Friday night and the lights are low…

Scene from the program about Sweden on Counter Culture on SBS TV.

Scene from the program about Sweden on Counter Culture on SBS TV.

As I walked in the door tonight and turned on the television I was pleasantly surprised to see a show on SBS-TV about Sweden.

As part of their “Counter Culture” series which examines the “corporate identity” of different countries, they took a trip behind the scenes at IKEA, H&M, and of course ABBA got a mention too.

The central thesis for the program was that years of extreme poverty, followed by years of high affluence have influenced the nature of Swedish business. “We think that everyone should be able to afford good fashion”, said someone from H&M. Later, another commented, “That’s why in Sweden all the young people dress the same, and it doesn’t worry them. In some countries, everyone wants to look different, but that’s not the case in Sweden”.

Anyway, the program went on to explore the notion of national identity through the successful businesses that Sweden has produced, noting for example Sweden is the world’s number 3 country when it comes to music exports. “Sweden has punched beyond its weight for a long time”, someone noted at one point during the program.

And it all has to do with a democratic philosophy which not only rules the country, but also the way in which business is done.

“You’ve done cars. You’ve done fashion. You’ve done homewares. What’s next? The democratic supermarket?” the program’s host asked rhetorically.

So yes, it was a Friday night of watching internet and chatting to friends on the interweb.

I went out earlier to the Christmas Party at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School where I chatted for a while with Colin, a guy I went to school with who has gone on to become a writer, composer and sound artist.

But since the weather was so incredibly shitty, I decided to come home to rug up, watch some television, order a pizza, and chat with friends online.

  1. I never know what people mean when they say things are “democratic” when it’s something like a furniture shop or a supermarket. How is an ordinary company with shareholders who vote at an AGM not democratic.

    Anyway, have you been to that Swedish stationery store in Westfield BJ? Lots of swedish paper products!

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  2. Tom – I think what they meant was a combination of the way in which the business is run (not traditionally hierarchical) as well as their philosophy… “We think everyone should have access to good clothes”. And no, I haven’t been to the Swedish station store…. I don’t often go to Westfield BJ, but will head there soon. Are they Swedish people running the shop?

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  3. It was started by a swedish lady, but don’t think the staff are especially swedish… you’d probably confuse them if you practised your language!

    There are actually more stores than I thought – there’s also one in the QVB and Broadway: http://www.kikki-k.com.au/cart.php?page=stockist#NSW

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