Today The Swedish (Stockholm) Chamber of Commerce, the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprise and Swedish Customs arranged the annual Customs-Trade Symposium in Stockholm. 

I was invited as Key Note Speaker and delivered the end speech under the topic: Customs Trends in the World: Back to the Future. 

At the Symposium – that is arranged every year – I talked about the new AEO paradigm, BREXIT, UCC, WTO TFA and about the use of Social Media in the Customs area. I took this selfie during my presentation.

This is a very important event where all stakeholders of the supply chain meet to discuss about how to make international trade, safer, better and more effecient. 

This year approximately 450 people participated in the seminar.

Can globalization be saved? Today we know what globalization means for good and bad. The only thing that is sure is that it can’t be stopped. However recent developments in the world have certainly complicated things and there are a number of different forces also trying to prevent the free movement of people and goods around the world. Even though we know that development of trade is a key factor for development of our societies.

Some people do not care that the international order they want to tear down enabled the rapid post-1945 economic growth that liberated billions of developing-country citizens from poverty. All they see are massive, unbending institutions and intolerable inequalities in wealth and income, and they blame globalization.

The world is a very unequal place, and inequality within societies has widened considerably in recent decades. But this is not because of international trade or movements of people; after all, cross-border trade and migration have been happening for thousands of years.

A central aspect of globalization is the careful documentation of the knowledge and legal tools needed to combine the property rights of seemingly useless single assets (electronic parts, legal rights to production, and so on) into complex wholes (an iPhone), and appropriate the surplus value they generate. Clear and accessible ledgers that faithfully describe not only who controls what and where, but also the rules governing potential combinations – of, say, collateral, components, producers, entrepreneurs, and legal and property rights – are vital for the system to function.

The problem is that five billion people around the world are not documented in national ledgers in anything approaching an organized manner. Instead, their entrepreneurial talents and legal rights to assets are recorded in hundreds of scattered records and rules systems throughout their countries, making them internationally inaccessible.

Under these conditions, it is impossible for the majority of humanity to participate effectively in their national economies, much less the global one. Without any means of participating in the process of producing high-value combinations, people have no chance of seizing some of the surplus value created.
So it is a lack of consolidated, documented knowledge – not free trade – that is fueling inequality worldwide. But addressing this problem will not be easy. 

Just determining how many people are left out took the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), two decades of fieldwork, conducted by more than 1,000 researchers in some 20 countries.
The main problem is legal lag. The lawyers and corporate elites who draft and enact the legislation and regulations that govern globalization are disconnected from those who are supposed to implement the policies at the local level. In other words, the legal chain is missing a few crucial links.

Experience in Japan, the United States, and Europe shows that a straightforward legal approach to ensuring equal rights and opportunities can take a century or more. But there is a faster way: treating the missing links as a break not in a legal chain, but in a knowledge chain.
ILD has knowledge about knowledge chains. ILD has spent 15 years adding millions of people to the globalized legal system, by bringing the knowledge contained in marginal ledgers into the legal mainstream – all without the help of computers. But nobody have decades more to spend on this process; we need to bring in billions more people, and fast. That will require automation.

Last year, ILD began, with pro bono support from Silicon Valley firms, to determine whether information technology, and specifically blockchain (the transparent, secure, and decentralized online ledger that underpins Bitcoin), could enable more of the world’s population to get in on globalization. The answer is a resounding yes.

By translating the language of the legal chain into a digital language – an achievement that required us to develop a set of 21 typologies – we have created a system that could locate and capture any ledger in the world and make it public. Moreover, we have been able to compress into 34 binary indicators the questions that computers have to ask captured ledgers to determine which provisions should be inserted in blockchain smart contracts between globalized firms and non-globalized collectives.

By translating the language of the legal chain into a digital language

Information technology has democratized so many elements of our lives. By democratizing the law, perhaps it can save globalization – and the international order.
Maybe we are about to invent tools that can give billions of people real access to everthing, creating new equality systems. 

Today in international trade and the global supply chain through international standards, we have known and trusted Authorized Economic Operators (AEO). In the future and in similar ways we might be able to offer people an Authorized Economic Persons (AEP) status. 

This is a slightly modified version of an article published by WEF. 

You find the link to this very interesting (entire) article here: Globalization is in trouble. But help could be on the way from a surprising source

Source: WEF

Sweden played two games in the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualification round this weekend. We have a very difficult group and thus have to win against as many oponents as possible. 

Sweden started with playing 1-1 against Netherlands. This weekend we beat Luxembourg 1-0 away and Bulgaria 3-0 at home. There is a life after Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has ended his career in the national team. 

Only one team is directly qualified for the World Cup in Russia. 

Yesterday Sweden U21 also won our group in the qualification round for UEFA European Cup next summer. Sweden was unbeaten in the group and beat both Spain and Croatia. We are also reigning European Champions for Under 21. Maybe another gold next summer. The future is bright. 

In a guest post on, Tony Hughes of the Golden Samba blog describes his trip to Sweden to watch 1979 European Cup finalists Malmö FF take on IFK Göteborg.

It is great to read a football fan from another club with great experience visiting our home field, and an important home game to check how our club and our fans are doing in an international comparison. 

The game Tony Hughes visited was Malmö FF vs. IFK Göteborg  – Scandinavia’s very own Classico. It’s Sweden’s two most successful clubs feuding over history. Malmö have the edge in terms of domestic titles, and famously reached the European Cup final in 1979. Göteborg are not far behind though, and are the only Nordic club to have won a European competition having won the UEFA Cup twice in the 80s. Despite being nearly 300km apart, this is as fierce as any derby in Europe and made for a mouth-watering introduction to Swedish football.

Malmö is a special club that transcends football. Their spirit is refreshing. With affordable flights from the UK to Copenhagen, €20 match tickets, and a 24-hour train service, take a trip across the bridge to experience this hidden gem of European football.

Read the entire excellent article here. 

Article: Malmö FF: Football is more than football

Yesterday and today I am in Riga, Latvia across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. I really like this city, which is the largest city of the Baltic States. 

Riga is a beautiful city and I have a lot of friends here.

We Swedes have always been very close to our brothers and sisters on the other side of the sea. For centuries the ties between our countries have been excellent. 

I personally enjoy the mentality here and in all of the Baltic States. I feel at home here. 

Great meetings and I also got a chance to catch with an old friend of mine who now lives here. 

This week we will learn who receives the Nobel Prize in litterature. Seven Swedes have since the start of the prize – 1901 – won the prize over the years, namely: Selma Lagerlöf,  Verner von Heidenstam, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Pär Lagerkvist,  Eivind Johnson, Harry Martinson and Thomas Tranströmer. 

Out of this group of giants my personal favourite is Thomas Tranströmer, one of the best poets ever. 

However our best writer will never win the prize, since it is not awarded posthumously.  This has though occurred twice against the rules when the 1931 Literature Prize was awarded to Erik Axel Karlfeldt, and the 1961 Peace Prize awarded to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. Since 1974, laureates must be thought alive at the time of the October announcement.

Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) is in my opinion our best wrter ever and she has certainly sold more books and had impact on more people than sny other individual writer. The reason? She wrote childrens’ books. 

But Astrid Lindgren was so much more than a best-selling author of children’s books like Pippi Longstocking. She was also an important opinion former who helped unseat a Swedish government, influenced changes in the law and even inspired anarchists.

Astrid Lindgren is the eighteenth most translated author in the world, and one of the most well-known Swedish authors. 

She became an author relatively late in life, and an influential voice on everyday issues even later. Because of her popularity, people listened to what Lindgren had to say.

Lindgren talked about everything including politics. However she also turned her common sense, sharp mind and clarity of expression to the issue of violence against children. Here she used her acceptance speech for the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, which she was awarded in 1978, as the platform for her views.

The essence of the speech was that if children are brought up with violence, chances are that they will use violence when they grow up. And if they are people with power, this may be very dangerous.

The speech generated a great deal of attention in Sweden, Germany and further afield, and was one factor behind Sweden becoming the first country to ban the smacking of children in 1979. Lindgren’s involvement also caught the attention of the victims; after the speech, two boys in foster care in Germany ran away and turned up on her doorstep in Stockholm. Lindgren helped send them back and ensured that they were well treated from then on.

Lindgren lecturing a skinhead on a Stockholm street

Lindgren’s drive to protect the powerless from the powerful also extended to animals, and she became a high-profile advocate of the prevention of cruelty to animals. ‘She was not a vegetarian, but she knew that if we are to keep our humanity, we have to treat other living beings with respect’, Törnqvist says.

Lindgren’s campaign, started as a reaction against industrial-scale farming, stirred up public opinion and led to the government announcing the so-called Lex Lindgren animal welfare law as an eightieth birthday present for the author.

Lindgren’s legacy to Sweden is a long row of much-loved books and charachters like e.g; featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil in Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, the Six Bullerby Children (Children of Noisy Village in the US), as well as the children’s fantasy novels Mio min Mio, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter and The Brothers Lionheart. Having said that, her engagement and attitude also helped change the laws of our country in a range of areas. Because Astrid was an activist before people even knew what the word meant. 

Astrid touched the everyday Swede. There was a combination of common sense, straightforwardness and warmth in everything she did, which made her unique.

Lindgren has sold roughly 144 million books worldwide.