Tuesday, 13 February 2018

New report: The Nordic region is strong and growing


 
Stockholm, Sweden,  Nordic Region
Stockholm. Credit: Baltic Media 
By 2030, the Nordic Region is expected to have around 29 million inhabitants, an increase of more than 10%. The Nordic economy is doing well and despite the various challenges linked to ongoing global market changes, the Nordic’s recovery rate after the economic crisis has been impressive. You can read about this and more in the latest version of State of the Nordic Region.

The Nordic population is growing and it is increasingly concentrated in urban settlements. The average age of the population is also increasing, while a growing share of people have a foreign background. All of these trends are expected to continue in the years to come.
By 2030, the Nordic Region is expected to have around 29 million inhabitants, an increase of more than 10% from the current 26 million. Over the past ten years, the population has grown quicker but also aged faster than in many other European regions. This process does not however affect all Nordic municipalities in equal measure. Growth is largely concentrated in the urban areas, while many remote and sparsely populated areas face population decline and high rates of population ageing.
Immigration accounts for a large part of the population increase. Indeed, roughly 26% of all Nordic municipalities increased their population between 2011 and 2016 only due to international migration. As such, questions relating to how the integration of newcomers can be best facilitated have gained increasing relevance and will undoubtedly remain of central concern in the years to come.

A varied, but strong economy

The Nordic countries are generally performing well above the EU average when it comes to economic development, despite the ongoing impact of the economic crisis. From a macro-regional perspective, the Nordics constitute a very coherent region. Nevertheless, large and economically significant variations remain at the regional level.
Below the national level, many of the sparsely populated or inland municipalities are falling further behind the main metropolitan areas. Despite this, the northern parts of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden all rank very highly on the more broadly focused European Social Progress Index.
The Nordics also remains an attractive destination for foreign investment, accounting for 7% of Europe’s total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in-flows, despite constituting only a small segment of the European population (less than 4%).
Overall, the Nordic economy is doing well and despite the various challenges linked to ongoing global market changes, the Nordic’s recovery rate after the economic crisis has been impressive.
The Nordic countries are generally performing well above the EU average when it comes to economic development, despite the ongoing impact of the economic crisis.

A thriving, but partly segregated labour market

The Nordic Region has recovered strongly from the financial crisis. Sweden boasts the highest employment rate in the EU while Iceland has the highest rate in all of Europe. A high employment rate for women stand out and remains a basic feature of Nordic labour markets. Finland and Denmark have each seen their labour force diminish in absolute numbers since 2008, while Norway’s has stabilized.
The Nordic model, with its wage structures and low share of unskilled jobs, makes integration into the labour market challenging for newly arrived immigrants.  All in all, the labour market in the Nordic Region is doing well but in a continually changing economic landscape, significant challenges remain.
We see Iceland and Faroe Islands performing very strongly, whereas Denmark and Sweden have stabilized.


Read more: Norden.org

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Science Says These are the Oldest 16 Words in the English Language

English language translation
Credit: Storyblocks
They've lasted over 15,000 years.

Not a lot of things last over a thousand years; even fewer last over 10,000.
Yet a British research team has put together a list of what they called "ultraconserved words," or words that have remained basically unchanged for a stunning 15,000 years.
The researchers say this is because they all originate from the same ancient mother tongue -- a language used toward the end of the last ice age. That language tumbled from its tower of Babel to become seven language families, which all sound like they're out of Game of Thrones: Altaic, Chukchi-Kamchatkan, Dravidian, Inuit-Yupik, Indo-European, Kartvelian, and Uralic.
The 700 modern languages used by more than half of earth's population descend from those seven original families. Researchers scanned them for cognates: words that sound and mean the same things in different languages, like "father" -- padre, pere, pater, pitar, etc. From those, they put together proto-words, or what they believed were the cognates' ancestral form.
Ultimately, they found 23 words shared by at least four of the seven language families, making them the oldest and longest-lasting words in English. Here they are in all their ancient -- and modern -- glory:
1. Thou
The singular form of "you," this is the only word that all seven language families share in some form. As soon as language evolved, we would have needed to identify each other, and specifically to refer to the person to whom we were speaking.
2. I
Similarly, you'd need to talk about yourself. Plus, what's the use of language if not to talk about yourself?
3. Mother
The last cry of most soldiers dying on the battlefield is "Mom," so it's no wonder that it's a primal word. It's also an interesting non-pair on the list: "mother" makes it, but "father" doesn't.
4. Give
Human survival has always been predicated on our ability to cooperate. Teamwork in early civilizations wasn't a nice-to-have -- you died without it. "I was really delighted to see 'to give' there," study head Mark Pagel said. "Human society is characterized by a degree of cooperation and reciprocity that you simply don't see in any other animal. Verbs tend to change fairly quickly, but that one hasn't."
5. Bark
As in from a tree, not a dog. Anthropologists suggest this was a particularly important element of early civilizations because it was used to make baskets, rope, and, when boiled in water, medicine. In fact, aspirin was originally willow bark tea.
6. Black
Likely because in its original form, it helped early humans distinguish the light of day from the black of night. Another non-pair: "black" makes the list but "white" doesn't.
7. Fire
Light, warmth, security, a way to cook, a way to keep the wolves away. For a long time (and for many, to this day), fire was the greatest tool for survival. It was the best way to keep the "black" at bay.
8. Ashes
Makes sense, given how critical fire was.
9. Spit
What happens when you try to eat ashes.
10. Man/Male
The fact that "woman" doesn't make the list gives one pause, and may point to the linguistic reality of the patriarchy that has ruled much of the planet for thousands of years.
11. Hand
After our brains, arguably the most important body part for a human being, especially with its accompanying opposable thumbs.
12. Hear
There were all kinds of things we needed to hear: the approaching footsteps of a predator; the sound of prey fleeing; the sound of a baby's cries.
13. Flow
Unclear why this was so foundational, but perhaps it had to do with another fundamental element required for survival: water.
14. Old
Wisdom is essential when it comes to survival. The old people in a tribe were respected and listened to, for the simple fact that they had seen more and therefore knew more. Our modern culture would do well to reinstate this kind of respect.
15. This
Probably because you'd need to be able to specify that you meant this rock.
16. That
Not that rock.
---
"The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself." - Derek Walcott
Read more:Inc.com