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Sweden ‘threatens the global economy’: study

An American think tank has criticised Sweden for maintaining a constant current account surplus and urged the country to undertake measures to stimulate domestic demand.

“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 energy commodity exports of less than 50 percent of total exports.

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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Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute suffers fall in reputation ranking

Sweden's Karolinska Institute (KI) has tumbled in a prestigious international reputation ranking released on Wednesday.

Stockholm's Karolinska Institute suffers fall in reputation ranking
The reputation rankings were dominated by the US. Photo: Anonymous100000/WikiCommons

Stockholm's KI, which selects the winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine, saw a significant drop in the Times Higher Education (THE) World Education Rankings 2018 which was released on Wednesday.

It now ranks in the 61-70 bracket, in other words, it ranked between 61st place and 70th worldwide. This is down from the 51-60 bracket over the past two years, and 45th place in 2015. 

The tumble mirrors a similar misfortune for Karolinska in September, when the university dropped ten places in a similar education ranking

Phil Baty, the editor of THE, said at the time that the 2017 tumble could likely be blamed on the scandal hitting the institution involving celebrity Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. The surgeon was fired from KI over accusations of misconduct after several of his trachea transplant patients died.

READ MORE: Macchiarini's seventh transplant patient dies

Elsewhere in Sweden, only the Uppsala University managed to crack the top 100 in the 2018 reputation rankings, sneaking into the 91-100 bracket. 

The reputation rankings were dominated by the US, with 44 institutions in the top 100 and Harvard University at the top of the pile.

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Elsewhere, the UK could boast 9 institutions in the top 100, with China and Germany offering six each. 

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