Minor irritation

I had yet another really boring dream. This time, the van ran out of diesel in Wiltshire. I got the spare fuel tank and walked to a nearby garage. Came back, filled it up, it worked.


And my citizenship application has been approved, so I am just one singing of the national anthem away from officially being a Kiwi.

EDIT: Just got caught in an icy shower. It was cold enough that the scars on my face started hurting, which is a new and entirely unpleasant experience.

And this week’s editorial:


Just as globalisation is changing where we make goods, it is changing where we do research, concludes a large study on ‘The Internationalization of Corporate R&D’ (see http://www.itps.se/Items/Textmall.asp?itemId=2274&secId=1035) carried out by the Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies. Research is less globalised than manufacturing, but that is rapidly increasing.

We have a tendency in New Zealand to want to do things ourselves, witness the kerfuffle over Icebreaker and others moving production overseas, or of Navman being bought by Brunswick. In contrast, the Swedes are quite proud that over 40% of their research is foreign-controlled. So what if Swedes don’t own the IP? The research work is still done in Sweden, employing scientists and helping Sweden build critical mass in the research areas that Sweden does best.

Why is Sweden so successful at getting other nations to pay Swedes to do research for them? They have the usual technological and regulatory enablers, great ICT and transport links, clear and lightweight laws governing innovation and commercialisation, but lots of nations have that these days. What gives Sweden an edge? The authors point to five areas where they need to stay ahead:
1. Ensure the quality of the education and research system
2. Create conditions for excellent R&D and innovation environments
3. Develop proactive strategies for R&D internationalisation
4. Develop stronger national attraction policies
5. Support the inflow of foreign talent and international skills of domestic students

One advantage, according to the study, is a basic one – the quality of their education system. The Swedes spend far more, per child, than almost any other nation. Correspondingly, Swedes have more PhDs than any other nation. 30% of those are in science and engineering. New Zealand is below OECD averages for all those measures. The other advantage is that research is a winner-take all market. Researchers and research companies head for clusters, cities and countries renowned for their research strength. Sweden spends 4% of GDP on research; New Zealand spends 1.16%. Who do you think is going to win?

18 thoughts on “Minor irritation”

  1. here, let me help

    God of Nations
    Smell my feet!
    Give me something good to eat
    Hear our voices, tweet tweet tweeet
    God defend our toilet seat!

    There yah go mate, no worries.

          1. Re: here, let me help

            Can’t think of a mocking version of God Save the Queen, though there must have been many. But instead:

            “But in Britain we don’t win many gold medals at the Olympics… because we’ve chosen not to! It’s a political statement! Because we hate our national anthem. Because it’s “God Save the Queen,” you see? “God Save the Queen.” Now the Queen lives in a very big house, she has barbed wire outside, and people with guns in front of that. That’s one saved fucking queen, I’ll tell you! That’s the problem! She’s overly saved! She has no idea of the struggle of human existence. We have to work for a living, raise a family… we don’t have nannies all running around the place. It’s what you’ve got to do in your life, you know? So it’s “God Save the Queen.” No! It’s too saved. It’s “God Attack the Queen,” that’s what it should be! ( singing ) “God attack the Queen, send big dogs after her that bite her bum. Let them chase after her and rip her knickers off…” That’d be fantastic! Then she’d have to fight the crazy dog with a handbag with a brick inside of it.

            “Crazy dog! Crazy dog!”

            “Arrgghh, kill the Queen!”

            “No – crazy dog!”

            And maybe she’d kill the crazy dog and everyone in Britain would go, “Hey, fair play to the Queen,- killed the crazy dog.” And the Queen would have self-respect for the first time in her life! Yes. It would work. It’d be fantabulous.”

      1. i’m quite happy that here in NZ my skillset results in stable and well paid employment… back in the US i was in constant danger of being outsourced (to India)

        1. Well, NZ immigration policies let in the best-qualified, so pushing down wages for doctors, lawyers, programmers and the rest. So that should redistribute wealth downwards, at least within NZ.

          And outsourcing might have lowered wages in the US, but its raised about a hundred million people in India out of poverty.

          Overall, I have no idea.

          1. in the grand scheme of things, outsourcing from the US into India pushed me into NZ.

            economics is strange that way

  2. Just sayin

    I think it’s hilarious that you have to sing for your citizenship. Especially a song that is so well-designed to bring out all the flaws in your singing voice.

    Congratulations, by the way. 😉

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