Bloomberg Businessweek published an article about the Swedish election recently, and a friend asked me to comment. I suggest you read it yourself first, but the gist of the story is that the Swedish economy is getting a much-needed boost from immigration, but that the boom is being threatened by a surge in nationalism.
The author writes:
Gross domestic product increased more than 3 percent in the first two quarters of the year, which is considerably faster than the euro zone’s roughly 2 percent growth.
Note that this is not per capita GDP. With hundreds of thousands of additional mouths to feed of course consumption is going up, and GDP is dominated by exactly that—consumption!
Not only that, but shortly after the election the statistics bureau revised the GDP figures. The figures for the past several years as well as the forecasted GDP were written down considerably.
The article was written before the election so the author should not be blamed for using information that later turned out to be false, but she did pick a statistic that many casual readers will think means the standard of living is improving in Sweden—an unwarranted conclusion when the population is expanding rapidly.
The most charitable explanation I can think of is that she’s writing for a business magazine and expects total GDP to be more useful to investors. But she is also cherry picking examples that distort the picture further, and in the same direction.
The two men she interviewed—one an MBA and the other one a surgeon—are as typical of third-world immigration to Sweden as white rickshaw drivers are of foreigner workers in Singapore.
The vast majority of these migrants cannot claim to be doctors. They actually claim to be children, and not many children graduate from medical school.