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|Copy Link||April 10, 2013|
The Netherlands rank first and Romania last among 29 developed countries examined in a UNICEF report on the well-being of children, imploring budget-slashing governments to spare a thought for future generations.
The investigation covered aspects of the issue such as Material Well-being, Health & Survival, Education, Behavioural Patterns and Housing Standards & Safety and these where weighted together into overall scores.
As can be expected, the report listed Nordic countries in the next few positions but perhaps not in the order you, dear reader, expected (Norway (2), Iceland (3), Finland (4) and Sweden (5), leaving Denmark, surprisingly to us Northerners, in the 11th slot 'only').
Sweden came out high in Material Well-being and Health & Survival but alarmingly low in Education.
Read a summary of the report - here - and the full report - here!
A word of warning is appropriate here. The investigation attempts to balance the above-listed inherently incomparable aspects of the issue numerically. As you, dear reader, understands that cannot be done without subjective judgements entering the picture. Further, there is the curse in policy-making of the difference in short- and long-term effects of different measures making its presence felt. For instance, hefty public spending on "soft" issues vis-à-vis children today might well result in a higher score for child well-being tomorrow - but in a worse outcome the day thereafter due to depleted financial resources, both private and public, preventing the country involved from upholding the standards it had set its mind on.
This comment of mine brings me back to the opening paragraph of this news item. For governments to be able to spend more on child well-being, which UNICEF wants, they must first stop a lot of existing, wasteful, spending, of which there is a plethora of examples, to release funds for the purpose the report champions. But that is easier said than done due to all the citizens 'out there' having adapted their lives to the present taxation, benefit and subsidy systems, the 'winners' of which would scream to high heavens in protest if their governments tried to withdraw their benefits, an outcome no elected representative, concerned with re-election, would want to face.
Consequently, elected representatives must be made aware of the high return requirements on public spending to resist the temptation to waste expensive public money on low-yield areas so resources will be available for higher-yielding ones, where child welfare, in many of the countries investigated, undoubtedly is one such area.
|Copy Link||March 15, 2013|
Our friend, Jonas Himmelstrand, has just visited London and spoken to a parliamentary committee concerned with family policies about the adverse behavioural effects in later years of lots of communal childcare in the toddler period.
– Long hours in nurseries or with childminders tend to lead to bad behaviour in subsequent school years, poor learning results, a nightmare for teachers to cope with - and mental health problems as the children go through puberty, he said, and urged the committee to push for curtailment of all out-of-home childcare subsidies and instead ease the bias in the tax and benefit system against those who stay at home to bring up their children.
Read The Daily Mail's interview with Himmelstrand - here!
Himmelstrand is dead right. We can only hope that his audience in Parliament took heed.
|Copy Link||March 7, 2013|
Apparently, a Bill, prepared by Britain's current Coalition Government, proposing that same-sex marriages be permitted in Britain, is currently being processed by that country's Parliament. The advocates' main argument in support of the bill seems to be that it will strengthen the institution of marriage in the U.K. "But this is nonsense," says a long-standing friend of ours, Dr. Patricia Morgan, in a report she has just submitted to the handling parliamentary committee in which she provides convincing statistical indications from other countries, including ours, Sweden, that such a move will have the opposite effect, i.e. make marriage less desirable and actually reduce people's propensity to get married.
Read Christian Concerns' story about Morgan's move - here!
I must say, I find the issue of same-sex marriages difficult to make up my mind about. On the one hand, I want to be as tolerant as I can be, on the other I also want our statutes to reflect the population's perception of morality. In addition, if the British Parliament passes the Bill, what will the next liberalisation step be: polygamy, bestiagamy?
But I do agree with Morgan in her outright dismissal of the proponent's main argument (that same-sex marriages would strengthen the institution of marriage). It would do nothing of the sort!
|Copy Link||February 17, 2013|
The U.S-based non-profit-making organisation, World Congress of Families, has staged no less than six such conferences over the past few year in various major cities throughout the world. This year's get-together will be held in Sydney, NSW, Australia 15-18 May.
Of course we would have loved to participate but feel forced to decline due to financial and time-related constraints, but if you, dear reader, have the opportunity and the means to participate, please do so! Initiatives like these must be encouraged in every way!
With this notice we wish the organisers of World Congress of Families VII 2013 in Sydney a smashing success.
|Copy Link||October 29, 2012|
Most of us Swedes, especially us in this association, have long had the hunch that small-child rearing and simultaneous paid work are predictors of ill health for women. We tend to think that a women must focus on either or (i.e, either on having a child and staying at home with it for a few years or on not having children and focusing on a professional career instead).
Now, a study, conducted by Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, our leading medical university, bears us out, indicating that working small-child mothers are much more likely to be put aside on disability pension than other women are and those running the highest risk of that fate are lone small-child mothers.
Read the blog Family Edge's notes and comments on the study – here!
The researchers' own solution suggestions are predictable in their political correctness: Either more (politically imposed) gender equality, fewer work hours for mothers or more tax-financed support for lone mothers with children.
Our own solution suggestion includes:
Our proposed solution would be the best, macro-economically, prosperity-wise, employment-wise, personal-freedom-wise – and female-health-wise, but long-standing political indoctrination, pulling in the opposite direction, makes our self-appointed enlightenment mission a tough one. But we are beavering on and have no intention to throw in the towel – far from it!
A further, illustrative, point to make is that the study Family Edge highlights has been all but totally ignored by the media here in Sweden, so much so that not even we, who are very interested in the subject, had picked it up before now.
Many thanks, Helen, for tipping us off!
|Copy Link||October 27, 2012|
That is the headline of a blog post, written by a woman named Mary Barr who apparently has visited my country (Sweden) and got back to her home country, the U.S., and written this glowing report about my country's politically imposed childcare arrangements.
Note that a Swedish man, calling himself 'Stefan' has commented on the article, as has this association's board member, Bo C Pettersson. If you read the story and the two comments, we don't have to waste space and time on commenting on it here.
Note that the article kicks off from another much noted and self-lauding article a career women named Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote, some four months ago, in an American journal, in which she laments the plight of American women, having to choose between career and domestic bliss, an initiative we made a note of - here!
|Copy Link||October 27, 2012|
The high and rising cost of childcare means that going out to work full-time is now hardly worthwhile for a growing number of British "second earners" in middle- and low-income families, a major study will reveal this week.
That is the message of this news article in today's issue of Britain's Sunday paper The Observer (footnote).
The beginning of the article is quite spirit-elevating but the end of it has the opposite effect when one realises that the writers' suggested solution to the problem is that the taxation and benefits systems must be tweaked even more, so that an even larger share of the cost of childcare is borne by the general tax-payer community, not by the parents needing the service.
How difficult can it be for the journalists of The Observer to realise that tax-subsidising certain services to boost consumption of them never results in higher prosperity for the community at large, for the simple reason that selling one's product at below cost has never, in the history of mankind, resulted in anything but poverty and ultimately in bankruptcy?
How difficult can it be to realise that the way to go is to make outsourced childcare services tax-deductible in the hands of the parents buying them?
Footnote: Note that the article contains links to further articles, including a leader, about the matter.
|Copy Link||October 24, 2012|
Illegal immigrant children in Sweden will be allowed to go to school as of July 1 next year, the Swedish government announced the other day, after having struck a deal with the opposition Green Party.
– Children without a residency permit will have the right to education, from kindergarten to secondary school, it said in a statement.
Read more about the matter - here!
In Sweden, immigration is an explosive issue. We accept more refugees and their dependants than any other country in the world, relative to our population but we consistently fail to give these immigrants the opportunity to earn their own living (for reasons I cannot go into here). Consequently, the vast majority of these newcomers do not contribute towards our government's tax revenues but instead become a burden on our common purse.
Lots of people have figured this out and are angry about it but all our established political parties, all seven of them, refuse to let this issue become an election one. But this steadfastness backfired in our latest election (in 2010), which brought in an eighth party, immigration-critical Sweden Democrats, to Parliament.
I too am frustrated by the political establishment's refusal to bring the immigration issue up onto the table but am still proud of my countrymen's & -women's compassion for destitute people. When it comes down to individual hardship case reports in the media, the vast majority of Swedes want the needy to stay, and organise demonstrations in the streets to get that message across to the powers that be.
|Copy Link||October 21, 2012|
The Swedish Education Act was revised in 2010. One of the changes that was sneaked through Parliament with next to no public debate was a virtual ban on home schooling, making such education acceptable only in 'exceptional circumstances'.
But now, a Jewish family in Gothenburg has won a first-instance court case, granting them the right to homeschool their children, since the court found that such 'exceptional circumstances' were indeed at hand.
Read The New American's report on the matter - here!
As the story linked to points out, the battle is not won yet. The Gothenburg Municipality, the claimant in the case, is likely to appeal the verdict, and predicting the rulings of higher courts is dicey. But no doubt, Sweden's home schoolers and their supporters in- and outside this country are now more hopeful than in a long time.
Let it be said that we in this association, although not pushing the homeschooling issue for 'strategic' reasons, are appalled by Parliament's ban thereof and embarrassed by it in the eyes of our foreign friends.
|Copy Link||September 28, 2012|
Most adults have the notion that child poverty is closely linked to single-parent families and official statistics bear this hypothesis out. Our friends at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada have investigated the matter and published this fact-rich report on it.
In my country, Sweden, the proportion of lone-parent families is even higher than in Canada and the economic hardships of that category even more obvious, despite massive tax-funded help in the form of child and housing allowances, almost free day care, and, in the most dire cases: welfare grants.
Young people falling in love and wanting to live together must realise that co-habiting or getting married does not change life nearly as much as getting children. If the feeling of mutual dependence has not made itself felt before, it will do so when the first child arrives. Then the mother gets dependent on the father for subsistence, general services and support, while the father gets dependent on the mother for doing her bit so he becomes able to concentrate on all those surrounding responsibilities.
If there are two loving and cooperating parents then getting a child has the potential of becoming the most joyous event that can ever take place, while the opposite, finding oneself alone as both carer and breadwinner in one, has the tendency to kill that joy, to sabotage it.
In my country, Sweden, our governments have leant over backwards, using legislation, taxation, benefits and propaganda, to lure young people into believing that they don't have to get married, that the State is perfectly able to serve as the family they and their children need, but this is an outrageous con-trick, as so many parents and children tragically discover later, when it is too late to repair the damage. As a result, we have more single-parent families than any other country on Earth.
|Copy Link||September 13, 2012|
A pressure group calling itself the International Council on Women's Business Leadership, a member of which is the former Minister of Business and Enterprise, Maud Olofsson, recently presented a report to the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (footnote), urging that country to implement a childcare system based on the Swedish model.
Read more about that move - here!
The Swedish childcare model the group apparently is pushing for can be described as a combination of heavily tax-subsidised day-care services and high taxes on everyone to pay for them. That combination effectively prevents parents from looking after their children by themselves the first few personality-forming years. Consequently, the model is behaviourally highly manipulative and hence at odds with generally accepted conventions on human rights, such as the U.N. and European ones. Therefore, the group's recommendation to the U.S. government is indeed a bad one.
Footnote: in view of the fact that Ms Clinton is her country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the group must have approached the wrong official.
|Copy Link||August 23, 2012|
Swedish left wingers and socio-liberals have long been advocating communal child care also after hours and over weekends but so far, 'only' 130 of the country's 290 municipalities are actually offering the service, the rest citing weak demand and lack of financial resources as reasons.
But now, our news agency TT has surveyed the field and discovered that no less than an additional 30 local communities will do so, this year, pushing the total of so service-minded municipalities to 160.
Read the Swedish English-language paper The Local's report on the matter - here!
As you, Dear Reader knows, we in Children's Right are very critical of the way our government uses its taxation and subsidisation powers practically to force small-child parents to hand over their precious ones to outsiders for care. Hence we agonise over the realisation that even more children are about to be subjected to this politically prescribed treatment. But, on the other hand, we also realise the unfairness of providing heavily tax-subsidised child care only to Mon-to-Fri, 8-to-5 workers when even odd-hour workers are obliged to contribute financially to the service even though they are unable to use it.
This undue coercion of Swedish parents must be solved at a more fundamental level for the benefit of all parents!
|Copy Link||August 11, 2012|
A four-year-old boy in Malmö, Sweden, was left on his own for several hours after the preschool staff having taken the other kids to the theatre and forgotten about him.
– This is a scandal! We, parents, leave the most important things in the world to us in their care. Such things simply must not happen, one parent told a visiting reporter.
Read the Swedish English-language paper The Local's report on the matter - here!
The Swedish-language section of this website is well stocked with reports on similar incidents, about children running away to find mum or dad, about children being locked in and forgotten – or lost during excursions. Some of those incidents are more frightening than others.
We can't stop ourselves from comparing the relatively mild public reactions to these incidents when they happen in a day-care setting with what the response is likely to be to a parent exhibiting similar negligence. We are pretty certain that, in this latter case, the media would be full harsh calls for her to loose custody of her child and be incarcerated for life.
Why does the general public apply these very different yardsticks to the same misdeeds, depending on who the perpetrator is?
|Copy Link||July 29, 2012|
As a follow-up on this kick-off by an American career woman, the wife of the U.S.' recently appointed ambassador to Sweden and self-appointed feminism activist, has filed this report on her impressions so far of what life is like for Swedish women and for herself in the strange land she has ended up in.
We highlight her story here not because we find it representing the ultimate in political or sociological analysis but because we always find foreigners' impressions of our country interesting. In addition, we find her unassuming approach to her subject endearing.
|Copy Link||June 28, 2012|
Thanks to on-the-ball scouts out there we in Children's Right have just become aware of this interesting lament from an American career woman, complaining that she found herself forced to resign from her prestigious position in the US State Department in order to save her adolescent boys from delinquency.
Her solution to her dilemma, having to choose between a professional career or domestic bliss, boils down to her advocating governmental intervention to legislate a 50-50 division of all professional positions and domestic chores between men and women in order to provide equal opportunities to women to those men, purportedly, have enjoyed throughout the ages.
This kind of writing makes me, a man, so tired; I don't know where to start objecting. Because if you start off from the wrong point, you either bore your reader to death or leave him/her dumbfounded. It is chancey to pick up from the right knowledge level.
But to be outrageous, I am inclined to cite "Borat", the fake "Kazakstanian foreigner" in the U.S: "Women, even if they are professors, are less intelligent than men for the simple reason that their brains are smaller!" ;-(
|Copy Link||June 21, 2012|
An American writer and mother of three, Pamela Druckerman, has lived in Paris for a number of years and got so impressed by how French children behave that she has written a book about it, soon to be published in English under the title Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.
Her message is that French parents don't go over-board in pandering to their children, as Anglo-Saxonian descendants throughout the world are inclined to do (due to the guilt they feel over the fact that they don't have time for their offspring, due, in turn, to pressure of paid work and domestic chores).
The book has been reviewed, interestingly, by Britain's The Economist - here.
It sounds as if not only English speakers in the developed world should take heed but, even more so, we Scandinavians, because we, due to purposeful governmental policies, forcing parents to hand over their children to public crèches and forcing mothers into the paid workforce, have less time to spend with their children than any other people in the rest of the world!
|Copy Link||June 16, 2012|
The federal German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel (footnote) wants to introduce a home-care allowance to parents looking after their children at home instead of handing them over to government-subsidised day-care establishments, but when the Reichstag was about to vote on the issue, the opposing MPs walked out , so robbing the assembly of the quorum it needed to decide on the issue.
The opposition wants the government rather to spend the money involved on further subsidies to the country's day-care establishments.
Read more about that blow in the Gulf Times - of all media - here!
It is unfortunate that neither the German government nor its opposition seems to realise that the way forward is to abolish all tax subsidies to day-care establishments but make child-care expenses tax-deductible in the hands of parents.
That kind of solution would make the child-care issue self-regulating in terms of maximal prosperity and lead to maximal personal and familial freedom.
Footnote: As you may know, the federal German government consists of conservative / liberal, i.e. non-socialist, coalition and its helmswoman, Merkel, is born, raised and educated in the former East Germany – and yet heads her country's most socialism-antagonistic political party! This makes her an interesting woman I would love to meet one day.
|Copy Link||May 28, 2012|
Yesterday afternoon, we in Children's Right Sweden conducted our annual members' meeting. As the on-the-ball people we are (haha ;-) we did it per telephone conferencing to save the participants, who are widely dispersed across our elongated country (see your map book), from having to travel physically to a central point.
After a bit of initial uncertainty it then worked quite nicely. So now we have a partially renewed board of directors, headed by Kerstin Åkesson from Kungsör. The full line-up of board members you can see - here!
True, renewal of our board of directors was the main item on the agenda but we certainly also spent time on discussing another important issue: What more can we, realistically, do to alert the general public, our media representatives and our elected representatives about our cause (the inappropriateness of what we call Sweden's "daycare coersion").
Like so many times before we arrived at the conclusion that this website and our presence on Facebook are fundamental, as is diligent writing on the childcare issue in the established media and on the Web.
We also discussed the possibility of organising at least on seminar in Stockholm on our subject during the next 12-month period but will have to discuss that in greater detail before any such thing might materialise.
In discussions like these we get reminded of our limited resources, solely funded by member fees – and staffed by people who try to run things in their spare time – as we are. But we are also fully aware of that strategy's advantages.
|Copy Link||May 21, 2012|
…asks the weekly news magazine, Time, provocatively, in its latest U.S. issue (1), referring to an apparently vigorous movement in that country, known as Attachment Parenting (2), calling for mothers and fathers to do more for their children, emotionally and intellectually, than many have been doing since the feminist movement of the late 60s and beyond (3).
The magazine's front page features an attractive women in her best years, offering her alleged three-year-old son (4) a swig from her breast in front of the camera and all, suggesting that mothers should make themselves available for that kind of thing far longer than most hitherto have.
The mag carries several articles on Attachment Parenting, ranging from an attempt at explaining what the movement is about to interviews with mothers who have bought into the idea and are trying to live accordingly. But since the contents is not available to non-subscribers, we refer you, Dear Reader, to Attachment Parenting International's commentary on the mag's coverage of the topic instead, which is available.
|Copy Link||May 18, 2012|
In today's issue of Britain's newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, a Mr. Neil O'Brien of the conservatively minded think tank Policy Exchange writes an informative article on the way that country's tax-sponsored childcare systems work and compares them interestingly with those of other similar countries.
Among other things, we foreigners learn that the British Government runs the following childcare schemes: Early Years Education; Employer Supported Childcare Vouchers; the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit; Child Tax Credit; Child Benefit and Sure Start Children’s Centres.
Read the article - here!
All those programmes suggest insanity! A huge cleanup operation must be instituted with the aim of letting parents retain the money they need to subsist and to look after their children without undue governmental interference and without the required money making a round trip through the government's tax coffers.
Such a move would (1) decouple families from the government, i.e., liberate people; (2) simplify their lives; and (3) elevate their overall affluence.
It is incredible to us Swedes that a supposedly conservative / liberal coalition government like the British lends itself to the caretaking of this lunacy without more protests and criticism than we have heard so far!
|Copy Link||April 26, 2012|
We just discovered this lecture delivered yesterday by Canada's well-known developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeldt, who is no stranger to Sweden, on subject topic.
In it he certainly addresses an important new phenomenon which is rapidly changing the way grown-ups interact with children, a phenomenon which not only offers new and interesting learning possibilities but also poses grave threats to the mental health and stability of children.
|Copy Link||April 25, 2012|
According to this article in today's issue of the Scottish Daily Record, child day care in Scotland can cost parents as much as £12,000 a year, making that part of the world one of the costliest in the area discussed.
So, the writer makes a case for tax subsidisation of child care, similar to Sweden, so that more parents would be able to afford the service and afford to go to work.
Unfortunately, the article doesn't say whether these child-care fees are tax-deductible or not, a factor which has a great impact on parents' profitability calculations. We hope they are deductible but suspect the opposite. If they are not, they should be made so. That would be a far better solution macro- and private-economically than Sweden's 92-percent tax subsidies of its municipal child-care services!
|Copy Link||April 25, 2012|
– In studies from the U.S. to Sweden, pay discrimination can't explain the disparity of income between men and women. Women earn less because they work fewer hours, writes columnist Kay Hymowitz in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal – here!
Ms Hymowitz is right but there are other explanations for the pay gap. For example, women in general are not as inclined as men are to enter the career race in order to maximise their incomes and professional status. They tend to value other things in life more.
|Copy Link||April 19, 2012|
…writes Conservative British MP, Elizabeth Truss on the Conservative Home blog - here.
The article is interesting because it describes the Dutch system of publicly sponsored child care, a system which this editor was blissfully ignorant of.
True, the Dutch system looks interesting but a disappointment is that it too apparently involves hefty tax subsidisation, just like the British and Swedish systems. As we have written many times before, a far better approach would be to let child-care service providers charge out their services at cost prices plus a reasonable profit and make those charges tax-deductible in the hands of parents. That kind of approach would lay the foundation for maximum prosperity and neutrality in behavioural influence on parents.
|Copy Link||March 31, 2012|
It certainly looks that way, judging by a report titled Could gender equality in parental leave harm offspring's mental health?, written by three female researchers at Sweden's most prominent medical research and treatment establishment, Karolinska Institutet, recently published on line by the International Journal for Equity in Health.
On the basis of statistical data, the researchers arrive at the tentative (1) conclusion that boys from gender-traditional families (i.e., maternal dominance in child care) run less risk of depressions than boys from gender-equal families do, while girls from gender-unequal families (i.e., maternal or paternal dominance in child care) fare similarly better in terms of absence of anxiety disorders than girls from gender-equal families do.
Read the group's report - here!
In classifying families as gender-traditional, gender-unequal and gender-equal, the researchers have essentially relied on data revealing how mothers and fathers shared their tax-financed parental leave (2) between themselves. But we in this association are of the firm opinion the a far more important factor, determining the mental health of our youngsters during those painful adolescent years, is the extent to which parents either take care of their children by themselves, over the longer haul, or let transient day-care staff do that caring and upbringing on their behalf while they themselves slog away to satisfy their personal and professional ambitions.
As psychologist John Bowlby said as early as in the 1950s and his disciples keep on saying today, attachment between the child and a grown-up (quite acceptably, perhaps even preferably, a parent) is fundamental to the child's progression through childhood and adolescence to adulthood with a good mental balance.
In other words, what we are saying is that the main reason why Sweden's adolescents are exhibiting more mental problems these days than ever before is our governments' long-standing attempts at dismantling families and at taking over the parents' roles as attachment figures in the eyes of my country's children. The balance, or otherwise, in how mothers and fathers take out their parental leave is, we argue, merely a secondary indicator of a more fundamental, politically imposed, societal problem.
|Copy Link||March 25, 2012|
A political science-led research team at the University of Virginia recently conducted an in-house poll among 181 heterosexual professors on campus with small children, asking them to rate various child-care-related chores on a 1-5 scale how much they enjoy doing them. It turned out that the women's overall score was 10 per cent higher than the men's.
Read a personalised article about the survey in The New York Times - here!
Is anyone surprised? Women's maternal instincts have deep biological roots, not easily changed by political decrees. But that does not stop our political class from trying to change us citizens, to make men more like women and vice versa, despite the fact that how men and women divide up the chores between them is none of the government's business!
|Copy Link||February 22, 2012|
…writes a Mrs Tamzen Isacsson, a journalist of British extraction now living in Sweden, in today's issue of Britain's The Daily Telegraph - here- in response to the noise Britain's PM, David Cameron, has made lately (see e.g. here) over the Nordic countries' "generous" childcare schemes, enabling (footnote) mothers to go (back) to work after childbirth and -rearing far earlier than they otherwise would.
From my recounting so far, one might get the impression that Isacsson is critical of Sweden's childcare policies but, alas, she is not. She has swallowed the entire bait cast out by Sweden's political and medial establishment, hook, line and sinker.
Again, Yours Truly is overwhelmed by fatigue – but recovers somewhat thanks to this insightful commentary.
Footnote: I would rather call it "forcing".
|Copy Link||February 18, 2012|
– Denmark is a paradise for small-child parents, writes Lucy Rock in today's issue of Britain's daily, The Guardian - here - lauding that Nordic country for offering childcare to parents at a maximum of 25 per cent of the actual cost of the service, stating, in apparent seriousness, without a hint of irony, that "the government makes up the difference".
This kind of mindless reporting makes Yours Truly totally exhausted. Does she really think the government is generous enough to pay the rest without recovery – guess from whom? The parents, of course, by taxation!
The problem with offering a good or service at say 12½ percent of its cost of production is that it encourages overconsumption of that good/service, resulting in unnecessary poverty and unemployment, not in the affluence and wealth the writer thinks it yields.
How hard can it be to understand at least that much macro-economics?
|Copy Link||February 14, 2012|
The Swede, Jonas Himmelstrand, is not only a fervent advocate for more freedom in preschool child care, he is also an ardent advocate for the possibility to educate one's children at home if the parents see good reasons for doing so. So, this is what he and his wife, Tamara, have been doing over the last few years, interspersed with court cases where the two parents have tried their best to fight Sweden's statutory obligation to hand over their children to the government's schools for education.
The conflict seems to be escalating however; recently the Uppsala municipality, where the family lives, threatened the family with a fine of US$ 26,000 unless they surrender their children to the government's education apparatus, something the Himmelstrands apparently are not prepared to do.
So, the latest news on that front is that the family has emigrated to Åland, a semi-autonomous province of Finland, only a stone-throw eastwards away from Stockholm, across the Gulf of Bothnia, where home schooling is legal.
You can read more about the Himmelstrand case - here.
We in Children's Right are truly chocked at the way our compulsory education programmes can manifest themselves. As Himmelstrand says in the interview linked to, our country's ban on home schooling must surely be seen as violating the letter and spirit of the European Convention of Human Rights, which, has constitutional law status in Sweden since 1995.
|Copy Link||February 10, 2012|
We Swedes read in British papers that Britain's PM, David Cameron, seems impressed with much of what his political allies in Sweden under Fredrik Reinfeld are doing in office. No doubt much of the alleged admiration stems from the fact that Sweden has weathered the economic storms of the last few years far better than Britain has.
But not everybody is in awe of Sweden; a writer named Lars Tragardh (I suspect he is an expatriate Swede) has filed this critical commentary in today's issue of The Guardian, warning Cameron & Co that the Swedish societal model, with its big government and extreme individualism, is incompatible with U.K. traditions and attitudes.
I think Tragard is right – in the short term. But over the long term, incremental political changes are of course able to change British thinking just like they have changed Swedish.
Since WWII, British governments have copied quite a few political solutions from Sweden's usually Social Democratic governments, particularly when our neighbour to the south-west has been ruled by Labour, but it would indeed be ironic if the current conservative government of Britain were to continue the tradition of copying Sweden's left-keeping policies.
|Copy Link||February 9, 2012|
In an effort to encourage more home-makers to seek paid jobs and to create more jobs in the domestic services sector, the – since the autumn of 2006 – new socio-liberal government of Sweden introduced, in mid-2007, tax breaks to the buyers of such services amounting to as much as 50 per cent off the labour charge.
This move has spawned a rapid growth of that industry since then. Now there are firms in that field of all shapes and sizes, offering services such as cooking, cleaning and child minding to the more affluent Swedes at sharply reduced rates.
Now we learn, from articles like this one, that Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, has become interested in the scheme and wants to investigate if it might be worth introducing to his own country.
We in this association are divided over the issue, as we usually are over political moves. On the one hand we like the fact that the tax cuts do create more jobs, even if they are lowly paid. Macro-economically, it makes sense. But on the other, we get irritated over the fact that it constitutes yet another additional complication to a taxation system that was already way over the top in that regard, a taxation system that was and is in desperate need of movement in the opposite direction.
In the article linked to, we notice a number of euphemisms delivered by Cameron about the social policy moves his government has introduced since taking office in May 2010, including "encouraging women to go out to work", "helping parents of two-, three- and four-year-olds with nursery care" and "providing [tax-subsidised] parental leave".
We are more inclined to say that his government is apparently bent on forcing women to hand in their children to nurseries and on forcing them to go out to work – so that his government will get higher tax revenues so it will be able to pay for it all.
Tax-financed social benefits are able to increase affluence and general well-being provided they offer value to patrons exceeding their cost of production. Now, neither tax-financed parental leave, nor nursery care of children generally reach that level of value.
|Copy Link||January 12, 2012|
Johan Lundell, secretary-general of the Swedish pro-life organisation Ja till Livet! (in Eng. approx: Yes to Life!) recently participated as speaker at a seminar in Rome, Italy, organised by the Christianity-promoting organisation Zenit.Org, on the subject of where the world is heading, culturally, spiritually and religiously, as governments become ever more secular in their thinking and decision-making.
Lundell's paper can be described as an attempt at painting another picture of Sweden as role model in this development than the rosy one foreigners usually get from Swedish government agencies and from unsuspecting journalists.
Read thoughtful journalist Edward Pentin's uptake of Lundell's message - here!
Apparently, Lundell did a good job at the seminar at painting that contrasting picture, as did, apparently, Pentin in reporting it!
Even though Lundell's list of wrongs is long, I would still like to add another couple of points:
Perhaps Sweden's hope for salvation lies in the more informal channel of communication that the Internet provides.
|Copy Link||December 15, 2011|
Sociobiology is rather a new academic subject which tries to explain animal – and human – behaviour not only from social points of view but also from Darwinian, genetic, ones.
Perhaps one gets away with saying that the subject was born in 1975 out of the book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, written by biologist Edward O Wilson, but since then, other celebrities, such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, have done much to establish the subject as something both academics, educated in 'competing' subjects, and politicians have to take seriously.
But in Sweden, recognition of the subject has been slow in coming, not only in academia (since fighting intruders from 'outside' is a basic human instinct ;-) but also in politics (since the subject reveals that there are limits to the extent to which human behaviour can be modified with econo-political carrots and sticks) and - lately - also from gender theorists (since the subject inevitably leads the the conclusion that there are genetic behavioural differences between men and women, something these theorists deny).
More about the subject and its development in Sweden can be found - here!
– But what does sociobiology have to do with this associations subject of interest, family politics, you might well ask yourself. Answer: one of the most fundamental likenesses sociobiologists find between man and beast is the way all of us, regardless of intelligence level, are genetically predisposed to do all we can to protect and nurture our children so that they survive and become successful adults. For us to do that it obviously suffices to be equipped with a brain the size of a mung bean. Man's handball-sized one represents gross overkill in this regard.
In other words, sociobiology teaches us that handing over our children to strangers for care and upbringing is against human and animal nature. Small wonder then that sociobiology is fighting an uphill battle for recognition in Sweden.
PS: For ease of future reference, a link to the above-mentioned article on sociobiology in Sweden is also inserted into our Archive, i.e., more specifically - here!
|Copy Link||November 19, 2011|
…writes New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman in this piece which is inspired by OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which compares educational achievements among final-grade pupils in secondary schools in developed countries. The PISA researchers have found that having parents who take an interest in their children's progress at school and who read to them, especially in the first years of school, do far better than their peers, not only in language-related subjects but also in maths and science.
Now, a problem in my country, Sweden is that ever since the late 1960s, our government, has pursued policies aimed at weakening the family and at public servants' taking over duties vis-à-vis children that parents used to have. Among many unfortunate effects, this has led to Swedish parents' not taking much interest in their children's education and not reading much to them, effects which probably explain partially Sweden's poor showing in those comparative PISA studies.
|Copy Link||November 9, 2011|
Canada's Quebec province stands out among its counterparts in that country for its lavish social benefit programmes, including a generous 7-dollars-a-day childcare service. But it also stands out for its public debt which, relative to GDP, ranks fifth in the world, only lagging behind seriously troubled nations such as Japan, Italy, Greece and Iceland. To make matters worse, the demographics of the province, with a fertility rate of only 1.74 children per woman, 0,26 children short of replacement level, are not encouraging, suggesting that the next generation of Quebeckers will be hard pressed to pay for it all.
That can be said to be the gist of this report on the policies of the province compiled by our friends over there: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
The case of Quebec serves as a perfect example of the familiar political malpractice condemned - here
|Copy Link||October 12, 2011|
…by spending public money lavishly on various social benefits programmes to ensure popular support for their current political incumbents while pursuing policies that discourage citizens from having the children required to pay for those benefits tomorrow.
That can be said to be the gist of this report by the Spain- and U.S.-based Social Trends Institute, a report nicely summarised in this newsletter by our friends at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
Admittedly, Yours Truly has not yet read the report but get the impression that neither institute is criticising the governments of the world's 'advanced' countries strongly enough for their fraudulent ways of passing the bill for their current political fortunes on to future generations.
|Copy Link||September 30, 2011|
I know, it sounds like a joke but it is actually true; a South Korean TV team has just visited Sweden to acquaint itself with our country's famous (?) family policies and in that round contacted us in Children's Rights for an alternative description to the one they inevitably will get from our official bodies.
They found us through this English-language section of our web site. It is indeed somewhat exhilarating to realise that we have readers as far away, geographically and culturally, as in South Korea!
So, yesterday, the team paid a visit to a home maker of our recommendation who refuses to hand in her two-year-old to outsiders for care, and Yours Truly made himself available for an interview about what is wrong with Sweden's family policies and what should be done about it.
It was a pleasant activity in every way! Despite the late day of the year, the weather was glorious and I found the team members being very charming indeed, although we, of course, had a fair amount of language problems to cope with.
It left both of us dissidents feeling good, that we did what we could to paint another - truer - picture, than the official one, of Sweden's, on false grounds famed, family policies. So, if South Korea embarks on a different route than Sweden has done in the field concerned, our home maker and Yours Truly are likely to try to take the credit for it ;-)
|Copy Link||September 20, 2011|
Britain's politicians and media representatives are hell-bent on providing "more affordable child care" (a euphemism for putting even stronger pressure to bear on parents to hand in their toddlers to crèches and to take up paid work instead of looking after their children by themselves) despite the fact that a recent study shows that no less than 81 per cent of the respondents think that small children should be looked after by their parents at home.
Predictably, the parental respondents (as opposed to the childless ones) lamented the economics they are subjected to, purposefully making it next to impossible for families to get by on a single income and thus very difficult for one of the parents to stay at home with the children during those important formative years.
Read Jill Kirby's musings on the contents of the report and the way it was received by British media - here!
The situation Kirby describes is eerily similar to the Swedish one. Ever since Sweden turned towards communal child care in the early 1970s (see this attempt at describing the relevant historical development) the Swedes, like the Brits, have consistently said they think small children should be looked after by their parents at home, but equally consistently, our elected representatives have made such child care impossible through a purposeful combination of taxation measures and benefits. And like in Britain, Sweden's journalists have tagged along obediently by highlighting governmental propaganda, suppressing negative findings, and abstaining from critical analyses by themselves.
The British and Swedish media are clearly falling seriously short of their mission in the field of family policy!
|Copy Link||September 14, 2011|
That is the message of this excellent opinion piece written by a Ms. Libby Simon, retired social worker, child welfare specialist, and freelance writer, from Winnipeg, Canada.
We in Children's Right couldn't agree with Simon more, but we do have further arguments in support of Simon's conclusion to offer. However, we also know how it is; one is rarely able to treat one's subjects fully on the web if one wants to retain at least some readership.
|Copy Link||September 9, 2011|
The Australian government has just announced plans to increase (female) workforce participation by reducing taxation on dual-income families, a move which, if made, would subject single-income families to even more discrimination than they already are faced with.
These plans have inspired our likeminded contact group, Kids First Australia, to produce this video in protest.
Please have a look at it and "Like" it so that the group can get back to their elected representatives with a good showing of support from viewers.
The group's effort brings to mind this opinion piece just published in this association's web site's discussion department, describing how the policies Kids First don't want introduced in Australia were imposed on the Swedes a long time ago.
|Copy Link||September 4, 2011|
We have just discovered Australian public speaker and debater Bill Muehlenberg, who apparently does not even shy away from voicing politically incorrect views on homosexuality and homosexuals' right to adopt children or to undergo in-vitro fertilisation. Read this piece as a sample of the outlandish (?) views he holds on the subject.
We in Children's Right feel compelled to admit that Muehlenberg's concerns are worth serious consideration, particularly in the light of the fact that the basic tenet of the current wave of feminism (that men and women behaviourally are the same genetically, that the differences in behaviour and interests that we all are able to observe, are due to undesirable social indoctrination after birth) has been proven false as a result of recent advances in the biological sciences. Men and women behave differently right from the start of life (which is something Yours Truly is thankful for ;-)
Muehlenberg also operates a web site which appears to be packed with interesting stuff.
We in this org. wish him lots of success in his fight against the omnipresent political correctness that makes all of us look like fools.
|Copy Link||August 23, 2011|
A writer, Katrin Bennhold, has, in an opinion piece in today's issue of The New York Times, noticed that in Paris, London and New York, it is easy to find toddlers in playgrounds being looked after primarily by immigrant nannies, presumably because the children's parents are at work. While in Stockholm, on the other hand, hardly any toddlers (or their minders) can be seen out and about because just about all children are in government-sponsored crèches. While yet, in Germany, it is again easy to find toddlers in public playgrounds but in that country they are looked after by their mothers who obviously do not work (for money).
The article is a strongly argued plea for the rest of the world to follow Sweden's example in this field, i.e. to use tax money to expand the childcare industry so that all mothers who want to work for money would be able to do so.
But what Ms Bennhold does not say, presumably because she does not understand it, is that Sweden's solution to the problem forces mothers to "abandon" their children and take up paid work – to pay for their government's seemingly generous offer of "free" childcare.
By all means, build up a childcare industry in Germany but let private operators do it and let them charge for their services at market prices. And make the costs of such child care tax-deductible in the hands of the parents. That is the way to go to achieve the highest economic efficiency and the best tax neutrality between home care and bought-in care.
|Copy Link||August 16, 2011|
A quarter of all British children live in single-parent households, the parent overwhelmingly being the mother. Unemployment among the young is in the region of 25 per cent, and about as many have never seen their mother or father ever having worked.
Among these facts blogger Gilad Atzmon finds the fundamental reasons for the riots that have shocked Britons lately.
Listen to his train of thought on this video recording, which is only 6 minutes long.
We in Children's Right make a note of Atzmon's message because his argument can be seen as underpinning our own shouting at our elected representatives about the importance of government policies' supporting traditional mum-and-dad families and the dangers involved in doing the opposite.
But of course, Atzmon is not the only Brit to argue along similar lines. This news item brings to mind sociologist Patricia Morgan and her book The War Between the State and the Family where the theme is similar.
|Copy Link||August 3, 2011|
That is the message of this interesting opinion article, written by our old acquaintance from Rockford, Illinois, USA, also founding director of The Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, as well as of the affiliated World Congress of Families: history Dr. Allan C. Carlson.
In it, Carlson puts focus on an unfortunate loss society has suffered as it has evolved from a primarily agrarian and family-centred economy to an infinitely more market- and money-oriented one: the loss of common goal and purpose for the family as a whole.
As the writer points out, this loss underlies much of the fragmentation, separations and strife that is so prevalent in today's families. He even goes as far as showing - convincingly - that this lack of common goal is a major factor in the low birth rates that practically defines the so-called "developed world" of today.
Carlson's recipe for repair contains a range of components from what families themselves can - and should - do, to steps only our governments can help us with.
A well underpinned and well presented article which everybody who is interested in history, economics or family politics should read!
But Yours Truly has a couple of minor points to make:
Firstly, I find Carlson too unappreciative of the living-standard-elevation that the combination of work specialisation and trade money has brought, as mankind has progressed from self-sufficiency to market trading. True, family cohesion has suffered in that process and I am with Carlson all the way in his wish to recoup as much of that cohesion as possible, but I, not, at the expense of that hike in living standards.
Secondly, Carlson proposes Income Splitting (footnote) between spouses and generous tax credits to families with dependants as solution components. That's fine, but I would go even further; I propose Family Taxation (footnote) and re-establishment of the principle that no, body or family, should ever be subjected to taxation before that body or family, as the case may be, has reached subsistence level.
Footnote: Income Splitting, as English speakers know the term, means that spouses are able to share income - and "pension points" - between themselves for the purpose of minimising total income tax and balancing pension benefits, whilst Family Taxation means that the family should be the subject of taxation, not the parents individually. That is, the family should be taxed as the family business it is, on the balance between income and deductible expenses - and the family at full liberty to distribute the surplus among its members as it sees fit, i.e., without political intervention.
Family Taxation wins over Income Splitting by underscoring the joint life project nature of establishing a family, by removing the need for the home maker to earn pension points in her (!) own name and by killing off the tiresome gender equality debate.
|Copy Link||July 9, 2011|
That was the topic of this interesting discussion that took place as part of what might be called Sweden's Summer Week of Politics (Almedalsveckan) earlier today. Participants were sociology drs. Samantha Callan of the Centre for Social Justice and Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics, and socioliberal politician cum chair person of Liberal Women's League of Sweden: Bonnie Bernström, under the stewardship of political editor-in-chief of the conservative Swedish paper Barometern: Ulf Wickbom.
Callan stressed the importance of fighting child poverty and pointed out that such poverty is three times more common in lone-parent families than in two-parent dittos, despite massive transfers of money via the taxation and benefits systems to that category of families - and underlined that both Sweden's and Britain's family policies contribute strongly to family disintegration.
While Hakim exploded the myth that Sweden is a world leader in gender equality by reminding the audience that despite forty years of purposeful, top-down, gender-equality-promoting policies, Sweden still sports more job segregation and a wider pay gap between men and women than most countries do.
Bernström did her best to defend Sweden's current family policies but in so doing sounded more like one of its founding - socialist - mothers than the principled liberalist she projects herself as being.
We in Children's Right are very happy with Wickbom's, Callan's and Hakim's contributions but are alarmed by Bernström's! There are obviously many aspects, facts and figures about the matter that she is unaware of. Her performance reminded us of how much there is still for us to do.
|Copy Link||July 1, 2011|
We note with satisfaction that this association's every-other-year member, Jonas Himmelstrand, board member of our sister organisation Haro, has been travelling the world lately to put on record other views on how small children should be taken care of than the day-care lobby's.
Yesterday, he was in Brussels, Belgium to take part in a workshop on UNICEF's Innocenti report, The Child Care Transition, and delivered this critical commentary.
With these words we extend our deeply felt appreciation to Himmelstrand for his valuable contribution to popular enlightenment on the extent to which the internationally famed, Swedish, family policies have actually failed to deliver the benefits it was supposed to deliver.
We in Children's Right have little to add to Himmelstrand's discussion on the psychological, social and cognitive consequences of our country's childcare policies but have many supporting arguments to offer in the areas of popular opinion, constitutional law, overall societal affluence, bacteriological health and the link between parent-child bonding in the early years and adolescent psychological well-being later.
|Copy Link||June 27, 2011|
A preschool in the Södermalm district of Stockholm has decided to ban the pronouns 'him' and 'her' when referring to the children and instead to use the word "friend" or their own gender-neutral invention 'hen'.
Read more about the school on Life-Site News' web site - here!
How embarrassing! Is there no limit to how far gender equality politics and political correctness is able to take people? What will the rest of the world think of us Swedes?
|Copy Link||June 24, 2011|
Scandinavia's solutions to child care are not worthy of the admiration they seem to enjoy abroad, certainly not before the disadvantages of them are understood properly. That can be said to be the gist of this opinion article, written by our friend Jonas Himmelstrand, and published in The Irish Times in response to a previous debate instalment we made a note of - here!
We are pleased to note that both our board member, Krister Pettersson, and our chair(man), Bo C Pettersson, have entered the fray as commentators and hope you, Dear Reader, like their respective comments. If not, please let the two of them know!
|Copy Link||June 9, 2011|
That is the heading of this opinion article in today's issue of The Irish Times in response to this report from a seminar on family policies held on May 26 in Dublin, Ireland, which painted a critical picture of Scandinavia's, in the rest of the world famed, childcare policies.
What the writers of the article don't seem to understand is that Scandinavia's children score highly in OECD's and UNICEF's rating tables because those tables are designed to gauge the effects of those very policy measures while ignoring a host of other - more negative - effects, including those on affluence, employment and personal-freedom.
Or put differently, the social policies of the Nordic countries may have saved their underprivileged children from the worst consequences of poverty and parental neglect but they have also made the population at large poorer, put bewildered adults out of work and prevented loving parents economically from caring for their children by themselves.
|Copy Link||June 3, 2011|
Traditional wisdom has it that men are interested in women primarily for the sex they can have with them, while women look for men they can feel safe with and emotionally close to.
How to reconcile these widely held notions with the statistical facts that the rate of marriages in the so-called "developed" world is falling while that of mere cohabitation is rising, is the subject of this interesting opinion article in today's issue of Canada's Ottawa Citizen, written by our acquaintance over there since years back: Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
As already stated, Yours Truly finds the article interesting, well written and well argued - but also frightening and unpleasant in its crassness, suggesting that love and sex are "commodities" that are traded by men and women on something resembling a market. Surely, the cross-gender attraction that easily arises has more aspects than the sex the parties are able to have with one another!
But perhaps, Mrozek is only trying to shock us to drive an important point home: that if young people, sooner or later, want to get married (which statistics say they do), they have to start thinking differently about sex.
Please judge for yourself!
|Copy Link||May 28, 2011|
Sweden operates oppressive policies to coax parents to hand their toddlers over to day-care centres for care and the reputation for gender equality the country enjoys abroad is largely misleading, attendees of a seminar in Dublin, Ireland, heard last Thursday from business consultant Jonas Himmelstrand from Sweden and Dr. Catherine Hakim from London, England.
Read a report from the seminar in The Irish Times - here!
We in this association are grateful to Himmelstrand and Hakim for their assistance in setting the record straight!
|Copy Link||May 21, 2011|
Thanks to friendly scouts "out there", in the big wide world, we have just become aware of this interesting commentary on Swedish political developments. True, the article is primarily about the abortion issue and whether or not medical staff should be granted the right to refuse participation in abortions for moral reasons, topics which are not this association's primary ones, but it also carries interesting criticism of liberalism, the political school of thought that dominates our country's political discourse.
The article writer's argument, that liberals have a tendency to "tolerate the craziest of views and creeds but not the core values of Christians and Jews", does strike a resonant chord with this writer, who has always considered himself a liberal, if not libertarian.
The argument brings to mind a conclusion about liberalism that came to me, years ago, after having followed the actions of liberal office holders closely: the fact that such politicians don't seem get much help from their basic ideology when it comes to taking stands on concrete political issues cropping up. In such real-life cases, liberals seem able to end up at any random points on the political scale, from left to right.
Others might attempt to explain this unpredictability of liberals on the basis of relativism, the more or less outspoken belief that there are no absolute truths, only varying degrees of probabilities, an attitude towards the world and life which seem particularly common among liberals.
A fact which, I think, confirms this volatility of principles among liberals is that the Liberal Party of Sweden (Folkpartiet) aided the Social Democrats and the extreme leftists here in imposing what we call The Daycare Coercion some forty years ago on Sweden's parents and children. Without that assistance, that unfortunate coercion would not have happened.
Now, fighting that coercion is this association's main mission!
|Copy Link||May 16, 2011|
Most foreigners have the impression of Sweden as being a successful and harmonious country which has managed better than most to combine market economics with a lavish, tax-funded programme of social services. That impression is correct up to a point but scratch the surface and you find human rights violations and heavy-handed political coercion that frightens visitors used to another power balance between citizen and state - in the citizen's favour.
That, approximately, is the theme of this article in the current issue of Crisis Magazine, written by a Mr Alex Newman. In it, the case of young Dominic Johansson, who was nabbed by the police - only minutes before he and his family were about to take off for his mother's native country, India, for good - features prominently. As can be read - here - Dominic was put in a foster home, primarily because his Indian mother and Swedish father had kept him away from the appointed government school and home-schooled him instead, pending their long-planned emigration to India, the home-schooling aspect of the issue constituting a breach of law in Sweden.
The article puts focus on a number of important human rights violations perpetrated by the Swedish government against its people. We, regime critics of Sweden, are grateful to the writer and to Crisis Magazine for their help in exposing them.
Interestingly, the Swedish traditional media seem to toe the government's line perfectly in the Dominic Johansson case by not informing the general public about it. If you want to follow it, you have to browse the Web for private blogs or foreign media. This silent, voluntary, self-censorship is scary!
|Copy Link||May 6, 2011|
A judge in Quebec, Canada, has ordered a three-year-old and a five-year-old to attend state-funded day care, following claims that the children lacked proper “socialisation.” - and their two elder homeschooled siblings into public schools, all on what appears to be shaky legal grounds.
Read LifeSiteNews.com's report on the case - here - !
Admittedly, it is dicey to draw conclusions from incomplete facts but the case looks like a repeat of things happening in Sweden over and over again: In cases where the legal guardians' ways of looking after their children come under question, the courts attach much greater weight to the statements of testifying 'experts' on pedagogy, psychology and sociology than on the parents' judgements of what is best for their own children.
Consequently, such proceedings often confirm many Swedes' worst suspicions: that the state is busy taking over our children!
|Copy Link||May 4, 2011|
In January last year - here - we asked the mothers visiting our website to take part in a survey by subject organization of how life is for the mothers of Europe, the problems they face and the solutions they would like to see.
The survey, which attracted 11 000 mothers, is now summarised and the findings documented in this press release and this report.
The report offers a number of interesting facts and conclusions, including:
Please not that this association, Children's Right, has as many male members as female ones, so mothers are not alone in holding these views; their men stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them on this.
How much longer must Sweden's and Europe's children, mothers and fathers wait for policies to be adapted to the needs and desires of us, the people?
|Copy Link||April 27, 2011|
This association's every-other-year member, business consultant and policy debater, Jonas Himmelstrand, has got this piece into Canada's daily paper the National Post in which he explodes a number of myths about Sweden's, in foreign lands famed, social policies. Among other things, Himmelstrand points out that Sweden's youth are plagued by more psychological disorders now than ever before, on solid grounds suggesting that these disorders stem from the shakier emotional bonding parents and their children achieve as a result of the state bringing up the country's children these days.
The publicising of the article was perfectly timed in view of the fact that Himmelstrand is scheduled to speak at a conference organised by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada on May 5 in Ottawa. Read more about the event - and sign up for it if you have the opportunity - here!
A job well done, Himmelstrand! We can only hope that Canadian paper readers - and conference participants - take heed.
However, personally, due to the bee I have in my bonnet about the economic aspect of the issue, I would have made a bigger number than Himmelstrand did out of the devilish combination of so high taxes that a normal Swedish family cannot get by on a single normal income, inverted consideration of support burden in the income taxation system (meaning that a single-income family always pays more in taxes than a dual-income one does, at the same total income) - and tax subsidies at the level of 92 per cent of cost, going to formal child care and to that form of care alone.
This evil (?) policy combination prevents both rich and poor toddler parents from looking after their own children when they are small. (Rich ones because it does not make private-economic sense to them to decline the government's 'generous' offer of child care and the opportunity to earn another income which is taxed less than if that income hade been added to the main breadwinner's. Poor ones because they simply cannot get by on the net of just one income after income tax).
This kind of political coercion is simply unworthy of a nation that aspires to personal freedom for its citizens - and it certainly does not deserve the praise it gets abroad!
|Copy Link||April 7, 2011|
"Keep taxes on couples high so mothers don't get the idea into their heads that they can afford to stay at home with their kids when they are small!"
That is Institute of Marriage and Family Canada's, Andrea Mrozek's, conclusion about the current brand of feminism's agenda at a more fundamental and covert level, underpinning her conclusion with this opinion piece in Canada's daily, the National Post.
As usual, an excellent-quality enlightenment effort by Mrozek and her org! But of course, there is more to say about the matter than there was room for in the article, such as that lower taxes on Canada's tax payers would not only enrich those payers; they would also enrich the entire Canadian society by reducing the Government's expenditure burden more than its loss of tax revenues would represent.
In other words, higher or lower taxes is not only a matter of one party's gain at another's expense. Higher taxes in high-tax countries like Canada require returns around twice their tax costs to be macro-economically justifiable. Clearly, Universal Day Care, which is where much of that extra tax revenue will have to go if Mrozek's opponent and her think-alikes are to have their way, does not measure up to this profitability requirement (as can be seen, inter alia, here).
A juicy aspect of the reasoning Mrozek argues against is that it comes from a taxation professor (footnote) in her country. She (the professor) should be familiar with the phenomenon that causes this profitability requirement but clearly is not.
But the overarching message of Mrozek's article is how far her opponent and her like-minded left-wing feminists are prepared to go to prevent so many of their own sisters from having their way in choice of lifestyle, a point Mrozek brings home beautifully!
Footnote: I had no idea there are such people and such academic positions!
|Copy Link||April 2, 2011|
Two of our likeminded friends in Canada, Helen Ward of Kids First Canada and Andrea Mrozek of Institue of Marriage and Family Canada are interviewed by Life-site News about that country's Liberal Party's pledge to increase public spending on communal child care by CA$ 500 million a year until total spending reaches CA$ 1 billion per year, if it gets into power.
Thankfully, our two Canadian cooperants protest against the plan on the grounds that it would be grossly unfair to the majority of Canadian parents who prefer other forms of child care and that $ 1 billion a year will not suffice by a long shot anyway to provide tax-subsidized day care to all of Canada's toddlers, thus making the proposed scheme doubly unfair.
But the incumbent Liberal Party leader, Michael Ignatieff, claims that his party's plan would increase parents' choice, saying: "Families don’t have choice in child care when there’s a shortage of high-quality, affordable child-care spaces,”
Read Life-site News' article about the matter - here!
This kind of blatant attempt from a political quarter to utilize voters' misguided instinct, that tax money is free and cheap, is alarming reading! Is he as ignorant about macro-economic matters as it sounds or is he merely lacking scruples?
|Copy Link||March 31, 2011|
Thanks to friends "out there" we have just been made aware of this video, showing Dr. Gabor Maté of Vancouver, Canada, telling an audience how important it is that we parents make time for our children and show them our love - and the risks we expose our children to when we let others, who do not carry the actual responsibility for the results, provide the attachment and guidance children need to become successful adults.
The observant reader will notice that Dr. Maté is co-author of this book and we in Children's Right would like to point out that we, on this site, carry quite a few additional highlights of Maté's appearances and writings. Use our search facility at left to to find them.
Maté is an important truth-sayer. It is truly unfathomable that his and other thinkalikes' views on how children should be taken care of do not take a stronger hold, neither in Canada nor in Sweden, that the Universal Daycare juggernaut is so hard to stop!
|Copy Link||March 8, 2011|
Britain's current liberal-conservative government wants to make state pensions more equal, i.e. less dependent on the taxes citizens have paid in during their working lives and also raise the overall level quite significantly, reports that country's paper The Daily Mail - here.
The biggest winners of the proposed scheme will be that country's home makers.
Ever since the election campaign that brought the Liberals and the Conservatives to power in May last year, Cameron has been praising families for their importance to society and home makers for the important work they do. Presumably, the proposed change in Britain's pension scheme should be viewed against that background.
|Copy Link||Fabruary 11, 2011|
– The cost of family failure continues to be a huge charge on the public purse, argues the UK think tank, The Relationships Foundation: £41.74 billion a year, i.e., £1,364 per tax payer.
In the estimate, the organisation has included items such as tax credits and benefits to lone parents, housing and council-tax benefits, additional health service costs, foster parent care costs, additional costs of juvenile delinquency and criminality, and costs of supplementary education of the disadvantaged.
The group points out that if Government were able to get rid of these problems, it would comfortably find financing for the £20 billion-a-year savings programme it has received so much flak for from left-of-centre media representatives in recent months without any additional burden on tax payers whatsoever.
Read or download the org's report (from) - here!
|Copy Link||Fabruary 8, 2011|
Day care of children in Finland costs, on average, approx. € 1,000 a month a child, of which parents pay approximately 20 per cent as parent fees. The full-day cost per child is approx. € 1,400 a month. The parent fees are not tax-deductible.
The Finnish home-care allowance, which is available to all children aged 0-2 and has been in place nation-wide since 1997 as an alternative to the formal variety is on average, approximately, € 500 a month for the youngest child and another € 250 for its older home-staying sibling. These amounts are net of taxes.
The Finnish population is approximately 5 million people and the age groups of children are approximately 60,000 per age.
Only approx. 35½ per cent of mothers of small children are working, despite their government's heavy tax subsidization of formal child care, the remainder are at home, looking after their young ones by themselves and living off their husbands and the home-care allowance.
Finns pay on average approximately 41 per cent in income tax on incomes exceeding approx. € 4,560 a year.
These figures can be extracted from a doctoral dissertation in economics titled The effect of child care subsidies on the labour supply of parents which will be up for disputation in a day or two in Helsinki. Read up on the candidate and his paper - here!
The candidate's message: Increase the home-care allowance by € 100 a month and another 4 percent of the currently working mothers, approximately 8,000 women, would go home to look after their children instead and this would cost municipalities more than keeping them in paid work and their children in tax-subsidized crèches. A change in the opposite direction will obviously have the opposite effect.
The candidate's estimate of the sensitivity of motherly labour supply to the size of the home-care allowance is fine, but his conclusions about the economic effect on society at large is way out for more reasons than we can spend space on here. If I were the opponent at his upcoming disputation, I wouldn't pass him!
|Copy Link||February 7, 2011|
That is the message of this opinion article in today's issue of Canada's daily the National Post, written by Dave Quist, manager of the Canadian think tank Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
Since we have been advocating family taxation for our country, Sweden, for years, it was rewarding to read Quist's plea for the same solution for Canada.
Quist mentions the main argument in favour of family taxation (FT): that it can nicely eliminate the unfair effect of our two countries' current system, individual taxation, which invariably leads to a single-income family always paying more in taxes than a dual-income one does, at the same total income!
But FT has more to offer than economic benefits: e.g. in the social field by promoting familial cohesion and thus contributing to a better home base for children and adolescents, benefits most "developed" societies sorely need.
|Copy Link||January 27, 2011|
In Sweden as in the U.K., children's achievements in private schools are falling while those in 'conservative' private schools are still fine.
British teacher Katherine Birbalsingh attributes these declining results in our public schools partly to proven education methods (such as teacher lecturing) being abolished in favour of individual fact finding with heavy reliance on the Internet and group work, and partly to absence of parental assistance at home due to the economic need for them to work for money, away from home.
Listen to Ms Birbalsingh's thought-provoking lecture on the subject on YouTube, i.e. - here!
There we got another argument supporting our criticism of today's day-care society: Parents become largely unable to help their children with their homework! But this conclusion flies in the face of other, allegedly more scientific, studies, e.g. Sweden's pedagogy professor, Bengt-Erik Andersson's (1) longitudinal study made in the late 1980s (2) and early 1990s (3) of over 100 children in which he found that day-care children did better at school than home-care children did.
|Copy Link||January 27, 2011|
The Canadian governments, both federal and provincial, have gone too far in the taking over of familial duties and in robbing parents of the financial resources they need to shoulder them, argues Andrea Mrozek and Peter Jon Mitchell of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada in this opinion article in today's issue of that country's paper, the National Post.
A very good article indeed, laden with sharp observations as it is of a stealthy political process that by no means is solely confined to Canada but is at work in all so-called "developed" countries, ours (Sweden) included.
|Copy Link||January 21, 2011|
Over the past couple of days, Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, hosted a multi-topical conference in London which he and his apparatchiks called the UK Nordic Baltic Summit. A part of it was devoted to labour-related and social policies where representatives from the Nordic countries got unfortunate opportunities to promote their destructive taxation and childcare systems to coax more women out into the paid workforce.
A home page has been set up for the conference - here - and a list of papers read on labour- and social-policy-related topics can be found - here.
In particular, we want to draw your attention to Norway's Henriette Westhrin's paper titled Equality Pays and to Sweden's Monica Renstig's More Women in the Workforce – What to Learn from Sweden as examples of papers giving false impressions of the wisdom of the policies they describe.
As we have written many times in the past, elsewhere on this web site: Taxing families so highly that they cannot get by on a single income and using much of the tax money thus collected to subsidise child care heavily - which is what the Nordic countries do - is not the way to create wealth, personal freedom and happy children!
|Copy Link||January 10, 2011|
As we have written elsewhere on this site, the centre-right government Swedish voters elected into office in 2006 introduced a domestic child-care allowance in mid 2008 as an alternative to the otherwise strongly promoted formal day-care system Sweden is so famed for abroad.
Now, last autumn Sweden's Ministry of Social Affairs commissioned the country's Bureau of Statistics to investigate the extent to which this new option has been adopted by the country's municipalities and by their eligible parents, but for some reason the bureau's report has only hit the news now.
In essence the report reveals that the scheme has been introduced by 109 of the country's 290 municipalities and that a paltry 1.8 per cent of the eligible parents have opted in.
These results have inspired our left-wing media to call the scheme "a fiasco", urge the government to withdraw it and resume its promotion efforts in favour of formal child care. But the proponents defend the allowance and call it a freedom-related success.
Read the Swedish English-language paper The Local's write-up about the matter - here!
There is an obvious reason why only 109 out of 290 municipalities have implemented the scheme: the rest are primarily run by left-of-centre politicians and they have always preferred industrial-scale child care over familial ditto. And there is an equally obvious reason why only 1.8 per cent of the eligible parents have opted in: the terms are miserly compared with the government's lavish spending on the communal variety of care. And finally, the meagre turn-out is intentional. Our centre-right government has never wanted a bigger turn-out than what it has got. The allowance was and is a proverbial meat bone thrown at us protesters against the on-going nationalisation of our children with the intent to pacify us.
|Copy Link||December 21, 2010|
Thanks to friends out there, in the big wide world, we have just got wind of this video snippet, explaining what the current wave of feminism is all about. Look, listen and enjoy!
True, the piece is created by feminism-sceptics and therefore somewhat biased, but it is obvious that the producers have done their best to be analytical and as unbiased as they can be.
|Copy Link||December 20, 2010|
…not to any male power structure out there, keeping women down.
That is the message of sociology doctor Catherine Hakim at the London School of Economics in a just-published report titled Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine. The report and its conclusions have been taken note of in many British papers, including The Daily Mail, whose write-up you can read - here.
Another balanced summary of Hakim's message is Kate Spicer's in Britain's The Sunday Times and Australia's The Australian, which you can read - here.
But of course, left-wing feminists find it hard to agree with Hakim. Read, for instance, what Tanya Gold of Britain's The Guardian had to say - here.
We in Children's Right find Hakim being essentially right, primarily in her conclusion that men are not trying to keep women down, neither consciously nor subconsciously and that the career and pay gaps that exist between men and women primarily are attributable to the different lifestyle choices men and women tend to make (differences which in turn have ancient biological and genetic roots).
Since we too hold views similar to Hakim's, we find attempts by governments (our own included) to impose a certain kind of narrowly-defined gender equality, constituting an expression of intolerable totalitarianism which must be combated at all levels and in all ways.
Further, it is frustrating noting in the articles linked to above how unaware people are of how elegantly Family Taxation (defined and described elsewhere on this web site) would solve the gender gap issue and put a stop to the ongoing – one-sided – gender war.
|Copy Link||December 16, 2010|
That is the message of this opinion article published in today's issue of Ottawa Citizen, written by Andrea Mrozek of our sister organisation in Canada: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
As usual, a first-class enlightenment job done by the IMFC and by Mrozek! As can be seen, one of that org's weightiest arguments against the universal day-care scheme just introduced in Ontario, Canada, is the fact that it will cost far more than what the provincial government thinks it will.
(IMFC's own estimate indicates a cost figure of approximately CA$ 9 000 a full-time child a year, 80 per cent higher than the provincial government's own precalculated figure). But if Sweden, the longest running, large-scale communal childcare operator in the world is anything to go by, even IMFC's figure is misleadingly low. Here, full-time preschool child care costs approximately CA$ 25 000 a child a year!
Don't get me wrong, if it is worth CA$ 25 000 a year to you, Ontarian reading this, to get relief from your juvenile rascals for 1/3 of your 24-hour cycle, then all is well! Then you should endorse your provincial government's scheme. Otherwise, you should oppose it, in the strongest possible terms!
|Copy Link||November 4, 2010|
Our member Jonas Himmelstrand has been in Brussels and delivered a lecture on Sweden's family policies to an organisation that has an agenda similar to ours: Forum Européen de Femmes. Approximately 40 people listened, posed questions and commented.
Read Himmelstrand's lecture - here - and see him doing it live - here!
Himmelstrand's lecture is a perfect read for anyone wanting to get a condensed but still comprehensive description of Sweden's internationally famed family policies.
|Copy Link||October 28, 2010|
Last Friday, a couple in Karlstad, Sweden, was sentenced to nine months in jail and to SEK 75 000 in damages to three of their four children for abuse for having employed spanking as a means of upbringing. The couple claimed the Bible supported them in this behaviour.
The sentence was based on Sweden's antispanking and antiwounding laws, introduced as early as in 1973, ahead of all other nations of the world.
Read the Swedish, English-language, paper The Local's account of the case - here - and preferably compare that domestic reporting and those appended comments with this reporting of the same thing by conservative, Christianity-influenced, LifeSiteNews.
The case brings to mind this somewhat similar incident.
What a terribly tragic outcome for all concerned!
Without knowing more about the case than what can be read in the papers, it is obviously difficult to form an opinion on how reasonable the verdict is, but it is crystal clear that the Swedish legislation, outlawing "corporal punishment and other wounding treatment" of children, grants the courts wide-ranging powers to decide what is punishable by law and what is not, a process in which the views of the legal guardians of the children weighs feather-lightly.
True, we in Children's Right are currently not involved in any enlightenment campaign related to this legislation but let it be said that we are sceptical of it, partly because our country, long before the law clauses involved were introduced, had anti-abuse legislation in our statues book (and still have), legislation the courts have always applied more harshly when the perpetrator is an adult and the victim a child, and partly because it has markedly contributed to the weaker position Swedish families and parents currently suffer and the correspondingly stronger position the State enjoys.
|Copy Link||October 27, 2010|
We have all heard the ill-founded claim that women's brains turn to mush when they get babies but now research, highlighted by the American Psychological Association, indicates that the opposite probably is true at least if brain size is anything to go by. A study of 19 women indicated as early as four months after delivery, their brains had grown by small but significant amounts.
The areas affected seem to be the hypothalamus (1), the substantia nigra (2), the amygdala (2), the parietal lobe (3) and the prefrontal cortex (4).
Read more in Britain's the Daily Mail - here!
I wouldn't be surprised!
|Copy Link||October 27, 2010|
In the year 1980 only 21 per cent of Sweden's children aged 1-6 were cared for during the day in day-care centres or by day-care mothers while last year the figure was as high as 90 per cent.
Those interesting statistics can be found on Sweden's School Board's website (unfortunately, it appears as if the figures are only available in Swedish).
Further figures of interest from last year are the following:
The figures show that parents do their best to delay their children's day-care debut but by the age of two years, most parents think the time is right or finally surrender, whichever the case may be.
The figures are a good illustration of how what we term "the day-care coercion" works in practice, how the combination of so high income taxation that the family cannot get by on a single income and more than ninety per cent tax subsidisation of the day-care costs forces parents to dance to to the piper's (the state's) tune in child care.
|Copy Link||October 21, 2010|
In January, here, we asked you, dear maternal follower of this web site, to respond to World Movement of Mother's call for opinions on how life should be. Now we have received the following reply from that org:
Dear members and friends at cooperating associations,
We thank you for your help in promoting the "Survey of Mothers in Europe” during the first half of this year.
The feedback was amazing, we received over 10,000 responses from mothers across Europe!
The survey is now closed, preliminary results of it were used in a technical report on “Realities of Mothers in Europe” that you can download from - here!
We are currently analyzing the results to create material to communicate to European and national policymakers and to the press in the spring of 2011. Our objective is to voice the realities, concerns and opinions about the well-being of their families that mothers have shared with us. We will keep you posted!
Anne-Claire de Liedekerke / President
At the time of this writing, we haven't looked at the results of the survey mentioned above but fear the worst - that the overwhelming majority of respondents want the State to employ its coercive powers to further the status and material well-being of women at the expense of their men, despite the fact that we already have pretty gender-neutral legislation.
|Copy Link||October 17, 2010|
Read Swedish journalist Helene Almqvist's answer to that question on BBC's website - here!
Yours Truly finds Almquist's praise of Sweden's allegedly generous parental leave and childcare programmes somewhat mindless. She doesn't seem to realize that since the parents still are paying for those programmes by force of taxation and since they cost more than they are worth, 'generous' is the least they are. Instead they combine to force mothers to work doubly (at work during daytime, at home during spare time) to make ends meet, thus creating a "rat race" that many women suffer badly from.
What is so generous and admirable about that?
|Copy Link||October 12, 2010|
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has compiled an index of gender equality, reflecting how equitably income, resources and opportunities are distributed between the two sexes and has arrived at Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden (in that order) topping the chart.
Read more - here!
These figure must be interpreted with extreme caution. Factors such as development level and whether countries employ family taxation or individual ditto surely affect the ranking drastically and so create a risk of mirages. All the Nordic countries employ individual income taxation, making women big losers if they don't work for money.
|Copy Link||October 8, 2010|
Yesterday, I got this piece into Finland's English-language paper Helsinki Times! But since that periodical only exposes some of its contents for free on the web, my contribution ended up in the exclusive department - which is why I now offer it to you here, for free!
I know, the piece is long but what can I do when there are so many wrongs that simply have to be exposed, especially to unsuspecting foreigners, admiring my country's welfare programmes without bothering to examine the drawbacks, i.e., allowing themselves to be seduced emotionally when they really should be more on their guard intellectually.
Krister Pettersson, board member of Children's Right
|Copy Link||October 5, 2010|
Yesterday, during the Conservative Party of Britain's conference in Birmingham, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced harsh cuts in that country's welfare payments in order to reduce Goverment's huge spending deficit. Among the cuts announced was a cap on Child Benefit to parents earning more than £43 000 a year. The only problem is that parents who both work for money, i.e., contribute to that income jointly, will still receive the benefit up to twice that amount of income.
Read more e.g. - here!
The cut and its unfair effect highlights the inherent inequity of the individual income taxation systems both Britain and our country, Sweden, make use of; they invariably subject single-income families to heavier taxation burdens than dual-income ones have to face, at the same total incomes!
The solution spells voluntary Family Taxation, where the family becomes the taxation subject, not the adult income earners individually. That would enable the family members to contribute to the well-being of the family as they see fit, without undue governmental interference, go a long way towards appraising home making, both economically and socially, and, last but not least: make beautiful macro-economic sense!
|Copy Link||October 2, 2010|
In today's issue of Britain's The Guardian - here -, Amelia Gentleman tries to summarise the current positions in the seemingly endless debate about who should look after small children: parents themselves or Government's specially appointed and trained experts in crèches.
As usual when this subject crops up, lots of people have lots of opinions, as can be seen from the comments following the article.
Gentleman (what a nice family name!), does a good job of condensing the various views, but she conspicuously leaves a number of important aspects of the issue out of account, including the macro-economic (1), the human rights (2), the popular-opinion (3), the bacteriological (4) and the longer-term juvenile behavioural (5) ones.
But it is probably asking to much from a hurried journalist to cover such a wide field in a single article. But, the unfortunate effect is that her article arrives at seriously misleading conclusions, reaching hundreds of thousands of British readers. But then, on the other hand, that misdirection is no different from the one the western world's academic childcare 'experts' and lobbyists are guilty of.
|Copy Link||October 1, 2010|
Modern-day feminists disagree but men and women are different biologically and therefore also behaviourally. Women in general are much more interested than men in having children, building a family and going for part-time jobs so as to get time to look after children and the home. For obvious reasons, all this has consequences on women's earning power compared with that of men.
Now, the question arises: should Government allow these behavioural differences to manifest themselves or should it interfere to coax women to spend more time at work and override employers' and jobseekers' tradition-won right to negotiate pay and other employment conditions bilaterally?
Socialists and today's feminists are all but unanimous in their call for governmental interference while conservatives and classic liberals are equally strongly opposed to such political meddling.
A Ms Emily Booker has written a lucid and thought-provoking article on this subject - here!
|Copy Link||September 22, 2010|
Presumably inspired by the ongoing debate in Canada about the benefits, or otherwise, of government-funded day care, partially taken note of - here -, Andrea Mrozek of The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada did this interview with one of the key partakers of that debate, economics professor K Milligan of the University of British Columbia.
It is evident from their conversation that Milligan finds the day-care lobby's case for such child care exaggerated and misleading. His argument is that the fact that there is experience of government-run parent-&-child support programmes having been successful cannot be extrapolated to a licence to subject all parents and children to such programmes.
Milligan is dead right, but he has far more arguments on his side than he made use of in that interview, the most important omission being failing to mention that the existence of the marginal cost of taxation effect (a k a "the excess burden of taxation") necessitates that every tax dollar spent e.g. on child care - in Canada's case - must return benefits worth two dollars to citizens.
In other words, since experience tells us that high-quality child care costs approx. CA$2000 a child a month to produce, it must be worth $4000 to parents (i.e. be sellable to them for that amount). If not, it simply isn't worth its tax cost, will make the population poorer and put economically marginal people (other than day-care workers) out of work!
He further seems to accept, at face value, the truistic fact that the seven-dollars-a-day childcare system, introduced in Quebec in 1997, has increased the number of 'working' women but fails to mention that the higher tax level that system requires increases the cost level of private businesses and citizens and so puts other economically marginal operations and workers out of business.
To illustrate this latter point: If I were the maker of Mercedes Benz cars and decided to sell my top model, costing me $75 000 to produce for only $10 000, how surprised would you be if I, a little later, were able to report a sharp increase in sales of that model (equivalent to that increase in female work-force participation reported from Quebec)? And how surprised would you be if I, a further few months later had to file for bankruptcy, so eliminating my company's contribution to my country's affluence and putting scores of 'innocent' people out of work (equivalent to that drop in affluence and employment I am writing about above)?
Milligan also, on behalf of the international community of economists, expresses a preference for government-issued vouchers that can be used in lieu of money for specific expenditures, e.g. for child care or education, but what he really is saying is that such vouchers are a smart way of manipulating citizens' behaviours so cleverly that they won't even realize they are being manipulated.
Milligan may well be right on this last point (that citizens must be manipulated by those at the centre who know better) but, if so, it is time for Canada and all other countries with representative democracies to abandon that form of government in favour of some kind of expertocracy, and to sign out of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights!
We in this org have written on the topic of the profitability ,or otherwise, of institutionalised child care many times, e.g. - here - and - here - (note the two different approaches but the similar conclusions) but it seems impossible to get academic economists to comment on our findings. Presumably, they don't want to rock the boat.
|Copy Link||September 20, 2010|
Yesterday, approximately six million Swedes went to the polls to elect a new parliament, new regional assemblies and new municipal councils. The liberal-conservative alliance, consisting of the Moderates, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party, which was formed in the run-up to our previous elections in 2006 - and won then - managed yesterday to retain power by emerging as the biggest parliamentary group and so will form our next government.
But the Lib-Con Alliance lost the absolute majority in Parliament it enjoyed in the previous term of office due to the fact that a new party, the Sweden Democrats, accused by the other established parties of being racist, got enough votes to gain entry into Parliament. So now it looks as if we have got ourselves a new bunch of swingers in Parliament, the Sweden Democrats, who will be able to decide outcomes by supporting the one or the other parliamentary block, the Lib-Cons or the Red-Greens (the latter consisting of the Social Democrats, the Left Wingers and the Greens).
So we Swedes are in for a politically more uncertain period. What this will mean to this association's favourite political field, family policies, is hard to predict at this stage, but perhaps there is cause for a bit of cautious optimism; the Swed Dem's family-political manifesto is pro-families and critical of what we call the existing "day-care coercion".
Unfortunately, 'our' issue, family policies and child care, did not feature anywhere near as prominently as we would have liked during the election campaign. Consciously or not, both blocks seemed bent on playing it down in the hope that voters would forget it, an intention we in Children's Right were pretty powerless at combating.
When the political and medial industries join forces in some 'evil' pursuit, poverty-stricken idealists like us carry as much weight as a speck of dust!
|Copy Link||September 18, 2010|
On September 14, British Columbian Education Minister, Margaret MacDiarmid, wrote in the paper The Vancouver Sun - here - among other things that tax-funded all-day kindergarten would generate "limitless returns for the future of our province and our economy".
A few days later, our much admired Andrea Mrozek of The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada responded with this piece in the same paper, challenging MacDiarmid's statements primarily on the grounds that the good return that might be achievable from at-risk children is likely to be very different from the return that can be expected from the kind of universal day-care programme MacDiarmid advocates.
It is intriguing how a minister can (almost) get away with statements like "limitless returns"! No investment yields that kind of return, unless - of course - the investment amounts to zero dollars (meaning that it is not an investment at all), but universal child care certainly does not qualify; it will cost millions.
The talk of "great profitability" reveals that the minister is nowhere near appreciating how expensive tax money really is. Due to a phenomenon economists call "the marginal cost of taxation" or "the excess burden of taxation", new tax-financed programmes in Canada must return $2 in benefits to citizens for every tax dollar spent on them for them to be macro-economically justifiable.
That universal, tax-funded, day care doesn't qualify can be realized by considering that all-day, high-quality child care costs approximately CA$2000 a month a child to produce and so must be worth (i.e. be sellable) to parents at CA$4000 a month for the service to be economically justifiable, a level of usefulness the service clearly does not reach.
But the idea of all-day institutionalised child care has other serious implications, e.g. that parents in general are not fit to look after their own children properly. If that assumption is true then Canada must sign out from its support of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and abandon its representative democracy in favour of some kind of expertocracy and leave the running of the country - and of people's lives - to those who (claim to) know better, perhaps to misguided but surprisingly self-assured political phenomena like Margaret MacDiarmid!
We in this org have written on the topic of the profitability, or otherwise, of institutionalised child care many times, e.g. - here - and - here - (note the two different approaches but the similar conclusions) but it seems impossible to get academic economists to comment on our findings. Presumably, they don't want to rock the boat.
|Copy Link||September 8, 2010|
As may be known, Sweden has general elections on September 19 for Parliament, our regional assemblies and our 290 municipalities. In the last election round four years ago, our four right-of-centre parties combined into an alliance under a joint election manifesto. That initiative proved successful, so that grouping has been at the political helm up to now, a near-historic event since our Social Democrats have dominated our political stage ever since the early 1930s.
That successful bid for power prompted the remaining three parties, the Soc Dems, the Left Wingers and the Greens to form an alliance of their own, popularly called the Red-Greens, in anticipation of this year's elections.
Now, a week and half before the big day, the centre-right alliance seems to be in the lead but few dare to heave a sigh of relief / refuse to give in beforehand (depending on political views).
A good summary of the issues at stake and how the arguments run can be found - here!
Unfortunately this association's issue, family policies and child care, does not feature anywhere near as prominently as we would have liked it to. Both blocks seem bent on playing it down in the hope that voters will forget it. An interesting thing however is that all three parties to the Red-Green block individually want to divide our internationally famed parental leave period more strictly between the father and the mother so as to force fathers to shoulder a heavier parental burden but since the voters are dead set against that kind of "undue meddling", the block has simply decided not to put forward any proposal at all on that front now. But the sceptics among us watchers remain pretty convinced that if the Red-Greens regain power they will introduce their strict leave distribution anyway, mid-term, when the voters will be unable to stop it.
|Copy Link||August 21, 2010|
That is the message of this association to the European Commission in this submission which we have just sent in, in response to a request for comments from the said body.
As can be seen, we find the preamble of the Convention promising but the articles of the document potentially harmful to parents and families in the hands of family-unfriendly legislators and judges. On balance we find the Convention having contributed to the serious weakening of the authority of parents and the integrity of families that is readily observable in Sweden.
|Copy Link||August 12, 2010|
This association is not against industrial-scale child care per se, only against governments' coaxing parents by taxation and subsidisation to favour such child care over all other forms, parental ditto included!
We feel compelled to repeat that statement after having read this good comment to a couple of editorials practically encouraging women to hand over their babies to day-care establishments for care since new research allegedly says that children are OK there, that working mothers should not develop a sense of guilt.
Those sociologists conducting this kind of research completely miss the point: that governments employing their legislative and fiscal powers to promote on lifestyle over all others, against popular opinion violate basic principles of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention on Child Rights, i.e., break international law!
The fact that taxation is used to fund public services that do not provide adequate value for money, i.e. make us all poorer than we need to be, adds insult to injury and hurts young parents and babies particularly much.
|Copy Link||August 1, 2010|
That is the interesting question the opinion editors of the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun ask themselves in this interesting leader and answer with "perhaps not", but finds Sweden's political openness and lack of corruption copy-worthy.
I do find the article accurate and insightful but also lacking in appreciation of the fact that we Swedes have not achieved our reasonably high standard of living thanks to our lavish social policies but despite them!
|Copy Link||July 28, 2010|
The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Duke University, North Carolina, USA has studied the amount of affection mothers invest in their babies at approximately eight months of age and followed that up no less than 34 years later and found that those children who had above-average maternal care were healthier psychologically as adults than their less fortunate cohort peers.
Read a summary of the studygroup's findings - here!
It is probably safe to conclude that maternal affection is important even beyond the eight-month stage, e.g. at say 13 months of age, but the trouble is that by then the vast majority of Swedish kids will be farmed out to day-care establishments for care by strangers.
It is going to be interesting to se if these findings will generate any debate and any new conclusions in my country about how children should be looked after. But deep down I know the answer and it is 'no', our political and medial classes will close ranks and like one man ensure that these news do not reach the general public.
|Copy Link||July 27, 2010|
That is the message of this essay by the late Australian lawyer Charles H Francis.
His conclusion, that if the convention is given any legal effect or legitimacy, it poses a real threat to the authority of parents and to the integrity of families, is worth taking seriously. His reasoning brings to mind this debater who arrives at the same conclusion.
|Copy Link||July 26, 2010|
Every parent who has access to so-called 'affordable' child care (footnote), sooner or later starts wondering when it might be okay to hand over her/his precious one to a crèche for care and to take up / resume paid work.
Many studies over the past few years have indicated that such child care is risky in terms of parent-child bonding and child behaviour, not least the longer-term effects at puberty and beyond.
But now a research group at the Columbia University's School of Social Work has concluded that, on balance, the outcome of day care - even before the child's first birthday - is quite neutral compared with home care when taking all (?) factors into account!
Read a summary of the group's findings - here!
This study raises suspicions, from start to finish! Apparently, the group (consisting of all professional women, presumably with their kids in day care) has factored in things like day care enabling the mother to bring in more money to the family and tending to improve the mother's mental state, the quality of child care and intra-familial relationships. So, all these pros weigh up the cons, the study concludes.
But how do you measure the various effects of day care to make them comparable? For instance, how do you balance the consequences of weaker parent-child bonding against the effect of more money in the family's purse? Doesn't the latter effect depend on the financial circumstances of the family before outsourcing child care? And if day care is charged out at cost price (a price level that should be the norm), the family is likely not to be better off at all!
How low can a so-called 'scientific' study sink in terms of quality?
Footnote: "Affordable child care" is a euphemism for heavily tax-subsidised care, luring parents to consume more of the service than is macro-economically sound, i.e. meaning that it contributes to making society at large poorer than it otherwise would be.
|Copy Link||July 26, 2010|
We have just discovered this good article by a Mr Soutik Biswas in which he steps forward in defence of housewives and the invaluable services they provide and laments the bad treatment they get by most governments of this world, suggesting that the value of domestic work be included in national accounts.
Biswas is dead right in everything except that last bit about including the value of domestic work in national accounts! Don't get us wrong, we would also like that value to be more visible but since GDP and GDI calculations really are about summing up market values less production costs across the entire economy, we fear that imputing a standard sum into those accounts representing every home maker's contribution to overall affluence would reduce the value of those calculations to 'real' - as opposed to 'political' economists.
We think a far better way would be "family taxation", i.e. that the family be taxed like the family business it is or should be seen as and support burdens and income-necessary expenses be tax-deductible as such expenses are in the business world. Then the housewife's economic contribution, by reducing costs and enabling the spouse to concentrate more fully on his/her income-generating role, would become far more discernible!
|Copy Link||July 21, 2010|
That is the message of this article by a Ms Sandra Parsons in today's issue of Britain's Daily Mail. Her message seems to be that mothers should go back to work after child delivery when they feel like it and not succumb to undue feelings of guilt when handing their infants over to others for care.
I don't think anyone, certainly not we men, expects women to stay at home for ever, after having become mothers, but getting children does call for a significant change of priorities and lifestyle. If you are not prepared to make those changes: don't have a baby! I always say, getting your first baby is more life-changing and overwhelming than getting married!
Another thing: Parsons seems to expect lost contact and ingratitude when the child is old enough to fly out of the nest. That is, in most cases, a serious misunderstanding! Yours Truly happens to have two flown-out daughters aged 31 and 27 and one very new grandchild. The bond I have with my daughters at this late (?) stage in our lives is a terrific source of meaning, comfort and joy to both generations. So hang in there, Parsons, you will be richly rewarded!
|Copy Link||July 20, 2010|
In this good article, The New York Times has discovered how Swedish home makers are discriminated against by law and by resulting public opinion and suggests that domestic work be included in GDP figures as a remedy.
Fine article, but I can't se how domestic work that doesn't involve money changing hands could be included in GDP calculations except as not very attractive standard estimates that would value laggards and fireballs the same and degrade GDP and GNP calculations in the eyes of 'real' - as opposed to political - economists seriously.
A better way would be abolishing all tax subsidies going directly to institutional childcare establishments, which would force them to charge out their services at cost prices, and those expenses be made tax-deductible by parents. That kind of arrangement would make far more sense macro-economically and expose the true cost of looking after children for all to see, including all those self-esteem-strapped home makers!
|Copy Link||July 2, 2010|
Our sister organization in Sweden, Haro, is an advisory member of an EU-associated development project called Family Platform (1). According to the website of the project, its aim is to analyze ongoing family-policy-related research in the EU, predict future challenges and finally suggest to the EU Commission family-related research areas which should receive EU funding.
In a recent meeting among the project members, Haro's Jonas Himmelstrand was able to deliver this alternative description of the, in foreign lands, famed Swedish family policies.
We say "well done Jonas!", there is more to say of course (2), but we realize that there were time constraints.
|Copy Link||June 28, 2010|
Dominic Johansson is a Swedish boy whose parents are locked in battle with the local municipality over who should be educating him, the parents themselves or the municipality's compulsory schools. The conflict has led to Dominic having been put in a foster home and the parents getting only limited visitation rights to him.
According to this news item, the conflict has now entered a new phase with the parents lodging a complaint against Sweden with the European Court of Human Rights for alleged violations of the European Convention on the same rights, assisted by Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
This conflict is of great importance to us Swedes as precedent for the handling of future cases where parents want to home-school their children.
|Copy Link||June 18, 2010|
That is the message of this media release from our sister organizations in that country: Australian Family Association and Kids First, Parent Association of Australia.
It is disheartening seeing how our political representatives, time and again, fall for the temptation to buy votes for the voters' own money without due regard to the values the contemplated services return or their effects on personal freedom. In the current case it can easily be shown that the service offered (paid parental leave) is not worth its tax cost and hence will reduce affluence, employment and personal freedom.
A particularly offensive aspect of the enacted scheme seems to be the "work test" which will force mothers to hand over their infants at 18 weeks to some child-care establishment and resume paid work - and stay their until 6 months pregnant again - to ensure benefits also for the next child.
This kind of behavioural manipulation of citizens has no place in a society that aspires to be free!
|Copy Link||June 17, 2010|
We have just become aware of this opportunity, presented by one of the world's most widely read papers (NY Times) to express opinions on a wide variety of interesting topics, including who should look after small children paid staff or parents.
Do make use of it to let ordinary people understand that in reality generous offers of "free" parental leave and child care are not as cheap as they look.
|Copy Link||June 10, 2010|
Yesterday, this association held its annual general meeting for 2010 and appointed Bo C Pettersson chair person, Linda Gällentoft treasurer, re-appointed Krister Pettersson consultative director and newly appointed Jessica Emgardsson to the same position. As stand-by directors Monica Sunvard (previously: Bodling) and Eva Sternberg were re-appointed, while our previous chair person, Jenny Odälv, was newly appointed to that position.
– In view of the fact that we will be having general elections in this country in September, only three months from now, let us shift up so that the undue political coercion to put our kids in day care and the likewise undue discrimination of home makers both come to an end, says our new chairman.
If you, dear reader, gets inspired to contact any of our new board members to discuss childcare issues, you find their contact addresses - here.
|Copy Link||June 4, 2010|
Dr. Fraser Mustard is a Canadian Doctor of Medicine who in later years has become a strident advocate for government-run early childhood education and care (ECEC) as opposed to parental ditto. His name crops up frequently, not only in Canada but all over the place.
His message is that kids who are well fed and intellectually stimulated from the start do far better than kids who are deprived of these two important prerequisites. He also says that only about 30 per cent of the parents are good enough.
That observation and that personal hypothesis lead him to conclude that the state must play a bigger role in the care and tuition of young children.
Listen to this interview with Mustard, done by The Canadian Broadcasting Corp to hear him make his case.
Frasers basic observation (that well fed and stimulated kids do far better) is indisputable, but his statement that only 30 per cent of parents are acceptable is not only unsubstantiated but also unduly arrogant and disrespectful to the majority of parents. (What make the guy so sure he and his cronies belong to those acceptable 30%? I bet he wouldn't pass his own test! ;-)
But the big problem arises when he combines that truistic observation with his sloppy statement about parents' inadequacies and arrives at the conclusion that the state must play a bigger role in the rearing of children! Here he exposes his poor grasp, not only of economics and political science but also of psychology. He doesn't seem to understand that his recommendation would lead to worse outcomes for children, to more poverty all around and to more unhappiness among more citizens, including the children he professes to champion.
Mustard holds up my country (Sweden) as a model and points out with unmistakable admiration that we spend US$ 16,500 a child a year of public money on ECEC but fails to mention that only a few years later, those same children do poorly at school by international standards (despite continued, world-leading, spending of public money on education) and are among the world's unhappiest.
And why not also compare with how his suggested model for ECEC turned out behind the Iron Curtain and on the kibbutzes of Israel.
Mustard should be stopped (by constructive debate) before he creates even more damage!
|Copy Link||May 27, 2010|
That question, brought to the fore by a debate in the province of British Columbia, Canada, inspired our clever and energetic contact in Vancouver, Helen Ward of Kids First Canada to write this opinion piece into the Vancouver Sun paper.
As you can see, Ward takes the opportunity to push not only for lowly paid municipal workers' getting a decent wage but also that all home makers with small children get the same benign treatment, not merely those utilizing tax-subsidized child care.
Indisputably, Ward has a point, it is grossly unfair that the public purse sponsors formal child care but leaves home-staying parents with small children not only without public support but also forced to co-finance their more adaptable day-care peers by way of the tax bill.
But let us return to the initial question Ward skipped: should people get paid what they need to survive or what the job is worth?
Any market-oriented economist worth his salt would reasonably answer: "The worker should get paid what the job is worth on the market, less the reasonable share of that worth that is attributable to the providers of capital!"
That is the market economy's way of ensuring that people's talents and efforts are not wasted on tasks that do not return enough value.
But the problem is that the debate Ward involved herself in was about how low-level public workers should be remunerated, and for public jobs it is notoriously difficult to establish their market values.
This difficulty is compounded by the Excess Burden of Taxation phenomenon, which, in Ward's country, can be estimated at contributing another $ to every tax $ every civil servant costs the tax-paying community.
These difficulties are two strong arguments in favour of keeping the public sector trimmed down to size.
There is more to say about the matter, of course ;-)
|Copy Link||May 9, 2010|
Sharon Lerner, author of The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation, believes that the US government must step in more forcefully than so far to provide the social security mums need to dare to have children and to be able to balance family life with professional careers. That is evident from this review of her book.
But state support is a poor substitute for support from a husband and the security provided by money in the bank. No woman should ever get pregnant without those two prerequisites in place!
|Copy Link||May 6, 2010|
That seems to be the message of this article, written by a Dr. Jody Heymann, author of a book titled Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone.
I mention it here because it is so typical of all those government interventionists out there who believe that especially women would be better off if their governments spent more on them for parental leave and child day care.
Unfortunately, so many of them don't seem to realize that since the money for those schemes will not be coming from outer space, they will still be paying for them even if they get their way, but by force of taxation instead of voluntarily. And they don't seem to realize how subjugated to the whims of the state they would become.
Don't get me wrong, there are things governments can do to ease life for young couples wanting to raise a family, such as taxing them leniently so that they are able to get a decent home and build up some savings before the babies arrive. And there are things young women can do, such as never to have a baby by the wrong man!
|Copy Link||May 3, 2010|
That is the message of this interesting article at Family Security Matters. The writer's argument is that the Convention paves the way for national governments and the UN itself to take over the raising of our children, so relegating parents to an insignificant secondary role and usurping the family.
Yours Truly finds the writer of the piece having a good point. It is quite possible that the CRC has played a bigger role in the dismantling of the Swedish family, that undoubtedly has taken place, than I have previously realized.
|Copy Link||May 1, 2010|
In its effort to regain political power in this autumn's general election, Sweden' left-green opposition is pledging to earmark 1.225 billion kronor ($170 million) in benefits for single parents (1).
Read the Swedish English-language paper The Local's report on the initiative - here!
The current left-green political alliance of Sweden is pretty shameless in its attempts to buy votes for the voters' own money. It should be said that single mums here already enjoy preferential treatment in social benefits.
Footnote 1: But this is of course not the reason given publicly. There the stated aim is "to bolster gender equality".
|Copy Link||April 28, 2010|
As you, Dear Reader, can se below, we have been aware for some time of moves in Ontario, Canada, to introduce full-day schooling for four- to five-year-olds. And indeed, yesterday, the province's parliament in Toronto passed the bill that is going to make it happen.
Read the Ministry of Education of that province's announcement of the decision and its immediate consequences - here!
The announcement is frightening reading due partly to its propagandistic tone, partly to the fact that it confirms our worst fear of the confidence-trick nature of the sell-in effort that preceded the voting, and partly to the fact that it reveals that the provincial government has much further-reaching plans for take-over of the region's children than it implements at this stage.
Of course, this development in Canada is a disappointment but not so bad that we who know better give up and concede defeat. We may have lost a battle but certainly not the war!
|Copy Link||April 23, 2010|
The age-old lifestyle of parents making decisions about and looking after their children, enjoying seeing them develop and children developing strong emotional bonds back will be seriously compromised if the Ontario Provincial Government gets its bill for All-day Kindergarten through the provincial parliament in Toronto, writes mother & education activist Kate Tennier on her website - here.
Tennier is bang on! The scheme, envisaged by Provincial Premier Dalton McGuinty and his childcare 'expert' Charles Pascal, would, if implemented, turn Ontarian social life on its head and reduce overall affluence and civil liberty in the process. But those negatives are the proponents not anywhere near declaring to their unsuspecting general public.
Like in business there should be laws against fraud, also in politics!
|Copy Link||April 23, 2010|
…writes Andrea Mrozek of Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) in today's issue of Ottawa Citizen, warning the paper's readers of the Ontario Province's far-gone plans for universal formal day care of three- to five-year-olds. Mrozek's argument is that contrary to the proponents' sales pitch about the scheme merely representing another neutral child-care option for overburdened parents, it will turn out seriously to limit all other options.
Read Mrozek's well-argued and well-written piece - here!
Mrozek is dead right and we like to think that we in this org have helped her arrive at her indisputable conclusion. But she could have stressed in stronger terms that the scheme will not only put private child-care providers out of business but also seriously disadvantage financially the single breadwinner / homemaker family lifestyle in a way that is at odds with generally accepted notions of civil liberty.
In addition, if my country's long experience of formal childcare is anything to go by, even Mrozek underestimates the cost of the proposed scheme. She arrives at CA$ 9,000 a child a year, the equivalent cost in my country is twice her sum.
Mrozek's argument (that the scheme is 'sold' to an unsuspecting public as merely another option which parents can either accept or refute at their sole and neutrally balanced discretion whilst it actually will turn out to be a liberty-restricting coercion) echoes this association's Bo Pettersson's oft-repeated argument along the same line, e.g. - here.
|Copy Link||April 15, 2010|
…writes columnist Steven Hill in today's issue of Britain's The Guardian, lauding Scandinavia's lavish welfare programmes over those of his own country, the US.
Read his interesting story - here!
For a Swede it is debilitating reading all those praiseful accounts of my country's welfare system. It is not thanks to that system that we have reached a high standard of living but despite it! And due to the big cut the scheme takes out of people's incomes in taxes, the price in terms of personal freedom is also high. And how come Hill does not see that the system he admires also creates personal failures, i.e. people who find themselves unable to support themselves.
He should realize that there are two sides to every story before expressing any firm views.
|Copy Link||April 12, 2010|
That is the conclusion reached by the the Parliamentary Investigative Service of Sweden (Riksdagens Utredningstjänst - RUT) from an study it was commissioned to carry out by the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) of Parliament, reports the English-language - Swedish - newspaper The Local in today's issue - here.
Many factors contribute to this increase in poverty: one being the continuous structural changes in society, another the high percentage of single-parent households found in Sweden and a third the high taxes even poor single parents pay here.
|Copy Link||March 29, 2010|
According to - this - newspaper article, Australia's Labour government's proposed parental leave scheme - modelled on its Swedish equivalent - is rejected by a majority of Aussies on the grounds that it is unfair to home-staying parents.
– Compulsory paid parental leave will add fuel to a vicious cycle of dual-income dependency and force more mums in low-income families into paid work and away from their children, says Tempe Harvey of Kids First Australia and continues:
– In Sweden, the bitter harvest of paid parental leave has been the long-term separation of children from their parents, starting the minute paid parental leave expires at 13 months. In that country in 2008, 83 per cent of children aged one to five were in full-time day care, she said.
It is truly heartening to find a foreigner like Harvey who obviously understands the hidden drawbacks of the internationally famed Swedish childcare system very well.
|Copy Link||March 17, 2010|
As you, Dear Reader, may know, especially if you live within the European Union (EU), much family-political influence is coming from that supernational level. The sentiments emanating from there seems similar to what is coming out of our own national (Swedish) government i.e. a preference for both parents to work for money away from home and for the children to be in crèches during day time, the very policies that inspired a handful of sceptics to form this association (Children's Right) more than a decade ago to do its best to expose the flipside of that coin: the undue coercion, the unhappiness, the social problems and the economic waste that is embossed there.
But a glimmer of hope, emanating from the European Parliament (EP), can be seen at the horizon. We have just become aware of a EU-parliamentary group calling itself The EP Intergroup on the Family, being in the process of revitalisation thanks to driving spirit cum Slovak MEP Anna Záborská.
On behalf of her group she has asked us and other family-friendly European associations for family-policy-related ideas to confront the EU heads of government with when they meet on 25-26 March to discuss the road ahead for the EU in the wake of the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty last December.
These where the two ideas we suggested:
Let us hope that this opportunity will lead to more contact for us with the powers that be in Brussels. With the exception of Ms Záborská & Co., we don't trust them in family politics!
Epilogue written March 6, 2010: Judging by the media reporting from the summit, the initiative of our friends in the EU parliament had little success. The meeting appeared almost exclusively to have been concerned with the financial crisis of Greece and with how the rest of the EU should handle it. But let's hope that our effort will come to some kind of fruition later.
|Copy Link||March 12, 2010|
Sweden's Education Ministry is preparing a bill for Parliament involving a number of changes to the country's Education Act, one of them being a tightening up of the rules governing home schooling. If the proposals are adopted, it will become next to impossible for a Swedish parent to home school her/his child in the future.
The parents of Sweden's few (only about 100) home-schooled children are up in arms over the proposal, but due to their small number and their poor representation in Parliament, they are not likely to win the battle.
Read what LifeSiteNews.com has to say about the matter - here!
To us in Children's Right this issue is an embarrassment, something that damages our reputation abroad. The fact that some adults out there do not behave as we would like them to cannot be taken as a licence to rob the entire population of its civil rights. The logical extension of this argument, appearing to be winning the day on home schooling, is surely that it is time to abolish representative democracy itself in favour of totalitarianism and expertocracy on the grounds that too many adults out there do not know what they are voting for every four years.
PS: Jonas Himmelstrand & family, mentioned in LifeSiteNews' article, are members of this association.
|Copy Link||March 10, 2010|
A crowd we have been impressed with for years is Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC). They do a lot of good stuff to balance the current international trend towards ever larger governments and ever less room left for families to live their own lives.
Yesterday, IMFC held a seminar titled Beyond the front door / Engaging families for strong social and economic policymaking that featured a number of prominent speakers, including Canada's Social Affairs Minister, Diane Finley, her opposition shadow, Mike Savage and MD/Psychiatrist Miriam Grossman (whom we have come across before).
Read a summary of the proceedings and/or listen to them - here!
Good work, all you clever and hard-working people at the IMFC! Just hang in there a little longer and you will soon find that all those powers that be will suddenly agree with you (according to the ketchup-bottle effect).
|Copy Link||March 10, 2010|
As you may know, Dear Reader, Australia currently has a left-leaning labour government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The next federal election must be held no later than April 16, 2011.
Already, the liberal-conservative opposition under Tony Abbott is preparing for that event e.g. by proposing a six-month, tax-paid, parental leave scheme modelled after my country's 'generous' system, to be financed by a surtax on the country's 3000+ largest companies.
The interesting thing about this is that Abbott, unsurprisingly, given the views one would expect from a man of the moderate right, in 2002, when his own coalition was in power said: "Compulsory, paid, maternity leave would be introduced over this government's dead body".
True, compulsory maternity leave is not the same thing as voluntary parental leave, but Abbott's recent move nevertheless suggests a pretty sharp about-turn. Is he taking it out of conviction or of strategy?
Read The Australian's account of the move - here!
It is frustrating noting how politicians try to con-trick their electorate by playing up to people's instinctive notion that tax funds are free, that others are paying for the party. As my fellow countrymen and -women have found out long ago, Australians will be paying dearly for what they thought was free.
In business con-tricks are illegal and punishable by law; they should be so also in politics.
|Copy Link||February 11, 2010|
That fiscal and social policies greatly influence people's behaviour, including the choices women make between running the home and working for money, is old hat to most of us, but associate professor Becky Pettit and researcher Jennifer Hook at the School of Social Work at University of Washington have taken that general knowledge to a deeper level by examining a whole host of different countries to determine the behavioural effects of different policy measures.
To the question which country is best for women to work and live in, Pettit replies:
My answer depends on what a woman wants, how much education she has and which resources are available to support her and her family. If you want to be a stay-at-home mother, Germany has a very extensive home leave policy. If you want to work full-time and have kids, the U.S. isn't bad if you can afford quality child care. If you want to work part-time, Sweden and Denmark have very good child care. And if you want to have your husband involved in child care, Finland is a good choice.
Read the university's press release about the findings - here!
Yours Truly however gets the impression that the investigators are nowhere near discussing how much political manipulation might be considered tolerable in countries aspiring to be popularly free or the macro-economic effects of the various public-spending schemes investigated.
|Copy Link||February 11, 2010|
An organisation calling itself Children in Scotland has investigated twenty-eight European countries for the correlation, if any, between systematic Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and family outcomes in terms of poverty elimination and educational achievements and found that such link do indeed exist.
Read biased Nursery World's account of the study - here!
It is easy to agree that good childcare and early learning is better than poor dittos but it is also important to point out that government-controlled and run ECEC schemes are not the sure-fire way to achieve this end that the study implies. Think the Soviet Union's and Israel's collective farms and their collective upbringing of children to get a hint of what we are driving at.
|Copy Link||February 9, 2010|
The month of February is the worst in Sweden for illness, knocking out both parents and children from work, child care, or schools. For child illness alone, the National Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) expects to pay out compensation to parents for 600 000 lost workdays during the current month alone.
Read the paper The Local's reporting on the matter - here!
That works out at approximately 30 000 parents a day being kept by the tax payers rather than their regular employers, at a total tax cost of SEK 33 m (US$ 4.7 m) a day.
This news item brings to mind Patricia Morgan's observation - here - that in any normal workday 20 - 30 percent of female workers are off on some kind of paid leave, making Sweden's high female workforce participation at 80 percent look somewhat like a Potemkin village.
|Copy Link||January 28, 2010|
In Sweden and Denmark, toddlers seem happy at their day-care crèches but that happiness comes at a cost paid in personal freedom. That can perhaps be said to be the gist of an article in today's issue of Britain's The Economist, which you can read - here!
But unfortunately, the writer seems to have accepted the popular fallacy that institutionalized child care is macro-economically profitable without much refection, which is why this association's Bo C Pettersson has posted a comment to the article on the web in an attempt to make at least a tiny crack in that high and wide wall of misunderstanding.
|Copy Link||January 27, 2010|
A couple of months ago we learnt that the EU commission has launched a project called Family Platform and that our sister organisation in this country, Haro, along with other similar organisations in other countries, has been invited to participate as a reference group. Another such participant is World Movement of Mothers, who, in preparation for future project meetings, have asked us to ask you, dear mother of small children, to participate in this survey of how life is for you and how you would like it to be.
The survey is said to take no more than 15 minutes, which we think the issue is worth - by a good margin!
|Copy Link||January 26, 2010|
Thanks to friends out there we have just discovered an interesting-looking book written by a Mr. Brian C Robertson, titled Day Care Deception / What the Child Care Establishment Isn't Telling Us. We have put up a notice about it in the Get/Buy section - here.
Judging by the excerpts and reviews we have read so far, it looks ever so interesting - and useful in our struggle for more family-friendly policies.
|Copy Link||January 23, 2010|
To Yours Truly's delight (1), the Swedish Bureau of Statistics has compiled a statistical profile of the average Swedish family, mother Anna and father Lars, aged 42 and 39 respectively, with their two children Johan and Emma. They live in a detached house in an urban area, drive an average Volvo and go on vacation once a year.
Read more on the Swedish English-language paper The Local's web site - here!
Footnote 1: "Delight" because that saved med from having to do the job myself!
|Copy Link||January 23, 2010|
In Germany, schools close at around 1 pm. That might well be one of the main reason why German women work outside their homes as little as they do.
That and many more interesting facts from Germany's childcare and education scene can be found in this interesting article in The NY Times.
By all means, keep schools open a little longer, especially for the older kids, but please keep family policies neutral between home making and outside working, i.e. do not copy the Swedish, very coercive model, practically starving out home makers!
|Copy Link||January 7, 2010|
Sweden was the first country in the world in 1979 to introduce a statutory ban on the spanking or belittling of children. Since then, as we know, many other countries have followed suit.
As far as this writer knows, very little has been done since then to evaluate the effects of the ban but that situation has changed recently thanks to a couple of American studies, indicting worse outcomes in a number of important ways:
Prof. of psychology, Marjorie Gunnoe, at Calvin College, Michigan, USA, has arrived at the conclusion that children who occasionally were disciplined physically performed better than those who weren't in a series of important areas, including school grades.
And Jason Fuller of the University of Akron Law School concludes that the incidence of child abuse and per-to-peer violence in Sweden has sky-rocketed since the ban was introduced.
Read American Newsmax.com's reporting on the two studies - here!
Prior to the law change, there was quite a bit of debate in Sweden between the two camps For and Against, a battle the 'yes' side won easily since a 'yes' sent a self-aggrandizing signal to society about the transmitter's implied excellence as a parent not needing manhandling to get the kids to behave properly, whilst a "no" suggested a propensity for violence few critics, in the end, were prepared to subject themselves to.
The critics' main argument, that the law change was unnecessary due to the fact that assault had been a serious crime in the country since time immemorial and since the courts inevitably viewed the molestation of children a strongly aggravating circumstance, did not quite bite.
The law change has certainly had an effect by seriously undermining parent's confidence as - yes - parents to the extent that many hardly dare to say 'no' to their children for fear of getting into legal trouble. This effect has been amplified by The State subjecting teachers (parents' stand-ins during school time) to similar treatment.
Prompted by the wisdom that comes from experience (that if you can be misunderstood you will be) we hereby unequivocally declare that this association does not advocate spanking or belittling of children; we merely wanted to bring a couple of interesting studies to your, dear reader's, attention, in which the physical disciplining of children was a factor - and express our opinion that our anti-spanking law has contributed to increased behavioural uncertainty among both parents and children in their two different roles.
|Copy Link||January 5, 2010|
In May 2008 - here - we were able to tell you that the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) had just passed a bill introducing a modest home-care allowance to parents wishing to look after their toddlers by themselves rather than surrendering them to the country's ubiquitous day-care establishments.
But fears have recently been voiced that the allowance is overwhelmingly being utilized by immigrants, obstructing integration and perpetuating alienation.
Read the Swedish English-language paper The local's reporting on the matter - here!
We in Children's Right recognize the problem but hold the view that since the joblessness and poverty many immigrants find themselves in are not caused by the allowance, it should not be used as a compensatory remedy. Surely these problems, like all other problems, must be fixed by attacking the primary causes. Abolishing the allowance - without a major overhaul of Sweden's insanely complicated, expensive and freedom-restricting family policies - to promote integration would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
|Phone: +46 21 416 651, +46 21 189 082 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: www.barnensratt.se/ | Country: Sweden|