May 27, 2013

The challenges of the “We have nothing to do” and of the society as a changing habitat.

Sir, you title the article on the current riots in the suburbs of Stockholm as “The challenges of the Swedish model” May 27. Although that is quite understandable perhaps a “Not even the Swedish model gets away” would have been more appropriate, since what is happening in Sweden is perhaps foremost a reflection of the growing unemployment of youth.

This is really nothing new in Sweden. In 1965 in the middle of Stockholm there were thousands of youngsters (I was not there) rioting for days and causing damages… and the basic explanation heard was that of “We have nothing to do”. 

And in this respect, given the possibilities of prolonged large unemployment, I have often argued that the well being of nations might come to depend more on the capacity of the unemployed to deal with their reality in a constructive way, that on what the employed are capable to do. 

That said there is no way to avoid the fact that whether we like it or not, current rioting in many places also closely correlate with immigration problems and the de-facto creation of immigrant ghettos which result even though no one wishes that to happen. Especially disturbing in Sweden is that during some of the car burning, some religious slogans were overheard.

A society is more than a piece of land, it is a delicate habitat. It thrives on the slow introduction of new species, but it can also fall apart if too many new species are introduced too fast and cannot adapt, without destroying too many of the previously existing ones.