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A Swede in Germany

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Some follow-ups based on receipts (and some thoughts on VAT)

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Sorting my private and business receipts for the past quarter for my VAT declaration, I found two that have some impact on past texts:

My receipt from the the Swedish book sale:

As I see from the receipt, the VAT on books (and in general) in Sweden is an absurd 25 %. The German rate is a more civilized rebated 7 % (to a standard rate on most products of 19 %—already very hard to defend).

This is something that I failed to consider when complaining about prices, and it does explain a portion of the price disparity. Say, for easy numbers, that the pre-VAT price of a book is 10 Euro (or its equivalent in SEK). Then the post-VAT price is respectively 10.70 and 12.50. At least for cheaper books, this might explain most of the difference in price. For more expensive, unfortunately, the lion’s part remains.

(A completely fair comparison would also consider factors like purchasing power, but that would require too much research. However, for the record, the purchasing power of low earners tends to be higher in Sweden, but that of high earners lower, relative Germany.)

My receipt from the post-flight meal from my Finnair fiasco:

In the text, I write that “We hit the ground again at 18:48; the time until official landing was obviously longer, and likely left us still about an hour late (scheduled landing was 17:55).” and “At this point, I had no eye on the time anymore, but I was likely done [with the meal] shortly before eight.”.

The receipt claims that my “tab” was opened 19:09 and closed 19:47. Add a few minutes before and after, and this would be a good estimate of my stay. The “shortly before eight” is verified, and the “about an hour late” seems plausible, as I had no checked luggage and could move fairly directly to the restaurant.

Excursion on VAT:
The above is a good illustration of one of my own pet theories: Governments like VAT, because the enormous amount of money diverted to the government usually flies under the radar.

With income tax, the earner knows that he has earned amount X*, but for some reason only received amount Y. Why? The government. With VAT, he sees the price tag including** VAT to begin with and if the price is too high, who is to blame? The store. (Or the manufacturer, capitalist greed, whatnot.) That the government might well be the single party earning the most money on the purchase, and might well be responsible for the lion’s share of the difference between end-price and accumulated costs, that does not register with most people.*** (And, cf. above, even those who are aware of it, might fail to consider it in all circumstances.) Assume, in contrast, that customers saw the pre-VAT price of products cited and, again and again, had to shell out that Swedish 25 % extra at the cashier’s. The acceptability of VAT, I suspect, would drop very considerably.

*However, this amount is also often distorted, if not so blatantly as with VAT. Consider e.g. the Swedish “arbetsgivaravgifter” or the portion of social-security and health-insurance the German employers pay on behalf of their employees. In both cases, the increase of employment costs push the nominal salary down by a similar amount, implying hat they are actually paid by the employee, but in such an indirect manner that many are unaware of it.

**At least in every country that I have made purchases in. From fiction, I have the impression that this is different in at least some parts of the U.S.

***This will depend on factors like the overall markup on an item and what business has charged what business what amount during production. Note hat Value Added Tax is fairly agnostic on how the value has been added, and treats hard work by employees no better than a luxury markup. (Of course, this is just looking at VAT, without factoring in e.g. the income tax on salaries and taxation of company profits. Overall, the government is almost always the main earner in e.g. Germany.)

Written by michaeleriksson

April 13, 2020 at 5:59 am

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Re-visiting the yearly Swedish book sale

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My very first post through WordPress, almost exactly ten years ago, was on the yearly Swedish book sale. A few days ago, in Sweden to renew my passport, I visited it again for the first time since (probably) 1997.

I left highly disappointed, managing to pick up only three books from one of Sweden’s largest bookstores*:

*The Akademibokhandel in central Stockholm. During a longer stay, I might or might not have tried some other bookstore.

  1. Most of the books for sale were uninteresting junk and/or targeted strictly to the mass-market. Among the exceptions, there was a considerable portion of “public domain” works that are available for free from online sources, e.g. works by Strindberg.
  2. The books on sale were mostly hardcover, giving a rebate on the heavily marked-up hardcover price, leaving the remaining price no better* than I would expect from a (non-rebated) pocket book. To this I note that pocket books are usually the superior format to begin with (and the more so in my current case, as I was trying to save weight for my flight). Indeed, there were several books that I at least would have investigated further, had they, even at the same price, been in pocket. (But also a few that were too large to be suitable for the pocket format and which I might have been interested in, had I not had the airplane to worry about.)

    *I have, obviously, not made an in-depth comparison and the individual book might have rated higher, lower, or roughly the same. The point is that by just buying pocket books, I would have had roughly the same price, even without the benefit of a sale.

  3. There were plenty of pocket books, but they were almost all in English and not part of the sale. (My focus was on Swedish books, for obvious reasons; however, in all fairness, the English sections were excellent by a German standard.)
  4. Among books not on sale, I was astounded by the price level, with prices far higher than in Germany or the U.S. Extremes included a one-volume dictionary for well over 500 SEK and a book of possibly eighty pages for more than 300 SEK.* Even outside the extremes, however, I again and again looked at a potentially interesting book, turned to the price, and decided that I was not going to buy it at 10-or-more Euro above what a comparable book would have cost in Germany. As I later understood my father, this high price level is not restricted to Akademibokhandeln but reflects industry practices in Sweden. (Also cf. my original post.)

    *As a rough rule-of-thumb Euro, Dollar, and (with a larger error) Pound equivalents can be reached by dividing by 10.

  5. While the non-fiction portions of the bookstore were considerably better than in the Wuppertal bookstores, they were not truly strong for what is supposed to be one of the largest bookstores in Sweden—and from a chain originally targeted at academia, at that. The large* Mayersche in near-Wuppertal Düsseldorf, e.g., is considerably stronger (even for fiction); compared to the Berlin Dussmann, a truly good bookstore, Akademibokhandeln is a complete joke.

    *Beware that the chain Mayersche has several stores in Düsseldorf alone, and that the rest are crap.

Written by michaeleriksson

February 29, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Tearful visits

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An unexpected side-effect of my visits to Sweden was a mixture of sorrow and nostalgia that had me on the verge of tears for most of the first few days in Kopparberg.

The largest reason was the respective deaths of my maternal grand-mother (2012) and mother (2017): This was my first visit to Kopparberg in a good many years and seeing their graves for the first time made their deaths real in a different manner. The effect and the feeling are hard to put in words, but imagine knowing that -X degrees is cold and then actually being exposed to -X degrees.

Moreover, seeing old places and things stirred up a great many memories of the two, some of which had not entered my mind this side of my move to Germany in 1997 (or even earlier). I did spend a fair amount of time thinking about them and our past history after their respective deaths, but memory is a tricky thing and there was so much that was simply not available without the right prompts. This especially when it came to older memories, from when I looked upon them as kind and caring figures through the eyes of a child, before the eyes of a teenager took over and turned them into annoying adults who just got in the way. (An unfortunate side-effect of my moving to Stockholm to study in 1994, and then to Germany, was a reduction in contacts, limiting my ability to look at them through an adult’s eyes and leaving the teenage view quite strong even twenty years later.)

Other deaths contributed too, especially as I went through old photos, including one or two that actually showed my parents and all four of my grand-parents at the same time—a meeting that must have been quite rare, as my paternal grand-father died when I was one or two years old and as all three families lived a good distance from each other. Of the six, only my father remains. (My maternal grand-father also died prematurely in 1982; my paternal grandmother more reasonably in 1994.) Then there were photos of Liza, the family dog, who had to be put down when I was a child, a cousin who died in his twenties, and his (also dead) father. (This not to mention a great number of less emotionally loaded dead people, e.g. a great-uncle that I had only ever met a handful of times.)

Then there were a lot of nostalgia and resurrection of memories in general (as opposed to those dealing with relatives). As the recurring reader knows, I have a weakness in this area and there were a great many triggers to process in a fairly short time. (See e.g. [1], [2] for some prior discussions.) This especially with an eye on the reason for my visits: My mother’s house was being sold, and I had to decide what of my childhood and teenage possessions I wanted to and realistically could bring back to Germany and what must ultimately be lost. Ditto remaining things from my mother and what she had kept from my maternal grand-parents. (More on this in a later text.)

Other areas of nostalgia and a feeling of loss were common, e.g. through what in the village had remained the same and what had changed over the years, including the closing of the school that I visited as a child, the one bookstore, and one of the two grocery stores (specifically, the one my mother and grand-mother always used). Generally, Kopparberg was quite small to begin with and has been heading downwards for decades—the current population is around three thousand.

In many ways, I had a few weeks to process emotions, make decisions, reach closure, etc. that others might have several decades for—as would I have had, had I remained in Sweden. (While I do not regret the move, especially as Sweden has been going downhill since then, I often wonder how my life would have turned out, had I stayed.)

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November 19, 2019 at 8:44 am

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Follow-up: Osthyvlar and cheese in Sweden and Germany

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I have earlier written about my disappointing experiences with osthyvlar in Germany.

Since then:

  1. My osthyvel was so over-challenged by a stubborn piece of cheese that it slipped, hit my left thumb, and sliced roughly half a cm2 of skin and flesh almost off. (The piece remained connected by a thin strip of skin on one side.) I used osthyvlar in Sweden from a fairly early childhood until I left for German at age 22, and nothing even remotely similar ever happened.

    Obviously, I resolved to never use this particular osthyvel again. Equally obviously, someone with no prior experiences, e.g. the typical German, would have been quite likely to curse osthyvlar as pointless and dangerous, making the introduction of this wonderful tool even harder than it already is (cf. the orginal text).

  2. The next few weeks, I took the opportunity to look for another osthyvel in any likely store that I came across. Most had none at all. The few that I found were usually severely over-priced. This includes other examples of the substandard model that I had rejected at 9.9x Euro and other models going up well above twenty Euro. This for an item that is basically quite cheap and can be had for just two or three Euro in Sweden,* and in a situation where it would make sense to buy several models for experimentation. At this point, I was torn between asking my father to send me a good model and just canceling the experiment entirely (note the other complications mentioned in the original text).

    *As with many such products, there is no real upper limit on price, be it in Sweden or Germany, and the functionality and quality does not correlate well with the price. The problem seems to be that the German stores only go for over-priced “design” or “brand” models (if any at all), while the Swedish market covers the entire spectrum.

  3. At this point, looking for something else, I stumbled upon a 3.9x Euro item in a store that I already had visited without success.* I bought one—and found it to be clearly superior to my original 9.9x Euro specimen, again proving that prices tell little about quality. Most of the issues in my original text remain, but slicing Emmentaler and (even young) Gouda is now possible without effort and risk.

    *Specifically, Kodi. I do not know whether this item will continue to be sold or whether it was a short-term experiment.

Excursion on a previous injury:
While I have never had any prior incident with an osthyvel, I did once get a similar cut through a knife (and on the same thumb): My first year in Germany, with little money and equipment, I used a too blunt (non-bread) knife to cut a too stale piece of bread. I held the bread in my hand to try to get more (for want of a better word) traction than on a cutting board. The knife slipped with considerable force and a similar result. With the knife, I was behaving stupidly and the result was, with hindsight, not that unexpected; with the osthyvel, I did nothing wrong and the event would not have taken place, had the osthyvel been of an acceptable quality.

On the upside, this time I was sufficiently wise to immediately press the almost-sliced-off piece back onto the wound and applying a band-aid. It reconnected very soon and the resulting scar looks to be a lot smaller than the last time around, even after adjusting for the smaller wound.

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November 1, 2019 at 3:50 pm

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Going my own ways

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One aspect of my visits to Sweden is the many recollections from my childhood brought forth.

This includes my having a long history of, literally or metaphorically, going my own ways and striving for independence* even as a child. For instance, my mother has repeatedly told me how I used to break out of my crib (“spjälsäng”), through pushing the laths (?) at the bottom aside and crawling out.

*From e.g. limits set by others, not necessarily when it comes to e.g. my parents providing dinner…

Other incidents include (ages are guesstimates):

  1. Age three or four, during a vacation, walking off into a forest, disappearing out of sight, and causing an impromptu search party of, possibly, a dozen people. I did not understand what the fuss was all about.
  2. Age five, during a mall visit, leaving my family for the great fun of an elevator ride, causing the party to split to try to cover all “escape routes”.
  3. Age five, walking well out of bounds with the family dog, only to be collected by my uncle, who happened to drive by.
  4. Age seven, taking my sister and attempting to run away, in order to not have to go somewhere*. My mother took the car and caught up in half a minute…

    *I have no idea about the where, but it likely was something boring or annoying, e.g. church.

This not to mention a great many (allowed) walks of various kinds. Indeed, a great annoyance to my mother was the restrictions by my förskola* that she had to drop me off in the morning and collect me in the afternoon—despite a distance of just a few hundred meters and despite my often going further on my own. There were even cases when my mother picked me up, dropped me of at home for a snack, and I was back, on foot and on my own, in the vicinity of the förskola half-an-hour later. Of course, in today’s over-protective climate, it is conceivable that my mother would have been considered negligent for allowing these walks…**

*Literally, “pre-school”. Going by Wikipedia, “Kindergarten” might hit the age group (around 6) better. While I am not aware of the exact background, these regulations were likely intended to protect the förskola or its employees from legal culpability, so that no child went missing “on their watch”. To boot, there was likely the aspect of one-size-MUST-fit-all that is so common among bureaucrats—not all children lived as close-by, and different rules for different children might have been unthinkable.

**Not to be confused with the first item above, where my parents actually might have been negligent.

Excursion on out of bounds:
For young me, there was a fairly wide and very long area around where I lived, visible on OpenStreetMap between Kyrkvägen and Bergmästaregatan, which had only one crossing street (a small one at that) and was considered solidly within bounds. (This area included the förskola.) In addition, the area northwards and to either side had very little traffic and was viewed with tolerance, especially the walk to Laxbrogatan and the part of it where my maternal grand-parents lived (close to the intersection with Källtorpsvägen).

For item 3 above, I likely started at my grand-parents’ and walked into the town center from there.

Excursion on school:
I do not remember how the first years of school were arranged. It is possible that I walked or drove a bike very early on; it is possible that my mother drove me the first one or two years (roughly, ages seven respectively eight). I do have a few recollections of car pooling, but I do not know whether that was a common occurrence or just a once-in-while thing. Either way, the roughly one mile distance was a matter of muscle power for most of my school years. (And, obviously, the rules for “out of bounds” rapidly grew laxer as I moved past six.)

Written by michaeleriksson

August 9, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Osthyvlar and cheese in Sweden and Germany

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During my visits to Sweden, I re-encountered one of my favorite inventions—the osthyvel.* This kitchen implement amounts to a (carpenter’s) plane for cheese, but in a more compact form, looking** a little like a cake and pie server with a bladed slit, which cuts and collects a slice of cheese.

*Going by Wikipedia, this might translate as “cheese slicer”, but it also claims that the osthyvel would be “very common” in Germany, where it is, in fact, a niche tool (as discussed in this text). I will stick to “osthyvel” (singular) and “osthyvlar” (plural) here. (Note, throughout, that I am weak in kitchen terminology and do not necessarily pick the optimal words.)

**At least in the standard model. I have seen some other versions over the year.

While ubiquitous in my native Sweden, it is quite rare in my adopted Germany, which has implications on e.g. how cheese is packaged and sold—big blocks of cheese for home slicing in Sweden and pre-sliced cheese in Germany. This, in turn, severely reduces the value of the osthyvel in Germany. Indeed, I spent the first 21 years here without bothering.

After my re-encounter, I decided to purchase one anyway and see where it took me—especially, because German cheese is sold in too thick slices that tend to over-power the taste of a sandwich*, use the cheese up unnecessarily fast, and are likely sub-optimal from a health perspective. To boot, these “value subtracted” slices come at a hefty price increase,** both through the smaller quantities per package*** and for the “service” of slicing—just like the coffee in a coffee pod is more expensive than regular coffee.

*For convenience, I will take “sandwich” to include toast, bread-rolls, and other breads where a slice of cheese might find use.

**Something of increased importance as I try to live cheaply as a struggling author.

***If in doubt, because the larger surface areas, post-slicing, reduce durability. 200 grams, less than half-a-pound, is a typical size, but smaller and larger quantities are available.

My new osthyvel has improved my cheese situation, but nowhere near as much as it could have: In order for it to be useful, I have to buy unsliced cheese. However:

  1. The selection of unsliced cheese in Germany is much smaller than in Sweden. Apart from some more expensive “special” cheeses, most super-markets appear to have only Gouda and Emmentaler (“Swiss cheese”)—and because of the holes and the small blocks, cf. below, Emmentaler is not much of an option. In other words, I am largely restricted to Gouda. (As it happens, Gouda is one of my favorite cheeses, but still…)

    Indeed, I strongly suspect that the unsliced market in Germany is simply not intended for sandwiches, instead aiming at e.g. cooking, grating, cubing, use on crackers, …

    In contrast, Sweden has an enormous variety of cheeses available. This does not just increase the customer’s ability to choose and prioritize, but has a two-fold positive effect on the price: Firstly, because unsliced cheese is not a rarity, there is a downwards price pressure through competition—there is no “niche effect” on the price. Secondly, there is a greater chance of finding something “on offer”. (Non-offer differences in price exist too, but are implicitly contained in the “prioritize” above.)

  2. The package sizes and, often, shapes are unfortunate for slicing, which requires more stability than e.g. cutting. For instance, the Goudas that I usually buy come in at about one pound, are shaped like very high pie slices, and still have the “crust” attached. The result of the former two is that it takes more skill to slice the cheese and that even an experienced slicer can see a portion of the cheese break off rather than be sliced (especially, on the narrow end of the “pie slice”). Indeed, I stick to specifically “medium old” Gouda for this reason—the “young” Gouda is softer and trickier.* The third, at least in combination with the “pie slice”, implies a bit of tricky cutting with a knife and/or a further waste of cheese.** (Emmentalers are more rectangular and without crust, but still have unfortunate proportions—and are, again, weakened further through holes.)

    *The “medium old” also tastes better, but both variety and the lower price might make me prefer “young ” on occasion. “Old” Gouda, the best tasting version, I have yet to see in unsliced form (in Germany).

    **I tried using my osthyvel to remove it, naturally, but this does not work as well as I had hoped. The curvature of the cheese is a particular problem.

    In contrast, Swedish cheeses often come in multi-pound varieties and, when not, have proportions and shapes that make them much more stable—e.g. in that the above “pie slice” of Gouda might have been replaced by a half or entire “pie” of Gouda, or even a larger block pre-cut into a more rectangular and crustless shape. The greater quantities also imply a better price relative weight.

    Disclaimer: It is possible that my (German bought) osthyvel is not the very best and that some of the above would go smoother with a replacement. Unfortunately, the very limited choices and often high prices in Germany make experimentation and comparison harder than in Sweden. Then again, I have no obvious reason to suspect a quality problem. (Going by price and optics, I might even have assumed clearly above average quality, but I know from experience that neither need say very much about a products “fitness for purpose”.)

The above refers to the situation in the self-service areas of more general stores: I have neither checked the “serviced” areas*, nor the specialist stores. Even if they were to have better options, I would likely still avoid them due to the increased effort, e.g. for having to waste time queuing twice. Moreover, one of the main advantages with a “bulk buy” would be a better price; however, in my impression, the former sell by weight without a quantity discount and with an implicit service surcharge, while the latter have a higher markup for reasons like targeting “refined” tastes and bigger pocketbooks, and smaller volumes of more choices.

*Where e.g. meet and cheese can be ordered by quantity, with or without additional cutting, from staff. This might or might not be “fresh-food counter”.

Remark:
Measured by importance, relevance, whatnot, this is not what I would have chosen for a first text. However, I am a little uncertain on how to begin and coordinate the (often over-lapping) others. This text gives me a start, if nothing else.

Excursion on coincidence vs. conspiracy:
The above is a good example of why it is important to not jump to conclusions about e.g. conspiracies, sex discrimination, or similar. (Cf. e.g. an old text on misunderstood discrimination in hair-salons.) It is tempting to look at the above and conclude that German stores deliberately make it hard to use an osthyvel—so that they can keep selling their over-priced and too-thick pre-sliced slices. Possibly, they do,* but another explanation is more likely, namely that Germany took a different turn than Sweden because the osthyvel was invented and spread too late.** A more likely case for cheese, is the thickness of the slices, but that too might have another explanation, e.g. that it is harder to make thinner slices by machine, that too thin slices are too perishable, or that consumer demand and the need for a one-slice-fits-all solution limit choice.

*There are cases, where I do consider such manipulations outright likely, but those are in the minority. An example is the removal of two-ply toilet papers from stores, which artificially limits access to a (superior, in my opinion) product that was present for a very long time. (While, in contrast, the mere introduction of higher ply-counts is not an example, even if it serves the same purpose.)

**The inventor was Norwegian, and the step to Sweden was considerably shorter. To boot, the invention appears to have taken place as late as 1925.

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August 3, 2019 at 12:56 am

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Follow-up: Changes to Swedish rape laws

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About a year ago, I wrote about a change to Swedish rape laws that threaten the Rechtsstaat and could interfere with “normal” behavior.

These concerns are validated by the recent first test of the law in the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen): a man has been convicted to eight months in jail on almost absurd grounds. To boot, these eight months were actually a shortening of a harsher punishment from lower courts.

Going by a Swedish source, a man visited a female online-acquaintance*. They consensually slept in the same bed, but the woman had originally declined sexual intercourse. During the night, the man still attempted sexual intercourse—and instead of making clear that she was not willing, the woman did and said nothing. After a while, the man drew the conclusion that she was unwilling, and stopped. (The source is not explicit on whether penetration had occurred at this stage.)

*It is not made clear what the purpose of this acquaintance was; however, it seems highly plausible that it had a long-term goal of romance or casual sex. The below holds even absent such a goal, but if the goal applies, it holds even more strongly.

For this comparatively trivial incident, the man was sentenced to eight (8!) months of jail on account of “negligent rape” (“oaktsam våldtäkt”).*

*Which in turns validates one of my detail concerns in the original text (look for “1 a §”)—that this newly introduced type of “rape” would lead to great complications with interpretation and whether the “rapist” would even be aware that he “raped”. Indeed, the lower courts had originally convicted him of regular rape; indeed, the man appears to not have considered his actions rape (even by the standards of the current law—by saner laws in a saner country, his innocence of rape would be highly likely, even if some other charge might have applied).

If anything, this “rape” incident proves how important it is that refusal, not consent, be explicit. Any sane person in the woman’s situation, absent any type of threat/violence/whatnot, would have clearly stated a refusal, pushed the other party away, or similarly made a disinterest clear. Moreover, if a man and woman (or two lesbians or two gays) land in bed together under such circumstances, no-one can be the least bit surprised if one of the parties “tries something”—and the other party (if not interested) must be prepared to react correspondingly. If the man above had tried the same thing in a “co-ed” sauna, I could have seen a point, depending on how fast* the situation escalated, because there are some types of behavior that are not typically encountered in a sauna—but here he consensually was in bed with a woman, and an entirely different set of reasonably likely behaviors apply.**

*I am uncertain exactly where to draw the line, but on the extremes a simple inquiry is perfectly OK (also cf. an example from my original text) while just jumping someone is not.

**But, knowing how the PC crowd tends to react, I stress that I do not say that sexual advances are a given in such a situation—just that they are sufficiently common and accepted that no-one can legitimately be surprised. Indeed, entirely platonic relationships and bed sharing is quite unusual among adult pairings of men and women.

This type of law also presents a major problem with interpreting when a set of actions moves from e.g. “making out” to “attempting sex”: Let us say that penetration had not occurred above: would it still be “rape”? What if the woman had at some point just kneed him the nuts and then run to the telephone to have him arrested: how do we now whether it was an attempted “rape” or just an attempted make-out session, given that we do not know where he would have stopped voluntarily? (Or, for that matter, whether he would have stopped, had she simply asked him…) In reverse, if penetration had taken place, is penetration that much worse than e.g. having a penis touch a thigh? Is a penis touching a thigh that much worse than a kiss?* Etc. Consider the Sorites paradox and tell me when we have or do not have a sand-heap/rape. With a clear signal from the unwilling party, that attentions are not welcome, we have an automatic, clear-cut border—without such a signal, we have guesswork and arbitrariness. Indeed, even in more general situations an “explicit consent” system is quite vulnerable to such problems, because it is virtually impossible for the one party to know when consent from the other is required (short of the absurdity of demanding consent for every single escalation of the situation). Do I need explicit consent to put my hand on a woman’s thigh? To pull her pants down? Only when I insert my penis? Moreover, if the situation above actually escalated so far that penetration took place, noting e.g. that both were originally in underwear, how can any reasonable person see a lack of protest as anything but consent. Who lets things go so far without actually being willing?!?

*In the reverse situation, depending on the woman, I might have been less on board with an unprompted kiss than e.g. an unprompted blow-job. Further, with roles reversed, is it only rape when a woman accomplishes penetration or is it enough that she e.g. grabs the penis? The law was obviously never truly intended to apply to women, but if and when it is applied to women, they might be even worse off than men.

For my part, I can only recommend visitors to Sweden to abstain from sex entirely and permanent residents to only have sex within long-term relationships or with actual paper-work to prove consent—anything else is too dangerous with this utterly idiotic law.

Excursion on misrepresentations/misunderstandings:
In the intervening year, I have seen several claims along the line that only with this law, consent became a requirement. This is a gross misrepresentation, be it out of incompetence or for rhetorical reasons: Consent was already needed. Was has changed is that the consent must be unnaturally explicit. I have repeatedly noted a similar tendency when it comes to e.g. Feminists to claim that a law that pushes the border too far would achieve something that already had been achieved by much older laws. (At least one earlier text, [1], deals with a similar topic.)

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July 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm

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