Torching Utopia: Sweden tries mass immigration

Summary: Immigration has strong bipartisan support by elites in the US and Europe. The process of making a new people has advanced further in Europe. Now, as their nations have been irreversibly changed, popular resistance has arisen. Here economist Tino Sanandaji describes events in Sweden. Much of Europe is following. We can learn from them or follow them. Open borders are another manifestation of the madness infecting the West, with both libertarians and leftists allied against us.

A car burns in Husby, Sweden in May 2013
A car burns in Husby, Sweden in May 2013.

Sweden on the Brink?

An Interview with Tino Sanandaji
By Erico Matias Tavares of Sinclair & Co.
from LinkedIn, 21 February 2016

Grim Numbers, Dark Dynamics

… However, in 1990 non-European immigrants accounted for only 3% of the population and any problems could be isolated and managed within the bigger framework of society. That figure has increased to some 13-14% now, and is growing at perhaps 1-2 percentage points from last year, with persistent gaps in income, unemployment and education. It’s really a question of scale rather than degree of divisions.

You still have a sizeable number of Iranians, Iraqis, Bosnians and the like who are well integrated, dress like any westerner, speak fluent Swedish and openly talk to anyone. That group is even bigger than in 1990. But there is another group which is living in a ghetto and who does not speak Swedish all that well, does not feel a part of society, is unemployed and so on. And that group has increased rapidly. When it reaches a certain size it starts to influence everything around it – like schools, social spaces and so forth.

At a theoretical level there is an idea proposed by Professor Edward Lazear from the Stanford Business School where integration is a function of group size. If you have small immigration most people around the new arrivals are going to be natives, and so finding your place in society is just a gradual social process: interacting with your neighbors, working with other people, absorbing their values and learning the language. Once that group becomes very large then you have an issue of critical mass where if you don’t want to integrate you can just live in the immigrant community, working and interacting mostly with other immigrants, not having to learn the language and so on. And you don’t integrate as easily.

High rates of immigration + slow economic growth = social unrest

… since 2006, Sweden has had close to zero GDP growth in per capita terms, maybe 0.6% per year on average. That’s not at all impressive when compared to the historical average.

At the same time we have seen a massive increase in household debt which has to be paid back at some point. To give you a sense people say that we have the second most indebted households in the OECD.

Looking to the future

…I don’t think we are close to the brink yet. Adam Smith, the famous economist, replied to a concerned British friend after the breakaway of the American colonies that there’s a great deal of ruin in a nation. This means that well organized nations can quickly recover. You can do a lot of damage but you can recuperate.

… we are going to have an ethnic class society to some extent. That’s inevitable. I hope somebody solves it but it’s extremely unlikely and to my knowledge when this poverty problem established itself no country has been able to eradicate it.

… In the long run if Sweden regulates immigration and returns to reality and sanity, then it will not become a failed state.

In the short run you will continue to see shocking headlines from Sweden. The recent inflow has overloaded the system to a point where we are experiencing a crime wave. And absurd things are happening, things nobody has almost seen before: mass assaults on women by large gangs of men, lots of fighting with knifes or scolding water, murders, acid thrown in faces of women, rapes, abuse of minors, rapes of young boys. Headline after headline of horrific stuff.

Swedes always like to say that “we don’t want it like the United States”; I joked it’s almost becoming too late for that, now the best Sweden can hope for is “we don’t want it like the Game of Thrones”. The inability of the European leadership to deal with the crisis is at once surreal and fascinating, almost like witnessing a Donald Duck version of the fall of the Roman Empire in real time.

————————— End excerpt. —————————

Sweden elites work to get a new people

From his article “Open Hearts, Open Borders” in National Review, 26 January 2015

Geographically isolated and culturally insular, Scandinavia was until recently among the world’s most homogeneous regions. In 1900, only 0.7% of Sweden’s population was foreign-born. Today, Sweden takes in more immigrants relative to its population than the U.S. did at the peak of the transatlantic migration.

Swedes have been better at admitting refugees than at integrating them into their society. Around 82% of working-age native-born Swedes are employed. The figure is only 58% among immigrants and lower still among non-Western immigrants. The gap in employment between the native-born and immigrants is the second highest in the OECD. The ministry of labor reports that “almost 60%” of newly arrived refugees lack a high-school education, and Sweden’s high-tech, skill-intensive labor market has shown little demand for low-skilled labor. Today, immigrants constitute 16% of the Swedish population, 51% of the long-term unemployed, and 57% of recipients of welfare payments.

… In Sweden, Reinfeldt’s party Moderaterna once offered a more moderate immigration platform. But its libertarian wing has since gained control of immigration policy. The party has now followed its open-borders ideals to their logical conclusion. Reinfeldt himself appears to be a true believer in the libertarian open-borders ideology. In one speech to Middle Eastern immigrants, he declared that “the fundamentally Swedish is merely barbarism. The rest of development has come from abroad.”

…As the 2014 election neared, Reinfeldt was down in the polls and needed a game-changer. In a notorious speech, he decided to report the budgetary projections, partly because they were simply becoming too large to ignore. The prime minister referred to Sweden as a “humanitarian superpower” and pleaded with the Swedish public to “open their hearts.” His speech was hailed as a success by the media but was followed by a record loss of votes from the Right to the Sweden Democrats, a scandal-plagued, deeply unpopular party with xenophobic roots. This did not signify any newfound enthusiasm for the Sweden Democrats. Rather, when immigration became more salient as an issue, those who opposed immigration found their way to the only available alternative.

…Following his defeat, Reinfeldt has become even more open-hearted in his political philosophy, raising eyebrows both in Sweden and abroad. {as} he offered this analysis…

“What does the word ‘enough’ mean? Is Sweden full? Is the Nordic region full? Are we too many people? We are 25 million people living in the North. I often fly over the Swedish countryside. I would recommend more people to do the same. There are endless fields and forests. There’s as much space as you can imagine. Those who claim that the country is full, they must demonstrate where it is full.”

Reinfeldt recently questioned the right of Sweden to enforce its borders…

“What is Sweden as a country? Is this nation owned by those who have lived here for four generations, or by those who invent some borders? Or is this an open country made up of people who arrive here, in midlife, perhaps born in another country? And it is what they make of Sweden that is Sweden.”

…The ancestors of most ethnic Swedes have lived there for hundreds or even thousands of years.

————————— End excerpt. —————————

What are the causes and results of this insanity?

See his “Torching Utopia“, National Review, 4 June 2013 — “Sweden’s problem is not Islam, it’s multiculturalism.
Tino Sanandaji

About Tino Sanandaji

He is a Kurdish-Swedish economist and author. Born 1980 in Iran, his family moved to Sweden in 1989. He has an MSc from the Stockholm School of Economics (where he now works as a researcher), an M.A in economics and a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

See his Wikipedia entry for more information and links to his work. See his blog (in Swedish) and his C.V. and publications.

Other posts about immigration

For More Information

I don’t share all of Mark Steyn’s values, and his analytical standards are sloppy. But too much of this is accurate to ignore: “It’s Still the Demography, Stupid“, 19 January 2016. It’s about America but applies to Europe as well.

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4 thoughts on “Torching Utopia: Sweden tries mass immigration

  1. “libertarian madness”

    The trouble is, it’s not just the libertarians, it’s the socialists too. The socialists are just as hidebound by dogma and unwilling to see the effects of what they’re doing.

    All rather typified by the attitudes in the UK where the media concentrate on pictures of women and children being recovered from boats off Greece despite the fact that the overwhelming majority on the boats are men under 50 and the elderly, women and children are largely stuck in camps in Turkey. So the EU is helping the most able while leaving the most vulnerable at risk in or close to a war zone.

    I wouldn’t describe the BBC as libertarian (or the Guardian for that matter) but they’re both incredibly pro-immigration.

    If you express unease about immigrant numbers there’s always someone somewhere ready to pop up and suggest that you’re racist or a closet neo Nazi. Famously, Gordon Brown, wannabe prime minister, holed himself below the waterline when he was recorded referring to a voter as a ‘bigoted woman’ because she’d dared to express (to him) her concerns about the effect that immigration was having on jobs and housing in her area.

    Letting people into the country is the easy part of the job. Integrating them and building the infrastructure they require is a problem that’s orders of magnitude harder because it involves the unpleasant, expensive, long term decisions (and their consequences) that here today, gone tomorrow (wealthy) politicians like Reinfeldt won’t be around to have to deal with and will be isolated from.

  2. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    — Excerpt from “Die Lösung” a poem by Bertolt Brecht.

    Maybe this taste of Open Borders will finally disabuse our elites of the notion that humans are all just Blank Slates, endlessly fungible. If not at least I’ll get to read some deliciously snarky Martin van Creveld blog posts.

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