The (Mis)interpretation of “Being International”
A Swedish Dilemma
After World War II there was a strong desire to open up the window to Europe and the world again. Those who could afford it wanted to travel abroad. Import and export of goods and ideas started again. For a small country like Sweden with most of our industry intact, having practically escaped the war, it was golden days. Sweden carried on being modern and forward. We thought we had a role to play internationally as a role model of a modern country and a strong voice in international affairs.
Gradually something happened.
Maybe we were pretentious enough to think that we had the medicine for everything wrong in the world. The idea of becoming a moral superpower grew more and more. From being “international”, in a way perfect for a small exporting, technical, and cultural country, we became the “Charity Ladies” for the whole world.
From welcoming skilled labour and e.g. political refugees there was a wave of immigrants hard to integrate into the society. Parallel societies with people living on welfare benefits or in the black economy. Criminal gangs started to flourish. Imported feuds from different religious groups, clan structures etc. were a new phenomenon.
The sticky charity business has cannibalized on the original idea of being international and global in an extremely destructive way. Should we not follow the example of China and invest more in actual businesses?
That is more of being global today!