Finnish economy day (Owen Hall)

Thursday, 21 of August 2008
Young Journalists’ blog (FCP 2008)
Owen Howell

On this day, we learnt about the economy and were hosted by Mr Mikko Koivumaa of Finfacts, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting Finnish business interests.

Mr Jussi Mustonen, director of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). Photo: Christina Huh.Mr Jussi Mustonen, director of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). Photo: Christina Huh.

told us a little about the lobbying system and political aims of Finnish corporations.

Although it is essential that domestic industries have a collective voice, it was clear that their economic ambitions – which include a low-taxation, high-growth economy – were often at odds with more traditional political Finnish values, such as high public-spending, socio-economic equality, and economic stability.

Particularly in a “globalised” World, Finnish industry needs a leading-voice, but just perhaps, we might worry that some are so eager to import Anglo-Saxon business model of wealth-centralisation, intra-group trade and income inequality.

Although high-taxation economies can encourage high living costs and inflation, other systems also have their pitfalls: indeed, in its proponent countries – Britain and America – the Anglo-Saxon corporate model is accompanied by deeply-entrenched inequalities in wealth, living-standards and educational achievements.

Cleantech, a chemical engineering company, and Metso, a paper industry supplier, are two prime examples of highly-specialised, but also highly self-sufficient manufacturing companies with large internal production networks. Both have captured niche markets which benefit from Finland’s highly-skilled workforce, and are large and well-connected enough to compete in global markets.

However, it is also clear that the Finnish political system is more than capable of tempering private interests in favour of the greater good, and that its robust democratic infrastructure will tend to favour the needs of the majority. And indeed, companies such as these supply essential employment for many highly-qualified Finnish graduates, and provide strong economic bases for what is, after all, a small, very homogeneous and largely middle-class population.

Moreover, as long as top-quality education is a tax-payer priority, and an essential means of maintaining a strong high-tech sector and attracting foreign talent to Finnish Universities, Finland will always have the groundwork laid for a happy and enlightened society where its people have independent motivation to learn and succeed.

So perhaps the special Scandinavian model of excellent social welfare and economic success can continue for some time to come, but only if the economy does not grow beyond the means of the state, and if economic growth does not become an end in itself.


44 thoughts on “Finnish economy day (Owen Hall)”

  1. Hi! I love clothes and following the fashion during years and different times. Marimekko is also nowadays very fashion-conscious… more than earlier with a lot of flowers etc.

  2. hi Owen,loved ur post,u sound really ambitious and ready for anything..gud luck man.I am in South Africa and would like to visit Finland.

  3. Hi Susanna! Nice to know that your first impression of summer in Finland was positive. We are so dependent on the weather, especially in the summertime. Most people look at first in the morning whether we have today sunny or rainy day. Rainy days are sometimes welcome also…. Says who is living in Helsinki Finland… Have a nice and useful time during your FC-programme in August!

  4. Hey you guys, I hope you having a time this year. We had a blast last year. FCP rocks.


  5. yes, have a nice time in Finland! I hope you will have better weather than we had last year!!

  6. well… Names could be difficult, but you can easily distinguish butter from cat food, I guess… 😉 Good luck next time!

  7. You founded a lot of vital things. Especially the forest is a Finn’s church. It may also be a sea, lake or river, a mountain area in Lapland… A mug of fresh coffee with a lot of milk is also my way to start the day, afternoon. Raili

  8. Nice… I envy you! The military day was something I missed last year. Good that you had it in your programme!

  9. Thank you for the good post Ahmad. People were talking about it over coffee today and were very pleased to see a more serious opinion about the society. About the political parties one can naturally have different opinions but I will just correct one fact: the electoral participation in the latest parliamentary elections (2007) was 68 per cent (luckily not 40 per cent as you wrote).

  10. Hi! You wrote just the points what can imagine many Finns are missing nowadays. Maybe the students do that all the time, but not the middle-aged persons. They mainly follow that Culture of Consensus… in both the private and the public sector. The competition, that is so unfamiliar to me and many others. Missing of all competition makes people restful, but gives not food or fortune to a businessman or company… Raili

  11. Thank you Riika for your appreciation and correction. I should have checked the information told to me more than once. Sorry for that mistake, but I think its a good lesson for me to learn not to take any information or numbers from one source only.

  12. Wow…impressive information and I appreciate the comparisons.
    The photos are truly professional.

    Great work my dear!

  13. Hi Marc! You have a very interesting article. We can see, that Alvar Aalto, Ittala, Marimekko and Arabia are not only the names. They are an important part of Finnish design. Marimekko produced in their Collection Autumn and Winter 2010/11 something that I could want for myself too. For instance from designers: Mika Piirainen, Joanna Vanderpuije and Nora Iknadossian (

  14. I liked the read. Felt like just the other day when we sat in the class listening to him. I remembered the debate we had about it after the lecture and the fact that we had all agreed he told his story confidently. Nicely captured Finn!

  15. What is significant here is that all of these companies are old. Not a single new Finnish company has achieved anything even close to the success and visibility of these old, wonderful veterans. Perhaps it was the Finnish thinking of SOME TIME AGO that produced these winners but that same thinking is not visible today?

  16. Enrique my friend… I would give you the Pulitzer for this piece of writing if I could… great read.. brought back all my memories…

  17. Hi Martino! I liked very much your article from Rovaniemi, Lapland, but I had not time then to comment. My favourite places in Lapland are Saariselkä, Levi, Ylläs and Pallas. Now have been a long break. I was 1998 in Saariselkä, but some day I go again…. to the North Finland.

  18. Enrique, my friend, you brought some joyfull tears to my eyes… great moments… and the clouds cried when we left…

  19. You have just opened the floodgates of my eyes once again. Thank you for this brilliant recollection of our time. Nothing quiet like it!

  20. I can see that my once young friend has come to full blossom and spread her wings all over. Well thought, expressed and executed my dear Sandra.

  21. I agree. Read this. Have a good cry, by Victor M Parachin. “One reason people might feel better after crying could be because they are removing, in their tears, chemicals that build up during emotional stress. Most people, however, find the tears flowing when they read a touching story or have thoughts of past sadness”.

  22. I knew something about Finns and you wrote everything. It has been nice article. 🙂

  23. Glad to see you guys are having plenty of fun. Treasure these moments and open your eyes to the beauty that is Finland.

  24. I liked this. You managed to condense a message – Nordic Cooperation – Great Example for South Caucasus – into a few sentences.

  25. Thank you, I hope that people for our region will like this idea. We need it so much

  26. This is a good idea if we also consider that Armenia,Georgia and Azerbaijan have an experience of being considered as one country. Examples are Transcaucasian Federation which unluckily lasted very short period of time and USSR where the people were living under the same government with other 12 countries. So taking into consideration last experiences this can happen theoretically but a huge issue is the hatred which is being spread by governments of conflicting countries towards each other.
    Thank you, Arman for a great article and showing the light in the tunnel for those who think there are no solutions to conflicts in Transcaucasia.

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