Comments: Creative Sweden?

Well, see the problem you've sort of skirted around is the fact that Sweeden's has much greater control of the economy compared to the US.

Both suffer from overly conservative, pro big-business attitudes, but the US much less so. Frankly at present the question isn't finding a country that is entrepeneur friendly, so much as finding one that is less hostile.

At present, the US is probably the least hostile, which is why I think it will continue to attract the creative class disproportionately.

Although I live in Australia, which economically is a strange middle ground between the European fondness for democratic socialism and America's tentative support for free enterprise.

The latter of which I fear is dying. Is there anywhere on earth that will continue to foster the creative spirit? A 'Galt's Gulch' if you will.

Reccomended reading:

Posted by Korgmeister at January 30, 2004 02:00 PM

Being a fish, I tend to ignore water :-)

Yes, you are of course right that economic freedom is important. But although I can go on for ages about uneccessary regulations and how things can be improved, it is important to consider that Sweden is actually a quite free economy. The Heritage Foundation economic freedom index is a good start:

If you look at the list, you will see that right now Australia and Sweden share rank 11. Australia has been mostly stable, Sweden has been creeping slowly upwards over the last few years. The big surprise is how low the US scores! Looking at this list shows how many places that are truly unfree, but also gives hope - many are improving. As said on

"Of the 155 countries analyzed, 75 scored better this year than last year and 11 had scores that were unchanged. The scores of sixty-nine countries were worse than they were last year". So while things are not looking perfectly bright, there are places getting more free.

As I said, we can always go to New Zeeland :-)

Posted by Anders at January 30, 2004 09:01 PM

Hmm, the thing is I have some qualms about the scoring system. As far as I can tell, all the elements are weighted pretty much equally, so you can get away with being really lousy in a couple of areas and still look good overall.

Cases in point: Australia, New Zealand and Sweeden have really high income taxes. However, apart from that their economies are very free. Indeed I wouldn't hesistate to say that Australia's economy is much freer than America is, for all the chest-thumping the USA engages in about Free Trade.

However frankly I'd prefer making my fortune in Canada, which is a nice compromise between low taxes and genuine free trade. Canada has more millionaires as a proportion of the population than America - no co-incidence, IMO.

The reason is one simple, three letter word: TAX

High levels of taxation can undo admirable levels of economic freedom elsewhere, because they squish the incentive to engage in creative an entrepeneurial activity. It's just too much of a risk for too little potential reward to give up some job for a safe, government-protected corporation to try your hand at something you're more passionate about.

So frankly I think the scoring they've done is rather misleading. However, much as I disagree with their ranking system, the information is really fascinating. It is, if anything strengthening my resolve to emigrate to Canada.

Posted by Korgmeister at February 1, 2004 12:23 PM

It is always a bit hazardous to read a economic freedom index. What parts are left out? Which are in?
In the Frasier Institutes index for instance Sweden comes in a place 22.

Often many indexes leave out Sweden's heavily regulated labour market or does not give a big significance to its heavily regulated and subsidized market for housing.

In any case, very very few would say that Sweden is laissez faire economy. Today it has become in many respects an normal EU member. Some markets are more regulated, some are a bit less regulated. But other than a steep taxation it is quite normal.

But the quite normal EU member, is a country with a high degree of regulation, a static economy and some very troubling signs for the future and it is quite adverse to the create class.

One wonders why Richard Florida does not take note of the EU's heavy brain to the US? Is it just a willing negligence in order to make a point against the Bush administration?

In order to illustrate this, the EU Lisbon Protocol, indicates as the source of the US' success in creating economic growth, new business opportunities and opening up new creative environments is that the US government is much better at centrally planning the economy from Washington and that Brussels should follow.
One sees what one wishes to see...

Posted by Waldemar at February 1, 2004 10:52 PM

Erm, I thought the key behind American economic success was a lack of central planning.

In all honesty, I find the obsessive committment to statism amongst European government types to be rather unnerving.

I mean I consider America to be overly authoritarian, let alone EU nations.

Posted by Korgmeister at February 3, 2004 10:45 AM