Moralens självutnämnda väktare

6 August, 2016 at 08:33 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

Sverige är en liberal demokrati. Utöver lagarna måste alla här respektera demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter som yttrandefrihet och åsiktsfrihet, jämlikhet och jämställdhet och allas rätt att välja sitt liv – partner, karriär, livsstil. Inget märkligt och ändå så stort att det svindlar.

Utanför denna kärna får var och en fritt välja sjal eller kippa, tillbe sin gud eller låta bli, äta fläsk och brännvin eller slippa, fira jul eller newroz …

KRTnVqgDCUGrPBSs73iZwMpR9DcMoralens självutnämnda väktare i förorten menar att deras normer är bättre än synen på kvinnor i det nya landet och därför går före. Andra menar att sharia står över värdsliga lagar. Här krävs tydlighet. Och mod. Alla som kommer till Sverige ska få veta vad som gäller.

Ingen får tumma på kvinnors rättigheter, oavsett religion, kultur och familjeförhållanden. Ingen får frånta unga rätten till sexualundervisning. Ingen får vända bort blicken när en tjej kommer tillbaka bortlovad efter semestern i det gamla hemlandet – eller inte återvänder alls. Ingen får böja sig för patriarkala kulturers krav på att få kuva kvinnor, kräva lydnad och kyskhet och beskriva släktens heder utifrån kvinnornas dygd.

Om en vecka ringer det in.

Det är i klassrummen den börjar, framtiden. Det är där vaccinet mot väktarrådens irrläror kan ges – men skolan behöver stöd från samhället omkring.

Heidi Avellan

Miscarriages of justice

3 August, 2016 at 08:54 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

 

 

 

C H Hermansson (1917-2016)

28 July, 2016 at 21:59 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

 

Ytterligare en av det svenska 1900-talets politiska giganter har gått ur tiden.

Good reasons to worry about inequalities

25 July, 2016 at 13:22 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 1 Comment

Focussing upon inequality statistics … misses an important point. What matters is not just the level of income inequality, but how that inequality arose. A free market society in which high incomes arise from the free choices of consenting adults – as in Robert Nozick’s Wilt Chamberlain parable – might have the same Gini coefficient as a crony capitalist society. But they are two different things. A good reason to be worried about current inequality – even if it hasn’t changed – is that it is a symptom of market failures such as corporate welfare, regulatory capture or the implicit subsidy to banks.

trickle-downIn this context, what matters is not just inequalities of income but inequalities of power. Top footballers and top bankers might be earning similar sums, but one’s salary is the product of market forces and the other of a tax-payer subsidy. The freelancer on £30,000 who’s worrying where his next contract is coming from has similar income to the bullying middle managers who created intolerable working conditions at (for example) Sports Direct. But they have very different degrees of economic power. And the low income that results from having to take a lousy job where your wages are topped up by tax credits gives you much less power than the same income that would come from a basic income and the freer choice to take or leave a low wage job.

My point here is a simple one. There are very good reasons why we should worry about inequality – not just leftists but also rightists who want freer markets and “bourgeois” virtues. Focusing only upon the stability of the Gini coefficient is a form of statistical fetishism which overlooks important questions.

Chris Dillow

Thorbjörn Fälldin — en gigant har gått ur tiden

25 July, 2016 at 10:48 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

torbjörn

Thorbjörn Fälldin, Sveriges tidigare statsminister och ledare för Centerpartiet, dog i sitt hem i Ramvik, på lördagskvällen, 90 år gammal.

Under Thorbjörn Fälldins och föregångaren Gunnar Hedlunds tid representerade Centerpartiet fortfarande en genuin politisk kraft i vårt samhälle.

Efter Fälldin vände Centerpartiet blad och så småningom fick vi Maud Olofsson.

Med Olofsson såldes partiets själ ut och partiets kräftgång in i nyliberalism påbörjades.

Sen kom Annie Lööf. Och ett en gång respekterat parti kördes fullständigt i botten.

Att en nyliberal, tyckmyckentrutad, floskulös, Ayn Rand och Margaret Thatcher dyrkande broilerpolitiker idag kan sitta och styra över ett parti som letts av giganter som Hedlund och Fälldin är fullständigt monstruöst. Obegripligt. Och sorgligt.

Racial bias in police shooting

23 July, 2016 at 18:23 | Posted in Politics & Society, Statistics & Econometrics | 3 Comments

roland-fryerRoland Fryer, an economics professor at Harvard University, recently published a working paper at NBER on the topic of racial bias in police use of force and police shootings. The paper gained substantial media attention – a write-up of it became the top viewed article on the New York Times website. The most notable part of the study was its finding that there was no evidence of racial bias in police shootings, which Fryer called “the most surprising result of [his] career”. In his analysis of shootings in Houston, Texas, black and Hispanic people were no more likely (and perhaps even less likely) to be shot relative to whites.

Fryer’s analysis is highly flawed, however … Fryer was not comparing rates of police shootings by race. Instead, his research asked whether these racial differences were the result of “racial bias” rather than merely “statistical discrimination”. Both terms have specific meanings in economics. Statistical discrimination occurs when an individual or institution treats people differently based on racial stereotypes that ‘truly’ reflect the average behavior of a racial group. For instance, if a city’s black drivers are 50% more likely to possess drugs than white drivers, and police officers are 50% more likely to pull over black drivers, economic theory would hold that this discriminatory policing is rational …

Once explained, it is possible to find the idea of “statistical discrimination” just as abhorrent as “racial bias”. One could point out that the drug laws police enforce were passed with racially discriminatory intent, that collectively punishing black people based on “average behavior” is wrong, or that – as a self-fulfilling prophecy – bias can turn into statistical discrimination (if black people’s cars are searched more thoroughly, for instance, it will appear that their rates of drug possession are higher) …

Even if one accepts the logic of statistical discrimination versus racial bias, it is an inappropriate choice for a study of police shootings. The method that Fryer employs has, for the most part, been used to study traffic stops and stop-and-frisk practices. In those cases, economic theory holds that police want to maximize the number of arrests for the possession of contraband (such as drugs or weapons) while expending the fewest resources. If they are acting in the most cost-efficient, rational manner, the officers may use racial stereotypes to increase the arrest rate per stop. This theory completely falls apart for police shootings, however, because officers are not trying to rationally maximize the number of shootings …

Economic theory aside, there is an even more fundamental problem with the Houston police shooting analysis. In a typical study, a researcher will start with a previously defined population where each individual is at risk of a particular outcome. For instance, a population of drivers stopped by police can have one of two outcomes: they can be arrested, or they can be sent on their way. Instead of following this standard approach, Fryer constructs a fictitious population of people who are shot by police and people who are arrested. The problem here is that these two groups (those shot and those arrested) are, in all likelihood, systematically different from one another in ways that cannot be controlled for statistically … Properly interpreted, the actual result from Fryer’s analysis is that the racial disparity in arrest rates is larger than the racial disparity in police shootings. This is an unsurprising finding, and proves neither a lack of bias nor a lack of systematic discrimination.

Justin Feldman

Rasismens fula tryne

21 July, 2016 at 11:14 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

 

Ja hur ska man reagera på dessa uttryck för oförblommerat svinaktig rasism?

Kanske med att lyssna på Olof Palme

Per Svensson — ännu en av dessa antidemokratiska demokrater

17 July, 2016 at 10:42 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

Inför brexit-omröstningen var det få kommentatorer som ondgjorde sig över att man i Storbritannien valt att låta medborgarna i en folkomröstning tala om huruvida man ville stanna kvar i EU eller ej. För de flesta framstod detta lika självklart som att Sverige för lite mer än tio år sedan folkomröstade om vi ville vara med i EMU eller ej.

slide_3Men när väl det — för de flesta — överraskande resultatet av brexit-omröstningen stod klart blev det andra tongångar. När ‘folket’ inte valde som ‘etablissemanget’ var det helt plötsligt sååå fel med folkomröstningar.

En av alla dessa debattörer och kommentatorer som nu förfasar sig över att britterna ‘valde fel’ är Sydsvenskans Per Svensson. I en artikel med rubriken Med folkets stöd mot avgrunden talar Svensson — hedersdoktor vid Malmö högskola — om att folkomröstningar mest är något som ‘karikerar’ demokrati och utnyttjas av ‘populister’ och ‘charlataner’. Tanken att en majoritet av britterna ville lämna EU skulle kunna bero på att för de minst bemedlade och svagaste grupperna har EU och dess åtstramningspolitik inte levererat ett dyft, föresvävar uppenbarligen inte Svensson.

När resultatet inte gick etablissemangets väg är helt plötsligt folkomröstningsinstitutet inte ett uttryck för ‘verklig’ demokrati.

Får man föreslå herr Svensson en resa till Schweiz? Eller det är kanske också bara ett land där ‘eliten’ utnyttjar ‘folket’ för att driva igenom sina egna intressen?

Demokrati är ingen gottepåse.

Demokrati är inget vi står upp för bara när den resulterar i beslut som vi gillar.

Demokrati och ‘rule of law’ är något vi ska slå vakt om. Överallt. Alltid.

Why Brexit voters ignored the ‘experts’

5 July, 2016 at 15:29 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 1 Comment

By the time British citizens went to the polls on June 23 to decide on their country’s continued membership in the European Union, there had been no shortage of advice in favor of remaining. Foreign leaders and moral authorities had voiced unambiguous concern about the consequences of an exit, and economists had overwhelmingly warned that leaving the EU would entail significant economic costs.

Yet the warnings were ignored. A pre-referendum YouGov opinion poll tells why: “Leave” voters had no trust whatsoever in the advice-givers. They did not want their judgment to rely on politicians, academics, journalists, international organizations, or think tanks …

brexitIt is tempting to dismiss this attitude as a triumph of passion over rationality. Yet the pattern seen in the UK is oddly familiar: in the United States, Republican voters disregarded the pundits and nominated Donald Trump as their party’s presidential candidate; in France, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, elicits little sympathy among experts, but has strong popular support. Everywhere, a significant number of citizens have become hostile to the cognoscenti …

The third and most convincing explanation: while experts emphasize the overall benefits of openness, they tend to disregard or minimize its effects on particular professions or communities. They regard immigration – to which Cameron attributed the Leave campaign’s victory – as a net benefit for the economy; but they fail to pay attention to what it implies for workers who experience downward wage pressure or for communities struggling with a scarcity of affordable housing, crowded schools, and an overwhelmed health system. In other words, they are guilty of indifference.

This criticism is largely correct. As Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University pointed out long ago, economists (and policymakers) tend to look at issues in the aggregate, to take a medium-term perspective, and to assume that markets work well enough to absorb a large part of adverse shocks. Their perspective clashes with that of people who care more about distributional issues, have different (often shorter) time horizons, and are wary of monopolistic behavior.

If economists and other experts want to regain their fellow citizens’ trust, they should not be deaf to these concerns. They should first be humble and avoid lecturing. They should base their policy views on the available evidence, rather than on preconceptions. And they should change their minds if the data do not confirm their beliefs. This largely corresponds to what researchers actually do; but when speaking to the public, experts tend to oversimplify their own views.

Jean Pisani-Ferry

Brexit shows the need for a reformed economics

27 June, 2016 at 23:33 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 2 Comments

Brexit is about much more than frustration about the E.U. and immigration. It is about a shortage of decent and secure jobs; an impossibly precarious labour market; inexplicable inequalities in incomes and wealth; closed access to affordable education, and a terrible deficiency of affordable housing; and it is about British Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne’s single-minded austerity economics and the rule-free and tax-free space created for big banks and corporations.

austerity-george-osborne-desktopThe referendum result reflects a deep-seated anger and anxiety amongst large sections of the population who are disenfranchised and feel ignored, and who can no longer bear the economic burden of living in the Thatcherite free-market wasteland (alternatively known as Cameron’s “Big Society”) that Britain has become – sadly reinforced by the New Labour governments that began with Tony Blair …

It would be a tragic mistake to read this resentment against the E.U. as only anti-migrant, racist or bigoted, because the racism and bigotry have grown in conditions of economic austerity, artificial job scarcity and crisis, rising unemployment, rising job insecurity, and exploding inequalities as social protection for workers, pensioners and families have been scaled down …

The responsibility for the economic and political mess in Britain, the E.U. and beyond weighs heavily on the shoulders of economists who insist there is no alternative to a globalized market economy (TINA!), with freedom for the rich and wealthy and unfreedom for the rest, and who out-of-hand reject serious progressive programmes to reform the system and make it more democratic and humane …

There are no easy answers – but economics urgently needs to start reforming itself, and asking the right questions.

Servaas Storm

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