Sweden on 6th place in prosperity
Sweden has been separated from its Scandinavian counterparts at the very top (and has also dropped three spots) on the annual prosperity index from Legatum Institute. Topping the list, we find Norway, second Denmark, third Finland. Sweden is number six after Australia and New Zealand (and right ahead of Canada). The index shows that economical prosperity isn’t enough for a successful society, says Peter Mandelson, Britain’s former First Secretary of State. Democracy and freedom, he says, are two other important ingredients. The index ranks 110 countries according to their overall abilities to foster the drivers of prosperity. The United States falls in tenth place. http://www.prosperity.com/rankings.aspx

Strong pull needed against Swedish corruption
Transparency International’s Swedish department says Sweden is continuously sinking on the world index on corruption 2010. As corruption in Sweden is growing, the threat needs to be taken more seriously, according to a debate article in daily Dagens Nyheter, co-written by Lars-Göran Engfeldt, chairman of Transparency International Sverige, and nine others who suggest a change in the bribery laws. A recent corruption tangle in Göteborg has shown that the local sector often gives rise to conflicts in interests, which foster corrupt actions. According to the rankings, Sweden is ranked four (along with Finland) after Denmark, New Zealand, and Singapore’s shared first spot. In 2008 Sweden topped the list, and last year came in third. This year’s rankings were published before the abovementioned Göteborg tangle. These problems, according to the article in DN, need be addressed and soon. A strong will from politicians is needed in order to get Sweden back on track. The article writers points out that it is perplexing that an idea that they put forth about increased transparency regarding the finances of the political parties never took off. In Western Europe, the article goes on, it is only Sweden, Malta, San Marino and Switzerland, that lack legal regulations of the parties’ financing. Sweden has also been criticized by GRECO (the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption), and this, if nothing else, ought to be food for thought. “It’s high time to wash this unnecessary stain off of the Swedish democracy,” the authors write. They also propose a one-year quarantine for politicians who are transferring to other sectors in society. Such a restriction, with possibility for exemption, is along the lines with the European Union’s commission. Industry plays a prominent part in an intensified fight against corruption, and here, too, it’s important for Sweden to change its image. According to a study by Ernst & Young, the management and leadership of Swedish businesses are unusually unconcerned about the risks for corruption, though fighting it ought to be a natural part of their work and responsibilities, Corporate Social Responsibility, and ought to include more than plans, for instance safeguarded phone numbers for whistleblowers. The internationally trusted and renowned brand that is Sweden, is one of the Swedish nation’s greatest assets, and it’s in our own interest to keep it like that. According to Transparency International, corruption is defined as “abuse of entrusted power for personal gain”.

Mind your manners
We know to use both fork and knife when eating and to say “Thank you” when somebody passes us the salt, but when in doubt we like to check out Magdalena Ribbing’s column on manners in Dagens Nyheter. We feel it gives us an edge. Recently Ribbing focused on children in restaurants, always an interesting topic. Especially in Sweden, where children enjoy a higher place in society than in most countries. One reader wrote the following: “Today when I was at a restaurant I noticed a couple changing their baby’s diapers at a nearby table. We weren’t eating at that time, because our food hadn’t arrived. But is it really good manners to change a baby’s diaper among eating guests? None of the waiters or other personnel witnessed the incident.” Ribbing replies as follows: “Goodness gracious! You ought to have told the diaper-changing parents you were eating and that it was not the time and place for changing a diaper! Or you should have called on the waiter. (---) It amazes me what people do. Many of you readers feel that children are children and are allowed to act the way they do even in restaurants. To you I say, ‘of course’, but that doesn’t excuse parents acting badly. Diaper changing and big messes aren’t children’s fault, but rather the fault of their parents. Others have a right too, to enjoy sitting down to eat at a restaurant and parents who can’t manage their own children should keep them at home. A restaurant is a public space, it is not your own bathroom or even home. You cannot treat it like you would a private space. Changing diapers at a table in a restaurant is simply gross.”

Burning the midnight oil
When you’re in your pj’s brushing your teeth, they get to work. In a space on top of Stockholm’s Centralbadet, which during the day belongs to the PR bureau Springtime, the Stockholm Night Owls begin working on everything from programming codes to writing the next bestselling novel. Says Johan Hedberg, co-founder of the group: “Many have little projects they work on at home and come here to exchange experiences or to have some company while working. I wouldn’t call any of them early risers, though.” The idea comes from the Big Apple, the city that doesn’t sleep, where a group of people who got tired at sitting in empty Starbucks in the middle of the night, meet up with likeminded every other Tuesday. Most of the Stockholm Nightowls have regular daytime jobs, and get together every two weeks, Mondays at 10 pm, and they work till 4 am. Students too, are welcome but the age limit is 18. For more information: http://stonightowls.com/

Politician sentenced for sex purchase
A 61-year old Social Democratic politician has been sentenced to pay heavy fines for buying sexual services from a prostitute in Stockholm. It was this summer he was 'caught in the act' as he and a friend of his had sex with prostitutes in an apartment in Stockholm owned by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation... The two men were candidates at the local level in two municipalities in mid-Sweden.