Thursday, June 03, 2010

Aloha Sweden! Nordia, Awo & Socio-Economic Musings

In front of the Swedish Parliament Building at Stockholm

The conference ended yesterday, but I have stayed behind to tour and see Sweden the country. Stockholm is a beautiful city as you can imagine. I am staying at a nice little hostel (after checking out from the 5-Star expensive hotel World Bank paid for until yesterday) behind their Royal Palace

The city epitomizes everything about the Nordic/Scandinavian economic model or miracle as some in Western Europe and America like to say. With some of the highest standards of living in the world, these high tax, low inflation, big but effective government, strong social protection but high employment states defy conventional economic models used by the West or even the Eastern Bloc nations. In a careful melding of capitalism and communism, they've created a society that is open enough but walled off from the troubles of the rest of the world. 

I tell you this Nordic socioeconomic model is interesting. Now I see why Pa Awolowo wanted to model the Western Region of Nigeria after their system, and I also see why he failed. 

Speaking about social, the Swedish or Nordic generally have been able to preserve their language/culture, while using English effectively as a tool to reach the world. Their streets are labeled in Swedish, everyone speak Swedish generally (unless they realize you are a foreigner) but also English. 

Also, their women are so Yoruba-women like it is crazy. They like putting up a "front" even though it is just that: “a front”. Open and pervasive sexuality is still largely frown upon in this society, while people tend to be self conscious and speak from two sides of their mouth (tact, and foxy in the same vein). It appears their basic social structure of cohesiveness and communality has been intact for generations due to the natural separation by geography from the rest of Europe.

Also, if their women want to tell you thank you, they will kneel like we do when greeting. Respect is at the center of their culture much like ours. Also, don't mistake the timidity of the Swedic/Nordic woman for submissiveness. Much like the Yoruba woman, she will get you in trouble in a heart beat (my Swedish male friends I made told me as much, and shared horror stories). Their women like (the Yoruba) can be notoriously unpredictable, high maintenance and devious. That is where the difference stops; because Swedish women are gorgeous, and you know what I think of the beauty of an average Yoruba girl.

Speaking about departures and differences, Awo's model failed principally because the social cohesion and sense of communality that is central to the Scandinavian model was preserved, while that of Yoruba land has been lost due basically to Geography. The moment a bridge could cross both sides of the Niger, those ethos that holds up the Nordic countries have been breached by other cultural elements and most especially by colonization by the British 
Indeed, the Yorubas & the Nordic countries share similar history of intra-tribal warfare, shared or borrowed royal families between constituent states/tribes (Danes gave Norway their Royal Family), assimilation of foreign groups by royal lending (Finnish for Nordic, Edo for the Yorubas) as well as periodic domination by one or more of the constituent states (Swedes, then Danes, then Swedes much like Oyo then Ibadan in Yoruba history) . 

However, they as a group never got colonized (avoiding the Napoleon, the Czars and Hitler in that order).

In all, am enjoying Stockholm; it is a beautiful city with gorgeous but complicated people with complicated sensibilities but well evolved economic model of high taxes, expensive goods and tastes and full employment! And it doesn't even ever get dark here. Well there you go, all nighters!


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