Politics, Social Problems and Military Activity In Sweden

January 5, 2009

Leadership and Political Officials. Political parties are stable; five of the current seven have been represented in the parliament since 1921. The largest party, the Social Democrats, won 36 percent of the vote in the 1998 election. Closely allied with the labor movement, the Social Democrats have been in power, singly or in a coalition, for sixty of the last sixty-nine years. The current administration depends on the support of the Left Party—a democratic-socialist, eco-feminist party—and the environmentalist Green Party. The rival of this alliance is the Moderate Party, which received 23 percent of the vote in 1998. Supported by the well-to-do and by industry, the Moderates work for tax cuts, welfare-state retrenchment, and increased military expenditure. Three smaller parties—Christian Democratic, Center, and Liberal—join the Moderates in the bourgeois bloc.

Elections are noted for high voter turnout, effective shielding against corruption by monied interests, and a focus on contested issues rather than personalities. A demanding standard of financial honesty is expected of politicians, and even small-scale tax evasion or misuse of an expense account can lead to removal from office. An elected official may be unfaithful in marriage, but to get caught driving while intoxicated could mean the end of a political career.

A tradition of public access to official documents dates back to the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766. Any individual has a right to see almost any document in national or local government files. There are exceptions to protect the privacy of individuals, but the state’s power to classify documents as national-security secrets is strictly limited.

Social Problems and Control. The legal system is less elaborately codified than continental European systems but less reliant on case-law precedents than is Anglo-American law. New legislation is prepared with the help of official commissions of inquiry that produce exhaustive published reports. Judges, administrators, and lawyers later refer to these reports when interpreting the law. Civil and criminal cases are tried in a three-tiered court system, and a parallel system exists for proceedings concerning public administration. In certain kinds of cases, professional judges are joined on the bench by elected lay assessors (nämndemän) who participate in deliberations with the judges. There are no executions, and prison is reserved principally for those who commit violent crimes. Fines are issued in proportion to the income of the guilty party.

Sweden invented the ombudsman in 1809. An ombudsman is an independent public official who hears complaints from citizens, investigates abuses, and seeks to ensure that authorities follow the law and that citizens’ rights are protected. In addition to four general ombudsmen appointed by the parliament, there are specialized ombudsmen for children’s rights, disabled persons’ rights, consumer issues, journalistic ethics, equal opportunities for women and men, prevention of ethnic discrimination, and prevention of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Scrupulous compliance with laws and social conventions is widespread because of moral pressure from fellow citizens. Considerable conscientiousness is generated by conversations between adults and children concerning moral and social issues. Violence is condemned, gun ownership is carefully regulated, and the media describes with horror the massacres that occur in other countries.

A vexing social problem during the last decade has been racist violence by right-wing extremists. A small number of young men, often from troubled homes, become “skinheads,” neo-Nazis, or motorcycle-gang members. Their attacks on nonwhite immigrants and proimmigrant journalists and public servants have provoked public outrage. Antiracist sentiments are expressed in marches and rallies, journalistic reports, educational campaigns, and government investigations.

Military Activity. The nation has not been at war since 1814. An official policy of “nonalignment in peace aiming at neutrality in war” enabled the country to avoid being drawn into the twentieth century’s world wars. During the Cold War, Sweden had the ability to make an atomic bomb but chose not to do so. Situated between the two antagonistic superpower blocs, the country preserved its independence by means of technologically sophisticated conventional armed forces, civilian-based defense programs, and diplomatic efforts to build solidarity among nonaligned nations as a counterbalance to the superpowers. These policies have continued, with a reduction in military expenditure, since the end of the Cold War.

Current debates concern arms manufacture and conscription. To facilitate nonalignment by avoiding dependence on foreign suppliers, the country has a robust weapons industry. It accounts for less than 1 percent of exports but is strongly opposed by the thousands of residents who engage in international peacemaking efforts. The key questions about conscription are whether to extend it to women or to abolish it in favor of professional, voluntary armed services.

Sources :

http://www.everyculture.com/Sa-Th/Sweden.html


Human Rights In Sweden

January 5, 2009

In Sweden, human rights are primarily protected through three Constitutional laws: the Instrument of Government, the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. Freedom of the press has been protected in the Constitution since the 18th century and this right is one of the oldest in the country.

Constitutional law
Protection of human rights is primarily dealt with in the first two chapters of the Instrument of Government. The first chapter establishes that public power should be exercised with respect for the equal worth of all and for the freedom and dignity of the individual. It goes on to state that public authority should especially safeguard the right to work, housing and education and should promote social welfare, security and a good environment for people to live in.

Basic rights and freedoms
The second chapter includes regulations on basic rights and freedoms, such as, for example, positive and negative freedoms of opinion, and physical integrity. The same chapter makes it clear that laws and other regulations may not lead to any citizen being disadvantaged because he/she belongs to a minority, in terms of race, skin colour or ethnic origin. It goes on to state that laws and other regulations may not lead to any citizen being disadvantaged because of his/her gender, unless the regulation is part of attempts to achieve equality between men and women or applies to military service or similar compulsory service. Other statutes of the constitution describe conditions in which encroachments on the right to engage in business are permitted, and legally regulate Sami rights to engage in reindeer husbandry. The right to free basic education in state schools is also protected in the Swedish Constitution.

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Restrictions on rights and freedoms
The second chapter of the Instrument of Government also includes regulations on basic rights and freedoms in which restrictions may be permitted, the form for decisions on such restrictions and the general principles that must be observed when imposing a restriction. A restriction must be supported by the law, and may only be imposed to achieve objectives that are acceptable in a democratic society. A restriction may not go beyond the bounds necessary to achieve its purpose or be so extensive that freedom of opinion, one of the fundamental bases of democracy, is threatened. Nor may a restriction be imposed solely because of political, religious, cultural or other beliefs. For specific rights and freedoms, there are further regulations on restrictions.

The rights of aliens
For the most part, aliens have the same status as Swedish citizens, but may be subject to special legislation, as may be seen in the second chapter of the Instrument of Government.

In addition to the Swedish Constitution, many Swedish laws and regulations at other levels are of practical significance for the basic rights and freedoms of the individual. This applies to a number of different laws and regulations involving, for example, health and medical care, the social services, penal care, protection against various forms of discrimination, the educational system and trials of criminal and civil cases.

The European Convention
Since 1995, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms has been incorporated into Swedish law (SF: 1994:1219). A statute has been included in the Instrument of Government that states that laws and other regulations may not be enacted in contravention of Sweden’s commitments under the Convention. Laws enacted before the Convention was incorporated into Swedish legislation must be interpreted in accordance with the Convention and existing practice. Legislation enacted later may not contravene the Convention or existing practice.

The EU sphere of competence
Several issues lying within the sphere of competence of the EU are very closely linked with human rights. This is the case, for example, with asylum and gender equality policies. When legislation originating directly from EU institutions is to be implemented in Sweden, either via directives to be imposed or ordinances to be applied directly, it is important that the human rights perspective is included. This concept is emphasised by the fact that in Nice in December 2000, the European Council proclaimed the statute on fundamental rights, the so-called European Charter on fundamental human rights. The statute is a political declaration.

Sweden has signed and ratified most of the documents involving human rights within the UN, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Council of Europe. Responsibility for ensuring that human rights are not violated rests with the Government, and central government and local administration. However, it is not only the Government’s work on improving the promotion and protection of human rights that is important. A number of other actors in society, both public and private, contribute in their work to the promotion and protection of human rights.

The Delegation for Human Rights in Sweden
A delegation is established to support the long-term work to ensure full respect for human rights in Sweden, on the basis of the Government’s written communication A National Action Plan for Human Rights 2006–2009 (Govt. Comm. 2005/06:95). Under its mandate, the Delegation will:

-support government agencies, municipalities and county councils in their work to ensure full respect for human rights in their activities,
-develop and implement strategies to increase information and knowledge about human rights in various target groups in society, partly by coordinating the EU initiative European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and the Council of Europe campaign All Different – All Equal in Sweden,
– stimulate public debate on human rights, and
– present proposals on how to provide continued support to work towards ensuring full respect for human rights in Sweden after the Delegation has completed its mandate.

The Delegation will submit a final report on its work to the Government no later than 31 March 2010.

Sources :

http://www.manskligarattigheter.se


Administrasi Publik di Swedia

December 22, 2008

Penulis mendapatkan ide penulisan artikel ini dari beberapa teman yang berasal dari Jankoping, Swedia serta perkuliahan dari Bapak Pius Suratman Kartasasmita, Ph.D di Universitas Katolik Parahyangan, Bandung sekitar tahun 2006.

Administrasi Publik sebagai sebuah sistem serta model pemerintahan memberikan gambaran sebuah negara berikut dengan sistem pemerintahan, birokrasi dan parlemen. Swedia, salah satu negara di kawasan Skandinavia dapat dijadikan pembanding dalam hal sistem administrasi publik, khusus nya dengan Indonesia.

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Swedia adalah negara demokratik dengan sistem parlementer yang disebut dengan The Riksdag. Swedia juga merupakan negara monarki dengan raja nya yaitu, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Sistem pemerintahan dipegang langsung oleh perdana menteri, namun meski begitu King Carl XVI Gustaf tetap memiliki kekuatan politik yang cukup besar, serta merepresentasikan sebuah kekuasaan.

The Riksdag dengan 149 anggota nya, merumuskan kebijakan-kebijakan pajak, pengeluaran anggaran pemerintah, serta mendukung kegiatan pemerintah.

The Riksdag juga menunjuk perdana menteri, yang kemudian menyusun kabinet beserta menteri-menteri nya. Bersama dengan perdana menteri, The Riksdag juga membentuk sebuah pemerintahan. Pemerintahan yang mengatur negara bertanggung jawab kepada The Riskdag.

Kemudian, keputusan-keputusan politik diimplementasikan oleh beberapa pemegang kekuasaan, yaitu administrasi dan perusahaan publik (BUMN).

Sistem Administrasi Pemerintahan di Swedia : Bentuk Tiga Tingkatan

Swedia memiliki tiga tahapan di pemerintahannya yaitu: Nasional, Regional dan Lokal. Sebagai tambahan, ini adalah bentuk yang dibutuhkan di Eropa untuk kepentingan setelah Swedia masuk ke dalam Uni-Eropa. Pemilihan umum atas anggota dewan pusat dan daerah diselenggarakan setiap 4 tahun, para pemilih memilih siapa yang akan duduk di pemerintahan dan administrasi.

Level Nasional

Pada Level Nasional, masyarakat Swedia direpresentasikan oleh The Riksdag yang memiliki kekuatan legislatif (DPR). Rancangan Undang-Undang yang dibuat oleh pemerintah yang berupa implementasi-implementasi pengambilan keputusan disahkan oleh The Riksdag. Pemerintah mendapatkan bantuan dari The Riksdag dalam menjalankan negara, menentukan jumlah kementerian, dan 300 agen pemerintah pusat dan persoalan administrasi publik.

Level Regional

Swedia di bagi atas 21 propinsi (negara bagian). Persoalan politik di dalam level ini dipegang oleh Dewan propinsi, yang merupakan para pembuat keputusan yang di pilih langsung oleh masyarakat setempat. Beberapa kekuasaan publik juga dioperasikan pada level regional dan local, contohnya adalah permasalahan perbatasan propinsi.

Level Lokal

Swedia memiliki 290 kabupaten / daerah (municipalities). Setiap daerah memiliki agenda pemilihan sendiri, dewan daerah, yang mengambil keputusan dalam masalah-masalah daerah. Dewan daerah membentuk dewan eksekutif daerah, yang memimpin dan mengkoordinasikan pekerjaan daerah.

Tambahan : Level Eropa

Ketika masuk ke dalam Uni-Eropa pada tahun 1995, Swedia membentuk level pemerintahan yang berkelanjutan : level eropa. Sebagai anggota Uni-Eropa, Swedia bertugas dalam mengambil bagian di dalam proses pembuatan keputusan ketika peraturan persemakmuran disusun dan disetujui.

Sweden Continent

Swedia juga direpresentasikan oleh pemerintahannya di dalam kementerian untuk dewan eropa yang mana merupakan anggota dari struktur pembuat keputusan di dalam Uni-Eropa.

Divisi Pertanggungjawaban antar level dari pemerintah

Konstitusi Swedia memiliki hak provisi dalam mendefinisikan hubungan antara pembuat keputusan dan kekuatan eksekutif. Pemerintahan lokal swedia tahun 1992 meregulasikan divisi ini kedalam minicipalities dan organisasi serta kekuatan municipalities dan dewan daerah.

Divisi ini dibagi berdasarkan tugas antara pemerintahan pusat dan daerah yang telah berubah selama beberapa tahun belakangan ini. Aktivfitasnya secara langsung telah didelegasikan dari pemerintah pusat ke pemerintah daerah.

Pemerintah telah menunjuk komite parlemen, komite pertanggungjawaban sektor publik, yang telah diinstruksikan untuk mengawasi divisi pertanggungjawaban antar level pemerintahan.

Sources :
Swedish Public Administration – http://www.sjv.se/home/swedishpublicadministration.4.7502f61001ea08a0c7fff131176.html
http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/2858


IKEA : Integrated Information Achitecture

December 20, 2008

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IKEA is a privately-held, international home products retailer that sells flat pack furniture, accessories, bathrooms and kitchens at retail stores around the world. The company, which pioneered flat-pack design furniture at affordable prices, is now the world’s largest furniture manufacturer.

The company distributes its products through its retail outlets. The chain has 293 stores in 36 countries, most of them in Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia and Australia. 2006 saw the opening of 16 new stores. A total of at least 30 openings or relocations are planned for 2008. IKEA is one of the few store chains to have locations both in Israel and in other Middle Eastern nations.

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IKEA was founded in Älmhult, Sweden, in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, when he was 17. The acronym IKEA is incidentally similar to the Greek word οικία [oikia] (home) and to the Finnish word oikea (true, correct, right), but was originally an abbreviation for “Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd” which is the initial letters of his first and last name, the farm where he grew up and the town he lived in.

Originally, IKEA sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewelry and nylon stockings or practically anything Kamprad found a need for that he could fill with a product at a reduced price. Furniture was first added to the IKEA product range in 1948 and, in 1955, IKEA began to design its own furniture. The company motto is: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

At first, Kamprad sold his goods out of his home and by mail order, but eventually a store was opened in the nearby town of Älmhult. It was also the location for the first IKEA “warehouse” store which came to serve as a model for IKEA establishments elsewhere. On 23 March 1963, the first store outside Sweden was opened in Asker, a Norwegian municipality outside Oslo.

The first IKEA store was opened in Sweden in 1958. The first stores outside Sweden were opened in Norway (1963) and Denmark (1969). The 1970s saw the spread of stores to other parts of Europe, with the first store outside Scandinavia opening in Switzerland (1973), followed by Germany (1974). During the same decade, stores were opened in other parts of the world, including Japan (1974), Australia and Hong Kong (1975), Canada (1976) and Singapore (1978). Germany, with 43 stores, is IKEA’s biggest market, followed by the United States, with 34. IKEA now has 293 stores in 36 countries. However, the company has thus far not shown much of a presence in the developing countries.

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*World Map showing locations of IKEA stores in 2007. Green represents countries with stores in operation and blue shows proposed locations.

Product

Furniture

IKEA furniture is well known for its modern, utilitarian design. Much of IKEA’s furniture is designed to be assembled by the consumer rather than being sold pre-assembled. IKEA claims this permits them to reduce costs and use of packaging by not shipping air; the volume of a bookcase, for example, is considerably less if it is shipped unassembled rather than assembled. This is also a practical point for many of the chain’s European customers, where public transport is commonly used; the flat-pack distribution methods allow for easier transport via public transport from the store to a customer’s home for assembly.

IKEA contends that it has been a pioneering force in sustainable approaches to mass consumer culture. Kamprad refers to the concept as “democratic design,” meaning that the company applies an integrated approach to manufacturing and design (see also environmental design). In response to the explosion of human population and material expectations in the 20th and 21st century, the company implements economies of scale, capturing material streams and creating manufacturing processes that hold costs and resource use down, such as the extensive use of particle board. The intended result is flexible, adaptable home furnishings, scalable both to smaller homes and dwellings as well as large houses.

Houses

IKEA has also expanded their product base to include flat-pack houses, in an effort to cut prices involved in a first-time buyer’s home. The product, named BoKlok was launched in Sweden in 1996 in a joint venture with Skanska. Now working in the Nordic countries and in UK, sites confirmed in England include London, Manchester, Leeds, Gateshead and Liverpool.

Family Mobile

On 8 August 2008, IKEA UK launched Family Mobile – a virtual mobile phone network which uses the T-mobile network.

Family Mobile is available to all UK IKEA Family members and offers UK calls for 9p per min and UK text messages for 6p each, with a minimum initial top up of £10. According to IKEA this made the network the cheapest pay as you go operator in the UK at time of launch – “at least 25 per cent cheaper than any other comparable prepay offer.” The service targets families and allows customers a number of SIM cards per account, so credit is shared among the different lines. Customers can order a free SIM at the Family Mobile website familymobile.co.uk.

As part of the launch for the service all 9500 UK employees were given a free mobile phone along with a free Family Mobile SIM card with £5 credit pre-loaded on 5 August 2008.

Manufacturing

Although IKEA household products and furniture are designed in Sweden, they are largely manufactured in developing countries to keep down costs. With suppliers in 50 countries, roughly 2/3 of purchasing is from Europe with about 1/3 from Asia. A small amount of products are produced in North America. Comparatively little production actually takes place in Sweden, though it still remains the fourth-largest supplier country (behind China, Poland and Italy). China accounts for about 2.5 times as much supply as Sweden. For most of its products, the final assembly is performed by the end-user (consumer).[Source : www.wikipedia.org]

Integrated Information Achitecture

Ikea’s actual approach to information is managed in different ways, according to the context: either the products’ catalogue, the website or the retail stores.

They begin by choosing their products at home on the website or on the paper catalogue, then they collect their products at the store, and the final step would be to assemble the items by themselves.

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For this reason it is even more important to create bridge experiences, which facilitate the passage from one domain to another.

– The Catalogue

The annual products’ catalogue is built on a hierarchic-enumerating classification: 15 classes highlighted by different colours and relative subclasses.

Characteristics:

Use of several division’s criteria.
Interference of different categories causing products’ repetitions displays.
No hierarchical relation of some subclasses with related classes (for example Flooring is under the class Textiles).
Labelling imprecision, found in the Italian catalogue, causes confusion and doubts, then…

“We can affirm that the catalogue’s information architecture is theoretically incoherent and chaotic, from a scientific point of view”

– The Matter of Coherence

Does this classification works anyway for Ikea customers?
Is it suitable for Ikea context?

  1. The main catalogue’s classes are created on customer’s demands and human cognitive models. For example:A potential buyer looking for a double bed will normally refer to the class “Bedroom”. But if the same customer wants to buy a cot for his baby, the same category wouldn’t be so obvious. The class “Children’s IKEA”, in this case, is a more appropriate reference.
  2. The categories’ order follows the degree of importance: the first ones are the most marketable according to business strategies and sales.

“The taxonomy is perfectly coherent

from the empiric-pragmatic point

of view,which is the most

important to make the information

retrieval easier”


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– Redesigning The Catalogue

In order to overcome the hierarchical relations’ infraction and ambiguous labelling problems, it’s important:
to create clear and suitable labels in appropriate language
to establish subclasses for each class in order to respect human mental associations
to avoid classes’ crossover

So, the new catalogue’s taxonomy should introduce these changes:
Kitchen” and “Dining” categories can be combined, as it happens inside the retail store. The same criterion can be used for “Wardrobes” and “Beds”: people usually associate them because of a matter of space. Someone who decides to buy furniture at Ikea, probably is not the owner of a big, luxury house.
Bigger attention to imprecise labels translation (found in the Italian catalogue) which may lead to misunderstandings and wrong interpretation.
Elimination of “Buying guides” category at the end of the catalogue. The technical information would be better consultable if attached at the end of each.

Source :

– Davide Potente & Erika Salvini, “Apple, IKEA and their integrated information Architecture” Presentation. Europe’s Fourth Information Architecture Summit Amsterdam, September 26-27 2008. Available at http://davidepotente.com/apple_ikea_integrated_ia.pdf