Stateblind.eu
Carl-Johan Westholm’s personal blog
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Northern Light - address at the first "Nordic Davos" in Riksgränsen
The first Nordic Globalisation Forum was held 8-9 April in Riksgränsen, the northernmost part of Sweden, just at the border to Norway. This was an initiative of the five prime ministers of the five Nordic countries.
Riksgränsen 8-9 April 2008 Carl-Johan Westholm

Northern Light

Attitude: ”Human development in its richest diversity”
- Wilhelm von Humboldt, founder of the Berlin University, quoted by John Stuart Mill in the beginning of On Liberty (1859).

1. Countries do not compete in the real world, only in statistics -
People and companies compete and cooperate. To be competitive is easy, you sell to lowest price. To become rich is more difficult. You must have a more valuable product. Therefore, make a distinction between to be able to compete and to be able to develop. The capacity to develop is crucial.

Avoid talking about competition. The world is not a zero-sum game. The world is dynamic. Ideas have consequences. An atmosphere of freedom gives development.

2. Discrimination, protectionism and corruption are enemies of development

3. The seldom observed discrimination -
Starters of companies have in many countries tax disincentives compared with owners of established companies. A start up businessman risks his own money after tax, an established risks the company’s earned money before taxes.

4. The seldom observed protectionism -
In principle and agreed upon:
WTO/TRIPS treaty 1995 (Trade-Related-Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) article 41:2: "Procedures concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights shall be fair and equitable. They shall not be unnecessarily complicated or costly, or entail unreasonable time-limits or unwarranted delays".

But in the real world, the US protectionism:
"In the research we did for the EU in 2000, in fact, we found that every single one, repeat every single one, of the EU patents with any value at all, was infringed in the U.S." Professor William Kingston, expert on property rights.

An example is the Swedish inventor of the satellite navigation system for air and maritime traffic Håkan Lans, nominated 2007 to one of the European Inventors of the Year www.epo.org/topics/innovation-and-economy/inventors/archive/2007/lans and www.mobergpublications.se

5. The often observed corruption -
Unethical behaviour, fraud and bribes, are worldwide. Political institutions, legal authorities and private companies seem to be victims of a kind of Gresham’s law: the most corrupt wins, if it is not consequently combated by all legal means.

Conclusion: Let the Northern Light shine on discrimination, protectionism and corruption. Let this light be our contribution to human development in its richest diversity worldwide.