March 31, 2014

Europe needs energy, indeed, but more than electricity human energy, that which is propelled by risk taking.

Sir, Leif Johansson, the chairman of Ericsson and Astra Seneca, when urged by the FT to pick out one issue that needs to be addressed to make Europe more competitive, suggests: “energy; both security of supply but also energy competitiveness especially versus the US”, March 31.

I would agree but, instead of energy represented by electricity, which is what Johansson refers to, I would argue for the need of more human energy… that which is driven by the willingness to take risks.

That human energy is currently being killed by regulations which allow, in Europe more than anywhere else, banks to earn higher risk adjusted returns when lending to the “infallible sovereigns” and the AAAristocracy, than when lending to the “risky” medium and small businesses entrepreneurs and start ups.

Leif Johansson should remember that in the churches of Sweden psalms were often sung imploring “Gud gör oss djärva”, “God make us daring”.

Right now banks in Europe are not financing the risky future, they are just refinancing the safer past… and that Europe, is no way to go.