Thursday, 29 June 2017


Hammarby Sound, Solstice Day at 10 pm

I have to admit that I am a bit in arrear with this post. Days are getting shorter as I am writing this. But don't you worry, the "White Nights" will be with us for another month, even if Solstice Day lies already behind us.

Summer weather this year is a bit unusual, more of an April weather really. If I am stepping out in the morning for my Nordic walking exercise, the sun may still be shining, but upon my return to the apartment I can be certain that clouds will build up again and rain will soon be pouring down. Then the sun will re-appear and the whole cycle repeat itself.

Annoying though this is, it spells heydays for us photographers. On 21 June, for instance, nature delighted us with spectacular solstice opportunities throughout the evening. This tore yours truly from his Summer lethargy. Nowadays, I usually spend evenings watching TV, but this time I just could not resist taking out my camera again and clicking away.

As reward I was allowed to witness a rare event. A sunset, or should I say firebrand, that stretched over almost a quarter (90°) of the horizon! As if all of Southern Island was on fire! About two thirds of it are visible in the picture below. You can just about make out the sun sneaking along below the ridge to the left of Sofia Church and the mauve "flames" emanating from it to reach beyond its tower and much farther towards the right.

Hammarby Canal. Solstice Day at 11 pm

Mightyly satisfied with having documented this unique experience, but also tired, I went to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.

Suddenly, an enormous ruckus threw me out of bed. It was as if a rock band with its humongous loudspeakers had lodged itself smack on my balcony. Windows shook, balcony rails vibrated widely with the sound waves and my hair stood on end. Enraged I rushed out into open air, camera in hand, to document this outrage, with picture and sound, for my intended complaint to the police.

What I saw was what looked like an oversized cottage lodged on an immense barge, and filled to the brim with rowdy youth, screaming, dancing and bending like weeds to the sound blasts emanating from the structure's interior. This abomination was parked on the quay smack below my balcony. I was about to fetch buckets of water to throw upon the maddening crowd below, when, suddenly, three youngsters debarked and the Leviathan of a boat cast off again.

Hullaballoo at 00.30 am!

As the cacophonous misfoster was slowly cruising away towards Hammarby Lake, surely awakening all of 20 000 people living in the vicinity, it gradually came to me that its trajectory seemed an apt metaphor for the progress of Sweden's economy. With its rambunctious growth, whipped on by unfettered consumption, fed by uninhibited monetary growth and expansionist fiscal policies, clawing at the limits of capacity, with unemployment virtually extinct (excepting the uneducated and the recent immigrants, which are deliberately being kept out of productive society) it much resembled this construct sailing towards the horizon in blunt negligence of all that is normal and sustainable.

But, as we economists use to say, that which cannot last, WILL NOT LAST! Suddenly I got a vision of the boat smashing straight into a glassen wall, ending its progress, just like an economy that has gotten out of control will be crashing into subsequent depression. But this is easier to show than to explain. So why not click on the picture below, to see my vision enacted on Youtube. But, "Patience!", the bitter end comes first a bit into the video! There you will also discover a melody that for me is the most frightening of them all.

From boom to doom!

You did not find the song frightening? Then you must be young, so let me tell you that this melody was once sung to conjure up, in vain, some hope during a time of utmost distress and desolation. I tremble when even thinking about the possibility of it coming back to haunt us.


Hans Christian Cars said...

Spectacular sceneries caught by a real photographer and a no less spectacular video regarding our future as projected by a real economist. Happy days may not last forever, that's clear, but question is for how long may they still last.

Emil Ems said...

Dear Hans Christian,
You pose a good question. Unfortunately, I am retired and my days as well-informed economist are long gone. Let me instead point to a good source, the Yearly Report of BIS. The Bank of International Settlements is the Central Bank of the Central Banks and thus thankfully free of national bias in its analysis. Even so, it is somewhat oraculous, so you have to read a bit between the lines. BIS warned already in 2006 of an impending financial crisis, admittedly two years in advance. It does so again in its 2007 Yearly Report, pointing out that in most Western countries national indebtedness (private plus public) is even higher now than at its apex in 2008. Go figure. To judge from the earlier warning, a crash may possibly occur next year or the year after.

Helmut Kroiss said...

Lieber Emil,
Ich würde Deinen Pessimismus wohl verstehen, wenn ich nicht so viele junge sehr ernstzunehmende und gutgewillte Menschen kennte, die sich ehrlich und mit hohem Einsatz darum bemühen ordentliche Arbeit zu leisten, anderen zu helfen und die beseelt sind von ihrer beruflichen und privaten Aufgabe. Junge Familien, die mit großem Aufwand an Arbeit und auch unter Verzicht auf viele Freuden unserer Zeit etwas aufzubauen versuchen, was länger hält als ihre Zeit. Man soll sich vielleicht nicht täuschen lassen von den Modeerscheinungen, die es immer gegeben hat, vielleicht auch immer geben muss. Jedenfalls sollten wir nicht in den allgemeinen Pessimismus verfallen, der den Verfall nur beschleunigt und die Suche genau auf diese Menschen ausrichten, denen wir eine gute Gestaltung der Zukunft anvertrauen können – sie gibt es, davon bin ich felsenfest überzeugt.
Herzliche Grüße