Lisbon is far away

Any reader of this web log will know that I’m a friend of the Union. But even yours truly agrees that the agriculture sector is a sad story full with subsidies, tariffs and protectionism. This week brought some good news though. Subsidies to sugar beet farmers will be limited. Mind you, not abandoned. Limited.

Swedish Agriculture Minister Ann-Christin Nykvist has welcomed the decision by European Union ministers Thursday to overhaul the EU’s sugar subsidies, slashing prices by more than a third and offering generous pay-offs to farmers willing to abandon sugar beet production.

Even minor reforms require outside pressure, in this case from the WTO. Supporters of the Lisbon agenda for reform and competitiveness might despair. We have a long way to walk.


interesting times ahead

The developing story of eco-cars and the shifting auto market got even more fascinating today when GM announced draconic layoffs. Reminds me of the old curse “may you live in interesting times”. The former leaders Ford and GM might be wondering just how interesting it’ll get and just how much they can take.

General Motors Corp. said Monday it would cut 30,000 hourly jobs and close or scale back operations at about a dozen U.S. and Canadian locations in a bid to save $7 billion a year and halt huge losses in its core North American auto operations.

Full story here.



I can't say I adore the beauty of Malmö but Pildammsparken is a lovely spot and the November sun joined me on my visit there.


socially conscious capitalists

Returning to the topic of Hybrids... The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting comment about social capitalists. As the role of governments diminish, the planet could still be saved from all sorts of threats by socially conscious capitalists like Toyota.

In short, Toyota is showing the world how to exploit green technologies by first gaining market share, and then leapfrogging to the top. The sustainability of our modern world may depend upon social capitalists such as Toyota, which can link their own profits to society's progress as defined in the 21st century.

Read the column here.


stockholm by pixels

Three colleagues sharing an interest in digicams and strolling through their home town are documenting Stockholm in a new web log. Nothing fancy but kind of fun.

It started a few years ago when someone (it can’t have been me) suggested we’d meet before work one morning and walk the cams, so to speak. So we did (although early mornings are hardly one of my specialties) and by now we’ve made quite a few excursions.

Check us out at stockholm by pixels. The words are Swedish but the pictures might as well speak for themselves.


Health bomb keeps ticking

Updating the diabetes story...

A special report in the Guardian turns our attention to this ticking health bomb.

…childhood obesity has tripled in the past 25 years. Nearly one in six British kids is overweight; 6% are obese. For the first time, children are being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, a disease previously thought to be confined to the over-40s. Last year, the government floated a possible ban on the TV advertising of junk food…

…bans don't necessarily work. There are no ads on children's television in Sweden and yet their kids are as overweight as ours…

Read the report here.


November in Mörbylånga

First snow on Öland

The first winter storm had passed and by the time my bus reached Mörbylånga a pale November sun tried to warm us all on my first visit to Öland. Go see.