Archive for the ‘Meta’ Category

Pausfågel

The blog isn’t dead, it just appears so… Of course, a whole month between posts is far too long and I will do better in future. Soon, but not just now, unfortunately.

In the meantime I offer a “pausfågel” – a jay:

A nice picture of a lovely bird. The picture’s from Wikimedia Commons and was shot by Luc Viatour.

The “pausfågel” was, from 1963-1993, a recording of birdsong used to signal a pause in the programming by the Swedish national radio broadcaster, Sveriges Radio. It was changed weekly but I don’t know if the jay ever featured.

Setting the stage

In Swedish / på svenska.

Before launching into speculation on the future I want to give some background to the upcoming posts. From my point of view, there’s no doubt that we’re facing plenty of environmental problems, from dying oceans, problems with our energy supply, creeping climate change, not to mention all the economical and political problems around the world.

There are already plenty of people paying attention to this. In Sweden we have several blogs, such as Flute-tankar, Cornucopia?, Livet efter oljan, Aleklett’s Energy Mix and Effektbloggen among others. There are also those with an opposing viewpoint, especially regarding climate change, for example The Climate Scam or the Stockholm Initiative.

What we don’t have so many of, in Sweden or abroad, are those who try to combine all these various problems into some sort of whole view. The result, despite so much engagement and publicity, is mostly paralysis and fragmentation – we sort our trash (although most of it will be incinerated to provide municipal heating), maybe buy a diesel car with the favourable “environmental” tax rate and discount, but we still fly to Thailand for a few weeks. A lot of what we do is certainly good, such as paying for tree plantings as climate compensation for the Thailand flight, buying a more fuel-efficient car, recycling various containers and so on. Still, there’s not much evidence that it’s enough. Rather the opposite, in fact.

We seem to be heading into a new world, where few of our current assumptions seem useful any more. Already, during and after the financial crisis, many assumptions in economics have turned out to be less useful after the markets were changed by the massive state intervention.

What we need most of all is some way to gather all the sprawling problems into some sort of unity. Perhaps we can’t fashion one single neat image, but having several larger-scale views to compare to reality is better than having none. That’s what this blog will focus on for a while.

Welcome to The Concept Blog!

In Swedish / på svenska.

This is a blog about the future. The future, which isn’t what it used to be.

It’s easy to become somewhat depressed when following current events, and even easier when studying where others think we’re heading:

China is growing at a phenomenal rate and “Chindia” is poised to grab all economic power from Europe and the US; they’ve already started by purchasing companies like Sweden’s Volvo Cars. Europe is about to turn into an Islamic caliphate, unless the apocalypse arrives first due to peak oil or the machinations of the Bilderberg group. The Russians keep increasing their military spending and are planning to occupy the Swedish island of Gotland in order to protect their gas pipeline. They won’t want the rest anyway, after our housing bubble pops and everything becomes worthless. Finally, the ocean will rise, drowning all coastal cities. Woe is me!

At the same time, many are quite cheerful: we’re getting a steady stream of new iPhones and iPads, the OECD calls Sweden a tiger economy, the UK invites Nordic countries to tell their secrets of prosperity, fuel economy for new cars is rising fast and old moss-covered dictatorships across the Arab world tremble before the people’s anger. Hooray!

There’s quite a profusion of visions!

I intend to supply a few others, inspired by some American and English writers who are less well known in Sweden. On this blog I will repost (or link to) some texts that I’ve found useful and which provide a somewhat different perspective, along with my own comments and reflections to the texts and to events.

There is a Swedish version of the blog, Begreppsbloggen. There, I will publish Swedish translations of the texts I present here and of course my commentary in Swedish.

Comments are welcome, as are guest posts! Comments need not, but certainly may, be bilingual (posted on both blogs)! I will translate particularly interesting comments, unless the comment author objects.

About me: my name is Johan. I’m around 30 years old, have an M.Sc. in Engineering Physics, work in IT and live in Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast. Contact me via email at begreppsbloggen@gmail.com.

The blog’s name comes from my deep belief in the importance of our concepts. Those are what we use to make sense of what happens around us and to imagine the present and the future. At the end of the day, our concepts are what shapes the future and enable us to make it better.