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