June 27, 2007

Creative Emicracy

Enigree MidsummerErik at Framtidstanken points out that the Emicrat party now is the largest party outside parliament. Emicrats are people who vote with their feet, shopping between democratic national states. Erik estimates that between the last two elections 2.6% of the voters made an emicratic choice, making the "emicratic party" the largest of the parties outside parliament. He also points out that this is a democratic choice that sends signals about how the citizens are seeing the country in relation to other countries. It would be interesting to find out why many younger women move out, for example - maybe the opportunities are not so good in Sweden as it is claimed?

I'm a happy emicrat myself. Moving to the UK was not only a good career opportunity but also placed me in a society where a libertarian viewpoint is not regarded as a bizarre aberration. And I wonder why I find so many Swedes here in Oxford - while I might notice them more, there seem to be objectively far more of them that one would expect when comparing with other nationalities like Germans or Finns. Comparing this with how the people in media I know are moving, I'm starting to think that Sweden is suffering from a relatively specific brain drain of creatives. On average Sweden draws academics (including top researchers), but I'm having the feeling that it retains those who enjoy fixed structures rather than being intellectual entrepreneurs. One in five highly cited Swedish scientists will move abroad, but few foreign scientists of equal rank replace them. I have no strong evidence for the entrepeneurship bias yet (how do we measure it?), but if it is true the emicrats are telling the government something very important - and other places will become the clusters that invent and profit from the new. Sweden might be planting many seeds, but it seems rather bad at harvesting them.

On the other hand, maybe this is just specialisation. Maybe it is better to leave the chaos, surprises and struggles to some region and keep the smooth progress in others? The emicrats are moving to the regions they like, making the regions more like them.

[ Calculating emicracy is somewhat tricky. About 15,000 Swedish citizens immigrate and 20,000 emigrate each year, but some might do both (60% return eventually). About 200,000 Swedes live abroad, according to SCB. So at the most (assuming a constant external pool and separate emigrants and immigrants) that would be 3.7%, while just counting the pool gets 2.2%. Still, there is a sizeable number of Swedish citizens moving around (we are not counting immigrant citizens-to-be here). ]

Posted by Anders3 at June 27, 2007 11:50 PM