Quotulatiousness

September 25, 2017

Great Northern War – V: Rise and Fall – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Extra Credits
Published on 23 Sep 2017

Charles XII narrowly escaped the Russian pursuit, with help from the Ottoman Empire. But the weak points in his army had been clearly exposed. Northern Europe united against him – but of course, Charles XII responded by launching a fateful counter-offensive into Norway.

QotD: IKEA’s shady history

Filed under: Business, Europe, History, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

IKEA itself serves as a fitting symbol of the middle-class masquerade. The company’s well-managed brand obscures the fact that its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, at the time that he founded the store in 1943, was a member of Sweden’s pro-Nazi fascist party, in which he continued to be active at least until 1948 and which he continued to praise for decades after; or that the company used forced prison labor in East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is fitting that IKEA’s current worth is unknown, since it is technically owned by a phony-charity shell company incorporated in the Netherlands, enabling Kamprad to evade Swedish taxes. This is not to single out IKEA for particular scorn: one could write an equally lurid laundry list about almost any large corporation; a fascist undertone usually lurks beneath the surface of mass-production and mass-marketing. Consider the fact that Apple uses what is slave labor in all but name in China yet none of their customers seem to care.

Samuel Biagetti, “The IKEA Humans: The Social Base of Contemporary Liberalism”, Jacobite, 2017-09-13.

September 18, 2017

Great Northern War – IV: Clash of Kings – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Extra Credits
Published on 16 Sep 2017

Charles XII had gone to the Ukraine hoping for supplies and reinforcements, especially from the cossacks led by Ivan Mazeppa. But Peter the Great was hot on his trail, and had no intention of letting him off that easy.

September 13, 2017

The Thirty Years War

Filed under: Europe, France, Germany, History, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 10 Nov 2014

http://www.tomrichey.net

The Thirty Years’ War was fought from 1618-1648 (Thirty Years!) in the Holy Roman Empire. It began as a conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Bohemia, but grew to involve Denmark, Sweden, and France. After the French began helping Gustavus Adolphus, the Protestant king of Sweden, the lines became blurry and the war became more about the balance of power in Europe than about religion. The Peace of Westphalia paved the way for France to become the dominant power in Western Europe and for the permanent decline of the Holy Roman Empire as a political institution.

If you like this lecture, check out my other lectures for AP European History and Western Civilization!

September 12, 2017

Great Northern War – III: Young and Violent – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 9 Sep 2017

Flush from his victories against Poland-Lithuania, Charles XII of Sweden sets his eyes on an even greater enemy: Russia. But its ruler, Peter the Great, is no pushover: as the Swedish troops advance, he burns down the countryside and leaves them starving and exposed as a ferocious winter sets in.

September 9, 2017

The Seven Years’ War

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 19 Nov 2016

The Seven Years’ War essentially comprised two struggles. One centered on the maritime and colonial conflict between Britain and its Bourbon enemies, France and Spain; the second, on the conflict between Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia and his opponents: Austria, France, Russia, and Sweden. Two other less prominent struggles were also worthy of note. As an ally of Frederick, George II of Britain, as elector of Hanover, resisted French attacks in Germany, initially only with Hanoverian and Hessian troops but from 1758 with the assistance of British forces also. In 1762, Spain, with French support, attacked Britain’s ally Portugal, but, after initial checks, the Portuguese, thanks to British assistance, managed to resist successfully.

August 28, 2017

Great Northern War – II: A Good Plan – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 26 Aug 2017

The wrath of Charles XII was now aimed directly at Poland-Lithuania. But their leader had a plan! ..A terrible plan.

Augustus the Strong was determined to prove his might by defeated Charles XII on the battlefield. He gathered his Polish-Lithuanian forces, met the Swedes, and proceded to… lose. And lose. And lose. Then he got deposed and started a civil war which of course he also lost.

August 26, 2017

When is an archaeological artifact merely “recyclable”?

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Europe, Government, Science — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In Sweden, apparently, it’s actually becoming a common practice to discard “excess” metal artifacts for literal recycling:

One of the amulet rings from the Iron Age that archaeologists are recycling. Previously, this type of object was saved, says archaeologist Johan Runer.
(Photo from Svenska Dagbladet, caption from Never Yet Melted)

Rough translation from Swedish language article in Svenska Dagbladet:

    While the debate about burning books is raging in the media, Swedish archaeologists throw away amulet rings and other ancient discoveries. It feels wrong and sad to destroy thousands of years of ritual arts and crafts, and I’m not alone in feeling so.

    “What you do is destroy our history! Says Johan Runer, archaeologist at Stockholm County Museum.

    Amulet rings from the Iron Age, like Viking weights and coins, belong to a category of objects that, as far as Runer knows, were previously always saved.

    He tried to raise the alarm in an article in the journal Popular Archeology (No. 4/2016), describing how arbitrary thinning occurs. Especially in archeological studies before construction and road projects, the focus is on quickly and cheaply removing the heritage so that the machine tools can proceed.

    He works himself in these kinds of excavations. Nobody working in field archeology wants to get a reputation as an uncooperative “find-fanatic” but now he cannot be quiet any longer.

    “It’s quite crazy, but this field operates in the marketplace. We are doing business,” says Runer.

    Often, especially in the case of minor excavations, there is a standing order from the county administrative boards that as few discoveries as possible should be taken.

    If you think it seems unlikely, I recommend reading the National Archives Office’s open archive, such as report 2016: 38. An archaeological preamble of settlement of bronze and iron age before reconstruction by Flädie on the E6 outside Lund.

    In the finds catalog, coins, knives, a tin ornament, a ring and a weight from the Viking Age or early Middle Ages have been placed in the column “Weeded Out”.

August 25, 2017

Great Northern War – I: When Sweden Ruled the World – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, History, Russia — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 19 Aug 2017

A young boy king had inherited the crown of the Swedish Empire, and his neighbors saw an opportunity to attack. To their surprise, young Charles XII of Sweden turned out to be a fearsome opponent who quickly repelled their assaults – and then sought revenge.

August 10, 2017

The Treaty of Westphalia

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, History, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 20 Nov 2008

Treaty of Westphalia

March 21, 2017

Icelandic standup about Nordic neighbours in general and Finnish language in particular

Filed under: Europe, Humour — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on Dec 1, 2016

H/T to Colby Cosh for the link.

February 16, 2016

How Sweden got rich

Filed under: Economics, Europe, History — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Johan Norberg talks about the economic state of Sweden 150 years ago:

Once upon a time I got interested in theories of economic development because I had studied a low-income country, poorer than Congo, with life expectancy half as long and infant mortality three times as high as the average developing country.

That country is my own country, Sweden — less than 150 years ago.

At that time Sweden was incredibly poor — and hungry. When there was a crop failure, my ancestors in northern Sweden, in Ångermanland, had to mix bark into the bread because they were short of flour. Life in towns and cities was no easier. Overcrowding and a lack of health services, sanitation, and refuse disposal claimed lives every day. Well into the twentieth century, an ordinary Swedish working-class family with five children might have to live in one room and a kitchen, which doubled as a dining room and bedroom. Many people lodged with other families. Housing statistics from Stockholm show that in 1900, as many as 1,400 people could live in a building consisting of 200 one-room flats. In conditions like these it is little wonder that disease was rife. People had large numbers of children not only for lack of contraception, but also because of the risk that not many would survive for long.

As Vilhelm Moberg, our greatest author, observed when he wrote a history of the Swedish people: “Of all the wondrous adventures of the Swedish people, none is more remarkable and wonderful than this: that it survived all of them.”1

But in one century, everything was changed. Sweden had the fastest economic and social development that its people had ever experienced, and one of the fastest the world had ever seen. Between 1850 and 1950 the average Swedish income multiplied eightfold, while population doubled. Infant mortality fell from 15 to 2 per cent, and average life expectancy rose an incredible 28 years. A poor peasant nation had become one of the world’s richest countries.

Many people abroad think that this was the triumph of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which somehow found the perfect middle way, managing to tax, spend, and regulate Sweden into a more equitable distribution of wealth — without hurting its productive capacity. And so Sweden — a small country of nine million inhabitants in the north of Europe — became a source of inspiration for people around the world who believe in government-led development and distribution.

But there is something wrong with this interpretation. In 1950, when Sweden was known worldwide as the great success story, taxes in Sweden were lower and the public sector smaller than in the rest of Europe and the United States. It was not until then that Swedish politicians started levying taxes and disbursing handouts on a large scale, that is, redistributing the wealth that businesses and workers had already created. Sweden’s biggest social and economic successes took place when Sweden had a laissez-faire economy, and widely distributed wealth preceded the welfare state.

This is the story about how that happened. It is a story that must be learned by countries that want to be where Sweden is today, because if they are to accomplish that feat, they must do what Sweden did back then, not what an already-rich Sweden does now.

September 20, 2015

Interview with Indy Neidell I THE GREAT WAR – Special

Filed under: Europe, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 19 Sep 2015

THANK YOU FOR 150.000 SUBSCRIBERS!

Our producer David sat down with Indy in his garden for an interview that answers a few questions you all have been dying to ask. Why Stockholm? Why The Great War Channel? Are you a Historian?

September 19, 2015

The miraculous cornucopia that is the welfare state

Filed under: Economics, Europe, Government — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

J.R. Ireland explains how the New Republic has it all figured out, so we can stop fretting about that boring old “capitalism” thing:

The beautiful thing about confirmation bias is that you never actually have to provide any evidence for your argument. All you have to do is find the first person or the first scrap of evidence which can be twisted and distorted to fit an already extant narrative, and you can carry on your marry way, gleefully the nearly infinite number of reasons that the argument you just made is actually quite terrible.

For example, in The New Republic, a once important magazine now fading into oblivion, Elizabeth Stoker Breunig wrote an article which declared airily that Paid Parental Leave Is Fueling Sweden’s Start-Up Boom. What evidence does she have for this? Well, she doesn’t actually have any — it just fits her biases so she purposefully chose not to actually look into any of the claims being made. If she had, she probably would have realized that virtually everything she is saying is wrong.

First of all, her entire argument is based on one woman’s opinion, which Breunig, true to form, never bothers to check up on:

    Each week, Sweden’s national Twitter account allows a different Swede to take over tweeting and tell his or her story. Last week it was Louise Samet, a new mom and an employee of Swedish e-commerce giant Klarna. But unlike Amazon, where women only receive eight weeks of paid leave and men receive none, Klarna supplements 68 weeks of paid leave, which is split evenly between mothers and fathers. According to Samet, Sweden’s parent-friendly policies mean not only a better corporate culture, but also fertile ground for people interested in breaking into the start-up scene. I caught up with Samet to get a little more of a tech start-up insider’s view on paid leave, innovative business, and workplace culture.

    Samet began her week of tweeting discussing paid leave. “I have a son who’s 5 months old and am currently enjoying the generous parental leave,” Samet tweeted on Monday, adding a few minutes later: “[Paid leave] enables me to have a career and spend time with my son, and it really promotes gender equality.” A little later in the week, Samet considered the role of Sweden’s robust welfare system, of which paid leave is a part, in shoring up its start-up companies: “I find the startup scene in Sweden very interesting, people dare to try out their ideas, prob partly thanks to the social welfare system.”

How very European! All that is good in life is thanks to the welfare state! Wunderbar!

The problem, however, becomes immediately apparent — this is just one random women’s opinion. She thinks the reason that there are so many startups in Sweden is because of the ‘social welfare system’ but offers quite literally no evidence that this is so. Breunig just takes her at her word.

September 15, 2015

Sweden during World War 1 – Balancing Neutrality I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Europe, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:36

Published on 14 Sep 2015

Sweden was neutral during the Great War and like all neutral countries in World War 1 it was affected by the global conflict. Balancing neutrality between the Central Powers and the Entente while also maintaining trade with both sides was not easy – but very profitable. Especially the trade with Germany was very lucrative since it was circumventing the British Naval Blockade. But that was not the only effect the war had on Sweden which became the nation it is today during WW1.

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