Taking the Christmas break to read Robert Skidelsky's "Keynes - the return of the master". Feels liberating after reading one of Dagens Nyheters ever that was about Europe's "best finance minister” i.e. Anders Borg who longs for home. The report in Dagens Nyheter would have been better in Svensk Damtidning. But who is it really that is involved in appointing who is the best finance minister?
Choosing the best finance ministers as if it were an idol competition is quite silly. It doesn't get any less silly when you read that it is the American Financial Times' 7-man jury that appoints Europe's best finance minister.
The jury in the Financial Times makes the idol jury and the vote in the melody festival appear as serious and serious projects. In the Financial Times jury we find, among others, SEB bank's chief economist Robert Bergkvist, who is a skilled economist. But surely it is a strange twist that bankers are on the jury to appoint the best finance minister? A few weeks after the appointment may 500 European commercial banks share 489 billion euros a few days before Christmas Eve as a Christmas present from the ECB at 1% interest rate.
The ECB is owned by all central banks in all EU countries and the Swedish banks are apparently not part of the banking feast. But Sweden is prepared, according to Borg, to give 100 billion to the banking system through the IMF. Perhaps the Swedish banks are participating in the cheap financing in euros in February 2012? In addition, the banks are not affected by the Tobin tax if Anders Borg & Company decides which they have been involved in lobbying for.
The Financial Times jury may not belong to the most objective jury on the planet, but the appointments have received a lot of media space. A few weeks earlier, SEB's board member and major owner Jacob Wallenberg was on another 7-man jury in the Financial Times and named SEB CEO Annika Falkengren one of the world's 50 most powerful business women, which was noted and applauded in the Swedish mainstream media.
In the evening, I think I will read The Emperor's New Clothes to my 4-year-old. HC Andersen's fairy tale is always as relevant and has something to teach us mortals about reality.