Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tale of two Finlands

Finland is in general a very egalitarian society, where mobility is common and opportunities available, which is something I think other countries should learn from. However, I have noticed certain, if not polarization, at least divisions in society regarding how they see the outside world.

There are those that understand that Finland's economic success is dependent on globalization and those who only see the Chinese threat; those who have travelled and seen the world and those who haven't; the young who are used to having people with foreign backgrounds in their classroom and the old who first saw a black man in their street in the 90's; those that welcome foreign labour and those that feel threatened by it (especially if they are already unemployed); those that speak foreign languages with confidence and those who feel they threaten the status of the Finnish language; those that want a more generous welfare state and those who want to pay less taxes; those who think racism is stupid and those who are unabashedly racist; those who have taken advantage of EU farm subsidies, Erasmus exchange programmes and the like and those who strongly dislike the EU...

Difference of opinion is of course what democracy is made of. Finnish society, however, needs to be aware that these differences exist, and that not everything is smooth and perfect.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. And it takes me by suprise every time when I find out how small minded people here in Finland can be.

Chiva Congelado said...

There is small minded people everywhere. The first step, however, is to notice it.