Safe, happy and free: does Finland have all the answers? | The Guardian

It seems that Finland is now topping nearly every global social ranking.

Last year, on the centenary of its independence, Finland was ranked, by assorted international indices, the most stable, the safest and the best-governed country in the world. It was also the third wealthiest, the third least corrupt, the second most socially progressive and the third most socially just.

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  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finnish innovation has children’s education down to a science

    A science academy that ignites the spark children have for learning – Kide Science is an idea that could only come from Finland. Now, it’s in demand all over the world.

    Mum, where do rainbows come from? Dad, why are some flowers yellow and some blue? Uncle, why do carrots go soft when they’re boiled?

    The questions children pose can sometimes be baffling – and very difficult. Yet still, the worst possible answer is to tell them to stop wondering.

    “Children are natural-born researchers and investigators,”

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finland has done everything right, but the euro is still making it permanently poorer

    There are three kinds of countries that have been hurt by the euro: ones that did everything wrong, ones that did everything right and all the rest in between.

    Finland. That’s a country, after all, that has followed every rule and checked every box. Its schools are among the best in the world, its government is among the least corrupt, its public debt is relatively low, and its businesses are free from having to engage in the kind of bureaucratic hoop-jumping that can slow down even the strongest economy. Despite all that, it has fallen behind where it should be in recent years, and, if recent International Monetary Fund projections are correct, might never make that up.

    To get an idea of where it should be, all you have to do is look at Sweden. It’s similar in every respect, except it doesn’t use the euro. Indeed, as Paul Krugman points out, the two countries grew almost identical amounts between 1989 and 2011 in per capita terms, before the euro turned what should have been a few bad quarters for Finland into a few bad years.

    it’s still 11 percent behind Sweden, and it isn’t expected to catch up much more than that over the next five years.

    The important thing to understand here is that Finland was the Microsoft of countries. Which is to say that it was a onetime tech leader that got decimated by Apple in the early 2000s. The iPhone turned Nokia, which, at its peak accounted for 4 percent of Finland’s economy, into a cautionary tale for MBAs, and the iPad put the country’s paper products, another big export, under similar pressure.

    These kind of shocks were always going to hurt, but they were more painful than they needed to be because Finland couldn’t do what it normally would: devalue its currency.

    Finland’s economy is growing pretty well right now — but you’ll fall behind so much in the meantime that it almost won’t matter. You’ll still end up worse off.

    The euro, in other words, wasn’t Finland’s only problem, but it was the problem that made solving the other ones harder.

    None of this should be a surprise. Economists always knew that countries would have a harder time dealing with the ups-and-downs of the business cycle when they couldn’t use their own monetary policies to do so.


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