Politics This Week – Dead End Finland?

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare

There are plenty of people who believe that having less and living a life of greater austerity should make you feel happy because conspicuous consumption is bad for you and not sustainable. 

On the other hand, if someone in authority says that you must make do with less, then you will almost certainly feel unhappy and possibly angry.

Finland is facing a sharp economic turndown after a decade of underperformance compared to our peers.

Our export volumes have not increased and now our major trading partners are seeing significant falls in demand. 

Interest rates  have increased, inflation has been brutal, record numbers of bankruptcies have been recorded and spending on defence and rising unemployment costs have diminished the state’s room to manoeuvre.

The new government’s reaction has been to reduce spending while proclaiming that tax increases are detrimental to economic activity and that cause economies to contract. However, they give no evidence to support this claim.

On the spending side they have also kick-started a policy of draconian austerity which they also claim is the best medicine for the country to get the unemployed back to work.

They have axed social security benefits for low income workers and pensioners, reduced unemployment benefits, and cut back many other smaller benefits with the result that those affected get less at a time when inflation has increased food prices, the costs of borrowing, and rents.

This has all been done without any information or studies on how these policies impact these people. You do not have to be an economics professor to understand that people are getting much less, and it is obvious such a policies are not well received by their voters. Little or nothing has been done to promote employment or strengthen employment services. Force and coercion is should never be in the toolkit of any government. 

What is needed are sensible and reasoned dialogues not pictures of laughing Minister of Finance holding a pair of scissors like two fingers to the angry masses – a clear gesture of abuse or contempt. This is especially so when high salary earners actually got a big tax reduction… 

Obviously their big tax reduction got them working so much harder…

Yes, it is actually true – here is the picture of the smiling Minister with her scissors and colleagues!

They all benefited from the tax reduction too that is why they are grinning…

… and the big “surprise” is that there are now worker strikes against these harshly dictated “reforms”.

The big question is that this economy, like any big ship, can only turn around slowly – and at the moment it is sailing slowly towards the rocks… 

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