Leif Pagrotsky on American Misconceptions of Sweden

Leif Pagrotsky is a Swedish Social Democratic politician, who had various posts in the government of Göran Persson between 1996 and 2006. In 1997 Prime Minister Göran Persson made Pagrotsky Minister of Trade and in 2002 Minister for Industry and Trade. One of his most publicly known activities during this period was his efforts to promote Swedish popular music export. In 2004, he switched posts with former Minister of Education Thomas Östros. At the same time, the responsibility for cultural matters, previously belonging to a separate ministry, was added to Pagrotsky’s portfolio. Pagrotsky has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in economics from Gothenburg University. Before joining the Cabinet, Pagrotsky worked at the Central Bank of Sweden and in the Ministry of Finance.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Pagrotsky: Well, many Americans think that Swedes commit suicide a lot. We are very depressed. It’s always dark and sometimes you have the atmosphere of a nightmare, and people [describe] their image of Sweden. Although, I must say, it is more and more the other one, the one we discussed a while ago about creativity, curiosity, a place they would like to visit and what kind of places do they like to visit? Well, places that provokes their curiosity. And we are, Sweden is more and more a place that goes against the tide, that chooses individual solutions, that stands for unconventional wisdom, and that attracts attention and curiosity and that, I think, takes over more and more compared to the old one. Perhaps this is a new generation that is shaped by music, film, that brands like IKEA and Volvo, that stands for innovation, creativity, modernity… I hope so, at least, but maybe I’m only the victim of wishful thinking, but this is my attitude here.


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