The stagnating Construction industry slows down Swedish growth

Spoiler: The historically meagre productivity growth of the Swedish Construction industry is a serious problem. Low productivity growth for an industry does not have to be a problem if the industry is small relative to the rest of the economy. But it is problematic when a large industry’s share in the economy is increasing over time at the same time as its productivity growth is stagnating. The Swedish Construction industry’s contribution to overall Swedish productivity growth is almost as small as the public sector’s contribution.

Unless the Construction industry’s productivity growth increases, the other industries’ productivity growth will have to increase. The increases will have to be continuously higher as long as the Construction sector’s share of the economy keep increasing. The reasons behind the weak productivity growth are well-known. Weak competition, many and complex regulations, municipal monopoly of the planning process for buildings, and other factors leading to high entry costs making it difficult for new firms enter the markets.

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Putin is a killer and a liar

Spoiler: President Biden is right. Putin is a killer. He is a killer in more ways than we think of. Putin has, by the use of proxies, killed more than 14 000 Ukrainians, tens of thousands of Syrians, Russian journalists and critics. He has also killed thousands of Russians by lying and neglecting the needs of Russians.  

Putin and the Kremlin lie to Russians to hide the poor state the country is in. They lie about countries in the “West” aiming to portray them as equally bad. The lies and the “vertical power” design of the Russian state apparatus is costing Russian lives. The health care system is in decay and Russians are afraid to get vaccinated because they do not trust their government which has spewed out lies daily since Putin became president.

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Brexit fait accompli

Spoiler: The Brexit-deal is finally done. A hard Brexit was fortunately avoided. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is perhaps the freest trade agreement concluded so far. Yet it raises barriers to trade compared to when the UK was part of the EU. The agreed zero tariffs and quotas are a fantastic achievement. But that only applies for trade in goods. Trade in services restricted. And services constitute 70% of UK GDP.

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Putin vetoes human rights

Spoiler: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia granted to take the place of the Soviet Union as a permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council. That was a mistake. The position has mostly been used to block investigations into human rights violations, Russian occupations of other countries’ territories, protect pariah regimes and block UN aid to refugees.

After Putin came to power, Russia has used its veto to prevent the UN to act against regimes who violate human rights and even persecute their own populations. The first vetoes blocked UN actions against the regimes in Myanmar and Zimbabwe. These vetoes were not based on any considerations of what was going on in the two countries. They were supporting China’s vetoes. The Chinese regime was not interested in having UN missions in countries where China had invested.

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