these weak EU countries?

And, if the PIGS default on their sovereign debt and are forced to exit the EU, don't you think it will have a negative economic effect on the EU and Sweden in particular?

Like it or not, we are in this mess together.
12:20 November 12, 2010 by occassional
Hear hear...the voice of speculation and Lehman Brothers, advocating the credit card life. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
12:22 November 12, 2010 by Keith #5083
sour grapes?

I'm with you McChatter
12:26 November 12, 2010 by svenskamerikansk
Among the great many American 'think tanks', that cover the entire political and economic spectrum this left of center one is not a major one and hardly worth the article.

It's just more busybodies spouting off. Yawn.
12:48 November 12, 2010 by diegoveggie
true, tho that sweden should stimulate local demand, and help other countries develop a bit more, if the country is as caring as it says it is (and i don't mean sending money to palestine), but opening new markets and trading with poorer countries.

dont hate people, its good to be humble and see what others have to say,
13:36 November 12, 2010 by eZee.se
Next up, advise from Gene Simmons on marriage and monogamy.

US criticizes China for devaluing their currency... and promptly pumps 600 billion worth of new greenbacks into their economy.

The amount of hypocrisy is nauseating...and I'm not even a "US hater".
13:52 November 12, 2010 by visitorfromnowhere
Just so there is no confusion, readers should understand that almost all think tanks are non-profit (but staff can still be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year). And more importantly, being non-partisan is a BS legal notion in the US; this think tank has an agenda and it is most definitely political. By "development assistance" what they mean is give the money to indebted countries so that they can in turn pay their debts to the bankers and/or give it to projects run by multinational corporations. It would be really really really stupid for Sweden to listen to these people. The New America Foundation seems quite happy with the situation in Greece and Ireland. Evidently, they don't "threaten the world economy".
14:10 November 12, 2010 by swedeb
Why the hostility? Why call the US "PIGS"?? I'm glad I'm not one to judge, resort to name calling, and being mean. Life is better when you are nice, listen, and kindly disagree.
14:25 November 12, 2010 by Swedesmith
Don't confuse the rantings of some off-the-wall think tank with the feelings of all Americans. Most of us (Americans, that is) don't listen to these loonies either.
14:33 November 12, 2010 by McChatter
@# swedeb11

I take it you are referring to krrodmans reaction.

You don't get it, do you? We're not referring to the US as pigs.

PIGS stands for Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. krrodman just got them in the wrong order. Maybe if you had followed the events in Europe better you wouldn't have written what you did.
14:48 November 12, 2010 by misssh
America .....go to hell !!!
14:55 November 12, 2010 by Chuy
I'm American and I think that's about the dumbest s*** I've ever heard. If America minded its own business and followed Sweden's fiscal policy, the nation wouldn't be in the financial situation that it is currently experiencing.
15:03 November 12, 2010 by Twiceshy
And on the New America Foundation website you can read other insightful gems like "use of highly-accurate rocket system and better intelligence gathering are to thank for advances against the Taliban". Uhhhhhhh. Advances??? Where??? Sounds like Neo-Con wet dreaming that won't be frustrated by any troubling reality. Hello Dr. Strangelove!
15:04 November 12, 2010 by HYBRED
I bet George W. Bush could fix this mess. I miss him.
15:25 November 12, 2010 by teejees
At Swedeb I was just going to comment as to whether you knew what PIGS stood for but McChatter got in before me.
15:41 November 12, 2010 by Icarusty
Hey America! Since you have such a huge trade deficit why don't you, oh I dunno, SPEND LESS? Problem with you lot is that you love to criticise other people and countries for your own failures. I suppose a report or study by New America Foundation saying "Americans are endless consumers who can't help taking up all the resources" won't go so well with the American public.
16:19 November 12, 2010 by randyt
Chuy you are correct;

"I'm American and I think that's about the dumbest s*** I've ever heard. If America minded its own business and followed Sweden's fiscal policy, the nation wouldn't be in the financial situation that it is currently experiencing."

I would add follow Sweden's distribution of wealth policy, higher education for all it's citizen's policy, healthcare policy, etc, etc

"Idiot America," which I'm part of but don't agree with, believe some day before they die they will all be billionaires - thus they protect that class to the harm of our country and democracy.
16:39 November 12, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
most researches often take the direction the researchers wants them.

so, is sweden to be blamed for America's folly now?
17:40 November 12, 2010 by cat3
I'm American and have to disagree with the article. Given the current state of the US economy and the direction the dollar is headed, I don't think "we" should be offering financial advice!
17:46 November 12, 2010 by pantheratigris
How by going into deficit from surplus? Follow us in a few words...
18:03 November 12, 2010 by Munmun30
Pleeeeasseee! America should be the last country giving advice on how to run budgets and manage economies, given the mess they have driven themselves into!

Good savings, balanced budget, excellent social benefits for the citizens, strong manufacturing base and a commitment to sustainable living..... you have it well Sweden! More countries should be following your model for the benefit of the whole planet....not the wanton growth the US preaches !!!
18:25 November 12, 2010 by Rizwan Rahim
"O children of Sweden"

"keep an eye on the eagle which eyes the fish in your pond"

US is like a snake bitten mongoose these days, so hats off for all your chasers against the think tank and now they will publish such articles in Norway,Denmark too......
19:25 November 12, 2010 by TomJones27
This is the worst advice, especially since it's from a Think "Tank" that is backed by Financial Terrorists. They want you to be a debt slave, so they can own you and your country's resources. This is what has happened in Amercia. This is one of the reasons why I want to leave the US.

Don't fall for their lies fellow Swedes.
20:51 November 12, 2010 by visitorfromnowhere
It is not correct to blame the American people for this. The people who fund this think tank are part of the global axis of corporate control that runs from Wall Street to The City of London to the major European Central Banks. The American people aren't behind this, the banksters and the LLC's behind the banksters. They fund the think tank, they have captured the US government, the UK government, the Canadian government, the Dutch government, etc. In the next few months they will go for American's social security. Watch that swindle of the century. After that, they will turn to YOU. They are coming for your retirement Sweden. They are insatiable. And they are insane. They want banana republics everywhere. Iceland=Honduras. Sweden=???
21:21 November 12, 2010 by sgt_doom
That foundation, the New American Foundation, is yet another of those phony foundations (over 50,000 now) in America which claims to be non-partisan -- and believe me, definitely not "left-of-center" nor anywhere close, which promulgates the official Wall Street line.

A brief look at any of their staff members will back this up. There's Lisa Margonelli, a front person for the oil multinationals who always claims speculation (not to mention highly leveraged speculation) has absolutely nothing to do with rising and falling oil prices, and neither time nor space allows me to go into all the other frauds working there.

No, the vast majority of American foundations are simply tax-free holding companies, hiding the true wealth and investments of their owners.

The banksters of America, and elsewhere, wish to do to the remainder of the world what they have done to Greece, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Iceland, Argentina, etc., and have been recently doing to America, the classic leveraged buyout pump-and-dump at the sovereign nation level.

They, the debt-financed billionaires, have peddled their securitized debt, then stuck the rest of us with the bill (in those bankster bailouts and free money from the central bank -- the US Federal Reserve Bank) and claim that offshoring all American jobs, and creating all new private sector jobs offshore, is really and truly beneficial to the American economy.

Until we in America ever come to our collective senses and finally elect an authentic democrat, not a faux crat like Obama, like the Clintons, like Jimmy Carter, we will be forever screwed.

I just hope and pray the Swedes veer back to the socialist democratic mode and not do anything like America.
21:56 November 12, 2010 by mikewhite
Like those Americans that "advised" Yeltsin back in the '90s ...
23:47 November 12, 2010 by Authentica
@ McChatter & krrodman:

PIGS stands for:




01:34 November 13, 2010 by JoeSwede
Interesting article but Sweden should be allowed to do what they want. If they want a positive trade surplus, ie they export more than they import, then that's ok. That means that other countries bought or are buying more of their stuff. Eventually, Sweden would want to buy from other countries or their currency would gain in value. The gain doesn't just disappear. If their citizens are not gaining (through higher valued domestic currency or ability to buy more stuff) then the banks are gaining and are choosing not to pass on this gain to their citizen. You can substitute China for Sweden here but I'd say China is more to the extreme.

It seems that Sweden being such a small country and economy in terms of the worlds players that they would want to maintane a trade surplus due to the volitility in the marketplace and the stature it has.

If the US was in such trouble then eventually the dollar would fall or our wealth would fall and we'd have to start working again to export due to shifting wealth. But that is good since we want to work...

I guess we want wealth and work. We want to be the doctors of the world... work a little for a lot and leave the other guy working long hours for little pay in purpetuity.
02:41 November 13, 2010 by waffen
The vicious American captialism that defines their Oligarchy has no where to turn as they spiral downward, and ever faster now with their sad Republicans again in the out-of-control driver's seat.

They also see a rising Sweden that has a better social contract with excellent and free health-care and a Sweden with the interests of Swedish citizens coming first and foremost, and they cannot stand seeing that truth and the truth of their own dying system and country in the same breath.

As Germany again rises to super economics and Sweden and Norway are not far behind, and Denmark as well, the handwriting is on the wall.

Your great experiment is about finished America, and Sweden does not need your advice and has no need to be your scapegoat.

Germany is already courting Russia, and guess where that might go.
13:12 November 13, 2010 by McChatter
@#31 Authentica

Italy is in much better financial shape than Ireland. Look at today's papers, Ireland is in a real bad way.
13:13 November 13, 2010 by voidplay
Though the article itself seems funny there is some truth in it.

Sweden is very protectionist, and for a player in the global economy and for a country based on exports that is not about playing fair.

As an example have you ever come across a govt construction work that is not done by Skanska?

And this has been raised by Germany several months ago about Sweden being protectionist. Or closer to the news Sweden did not offer a single power project to German companies while Germany gave a large chunk of its projects to Swedish companies.

Sweden being small and part of the EU has been immune to the trading bodies. But if Sweden had been some xyz country it could have been hounded and isolated at the WTO. Now that USA is feeling the pressure to "punish" countries that have acted smart in the past and Sweden had to be "sacrificed".
13:53 November 13, 2010 by Borilla
As an American, I sincerely apologize to the Swedish people for this total and utter crap.

Aside from the fact that the opinion is neither factual nor accurate, there are other points to consider. First as pointed out by many people above, the US is not in a position to give anyone advise on economic policy. Second, perhaps this "think tank" is "non-profit" but it is not "non-partisan". One can rest assured that it is funded by corporate donations and right-wing contributions. These are the same people endorsing cut backs in the limited public medical support that is available, diminution and eventual elimination of social security and tax cuts for the ultra-rich. In the US, that passes for non-partisan.

So, if you are looking at this sceptically, you are on the right track.
14:46 November 13, 2010 by jaysea32
I, too, am an American (of Swedish descent). And I, too, tell the Swedes to tell those at the think tank where they can put their suggestions. I, in my own little way, foresaw this coming years ago when I realized we were creating a "false" economy by living on credit, and knew that "house of cards" was headed for disaster. But hell, nobody would listen.

The collapsing economy was exacerbated by the Capitalist Pigs shipping so many of our basic industries to other countries, taking advantage of tax incentives and low labor costs in order to rake in higher profits so they could pay exorbitant salaries and bonuses to the managers, never realizing they were killing the purchasing power of the citizens. Now it is time to "pay the piper."

So, again, ignore the opinions of this" think tank" like they were the plague.
15:07 November 13, 2010 by Argentina84
@MemphisSwede: I could not agree more!
20:17 November 13, 2010 by aaronh21
I think what the think tank is trying to say is "hey Sweden you are making us in the USA look bad".

Normal logic would suggest (back me up on this one):

Surplus = Good

Debt of 1 trillion dollars = Bad.

22:50 November 13, 2010 by ATinNM
Let's see ...

Global GNP $69.75 trillion

Swedish GNP $348.29 Billion

So .005% of the global economy is driving the global economy into a brick wall. While:

US GNP $14.72 Trillion

US debt $13.72 Trillion

has no affect on the global economy.

Don't know anything about the New America Foundation other than the obvious: They are idiots.
01:20 November 14, 2010 by visitorfromnowhere
@sgt_doom. Not sure what you are saying. As far as think tanks go, the US has about 2000, China has about 500, UK 300, and Sweden about 75.
12:30 November 14, 2010 by tzatara1

very well said
14:32 November 14, 2010 by Bumblebeetuna
It's just an article about a think tank. Nowhere in there is anything about Sweden causing the problem. I understood it as a think tank offering suggestions on how to help get the global economy get going. Many comments are quick to pre-judge.
16:12 November 14, 2010 by markusd
There's no reason for everyone to get their shorts in a knot over this? I realize the article makes it sound like the big, bad ole USA is telling everyone what to do but the reality is this is probably just a group of people with doctorate degrees who would rather sit around writing down their opinions instead of getting a real job. Just ignore it.
18:02 November 14, 2010 by americanska
it is true that people in sweden would be better off with a lower VAT which would simulate Swedish and foreign economies by adding to aggregate global demand.

The people on this forum that think the US speaks with one voice are foolish. This is a an independent economic think tank. They are advising what is best for the global economy. This isn't the big bad USA trying to screw poeple over.

I find it hard to believe you guys really LIKE the Swedish government making everything to expensive for consumers. You just won't agree with something that comes from across the Atlantic.
02:15 November 15, 2010 by 2394040
Speaking as an American, I'm somewhat embarrased when fellow Americans, many in positions of considerable responsibility, can't do simple arithmetic. Since 1980, the conventional wisdom has been to ship millions of American jobs out of the country, and try to replace them with lower-paying jobs. Apparently someone thought we could all live on credit cards and lower-paying jobs indefinitely. That idea collapsed recently. If you give the population less money to spend, eventually they have to curtail most of their spending. How do they expect other countries to pick up the slack when they are in the same boat we are in?
02:54 November 15, 2010 by JoeSwede

Good points.

In the end the constant trade surplus should bring wealth to the Swedish people...but it seems to be just going to the trade surplus account. The exchange rate remains unchanged... so I guess the choice made is to maintain a tradesurplus but still keep the currency pegged so that the people of Sweden can remain employed at the 80% level. It would be higher but the employement structure in Sweden doesn't push fulll employement. It pushes a good lifestyle.

Add China with the same strategy and then you get a bunch of countries that are manipulating trade. So what is the US to do...

A new phrase...quantitative easining. They're just going to dump dollars on the market to force the issue. If the whole world demands that the US buy more from other countries in order to keep the world going...I gues we'll have to do it. At some point... the currency will be adjusted. And then industries will move back to the US. This transition will probably be ugly if it comes to this. Usually some other issue comes up... some war or national collamity. Ireland, Greece and Spain will demand that the euro be eased. What will Sweden do then?
10:06 November 15, 2010 by nneville
Wow this reports uses a lot of big words to say one simple thing, "Hey Sweden, we need you to be more dependant on global fluctuations and trade markets so that we can ruin your economy by forcing you into borrowing as we the USA continue to snowball this global recession. It's not fair that you Swedes have your backsides covered and are doing such a good job. You have nothing we can force you to outsource or take out outrageous loans against debt."

This was not a think tank. It was a 'think about us' tank! As an American, I find this absurd.
17:51 November 15, 2010 by Authentica

It could be Iceland for all I care.

But just to set the record straight, the acronym stands for the countries I've listed above.

23:25 November 15, 2010 by my5cents
"The Amero"!

It's coming!

Most of the posters above are too scared to look and post either to NOT make you look or attempting to prolong the outbreak of confusion and paranoia.

Why did Mexico as of 10 October 2010 stop accepting the US dollar bills? Think about it - one step in the direction to introduce a "new solution" to the crashing dollar.

Every day we borrow millions of $ and at one point the debt will be so high that we can not even pay the interest on the money owed to China.

9/11 was fabricated and orchestrated by the US government and Bin Laden and his family was was probably paid to execute the plans - so we could have someone to blame. Amazing that he has "not been found" yet after 10 years.

Do some more research for yourself from those 773,000 Google hits and read between the lines.

There will be ANOTHER 911 incident and created by the US government where 1000nds will die in catastrophe - manufactured to make it look like "we are under attack". This will happen when the US debt is so large that we can not even pay the interest on the debt.

The banks will all close down and then you can not get your money out. You will be forced to "convert" and accept the Amero as a "solution" to the national confusion and uproar. It will be a serious mess.



Oh gee whiz! Didn't know that MY PERSONAL debt is $44,000! and growing by the day!



When the Amero hits and shoved down your throat as a "solution" to this daily dilemma, your US$ will be worth pennies to the dollar and you lose all your savings.

The clock is ticking towards disaster. It's scheduled and worked on for many years. Prepare for battle or get the hell out of the US!
13:25 November 16, 2010 by Serendipitiz
@my5cents - You seem to have taken the "penny for your thoughts" a little too literally, and given us a whole 5 pennies worth. Though I would say even that is an overvaluation of the gibberish and conspiracy theories you spouting. And how surprising that a country decides to stop accepting a foreign currency (and that's another conspiracy theory, by the way - the only restrictions are in place to stifle drug trade money) and instead places value on it's own currency...
14:39 November 19, 2010 by waffen
Every negative fact that is posted about the corrupt American global empire is immediately met with the planted out-of-the-woodwork damage-control trolls spouting "conspiracy theory."

Cannot you brain-washed Amis come up with something new to support your non-critical thinking brains, or has the Republican Wing of your Landed Gentry Party gained complete control of your minds ?

And why, after ten years, has not Osama bin Laden been "found?"

That "failure" does not say much for your "intelligence" network now does that, "Super Power?"

And, by the way, the so-called drug trade profits support the American spy network and funds your "intelligence" networks.

Or, do you still believe in the old stork bringing the baby education that was practiced in your country?
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