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Finland for Thought » 2006 » March | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

Finland for Thought
             Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States

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31.3.2006

Under the table, better than nothing at all

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:11 pm

It’s so amusing to read about “under the table” jobs as if the participants were committing murder. This is a huge difference in attitude between the Finns and Americans. The article uses words like “shady”, “wrestles with his conscience”, and “temptation” to describe the people involved in this practice. Pleaseee….

PAM reports that its Helsinki office is contacted about once a week by someone who has been offered undocumented work. The information comes by telephone. “They want to remain faceless. Common sense dictates that these kinds of things will not bear the light of day”, says Irmeli Mäenpää, head of the office. Jussi sometimes wrestles with his conscience. “But I will have time to pay plenty of those taxes when I get a regular job.”

People involved in the grey economy are rarely well off financially. Like the article says, it’s often restaurants, probably just trying to make ends meet, offering this undocumented work because the state makes it too costly to do legally. And the workers, often students and young people like the article states, are struggling with the high youth unemployment in Finland – they either they take the under the table jobs or they’re broke and unemployed.

In addition to young people, immigrants are newcomers to the Finnish labour market, and as such, are subject to offers from shady characters.

These under the table jobs are mostly temporary anyways, few people do this work for long periods of time. And you usually get paid daily, so if the boss screws you over, you just tell him to suck it…and you never return. But I guess the state would rather we immigrants and young people sit home and collect the welfare, and have the small shops and restaurants go bankrupt?

30.3.2006

In search of sisu

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 1:18 pm

The Washington Post sends another reporter to Finland. He’s searching for the meaning of sisu…

How do they do it? Where do Finns find the strength to exist in conditions like these? And how can I get some? I’ll be here for the next three days before heading to Moscow on business, but without a little sisu of my own, I’m not sure I can last.

[...]I don’t know if I’m up to it, but there’s only one way to find out. When we dock, I’m going to work on my “inner Finn,” assuming that’s where sisu comes from. But where do I start?

[...]“There’s a whole culture of krapula in this country,” says Stites. “Finns understand that sisu needs help in the winter, and krapula is the price. You would never show up for work in the U.S. and tell people about your hangover. In Finland, everyone understands.”

Tuomioja: Finnish Parliament-supervised Sitra fund has neoliberal agenda

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:06 pm

Finlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja, accuses the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development (SITRA) of furthering the goals of industry and commerce…

Mr Tuomioja writes in his internet column that one is forced to ask whether Sitra is subordinate to Parliament or to business interests.

“Such is the difficulty in drawing a line between the Sitra’s message and Eva’s [the Finnish Business and Policy Forum's] neoliberal rolling-up campaign that aims to bring down the welfare state,” Mr Tuomioja writes.

“It may have been a big shame that Esko Aho was not appointed member of the Bank of Finland’s board back in the day.”

While Sitra’s programme areas – innovations, health, food and nutrition, the environment, Russia and India – are approved by the minister, Mr Tuomioja says the way the programmes are being put to practice is overly market-determined. Sitra has for example promoted the privatisation of healthcare, Mr Tuomioja adds.

Led by Esko Aho, a former prime minister, Sitra operates under the auspices of Parliament.

So parliament should only fund pro-socialist ideological groups?

Many Construction Companies Using Illegal Labour

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:40 am

“Recent inspections in southern Finland found twenty percent of construction companies with foreign employees lacked proper documentation of their work permits or citizenship.”

Crackdown On Public Transport Rowdyism

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:39 am

“At least one-third of all passengers say they have been victims of drunken behaviour.”

Higher Russian Timber Tariffs Worry Forest Industry

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:38 am

“An increase in customs duties will add around 15 million euros in extra costs every year.”

Women in Finland are Having Fewer Hysterectomies

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:38 am

“During the 1990′s over 10,000 women a year had their wombs surgically removed”

Estonian-Finnish gang steals Nokia components -Paper

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:35 am

“….stolen Nokia components worth hundreds of thousands of euros from the mobile phone maker’s Salo factory,”

Finnish travellers to benefit from planned EU end to mobile phone roaming charges

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:32 am

“The Commission said on Tuesday that it would put forward legislation against what it sees as excessive roaming fees”

Erecting of new Ferris wheel at Linnanmäki amusement park in Italian hands

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:31 am

“We have some language issues since we both only speak Italian. The construction crew is Finnish, but fortunately they understand the same hand signals as we do.”

Bird flu precaution: Helsinki to ban open-air cafes at open markets

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:31 am

“All stands selling food at open markets will have to have a roof and walls in back and on the sides to prevent contact with birds.”

Troubled Finnish National Opera considering staff layoffs

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:30 am

However, they are only one alternative, and certainly not any real solution to our permanent problems”,

Up to 2,000 contract labourers walk out over prospect of back taxes

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:29 am

“Action spreads from Porvoo oil refinery to Turku, Pori, and Rauma”

29.3.2006

100,000 Finnish children live below the poverty line

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:42 pm

Your welfare state at work – One in ten Finnish children live below the poverty line…

Poverty in the family can reflect on the child’s future, for example, through the child missing out on upper secondary education simply because the parents cannot afford the textbooks. The children are also divided into groups through their hobbies.

Today, 100,000 Finnish children live below the poverty line. The situation for families dependent on subsistence support has worsened in the past ten years. A person on subsistence support has to get by with 11 euros per day.

Finnish Centre Party: YLE is biased

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:03 pm

Finland’s Centre Party aren’t too happy that public funding is going to support state-controlled YLE, so they can show biased political satire like Itse Valtiaat

Suomenmaa, the party organ, frets in its leader on Tuesday that Itse Valtiaat, a computer-generated animation set in Parliament, and Uutisvuoto, the Finnish version of Britain’s Have I Got News For You, have long sought to lambaste the Centre Party.

The leader adds that the programmes, aired in primetime Saturday evening slots, systematically offer standardised preconceptions to the viewing public.

“Such methods do not belong in the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s operational arsenal. Or if they do, the Centre Party should most urgently revise its attitude toward the Finnish Broadcasting Company and its backing for funding,” Suomenmaa writes.

Another fine reason not to pay your TV license!

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