It was only last year that we saw Greece and Ireland go bankrupt, and once again I am watching a third unfold from my IKEA sofa. We all knew for a while that this was going to happen, but because of the way we have constructed our world, so countries are walking a financial tightrope, it is until their rears are in the flames that the government pulls out its head to say they have found a problem.
This begs the question – who’s next and could Sweden be next? We sit in hair salons and pubs discussing “their” crisis, but could it happen to us? Are we the next nation just looking to the other side of the room pretending not to see the visitor? It would not be the first Northern European country to do so.
If we look at Portugal and Ireland there were warning signs. Rising unemployment and a rising sovereign debt (debt that is taken from other countries, opposed to issuing government bonds). Look at the numbers taken from Wikipedia and Eurostat.
Unemployment: 7.9% – Feb 2011
Sovereign Debt: As of June 30,2010 Sweden had a sovereign debt equivalent to 240% of it’s GDP.
Unemployment: 11.1% – Feb 2011
Sovereign Debt: As of June 30, 2010 Portugal had a sovereign debt equivalent to 201% of it’s GDP.
So, I will ask the question again after having a look at these numbers. Is Sweden on the list?