4. “The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy.”
This quote, spoken by Blomkvist to an interviewer during the novel’s epilogue, sums up his cynical view of the Swedish economy and also underscores the nature of the economy as a system ripe for corruption. The stock market hinges on the words and actions of a small percentage of wealthy men, and as a result, allows those wealthy men unimaginable power and influence over the economy. It also, we learn, gives them power over the media. Throughout the novel, men like Bjurman, Wennerström, and Henrik have the ability to manipulate events because of that power, and they do so at will. No actual products are being bought and sold, but rather huge sums of money are passed back and forth, raising up some companies and destroying others, based on the decisions of these wealthy men. Consequently, Blomkvist maintains that the Stock Exchange is something of a fiction that they control.
Blomkvist also deliberately speaks these words in order to prove the societal need for investigative journalism and astute, observant reporters. Because the Swedish economy seems ripe for corruption, and because the men who run it have an interest in keeping themselves in power, he maintains that journalists must exist as watchdogs in order for the system to function properly and ethically. Blomkvist clearly considers himself one of those journalistic watchdogs. Therefore, not only does this claim reify Blomkvist’s status as a reporter and Millennium’s importance as a political magazine, it also works to restore the credibility Blomkvist lost due to his libel conviction. This quote essentially concludes Blomkvist’s evolution from a discredited reporter into a respectable, ethical journalist and establishes a new relationship between the journalistic and financial communities. While journalists previously disregarded or benefited from the rampant excesses of the system, they now have a mandate to check and correct them.