You don’t read about Sweden and the financial crisis much. For a long time, we sat here and pondered the world going to hell, seemingly untouched, happy drinking coffee as the sun disappeared. No banks going under. No weird Icelandic-type bankruptcies. You read stories in the New York Times about how the US needed to use a Swedish model (from an early 90’s economic/banking crash) to
Well, the wave finally rolled over us here. Massive layoffs. The real estate market has frozen, though not crashed. Lots of newspaper stories on the outrageous pensions and salaries of the CEOs of state-owned companies. Americans seem to have a fair tolerance for high paid executives. Swedes have none.
So I have signed up for the union unemployment insurance and worry nightly about the year-long waiting period. For the safety net is good here, but not that good. With a second baby due soon, with the reduced salaries of parental leave on the horizon, we are talking budgets and cut backs and, perhaps oddly, buying big stuff (we are talking IKEA rugs, not high def TVs) before it all goes bad.
The dark seems a bit sinister now, full of shadows. Though maybe I will now learn to appreciate the warmth of candles …